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Issue no: 963

• JULY 14 - 17, 2017



In this week’s issue... World Cultural Monument Heritage Status Returned to Gelati Monastery NEWS PAGE 2

Georgian Foreign Minister Holds Meetings in Moldova

FOCUS ON PREVENTING VIOLENCE Religious organizations unite to prevent early marriages, FGM and domestic violence PAGE 12


A Decade of Success: EU Bank Marks 10 Years in Georgia with New Loans BUSINESS PAGE 8

Source: UNICEF

Georgia’s European Way - Ensuring Regional Stability Conference Opens in Batumi France Celebrates Bastille Day – Eternal Values of Liberty, Equality & Fraternity



he 14th annual international conference Georgia’s European Way Ensuring Regional Stability started in Batumi on Thursday. The two-day conference will focus on European security, economic and geopolitical issues, new forms of cooperation between the EU and its associated partner countries, and the role of Georgia in the process of regional stability. EU energy security, diversification of the energy markets and the process of energy market liberalization are said to be among the themes of particular focus at the conference this year as Georgian government representatives and highranking delegates from Europe gather in the Adjara capital. Three financial agreements will be signed during the conference in Batumi: EUR 250 mln financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB) within the Georgia’s Transport Communication Project [see page 6]; allocation of an additional EUR 3.5 mln financing for the Vardnili and Enguri HPP rehabilitation; and funds provision for 10 electro and 20 diesel buses to Batumi. President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, and Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikash-


Giorgi Mikadze Becomes Associate Professor of Berklee College of Music vili, addressed the conference with speeches. “The crawling occupation continues to bring tension to the region. Georgia addresses this problem with the highest responsibility and patience. Our attitude towards this historical injustice which takes place just several kilometers from here, reflected in the occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, is an attitude built on European standards and European values,” President Margvelashvili stated as he addressed the audience at the conference. “The process of integration of Georgia in the European process is stable and sustainable...” he noted. “European integration is inevitable and incon-

vertible for the Georgian people,” Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said, as he noted the importance of European and Euro-Atlantic integration as one of the driving forces for the development of the country. Maroš Šefcovic, Vice President, European Commission for Energy Union, noted that the European Union is the number one trade partner and investor in Georgia, where, as he stated, the European Union supports all the progressive reforms that make Georgia a leader in the Eastern Partnership program. Sevcovic emphasized the importance of the association agreement signing, as he talked about strengthening of the economic and political relations with the EU.





JULY 14 - 17, 2017

Chateau Mukhrani World Cultural Monument Reserve Royale Heritage Status Returned Awarded to Gelati Monastery Plantinum at Decanter BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI




hateauMukhraniReserve Royale (Saperavi 2012) received an unprecedented award; the first to be presented to a Georgian wine: the Platinum Medal Best in Category, Best Georgian Red. The award was received at the Decanter World Wine Awards which is known as the most influential and prestigious international wine competition in the world. From more than 17,000 wines from around the globe which applied, Chateau Mukhrani Reserve Royale received the highest award available in the competition. According to the rules, the Platinum Medal is awarded to Gold Medal winning wines which are later re-tasted in specific categories. Prior to 2017, no Georgian wine had received a Gold Medal at the Decanter Awards. There is a long list of international wine competitions worldwide, of which the following three British competitions are of highest influence: International Wine Challenge (IWC), International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) and the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA). Chateau Mukhrani applied to Decanter with six wines and all received awards: Royale Reserve (Red) 2012 - Platinum Medal Best in Category, Best Georgian Red, Reserve Royale (White) 2013 – Silver, Collection Secrete (White) 2014 – Bronze, Saperavi 2013 – Bronze, Rkatsiteli Superior 2013- Bronze and Collection Secrete (Red) 2014: Commended.

he decision to return the 12th Century Gelati Monastery back to the world’s heritage list with independent status was taken at UNESCO World Heritage meeting in Krakow, Poland on Monday. Following the information announced by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, they in cooperation with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the World Heritage Center, together with international experts, prepared the necessary documentation. As the Ministry of Culture of Georgia states, the conservation and rehabilitation process carried out at the Gelati Monastery complex fully complies with World Heritage Convention principles. Gelati Monastery and Bagrati Cathedral were first put on the World Cultural Heritage list in 1994. In 2010, due to the reconstructions of Bagrati Cathedral, both Gelati Monastery and Bagrati Cathedral were listed as endangered world cultural heritage monuments. Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery previously shared one nomination in the UNESCO list.

Gelati Monastery. Source: UNESCO website

With the decision made at the World Heritage Committee meeting in Krakow, Gelati Monastery is now back on the World Heritage list, following the placing of the ancient town of Mtskheta (Georgia’s ancient capital) on the same list last year, both now removed from the list of World Heritage in Danger. Mikhail Giorgadze, the Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of

Georgia, stated that Bagrati will have a chance to also be returned to the list in a different nomination, as together with experts from UNESCO and with the help of German and Polish partners, work to nominate the Kutaisi historical landscapehistorical zone is underway, with the aim that Bagrati Cathedral can be once more preserved and represented in the context of World Cultural Heritage Monument.

Eloshvili New Energy Minister, Janelidze Vice-Premier BY THEA MORRISON


eputy Energy Minister, Ilia Eloshvili, has been installed as the new Energy Minister, Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced at a governmental meeting on Wednesday. The PM stated Eloshvili “would be a good minister,” as, since 2012, he has been in the post of Deputy Energy Minister and is very experienced in the field. “I am sure he will be successful in the important role he has now. He is experienced in both private and public sectors as well as in international programs,” the PM added. Furthermore, in September-November 2016, Eloshvili also served as Energy Minister, when the post was vacant before the newly elected Parliament approved the Cabinet. Kvirikashvili also announced that

Georgia’s Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze, would become the second Vice-Premier. The PM noted that Janelidze has contributed greatly to the successful implementation of Georgia’s visa-liberalization process and his appointment as Deputy Prime Minister would be profitable for the country.

Kvirikashvili added that foreign relations are among Georgia’s top priorities. The posts of Energy Minister and Vice-Premier became vacant when Kakha Kaladze, Energy Minister and second Vice-Premier, quit his posts in order to participate in the Tbilisi Mayoral elections as the candidate of the ruling Georgian Dream party.


GEORGIA TODAY JULY 14 - 17, 2017


Recent Developments in Occupied Tskhinvali Passenger Flows Up in Georgian Airports Discussed at IPRM Meeting in Ergneti BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI




epresentatives of Georgia, de facto South Ossetia (Tskhinvali), the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) and the OSCE discussed around 10 acute issues, including the borderization process, on Georgian territories at the 79th meeting under the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) held in Ergneti, de facto South Ossetia, on July 11. The EUMM reports that Ambassador Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the EUMM in Georgia, and Ambassador Guenther Baechler, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus, co-facilitated the proceedings. The discussions, which lasted for seven hours, were opened by Ambassador Baechler with Ambassador Jankauskas later providing a short overall summary of events since the last meeting. The talks included the general security situation, Hotline activations and detention cases. It was noted that the number of Hotline activations had doubled compared to the previous period. The EUMM stated that the number of detentions at the so-called border was also higher than during the previous period and higher than the same period in 2016. Two cases of airspace violations involving unmanned aerial vehicles were raised by participants, who agreed to look into the cases. The co-facilitators underlined the availability of the Hotline to clarify potential airspace violations. One of the most acute issues the Georgian side raised at the meeting was the creeping occupation and the occupation line having been moved further into

Georgian territory in Bershueti village last week, which left local farmers without 20 hectares of agricultural land. Ambassador Jankauskas expressed his appreciation of the pre-announcement of such installations and encouraged, also in this respect, to continue use of the Hotline for mutual information sharing. The Georgian side demanded the local farmers be allowed to harvest their crops from the lands misappropriated by the occupation regime. Georgian media reports that the issue of a new wave of border demarcation works carried out by de facto Tskhinvali forces in three Georgian villages: Knolevi, Tseronisi and Avlevi, Kareli district, were raised at the meeting. Representative of the breakaway Tskhinvali region, Murad Jioev, stated that the demarcation was necessary to prevent local farmers from coming within 200 meters of the "border”. He also added that the furrows made by Russian soldiers in Kareli villages would prevent the spread of fire, which is very common in the fields. “Fire is very common in the fields, this is why we decided to make furrows there.

As for Bershueti village, the locals should have thought in advance not to plant crops on the territory of another country,” Jioev was quoted as saying by the Georgian Public Broadcaster. Representative of the central Georgian government, Kakhaber Kemoklidze, said that the “illegal erection” of so-called border signs at the occupation line created serious problems for the local population and added that the sides could not reach consensus over the borderization process. “The process started with barbed wire fences, then it continued with the illegal erection of signs and the last phase of the borderization process is this so called anti-fire line, made by the occupation regime,” Kemoklidze said. The Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism was created in February 2009 as a result of the Geneva discussions that followed the 2008 conflict in Georgia. The meetings are an opportunity to identify potential risks and problems facing the local community, follow up on incidents, and exchange information. The next IPRM meeting will take place on 7 September 2017.

ccording to the six-month statistics of 2017, the number of passengers passing through Georgian airports has increased by 48.61 percent, while the number of air transported goods is up by 40.07 percent according to the data of the Civil Aviation Agency. 1,609.183 passengers were transported by regular and charter flights in Georgian airports for the first six month period of 2017, which is 48.61 percent higher with 526,355 passengers, up on last year when it stood at 1082828 passengers. The increase in passenger flow is said to be clear in all the airports in Georgia,

with Tbilisi International having so far served 1.287,228 passengers, showing a 44.11 percent increase compared to 2016. Kutaisi International Airport had a 93 percent increase in passenger flow, and Batumi Airport served 133,418 passengers in six months, 43.95 percent higher compared to the previous year. Mestia Airport has served 3240 passengers in six months, 1746 passengers more than last year. Ambrolauri Airport, which welcomed passengers for the first time in 2017 has so far served 457 passengers. There were 8768 passenger and goods transportation flights operated in Georgian airports from January to June 2017, (7016 regular and 1,752 charter flights), which is 39% higher compared to the same period of 2016.

National Food Agency Issues Examination Results of Georgian Spices BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


he National Food Agency (NFA) of Georgia has issued the results of an examination of Georgian spices, following the recent warning issued by the New York City Health Department informing that spices from Georgia may contain a high level of lead. The NFA claims its specialists took 75 samples of spices from throughout the territory of Georgia, which it then sent to the Adjara Ministry of Agriculture laboratory research center. All 75 samples were examined, with violations revealed in four of the cases. Within the existing legislation, the level of lead in spices must not exceed 5 milligrams per kilogram. The higher level of lead was

found in a number of Georgian spices from Georgian producers. An excessive amount of lead was discovered in red pepper - 7,06 mg (producer Badri Jakhia); dry adjika -6, 38 mg (producer Elguja Jakhia), dry adjika 5.96 mg (producer Giga Sharangia), and suneli produced by Madona Todua – 5.60 mg. “These products have been taken off the market and will be destroyed,” the National Food Agency stated. “The information on the research findings will be distributed to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social affairs of Georgia and the Ministry of Economy, as well as being made available for the public. The NFA will also disclose this information to the consulate of the Georgian Embassy in the US. “We are ready to fully cooperate with the New York City Department of Health,” the NFA stated.




JULY 14 - 17, 2017

With the West Uninterested, Georgia Faces Unpleasant Developments in its Breakaway Regions OP-ED BY EMIL AVDALIANI


eorgia is experiencing a difficult period internally as well externally. On the foreign policy front, things are not looking up, as reflected by the G20 Summit in Hamburg last week which saw the country’s perils being all but ignored by world leaders. Internally, the country is preparing for the Tbilisi mayoral elections and a nationalistic march is ready to kick off in the heart of the capital over the coming days to protest ‘unsavory’ behavior by nationals from the Middle East. In addition, a number of high-profile court hearings of detained foreigners from neighboring countries are further heightening temperatures internally as many are led to believe in their being motivated by external actors. But the real problem for Tbilisi is that there is a certain fatigue with the Georgia problem in the West. The frozen conflicts around Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Samachablo), while clearly problems, are not as immediate as, for instance, east Ukraine or even Nagorno Karabakh, where the situation has been tense for more than a year. There might be even more than just fatigue. For example, in western media few analysts these days note the problem and it is rare that this information niche is filled by analyses and reportative pieces. However, it is this fatigue, relative disinterest and lack of information about the Georgian conundrum that is successfully used by the breakaway regions’ leaderships to strengthen their positions vis-à-vis Tbilisi. As I explained here several weeks

ago, the installation of new makeshift ‘border’ signs could eventually create huge problems for transportation and overall security across the region. Yet Russia acts in South Ossetia according to its security concerns based on geography and a purported threat from NATO. At the same time, as our eyes are on South Ossetia, a number of interesting developments are taking place in Abkhazia which are set to further destabilize the breakaway region and in the long run will create stronger bases for Russian influence there. Last week, the opposition forces in Abkhazia mounted a full-scale campaign against Raul Khajimba’s government and began asking for his resignation. This not to say that the development is in itself a new one, but rather that it comes on top of an already fragile internal situation and the official understanding between the separatist government and the opposition force Amtsakhara. The Agreement on Social and Political Stability signed in late 2016 with the aim to calm tensions and prevent confrontation between the Abkhaz leadership and the opposition has now been effectively broken. And this development comes just several days after the Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, who oversees Russian influence in Georgia and Ukraine’s breakaway territories, made positive statements about Khajimba and the overall ‘political stability’. The statements do reflect the extent to which the people in Abkhazia are divided along political lines. There are strong supporters of Khajimba who managed to become rich under his rule, but many of his previous supporters who helped him storm the presidential palace and impose forceful resignation on Aleksandr Ankvab are now in com-

Abkhazia–Russia border. Source: Wikiwand

plete opposition to him. Indeed, the problems in the breakaway region are numerous, making the stability unlikely. Unemployment is high and this in turn facilitates a high level of crime. One Russian tourist was killed several days ago in Abkhazia, resulting in the Russian government warning its citizens against travelling to the breakaway region. Abkhazia lacks internal stability because the ruling politicians often lack money and experience to effectively manage the region, while the opposition forces are strong enough to stage manifestations and even cause resignations. An example of this complicated situation is the recent return of Ankvab to Abkhazia. Khajimba’s government, fearful of a reaction and not strong enough anyway,

were unable to forestall his election as PM. Yet, Moscow is closely watching the developments in the region as there always are elements in Abkhazia which do not agree with being entirely pro-Russian. Many fear that Russian money will leave ethnic Abkhaz without land. Unlike South Ossetia, where the population numbers are quite low and political life cannot become violent, in Abkhazia for Russia it is more prudent to have a divided political spectrum; a divided society where neither of the sides can gain the upper hand as a policy which will help Moscow hold off any antiRussian sentiment gaining momentum. This, in the longer run, will help Russia to further its military and economic influence on political life in Abkhazia.

Georgian Foreign Minister Holds Meetings in Moldova



uring his official visit to Moldova, Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze met with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Andrei Galbur on July 10. Janelidze noted that his official visit to Moldova coincides with the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Both sides spoke about the traditionally friendly relations between the two countries, highlighting the increasing level of co-operation in the defense, justice, customs, and agriculture sectors. The two ministers focused on the importance of holding the first inter-governmental economic commission and business forum in April, which aims to give a fresh impetus to the bilateral tradeeconomic cooperation reported to have increased by 60% in the first quarter of 2017. They also underlined the importance of activating people-to-people contacts which will be strengthened further by the signing of a memorandum of co-operation on the matter of tourism between the two countries. As part of the meeting, the two ministers signed postage stamps issued to mark the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Janelidze then invited his Moldovan counterpart to Georgia.

Prospects for further co-operation between the two countries were on the agenda of talks between the Georgian Foreign Minister and the Moldovan Prime Minister, Pavel Filip. Both sides spoke about the increasing level of relations between the two countries, focusing on the importance of holding the first inter-governmental economic commission and political consultations between the foreign ministries of Georgia and Moldova. Special attention was paid to the possibility of expanding trade-economic relations. Both welcomed the growth of trade between the two countries as well as Moldova’s rising interest in Georgia’s tourism potential. The Moldovan Prime Minister expressed his interest in benefiting from Georgia’s experience in successful reforms in the sectors of public administration, civil services and tax systems. During his visit to Moldova, Georgian Foreign Minister Janelidze met with the Moldovan President Andrian Candu. Janelidze also participated in the 9th Eastern Partnership Informal Dialogue Session hosted by Moldova which addressed the necessary subjects for the preparation of the Eastern Partnership Summit to be held on November 24 in Brussels. The event was attended by the European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, Jean-Christophe Belliard, as well as the Foreign Ministers of Eastern Partnership countries.




JULY 14 - 17, 2017

Prime Minister of Georgia Meets Ambassadors At Large for Eastern Partnership

iorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, met with the Ambassadors At Large for the Eastern Partnership, from 11 European states, while on their visit to Georgia. The upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit is planned for November 24, in Brussels. Georgia’s progress with regards to Euro integration were amongst the topics discussed during the meeting, as well as Georgia’s ongoing reforms and the implementation process of the Association Agreement. Detailed information on the Georgian government’s Four-Point Reform plan was introduced by the Georgian Prime Minister.

Particular focus was given to the situation regarding the occupied territories of Georgia, with Kvirikashvili underlining that the territorial integrity of the country is among the top priorities for the government and the role of the European Union and western partners is of greatest importance in the process of peacefully resolving the conflicts. Jonas Paslauskas, Lithuanian Ambassador At Large, congratulated Kvirikashvili on the visa-free regime to the Schengen States for citizens of Georgia and noted that Georgia is a priority for the EU. A number of diplomats were in attendance at the delegation of the Eastern Partnership Ambassadors At Large: from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and Slovakia present to show their support on the matter. The delegation of the Eastern Partnership Ambassadors At Large will leave Georgia on July 14.

Georgian MPs Visit Moscow Angers Georgians, Delights Russians

Photo source:





or the first time since the Georgia-Russia August 2008 war, three Georgian parliamentarians from the Russian-affiliated Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG) went to Moscow to hold bilateral meetings with Russian political parties. This step of the APG MPs, Giorgi Lomia, Ada Marshania and Nato Chkheidze, amid negative reactions from most Georgian political parties and ordinary citizens, was followed by positive assessment from the Russian side. The APG party, which gained six mandates in Georgia’s 150-seat parliament during the October 2016 elections, claimed from the very beginning that dialogue with Russia was necessary to solve Georgia’s territorial problems. However, the Georgian MPs did not raise the occupation issue at the meeting with the Russian parliamentarians, and the main topics were restoration of diplomatic ties and Georgia’s Law about Occupation, according to which entry to the occupied territories by foreign citizens and stateless persons from any other direction shall be prohibited and be punishable under the Criminal Code of Georgia. The meeting with the APG was initiated by of one of the leaders of the Russian Communist Party, Leonid Kalashnikov, who is the head of the Russian State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs and Eurasian Integration. “The absence of such a dialogue between Russian and Georgian parliamentarians is abnormal," Kalashnikov said during the meeting with the Georgian lawmakers, adding that one of the main criteria for choosing the APG was the party’s positive attitude towards Russia. The meeting was also attended by Kazbek Taisayev from the Communist Party and Artyom Kavinov from Putin’s Yedinaya Rossiya, which is the ruling party in Russia. Georgian media reports that the sides agreed to establish an informal working group which will gather every month to discuss the normalization process between Russia and Georgia. Discussions also focused on simplification of the visa regime and restoration of diplomatic relations. Kalashnikov commented on the frequent military exercises of NATO and Georgia and expressed concern. After the meeting, the Georgian MPs attended a joint press-conference and made statements in the

name of the Georgian people. They called on the Georgian parliament to recognize their informal group, which unites APG members, representatives of Yedinaya Rossiya and the Communist party. “We will try to ensure that the group set up here is recognized by the Georgian parliament and parallel, you should also do your best to get this group recognized by the State Duma and the Federation Council,” APG member Giorgi Lomia told Russian lawmakers. Kalashnikov wished luck to the APG MPs on their way towards normalization of relations with Russia. “You have taken a very brave position which deserves respect and you can always count on us,” Kalashnikov told the Georgian MPs. The ruling party Georgian Dream says that the steps of the Alliance of Patriots are not acceptable when Russia has occupied 20 percent of Georgian territories and does not recognize Georgia’s sovereignty or territorial integrity. The government believes that for negotiations with Russia there exists the Geneva International Discussions and Abashidze-Karasin format. “Russia is continuing occupation of Georgian territories and in such a situation it does not leave Georgia any space for negotiations,” Gedevan Popkhadze, majority member, stated. The opposition United National Movement (UNM) and European Georgia also condemned the APG meeting with Russian lawmakers. The UNM believe this is a targeted step to break the existing taboo and that negotiations with the occupant are impossible. “It is a big mistake when such meetings are arranged because they are senseless. Only the existing formats, with participation of international organizations can be effective,” Sergi Kapanadze from European Georgia says. However, another Russia-affiliated opposition party, Democratic Georgia, and its leader, former Prime Minister Nino Burjanadze, approved of the steps made by the Alliance of Patriots. Burjanadze believes that if Georgian Dream had launched negotiations with Moscow long ago, there would have been positive results in terms of solving territorial problems. Georgia and Russia cut diplomatic ties in 2008 after the August War. Since then, meetings of the Georgian Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, and the State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Grigory Karasin, have been the only direct format of negotiations between the two states.




JULY 14 - 17, 2017


A Decade of Success: EU Bank Marks 10 Years in Georgia with New Loans Tbilisi Mayor’s Office Employee Detained for Bribery BY THEA MORRISON


tar Abesadze, employee of Tbilisi City Hall, has been arrested by officers of the Anti-Corruption Agency of the State Security Service (SSS) of Georgia on charges of accepting bribes. The SSS says that in May 2017, Abesadze promised a certain citizen an accelerated issue of a permit for the opening of Café Tivi and the relevant documentation, and in return received $3,000. On July 12, Tbilisi City Hall released a statement regarding the issue, stating the government of the capital will not

tolerate any fact of crime without subsequent response and will cooperate with the investigation. “We call on all our employees not to abuse their power and not to damage the dignity of other civil servants working in City Hall," the statement reads. Irakli Lekvinadze, Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi, says that Abesadze’s detention is regrettable. “We should wait for the results of the investigation to find out the truth. The approach of Tbilisi City Hall is generally very simple. The relevant services should respond to the violations of the law and as such Tbilisi City Hall will cooperate with them,” he added. If convicted, Abesadze faces a possible sentence of 6 to 9 years.

Georgian Wines Featured in The Guardian BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


hree Georgian wines were featured in David Williams’ Wines of the week section in UK's The Guardian. “There are other wines, from places I’ve never been, that give me a bad case of wanderlust. Georgian wines always have that effect on me,” Williams writes as he introduces a wine from Tbilvino Kvevris (2015), “a rather brilliant example of orange-tinted dry white wine aged in Qvevri, the traditional Georgian clay vessel, with a subtly chewy, moreishly spicy character,” he notes. Jakeli Khashmi Saperavi, (2011) is the second wine featured, and as the author of the article states, it “was the most recent wine to get me idly browsing for flights to Tbilisi”. He then went on to describe its characteristics.

“It’s made from the local grape Saperavi, which produces deeply colored wines with a kind of wild, almost untamed intensity of tannin, finger-staining fruit and acidity that has very few peers”, Wlliams says. Pheasant’s Tears Saperavi, Kakheti (2015), is the third Georgian produced wine featured in the article. “One of the leading lights of the modern revival of Georgia’s 8,000-year-old winemaking tradition is the American-Georgian co-production Pheasant’s Tears,” says the author, talking about the Qvevri winemaking tradition in Georgia, characterizing the wine as “intensely sappy, crunchy and curranty with a nutty streak that I imagine works well with the walnuts that crop up so often in Georgian cuisine”. Williams goes on to say that the white wines, or as he calls them orange wines, are no less savory and rewarding; in-particularlythe“fabulouslyaromaticyetgrippy, dry Pheasant’s Tears Tsolikauri,” he concludes. Source:


he European Investment Bank (EIB) marked the tenth anniversary of its activities in Georgia with major new loans and a keynote speech by Vice-President Vazil Hudák at the 14th Batumi International Conference. A EUR 250 mln loan, signed by EIB VicePresident Vazil Hudák in the presence of Georgian Prime Minister Girogi Kvirikashvili and European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefcovic, will be used to upgrade Georgia’s priority road infrastructure. In addition, the EU bank increased its support by EUR 3.5 mln to finance the completion of rehabilitation works at Georgia’s largest hydropower complex, the Vardnili-Enguri HPP cascade. In the framework of the Eastern Partnership Technical Assistance Trust Fund (EPTATF), an EIB expert based in Tbilisi and paid by the EPTATF will work with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure (Road Department) towards enhancement of the preparation and implementation of the large scale and technologically complex road sector investments financed by EIB in Georgia. Delivering a keynote speech at the 14th Batumi International Conference entitled ‘Georgia’s European Way - Ensuring Regional Stability,’ Vice-President Hudák highlighted the successful cooperation between the EIB and Georgia, where the Bank has so far supported 21 projects with a total loan volume of over EUR 1.5 bn. A regional EIB office was opened in Tbilisi in 2015. “In Georgia, we are marking ten years of activity this year; ten successful years since we signed our Framework Agreement with the government and started looking for projects in which we could invest,” Hudák noted. “Our ultimate goal

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is job creation, economic growth and improved living standards and the loans that we signed today go firmly in that direction.” Maroš Šefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission, stated, “The EU and Georgia are closely linked, notably through the Association Agreement and its economic pillar, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. The EU's commitment to economic development, sustainability, and energy transition does not end at our borders. That is why the Energy Union is also an outward looking project which involves Georgia, an important partner of our Neighborhood Policy. Investment loans into transport infrastructure and clean energies such as that signed today are instrumental for Georgia and the whole region.” “Ten years after entering Georgia, the EIB is set to become the country’s leading public sector financer and we strongly appreciate the existing cooperation with them,” said First Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Dimitry Kumsishvili. “EIB’s activities are country-tailored and we believe that the EIB-financed projects will yield significant results. At the same time, the private sector is a key driver for growth, employment and innovation and we are looking to the EIB to increase the volume of operations in the private sector. The EIB has a lot to share with us the DCFTA initiative and InnovFin being other examples.” The EUR 250 mln loan is the second and last tranche of a EUR 500 mln framework loan for the construction and rehabilitation of approximately 253km of priority primary and secondary roads identified by the Georgian government for 2017-2020. The project, which will include road

safety elements, will enhance both international connectivity – notably on the East West Highway, part of the extended Trans-European Transport Network, and domestic mobility. This will strengthen vital links between Georgia, Ukraine and Europe through the Black Sea ports, and also to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. The project is significant particularly in the context of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement, helping develop more efficient, reliable and safe transport connections for the benefit of Georgian citizens. The extension of the EIB’s support for the Vardnili-Enguri HPP cascade follows the EUR 20 mln loan provided by the Bank in 2010 in line with EU policy guidelines for EIB activities in the Eastern Partnership and supported by a EUR 5 mln grant from the European Commission. The additional EUR 3.5 mln in funding from the EIB will help to finalize a rehabilitation program concerning civil works as well as electrical and hydro mechanical works. This additional loan will provide assistance to secure the completion of a project that is expected to have a significant impact on Georgia’s hydroelectricity supply. The EIB, the European Union’s bank, finances projects in Georgia on the basis of an EU mandate for the countries of the Eastern Neighborhood, the so-called External Lending Mandate (ELM). The 2014-2020 ELM provides for a total amount of Bank financing in the Eastern Neighbourhood of EUR 4.8 bn to support projects of significant interest to both the EU and Eastern Partnership countries in the areas of local private sector development, social and economic infrastructure and climate change.

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JULY 14 - 17, 2017

The Limit of Competence OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


e all have our limit of competence and normally we operate in compliance with that competence, at least those who have enough wits and selfconsciousness. We cannot and must not make decisions beyond our limit of competence; we must operate only based on our knowledge and experience, for if we do not, we will be committing a catastrophic blunder. How many people in this country operate based strictly on that golden principle? There is no count of this because measuring this would probably be impossible. Only a sense of truth and reality can help here. Fair and truthful judgment might be possible only by the impression we get while watching the ways and means of society. The limit of competence, as the basis for evaluating our current and future deeds, happens to be a universal yardstick that is used in any segment of human activity and walk of life, starting from baking bread and ending with rocket science. Let us, for starters, look at the new architecture of Tbilisi, fast transforming the city into a massive, ugly stone jungle. Manhattan is the most monstrous and the most noticeable stone jungle in the world but there is a smart architectural logic to it which makes it easier to put up with, especially if you are a user of all the amenities and a consumer of all other good things that you come across within. The Tbilisi stone

Source: Denis Scott / Getty Images

jungles, scattered as hideous macabre residential clusters, make a heartbreaking eye-sore which has been brought to life beyond any possible limit of architectural and constructional competence. Forget about architecture – we are morbidly used to it by now. Changing the subject drastically, within what limits of competence has the Georgian political philosophy and practice been built in the last thirty destructive years?

This is an egregious sample of breaking the limit of competence and acting far beyond it. Tens of historical steps and decisions, registered in annals, will corroborate the fact. How about the totally broken and hopelessly irreversible relations between the powerful bully Russia and the miserable weakling Georgia? Within what political competence was that done? Who acted then beyond his or her limit of competence so unfortu-

nately that it has led the nation to this insurmountable quagmire, sucking the country in so precipitously? Let us now go to the practice of selling the post-Russian-occupation remnants of Georgian farm land to foreign citizens. Within the scope of what competence was it considered right to do this? Whose limit of competence was reckoned with when the decision was made to let foreigners purchase our hectares so easily?

Let us go to education per se! Within the extent of whose competence was our system of education created and is currently being operated? Whose range of competence is running the agriculture of this nation? Or whose competence is handling our economy in general, or science or sports or culture or jurisprudence or law enforcement or what not? In its most commonplace definition, competence is the ability of an individual to do a job properly, and the limit of that competence is the boundary which cannot be overstepped when trying to do that job properly. To put all those thoughts more plainly and briefly, if I felt that my limit of competence in journalism and in the English language did not allow me to write up this article, I would stay away from it. So if a soccer coach thinks that his limit of competence does not allow him to train the athletes, let him leave the team forthwith; if a chef knows that his limit of competence prevents the restaurant owner selling his culinary art profitably, the chef must have enough brains and courage to walk; or if the limit of competence of the constitution writers and amenders come to believe that the needed text is not flowing from their hands and minds, let them find another trade to engage themselves in; and if the government, any government, understands that its limit of competence is wronging the nation in any possible way, it should make a prompt decision thereof about retiring or staying in office. The limit of competence might seem to be a hair-splitting argument for making such major decisions but it is also very much worth embarking on if we want to be both righteous and productive.


GEORGIA TODAY JULY 14 - 17, 2017

To Nino’s House, Part 3



et us continue our exploration of the region of Turkey in Cappadocia, where my wife and I recently spent a week of wonder. The name first appears in the 6th century BC, and is also found as a place name in the New Testament, in the Acts of the Apostles. Although its origin is Persian, so neither Greek nor Turkish, the Turks have left it as the most common and well-known version. Cappadocia has been tunneled into extensively by its various settlers from millennia ago right to yesterday, the rock being ideal for this and the needs for caves being extensive. The place is simply “Vardzias upon Vardzias”, as I described it to Georgian friends upon returning, to try to convey how widespread is the set of systems. There are so many whole underground cities, with new ones being found, new tunnels connecting some of them, that one could spend a lifetime underground and never

If I lived here, my only profession of interest would be sculptor

discover it all. It reaches that far. Monasteries, cave complexes taken over by new believers fleeing persecution from pagan Rome and then Islam, hermitages: there was no shortage of Christians settling here. They added entire underground churches or churches cut into rock, their interior surfaces elaborately and beautifully painted in fresco (“fresh”, paint on wet plaster) or dry styles; one of these we shall discover together soon. The temperature of the underground parts, which go many stories down, remains a constant 16 to 18 degrees C no matter the season on land, which makes them useful for food storage, though they are a bit cold and damp for comfortable long-term habitation, with mesothelioma, a type of cancer usually attributed to asbestos, affecting people who are genetically disposed to it if they live underground too long. Cappadocia’s summers can be long, dry and hot, winters plunging down to the minus twenties C, so the stable temperature makes a considerable difference. The soil here is thin, half a meter to a meter, although it is rich in volcanically deposited minerals, and under it is rock. The soil’s quality allows good crops of potatoes, pumpkins, fruit trees, grapes and grains, well watered by irrigation, but larger trees would need deeper ground in which to root themselves. Pottery is also very popular here, mostly thrown on foot-kicked wheels, richly and very finely detailed in glazes. I sat down at a kick-wheel for the first time in over thirty years, in the town of Avanos. This was my first experience of a non-electric wheel, and I found the necessary coordination of hands and feet tricky, the latter distracting me from concentrating enough

on the former. My earthenware piece was nothing to want to dry and fire, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself (see photo, right) in the studio of a father who has been doing this for over thirty years and his son (see photo, left, pouring from a wine bottle of ancient design), who joined him six years ago. The son’s Instagram site is gizemli_magara/?hl=en for your interest. Another fond memory I have is of throwing a lump of porcelain or stoneware from hand to hand, letting it roll a bit on my canvas-covered table with each pass so it would slowly dry out. This produced a cracked surface texture by natural means, impossible to predict in detail, only in the broad effects, thus full of surprises. Like the rocks of Cappadocia. More than once I felt that the piece was “telling me it was finished”, and I obeyed by stopping, then hollowing it from underneath to prevent cracking, letting it slowly dry out to “bone dry”, then giving it an initial bisque firing to remove all the chemically locked in water and finally the high-temperature finish in the kiln. These remain some of the pieces I am most pleased with, part chaotic, part planned. Thus, too, does an eroded landscape like Cappadocia inspire; if I lived here, my only profession of interest would be sculptor. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with nearly 1500 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:

Famous Alpinist Reinhold Messner Visits Georgia BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


einhold Messner, an Italian mountaineer and explorer, considered to be one of the greatest climbers in history and famous for his ascent to Everest without supplemental oxygen, has been visiting Georgia to explore the country’s mountainous regions. Hosted by Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, in the region of Kakheti, the famous alpinist was informed about how dynamic the country is in terms tourism; and as the Prime Minister noted, over 6 million tourists visited Georgia last year alone. The PM highlighted that endorsements from a world-renowned mountaineer would be extremely important for mountain resort development in Georgia.

Messner is also visiting Svaneti, Kazbegi and Tusheti during his visit. Reinhold Messner has also crossed the Antarctic, Greenland and Gobi

Desert on foot. He is the author of over 80 books. In 2010, he was awarded with Lifetime Achievement Piolet d’Or, the most prestigious award for alpinists.





JULY 14 - 17, 2017

France Celebrates Bastille Day – Eternal Values of Liberty, Equality & Fraternity BY MAKA LOMADZE


n July 11, the French Embassy to Tbilisi hosted the celebration of Bastille Day on the territory of the former embassy on Sobchak Street. The main host, Pascal Meunier, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic, opened the event: “The world we are living in has become even more changing and unstable. Beyond the long-lasting crises in Syria, Ukraine and South Caucasus, putting regional stability and international security under threat, as well as hampering the economic and social development of the peoples of the region, new crises are emerging or re-actualizing here and there in the Middle-East, Africa and Asia,” he said, going on to cite Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci, “Pessimism of mind pushes us to optimism of determination. This is the determination that restores our trust in the future, which we should seek in our values – liberty, equality and fraternity. These fundamental concepts of our democracy represent the best asset against disarray, despair and passiveness.” The Ambassador then defined the three concepts: “Freedom implies freedom of expression and political pluralism, as well as freedom to travel and the right to security. Equality means being equal in justice, education and social development. Fraternity implies ensuring the division of wealth equally, helping the extremely poor as well as

Photo provided by the Embassy of France in Georgia

those victims of violence, so combatting egoism and pressure.” In the Ambassador’s words, this is the mandate that the French people gave to President Emmanuel Macron. “And this is the same mandate which the Georgians conferred to Prime Minister Kvirikashvili last autumn. This is a mandate complying with European values, aligned with European aspirations that we follow and support,” he said, going on to reaffirmed France’s support to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The European exchange programs, in which France is one of the major con-

tributors, were mentioned, which focus on helping Georgia in the development of its political, economic, culture and social spheres with there being around 30 bilateral university-to-university agreements. “The importance of the Bastille Day and the French revolution cannot be overstated,” said PM Giorgi Kvirikasvili. “The revolution restored the world’s faith in democratic ideas: liberty, equality and fraternity. This day gave meaning to the values we now cherish, values that brought us together and values that defined our very existence. Since, many countries, including Georgia, have had

to face their own ‘bastille’. France’s history shows us that when we face these moments, we must fight with those same values which united the French nation on July 14, 1789”. The PM went on to discuss bilateral relations. “The fundamental values we share – democracy, human rights, freedom and the rule of law – have strengthened our enduring friendship. It was France that sheltered the founding fathers of the first Georgian Republic from where they still fought for the independence of Georgia. Later, they were laid to rest there.” He noted that the French have always stood beside

those fighting for their freedom of choice, paying a high price for their own liberty. “On behalf of all Georgians, I would like to extend our gratitude for France’s strong support of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for its invaluable contribution to Georgia’s development. The support of France and all of our friends is even more valuable as we face challenges brought by the borderization process. Only through consolidation of the efforts of the international community and civilized world will we be able to resolve this problem.” The PM also mentioned the 25th anniversary of reestablishing diplomatic relations between France and Georgia. “Our partnership is growing stronger in all dimensions of cooperation, covering political, economic, cultural and military fields. Georgia and France are also stepping up cooperation in the agricultural sector, including in the wine industry- a wonderful heritage that we are glad to have in common. Georgians discovered winemaking millennia ago, but the French uncovered the subtle qualities of wine. When we talk about our bilateral ties, first and foremost, we think of our shared future. For this reason, I hope for more French businesses to invest and more French tourists to visit”. PM Kvirikashvili also thanked the French Institute for strengthening Francophony in Georgia and closed by thanking France for its support to Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic goals and the visa-liberalization process. The event was musically adorned by a live performance on accordion, lending it an exquisitely romantic French atmosphere to the proceedings.

Religious Organizations Combine Efforts to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls BY DAVID MONGAZON


he family is an assenting unit based on equality, where people live harmoniously and treat each other with respect and affection and also care for each other, - read a statement by the Administration of Muslims of All Georgia following the July 11 conference ‘The Role of Religion in the Prevention of Violence against Women and Girls’. “A favorable family environment is essential for a person’s personal development and full realization of his/ her potential. Building a healthy family foundation requires physical as well as moral and physocological maturity. A couple has to assume a great responsibily while raising a family and bear in mind that it requires loyalty, dedication and coping with various challenges,” – the statement went on. The conference was held on the initiative of the Inter-agency on Gender Equality, the Administration of Muslims of All Georgia, the Union 21st Century, and United States Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The goal was to bring together the representative clergy of all the major religions in Georgia, NGOs and government representatives, to discuss their role in the prevention and elimination of violence and harmful practices against women and girls in support of state efforts in this direction. Numerous acts of violence against women and girls remain a reality in Georgia. Domestic violence and early marriage are still very problematic. It is widely believed that a girl married before

18 is affected by social isolation, a lack of education, and may also fall victim to domestic violence or sexual abuse, since the relationship with her husband is unequal. If she gets pregnant, there can be complications because her body is unprepared for bearing a child. Last year, cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) were reported in Kvareli municipality- a grave violation of human rights and an unacceptable practice, with the Administration of Muslims of All Georgia itself announcing that, “No tradition or custom can justify such practice. The practice of female genital mutilation is totally inadmissible for Islam”. Policies have been implemented to prevent and eliminate the above harmful practices. This year, as a consequence of the fulfilment of the Istanbul Consensus signed in 2011, Georgian law was changed to raise the age of civil marriage to 18 years and for violence against women to be considered a criminal offense. Before, people condemned for such practices were able to get away with paying just a fine. Since 2011, much has been done by the government to guarantee full integrity and respect of women. The most prerogative ministry on this issue is that of Internal Affairs, which considers fighting violence against women as one of its priorities. The main goal at present is to gather data, in terms of gender, age, location and the relation between the victim and the offender, to help in future early detection and prevention of acts of violence. This data is being prepared by GeoStat and will be published by the end of the year. The Ministry of Education and Science is also involved, since it plays a crucial

role in influencing the behaviors of future generations. Representatives noted the tragic fact that some professors may have been involved in the organization of early marriages. “It’s absolutely unacceptable for us to encourage a harmful practice of early/ child marriage and in some cases forced early/child marriage that is against the existing law,” - read the statement of the Administration of Muslims of All Georgia. “This harmful practice has an adverse effect on adolescents, especially girls, affecting their education, health and development. We believe that the happiness of starting a family goes hand-inhand with great responsibility, though in most cases, adolescents are not ready to exercise it”. It is well-recognized that religious institutions at the local level have a crucial role in eradicating violence against women, and in detecting practices and

behaviors that may pass under the radar of the State. Many meetings with religious institutions have been held around the country, and, according to Ministry representatives, they “have been fruitful”. Further, all the parties present at this week’s conference underlined the fact that the enlightenment of society is a precondition for its development, and that such practices can in no way be accepted. And now that the legislative corpus is in full force, the main and most difficult goal is to “leave no individual behind”. The first step was made in 2016 with the creation of 11 religious unions, one per region, in collaboration with the Interreligious Council of Georgia. The Muslim community, being the first concerned with issues of early marriage, is also at the front line of development of said collaboration. Representatives of the Muslim clergy recognize that vio-

lence against women is linked with religion, even though the Quran does not specifically mention it. On the contrary, they highlight the fact that their religion says women should be treated with respect, and that marriage is reserved for people with a certain maturity and characteristics that are prepared for family responsibilities, referring to the necessity for girls to have a high level of education before getting married. They also observe that in their communities early marriages are often failures, with couples commonly seen to separate prematurely, since the girl is unable to cope with the burdens of responsibility. The Muslim clergy blames outdated beliefs and distorted traditions that have survived through centuries, but that undoubtedly need to be banned. The main challenge, they say, is that violence against women remains a taboo issue that is rarely raised inside the respective communities.


GEORGIA TODAY JULY 14 - 17, 2017


Three-Day Multicolored Music Festival: A Precious Gift from the German Embassy BY MAKA LOMADZE


n July 9-11, the three-day international music festival ‘Youth for Classics in the Caucasus’ was held at Royal District Theater, under the patronage of Tbilisi City Mayor Davit Narmania and with the financial support of the German Embassy in Georgia. The series of the concert comprised classical music, soundtracks, and the folklore evening of ‘Lasharela’ led by Giorgi Ushukishvili. The festival was opened by a classical music concert performed by the Ibbenburen Youth Symphonic Orchestra and Caucasus Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Uwe Berkemer, German composer, pianist and conductor. The two-part concert comprised: MarcAntoine Charpentier’s Te Deum H 146, Prelude, Franz Joseph Haydn’s Trumpet concerto in E-flat major, Camille SaintSaens’s Allegro Appassionato op.43 for cello and orchestra, Mozart’s Andante for Flute and Orchestra in C, K. 315, Gabriel Faure’s Pavane, op.50. The first part concluded with Uwe Berkemer’s piece ‘Mary’s guide to the orchestra’, dedicated to his 6-year-old daughter, who also plays in the Orchestra. In the second part, Mariam Obolashvili, violin, and Rezi Khaindrava, cello, virtuously played with the Caucasian Chamber Orchestra and Berkemer. The first performed Vivaldi’s La Quatro Staggione

L’Estate (summer), Op. 8, and the second - Allesandro Marcello’s Adagio for cello and string orchestra from Oboe concerto, cello part after Johann S. Bach’s transcription. Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony po.4 – Boisterous Bouree concluded the pleasant evening. “I would like to thank Davit Narmania, Mayor of Tbilisi, Merab Tavadze who gave us use of this magnificent hall, and Nikoloz Rachveli, who lent us the instruments and last but not least, the German Embassy,” Berkemer said, adding that the idea of the festival was to bring the young people from Germany and combine them with young people from Georgia. “Everything happens under the leadership of Caucasian Chamber Orchestra, which worked until 2008 in Tbilisi. After the war, it was not posPhotos by: Irakli Shalamberidze

sible to continue our work and now we play more often in Europe. We want to show the main idea of the Caucasian

Chamber Orchestra, a symbol of mutual understanding, and to use music as a universal language. We also want to

show this very important message to young people as they are our future.” “The Caucasian Chamber Orchestra was founded in 2005. However, sadly, due to the 2008 war, the unity was destroyed when the funding ceased,” said Ketevan Chepkhodze, assistantmanager of the project. “Aside from Georgians and German youth under the age of 20, the representatives of other Caucasian countries also participate. They work and rehearse together, uniting cultures. We try to give an annual character to this festival and also to hold exchange programs to enable Georgians to visit Germany, too”. “The orchestra has several years of history,” Vazha Azarashvili, well-known Georgian composer, told GEORGIA

TODAY. “When I marked my 70th anniversary at Tbilisi Concert Hall, it was performed by the Caucasian Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Uwe Berkemer. He is a very high-level musician and a great personality who is in love with Georgia and has a Georgian wife. It is a pleasure to have him here!” “Apart from the Georgian music, Armenian and Azerbaijanian music is also performed by the Orchestra. I believe that such a musical festival is very important for our cultural life and for our bilateral relations in July, when almost all the cultural activities are accumulated in the resorts,“ Nikoloz Rachveli, virtuoso pianist, composer and conductor, said. The Caucasian Chamber Orchestra has had successful performances on such prestigious stages as Konzerthaus Berlin, Hofburg Wien, ‘Dome des Invalides’ Paris, Grand Hall of Conservatory Brussels, and ‘Palau Valencia’. It has accepted several invitations to play in the European Parliament Brussels and European Council, Strasbourg. In June 2007, a 90-minute documentary movie ‘Grozny Dreaming’ was shot about the Orchestra and its vision. It was awarded with the First Prize at the International Film Festival Verona – Lessinia. In March 2016, the Caucasian Chamber Orchestra celebrated a special Jubilee Tour in Europe to mark its 10th anniversary. On July 12, 2017, following the ‘Youth for Classics in the Caucasus’ international festival, the Orchestra went to Batumi to hold a workshop.




JULY 14 - 17, 2017


TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56 July 15 OPERA GALA New Generation Tbilisi State Opera Theater Chorus and Orchestra Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 7-40 GEL July 19 ABESALOM AND ETERI Starring: Kakhaber Tetvadze, Armaz Darashvili, Natalia Volchenko, Marika Machitidze, Khatuna Chokhonelidze, Nikoloz Lagvilava, Manana Iordanishvili, Filipe Ghachava, Tamaz Saginadze, Giorgi Mchedlishvili Tbilisi State Opera Theater Chorus, Orchestra, Ballet, Georgian National Ballet "Sukhishvili" Conductor- Papuna Gvaberidze Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 7-50 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 595 50 02 03 July 14, 15 HOST AND GUEST Vazha Pshavela Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 12 GEL BLACK SEA ARENA Address: Shekvetili, Ajaria July 15 Black Sea Arena and Check in Georgia hosts concert of GEORGIAN NATIONAL BALLET SUKHISHVILEBI’S NEW DANCES Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 15-30 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava Str. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 GEL July 14-20

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES Directed by Matt Reeves Cast: Judy Greer, Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama Language: English Start time: 22:15 Language: Russian Start time: 16:15, 19:00, 22:00 Ticket: 10-14 GEL SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Directed by Jon Watts Cast: Tom Holland, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 13:15, 17:00, 22:15 Ticket: 9-14 GEL DESPICABLE ME 3 Directed by Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin Cast: Jenny Slate, Kristen Wiig, Steve Carell Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure Language: Russian Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT Directed by Michael Bay Cast: Laura Haddock, Mark Wahlberg, Gemma Chan Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 19:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL July 14-20 BERLIN SYNDROME Directed by Cate Shortland Cast: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt, Matthias Habich Genre: Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 19:15, 22:10 Ticket: 13-14 GEL WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (Info Above) Start time: 13:30, 22:30 Ticket: 9-14 GEL

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (Info Above) Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 8-14 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO THE 4TH CENTURY A.D EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases money circulation on the territory of Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. THE TESTAMENT OF DAVID THE BUILDER AND NEW EXHIBITS OF THE MEDIEVAL TREASURY September 27 (2016) – September 22 (2017) EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA May 18- November 18 EXHIBITION GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF 18TH-20TH CENTURIES MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS Address: 1 Gudiashvili Str. Telephone: 299 99 09 March 6 – August 30 EXHIBITION MASTERPIECES FROM THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS COLLECTION The exhibition includes works by Bernardo Daddi, Lucas Cranach (Elder), Guido Reni, Jan Steen, Jacob Van Ruisdael, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, Vassily Kandinski; Masterpieces by Niko Pirosmanashvili, Lado Gudiashvili and David Kakabadze. June 29- July 29 EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO

THE 115TH ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST GEORGIAN FEMALE SCULPTOR NINO TSERETELI The exhibition showcases up to 60 works of Nino Tsereteli- sculptures, graphic works, and theatrical costumes. The exposition also includes personal items belonging to the sculptor. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 July 5 - September 11 EXHIBITION OF DAVID SULAKAURI'S ARTWORKS July 11 – August 20 EXHIBITION "FIELD OF FLOWERS” The name "Field of Flowers" came from the eponymous poem Campo di Fiori by Czesław Miłosz, an honorary citizen of Kedainiai. He wrote it in 1943 in Warsaw during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 PERMANENT EXHIBITION Discover the State's personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Soviet-era cultural and political repression in Georgia. GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 215 73 00 June 8 – September 11 EXHIBITION CONSTELLATION Artworks by Chinese contemporary artists- Ai Weiwei, Hu Xiaoyuan, Li Shurui, Liu Wei, Lu Pingyuan, Lu Shanchuan, Ma Qiusha, Wang Guangle, Wang Sishun, Wang Yuyang, Xie Molin, Xu Qu, Xu Zhen, Yan Xing, Zhang Ding, Zhang Zhenyu, Zhao Yao and Zhao Zhao.


GEM FEST 2017 July 14 – August 14 Start time: 9:00 – 12:00 Tickets: Opening Pass: 60 GEL, 3-Day Pass: 120 GEL, Week Multi Pass: 170 GEL, Multi Pass: 500 GEL, VIP Pass 2000 GEL. GEM Fest is a month-long electronic music festival. Blazing a new trail within sight of the Black Sea, some of the world's biggest house, techno and trance DJs make this a stand-out summer party. Now into its third year, GEM Fest will be kick-starting Georgia's 2017 summer dance culture. More than 500 artists will perform on 9 stages and plus there will be more than 100 fun, sports and entertainment activities. Venue: Anaklia July 14 Line Up: BACHO, CARLO LIO, dOP (DJ set), FLOODER, GIO SHENGELIA, INNELEA, RAZ OHARA (live), THOMAS MELCHIOR, TOMMA, TROTSKY, VALENTINO KANZYANI Start time: 00:00 July 15 Line Up: ALY & FILAFERRY CORSTEN AUDIOFLY, BACHO, COBERT, DALI, DIRTY SAFFI, dOP (live), GIO SHENGELIA, INNELEA, ISON, JOCHEN MILLER, ONLY RAA, PASHA. ROMAN K, SAMADHI, SANCHO, SPACE Resident DJs, STIMMHALT, TIMUR BASHA, TROTSKY Start time: 00:00 July 16 Line Up: STEVE AOKI, SPACE Resident DJs, TIMUR BASHA, GIO SHENGELIA, Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 100 GEL ART GENE July 17-23 Craft Exhibitions 13:00 – 22:00 Start time for Folklore Concert: 20:00 For Final concert: 22:00 Season Ticket: 97 GEL July 17 Folklore Concert: Kakheti Region Final concert: GEORGIAN NATIONAL BALLET SUKHISHVILEBI July 18 Folklore Concert: Shida Qartli, Poti & Lechkhumi Regions Final Concert: ASEA SOOL Ticket: 17 GEL July 19 Folklore Concert: Imereti Region Final Concert: ROBI KUKHIANIDZE & OUTSIDER Ticket: 22 GEL July 20 Folklore Concert: Qvemo kartki & Svaneti Regions Final Concert: REGGAEON Ticket: 22 GEL GLDANI LAKE Address: Gldani District July 16 Line Up: A2K, BATA, ANÁRA, FAMOUS, TOKO SOULL, CEZ K. Start time: 11:00 Ticket: 20 GEL BLUES FESTIVAL IN LAGODEKHI Address: Lagodekhi, Kakheti July 16 Wolf Mail Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 20-80 GEL


GEORGIA TODAY JULY 14 - 17, 2017


Lado Ataneli‘s Star Opened in front of the Tbilisi State Opera Theater



n July 7, famous Georgian baritone Lado Ataneli’s star was opened in front of the Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater. On the same day, he sang scenes from Verdi’s ‘La Forza Del Destino’ and Puccini’s ‘Tosca’ with his friends, prominent opera singers Iano Alibegashvili and Badri Maisuradze, who is also Artistic Director of Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater. With nearly 40 operas to his credit, Lado Ataneli fitted well in Don Carlo and Scarpia’s costumes once again. Named one of a heroic, round and velvety voice by the international press, Ataneli has been on stage for 28 years, having conquered the greatest opera stages in the world. Notably, he emerged from his student years with Alibegashvili, an outstanding soprano and one of Ataneli’s most inseparable partners. Via his foundation “Tanadgoma” (Support), Ataneli helps young talented singers and boosts their international careers. “I am getting prepared very carefully, because my Georgia deserves the best performance from me,” the great Baritone said jovially before his show. Of the scenic partnerships between Lado Ataneli and Badri Maisuradze, ‘Aida’ at the Berlin Deutsche Oper, ‘La Forza del Destino’ at the Hungarian State Opera House, ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’ at the Barcelona Liceu Opera are worth mentioning. “This evening an artist who has greatly contributed not only to the Georgian stage but also to the history of global art, got what he truly deserved,” said Maisuradze of the opening of Ataneli’s star. With Alibegashvili, Lado Ataneli sang in ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’ at the opera theaters of Tbilisi, Hamburg and Vienna and in ‘Macbeth’ at the Berlin Deutsche Opera and Hungarian State Opera House. “We debuted in the art of opera together,” Alibegashvili said. “I am very proud that my name will be fixed in a star in

front of my beloved opera alongside such sparkling stars as Paata Burchuladze, my teacher Nodar Andghuladze, Tengiz Mushkudiani, and our prima donnas Tsisana Tatishvili and Medea Amiranashvili. This list will be continued,” Ataneli said. Together with this wonderful trio, Armaz Darashvili, the winner of the Lado Ataneli contest, Yuri Aslanishvili, actor of the Opera choir, and the intern Giorgi Chelidze, participated. The Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater choir and orchestra were conducted by maestro Zaza Azmaiparashvili. Lado Ataneli’s debut at the Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater took place in 1989, as Renato in Verdi’s ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’. He is the winner of the Grand Prix and First Prize at the International Francisco Vinas Competition in Barcelona, ‘I Cestelli’ Vocal Competition and 15th Belvedere International Vocal Contest. From 1996, he triumphantly emerged on the biggest opera stages of the world, including those in New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Zurich, Geneva, Munich, Washington, and Tokyo. The Baritone is acknowledged as the best interpreter of the operas by Verdi, Puccini, Giordano, Leoncavallo, Mascagni and Massenet in the roles of Scarpia, Gerard, Tonio, Iago, Nabucco, Rigoletto, Barnaba and others. In 2003, EMI Classics recorded Ponchielli’s opera ‘La Giaconda’, in which Ataneli performed the most complicated part of Barnaba together with the great Placido Domingo on the disc. In 2005, his first solo album ‘Opera Arias’ was released, and a second in 2009, named ‘Baritone’s Arias’. Since 2010, the annual Vocalists’ Contest has been held, bearing Lado Ataneli’s name. In 2011, Ataneli was conferred the Shota Rustaveli State Premium and awarded a Gold Medal. “Without exaggeration, he has conquered almost all the prestigious opera stages of the world,” Mikheil Giorgadze, Minister of Culture and Monument Protection said. “I congratulate you all on having such a marvelous singer who has numerous times formed friendships between Georgia and the rest oftheworld,”BadriMaisuradze added.



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Giorgi Mikadze Becomes Associate Professor of Berklee College of Music BY MAKA LOMADZE


iorgi Mikadze, a young and exceptionally talented Georgian musician, a rising star of classical music, jazz, pop and contemporary, is well-known in the modern music world, having achieved numerous successes in concerts and contests. He has lived in the US for the last few years and works tirelessly to popularize Georgia through his educational and concert life. He recently announced that he has now become an Associate Professor of the most prestigious music college of the world – Berklee. Described by world-leading artists and influential critics as a unique and universal musician who “deeply possesses all musical genres and styles and is unafraid to experiment,” Mikadze is on a constant search for creative innovation. Most popular examples are his ‘Voisa’ and ‘Georgian Micro JamZ’. Mikadze will now teach at the Berklee College

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of Music, a dream-destination for most young musician students. The university maintains the first position among the top 10 music schools. Annually, over 2000 students from around the world study in the Berklee Summer Program. Mikadze received this offer privately from Roger H. Brown, President of Berklee College of Music, at the Five-Week Summer performance program, MA. According to the Berklee administration, it is a great honor for them to have Mikadze back, this time with the status of Associate Professor. He will be in charge of seven different subjects in the directions of Theory in Performance, Music History, Musicianship, and Ensembles and there are already a number of students eager to be in his class. Remarkably, Giorgi Mikadze is one of the best graduates of Berklee College of Music and President’s bursar. During his studying period, multiple successful projects were made under his musical leadership. In Parallel to the pedagogical activities, Mikadze will also hold several concerts in Boston.


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #963  

July 14 - 17, 2017

Issue #963  

July 14 - 17, 2017