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August 14 - 20, 2015



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Georgia Today 20 p.


Should Geor gian Georgian Na tional Bank be National Stripped of Super vision Supervision P.11 Function?

Minister F riction on Friction

the Agenda Again

The political game between the President and the Prime Minister has long rumbled on into open confrontation. The President, who has been accused of a lack of gratitude, on his side reminds his former team of their pre-election promises.

ISSUE No.779


Rusta vi 2 Case: ustavi Attempted Subor dina tion of Subordina dination Geor gian Media? Georgian The OSCE Representative: excessive court measures based on an ownership dispute may pose a threat to free media P.4 and media pluralism.

Geor gian Music Georgian Pr odig y Beka Prodig odigy Goc hiashvili Pla ys Gochiashvili Plays for Tbilisi F lood Flood P.15 Victims Barcelona Bar celona Ov er come Spirited Over ercome Se villa to Clinc h Sevilla Clinch Super Cup in Tbilisi Epic


7 Year s On fr om War gia Still ears from ar,, Geor Georgia Pla gued b yR ussian Occupa tion Plagued by Russian Occupation Even though the Russian military aggression in Georgia was obvious and there were facts that the Kremlin launched a large scale military attack against the country, many in the West disregarded Tbilisi’s claims of being the victim. P.2 FLIGHT SCHEDULE


Months of frenzied hype was justified in the space of two hours as Barcelona and Sevilla served up a nine-goal thriller at a packed Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena P.19



AUGUST 14 - 20

President-Prime Minister Friction on the Agenda Again By Zaza Jgharkava The football celebration that took place at the Dinamo Arena on August 11, took place without the Georgian president. Just like at the opening ceremony of the European Youth Olympic Festival, President Giorgi Margvelashvili did not appear at the UEFA Super Cup. In the governmental box, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili sat next to the UEFA President Michel Platini. The President of Georgia was probably watching the Barcelona-Sevilla match on TV from his house in Dusheti. The President did not explain his absence at this important event but his press office made it known long before the match that the President had decided not to attend the match. Explaining his absence at the opening of the EYOF, he directly said that he as a president “had no role” in the opening of the festival and for that reason he would not attend it. To put it simpler, the President was not given the right to address young sportsmen at the EYOF and he boycotted. However, as ever the presence and absence of Georgia’s Prime Minister and President continues to stir debate about their respective roles and who exactly is seen

as the country’s figurehead. The political game between the President and the Prime Minister has long rumbled on into open confrontation. The President, who has been accused of a lack of gratitude, on his side reminds his former team of their pre-election promises. The tension reached a point when the Speaker of the Parliament had to make a special statement in order to appease the Georgian Dream MPs. “It is high time for the Georgian Dream to get used to the idea that President Margvelashvili is not part of the political team of the Georgian Dream Coalition, even though he was nominated by the Coalition. He has never said that and I would even add that our constitutional system defines that,” Usupashvili said on Art Area TV. President Margvelashvili reminded his former team members of the same thing when the Georgian Dream members asked the President to recall the pre-election period and Bidzina Ivanishvili’s choice. “I am the President elected by the Georgian population who gave an oath to the people of Georgia and not to the Georgian Dream, that I would serve the country, not a political party.” This is how the president responded to the claims of the govern-

mental party. However, the main concern is whose side Usupashvili takes when the matter comes to a crucial phase. The Georgian media is already announcing the emergence of a new oppositional power and this power plans to gather around President Margvelashvili. In an interview with the AsavalDasavali newspaper, editor of the newspaper Kronika Plus, Eliso Kiladze says that negotiations for the shaping of such a political power are underway. Representatives of the United National Move-

ment, Free Democrats and Margvelashvili are meeting each other in Turkey. “Special agencies will not find it hard to confirm that negotiations are underway in Turkey. Now the sides are agreeing on the place of the new political movement on the oppositional wing and the role of the President in this movement,” Kiladze says. It is becoming clear the Prime Minister with his cabinet and the President with his administration are two independent branches. They have their own

competences and spheres of influence. On one side, there is Prime Minister Garibashvili who is shaping into a new type of leader and is uniting voters of different views and interests. On the other side there is Giorgi Margvelashvili who is also a new type of a leader. However, until now he has been uniting antiPrime Minister voters. In this case, the United National Movement is unacceptable for both of them, something made clear during the discussion of the draft law on tapping. Back then, non-governmental organizations refused to register their projects in the name of the United National Movement and supported Republicans. It is also interesting that President Margvelashvili fired Vano Machavariani from his administration who was connected to the United National Movement and hired Kakha Kozhoridze who is associated with the Republicans. Republicans and Free Democrats on their side have already been named as alternative opposition powers to the United National Movement. Autumn should be interesting as we see the final confrontation scenes between the President and the Prime Minister when the Parliament will start working on collecting 76 votes to resolve the veto of the President.

7 Years On from War, Georgia Still Plagued by Russian Occupation

By Nino Japarashvili Georgia has long experienced serious difficulties proving that Moscow had planned and implemented a military operation against the country in 2008, as most of the information sources in the aftermath of the war between Russia and Georgia cited the EUsponsored report stating that the war was started by a Georgian attack. It added that this was not justified by international law, disregarding the context at the time in which the country was subjected to long-term intensive Russian provocation along the administrative boundary line, where the Russian Federation had been mobilizing heavy military armor and troops. Even though the Russian military aggression in Georgia was obvious and there were facts that the Kremlin launched a large scale military attack against the country, many in the West disregarded Tbilisi’s claims of being the victim. Alongside the American reset policy, countries in Europe and elsewhere continued “business as usual” with Moscow. The Georgian state would restate its position with regards to Russian actions only five years after the war, as Ukraine,

another post-Soviet state, faced open military confrontation from the Russian side, when in 2013 Russia annexed Crimea in Ukraine and started supporting destabilization efforts in Eastern Ukrainian regions, arming rebels and sending Russian troops on the ground. The crisis in Ukraine reaffirmed that Russia’s war with Georgia had been part of a fight the Kremlin had started in the region to counteract the spread of democracy with the help of the EU’s transformative policies. Moscow had become seriously concerned with the developments in the post-Soviet space, as some neighboring states began to pursue a European agenda. The transformative power that comes with closer association with the West, and in particular with the EU, is seen as a major threat to the authoritative regime in the Kremlin. Democratic developments in Russia’s immediate neighborhood may motivate the Russian population to question their form of governance, leading to a process that could result in a regime change, or could stimulate the Russian oligarchic system to become involved in a power struggle, a process which may end with mass chaos in the country. In order to thwart Georgia’s contin-

ued pro-European democratic course, Russia continues violating the EUbrokered 6 point ceasefire agreement which was concluded in 2008. In the last 7 years, Moscow has declared the two breakaway regions in Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as “independent states” and signed the so-called “treaties” on integration with them. In 2011, Russian troops in South Ossetia launched the so-called “borderization” process, installing wire fences deep into Georgian territory. Such actions were conducted in the immediate vicinity of the villages of Didi Khurvaleti and Kveshi, southeast of Tskhinvali. Later, in 2013, a new wave of intensified fencing efforts by the Russian Federation took place in the village of Ditsi: metal fencing posts were installed about 120 meters into Tbilisiadministered territory. Also, in the village of Dvani, Russians moved the administrative boundary line deeper into Georgian territory. As Georgia proceeds with the implementation of the Association Agreement (AA) and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), together with further plans to liberalize travel with the EU, and its decision to open a NATO-Georgia joint Training and Assessment Centre this year, there is no sign that Russia will ever respect Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. In July 2015, illegal placement of signposts on the territory adjacent to the village of Tsitelubani of Gori municipality, and the village of Orchosani, in the occupied Akhalgori district, near Georgia’s main highway continued. Similar border signs were placed on the territories adjacent to the villages of Tseronisi and Tamarasheni. As Georgia and Ukraine continue to be affected by Moscow’s destructive policies, the West is focused on the Iran nuclear deal and the anti-terrorism campaign in the Middle East, where Russia plays an important role. In this situation,

the Russian Federation remains perceived an “indirect” threat to security and peace in Europe, and its aggression

continues to quietly trouble the governments and people in non-EU Eastern European states.




AUGUST 14 - 20

Rustavi 2 Case: Attempted Subordination of Geor gian Media? By Zviad Adzinbaia Georgia’s largest TV Company and the country’s leading media organization Rustavi 2 is under attack. 100% of the company’s shares were sequestered on behalf of Georgian businessman Kibar Khalvashi- who filed a lawsuit to attempt to regain his share of the company on August 7. The dispute concerning the broadcaster has attracted nationwide concern. Along with Khalvashi, two founders of Rustavi 2, Jarji Akimidze and Davit Dvali, released a statement subsequently on the asset freezing, citing that the broadcaster has been strictly controlled by the United National Movement, the main opposition party in Georgia. “Rustavi 2 [currently] works for fulfilling the UNM’s orders so it has nothing to do with free media” the statement said. According to them, there are no alternatives for the legislative process, which serves to establish fairness in a democratic society. In response, Nika Gvaramia, the company’s General Director, comments that both Akimidze and Dvali represent voices of the government calling them ‘new pseudonyms of the government.’ Gvaramia accuses the entire government

and the Georgian Dream Coalition in general of attacking free media and secure freedom of speech. Many Georgians, including those who live abroad, have launched a social media campaign in support of the television station which has endured a number of attacks from different governments throughout its more than two decades of operation. Thousands of supporters have appeared on social networks with messages of support for the values they believe Rustavi 2 is based on. The story of Rustavi 2 is widely compared to the case of Imedi TV back in 2007, which played a considerable part in Georgia being refused MAP at the Bucharest Summit and the former ruling party paid a high price in the end. The Rustavi 2 case is now attracting international attention. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovi assesses that excessive court measures against the Georgian television channel Rustavi 2 based on an ownership dispute may pose a threat to free media and media pluralism. According to her, the court injunction may negatively affect Rustavi 2’s ability to operate freely. “The decision is disproportionate, excessive and may

The banner says: “We shall never surrender”

constitute a threat to media pluralism in Georgia,” declared Mijatovi. The OSCE Representative who has raised the case of Rustavi TV 2 with the authorities in Georgia on several occasions in the past, called on the authorities to do their utmost to ensure media pluralism in the country. At the same time, Georgian civil society institutions such as Media Development Foundation (MDF), Georgia’s Reforms Association (GRASS) and Tolerance and Diversity Institution (TDI) support Rustavi 2. “The signer organizations support media freedom in Georgia and will carefully observe further developments around Rustavi 2” said a statement. Analysis: While the Georgian government claimed that after their victory in the 2012 elections, the media has become free, the question of whether the Rustavi 2 case is an attempt at subordination of the Georgian media being widely asked in Georgian society. Does the Georgian Dream coalition follow the very principles of democracy underpinning Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic path? This will be known once the verdict of the court is delivered.

Georgian PM Concer ned about Implications of Russia Sanctions By Zviad Adzinbaia An ambiguous statement by Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has confused Georgian society. The PM appears to regret backing sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea and occupying Sevastopol, Ukrainian territories. Garibashvili ambivalently cited the issue of Russia’s possible countersanction against Georgia for his second thoughts. “I, as the head of the government, think that Georgia should not have joined the EU sanctions against Russia. We have had this position since last year and we have the same position now,” commented Georgian PM Garibashvili on the question asked about Georgia joining the EU sanctions against Russia. “We are not going to change this position. The only sanction joined by Georgia last year concerned products manufactured in Crimea and Seva-

stopol. As you know, we have the same situation in Samachablo [meaning the occupied Tskhinvali Region] and Abkhazia. So, it was an inevitable necessity due to our non-recognition policy,” said the PM. The PM added that he personally opposed Georgia joining the EU sanctions against Russia following the latest statement by the Russia’s Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) about the possible countersanction on Georgia for its decision to join the EU sanctions. According to the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Agriculture said that they will survey the quality of wine and any other product exported to Russia. The PM expressed satisfaction with negotiations regarding Russia: “The first thing is to be very careful about what we have achieved in trade relations with Russia.” However, his claim comes at a time when the borderization

of Georgia’s occupied territory approaches a crisis point. “I am sure internal destructive forces do not want our relations with Russia to be normalized, while our interest is to restore them to a neighborly status. The process has started, though Samachablo and Abkhazia remain the biggest impediments to it,” Garibashvili concluded. Analysis Is the Georgian government playing obscurantist politics? How could one explain the PM’s vacillating statement while the same Garibashvili continuously confirms Georgia’s ‘irreversible’ course toward the EU and NATO? Considering Georgia’s geographic location, it would be more logical for the country to opt for west or east value systems. However, the battle starts when the north, Russia appears on the horizon, with no soft power but hard power bereft of any attraction.

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Not visited our new website yet? Along with all of the week’s brilliantly written political, social, cultural, sport and business newspaper stories, articles and features you can now find daily updates of the latest local and international news selected just for you by the Georgia Today journalists. Check out our top stories of the week below…and be sure to check out the latest on!

BBC Anal ysis Questions R ussian Analysis Russian Rationale Behind ABL Actions

By Tamar Svanidze A month ago, Russian border guards placed demarcation signposts on the administrative boundary between the breakaway region South Ossetia and Georgia, which left a kilometre-long section of the BP-operated Baku-Supsa oil pipeline within occupied territory. An academy associate in the Russia and Eurasia Programme at the independent think tank Chatham House, George

Mchedlishvili has written analytical pieces for the BBC questioning what was behind Russia’s actions toward Georgia. He underlines that Russia’s actions against its southern neighbor are also a consequence of its current anti-Western stance, which also requires external enemies to secure Putin’s high approval ratings at home. In the introduction of his analytical writing, Mchedlishvili emphasizes that

Russia’s latest move against Georgia demonstrates that Moscow remains determined to disrupt the pro-Western course of this small South Caucasus state. The author highlighted that country’s pro-western course and blossoming relations with EU and NATO is irking Russian authorities. “Political change with economic growth in countries like Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova is seen as a threat to the Russian regime, since success in these countries may motivate the Russian population to question their own governance model,” Mchedlishvili wrote. In his assessment, Mchedlishvili highlighted that the only option to counter Russia is to call on international assistance. He warns however that the Western reaction has been limited thus far and that media coverage in the West of recent developments at the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) had been slow and minimal. “Georgia’s loss, therefore, would in essence signify the transfer of the whole region, with its substantial energy transit potential and geopolitical significance, to the Russian sphere of influence,” he warned.

Hamilton: Geor gia’ s Conf licts Georgia’ gia’s Conflicts or the West “Str ate gic Sur prise” ffor “Stra tegic Surprise” Zviad Adzinbaia Col. Bob Hamilton, a professor at the U.S. Army War College, in an interview with the Voice of America’s Anna Kalandadze, called the Georgian conflicts a “strategic surprise” for the west. “Russian intervention in Georgia in 2008 took the West by surprise in its rapidity and intensity” - emphasized Hamilton, who was there as chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation from 2006 to 2008. He does not look at Ukraine today in isolation from what happened in Georgia in 2008, citing it is a classic example of Russian meddling in areas it believes to be within its own geopolitical sphere and areas it considers to be of strategic military importance. “Had Western governments been paying more attention to the situation in Georgia, they might have anticipated the crisis and not been taken aback by it, a condition he termed “strategic surprise.” Assessing the overall situation, Hamilton underlines that a series of violent acts by the separatists and a response by Georgian forces resulted in all-out war in August 2008. “Russia sent troops into South Ossetia and Abkhazia, claiming Georgian atrocities against the local inhabitants. Today, both areas are de facto independent from Georgia’s control”. “One of the factors that most likely led to the crisis was Russia felt itself provoked by Kosovo’s declaration of independence in early 2008 from Serbia. Serbia and Russia were close and the move sparked retaliatory action in Georgia, he says. According to the former US military representative, one of Russia’s goals was

Geor gia Pr ovides Water to Georgia Pro Sa ve Ir an mia Lak e an’’s Ur Urmia Lake Sav Iran

Photo: Alessandro Marongiu / Demotix.

By Tamar Svanidze Georgia will supply water to Iran to save the world’s largest salt lake which is in great danger of drying out. The Urmia Lake, which is home to some unique species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, has shrunk significantly in size in recent years. This in turn has increased the salinity of the lake’s water, lowering the lake’s viability as a home to thousands of migratory birds including large flamingo populations. The salinity has particularly increased in the northern half of the lake. Iranian MP Ali Alilu has confirmed that agreements on the issue have already been signed and water from Georgia and Armenia will be transported using three pumping stations. As he highlighted, the water will be bought from those two countries and the entrance volume of water to Iran will be 60 to 80 cubic meters per second. ‘The 36 billion cubic meters of water of Urmia Lake has decreased down to two billion cubic meters today and the entry of a portion of Iran’s Aras River and a number of less important rivers will not survive without saving it,’ he said to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Alilu emphasized that the main parts of the water transfer project need to be implemented in Iran and it is predicted that it will be completed within two years. Recent research revealed that in September 2014 the lake’s surface area was about 12 percent of its average size in the 1970s, a far bigger fall than previously thought. ‘If the drying trend of the Lake would have continued unheeded as it was during the previous government, very soon five provinces would have faced serious environmental hazards, and potentially grave human catastrophe,’ he said. In July 2014, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani approved plans for a 14 trillion rial program (over $500 million) in the first year of a recovery plan. The money is supposed to be used for water management, reducing farmers’ water use, and environmental restoration. Several months earlier, in March 2014, Iran’s Department of Environment and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) issued a plan to save the lake and the nearby wetlands, which called for spending $225 million in the first year and $1.3 billion overall for restoration.

Katskhi Pillar Among Top 20 Bizar ches Bizarrre Chur Churc By Tamar Svanidze

to make Georgia appear unattractive to the West as a NATO ally by pointing out that it has an unstable government and would be an unreliable partner. “Another point the Russians wanted to make, he said, was to demonstrate that Georgia is small and geographically close to Russia and therefore is indefensible, should forces from countries other than Russia try to bolster its security”. Comparing Georgia with other cases, Hamilton assumes that Russia’s pattern of behavior has been evident in Ukraine, as well as in the Transnistria breakaway state of Moldova and the NagornoKarabakh conflict in Azerbaijan, he said.

Finally, Hamilton declined to predict Georgia’s future, saying “Georgia develops its “soft power” and is seen as attractive from a political, social and economic standpoint. Someday, maybe decades from now, those two breakaway provinces might rethink their decisions and agree to rejoin Georgia, perhaps in some sort of a confederation arrangement,” Hamilton said. “Any future arrangement or agreement would, realistically, have to include Russia” – he concluded. Does Hamilton’s hope about Georgia’s future give optimism to Georgia itself?

Katskhi pillar, a natural limestone monolith located in Imereti, Western Georgia, has been listedamong the top 20 most bizarre looking churches in the world, according to entertainment website LolWot. The site stated “If you can make it here, you just might get to see some of heaven in this church. It sits on top of a 130 foot high rock formation and has been home to a monk for the last 20 years. Most interesting part? He uses a rusty old ladder to get up and down from the church and calls it the stairway to heaven.” The pillar is located near the town of Chiatura, western Georgia and is approximately 40 metres tall, overlooking the small river valley of Katskhura. The cliff was unclimbed by researchers until 1944 but was only systematically studied from 1999 to 2009. The studies determined that the ruins dated from the 9th or 10thcentury. Currently the Georgian Orthodox

Church has built a small new church at the top of the pillar. It is reached by a vertigo-inducing iron ladder located on the upper half of the pillar. The remains of a believer, who died at the pillar at an unknown date, are kept in the new church building. Women are not allowed to climb to the top of the pillar.

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Georgian Government to Continue Grape Subsidies By Nino Japarashvili Minister of Agriculture, Otar Danelia, following a meeting with Georgian wine and alcoholic drinks producers in Georgia, also attended by the head of the Georgian Wine Agency, Giorgi Samanishvili, announced that the Georgian government will subsidize grapes. Danelia stated that the exact details of the subsidy arrangement will be confirmed in the coming days. Last year the Government allocated a subsidy for white grapes of 35 tetri per kilogram and red grapes at 15 tetri per kilogram. The minister noted that this year Georgia’s grape harvest will increase by at least 30% due to, he claims, different government initiatives, such as the anti-hail system.

GNCC Launches Consideration on the Merger of Georgia’s Two Main Internet Providers

The Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) launched a consideration on the merger of the two main internet service providers in Georgia yesterday. Caucasus Online and Silknet filed an application for permission to merge on Saturday, 8th August. The two companies dominate Georgia’s broadband internet services with a combined market share of up to 70% (Silknet with 40.7% and Caucasus Online with 27.4% of market share), providing internet services for about a total of 570,000 internet subscribers. Geocell, Beeline and Magti, which offer 4th generation Internet (4G) and other services could

be considered as alternative internet providers in Georgia. However, for those who really want to have a good internet connection at home, Silknet and Caucasus Online are the only options. To date, both providers have declined a request for details of a potential deal, saying that they would unveil details later. GNCC has a duty to prevent monopolization in the market and it has three months to assess the impact of the proposed merger before making a final decision. Meanwhile, internet users have expressed concern that the merger of the two companies may impact the service prices.

Danelia was also questioned about the potential Russian embargo. Earlier, the RIA Novosty information agency reported that Russia’s Consumer Rights Protection Service Rospotrebnadzor had been making allegations of safety violations on the part of Georgian wine producers. The Minister noted that the Russian authorities have not taken any official decision on this matter. “We are not aware of any official information or decision taken in Russia. The barriers which have been related to cargo, they do not exist anymore; as far as we have been informed, trucks have passed customs without any difficulties. Trade is also continued in the same regime. Nothing outstanding has happened, in principle. We plan to intensify cooperation and we do not expect any problem at this stage,” Danelia noted.



AUGUST 14 - 20

Importance of ForeignExchange Reserves By Eva Bochorishvili Countries hold foreign-exchange reserves to meet their short and long term international payment obligations, including the servicing of external debts, and to intervene in the foreign exchange market during periods of excessive currency fluctuations. Additionally, adequate foreign-exchange reserve holdings boost market confidence in the country’s ability to meet its external obligations and to absorb any unforeseen external shocks or unexpected capital movements. What is an adequate level of foreign reserves? One common rule of thumb is that reserves should cover at least three months’ worth of goods and services imports. However, with the change in the patterns of global trade and other developments, including a number of currency crises, several other measures have come into use: the percentage of reserves to total external debt maturing over the next year; the ratio of reserves to broad money; the ratio of reserves to the size of the current account deficit; and the ratio of reserves to possible variations in capital flows into the country. However, bigger isn’t always better, as extensive reserve accumulation has its cost. By buying foreign currency to accumulate reserves, the domestic currency is kept

weaker than it would be otherwise, thus stimulating exportoriented production at the expense of domestic-demand driven growth. Using the three months import rule, Russian and Azerbaijani reserves, boosted by energy export earnings, covered more than half year’s worth of imports as of end-2014. However, even these hoards of reserves could not insulate these countries’ currencies against continuous pressure from lower oil prices. Keeping exchange rates stable quickly eroded reserves, forcing their central banks to sharply devalue their currency. Thus, the traditional reserve yardstick is a good rule of thumb, but an insufficient criterion to measure adequacy of reserves. On the other hand, without massive foreign-exchange reserves, these countries might have faced far more serious challenges. Using the traditional yardstick of three months imports, Georgia’s foreign-exchange reserves, fed by strong inflows, have been more than enough since 2009. However, as the country started to experience a fall in exports and remittances at the end of 2014, the central bank used part of its reserves to avoid excessive volatility of the Georgian lari, thereby leading to a slight decrease in reserves. However, NBG’s interventions were limited, allowing the lari to float

and absorb most of the shock. Doing otherwise would only have wasted Georgia’s foreign currency reserves and slowed the reduction in imports necessary for balancing external financing shortages. At the same time, the weaker lari helped to maintain price competitiveness of Georgian exports, as trading partners’ currencies also weakened against the dollar. With this adjustment, the central bank reserves declined marginally and remain adequate to cover three months of imports in 2015, boosting market confidence in the ability of the country to meet its external obligations. The NBG holdings of foreign reserves are also required to manage government’s foreign exchange operations, bypassing the foreign exchange market: the NBG may sell foreign currency on the interbank FX market when the government foreign balance is positive or buy foreign currency when the government foreign balance is negative. During the 2008-2009 world economic and financial crises, large foreign aid flows from bilateral and multilateral development partners to the state budget resulted in an increase in reserves. This enabled the NBG to supply the needed foreign currency to the private sector, thus balancing Georgia’s total foreign exchange position and relieving the pressure on the lari. Notably, NBG’s FX inter-

ventions on the buying side increase the money supply, and consequently the inflationary risks. Selling foreign currency decreases the money supply, creating liquidity risks and dampening growth prospects. The NBG uses various policy instruments to sterilize the effects of FX interventions NBG’s certificate of deposits or government securities are used to absorb excess liquidity in the banking system, while shortterm liquidity is supplied by refinancing loans. As external shocks and related currency crises do happen, building foreign-exchange reserves in good times becomes the best buffer. There are other potential sources of financing during periods of external shocks - credit lines from the IMF, WB and other development institutions and international capital markets. But these require time to mobilize and come at a price - external borrowing increases the debt to GDP ratio and capital markets become more expensive. Adequate reserves, along with a floating exchange rate, can alleviate the need to resort to these alternative sources of finance. The best option in the case of Georgia is stimulating export-oriented growth and tourism, as well as attracting FDI, which feed foreign-exchange reserves, while the floating exchange rate helps keep the economy balanced.

Innovative cash-in ATMs - a first in Georgia - for ProCredit Bank clients In an aim to offer its loyal clients innovative banking solutions, ProCredit Bank has installed new cash-in ATMs in its 24/7 Zones. Unlike standard ATMs, which only allow clients to make cash withdrawals, cashin ATMs make it possible to make cash deposits to a client’s account. At the same time, clients have the opportunity to view their account balance and recent transactions. One of the main advantages of the new ATM is its speed - it is not necessary for clients to feed notes into the ATM one by one, as up to 50 notes can be processed at one time. In addition, the amount deposited is credited to the account immediately. This time-saving service is available around the clock at ProCredit Bank 24/7 Zones. The cash-in ATM service is only available to PCB private cli-

ents; however, the service will also be made available to PCB business clients in the near future. Furthermore, the ATM only takes GEL notes; however if USD or EUR notes are deposited into the account, they are converted automatically. At present, the cash-in ATMs have been installed in the 24/7 Zones of several branches in Tbilisi. The ATMs will be available at all PCB branches by the end of the current year. Business clients, keep in mind that our recently introduced Drop-Boxes are available for you to make large deposits to your business current accounts. Both cash-in ATMs and Drop-Boxes are available to clients around the clock in our 24/7 Zones. ProCredit Bank continually offers its clients innovative solutions for flexible banking.

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AUGUST 14 - 20


Should Georgian National Bank be Stripped of Super vision Function? By Nato Chakvetadze There are active debates ongoing about the Bill of Amendments to the Organic Law on the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). The main question is whether the supervision function it currently provides needs to be removed from the NBG or not. The topic became very real upon registration of the Bill by the Budget and Finance Committee in the Parliament of Georgia, on May 21 which is aimed at creating a fully independent supervisory authority. No specific motive is mentioned in the Explanatory Notes to the Bill regarding what had pushed them to initiate division of the institution. The only purpose admitted is that there are many examples from abroad where independent supervision authorities are functioning successfully; therefore, the same model should be applied here. But what would this change mean for the economic life of the country? Does this model represent the best international practice in the field? And what are the risks associated with the enactment of the bill? Since the argument in support of separating the supervision from the NBG is based on foreign practice, it would be better to start from this point. In the Explanatory Notes to the initial version of the Bill, 10 European countries are cited as successful examples of separate or mixed supervision models. Those were Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Austria, Germany and France. However, this was in the last decade. Now, after the separation of the supervision failed, 9 out of the 10 mentioned countries have implemented counter-reform and the other (Sweden) is planning to do so. It should be noted that the supervision function is under the Central Bank (Central Reserve System) in the US as well. As for the European Central Bank (ECB), it openly supports keeping the supervision function within the frames of National Banks (NBs). The ECB has even increased the quality of banking supervision through creating the single banking supervision mechanism at community level (Source: Directive 2002/87/ec of the european parliament and of the council; 16/12/2002). The position is based on long experience accumulated in this field of securing financial stability. The global and Eurozone financial crisis of 2008-2009 has clearly revealed flaws in the banking supervision performance and confirmed an advantage of keeping the function within the NBs (Source: European Central Bank, Recent Developments in Supervisory Structures in the EU member states. Report 2010). The crisis has led to changing the trend, which was started in the 2000s in Europe in the opposite direction; the countries that stripped the supervision function from NBs a few years ago started to implement counterreform. In 25 out of 28 cases, the NBs have regained the prerogative of banking supervision or their role has been significantly strengthened. This was the result of research, which showed that absence of supervision from NBs prevents them from implementing their ultimate task – to secure monetary policy and maintain financial stability. The crisis has clearly demonstrated that the NBs are not able to adequately respond to financial turmoil occurring in the country without having access to financial market supervision, because the lack of information disables NBs which struggles to make well-advised decisions about market interventions. In addition, the existence of a supervision function within the frames of the NBs secures institutional strength and high quality of political independence of both authorities, which is directly proportional to the quality of contribution they make to the financial stability of the country. Today, in the overwhelming majority of EU countries, regulating and supervisory authorities for banking supervision are within the NBs (except Latvia, Poland and Malta) or are strongly engaged in this activity (Source: Basel Committee official web, regulating and supervising authorities database). Apart from national supervision, the ECB also takes part in banking supervision within the Eurozone, including in countries whose NBs do not have such a function (Source: ECB, Guide to Banking Supervision. November, 2014). Accordingly, the provision stated in the Explanatory Notes states that the reform is dictated by the best international practices, yet it does not correspond to the reality. On the contrary, it is at odds with the recommended position of the ECB regarding the supervision

and experience of the EU countries. Moreover, the decision contradicts best practices, as it is not consistent with the Basel Committee “Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision”, which is acclaimed to be the guide for drafting the best supervisory policy. We need to admit that the Bill violates the EUGeorgia Association Agenda 2015; Section 2, Paragraph 2.5. According to the agreement, review of law related to the NBG needs to be conducted based on EU expertise and involvement of the ECB. In the Extraordinary Notes to the bill, it is written that no external involvement has been secured. When discussing the case of Georgia we need to consider that we have had a similar experience in the recent past. The supervision function was stripped from the NBG in 2008 and returned the very next year. The change was a reflection of the processes developing in the world; just like other countries, we have also faced the negative economic consequences of separation of these two functioning bodies. It is interesting to ponder what has triggered the desire to go through the same misleading path instead of seeking effective ways to deal with the real economic challenges, especially today when the country’s economy is in a really difficult condition. Moreover, according to the Constitution of Georgia, the NBG is an independent institution which is responsible for conducting the monetary policy, ensuring price stability and contributing to the soundness of the financial sector (Sources: The Constitution of Georgia, Article 95). The possibility of NBG fulfilling its constitutional duties will become questionable if the supervision function is removed. At the same time, since the change is politically motivated and its goal is to establish control over the financial sector through supervisory activity; the amendment would weaken the independence of the NBG. This suspicion was derived from the provision of the Bill, according to which the Government would take an absolute majority of seats in The Supervisory Council (5 members out of 7 will be Government nominated candidates). Another debated issue is the exclusive right of the Parliament of Georgia to dismiss the head of the Supervisory Council as the criteria for dismissal is very vague. As mentioned above, the Georgian economy and banking sector is facing big challenges. The reasons are multifold, but mostly they originate from external economic factors, such as: processes on international markets, which led to strengthening of the US dollar against all major currencies, including the Georgian currency (GEL); very tense and complex geopolitical situation in the region; decrease in exports and remittances from 2 major trade partners of Georgia. In such conditions, putting additional stress on the NBG from the government, dividing its functions based on the suspicion that NBG might be doing something wrong, will be very harmful. It will decrease the chances of overcoming the crisis, increase microeconomic risks and weaken the process of economic growth. According to the recent data, there is a reduction in the country’s long-term lending, as well as deposit growth rate. It is expected that there will be a necessity to attract additional capital for the banking system. The situation on the international capital markets is tough in this direction, especially for developing countries. Creating additional

uncertainties in terms of banking supervision will result in difficulties for private banks to attract money from investors. This will limit the possibility of lending and increase bank liquidity risks. Moreover, having supervision under the umbrella of the NBs is considered to be more reliable for investors, since in this case fewer state bodies are involved in the monitoring of confidential information. The bill of amendment to the Law on NBG was negatively assessed by the leading International Financial Institutions (IFIs). The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB), have drafted an unprecedented joint letter, which was sent to the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli

Garibashvili and the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, David Usupashvili. With this letter, they called on the Georgian authorities to leave the supervision function within the frames of the NBG. Their deep concern derives from the expertise that at this stage of economic development of the country, with limited human capital in the field of finances, it is better to maintain the existing format of financial supervision. They also saw the threats in the proposed amendment due to the lack of a supportive argument to make those changes. Moreover, when according to the last financial assessment record, conducted by the FSAP program in 2014 (Source: FSAPCountry Report No. 15/7), the NBG has received very high evaluation and praise. The report emphasizes that the approaches of the NBG are representing the best practices, which could constitute an example for other developing countries as well. Neglecting the recommendations of the IFIs, which are the largest investors for the country, is irrational and harmful behavior, which will be reflected in the international attitude towards our country in the long-run. In conclusion, usually NBs are the first targets for criticism from government authorities when there is an economic downfall, inflation and devaluation. Nevertheless, they are afraid to enable accumulation of too much power under the National Banks, which can be obtained from having both regulatory and supervisory powers. The risk might be real, but fragmentation is not the best solution to avoid it. The government authorities need to elaborate and introduce strong Check-and-Balance mechanisms. However, it shouldn’t happen at the expense of compromising the strength of the country’s most important institutions, especially when it comes to the institution, which is in charge of the country’s national wealth and financial stability, and whose successful work is recognized by the leading IFIs.


The Embassy of the Republic of France in Georgia has announced a Sales Procedures on the sale of land plot located adjacent to the Rustaveli Avenue at 4 Khazina St., Tbilisi, Georgia. The land plot has the following characteristics: cadastral code –; total area of the land plot - 3933 sq/m. The land plot qualifies as type 2 recreational zone with the following coefficients: K1= [0,2], K2=[undefined] and K3=[Undefined]. Please, take into account that the Sales Procedures n will be conducted in accordance with the Rules for Submission of Offers available on the web-page of the Embassy:, or by e-mail request at The interested Parties shall submit their Expression of Interest in a form and to the addressee(s) envisaged in the Rules for Submission of Offers.. In case of additional questions, please, contact [the consul or hes representative] at the following e-mail [] or call at [(00 995 32) 272 14 90] from Monday to Friday from 9:30 AM till 12:30 PM. The Expression of Interest shall be submitted to the Contact Person indicated above no later than 15th of October 2015.

SOCIETY United Na tions Nations Popula tion Fund (UNFP A) opulation (UNFPA) in Geor gia mar ks Georgia marks Inter na tional Youth Da y Interna national Day To mark the International Youth Day on the 12th of August, the amateur version of the intellectual game “What? Where? When?” is taking place in Europe House in Tbilisi (address: # 2/1 Sh. Dadiani str.). The Awards Ceremony, with participation of representatives from the government and Youth NGOs, will be held at 15:45. Youth NGOs and initiative groups, active in youth-related issues including healthcare, social protection, education, employment, development, and civic engagement will participate in the intellectual game. The winner teams will be awarded gifts and certificates by UNFPA Georgia Country Office. The aim of the International Youth Day is to encourage young people plan and implement activities for increased public awareness on youth agenda. This year, this day is commemorated under the theme “Youth Civic Engagement,” to celebrate the actions that young people take around the world to improve their well-being and that of their communities and underline the importance of youth civic activism for sustainable development. UNFPA is the lead UN Agency that advances the rights and opportunities of young people. UNFPA’s efforts to promote youth leadership and participation enable young people to develop the skills, knowledge and support needed to make informed decisions about their bodies, lives, families, communities, countries and the world. UNFPA has been supporting the government in development of the Na-

tional Youth Policy and the Action Plan in Georgia, which aims at establishing the enabling environment for comprehensive development of Youth to fully realise their potential. Lela Bakradze, Assistant Representative at UNFPA Georgia Country Office: “Young people are driving change towards a better future in the world. Unfortunately, there still exist barriers precluding their full development and participation. Even today, adolescent girls are often burdened by child marriage, sexual violence and unplanned pregnancies, preventing their development and full participation. It is impossible to achieve country’s sustainable development without investing in power of youth, their education and health, and enhanced civic engagement, as well as without creating equal opportunities for all adolescents and young people for development of their full potential. This can be only achieved by multisectoral approach in partnership with young people”. The event is organized with the support of UNFPA Georgia Country Office by the Youth Initiative Group established within the Advocacy Campaign “Youth Voice”, The campaign is a regional initiative taking place in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia region, which aims to ensure a broad consultation and coordination with the young people in the region and their full participation in the ongoing discussion around the post-2015 development framework.

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g.V ino: “Geor gian with a Eur opean twist” .Vino: “Georgian European By Joseph Larsen Erekle II Street in Old Tbilisi is lined with popular restaurants. But when I walk up to g.Vino, I know that it’s different from the others. The waiter is attentive without being pushy, the interior feels more spacious than usual, the lighting is just right for a summer evening. It’s nonsmoking, a nice touch. There is outdoor seating but I choose the air-conditioned dining room, it being a sweltering August night. I look over the menu while a gritty voice moans over blues guitar in the background. The food is definitely Georgian, but different from other Georgian dishes I’ve tasted before. There is kharcho, a hearty meat soup, as well as several dishes featuring ghomi (Georgian polenta). Then there are some obvious imports: gazpacho, ajvar, hummus. “We liked places like this … tapas style,” co-owners Lida and Mamuka tell me as we bite into a platter of cheeses, dips (including caramelized onions with sour cream and goat’s cheese) and bread baked just a few feet from the table. “As customers we know what customers want. It’s Georgian with a European twist, and European with a Georgian twist,” add the owners. A while later the waiter brings over a platter of dambal khacho, melted, aged goat’s cheese with fresh bread slices to dip. “The menu is simple and it isn’t difficult to prepare,” I’m told. “You just use good ingredients, and the outcome can’t be bad.” All ingredients are sourced from farms near Tbilisi, meaning the food has a particularly fresh flavor. It also means the menu is always being tweaked, because the same small batches of cheese, for example, aren’t produced year round. g.Vino has great food, but it’s obvi-

ous that much of the clientele is there for the beverages. Lida and Mamuka specialize in pairing dishes with authentic Georgian wines produced using natural methods. Neither claims to be a wine connoisseur – “sometimes I can’t even distinguish the flavor,” Mamuka admits – but they know a good wine when they taste one. The menu features rich reds and crisp whites, as well as a selection of the strong yellow wines common to Georgia’s wine region of Kakheti. Every wine they serve (mostly Georgian but with a smattering of Italian and Spanish varieties) is produced using natural methods. Natural winemaking, Mamuka explains, means that “you only intervene in a very limited way, when you grow the grapes and when you make the wine.” In Georgia, that means the grape juice is placed in an earthenware jug called a qvevri, which is then stored underground for fermentation. This keeps the liquid at a constant temperature for the duration of the process. The first wine we taste is chinuri, an easily-palatable red made in central Georgia, not far from Tbilisi. It goes well to wash down our plate of artisan cheeses with honey and green and red olives (I’m slightly disappointed to learn that olives are not grown in Georgia). Later, while John Lennon plays in the background, Mamuka will uncork a bottle of kisi, a “quite rare” wine from Kakheti with an amber color and deep flavor. “We are looking for new producers all the time,” Lida tells me. “We want to find new wines, good wines, obviously, and promote them here. Discover them.” Sourcing wines locally and from small producers also helps conserve rare species of grape, some of which would disappear if they weren’t used in the

winemaking process. I’m thoroughly impressed with each of the flavors presented. But g.Vino’s fresh approach to the restaurant business means more than fresh food and naturally-produced wines. It’s also about personnel. They hire only people brand-new to the restaurant business. Neither our waiter, nor the manager nor any of the cooks had restaurant experience before being hired on at g.Vino. “We’re tolerant if they [the staff] make a mistake, but not tolerant if they don’t like what they do,” Lida tells me. The lightbulb finally goes on. I knew something was different, better, about this place. It wasn’t really the wines, cheeses and caramelized onion dips, although those were all great. It was the atmosphere. The staff at g.Vino work there because they have enthusiasm for the restaurant business. That’s something you don’t often see in Tbilisi. Lida and Mamuka’s philosophy can be expressed in eight words: “if staff is happy, the customer is happy.” I’m no philosopher, but in this case, the approach definitely works.

g.Vino opened in March 2015 and serves a variety of locally-sourced wines and fresh cheeses.


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Geor gian Music Pr odig y Beka Goc hiashvili Pla ys ffor or Tbilisi F lood Victims Georgian Prodig odigy Gochiashvili Plays Flood By Zviad Adzinbaia Georgia’s young jazz musician and pianist Beka Gochiashvili dedicated a special concert to the Tbilisi flood victims of June 13. The 19-year old musical prodigy brought together hundreds of listeners at Tbilisi Rooms Hotel to unite for those who lost homes, families and lives during the natural disaster two months ago. Georgia Today (GT) was interested in the early life of the musical genius of Georgia and the world, who has already been recognized by Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke, among others, to have played a considerable role in the world of jazz. Gochiashvili exclusively tells GT that being the main figure of this charity concert held on August 12 was a duty for him like for every musician, particularly when something is connected to his country’s tragedy. “This is the very bottom from where I am building my career. Moreover, it is my desire to organize such events much frequently like many known musicians in the world do,” Gochiashvili believes. He maintains that this path was, is and will be a very big part of his lifelong dream to be involved in activities, which will benefit his country. “I feel committed to assist those victims of the June 13 tragedy,” he admits. Notably, some particular personalities have played a decisive role in establishing Beka as a jazzman and future star of world music. When asked what and who played a major role in his career choice, Gochiashvili names his father and adds he will always remember his early music teacher and mentor Zurab Ramishvili who played an invaluable part

in raising him as an artist. There are also Gega Lortkipanidze and Nika Rurua [former Minister of Culture] who according to Gochiashvili have put a lot of effort to assist the young prodigy’s success. He also recalls winning an award at Montreux Festival in 2009. Gochiashvili, the youngest winner of the Montreux Jazz Piano Competition, was born in Tbilisi, Georgia on March 11, 1996. Kakha Tolordava a jazz writer in Tbilisi says Beka was just two and a half years old when Valeri, his father, told him he would give him back his pacifier if he could play some of Scott Joplin’s Ragtime tunes. Beka’s response was a sad and confused look in return. Valeri took the pacifier and went into another room to run some errands. Just minutes later, he heard the sounds of the requested tunes being played on the piano. Valeri ran back to the room, and he could not believe what was happening. A few months later, a much grander toy replaced his rubber pacifier, a piano. Genially, Beka was three years old when he watched Standards II by Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette - the video recording that triggered his devotion and passion for this sophisticated trio and their performance style. Subsequently, a year after, Beka was able to play several piano compositions. In 2002, Valeri took him to Zurab Ramishvili, the then most prominent jazz piano professor in Georgia. The child’s ability to play a few complicated jazz compositions impressed him. He advised them to enroll Beka in classical music classes at a school headed by Tengiz Chitaishvili. By age eight, Beka won a competition at the Schwaigern Classical Music

Festival in Germany, where he performed pieces by Ravel, Mozart and Handel. Afterwards, at 11 years old, he participated in Saulkrasti Jazz Festival in Latvia, where his performance caught the ears of Lenny White and Victor Bailey. The same year he played at the 10th International Festival “Georgians Play Jazz” held in the great hall of Tbilisi State Conservatory. Some crucial moments for Gochiashvili’s career came when in April 2008 the US Embassy in Tbilisi hosted two State Department-sponsored cultural envoys – jazz pianist Dan Tepfer and Joel Harrison, Artistic Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Pianists Association, who performed with Beka. The well-known musicians highly acclaimed Beka’s unique talent. “Beka is one of the best jazz pianists I’ve heard anywhere,” mentioned Condoleezza Rice, then the U.S. Secretary of State and an accomplished pianist

herself, in her remarks at the conclusion of her visit to Georgia in July 2008. Through the efforts of Ms. Rice, Mr. Harrison and John Teft, ex-US Ambassador in Georgia, Beka and Ramishvili travelled to New York in 2008 to participate in auditions at the Juilliard School and at the Manhattan School of Music, where Gochiashvili continued his studies soon after the visit. In 2009, the Development and Reforms Fund of Georgia awarded Beka a full scholarship for studies at the precollege division of the Juilliard School, where he takes jazz piano classes with Frank Kimbrough and classical piano classes with Victoria Mushkatkol. Concurrently he attends the Professional Performing Arts School in New York, NY. After graduating from the prestigious Juilliard School, the then 19-year-old pianist was to live in the US and visited his hometown rarely; but on August 12 Gochiashvili performed as part of a trio with his friends Martin Jaffe – bass and

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE ROGUE NATION (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 13:00, 16:30, 19:50, 22:40 Ticket price: 8.50 – 12.50 Lari

August 7-15 THE EXHIBITION MADE IN KALLININGRAD Artists participating in the project: Oleg Bliablias, Yury Vassilev, Aleksej Èhebikin, Alexandr Podoprigov, Elena Tsvetaeva, Evgeni Umansk, “San Donato” Group, “Gentle Woman” Group, “Common Wince” Group, Danil Akimov, Dmitry Selin, Evgeny Palamarchuk, Topp & Dubio (Nederlands)

Jimmy Macbride – drums. Now, he is an established member of the Stanley Clarke Band and has toured extensively with the jazz master over the last year. His name is recognized in the jazz industry by people all over the world. His talents were praised by American Jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea, who said: “Beka Gochiashvili is a brilliant young piano prodigy. You’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the next few years.” Gochiashvili played together with Corea in 2012 when the American musician came to Georgia and performed in the Tbilisi Jazz Festival. “Chick Corea was someone I always dreamt about to meet with. It was my childhood dream to meet a person to whom I had been listening my entire life,” Gochiashvili told GT. Gochiashvili does not forget his second parents, Nora and Gia Shengelaias, who have done a lot for him; “I want this to be known forever what these persons have done for me - it is huge,” he said.’ Numerous diplomas were awarded to Beka including a diploma for participation in the Georgian-German Festival for Young Musicians-Performers Tbilisi2003, diploma for participation in a concert (Children’s Album) dedicated to 165th anniversary of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and a diploma for participation in an international festival held in Germany in 2004. Beka Gochiashvili is incentive pioneer for Georgian Jazz and music in general, which is developing. Importantly, Beka remains loyal to his home country, and states he would only ever play Russia’s Kremlin if it gave up Georgia’s occupied territories.

WHAT'S ON IN TBILISI THEATRE KAKHA BAKURADZE’S MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: Agmashenebeli ave 182 / Mushtaidi Garden August 14 BORN IN THE MAZE Movement Theatre’s Performance Kuku Choladze - Drums, Electronic & Sound Effects Nick Davitashvili - Electronic & Sound Effects Guram Machavariani / Guitar Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket Price: 10 Lari CINEMA AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 299 99 55

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence Genre: Action, Drama, Sport Language: English Start time: 19:35 Language: Russian Start time: 22:10 Ticket price: 11.50 – 12.50 Lari RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 255 50 00 August 14-21 THE VATICAN TAPES Directed by Mark Neveldine Cast: Olivia Taylor Dudley, Michael Pena, Dougray Scott Genre: Horror, Thriller Language: English Start time: 19:35 Language: Russian Start time: 22:10 Ticket price: 11.50 – 12.50 Lari

August 14-21 IRRATIONAL MAN Directed by Woody Allen Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey Genre: Drama, Mystery Language: English Start time: 19:50 Language: Russian Start time: 12:30, 14:45, 17:30, 20:00, 22:30 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE ROGUE NATION Directed by Christopher McQuarrie Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 13:30, 16:40, 19:30, 22:30 Ticket price: 8.50 – 12.50 Lari SOUTHPAW Directed by Antoine Fuqua

PIXELS 3 D Directed by Chris Columbus Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 14:30 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari ANT-MAN Directed by Peyton Reed Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 17:05, 19:40, 22:30 Ticket price: 9.50 – 12.50 Lari PAPER TOWNS Directed by Jake Schreier Cast: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance Language: Russian Start time: 17:15, 20:10 Ticket price: 9.50 – 12.50 Lari


GALLERY THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. PIROSMANI’S 150TH The National Gallery is hosting pictures of David Kakabadze (18891952) and Lado Gudiashvili (18961980) together with sculptures of Iakob Nikoladze (1876-1951) and photographs from the National Archives of Georgia and Iakob Nikoladze House-Museum depicting the sculptor’s life and creative work. June 17 – August 23 THE EXHIBITION “THE CAUCASUS FRONT THROUGH NINO JORJADZE’S CAMERA LENS” THAT IS DEDICATED TO THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WWI. GALLERY NECTAR Address: 16 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 295 00 21 July 21 - August 22 CATRIN BOLT GIORGI OKROPIRIDZE PRINZGAU/PODGORSCHEK The four artists who are all living in Vienna are working completely different, both formally and conceptually. They never exhibited in this combination, the exhibition and art-works are both experimental.



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Ukr ainians ans and Man y Mor e in Cosmopolitan Canada Ukrainians ainians,, Sv Svans Many More things out, see the 160 acres he was being offered for free to settle and farm, and then return to Ukraine to bring his family, if conditions were suitable. Nonetheless, it must have been very hard at first. And despite this, they made a go of it, and their success is echoed in the many Ukrainian names still found in this province and elsewhere in Canada. New language, climate, land, unfamiliar ways. But they found and helped each other, found lives for themselves, and got to work. Their past, preserved

By Tony Hanmer How do I remember when Canada officially became a nation-state in the modern sense of the word? For me, it’s easy: my birth year minus a century, 1867. July 1st. Canada and I are less than two years from turning 150 and 50, respectively There have been many waves of settlers here for thousands of years, beginning (it seems) with those crossing the Bering Strait from Asia and working their way all the way down to Patagonia, at South America’s southern-most tip, or staying put somewhere along the way, be it Alaska or anywhere from there on south. It’s a big place, the Americas. Toronto can claim feasibly to be one of the most international cities of the world; there are even Svans there! And after Canada’s official languages, English and French, two more are vying for third place numbers-wise: Chinese and Hindi. We have the oldest Chinatown (outside China!) in the world, in Victoria, and the largest Sikh community outside India, in Vancouver, both in British Columbia. Alberta, my “home” province in Canada, has, among others, Ukrainians. Lots of them. There’s a Ukrainian cathedral in Edmonton, the provincial capital. And, east of the city, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, established in 1974. Here were brought houses and other

buildings from all over Alberta, mostly dating from the 1890s to 1930s, when it was realized that many Ukrainian structures were being replaced by more modern structures and risked being lost altogether. This place became a home for them, and much more. My wife and I visited it before she returned to Georgia. Your $10 entry fee allows you in and gives you a guided tour, usually by a young lady in period costume walking backwards, leading her small group around the buildings, which have been assembled into a whole village. There are a school, shops, several functioning churches, lumber, farm and railway buildings, a grain elevator, a hotel, and quite a few houses from a very humble soddy to something a merchant family would be proud of. All filled with original fur-

niture and accessories to fit their ages. And peopled with “first-person interpreters” too. These people, also in period national costume, do their best to live out the ages which they represent, in what they do and say. They’ll talk about their daily lives here, their family backgrounds in the “old country”, and anything else related to who they are acting as. You can’t get them to step outside these roles, because this is how they work. Some of them are actually Ukrainians, speaking that language or Russian, as we found out to our delight. Ask them about modern Ukraine, though, and they’ll firmly assume you mean their representative periods, not the 21st century. Winters were quite harsh for the newcomers. Usually the man of a family would come over first, by ship, check

lovingly as if it were a version of a Little House on the Prairie TV village set, is here for all to see and experience firsthand. This country as a nation-state might be young compared to many others, but even a century of its immigrants’ progress has much to show and remind us. Even up in Svaneti, where my wife and I have one foot in the 19th century, one in the 21st. Wood heating and the internet, chickens and luxurious indoor plumbing, our own garden and the latest electronics. We can certainly relate.

Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1000 members, at . He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:


Br onz e Sculptur e Bronz onze Sculpture Disco ver ed in Geor gia Goes Discov ered Georgia on Display in Los Angeles

An ancient statue dating back to the Bronze Age and discovered in Georgia goes on a display among the ancient world’s masterpieces in Los Angeles. After the long term collaboration of the Georgian National Museum and J. Paul Getty Museum unidentified bronze statue named Torso of a Youth dated 2nd - 1st century BC, discovered in Vani settlement, wester Georgia were available to go on a display at the exhibition in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. A major exhibition named Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World was open at the Los Angeles Getty Museum on July 28 and will last until November 1. Before moving to Los Angeles, following exhibition was presented at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and after Getty Museum, exposition will move to the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Other pieces which are exhibited at the Los Angeles Getty Museum are from

world’s leading ancient museums, such are the British Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Florence, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, and the Vatican Museums. The exhibition in Los Angeles is organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, with the participation of the Tuscany’s directorate general for archaeology and it represents one of the largest expositions of this kind. National Museum of Georgia is temporary housing of the statue, but as soon as Otar Lordkipanidze Vani MuseumReserve will finish its large scale reconstruction works in 2016 the bronze torso of a youth will be returned at the original place.


AUGUST 14 - 20


By Alastair Watt They came, they played, they entertained. Months of frenzied hype was justified in the space of two hours as Barcelona and Sevilla served up a ninegoal thriller at a packed and awestruck Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena in the UEFA Super Cup on August 11. A goal from substitute Pedro five minutes before the end of extra-time sealed a 5-4 victory for Barcelona, and triggered ecstatic scenes among the largely Barca-supporting Tbilisi crowd. The late winner was harsh on Sevilla who, having taken an early lead before going 4-1 down, had clawed back a three-goal deficit in the second-half, a spirited performance that had the Barcadaft natives singing “Se-vi-lla”, at least for a while. Argentinian midfielder Ever Banega’s delightful 3rd minute free-kick gave the underdogs an early breakthrough, but he was soon upstaged by his fellow countryman Lionel Messi. Within four minutes of Sevilla’s opener, Messi had equalised from an almost identical situation, clipping a 20yard free-kick over the Sevilla wall and past the helpless Beto. He soon added another to the collection, from a little further out and this time with Sevilla’s goalkeeper not entirely blameless. Barcelona then threatened to run away with the match as Rafinha, a surprise inclusion ahead of Pedro, tapped in for their third before half-time, and after the interval controversial Uruguayan Luis Suarez had a simple side-foot finish

to put Barca 4-1 ahead with more than 35 minutes remaining. Concerns that the contest was over didn’t last long though as a powerful run and cross by Vitolo set up Sevilla captain Jose Antonio Reyes to volley home what appeared then a consolation. The Andalusians had loftier ambitions though and further reduced their arrears in the 72nd minute when Jeremy Mathieu was penalised and booked for a foul in the box by Scottish referee Willie Collum, after which Kevin Gameiro slammed home the resulting spot-kick. Sevilla were now just a goal behind and very much in the ascendancy. Messi had gone quiet, and so had Barca and their thousands of multi-national disciples in the stands. Gameiro was replaced by Ciro Immobile in the 80th minute and the Italian striker had an immediate and sensational impact, crossing firm and low for Ukraine’s Yevhen Konoplyanka to score a dramatic leveller. Sevilla’s players and staff could not hide their joy and neither could the Tbilisi crowd, who now knew that they were witnessing a classic...and that there could be an extra half hour of it. Extra-time was nearly denied though as Messi, seeking a hat-trick of freekicks, fired a 90th minute set-piece against the outside of Sevilla’s upright, to a collective gasp from over 50,000 spectators. The full-time whistle then arrived with the scores level, eight goals shared between the two Spanish La Liga clubs and a thoroughly satisfied crowd given a couple of minutes to catch their breath.

Photo by Goga Chanadiri

Barcelona Overcome Spirited Sevilla to Clinch Super Cup in Tbilisi Epic

In comparison to what had gone before, extra-time was fairly timid until the 115th minute. Messi’s free-kick struck the Sevilla wall initially, his follow-up effort then forced a smart save from Beto but the Sevilla goalkeeper could not smother before the on-rushing Pedro smashed the rebound into the roof of the net. The Spaniard, apparently on the verge of leaving the club, celebrated emotionally, mobbed by his teammates

and the first few rows of the West Stand. Typical of Sevilla’s spirit, and indeed Barcelona’s defensive frailties, Unai Emery’s underdogs still had opportunities to equalise in the closing stages. First, full-back Coke headed wide from six yards under no pressure before Immobile’s fizzing cross at an awkward height was diverted wide by Adil Rami from close range. Sevilla’s players looked dejected at the whistle, knowing they had come

close to one of the greatest comebacks in modern times, against one of the greatest teams of any time. Barca’s 5th Super Cup triumph equals the record of AC Milan and although the bulk of the Tbilisi crowd cheered vociferously as Barcelona lifted the trophy and attempted to sing the club’s anthem thereafter, the contribution of Sevilla to one of the greatest nights this storied stadium has ever seen, won’t be forgotten.


GENESIS Contin uing to Pr otect Geor gia’ s Vulner able Youngster s Continuing Protect Georgia’ gia’s ulnera oungsters Meri Taliashvili The association GENESIS was established 20 years ago to support and promote the health and well-being of orphans, street children and the most vulnerable populations of Georgia. It helps these vulnerable groups within the Georgian population gain access to healthcare services, promotes healthcare awareness and brings together communities to make sustainable changes. The organization has carried out projects with the help of Swiss, Dutch and German donors. Georgia Today met Maia Mgaloblishvili-Ryan, doctor-pediatric and founder of Genesis and talked with her in detail about the association. Maia Mgaloblishvili-Ryan – “We founded the association Genesis in 1995 and our whole attention was paid to underprivileged children and young people. From the beginning we started with orphans and social orphans who had parents but due to poverty they could not afford to look after them and they were sent to the children’s home, and also street children. By that time, 6000 children were in those institutions for young people under 18 years. 1000 children under permanent care that included medical assistance too as we are doctors. Besides, we would contact our foreign friends to seek the funds to help them. At that time we found very severe conditions that were previously unknown. I will refrain from listing the orphanages where we found indescribable conditions. The children slept on mattresses. Some of them had enuresis problems after which those matrasses were not cleaned. There were terrible hygiene conditions and inadequate food as well. However, there were exceptions, and a handful of children’s homes had excellent conditions. One of them was a children’s house in Aspindza,

Samtskhe-Javakheti region where the children were cared as though they were real family. As for the children’s psychological state, even basic attention we would pay to them was a luxury for them. Even during medical tests, other children would come up to us and ask to do the same to them. It is a bit weird because generally in this case children are scared of pain and that unpleasant process, which is accompanied by a medical examination but there they were very interested. MT: How many houses have you served? There were nine houses which we repaired and equipped with the help of foreign partners. Also, we would conduct training sessions on children’s rights. Together with us, a volunteer activity was conducted by Lia Makhashavria, a lawyer and human rights advocate. The children did not even know what their rights were. They did not know that beating and abuse was not normal. For 12 years we operated a char-

ity clinic where surgery, therapy, cardiology, ultrasound services and laboratory was available and all this we did only with our own funds. If there was a great need for surgery, the children were taken to the hospitals. Then the state could not afford to help. Generally, we were helped by Swiss agencies and German foundations but we also had private donors. During this time, along with the charity clinic we opened medical assistance clinics for poor people in Adjara and it still works there and in Kakheti. At this time, when the primary health care system was destroyed, we served 15 000 residents with very complex medical assistance with the support of Netherlands Oxfam for 10 years. As for the children deprived of parental care, these houses were closed in 2005 during deinstitutionalization. As a result, some of the children returned to their parents, or were adopted and others reached 18 years of age and left the houses. Currently, 44 small houses function and there are 8-10 chil-

dren, totally 600 children. Another 5000 teenagers would receive state aid, but very little. A certain number of children again returned to the streets. We carried out special programs for those who left the houses and are already 18 years old or those who returned to their homes but have no appropriate conditions and education. Through those programs, 80 young people up to 24 years old were trained with essential skills for life. Besides, we started intensive working with employers to motivate them to employ them. This training lasted for three months, and there was a 6 months monitoring period. During this period, 61 children were employed and trained. Some of them had no social, communication, or team work skills. They did not know what taxes were. Simultaneously, we worked with different government bodies and presented a bill in the parliament and asked to grant young people leaving care socially vulnerable status. The work in this direction continues. We hope that along with the government and other organizations will be involved in this process. We have a large group of disable children and adults to care for. We mainly work with them in Adjara. Our first clinic, which is located there, is a neuro and orthopedic rehabilitation center which we open with the help of the Dutch and the Japanese people. Later, a rehabilitation services center was added to it. Now it has been bought by the Ministry of Health of Adjara and is operated with the involvement of the local municipality. I would like to note that the government of Adjara works very effectively. It is a very productive body because it’s much quicker to bring their attention to the problem and their response is very good. We have innate physically and mentally disabled children Dyspraxia and dyslexia are atten-

tion deficit hyperactivity disorders. Often these children’s IQ is fine but their perception and concentration skills need help from a young age but the system is not yet implemented. One child in 10-12 suffers from dyslexia. There are no statistics of it in Georgia but these are world statistics. These disorders are absolutely curable. One more thing that we have seen so far is children’s rights violations. Domestic violence, violence outside, bullying, neglecting, pressure. There is also sexual abuse and an increased number of suicides in teens in Georgia. This does not happen only due to social or economic conditions. There are other forms of child neglect occurring in rich families. In such facilities, a child might feel abounded because of their parents’ lack of time. Strange as it may sound, children’s overloading with school subjects is a form of violence. Very often children have no free time. According to the convention playing and leisure time is a child’s right that is violated in these cases. Intensive work is to be conducted in schools with parents in order to build public awareness on the child’s rights. Children’s rights violations are not infringed only with physical or sexual abuse. A child needs free space and a real childhood. If the child’s rights are violated in materially perfect families, imagine what kind of violence happens with unaccompanied children. Our work has shown us a clear picture of what is happening in this direction. In 2013, UNICEF published a report regarding this issue. There are other countries’ reports where it is written in detail what each teacher should know. We want to launch a child abuse prevention program and safeguard the environment in kindergartens and schools, and currently are working on this issue.

GENERAL MANAGER - George Sharashidze BUSINESS MANAGER - Iva Merabishvili

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF - Katie Ruth Davies COPY EDITOR - Alastair Watt JOURNALISTS: Alastair Watt, Tony Hanmer, Tamar Svanidze, Joseph Alexander Smith, Zviad Adzinbaia, Joseph Larsen, Beqa Kirtava, Meri Taliashvili, Eka Karsaulidze, Baia Dzagnidze, Zaza Jgharkava, Teona Surmava, Ana Lomtadze, Maka Bibilashvili, Nino Melikishvili, Nina Ioseliani, Tatia Megeneishvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Nino Gegidze, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Nino Japarashvili, Maka Lomadze, George Abashvili PHOTOGRAPHER: Zviad Nikolaishvili TECHNICAL SUPPORT: Misha Mchedlishvili CIRCULATION MANAGERS: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #779  

Aug. 14-20, 2015

Issue #779  

Aug. 14-20, 2015