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Issue no: 1083

• SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

YOUR FREE COPY

In this week’s issue... Georgian Church Objects to Cannabis Cultivation for Export

NEWS PAGE 2

FOCUS

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he President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, says Estonia will continue supporting Georgia in bilateral and multilateral formats, adding it is the “torchbearer” of the Eastern Partnership states. Kaljulaid made the statement during her meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze, in Tbilisi. The President of Estonia commended the Georgian government's strategy of the EU and NATO, and Georgia's progress in European and Euro-Atlantic integration was singled out. The conversation also involved the Georgian government's peace initiative - A Step to a Better Future, which seeks to restore confidence among the conflict-torn populations and to provide access to education, healthcare, and commercial activities. Kaljulaid reaffirmed her country’s support of Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, for which the Prime Minister expressed gratitude. According to Bakhtadze, the Government of Georgia appreciates Estonia's firm support in this process. He said Georgia's European integration is the Georgian people's civilizational choice.

POLITICS PAGE 4

ON SALOME

Will There Be a Place for Small Nations in Tomorrow’s World?

Read our exclusive interview with GD's presidential candidate, Salome Zurabishvili

POLITICS PAGE 7 PAGE 6

Estonian President: Georgia is the Eastern Partnership Torchbearer BY THEA MORRISON

The Man Who Asked the Question: Edward Luce on Georgian Democracy

The Georgian side expressed interest in sharing Estonia's experience across such areas as education, SME development, and digital technology. As the PM pointed out, educational reform, digital transformation, and promotion of SMEs is the government's absolute priority as one of the crucial preconditions for economic development and poverty elimination. Kaljulaid also had a meeting with Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia, who thanked her for her unwavering support for Georgia. “I hear your very clear stand on Georgia’s occupation, specifically on the term of ‘occupation’. Georgia knows and respects your courageous and strong position. Thank you for being such a friend and such a strong supporter,” Margvelashvili told his Estonian counterpart. Kersti Kaljulaid, who came to Georgia to participate in the international conference “World in 2018: Upside Down?” organized by the McCain Institute, stated it is very important to develop western democracies. “We all have to stand together in order to promote Western alliances, democracies and also to promote the political courage to call a spade a spade, to call occupation an occupation and never give up even if it takes sometimes half a century to achieve your strategic goals,” the President of Estonia said. She expressed the hope that Georgia will solve

MEP Mamikins on the Georgia Reports POLITICS PAGE 8

Element Construction: Addressing the Gender Disbalance BUSINESS PAGE 10

Huawei Celebrates 10 Million HUAWEI P20 Pro & HUAWEI P20 Units Sold Globally SOCIETY PAGE 11

Georgia at the European Jazz Conference CULTURE PAGE 12 Image source: PM’s Press office

its problems sooner than expected, adding there are many paths that Georgia can take to accelerate European integration, including fulfillment of the terms of the DCFTA with the European Union and continuation of the reformation process. The meeting focused on prospects for advancing the Georgia-Estonia strategic partnership, security challenges in the region, outcomes of the Russian occupation, non-recognition policy of the occupied territories, and Estonia’s unwavering support for Georgia.

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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

Georgian Church Objects to Cannabis Cultivation for Export BY THEA MORRISON

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he Georgian Orthodox Church has come out against the governmental initiative which envisages legalizing marijuana cultivation only for export purposes for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. The clerics say that the Church sees many risks in this initiative, claiming that if cultivation is licensed, it will be very hard for the State to control its production and distribution. They also say it will increase the number of drugaddicts in the country. The Patriarchate held a conference "Drug Policy, Challenges and International Experience in Georgia," where the possible threats and risk of the cultivation of cannabis were discussed by the clergymen. “There are a lot of threats connected with this initiative and let us, the clerics, speak about it. We are not a repressive organization. We care about our country’s future,” Father Giorgi Pirtskheliani said. He noted the controversy regarding marijuana in general started when the

Constitutional Court of Georgia abolished punishment for the personal consumption of cannabis in July. Metropolitan of the Vani and Bagdadi Eparchy Bishop Anton told media after the conference that Georgia's image will be significantly damaged in the world’s eye if the government implements their initiative. “It is well-defined that drugs negatively affect people. I have a feeling that we all agree separately, but we are a hostage to something. We have created something that can wash us away. Our Georgian image will be damaged. We have never been known as illegal drug dealers and it will be a step back if this initiative is adopted. We ask the parliamentary majority to reject this initiative,” he said. Bodbe Archbishop Jakob says the Church is not going to stay in the shadows on this. According to him, the government is unable to secure the borders of the country and it will not be able to impose limits on marijuana cultivation if it becomes legal. “The government should think about the country’s security and not only count the money…We have been in economic hardship for a long time and instead of legalizing marijuana, we’d do

Image Source: zneoba.ge

better to think about the economic development of the country,” he stated. The Archbishop believes that if Georgia starts cultivating marijuana, there will be a threat from the occupied territories and Russia to obtain these territories. “When 20% of our territories is occupied by Russia, it will blame us for being the source of drugs and will invade us…I do not want to sound negative, but the

government had better give up on their initiative or they will see the power of the Church,” he stated at the conference, held on September 12. Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze assures that the draft of legislative amendments regarding marijuana consumption does not leave any space for speculation. “Legalization of marijuana is excluded… The bill, which will be submitted to

Parliament in the near future, puts consumption and cultivation of marijuana within strict frames. Its cultivation will be allowed for export, directed towards medical and entrepreneurial consumption: this is provided by the draft law,” he explained. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Giorgi Gakharia, stated after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, that a special agency will be set up for licensing marijuana cultivation. “The agency will identify the specific licensing conditions and issue licenses for various activities, including production, growing, processing, etc. This will be a strictly regulated activity, which will have its own regulator and involve the toughest and most effective control mechanisms," said the Minister. On July 30, the Constitutional Court of Georgia declared that the administrative punishment for use of the drug marijuana was unconstitutional when consumption does not create any threat to third parties - effectively legalizing the consumption of marijuana. However, later the court explained that this does not mean legalization of marijuana in the country. Storage, distribution and cultivation of cannabis is still punishable.

School to Be Opened for Children with Autism BY SHAWN WAYNE

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rehabilitation center and school for children with autism will be built in Tbilisi, on territory that the state will allocate, said Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze. "The center will be designed for 230 beneficiaries, which is an important sup-

port strategy for our children and their families," he added. Autism is a developmental disorder of the brain and is characterized by a pronounced and comprehensive lack of social interaction and communication, limited interests and repetitive actions, and often extreme hostility to certain sounds, textures or tastes. How many people suffer from autism in Georgia is not clear; however, parents of these children repeatedly complain about

the lack of rehabilitation centers. In 2013, the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia opened integrated classes in state schools throughout the country within the framework of the program Promoting Inclusive Education. Since then, experts have been working on improving the model. Specialists of the Institute for Child Development at the Ilia State University developed a new model for teaching children with autism, which was piloted in state school No. 55 in Tbilisi. This model implies

the use of various auxiliary educational resources among students with autism. The main task of specialists working with such children is to choose the key of communication with them, to interest them in the educational process and the surrounding world. At present, integrated classes are working in eight public schools in Georgia: Tbilisi ( 166, 72, 41, 132, 55 and Tbilisi classical gymnasium), in Batumi ( 13) and in Rustavi ( 21).


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

Single Use Plastic Bags to be Banned

Zurabishvili Doubles Down on Position that Georgia Started 2008 War BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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n an interview Tuesday with the TV Pirveli program Reaction, independent presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili repeated her position on the 2008 August War. “We bombed our population. No president has the right to do that. How can we say the next day that we want [to preserve] the integrity of this country? I want the integrity of this country, and I desire that no president of this country will bomb its territory and citizens,” said Zurabishvili. She first expressed her point of view last month, in the midst of memorials and events commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the 2008 Georgia-Russia War. “Starting the war was the whim of a crazy president who ordered the bombing of his own population. He started the war!” Zurabishvili affirmed on a visit to the Mukhatgverdi Brothers Cemetery to pay her respects to the heroes killed in the war Her statements prompted criticism from the public and many politicians, who claimed that Zurabishvili was parroting the Russian version of the events surrounding the war, which hold that Russia acted to protect “South Ossetia” from Georgian aggression. Then-opposing candidate Nino Burjanadze, leader of the Russian-affiliated Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, was one of the few voices who shared Zurabishvili’s position, saying “It would have been possible to avoid this war…Saakashvili thought that Russia would not dare get involved in this war and that the US would protect us, but he was mistaken.” Burjanadze bowed out of the race earlier this week after Georgian Dream officially

endorsed Zurabishvili, calling it “a farce.” While not addressing Zurabishvili’s statement directly, Justice Minister Thea Tsulikiani said, “Our government and the ruling party have one position only: that it was Russia which started this war.” During the week of the 10th anniversary of the 2008 August War, 11 Georgian non-governmental organizations also released a joint statement expressing their concern over the positions of certain politicians affirming that Georgia started the war. “We believe that making such statements is especially dangerous when the International Criminal Court is investigating the crimes committed during the August War. Thousands of victims have already addressed the court, which clearly indicates the brutal crimes committed by Russian and Ossetian militants and armed men. In addition, the Russian Federation does not cooperate with the court, which further complicates the investigation process,” the NGOs’ statement read. As she launched her campaign, Zurabishvili said that Russia began instigating conflict in Georgia a century ago, and that they had provoked Georgia into making the ill-fated first move in 2008. "The fact is that Russia is an occupant of Georgia, Russia is an aggressor of Georgia, who started the war in 1801... then the Red Army entered, and due to that I was born abroad, and if I do not know that, it means I don’t know anything,” she insisted. Zurabishvili holds that it will be impossible to have productive negotiations with Russia and the de facto authorities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia until Georgia admits it was Saakashvili who started the war and holds him responsible for his actions. On Wednesday, Zurabishvili told voters

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that she is “coming to defend the independence of the country in order to avoid losing our territories in the future, and God knows that we lost territories in all directions during the last two centuries. This is a very rare phenomenon and we really want to keep these territories, to keep and unite these territories, restore the borders as they were before. I am also coming to send Russian troops back from these territories through peaceful means. I am coming to expel devils.” Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze was supportive, saying that although he did not hear Zurabishvili’s most recent remarks, he echoed many of her points, saying, “Russia is an aggressor. It has occupied Georgian territories. It did not start in 2008, it started much earlier, since Georgia gained independence. Of course, Russia is an aggressor, they decided to invade Georgia and launch hostilities. Russia has expelled our population from our historic lands and we have a humanitarian disaster there.” He agreed with Zurabishvili’s assessment that “the previous government could not protect the population of Georgia from this risk and did not take into

account the information provided by our friends.” While Chairman of the Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze also claimed not to have heard Zurabishvili’s Wednesday statement, he told reporters that they share a “common position” that “Russia was the aggressor, Russia started the war, everything was done in accordance with the Russian scenario, it was a script written in the Kremlin, but we should emphasize that this scenario would not have happened without mistakes and unreasonable actions by the then-President and authorities.” On the other side, current President Giorgi Margvelashvili expressed doubts that the frontrunner’s position would be sufficient to fulfill her presidential duties, if elected. At the McCain Institute’s ‘World in 2018: Upside Down?’ international conference, held in Tbilisi on September 11-12, Margvelashvili said that although he will respect whoever succeeds him, “He/she will have to advocate Georgia and say in every country that Russia attacked Georgia. This should not be justified. Anyone who can justify it, stands on the dark side of history, the Russian side.”

BY SHIRIN MAHDAVI

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eginning on October 1, 2018, Georgia will start the gradual ban of single-use plastic bags. Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadzemadetheannouncement Wednesday September 12, at a briefing. This new law is line with the Georgian government’s implementation of regulations as a part of its green economy and environmental policies. According to Bakhtadze, in recent years, the world has become cognizant of plastics’ devastating consequences on the environment. The plastic of single-use plastic bags in particular is among the worst of pollutants and causes the most harm to the environment. Starting October 1, Georgia will help by beginning to put an end to the production of this harmful object.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

Financial Times’ Edward Luce quizzes Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze. Image source: Edward Luce's

The Man Who Asked the Question: Edward Luce on Georgian Democracy EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

would be to demand transparency, complete, public accounting for where his wealth is, how much it's worth, where his assets are and so on.

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IF HE MADE IT TRANSPARENT, WOULD YOU AND HIS LIKE-MINDED CRITICS CHANGE YOUR MINDS ABOUT THE ALLEGATIONS THAT HE MISUSES HIS POWER BY PULLING THE STRINGS BEHIND THE SCENES? TRANSPARENCY IS ALL THAT’S NEEDED?

t’s not often that you see the Prime Minister of a sovereign country ask the question “Who is your boss?” yet that’s exactly what Financial Times’ Edward Luce did when he rather nonchalantly quizzed Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze about the perceived “powers that be” behind the scenes. Luce’s conversation with PM Bakhtadze came during the opening session of the two-day conference that the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University and the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) co-hosted in Tbilisi on September 11-12. Intriguingly titled “World in 2018: Upside Down?” the event boasted excellent speakers, great debates and packed attendance by the highest level representatives from Georgia’s political elite and diplomatic corps. Mr. Luce, whose inquisitive and downright skeptical questions (helped by the increasingly flustered PM) turned him into a local media sensation, was kind enough to sit down with GEORGIA TODAY and discuss his reasonable doubts about the state of democracy in Georgia.

THE QUESTIONS YOU POSED TO THE PM TURNED YOU INTO A LOCAL MEDIA STAR. THE QUESTIONS LEANED TOWARDS SKEPTICISM. WHAT WAS THIS SKEPTICISM BASED ON? I'm not an expert on Georgia; this is actually my first visit to this beautiful city, but I've talked to a lot of Georgians and tried to read up on the country. Just the very fact that the ruling Georgian Dream party was founded by the richest person in the country and is essentially accountable to that person is an extraordinary fact. His assets are about a third of Georgia's national income and that is also extraordinary; it's very difficult for a democracy to be democratic in the real sense of the term when you have a single rich person holding that much power.

WHAT WOULD YOU PROPOSE AS LEVERAGE AGAINST IT? STRIP HIM OF HIS ASSETS HERE? I think there's a lot of confusion because I've been asking around, I even asked the President. There's a lot of gray area about where Bidzina Ivanishvili’s assets come from, whether he still has assets in Russia, what his relationship is or is not with Vladimir Putin and other Russian figures, and there’s a lack of transparency about the sources and the breakdown of his wealth because clearly most of it is not here. As such, it would be difficult to expropriate or tax his resources if they're not in the country. I think the more radical approach

No. You could imagine Mark Zuckerberg running for President of America and all his assets are transparent, but he has extraordinary control over the means and levers. But I don’t think it would be a level playing field, and democracy requires free and fair elections in the real sense of free and fair. If one person can buy a whole party and if that party thinks its accountable not to the people but to that one person, that's a real problem for democracy.

YOU ASKED THE PM WHO HIS BOSS WAS. WHAT GAVE YOU THE IMPRESSION THAT THE COUNTRY’S FOREMOST POLITICAL FIGURE IS SOMEBODY ELSE’S SUBORDINATE? All the Georgians that I spoke to gave me that impression, so I really channeled my question from what my Georgian friends had said to me, and I'm talking about a lot of people from different walks of life in Georgia, from the media, from politicsboth ruling party members and opposition. This struck me as a pretty universal question to which it appeared everybody actually knows the answer.

WHAT OTHER TROUBLING SUBJECTS DID YOUR GEORGIAN FRIENDS UNDERLINE IN DISCUSSIONS WITH YOU? WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION? I'm here at the invitation of the McCain Institute. The recent death of Senator John McCain underlines that what ails Georgia, and many democracies around the world, is that the idea of the West and the West supporting smaller plucky independent countries like Georgia has been declining, and that's a real problem for everybody. People from the West who come and criticize Georgia's democracy, and I guess that would include me, should realize that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones because we're all having democratic problems, we're all under oligarchs in some form. There’s a deeper philosophical challenge to the future of liberal democracy around the world. I don't know Georgia very well, but I fell in love with this country and I would like to get to know it better. it's a beautiful country and it's a very important small country and I really hope that democracy thrives and succeeds here.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

Facilitator, Improviser & a Lady of Principle: Georgia’s Possible President-to-Be EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

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eing President seems to have become trendy in Georgia lately, as an unprecedented number of people (39) are putting themselves forward for a seat soon to be vacated. However, after (finally) securing the ruling party’s support, one would consider Salome Zurabishvili a safe bet. To say that the French-born Georgian politician and diplomat is outspoken would be a gross understatement – she’s never shied away from the spotlight and it was in her trademark self-assured way that she informed the public recently on two important developments: that she herself has renounced the French citizenship in favor of Georgian and that, on a related and slightly contrasting note, the Parliament of Georgia had adopted necessary amendments to the Constitution to enable dual citizenship for Georgian citizens, allowing them to retain their Georgian citizenship if they are to receive another: a huge development for those hundreds of thousands of people who are working and residing outside the country! It was on this new legislation that we quizzed the presidential hopeful first in our exclusive interview, however she was kind enough to offer her insights on a range of other important matters as well.

LET’S START WITH YOUR ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING THE LAW ON DOUBLE CITIZENSHIP. WHAT ACTUAL IMPACT CAN IT HAVE ON GEORGIAN CITIZENS AT HOME AND ABROAD? I have been actively campaigning for these changes to the law since as early as 2014, when I wasn’t even in Parliament. I was just an outsider, together with 200 well-known Georgians from abroad who supported it. As for its impact, first, this law will be of great help to Georgian citizens abroad. Georgia has, quite suddenly I might add, found itself an immigration country. It took us quite a time to realize that there are many citizens abroad and that they were gradually taking other citizenships. With the existing law in Georgia, we were losing citizens while the Georgian demography is shrinking. We were losing, I would say, the most active part of the population; some of the most resourceful and successful people our country has produced of late. To use a specific term, we are facing quite a drastic brain-drain process - these people are losing contact with the country of their birth, unable to get involved in its activities.

THE PROCESS OF RECLAIMING A LOST CITIZENSHIP SEEMS REMARKABLY SIMPLE. IF YOU LOSE YOUR CITIZENSHIP FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER, YOU JUST ADDRESS THE RELEVANT BODY AND GET IT BACK – THAT’S ALL THERE IS TO IT? It’s not automatic - people who lost their citizenship have to address a special commission to regain it and they have for that about two years; we set this limit in order to mobilize people so that they feel there’s urgency, otherwise no Georgian would wait another decade or so. The commission might refuse on grounds of security, for example.

SAY THE FORMER PRESIDENT WERE TO APPLY TO GET BACK HIS CITIZENSHIP, WOULD HE GET IT? I don’t know. I think he would be eligible but there is the fact that he’s under investigation to take into consideration, so I don’t know how it would play out; in my personal view, it’s in fact better to have him with Georgian citizenship if you want to extradite him to Georgia and apply the Georgian law.

LET’S MOVE ON TO YOUR PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRATIONS - WHAT ROLE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PLAYING, IF INDEED YOU ARE ELECTED? WHAT KIND OF PRESIDENT WOULD SALOME ZURABISHVILI BE? One of the first things this country needs is to actually get past the black and white/ win or lose syndrome and try to get some new perspective: there’s an apparent lack of such narrative, nobody tries to show perspective - where is this country heading to? I would try to facilitate that. It’s not enough to say that we want the European Union: you have to show you’re actually developing in the right direction, especially considering how there are no alternatives to it.

HOW MUCH LEVERAGE WOULD YOU GET YOUR HANDS ON, CONSIDERING THE LIMITED SCOPE THE PRESIDENTIAL POST HAS BEEN REDUCED TO… It’s not a limited scope. First, the President is elected by the people, which means immense legitimacy because no other figure is elected so. And that’s big in a country in which morale and selfconfidence are in very short supply: the country feels itself diminished, having lost territories and now losing its population by the day, seeing everything as a threat. It is a small country which really has existential problems and very critical neighbors. As for what I would try

to do: stabilize, give confidence, show that we have partners with whom we can reach more than just the long-term perspective of EU and NATO membership. We need to be better negotiators. I’m not afraid to go to the Europeans and say: you need to give us more, we are this country, this region, and you cannot continue to play with us in this way, telling us that one day we’ll be part of the EU. What do we get today? What will you give us tomorrow? The same tactic should be applied with NATO too.

ONE OF THE MAIN ARGUMENTS OF YOUR OPPONENTS IS THAT YOU ARE NOT CLOSE ENOUGH TO THE GRASSROOTS POPULATION - PEOPLE ARE ASKING: DOES SHE KNOW HOW MUCH THE TARIFF FOR GAS OR ELECTRICITY IS? IS SHE GOING TO SOLVE THESE KINDS OF PROBLEMS FOR US? No, I’m not going to have to solve these kinds of problems; that’s not within my competence. I intend to continue doing what I started and have been doing over the past 15 years, which is restoring the country. Because I’ve taken part in each and every election, I have walked Georgia at least seven times. The President should not sit in the palace; he/she should be out visiting the smaller towns of this country and finding out the problems in each place in order to bring those problems to the attention of the government. The other thing I intend to do is have a qualified group of people with me, and since I’m not going to be in opposition to the leading party, I intend to work with them on certain issues where I think we can join forces. I will be working with the government and with Parliament and other parts of society to bring ideas forward; not in the micro-economic way you suggested, like gas tariffs and the issues that are day-to-day and government issues, but in the case of more medium-term issues which we need to make changes to; immigration, youth problems that can be solved to allow these people find the perspective of remaining in this country.

YOU GOT RULING PARTY SUPPORT, BUT HAD THEY PRESENTED THEIR OWN CANDIDATE, WOULD YOU HAVE STOOD A CHANCE OF WINNING? It would have been very difficult because I don’t have the resources required for the effort it takes to win against the ruling party, and by resources, I mean that in the electoral commission you need to have your own representatives, which I never had. Also, we’re still in transition, there’s still an idea that a large part of

Image source: ipress.ge

society will vote for the ruling party way. That’s no longer true for the younger generation as they tend to vote the way they want, but there are also some regions in which the government position is traditionally stronger.

WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO WILL SAY YOU WERE BROUGHT INTO POWER BY THE RULING PARTY? I hear two very opposite things being said: one is that I apparently have a bad character, and for that reason they won’t tolerate supporting me, and at the same time they’re saying I’m a puppet at the hands of the ruling party. Rest assured neither of these are true. I’m generally loyal to my principles, and if I do get support, I’m not going to get it at any cost.

EVERYTHING YOU SAID LATELY GOES VIRAL, FOR GOOD OR BAD, THANKS TO THE MEDIA HERE. THE STATEMENT ABOUT THE WAR, REMARK ABOUT “FACELESS” NEW CHURCHES, ADMONISHING JOURNALISTS AND SO ON. DON’T YOU THINK THAT HARMS YOUR CHANCES? The media here is polarized, contrary to what western observers might think. It’s really dominated by Rustavi 2, which leads the dance. I’m on a regional campaign and they come along to each of my visits and it’s only Rustavi that asks questions. When the western observers say the government is controlling the Public Broadcaster and fail to mention the way Rustavi 2 operates, it seems totally absurd to me. They might control in other terms, in financial terms, or decide who the director is, but the editorial policy of Georgian media is dominated by Rustavi 2’s editorial policy. Most of my quotes are taken out of context. Sometimes people are against the words I use, and I admit that may be so, as I improvise my speeches. I can’t stand boring political rhetoric. I

think one of the things people like about me is my spontaneity; in the end, they understand me and then they can make a decision whether they want to vote for me or not.

IN FOREIGN POLICY, WHAT WILL YOUR STANCE BE ON RUSSIA? WOULD PRESIDENT ZURABISHVILI BE READY TO MEET HER RUSSIAN COUNTERPART? In all honesty, that’s not the question that should be asked; after all, I’m the minister that successfully managed to resolve the long process of trying to get the withdrawal of Russian bases. This was resolved through hard negotiations without any easy compromises. Today, we are not in the situation we were back then, and we would have got more had we continued. I’m saying two things: one is that we cannot renounce the diplomatic instrument, because the military option is out of the question. Second is that we must keep moving forwards. If we lag behind, we’ll get stuck where we are without any contacts with anyone from the Russian side.

WOULD THAT BE EQUIVALENT TO SAYING THAT PRESIDENT ZURABISHVILI WOULD CONTEMPLATE RESTORING DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS? No, I do not contemplate this because it would require many preconditions. We need to discuss it with our partners because when I mentioned my successful negotiations, it was successful because it was completely in line with our partners: they were informed step-by-step about what we were doing. The Russians also knew that the American and European partners were totally informed at every stage. If the situation matures enough, Georgia cannot go alone in any direction: Georgia has to have the backing of its partners.

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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

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Will There Be a Place for Small Nations in Tomorrow’s World? lar world, in which large and small nations are often portrayed as enjoying cosy, good-neighbourly relations, has in fact resulted in adherence to a new ‘Concert of Europe.’ This time, however, the latter bears no resemblance to the Viennese post-Napoleonic system of international relations, but operates instead on a tremendously larger intercontinental scale. The real roots and context of multipolarity must remain a subject for separate and more focused discussions, but what is undisputable is that every analysis of the concept applied to our world quite frequently leads to a rather depressing mastery of functionality over small nations, either condemning them to a ‘grey area’ of fluctuating international arrangements or, even worse, predicting their quick and inevitable demise. Various paragons of the ‘2.0’ world even adventurously foresee that in the rivalry between emerging ‘poles’ (when neither states nor even coalitions of states have the right to claim a seat), small states are incapable of looking after their own security and economic sustainability, not to mention contributing to efforts to reshape the new global order. That said, only a handful of truly sovereign states should remain, whilst others (and

BY VICTOR KIPIANI

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he late 20th and early 21st centuries have reverberated with major shifts in what we used to commonly refer to as the Modern World Order and have borne us ever more swiftly towards an even more modern term—that of a ‘World 2.0’. This seachange primarily relates to a whole set of developments, notably: the collapse of the Soviet empire and the ensuing disintegration of the Warsaw block; the emergence of international corporations as powerful new actors in international relationships; a refreshed impetus for the expansion of existing political and military amalgamations; the rise of ‘Eastern tigers;’ the ensuing quest to dominate Eurasia; the increasingly blurred framework of national identities and the resulting rise of populism, of ‘America First’ and other similar notions. This and other events unfolding at a quasi-cosmic speed have given rise to renewed debate over the role of small nations on the world stage, over their capacity to handle the current agenda and their suitability in terms of coping with global challenges. Our new multipo-

Image source: Aivazovsky. Based on work by David Liuzzo

Continued on page 8


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

MEP Mamikins on the Georgia Reports

BASED ON YOUR REPORT, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE STRONGEST AND WEAKEST POINTS OF GEORGIA’S EU PROGRESS AT THE MOMENT?

dedicated to combatting the deficit of democracy in Georgia. You know me as friend of Georgia but at the same way I’m very critical because I want to see Georgia even better, so some of the drafted amendments are about democratic deficits, namely labor rights, gender equality, and children's rights in Georgia, all very necessary to bring Georgia up to the highest European standards. We know Georgia as a fully European country in spirit, and steps like these are very necessary. I'm not going to speak about the situation in other fields but of course Georgia is implementing all the necessary norms from the European Union into its everyday life. I have to underline Georgia’s membership in the EU: for this, a country must fulfill three Copenhagen criteria, the first of which is a well-functioning and competitive market economy, and we know Georgia still has a long way to go in this direction. The other two criteria are respect for democracy and human rights and in this matter the political elites and citizens should take the lead; it is important for the EU to see the Georgian people, and not only the President and Prime Minister of Georgia with full ownership of the democratization process. Georgians have always been politically active and politically informed, even down to taxi drivers! The citizens of Georgia are very interested in the full membership of Georgia in the European Union.

First of all, I would like to thank my colleagues - we drafted a lot of amendments in the report. I personally introduced 68 amendments, some of them

ALONGSIDE THE OFFICIAL REPORT, THE EU ALSO COMMISSIONED INDEPENDENT

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

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n August 30, the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) previewed the first implementation report on the Georgia and EU Association Agreement (AA) prepared by its standing rapporteur on Georgia, MEP Andrejs Mamikins (Socialists and Democrats, Latvia). The report was generally positive, and Mamikins praised Georgia for making steady progress in AA implementation, much to the chagrin of the opposition, which accused Mamikins of turning a blind eye to the alleged behind-the-scenes governance in Georgia and many other existing challenges, notably in media freedom and human rights. The government was quick to respond that the positive tone of Mamikin’s draft report should be a matter of pride for every Georgian and a subject above petty local politics. We spoke to MEP Mamikins who was kind enough to share his firsthand perspective on the matter in an exclusive interview with GEORGIA TODAY.

EXPERT NONA MIKHELIDZE, WHO IS MUCH MORE CRITICAL WHEN ASSESSING THE SITUATION IN GEORGIA. ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THIS REPORT? I am. Usually every committee in the European Parliament tries to use a lot of opinions and NGO research to get a picture of the current situation. You are right that this report was critical but on the other hand it helped us to understand the current situation. A lot of items, topics and opinions from that report are being incorporated into our report because we are still analyzing the amendments. If they are useful for the Members of the European Parliament and useful in Georgia, then I'm sure that we will stand behind them to implement all the necessary measures to bring Georgia closer to the European Union.

DO YOU AGREE WITH IT, CONSIDERING MANY OF THE CONCLUSIONS ARE QUITE CONFLICTING? I disagree that it’s conflicting. It's helping each other in a situation that is 50/50; we weren’t voting during the first consideration and the voting time will be in October or November. That means that the committee will accept the report after the second consideration in the next days or weeks. We are carefully listening to all the experts, to the Georgian officials, to the Georgian opposition, to the free media - we are listening carefully to all opinions.

THE GEORGIAN OPPOSITION

Image source: europarl.europa.eu

ACCUSED YOU OF BEING TOO LENIENT ON THE COUNTRY AND EMPHASIS WAS PUT ON YOUR UNOFFICIAL VISITS TO SYRIA AND ASSAD. YOU ALREADY ANSWERED THEIR ALLEGATIONS, BUT ON YOUR NEXT TRIP MIGHT YOU TALK ABOUT THE RECOGNITION OF ABKHAZIA AND SOUTH OSSETIA WITH PRESIDENT ASSAD? I paid two private visits to Syria in 2016 and 2017; I met the representatives of office of Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria, and the Red Cross and other representatives. I did it because we MEPs are still

thinking about the Syrian refugees, because this country has been at Civil War for the last seven years. I'm a friend of Georgia and what I will say now is a first for the open media: I called the administration of Bashar Assad and met them twice and I pleaded with them not to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states because these are natural parts of Georgia; you can develop relations between Syria and Georgia [I said]- and if you want, without recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This was my request to the Syrian administration. We have to try to change this situation using diplomatic channels to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as part of the Georgian State.

Will There Be a Place for Small Nations in Tomorrow’s World? Continued from page 7 especially small states) are bound to sacrifice their own sovereignty in the name of a safer and more prosperous world. Ethical limits for similar discussions are even more revealing when they unabashedly argue that ‘molls’ (small or insignificant players in international politics) should rush into the arms of neighbouring ‘gangsters’ (a handful of truly ‘sovereign’ poles) out of love or by coercion, in doing so assuaging concerns for the uncontrollable present. Needless to say, and besides being ruthlessly immoral, such an extreme understanding of the multipolar ‘2.0’ world fits perfectly with the narrative of revisionist states, which are avidly attempting to upend the post-1945 international security system and satisfy their narrow and neo-imperialistic whims. When it comes to the destiny of small nations, the question is one of two worlds: beyond simply maintaining oneself on the map, one must become a distinctive and unique contributor to the global community, acting as a sui generis citizen on an equal and non-discriminatory basis. The requirement for fairness in discussions also forces us to admit that—regardless of how culturally rich, historically diverse and economically attractive they may be—the probability of small nations being able to successfully trace their own path through our dangerous modern world is practically zero unless their align, realign or somehow integrate themselves into a system of settled and intelligible global interplays and favourable exchanges. Any deviation, either willing or unwilling, from this narrow path results in condemnation as a pariah state destined to ‘exit’ the stage and perish.

STRETCHING TO LIMITS: RISKS AND PITFALLS It is relatively simple to opt for international or overseas reliance, but much harder and trickier to define a right balance without tilting towards either com-

plete dependency or absurd self-determination: both options promise nothing else but self-inflicted wounds and much suffering. Some historical examples of such blunders can illustrate the depth and complexity of the choice. The case of South Vietnam stands out as a stark precedent of a complete state of dependency that, instead of favouring the country’s chances of survival, ended up incapacitating the government and destroying the state. The ‘Strategic Hamlet Program’ was not simply a U.S. and South Vietnamese strategy to combat communism, but effectively shaped all meaningful policy in South Vietnam during the late 1950s and early 1960s. It achieved the exact opposite of its intended goal, alienating ever more Vietnamese and strengthening the influence of the Viet Cong. The Program’s failure and that of various other ‘pacification’ projects (in total, the U.S. spent nearly USD 141 billion), followed by direct American military intervention (by 1969, America had deployed over 543,000 troops), only added to the plight of South Vietnam by driving the state of affairs to new heights of unsustainability. Both these military operations and the fact that the U.S. had essentially assumed the responsibilities of government on the ground led to the painful questions of why they were fighting this war (the key motive being the Domino Theory, according to which if a country turned to communism, so would its neighbours) and of whether their goals could be achieved by other means than intervention. On the whole, the example of South Vietnam shows that Saigon’s unconditional dependence and strongly biased unilateralism rendered it completely unable to map a course of action both domestically and internationally, ultimately causing it to collapse. Whereas we should of course never ignore the historical context, the Winter War of 1939-1940 between Russia and Finland is an example of relying exclusively on one’s own resources when attempting to resist the dominant might

of an aggressor. Facing Soviet demands for concessions, Finland began to seek help from Sweden and various other Western allies, but practically none was forthcoming. And yet the Soviet Union, 200 million strong, found it extremely challenging to overcome 3.7 million Finns. The treaty ending the Winter War eventually forced Finland to cede 11 per cent of its territory, but the country maintained its independence and set an indelible example of a small nation standing up to an aggressive bully. That said, the consequences of the Winter War and renewed hostilities in 1944 forced Finland to finally accept harsh terms and gave birth to the new diplomatic concept of ‘Finlandization’—maintaining neutrality without antagonizing a neighbouring superpower.

OPTIONS WE COULD PURSUE… The South Vietnamese and Finnish examples shed a brief light on the history of the failure or success (albeit limited) of small nations to maintain themselves. The realities of our world make the available options more complex and more difficult to choose and follow. The interconnections and complexity of current international volatilities force small nations to confront choices consisting of many different and simultaneously linked elements. Some resist successfully, others fail—most commonly as a result of balking, which is not the most sensible way to proceed (unless a country aspires to be a pariah)—and the rest are forced to constantly change course, rapidly and unpredictably, and sometimes for the worse. Yet a stable system of global politics assumes that major powers should consider small countries and thereby maintain an appropriate balance on the world stage. In turn, the smaller players must also consider the interests and expectations of the ‘poles’ for the benefit of humanity, order and progress. There are a few options available, but they are hard to implement in practice. One of these options, which relies a great deal upon

experience, knowledge and culture, involves a balancing act (sometimes ‘balancing softly’) that involves escaping from the pressure of one powerful state by letting another (or a group of states) rein that powerful state in. Some other states may accept to jump onto the ‘bandwagon’ of a powerful and threatening neighbour, but such a short-sighted approach simply encourages more aggression and ultimately leads to an inescapable trap. An intermediary option, and indeed one that has stood the test of history, is responding to threats by finding allies, pooling resources and acting together. In such cases, however, small nations must properly weigh all the pros and cons when identifying effective alliances, whilst geography (i.e. distance), the prior commitments of allies and the real capacity for effective collective action under a strong leadership can all hamper wellfunctioning arrangements. In any case, various small nations may choose to ‘bond’: this is particularly effective when strong personal ties exist with top officials in a ‘bonded’ country, as it gives small nations a plausible means of influencing these officials and shaping their decisions in the small nation’s favour. There are quite a few options, but as is often the case in the world of international politics, finding the right path is a never-ending process of adapting, formulating and following a strategy that could never convincingly be described as ‘grand’, but is instead quite shallow when one examines it in practical terms.

…AND OPTIONS GEORGIA MUST PURSUE Historically, this country has never enjoyed the comfort of being able to relax—not even for a minute. Instead, Georgia has always grappled with other powers and fought for her survival and the maintenance of her sovereign identity as a nation-state. Realistically speaking, this will always be the case: the Georgian ship of state will always have to beat her way against strong headwinds. Constantly acquiring and using the

knowledge and skills she needs to maintain her dignified and well-deserved place in the world is a ceaseless effort. We have discussed many different facets of Georgian foreign policy-making in previous articles, and in fine the prerequisite for success is once again more multilateralism in trade and investment coupled with more security and defence ties with key allies. In order to achieve the former, various legal instruments are indeed already in place (e.g. free trade and investment agreements), but these need to be regularly reviewed and upgraded as global trade develops and international business becomes more sophisticated. Geo-economic factors must also be considered, as the country can employ a definite set of tools that could be used to varying degrees in the immediate neighbourhood. As for Georgia’s security and defence ties with her allies, the country is apparently on the right track and making progress, but this progress could be stopped or suspended by disastrous developments within the Alliance unless the latter’s internal divisions are not quickly smoothed over. If the U.S. Congress were to adopt the recently introduced ‘Georgia Support Act’, for example, this would serve as a powerful decision in support of Georgia’s sovereignty and integrity—equivalent perhaps in importance to the 1940 Welles Declaration in support of the Baltic States, that refused to recognize their occupation and forceful incorporation into the Soviet Union and also served as a reference point for the American government’s 2018 Crimea Declaration. As a parting note, it is worth remembering that abiding by strategic values while rationalizing reality is the hardest mission a small nation must face. Doing so is reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘test of a first-rate intelligence, [i.e.] the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function,’ but it is precisely that first-rate intelligence that we need— and we, as the small nation, certainly do need to retain the ability to function.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

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Hunting Season OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA

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t has been a tragic autumn for the de-facto leaders of the occupied territories. The first death we witnessed was that of the separatist leader of Donetsk, Alexander Zakharchenko, who died in an explosion. A week later, the de-facto Prime Minister of Abkhazia, Gennady Gagulia, was killed in a car accident. Then Igor Dodon, President of Moldova, also had a car crash, but survived. A lot of political analysts believe that the Zakharchenko explosion, Dodon car crash and death of Gagulia are interconnected and are more than a mere coincidence. Who started the big hunt on the leaders of separatist forces, why, and what the President of Moldova had to do with it is unknown, but expert Vakhtang Maisaia has his version of events and points to the fact that Dodon had managed to

settle relationships with some at the Dniester by bypassing the Kremlin: “Dodon was planning to meet the socalled leaders of separatist Dniester and had been able to come to some agreement with them. More specifically, the issue concerned military trainings which were supposed to be held within the framework of the Russian military trainings,” Maisaia says. If by some logic Dodon’s car crash did have some connection with the Kremlin, it is unclear why they would want to get rid of Gagulia. Maybe somebody else was the real target of the Kremlin, and the so-called PM of Abkhazia fell prey instead. The so-called Deputy Head of State Security says that the cortege was coming from the Psou border towards Sokhumi; Gagulia’s Toyota Camry was following the car of Raul Khajimba. A small car moving in the opposite direction swerved and crashed head-on into the car that was behind Khajimba’s. But whose car was the target, Khajimba’s or Gagulia’s?

Khajimba’s predecessor, Aleksandr Ankvab, was also victim to a few car accidents, but survived all. Afterwards, there were a number of armed attacks against him and he survived those too. Finally, the people were so stirred up against him that Raul Khajimba came to replace him as the leader of the occupied regime. Whether a similar scenario will take place in Khajimba’s case is yet to be seen, but it is a fact that the season of car accidents is officially open. Often, the de-facto leaders of occupied Abkhazia, their deaths and disappearances, are a theme for a separate discussion. Nobody knows why the separatist leader Vladislav Ardzinba was diagnosed with Alzheimers at the age of 53. It is also ambiguous why Ardzinba’s heir, Sergei Bagapsh, died during a fairly easy operation for lung emphysema- he was planning to return to Sokhumi after the operation but was found dead in the hospital room. Now, Aleksandr Ankvab, who replaced

Image source: besthealthmag.ca

Bagapsh, perhaps suspicious after Bagapsh’s “accident,” usually comes to visit Tbilisi for his heart treatment, rather than going to Moscow. It is notable that the fate of Khajimba’s predecessors strangely coincided with the rise in problematic issues of land ownership and religion in the area. Today,

religion has overshadowed proprietorship. Abkhazian citizens are divided: ones taking the side of Constantinople, others supporting the Patriarch of Russia. Today, Khajimba stands on this crossroads and the intensity of probable assassinations could depend on the abovementioned issue.

Linkevicius: 20% of Georgia Is Occupied by Russia BY THEA MORRISON

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ithuanian Prime Minister, Linas Linkevicius, says nothing has changed since the August 2008 Georgia-Russia war, adding that the militarization process of Georgia is still underway. In his interview with Georgia’s Public

Broadcaster, Linkevicius said the so called borderization process in Georgia has stopped but it looks like a test. "It is very important to name it how it is – 20% of Georgia is occupied by the Russian Federation,” he stated. The Lithuanian PM also said he believes that some dialogues lead nowhere, referring to the dialogue with Russia. “Take the NATO-Russia council meetings. They meet periodically to discuss

problems. As the Russian side said once, it is a monologue not a dialogue,” he explained. Linkevicius says it is very important to be willing to solve the problem and for the position of the allies to be unified. “There are sanctions against Russia for the Crimea annexation. The same should have been done after the occupation of Georgia. But there was not enough will to do so,” he said, adding

timely actions are necessary to prevent future problems. Linkevicius came to Georgia on September 11 to attend the Tbilisi International Conference. He also met the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze. The parties discussed the two countries' close cooperation, including Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration. As the Prime Minister pointed

out, the Government of Georgia highly appreciates Lithuania's invaluable support in this direction. Special emphasis was placed on important issues on the Georgia-EU cooperation agenda, including the development of the roadmap for integration into the EU. The conversation also involved the positive dynamics in the development of bilateral relations and prospects of future cooperation


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

Azerbaijan Interested in Developing Relations with Brazil “After the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan aand Brazil, it is important to expand contacts between the two countries c aand hold discussions on issues of mutual interest, aside from the politm iical consultations held between the ttwo countries,” he said. Important for Azerbaijan is the fact tthat Brazil, in the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-KaraA bakh conflict, supports the principles of b

BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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zerbaijan is interested in developing relations with Brazil in the non-oil sector of the economy, reported Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Mahmud Mammadguliyev at an event dedicated to the Independence Day of Brazil.

sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of states. “Azerbaijan and Brazil have established a working group on cooperation in the fields of trade and economy, and it is necessary to use the potential of this working group to expand cooperation. Azerbaijan is interested in developing relations with Brazil in the non-oil sector of the economy,” Mammadguliyev highlighted.

Element Construction: Addressing the Gender Disbalance panies on the Georgian market that pay attention to social responsibility, gender balance and other similar issues. Element Construction is one of these exceptional companies. There are a lot of women working in the company, even in leading positions. In fact, we can say that the leaders of the most of structural units are women, and no important decisions are made without them. And you may think that their working day begins and ends in the office, but actually that’s not true. Mariam Janelidze is a Project Manager at Element Construction. According to her, experience brings self-confidence. When shefirstwentintoconstruction,sheencountered a number of difficulties, but after a time she proved that she was able to fulfill all the requirements of the job.

BY EKA ZEDELASHVILI, HEAD OF HR DEPARTMENT

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onstruction is an area in which gender stereotypes are still very common. The National Statistics Office of Georgia has not renewed its data since 2015, when it claimed that the engagement of women in the construction sector was less than 10%, while the engagement of men exceeded 90%. Three years is a significant amount of time, and the numbers may have changed, but the problem of gender disbalance in this area remains. Fortunately, there are exceptional com-

Image source: www.fwi.co.uk

The Purchases and Logistics Department at Element Construction, which is mainly staffed by men, is led very successfully by Tamar Katsadze. Male members of her group have stated that a female employee turned out to be a better fit for the given position.

***

On a personal note, when I started working as the head of the HR department in this construction company, I had the expectation that I would have to fight the gender balance constantly. I was pleasantly surprised when I was told directly by management that we needed as many female staff members as possible to reach the best results faster. I think this approach has helped determine the current success of the company.

SOCIETY

Cattle on the Highway OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

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couple of years ago, I had a funny accident on the road – I bumped into a cow. Not my fault though! The cow was crossing the central road of the periphery, and all of a sudden, she turned around, scared off by the oncoming vehicle. Consequently, I was fined by the state and sued by the owner of the animal. In a word, the unfortunate incident cost me, the innocent lamb, more than a nickel. This is the end of the entertaining part of the story. On a more somber count, ‘cattle on the road’ is a huge traffic problem in this country. A summer spent in western Georgia on the comfy beaches of the Black Sea is a real gift from God. Who could have imagined just a quarter of a century ago that the place would become full of state-of-the-art hotels with every possible amenity at a man’s service; highclass freeways with expensive cars of every brand and make; stylish restaurants and various exotic eateries every step of the way, with overdressed, or conversely, very scantily clad and gorgeously tanned

beauties of the nation and gentlemen in their elegant attendance – all of them creating an impression of the acme of civilization, and all of a sudden, like a wakeup call – cattle on the highway! Let me put it a little clearer: in western Georgia (and not only there), where the warm waters of the Black Sea tenderly wash the shores of the Kingdom of Colchis and where the current Georgian opulence is lavishly sparkling, one sees cattle on paved roads everywhere, either relaxing on the hot asphalt or lazily crossing the road where cars are moving at a permissible but still high speed. Here is the tangible picture: nobody wants to cripple or kill cattle, especially if the cattle belong to somebody else. And they belong to local people who are living in the vicinity of those roads. They have a strange way of operating their family business. The cattle, especially the cows, are trained to find their homes on their own. The owners are invisible, sitting at home and waiting for their feeders in front of their gates to take further care of them. From dawn to twilight, the animals exist in the rank of independent travelers and gatherers of food. Man is irrelevant at this particular point of their routine. As a result, the nerves of the

drivers are strained, brakes are overused, accidents happen, fines are paid, courts are crowded and foreign guests visiting Georgia are falling under the first extraordinary impression. It is also true though that the drivers are used to the scenery – sensing the peril from a distance, they usually slow down and carefully pass the cows, trying to stay as clear from them as possible. Some foreign travelers have some fun, laughing, tooting their horns and excitedly pointing fingers, taking pictures and looking back if they are fortunate enough to pass the cows peacefully, and memorizing Georgia as a country of mixed civil culture at the best. Where are the police at this time? Busy pulling reckless drivers over onto the shoulder of the road to teach them a lesson in lawful driving. But they are not conscious of the fact that a couple of kilometers away from their regular traffic regulation post, endangered citizens and animals might be intertwined in weird man-to-animal traffic puzzles. This uncivilized situation might be handled in a very civilized fashion: unattended cattle cannot be on the roads; there might be a special fixed time and place for cattle to cross roads in human

Image source: www.fwi.co.uk

attendance; animals should only be where they belong: farms, homes, pastures, etc. Perhaps this weird problem can be handled only via legislature: there has to be a law that will take care of this national embarrassment, astonishing the curious foreign eye and bothering

thousands of people on the road, as well as putting the poor animals at an explicit risk. Well, the world has seen big, white and long-horned cows in the streets of Indian towns, but this might be a bad comparison if we manage to honestly recognize the difference!


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

HUAWEI Celebrates 10 Million HUAWEI P20 Pro & HUAWEI P20 Units Sold Globally

BY ANNA ZHVANIA

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uawei Consumer Business Group (BG) announced that it has sold 10 million units of HUAWEI P20 Pro and HUAWEI P20 in the first five months, empowering photography enthusiasts globally to take stunning photos with their smartphones. This remarkable milestone is testament to global consumers’ confidence in the Huawei brand, and the innovative technology that HUAWEI has engineered for its photography-centric line of flagship devices. HUAWEI’s latest flagship devices sold very well in key markets such as China and Western Europe, where they are performing significantly better than their predecessors. “We are humbled by the reception of our latest flagships among global consumers. By going above the 10-million

mark, we have again set ourselves a high bar to clear, but we will treat it as a symbol of encouragement that will fuel us as we continue doing what we do best— putting cutting-edge innovations into the hands of consumers around the world,” said Kevin Ho, President of Handset Business, Huawei Consumer Business Group. The HUAWEI P20 Pro and HUAWEI P20 were the first two devices to receive a triple-digit score from DxOMark, the industry standard for camera and lens image quality measurements and ratings. Even today, the HUAWEI P20 Pro remains at the top of the DxOMark Mobile leaderboard with a score of 109, leading the second-place competitor device by six points. Featuring cameras co-engineered by Leica, Master AI, the high-performance handheld night shot capability enabled by HUAWEI AI Image Stabilization and large camera sensors, the HUAWEI P20 Series makes professional-grade photography accessible to anyone, even

novices who have little experience with camera operations. Furthermore, since the Twilight and Pink Gold HUAWEI P20 Series variants were launched, Huawei has ignited a trend in smartphone design and inspired many other manufacturers to launch their products in multi-hued versions. Earlier this month, the European Image and Sound Association announced that it has named HUAWEI P20 Pro the “EISA Best Smartphone 2018-2019,” citing that the device is “the most advanced, innovative and technically superior smartphone ever.” This serves as further evidence that the HUAWEI P20 Pro and the similarly-specked HUAWEI P20 are two of the best smartphones available in today’s market. At IFA 2018, HUAWEI unveiled the Morpho Aurora and Pearl White variants of the HUAWEI P20 Series. With these nature-inspired hues, Huawei expands its highly popular gradient color offerings.

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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

’Scape Chasing: Etseri, Svaneti

BLOG BY TONY HANMER

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t’s my favorite part of the view southwards from the house, and it can change by the minute, let alone by the hour, day, week or season. So I keep careful watch on it (when I can afford the time). There are two essential components to good landscape photography. One is simply the location which grabs you. The other is the lighting, which mutates that location’s personality moment by moment. Unless luck is all on your side when you happen across the scene at first, you’ll be coming back to seek the perfect light time and again. Which can be fun too. There are slow changes: the sun’s track

across the sky altering shadows, the color of the light from reddish at dawn and sunset to bluish at midday. The actual change in the sun’s very path from day to day, because in the northern hemisphere, in midsummer it can go directly overhead, whereas in winter it will hardly rise above the mountains, if you have such in your view. Quicker alterations in the light happen as it passes through clouds. These are the ones to watch second by second, because their interplay with the ground can be most dramatic. Now, they say that the best times for dramatic landscape lighting in general are when the sun is low in the sky: especially early and late in the day, obviously. But you have more of these low-angle hours to play with in winter, because the sun stays lower

anyway, and less in summer for the opposite reason. BUT! If your subject is vertical anyway, or mostly so, it isn’t dependent on the sun to rake across it at low angles to dramatize its form. Such subjects as mountains can benefit from light at any angle, any time of day, simply because they themselves are so far from flat. Strong sun gives strong shadows, dramatic contrasts, but perhaps obscures colors thus with its extremes. Cloud-filtered light is softer and can reveal form and hues better, though it may not be as powerful. You just have to… re-visit your scene over and over again, or lie in wait to see how the various factors affecting its lighting change over time. I did this today, over a midday hour, setting up the camera on a tripod and observing from an open upstairs window

my favorite scene. There were clouds moving, so the light did change moment to moment. I was shooting in a manual mode: focus, aperture and shutter speed all pre-set so I wouldn’t have to think about them, just shoot. Each picture would be a vertical panorama made up of essentially the same 6 shots, which a freeware program, Microsoft’s Image Composite Editor (ICE), would stitch together seamlessly into perfect wholes. Usually I take the shots hand-held, lining them up carefully in the viewfinder, but this time I wanted a minimum of wasted space. In the hour, I took 72 frames, which would lead to 12 stitched panoramas of the same scene, each subtly different from the others. Then I did my usual basic editing in Photoshop to restore colors and contrasts

which the great distance of my subject had toned down, and had my 12 images to compare and choose from. One of them I plan to print huge, as I have the mega-pixels to play with, frame, and hang upstairs in a spot over the staircase waiting, begging even, to be filled. Such are the processes of landscape photography, and the privileges of living in such a magnificent living landscape. Not wasted on me, oh no. 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 over 1900 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: w.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti

Nenskra Hydro Holds Meeting on Local Business Development with Chuberi & Nakra Communities BY ANNA ZHVANIA

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enskra Hydropower Plant project company – JSC Nenskra Hydro – held a meeting with the local community members in the village of Chuberi, Mestia Municipality. At the event, the opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprise development, that will be made available to the communities of Chuberi and Nakra villages as a result of cooperation between the Government of Georgia, Nenskra Hydro, NGOs and the private sector, were presented to the audience. Supporting the development of local SMEs is one of the key elements of the Nenskra HPP project’s social responsi-

bility. The project company has developed a special investment program – Community Investment Program – that prioritizes SME development, small infrastructural projects, as well as funding of educational and cultural projects. The meeting was attended by the representatives of the government and local authorities, including Advisor of Prime Minister of Georgia in Regional Development Issues, Sozar Subari, Member of Parliament of Georgia, Viktor Japaridze, Vice Governor of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Region, Nino Vibliani, Mayor of Mestia Municipality, Kapiton Zhorzholiani and Head of City Council of Mestia, Maizer Japaridze. NGOs, private sector and international project representatives also participated in the event, including the National Forestry Agency, Agricultural Cooperatives

Development Agency, Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production (REAP) Project, Georgian Hazelnut Improvement Project (G-HIP), Mayors for Economic Growth (EU4M) and Georgia’s Local Self-Government Institutional Capacity Development (PCM). About Nenskra HPP Project: JSC Nenskra Hydro is a project-based company established 2015 as a result of cooperation between Korea Water Resources Corporation K-water and JSC Partnership Fund. The company will construct the Nenskra Hydropower Plant in the Nenskra and Nakra river Valleys in Mestia Municipality of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. The 280 MW Nenskra Hydropower Plant will generate approximately 1’200.00 GWh of electricity annually, which will be fully consumed by the Georgian market. www.nenskrahydro.ge


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

Recycling in Georgia

BY SHAWN WAYNE

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ecycling is a major part of preserving the world as we know it and one person or country doing it just won’t be enough. Pollution is reaching a critical point where change is needed. In the past few years, many projects have been initiated to help with this worldwide, and recently Georgia has been playing its part. But is it enough? Back in 2015, Batumi became the first area to implement a recycling strategy in order to reduce pollution and help in preserving the environment in Georgia. More than 100 recycling bins separating glass, paper and plastic were installed. Even though Georgia did not have a specific waste recycling system, this was done as a way of encouraging locals to better discard of garbage and make recycling a habit for the future. “To solve the garbage problem, it must be started from something and by someone. We are like innovators in this sense, so let’s see what happens. This won’t completely solve our rubbish problem but we want to change people’s attitude toward waste management,” said Batumi Boulevard Administration Deputy Director Giorgi Varshanidze. Then in 2016, Solid Waste Management Company Director Giorgi Shukhoshvili announced that discussions where underway to carry out the sorting of separated waste, after which private sector companies would then process the raw materials. These changes are planned to take full affect only in 2019. “We're working on determining what sort of technologies can and need to be introduced into the recycling process. This is open for investors and, if they choose to, the government will support them,” he said. 2017 started off with a presentation done by Enviroserve, a Dubai-headquartered company operating in recycling e-waste. They announced the launch of an electronic waste recycling program in partnership with the Caucasus Environmental Network (CENN), the Waste Management Technologies in the Regions program (WMTR) and EcoVision’s

Spare Project. Enviroserve planned to distribute e-waste collection boxes across the country, and after collection, the scrap would then be shipped to Dubai for recycling. These drop-off locations aren’t available yet, but you can contact them through the website for a pickup. “It’s a call to action for Georgian citizens and companies to benefit from the program we’re launching, to have a healthier, greener Georgia. E-waste affects every one of us,” said Stuart Fleming, CEO of Enviroserve. Later in 2017, Tbilisi took a step toward “environmentally friendly” and placed several recycling points around the city with more waste separation spots planned for the future. The problem we face, however, is whether or not people actually decide to use these spots. The Tbilisi Mayor tried to make it more accessible for residents by installing special plastic bottle collector machines as well. But people are stubborn and do not always want to give in to things they are not use to. As a result, Tbilisi City hall announced the implementation of a recycling strategy in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in order to move forward in the endeavor of making recycling a top priority. “I think the strategy that will be created by the EBRD and Tbilisi Municipality will ensure that very soon Tbilisi will step by step move towards a waste segregation system,” said Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze. Many things have been promised with the goal of progressing recycling in Georgia. Some failed or never came to fruition, and others have gained trust and support from many. A memorandum was signed between Tbilisi City Hall’s Tbilservice Group, the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), and Waste Management Association of Georgia in August this year, and covers the cooperation between the public, private, and civil sectors to promote the gradual adoption of waste separation by the public. Cooperation began this month and aims to promote recycling through placing separation facilities in ten areas around Tbilisi and raising public awareness. This cooperation will educate everyone about the importance of recycling to the environment and also the importance of bringing the country up to western standards with other western waste disposal strategies. Georgia is moving forward in many aspects, but should not forget to protect what is very dear to it, the beautiful landscapes and ecological environment. 2019 might well be a turning point for Georgia as the building blocks of proper waste disposal are built, however, the government can only do so much, and at some point the people need to work together with each other and the government in order to sustain the beauty and culture of Georgia, and make sure not to lose for the sake of stubbornness.

Young Adult from the State Care System Becomes a Student with the Help of “Natakhtari Foundation” BY ANNA ZHVANIA

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our beneficiaries of the Natakhtari Foundation successfully passed the national exams and became university students. The young adults prepared for the exams within the foundation’s program, achieving a positive and effective result. Three of the four beneficiaries were selected to study at the Tbilisi State University and Ilia University in the faculties of Law, Science and Arts and Mathematics. The other beneficiary became a student of the Batumi State University and will pursue a Degree in Psychology. For years, Tamar lived with her foster parents. Three years ago, she became involved in the Natakhtari Foundation program and began preparing for the national exams. As her psychologist Gvantsa Metivishvili said, Tamar was very motivated to become a student, however, despite her hard work and effort, Tamar did not obtain enough points on the exams last year. When Tamar turned 18, she had to leave her foster family. “She’s a very emotional girl and had the utmost desire to become a student. However, she went through a lot of stress before the national exams, which reflected on her results and unfortunately, she was unable to pass,” Metivishvili told us. “She was so motivated that she decided not to give up. We stood by her side every step of the way, comforting and encouraging her, highlighting every successful step. Through this process, we observed her self-confidence rise. As she left her foster care, Tamar was moved to a Monastery and continued

to study for the exams on her own, without the help of tutors. Her dedication led to Tamar to successfully become a Law Faculty student”. Tamar was also employed with the joint support of Natakhtari Foundation and the Our House – Georgia Association, giving her the opportunity to work while studying. This is a vital step towards independence. The moment Tamar started work, she told the Foundation and Association to provide help to other students in need, as she already had a secure job and could take care of herself. Her action is a clear indication of personal maturity, which is truly something to be proud of. It is vital that the Foundation supports students who are unable to live independently with financial means. The goal of the Foundation is to prepare the young in need as they work towards an independent life. The services are utilized by 15 to 18-year-olds, who are in the State Care System throughout Georgia.

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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

TBILISI INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THEATER September 14, 15, 16 TIGER AND LION Badisches Staatstheater Directed by Data Tavadze Language: German Georgian, English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 25-35 GEL Venue: Royal District Theater September 14, 15, 16 BRODSKY/BARYSHNIKOV The New Riga Theater Directed by: Alvis Hermanisi Adapted from Iosif Brodski’s poetry Starring: Mikhail Barishnikovi Language: Russian Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-85 GEL Venue: Marjanishvili Theater September 17, 18 CIRKOPOLIS Cirque Éloize, Canada Directed by Deiv Sen-Pieri Da Zhano Pensho Georgian, English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-60 GEL Venue: Griboedovi Theater September 20 Edgar Allan Poe's Haunted Palace featuring The Tiger Lillies Directed by Pol Gloubi Georgian, English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 25-70 GEL Venue: Marjanishvili Theater MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATER Address: 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. TEL 234 80 90 September 18 WELCOME TO GEORGIA A musical, theatrical play and romantic comedy telling a story about Georgia and its people by combining song, dance, culture, traditions, history, national costumes and local cuisine. Musical Language: English, some Georgian (with English subtitles) Start time: 2 0:00 Ticket: 50-80 GEL

Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 20 GEL September 15 HOST AND GUEST Based on a work of Vazha Pshavela Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 20 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 14 Shavteli Str. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 September 14 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL September 15, 20 STALINGRAD Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL September 16, 18, 19 An animated documentary film REZO Directed by Leo Gabriadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL September 14-20 THE EQUALIZER 2 Directed byAntoine Fuqua Cast: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller Language: English Start time: 17:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL THE PREDATOR Directed by Shane Black Cast: Yvonne Strahovski, Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror Language: English Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 15 GEL

SHALIKASHVILI THEATER Address: 37 Shota Rustaveli Ave. TEL 595 50 02 03

CAVEA GALLERY Address: 2/4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 200 70 07

September 14 TERENTI GRANELI

Every Wednesday ticket: 8 GEL September 14-20

THE EQUALIZER 2 (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 16-19 GEL CRAZY RICH ASIANS Directed by Jon M. Chu Cast: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh Genre: Comedy, Romance Language: English Start time: 14:15 Ticket: 11-15 GEL THE PREDATOR (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 16-19 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY Exhibition showcasing a long history of money circulation on the territory of modern Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS UNKNOWN COLLECTIONS OF THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM– INDIA, CHINA, JAPAN May 26 – September 30 THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA - 100 YEARS MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Discover the State's personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and

other artifacts representing Sovietera cultural and political repression in Georgia. SAMTSKHE-JAVAKHETI MUSEUM Rabati Fortress, 1 P. Kharistchirashvili Str.1, Akhaltsikhe The Georgian National Museum presents the renovated exhibition spaces at the Samtskhe-Javakheti Museum, which see the addition of recently discovered exhibits, and technical updates according to modern museum standards. SVANETI MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ETHNOGRAPHY Address: 7 A. Ioseliani Str., Mestia, Georgia. August 25 – October 14 Georgian National Museum and Project ArtBeat present Maia Naveriani's exhibition ‘Gone Here Today Tomorrow’ at the Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography.

PHOTOGRAPHY Curated by Nestan Nijaradze, Guram Tsibakhashvili, Natia Bukia Project ArtBeat Gallery Opening: 18:00 Venue: 14 P. Ingorokva Str. September 20 BROKEN SEA Nata Sopromadze & Irina Sadchikova Opening: 18:30 Venue: Stamba, 14 M. Kostava Str. SALTY TASTE OF THE BLACK SEA Open air Screening Live music accompaniment by Ben Wheeler Opening: 20:30 Venue: Stamba Amphitheatre 14 M. Kostava Str. MUSIC

TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE Address: 8 Griboedov Str. TEL 298 71 86

GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 215 73 00 September 11 – November 25 EXHIBITION BERNINI'S SCHOOL AND THE ROMAN BAROQUE OPEN SPACE 2 Monk Gabriel Salosi I Turn TEL 577 60 00 08 September 16 OPEN SPACE OPENING Visitors can view installations or get involved in performances: 18:00- Installation by Giorgi Mozgovoi – ‘Full Emptiness.’ Installation by Davit Khorbaladze ‘Children were playing here. The story ended badly.’ Performance by Gvantsa Enukidze ‘We are sinking!’ 20:00- three contemporary electronic musicians: Bakur Metreveli, Irakli Shonia, Sandro Kozmanishvili in a joint project FEAR POLLUTIO Free entrance TBILISI PHOTO FESTIVAL 2018 September 13 AND WE CAME OUT TO SEE ONCE MORE THE STARS Curated by Christian Barani & Nestan Nijaradze Opening: 19:00 Venue: Stamba, 14 M. Kostava Str. September 15 PHENOMENA OF LITHUANIAN PHOTOGRAPHY (1918-2018) Photo Screening 100 LITHUANIAN PHOTO BOOKS Start time: 18:00 Venue: Fabrika, Conference Hall, 8 E. Ninoshvili Str. NIGHT OF PHOTOGRAPHY Opening: 20:00 Venues: 3 Betlemi Str., 11 Betlemi Str., Hotel ‘Kalanga’ courtyard, 25 Betlemi Str., 15 Gomi Str., 1 Goli str. Hotel ‘Amante’ courtyard, 5/12 Gomi Str., 2 Gomi Str., Betlemi Uphill. September 16 ELEMENTARY PARTICLES: EPIGRAPHS FROM GEORGIAN

September 19 ORGAN MUSIC CONCERT Daniel Beilschmidt (Germany) In program: Johann Sebastian Bach, Alessandro Scarlatti, Antonio Soler, Knut Nystedt, César Franck, Arvo Pärt Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-20 GEL LISI LOUNGE Address: Lisi Lake September 15 VODKAST RECORDS 3RD ANNIVERSARY PARTY Start time: 14:00 Ticket: 25 GEL LISI WONDERLAND Address: Near Lisi Lake September 15 TREEBAL & ZION: GARDEN GATHERING Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 15 GEL IN THE DENSE FOREST Address: Tskneti, The last bus stop TEL 514 07 50 00 September 15 DARIA ZET AND DALI The price includes 2 cocktails Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 15 GEL September 16 SAPHILEAUM, SSEQ The price includes 2 cocktails Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 15 GEL SOUNDS OF GEORGIA September 14, 19, 20 Regular mini-concerts of traditional Georgian live music in Old Town will make you get to know and fall in love with Georgian character and culture. Start time: 17:00 Tickets: 23 GEL Venue: September 14: New Tiflis, 9 Agmashenebeli Ave., Wine bar ‘Wine Station’; Venue: September 19: 2 Ivan Turgenev Atr., Tbilisi deep yard Venue: September 20: Europe Sq., 2 D. Megreli Str., Hotel "Nata", Terrace


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 14 - 17, 2018

15

Tbilisi Int'l Festival of Theater to Host The Tiger Lillies BY LIKA CHIGLADZE

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his year marks the 10th anniversary of Tbilisi International Festival of Theater, considered one of the most important cultural events of autumn in the country. Apart from Tbilisi, the festival has become one of the main performing arts events in Caucasia and Eastern European countries, attracting the attention of the best-known, creative, provocative and innovative theater productions in the world. Since the creation of the festival, the event has aimed at positioning the country on the international cultural map. Every year, besides delivering unique and distinguished shows and performances, the festival also serves as a platform of discussion with society that impacts the community in a certain way. “The discussion is about the differences in forms and stories; new attitudes and unique, new viewpoints; modern, unrevealed worlds and their possibilities. Escorted by the audience and the participants of the festival, we want to uncover the world which will enhance our imagination and emotions. We want to go beyond! We want to meet the cultures yet concealed from us! We want to follow the path that only the actors can unravel for us...," explains the team behind the project. The festival has hosted 170 companies from around the world over the past nine years. This year, the festival opens on September 14 and closes on September 30. The 2018 Tbilisi International Festival of Theater program incorporates plays, drama performances, modern dances,

contemporary music and circus show. What makes this year’s festival so special are the celebrated and honorary artists from around the world that will be taking part and delivering fascinating shows. A well-known three-piece band The Tiger Lillies will be part of the festival, as will celebrated actor Mikhail Baryshnikov, who will present his one-man show based on the poems of Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky. The program of Tbilisi International Festival of Theater is very diverse and is as follows: • INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM • INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM "NEW" • GEORGIAN SHOWCASE • MASTERCLASSES, WORKSHOPS AND EXHIBITIONS The international program runs September 14-30, while the Georgian showcase program runs from 25 until September 29. For more detailed information and the lineup, check out the website http://www.tbilisiinternational.com/en/. GEORGIA TODAY talked to Ekaterina Mazmishvili, Art Director of the Tbilisi International Festival of Theater. “This year’s festival is totally different from previous years, since it is made up of an entirely new program incorporating new plays. The performances will take place in Tbilisi’s leading theaters, including Marjanishvili, Rustaveli, the Royal District and Griboedov, as well as in open spaces. The international program incorporates theater troupes from Europe, the USA, China and Canada, represented for the first time at the festival. We launched the Georgian and International programs in 2009. This year we offer our audience a novelty,

as we will be hosting a Circus show from Canada that will be absolutely different from the old circus that we knew in our childhoods. As for the contemporary dance that is regularly included in our program, this year we are proud to have a Chinese troupe here to present an amazing show that is one of most important forms of contemporary dance. We have been hosting the festival for over 10 years and it has become one of the primary cultural events in the city. Representatives of various festivals, theaters and production companies from different countries are to attend the Georgian performances to select artists and team up with them for co-productions. This section carries a serious mission, it serves as an introduction to and promotion of Georgian Theater and its integration within the world cultural network. The Georgian Showcase is one of the most important platforms in the theater culture here for international exchange: for a number of Georgian Companies and artists it is the opportunity to build new relationships, create co-productions, tour and exchange artists; while for international guests it is a discovery of new possibilities for their programming and future plans. Many successful co-productions, such as Tiger and Lion have resulted from this showcase. The festival will be opened with this very play, a German-Georgian co-production where director Data Tavadze and playwright Davit Gabunia, together with the German actors of the Staatstheater Karlsruhe, present a distanced and strict analysis of the tragic events,” Mazmishvili told us. As the program review reads, Tiger and Lion is a fictional play, though based

on true stories, where characters have no names. They are collective images, combining the biographies from the bloody history of Soviet Georgia. As for the world-famous music group that will be part of the festival, The Tiger Lillies will deliver two performances. “The Tiger Lillies will present a multimedia concert of Edgar Allan Poe’s Haunted Palace in Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theater. In their new show,

a highly visual nightmare and bizarre musical extravaganza, The Tiger Lillies plunge into the dark and sinister world of Edgar Allan Poe. Additionally, we have yet another surprise for our audience, the famous musical trio will deliver a free concert in Europe Square, in Tbilisi, on September 21. It is a really important gift from the musicians and an event of high importance that happens rarely, ” Mazmishvili reported.

Georgia at the European Jazz Conference the European Jazz Conference a vital force in the world of jazz in Europe. Each year, the conference is organized by the European Jazz Network (EJN). EJN is a non-profit network of producers, presenters, and organizations. The network emphasizes music from a distinct European outlook. And this year, Kavkaz Jazz Festival founder and director Helen Mechitova was selected by EJN to participate in the conference. The Kavkaz Jazz Festival was founded in June 2010 in Tbilisi, Georgia to showcase diverse and international musical talents and is now held annually in the city. Though it is a first that a Georgian jazz industry representative has joined the European Jazz Conference, the Kavkaz Festival has been featured in DownBeat magazine and collaborated

BY SHIRIN MAHDAVI

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he 2018 European Jazz Conference will be held from September 13th to September 16th at the Cultural Center De Belem in Lisbon, Portugal. This year marks the first year that a Georgian jazz industry representative will participate in the prestigious event. The conference is the most significant annual gathering of professionals from the jazz industry in Europe. Featuring insightful keynote speeches, discussion groups and workshops, networking sessions, and a festival to pay homage to the emerging artists of the hosting country,—this year, Portugal—

Photosource: Kavkaz Jazz Festival Facebook

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with the Jamey Aebersold School of Music (2016) and BOZAR—Center of Fine Arts in Belgium (2017). The invitation from EJN to the conference is not only momentous in the sense that it’s the first time for Georgia, but also in that it is well deserved for the mission of the Kavkaz Festival. This year’s theme for the European Jazz Conference is “On the Edge,” which aims to incite discussion about edges, peripheries, and edginess. The edgy theme is perhaps a fitting one for Georgia—a country that has been increasingly gaining press—and for the Kavkaz Festival that provides a platform for diverse musicians as edginess highlights difference. http://www.europejazz.net/conference-programme

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1083  

September 14 - 17, 2018

Issue #1083  

September 14 - 17, 2018

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