Issue no: 887
• OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY
PRICE: GEL 2.50
In this week’s issue... Harvest Starts in Racha-Lechkhumi Region NEWS PAGE 3
Sophisticated Politics: Ogden on The Aftermath
POLITICS PAGE 4
UNM Claims Ruling Team Physically Abused Their Members
ON THE AFTERMATH
Street fights, resignations and conspiracy theories. The week after the Georgian Parliamentary Elections
POLITICS PAGE 6
PAGE 1 - 7
What Currency Should We Choose for Our Mortgage? POLITICS PAGE 6
Do We Now Have a Better Parliament?
Putin Orders Russians to Return Home Amid New Cold War
Georgia’s Min of Energy Hosts Presentation on EU Renewable Energy Directive
BY NICHOLAS WALLER
n an unprecedented move that has alarmed many in the international community, Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly issued an order early this week for all Russian officials and their relatives living abroad to fly home amid heightened tensions with the West and the prospect of a global war. According to reports in the international and local media, Russian politicians, administrative staff and employees of public corporations have been ordered to take their children out of foreign schools immediately. If true, the move comes after a stormy week in Russian-Western relations. Putin cancelled a planned visit to France amid a furious row over Moscow's role in the Syrian conflict and just days after it emerged the Kremlin had moved Iskander nuclear missile batteries to the Polish border. The unprecedented cancellation of a visit so close to being finalized is a “serious step and reminiscent of the Cold War”, said Russian foreign policy analyst Fyodor Lukyanov. “This is part of the broader escalation in the tensions between Russia and the West, and Russia and NATO,' he told AFP. The Kremlin’s indignation towards the international community was on full display earlier in the week accusing the US, UK and France of spreading anti-Russian hysteria after each said Russia should face war crimes for its role in the Syrian Civil War. Putin was further incensed when US President Barack Obama cited CIA reports that Russia’s
POLITICS PAGE 7
SOCIETY PAGE 8
INTERVIEW: Romaine Audrerie - London’s Top Sommelier Discovers Georgia CULTURE PAGE 10
Griboedov Theater Opens 171th Season with Finnish Collaboration ‘Frozen Images’ feared-FSB security service has been engaged in an intense campaign of cyber warfare against key Western countries for the better part of two years. Russia has been ratcheting up talk of an armed confrontation with the West since early October. On October 7, the Kremlin launched a massive nationwide civil defense training exercise to ensure the country is properly prepared forna nuclear, chemical and biological attack from NATO. Lasting three days, the exercise involved 200,000 emergency personnel and the co-operation of 40 million civilians. The exercise came after the popular Defense Ministry-run Zvezda TV network announced. "Schizophrenics from America are sharpening
their nuclear weapons for use against Russia." Despite the claims of the Russian media, Western officials have been reluctant to deem the recent events as anything more than a rise in tensions between the two sides. Despite Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, occupation of Georgian territory and actions in Syria – officials in Washington and London refuse to classify Russian officials’ open threats of armed conflict or a nuclear exchange as a New Cold War. Russia recently unilaterally pulled out of two key nuclear arms treaties and bombed a UN aid convoy in Syria that killed dozens – actions that UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said “were turning Russia into a pariah state.”
CULTURE PAGE 15
OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
Agriculture Minister Levan Davitashvili and Lower Svaneti Governor, Papuna Margvelidze in Racha
Harvest Starts in RachaLechkhumi Region BY THEA MORRISON
ollowing on from the Kakheti region, the annual grape harvest has begun in mountainous Racha-Lechkhumi. Agriculture Minister Levan Davitashvili and Lower Svaneti Governor, Papuna Margvelidze, arrived in the region to open the Coordination Headquarters of Grape Harvest 2016 in Ambrolauri Municipality. The Minister noted that harvest preparatory works have been completed and the government is ready to successfully conduct the harvest process. The Minister himself participated in the harvest in Saketsia village before heading to Bugeuli village to visit the grape processing factory there. “At present, 100 tons of grapes have been processed in Racha. The harvest here will be conducted as successfully as in Kakheti,” stated the Minister, going on to promise the locals that each farmer’s harvest will be purchased. The local farmers expect around 500-600 tons of Aleksandrouli and Mujurouli grapes this year.
“The harvest is underway in an organized manner. The demand for local grapes is very high, particularly from entrepreneurs,” Governor Margvelidze stated. Harvest Coordination staff in Racha-Lechkhumi will be led by the Head of the National Wine Agency, Giorgi Samanishvili. At this stage, 15 wine companies are registered at the Ambrolauri Harvest Coordination headquarters. Initially, six grape receiving centers were opened - three in Ambrolauri and three in the villages: Chrebalo, Bugeuli and Khvanchkara. The centers receive grapes from 10 am to 6pm. In order to promote grape growing, the government has subsidized the harvest and will issue 0.45 GEL per kilogram for Rkatsiteli grapes, 0.20 GEL per kilo for Saperavi and 0.45 GEL per kilo for Kakhetian Green as subsidies. The highest price is on Mujuretuli and Aleksandrouli grapes with wine factories having to pay 2 GEL per kilo within the state subsidies program. After delivering the grapes to the factories, the village farmers will receive their money within 15 working days by presenting their ID cards.
Georgian Dream Has Strong Showing in Adjara’s Local Elections BY MARIKO NATSARISHVILI
oters in Georgia’s western Adjara region on the Black Sea coast went to the polls on October 8 to cast their ballot for the country’s next parliament, but unlike the rest of Saturday’s voters, Adjaran residents were also voting for their region’s autonomous legislative body. By all accounts, the elections went smoothly and peacefully as 162,076 Adjaran residents – 52.5 percent of the region’s population – cast their vote. According to preliminary results from the Adjaran Autonomous Republic Central Election Commission, the ruling Georgian Dream party garnered 44.91 percent of the vote and the main opposition United National Movement received 29.63 percent of the ballots cast. The only other parties to cross the 5 percent threshold needed to enter Adjara’s Supreme Council were the two staunchly pro-Russian parties – veteran lawmaker Nino Burdjanadze’s Democratic Movement (6.08 percent) and the Patriotic Alliance (5.71 percent), led by Irma Inashvili. Six majoritarian candi-
dates stood for both Parliament and the Supreme Council in the region, only one of which – a member of the Georgian Dream – crossed the 50 per cent threshold needed to avoid a second round run off. If the Georgian Dream fares well in the next round, winning all the majoritarian seats, the ruling coalition will have a constitutional super majority in the 21-member Supreme Council. As it currently stands, the Georgian Dream will have eight members, United National Movement – 5; and one spot each for the Democratic Movement and Patriotic Alliance. Adjara’s Supreme Council is the foundation of the region’s status as an autonomous republic inside Georgia. The members of the Supreme Council are elected to four-year terms.
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
Tbilisoba Kicks Off This Weekend BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
he annual city festival Tbilisoba is set to be something massive this year. On the weekend of October 15 -16, the city of Tbilisi will become a center of many cultural, sports, children’s activities, food and agricultural fairs, concerts, exhibitions and live performances- all at different spots throughout the capital. Rikhe Park will be transformed into a children’s city, with concerts and theatrical performances to be held over the two dys.
The recently renovated Agmashenebeli Avenue, “The New Tiflis,” will be the epicenter of the city festival, with exibitions, literature and musical events packed into the area. Tbilisoba will open this Saturday at Legvtakhevi (Abanotubani district) and end on Ocober 16 with a concert of popular Georgian singers, but in between, additional to the above, there will be an exhibition of old cars, an old Georgian bazaar on Europe Square with popular Georgian gardener Zura Shevardnadze as host, several open air concerts, wine and food tastings and much, much more, all promising to bring a vibrant weekend to the town.
Veteran Georgian Politician Alasania Resigns BY THEA MORRISON
he leader of Georgia’s opposition Free Democrats party Irakli Alasania announced that he plans to temporarily leave politics after his party’s poor showing in Saturday’s parliamentary elections. While addressing the media at a press conference on Monday afternoon, Alasania said he would withdraw his majoritarian candidacy in the central Georgian city Gori, where he received 19.38 percent of the vote, allowing him
to qualify for the second round of elections later this month. Alasania thanked all his supporters while saying his decision was based on the Free Democrats inability to cross the 5 percent threshold needed to enter into the next parliament. “At this time, I do not see a way forward where my team and I will be able to influence the current political processes in the country," he said. The Free Democrats will continue their political activities and will prepare better for the following local or parliamentary elections. “I am going to do interesting work that will help me to do more for Geor-
gia and for the people who voted for me,” said Alasania, promising he would always stand by his country and people. Alasania is a former soldier and prominent diplomat who founded the Free Democrats in 2009. In early 2012, his party joined the Georgian Dream Coalition and he served as Defense Minister until 2014. He and his party later broke with the Georgian Dream and moved into the opposition camp. Alasania’s fellow party member Alexey Petriashvili also said he was leaving politics after the Free Democrats’ dismal showing in the polls.
OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
Sophisticated Politics: Ogden on The Aftermath UNM to Take Part in Run-Off Elections and Georgia’s New Parliament BY THEA MORRISON
G OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN
eorgian Dream claimed a victory in last Saturday's elections, but I really feel as though this was a loss for the opposition rather than a win for the ruling team. No opposition party managed to persuade the public that they might do better behind the reins of power, and so the people seemed to think that they might as well just stick with what they've got. Oddly enough, I am inclined to agree. I have minor reservations; the classy and intelligent David Usupashvili, for example, will be replaced as Speaker, and I can only hope that the government finds someone to fill the post who is not from the Kakha Kaladze school of politics (by which I mean a football pitch). Georgia needs no more actors, singers or athletes in positions of power. I am no fan of the Georgian Dream party. Bidzina Ivanishvili is far too involved with the party he founded and has since claimed to distance himself from, despite his behaviour and actions suggesting the contrary. However, their staying in power now is essential for the nation's stability.
No opposition party managed to persuade the public they might do better behind the reins of power, and so the people decided they might as well just stick with what they've got
Normally, I do not even like to acknowledge the Georgian love of conspiracy theories, since they are nearly always taken as truth beyond all doubt by their proponents and slammed by detractors without either side engaging in any meaningful debate. Various opposition parties – Saakashvili and his UNM party being the most prominent – have this week said that the elections were rigged by the government, despite all evidence to the contrary presented by local and foreign observers. Radical members of the UNM even suggested taking to the streets, and a fierce internal debate was held on whether to actually enter Parliament with the seats the party did manage to win (they have since decided to fulfil their parliamentary mandates). If the UNM had come back into power, we would have witnessed a purge of the former government, with mass arrests and reprisals for Georgian Dream having imprisoned various UNM members since coming to power. Saakashvili would have returned, and likely taken control once again. Georgian Dream's rule has been far from perfect, with such wonderful disasters as Kakha Kaladze and David Narmania being given positions of responsibility and power, but if anything could make Georgia's foreign partners reconsider their involvement with the country, it would be a vengeful UNM running the government again. I have the utmost respect for how President Saakashvili dragged this country out of the Dark Ages and turned it into a model that almost every former Soviet republic outside of the Baltic states has failed to emulate. But I believe that is what he is best at; taking a broken nation and fixing it. Running it, however, should be the responsibility of someone else, and while Georgian Dream have been far from perfect, no government ever is, and they have not been the disaster that UNM voters thought they would be back in 2012. I mentioned the Georgian love of conspiracy theories a few paragraphs ago,
and while I agree that Bidzina Ivanishvili has far too much influence in the Georgian Dream party, if GD really were proRussian – as the UNM and Saakashvili claim – I can't help but think that they might have worked a bit harder to derail Georgia's EU and NATO ambitions. The fact that Georgia has not been given its visa liberalization with the EU or NATO membership is no fault of Georgia's, and if GD wanted to abandon the country's Western course I don't believe it would be too hard. I have written elsewhere of how the West needs to find the courage to make a decision over Georgia, and how the Georgian people have every right to be furious at both NATO and the EU, and with this in mind I don't think it would be too hard for GD to say 'We have fulfilled all our obligations for visa liberalization; our troops have died in pointless NATO campaigns. Enough is enough'. I'm not a GD politician, but I think I could make it stick. Nino Burjanadze no longer has the public's trust (or the style, sorry Nino) to carry it off. I was glad to see that Irakli Alasania had the sense to quit his Free Democrats party; a fresh face is what's needed. I believe that the UNM would have done rather better if Saakashvili had done the same. Many voters were turned off by the thought that a vote for the UNM was a vote for his return; ironically, if he had stepped back the UNM might have won and then his return would have been assured. I admire Saakashvili as a reformer, but for all his iron purpose he remains too volatile, emotional, and impulsive to lead. Both the former President and the UNM must acknowledge that the party is now better off without him at this stage; while mass arrests were what was needed thirteen years ago, a more sophisticated type of politics is in play now. The smaller opposition parties, meanwhile, have a simpler (but not easier) task ahead of them, in trying to attract voters to their causes.
eorgia's main opposition party - former President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement (UNM), which came in second after the ruling party Georgian Dream (GD) in the October 8 elections, has opted to take part in the second round voting and will enter the new parliament. The decision was made late Tuesday at a meeting of UNM council members. The UNM captured 27.111 percent in Saturday’s election but originally claimed that the results were falsified by Georgian Dream. Hardliners with the UNM, including Saakashvili, claimed the government rigged the elections and called for a boycott of the next parliament. The absolute majority of members, however, believed the party had to par-
ticipate in the second round and enter parliament to prevent self-isolation and the establishment of one-party rule by their bitter political foes, Georgian Dream, according to UNM Council member Sergi Kapanadze. “There were many violations during the elections, but we have to respect the people who voted for us,” said Kapanadze. David Bakradze, the UNM’s leader in Georgia, said he would not allow billionaire oligarch and founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party Bidzina Ivanishvili to establish one-party rule. “The UNM has remained the only viable pro-Western opposition force in the country…we accept this honor. The party will participate in the second round of voting and also enter the new parliament once it is seated,” Bakradze said. Preliminary data shows that the second round for majoritarian MP seats is expected in 50 out of a total 73 singlemandate constituencies. GD and UNM candidates are expected to face each other in runoffs in 44 districts.
Kyrgyz President Visits Georgia BY THEA MORRISON
he President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Almazbek Atambayev, is paying an official visit to Georgia. Atambayev arrived in Tbilisi with the Kyrgyz First Lady and his delegation late on Wednesday. Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili and the First Lady Maka Chichua welcomed the guests in the Presidential Palace. As part of the ceremony, the two presidents introduced one another to national delegation members and the diplomatic corps. The welcoming ceremony was also attended by Georgian governmenta officials: the Minister of Economic and Sustainable Development, Dimitry Kumsishvili, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mikhail Janelidze, Education Minister, Alexander Jejeleva, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Giorgi Mghebrishvili, the Minister of Finance, Nodar Khaduri, the Head of the Presidential Administration, Giorgi Abashishvili, the Acting Secretary of the National Security Council, Levan Bodzashvili and the President’s Foreign Affairs Secretary, Tengiz Pkhaladze. After the ceremony the presidents held a face to face meeting in which Margvelashvili expressed hope that the first-time visit of Almazbek Atambayev to Georgia would further strengthen relations between Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.
Political ties between the two countries were discussed at the meeting and both parties agreed that intensive dialogue between Georgia and Kyrgyzstan should always be supported. The Georgian president noted that agreements signed in the fields of security, economy, and education will create new cooperation opportunities between the two countries. Moreover, the officials discussed the situation in the occupied territories of Georgia and the incidents of human rights violations. Margvelashvili pointed out that Georgia still faces Russia’s creeping occupation in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which complicates the humanitarian situation of the local population. The regional role of Georgia and the development of the trans-regional collaboration were also discussed at the meeting. Margvelashvili thanked Atambayev for supporting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Atambayev paid tribute to the memory of soldiers who died fighting for that territorial integrity by laying a wreath at the national memorial at Heroes Square in Tbilisi. Further, the Georgian and Kyrgyz sides signed an agreement to prevent double taxation and evasion of income and capital taxes. The agreement is expected to increase economic cooperation between Georgia and Kyrgyzstan and attract more foreign investments.
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
Constitutional Changes Ahead: Will The President Keep His Palace? OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA
lthough a second round of elections is due, the Georgian Dream (GD) party has already started discussing possible constitutional changes. Some of their representatives, elected through the proportional list, have announced plans their political party will carry out upon the meeting of the new Parliament. The first one is an insertion to be added to the law about the definition of the family, the second concerns moving the parliamentary sessions from Kutaisi to Georgia, while the third is about the constitutional law regarding the general elections of the president. No other constitutional changes have so far been announced, but they will. According to the main law, constitutional changes in parliament require the support of 113 MPs. The latest data from the Central Election Commission suggests that Georgian Dream is quite close to this result- 50 Majoritarian candidates will compete in the second round, which does create the prospect for a constitutional majority. However, it is only a prospect at this point, since it is quite hard to foresee the course in which the full oppositional electorate votes will be directed: Georgian Dream or the United National Movement (UNM). Already confirmed data suggests that GD has won 44 mandates through the proportional system, and 23 through majoritarian. In total this means that the Georgian Dream lacks 46 mandates to win the constitutional majority. The chances for
this are increasing, though, as their ally party the Patriotic Alliance has overcome the barrier, shortening their road towards the “constitutional goal” by 6 mandates. Therefore, the UNM and the rest of the opposition will be facing quite a severe battle next week. Although the GD chances are good, nobody knows what will happen on the day of the elections - October 22nd. However, we do know exactly what prospect threatens President Margvelashvili
and the whole Presidential institute in Georgia in case the constitutional changes are made. At first glance, it might seem comical: why would the GD threaten President Margvelashvili? What sort of existential problem should the presidential institute carry for billionaire Ivanishvili, when there is just one year left until the elections? Let him stay there for another year, let him shake hands with the official guests arriving to the country... as experience suggests, he’s
quite good at it. But is this argument enough for Ivanishvili? I guess not. Not while the Presidential Palace exists, which Ivanishvili once described as a “nest of perversion.” Margvelashvili refuted this statement and, despite prohibitions and warnings, moved into the Residence, by doing so keeping the name of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili alive in the memory of the people. Moreover, the partisan pardon of his brother-in-law, which might turn
into the basis for his impeachment, adds to all of this. It all depends on whether Ivanishvili decides to carry out the plan he had four years ago when he started talking about the constitutional changes and suggested voting for Republican Vakhtang Khmaladze. The billionaire was unable to fulfill his aim then simply because he was unable to bribe the “blood-sucking” UNM. Yet, in order to attain the full carte blanche now, he will need to bribe completely different people, which in such a poor country as Georgia, isn’t that hard. But it is unlikely President Margvelashvili will face the preparation for his impeachment without having done some “homework” himself. As little as the pardon of political prisoners ex-Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and ex-Mayor Gigi Ugulava would be enough- having them out of prison would turn the political status quo created after these elections completely upside down. These doubts are enhanced even further if we recall the closed meeting that was held between President Margvelashvili and one of the leaders of the UNM – Giga Bokeria, who is becoming more and more influential within the political party of ex-President Saakashvili. The information that leaked through media suggested that they discussed the possible pardon of Merabishvili and Ugulava. But it is too early to predict how many “risks” Margvelashvili is ready to take. So far the second round of elections is underway, where the Georgian Dream has big, though not 100 percent perfect, chances. Therefore, as one of the Georgian sayings goes “They should first jump and only afterwards shout hurray.”
OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
What Currency Should We UNM Claims Ruling Team Physically Choose for Our Mortgage? Abused Their
n order to be able to easily repay the loan, the customer needs to consider a number of factors. One of them is the loan currency. The borrower has to weigh his/ her abilities and needs. Usually, in Georgia, there are two basic alternatives: GEL or foreign currency. Even though taking out a loan in dollars has advantages such as lower and stable average interest rate and more chance of getting the loan amount, as well as significantly less interest payment for the total period, still the benefits do not always justify the expectations. Currency fluctuations, very difficult to predict, especially in Georgian reality, involve the risk of a price increase within the loan. It should be considered the fluctuations might also generate gains for the creditor, but the risks, especially in long-term, are too high to justify the possible profit. Therefore, the main advice in any country, for any citizen, is to match the currency of income and credit. This is the only way when risks are minimally dependant on currency fluctuations. In order to widen the choice of customers and ensure their maximal protection from financial risks, residential complex Dirsi, jointly with TBC bank is offering potential customers mortgage loans in national currency (GEL) for the lowest interest rate – 9 %. Dirsi is an innovative urban space initiative by daughter company of one of the largest developers of the region - Azerbaijani company AS Group Investment. Main project of AS Georgia is development and construction of the largest residential complex of the region – only the first, completed stage, comprising 11 buildings, 22 blocks, and 2,680
Members BY THEA MORRISON
apartments. Main priority of the construction process was maximal focus on quality of the buildings. Therefore, buildings are built with innovative monolithic technology, designed to withstand a 9 magnitude earthquake The 46-hectare Dirsi complex is located within just 7 minutes of the city center, in the historical part of Tbilisi, district Isani, between Monk Gabriel Salosi Ave and the river Mtkvari .
The complex is specifically designed to provide healthy living environment and maximal comfort for its residents: fresh air, greenery, car-free zones for children, boulevard for relaxation, 3 stadiums and more than 1 km. cycling lane, in unison with additional services such as 24 hr. security, concierge within every building, kindergarten and school provide for the carefree, pleasant place that has already become home for more that 400 people.
wo members of the Georgia's main opposition party - former President Mikheil Sa a ka s hv i l i ' s Un i te d NationalMovement(UNM) were taken to hospital Tuesday night, having been allegedly beaten by ruling party Georgian Dream (GD) members. The incident took place in Vazisubani, near the office of GD majoritarian candidate Irakli Abuseridze. The police have launched an investigation. According to UNM majoritarian candidate Giorgi Oniani, the abused men were his team members and were “brutally beaten by around 30 GD men armed with batons” at the GD office, when his team members came out of a nearby supermarket. Oniani says that the incident had a political background. “After falsification of the parliamentary elections, GD started revenge instead of keeping their promises given to citizens,” Oniani stated. Oniani asked the investigators to release videos taken by street surveillance cameras, in order to prove the UNM did not provoke the GD members. The UNM says the two affected men had been discharged from the hospital. The ruling team responded to the allegations, saying this was “a staged provocation by the UNM.” GD majoritarian candidate Irakli Abuseridze says the clash was initiated by the two members of the UNM, saying
GD released a photo, saying the two people in red circle are the UNM members who started the provocation at GD office in Vazisubani. Source: 2030
they were drunk and very aggressive. The GD office has also released a photo allegedly showing those UNM members that were involved in the incident. “This is not the first provocation from the United Movement… My team members have absolutely nothing to do with this incident. We went out when the fight was over,” Abuseridze explained. Irakli Kobakhidze, GD Executive Secretary, said the UNM members wanted to provoke Abuseridze and his team and started throwing stones at the GD office. “This is provocation… Oniani himself is a zonder who used to raid people when the UNM was in power,” Kobakhidze stressed. Georgia’s Interior Ministry launched an investigation under Article 125. The police have not arrested anyone yet but they say the people involved in the incident have already been identified.
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
Do We Now Have a Better Parliament? OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE
Russian Speakers to Have Simplified Procedure for Obtaining Russian Citizenship BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE
ussian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on the simplified issuance of Russian citizenship to compatriots who are fluent in the Russian language and live or have lived in the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire within the borders of the modern Russian Federation. A foreign national or a stateless person will have to undergo an interview in a special commission on recognition of an alien native Russian language. To be eligible, interviewees need to speak
Russian on a daily basis and use it at home and in the cultural sphere. Also eligible for interview will be people whose relatives in the direct ascending line (i.e. parents, grandparents, etc.) live or previously lived in the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire within the borders of the state of modern Russia. "In order to create favorable conditions for the acquisition of said persons of the nationality of the Russian Federation are established favorable conditions for entry into the Russian Federation, the extension of the period of temporary stay in the Russian Federation and a simplified procedure for obtaining a residence permit," the official statement reads.
he now almost bygone 2016 parliamentary elections in Georgia have gobbled up tons of money, depleted hardly ticking-by electoral energy and consumed time, which is never sufficient and productive enough, to create an adequate amount of gross domestic product for our future survival. And the result is not overwhelmingly fortunate– many good and wise people were left outside Parliament’s weighty and meaningful walls, thus immobilized and rendered impotent to contribute further to productive legislature in the country. Why should we consider the entire effort as optimal as it is thought to be in its dramatic finale? And most significantly and curiously, has the nation received a better legislative body, the wisdom and effectuality of which will guarantee that Georgia continues walking the right walk to prospective development? Most people say that this election was one of the best in history, judging by participation, discipline, vote giving and counting, ballot handling, psychological climate, behavioral pattern, negligent number of excesses, observer appreciation, international evaluation, public attitude and governmental professionalism. This would sound highly satisfactory for any civilized country with all democratic values in place to guarantee the fairness of the process and the quality of the consequence. Isn’t this a real triumph of representative democracy? But the question is, whether the devil is indeed as snow-white as it is painted?
I cringed to learn that some truly knowledgeable, well-weathered and sharp-thinking Georgian politicians with extremely valuable skills and experience found themselves only at the doorstep of the parliament building
It seems strange that we are formally so closely approximated to giving birth to a bipartisan political system but so distanced from it by content. The two-party electoral system takes much more in the introduction than we can provide for at this time. To function effectively, as it does, for instance, in the USA, the twoparty system needs to be developed against a background of two confrontational ideologies that people are ready to accept, as it is in America with the liberalism of democrats and the conservatism of republicans. The people of Georgia have definitely voted and expressed their political faith with good will and reasonable judgment, having used slightly reserved enthusiasm, though, when making a final decision at the ballot-box. A vote is nothing without relevant electoral education and clear-cut political philosophy. Unless a vote giver knows exactly why he or she wants to give that vote, no electoral process can produce a satisfactory representation. Now that the elections are finished and gone into a four-year hibernation, nobody can say until the end of those four years whether we have received a better parliament or not because we currently have the same powers with faintly changed faces, the same linguistics, same style, same everything. . .
Who knows, this could in fact work a little better, but healthier it would have been to see several political forces forging the national fate in reasonable confrontation on the floor. It might at least have been more interesting to listen to hot and prudent debates in the famous arena. Personally, I cringed to learn that some truly knowledgeable, well-weathered and sharp-thinking Georgian politicians with extremely valuable skills and experience found themselves only at the doorstep of the big glassy parliament building, with broken hearts, teary eyes, too frustrated for further politicking. They could have honed together the main spear of national politics, pointed it at a good economy and wholeness of the country. All right, let’s stop crying over spilled milk and think of making better of what we actually have. Nothing will help more than the model of parliament, based on the never-tried-in-Georgia wisdom of ‘deeds-not-words’. If all the new boys and girls of the new law-making citadel are by any sacred chance prepared to listen to this indispensable wisdom, then the new trivially built talking-house of Georgia might really douse the fire of doubts, indignation and dissatisfaction that we still hearing around. Otherwise, we are doing OK.
OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
Return to Ushguli Georgia’s Min of Energy Hosts Presentation on EU Renewable Energy Directive BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI
n Wednesday, October 12, PMC Research, together with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, hosted a presentation and public discussion of the research findings ‘Challenges and Opportunities of Renewable Energy in Georgia.’ The presentation took place at the Ministry of Energy of Georgia. Mariam Valishvili, Deputy Minister of Energy, opened the presentation. A researcher at PMC Research presented the research outcomes, while researcher Nikoloz Sumbadze further elaborated on research implications. The presentation was followed by a discussion, moderated by Ms. Valishvili. The representatives of the Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission, the Georgian State Electro system, the Electricity System Commercial Operator, electricity distribution companies, and non-governmental organizations all participated in the discussion. The research aimed to provide analysis of the concept of compulsory measures of the EU Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) and to identify
the gaps in the Georgian legislation on energy in terms of conformity with this EU directive. During the presentations of research results and discussion of its limitations, several recommendations were provided on how to mitigate gaps between Georgian legislation and EU directive to override problems concerning compliance with the directive. As research results suggest, in order to ensure compliance, Georgia needs to elaborate a Renewable Energy Action Plan. Further, current sources of energy consumption and transport energy consumption should be evaluated and future consumption patterns should be forecasted. Another important recommendation suggested that one of the major obstacles in the proper development of renewable energy resources is administrative measures which represent risks for potential investors. During the discussion, the Deputy Minister also highlighted the significance of EU grants, high costs of logistics and other obstacles in relation to meeting EU directives. In accordance with the research findings, Valiashvili also stressed the importance of clear administrative measures in order to avoid bureaucracy, as well as improving procedures related to RES development and implementation.
BY TONY HANMER
don't get the chance nearly often enough for my liking, so when it comes I tend to grab it and not let go. The last one was just over three years ago, but having one's own car, and the best one in one's life so far at that, does improve the possibilities. Off to my former hosts, Dato and Nanuli Ratiani, in their expanding guest house in Ushguli, taking a pair of American women with me (Peace Corps Georgia veterans) who were paying the all too willing piper and thus calling the tune. This was actually the very first time I had driven the whole way, in my car, and an automatic transmission yet. And the first visit of my new very wide angle zoom lens, too. The road, once you leave the smooth comfort of the cement road between Mulakhi and Ipari, remains as rough and potholed as ever. It's as easy as it can be in a big automatic car with high clearance, but there's only so much you can do when contact with the ground remains a requirement of the transport mode. So we lurched and swerved slowly along. Never mind staying on one's side of the road: that's only for the instants when you cross paths with another vehicle. Otherwise you choose only the best bits of the road, wherever they are. (I just heard a rumor from my Etseri neighbor, also a driver, that the renovation of the road from Tetnuldi ski resort all the way to Ushguli, some 24 km, is being held up because... the local "Delica (minivan) mafia" wants a bad road so that their 4x4s will rule it... Scary if true, and not unthinkable either.) The trees, the trees... full on gold, the bushes bright red, grass brilliant green, and a light upper snow level to complete the postcard scenes. Plus cloudless weather, achingly blue skies. My passengers and I were all delighted with the opportunity anytime anyone wanted to stop for a "photo op", instead of being bound to the whims of an unsympathetic marshroutka driver. Stop we did, many times; what was the rush? Entering Ushguli shortly before sunset, another unique sight appeared: someone painting the second hamlet, sitting on a rock! He was from St Petersburg, Russia, where I also lived for most of the 1990s. When I introduced myself, he asked if I was from Canada: he had heard of me in Mestia... Dato and Nanuli have been very busy in the three years since Imedi TV channel briefly reunited me with them. They have greatly enlarged the humble house I had a room in near the top of the village, and now Villa Lileo has three floors, the largest dining hall in the village, an indoor fireplace and much more. Spectacular, and I wish them every success. Nanuli also proudly displays an award certificate from Oxfam for "Promoting Healthy Eating in Georgia", well deserved. A No Smoking sign and a high-speed WiFi password completed the impression that we were in a happening place. https://www.facebook.com/Dato-RatianiS-UshguliVilla-LiLeo-160595187339077/ Next morning, after a sumptuous breakfast true to my memories, I took my guests to the Queen Tamar Summer Fortress. Up the steeper but shorter way from Chazhashi hamlet, mostly shaded by forest. Down, the longer, sunny but less steep route ending near Murqmeli hamlet. The view from the fortress, I told them a number of times en route, would really make up for the trudge, which was far from easy for pension-age people! They managed it, and had to agree with me. Late lunch, and we returned to Etseri, met Lali
and had supper. Then, after breakfast, I was the driver again. This time to the Tetnuldi ski resort, still under construction, although phase I is open for the upcoming winter season. This will definitely be the most spectacular ski resort in the whole Caucasus in terms of run choices, altitude and length. You drive up to 3.2 km above sea level, stare Tetnuldi's peak in the face, see Ushba in the distance, and can also spot the villages of Mulakhi, Adishi and Ipari, all in one view. Magnificent. Although it was rather cloudy, and indeed snowflakes threatened, we reveled in the gorgeous autumn landscapes on every side. Mestia Museum and a climb inside the Margiani Tower on the way home. Having a 4x4 to use has made a huge difference in our available offerings to our guests, and this trip was a sample. 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 1350 members, at www.facebook. com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti
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OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
INTERVIEW: Romaine Audrerie - London’s Top Sommelier Discovers Georgia open your eyes, you want to promote your wines; you become an ambassador of the country and promote its wine. I think there are huge opportunities for Georgia to start promoting its wines, like Japan is doing with Kyushu wines, like Spain is doing in New York, or what Austria did with Grüner Veltliner 15 years ago. They did such a good job that everybody wanted it everywhere. It is a ten-year job, and to start we have to find the right suppliers who will be keen to take the risk to buy quantities, to get the best price and send sommeliers. Georgian wine has something practical for sommeliers- it tells the story of itself. And pairing Georgian wine with food is so easy! Today, I had Kvevri Rkatsiteli with salmon; the best new pairing I’ve found for a long time. Georgian wine needs to get out into the world. It needs to show! When I tasted it today I thought: Aquavit London!
BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
ordon Ramsay, Martin Blunos, Nuno Mendes, all those Michelin-starred celebrity chefs and their restaurants have been part of Romaine Audrerie’s amazing career journey. Now a head sommelier of wines at one of London’s iconic restaurant’s, Chiltern Firehouse, Audrerie came to Tbilisi this month to discover more about the Georgian wine culture, possibly adding some new wine brands to his portfolio. His trip was organized by Mako Abashidze, Founding Director of the British Georgian Chamber of Commerce. As a part of their marketing strategy in partnership with the Georgian National Wine Agency, the British Georgian Chamber of Commerce often brings head sommeliers, food and wine writers to Georgia to promote the country through its wine and cuisine. GEORGIA TODAY met Romaine Audrerie at Rooms Hotel Tbilisi, which he described as very comfortable and homely, to find out more about his career, his trip to Georgia and Georgian wines.
HOW DID YOU END UP CHOOSING THE PROFESSION OF SOMMELIER? I was passionate about my studies in University in political sciences and communication lobbing. I graduated after five years in Bordeaux and Paris. It was in Bordeaux I suddenly discovered my passion for wine- I was just a happy drinker. But I really got into the trend of learning the details of names and discovering the new things happening in the wine world when I was still in Bordeaux. After my studies I couldn’t get the job I wanted because my English wasn’t good enough, so I went to London to learn. Within a year of living in the UK I found myself working with Martin Blunos in my first Sommelier position at the Lygon Arms. Soon, I became the Head Sommelier at the Savoy for Marcus Wareing, in the Gordon Ramsay groupa Michelin star restaurant with an extensive group of sommeliers and a big wine list. I then spent a year in New York selling wine, so I got to know the New
York market and the differences between it and the UK, as well as their vastly different portfolios. You know, New Yorkers are always ahead of London and ten years ahead of everybody.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT HAPPENS SO? Because it has that cosmopolitan vibe. Because of the communities there- Turkish, Greek, Italian; all bringing their wines to New York. I really benefited from this obsession New York Sommeliers have of getting the latest new things. That is also what I want to show in my wine list at the moment; the best from everywhere, whether it’s from Crete or Nappa Valley, Languedoc in France or South Africa. After 10 years as a wine director, I know who can bring me the best things. I’ve extended my portfolio of suppliers to 45 so now I can cherrypick the best of everybody. I’m also using some suppliers to source things outside the country, importing for restaurants. I think the wine list at Chiltern Firehouse can talk to anyone. I really wanted to have a wine list as democratic as possible in a luxury environment.
WHAT DOES A SOMMELIER NEED FOR SUCCESS? To be completely crazy! You have to wake up with your passion for wine and
then study the latest trend list sent to you by email. You go to work, you go to wine tastings and you come back late and think about all the new amazing things you have discovered. I cannot recount the hours I’ve spent in guidebooks, making sure I know the portfolio of each winemaker. However many doors you open and the more questions you answer, the more questions that come- it’s endless. You need to be addicted to that endless learning curve. You need to be entertaining, you’re on show, and you’re on stage. You need to put on your costume and entertain. That’s the second part. You also need to make sure you’re not intimidating your customer or pushing him for sales.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST AMBITIOUS PROJECT? To be the Head of Wines for Andre Balazs Hotels. I want to go to Los Angeles to see the wine list, wine facilities, cellars; to check out the training that’s being given, look at the wine culture in the restaurant and than diffuse and spread what I’ve created in London. All the waiters in a team want to attend my trainings. I want to activate that curiosity in waiters. My ambition, of course, is to be the director of a company and go from one branch to another and make sure
Fabrika Hosts Acclaimed German Band BY MAKA LOMADZE
n October 7-8, Fabrika, a former sewing factory, premiered the German youth band ‘The Highest Railway’ to the Georgian audience with their new album ‘Who will bring me to others now?’ The show was organized by the German Embassy in Georgia and the organization MitOst. Before the concert, band members Francesco Wilking and Moritz Kramer held a workshop with the same title as that of the album, referring to the musical meeting between East and West. Within the framework of the workshop, the guests of MitOst Festival and German-speaking Georgian students shared impressions with one another and created texts for new songs about those top-
ics that we, two peoples, share. The band has had good feedback in the foreign press, with ROLLING STONE writing: “No other German band can so well display the intricate stories of human destiny through tender popsongs,” while SPIEGEL ONLINE gave them 9 points out of 10. On October 7, together with the renowned German band, the Georgian band Mebo Ranard also played. “This is a wonderful event to share our different cultures and experiences. Our joint performance is based on improvisation. Music is an international language,” Mebo Nutsubidze said. “These concerts are held within the framework of the MitOst – the 14th festival of non-formal education,” Tako Dzagania-Baramidze, local organizer of the MitOst festival told GEORGIA TODAY. The 2016 Tbilisi hosting of the annual contest
that all the wine culture is been adapted.
HOW DID YOU COME TO BE IN GEORGIA? I knew a few brands from my New York experience. I knew some wines that I liked, and some that I didn’t like at all. The perception of Georgian wines is only reflected through the eyes of some very hipster sommeliers who want natural wines whereas I wanted to show variety. I think we need to show Georgian wines for how good they are and how well they pair with food. It’s not just an exotic thing, it’s a cultural thing that needs to be brought, shown and explained to the western countries, because it’s worth it. It’s very sophisticated and luxurious, well-balanced and surprisingly good.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE? Kakhuna, by Lagvinari.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE FOR GEORGIAN WINE TO BE MORE PROMOTED AND POPULAR? I think a much more simplistic approach is needed in the visual characterization of the labels. And it’s very easy to do. Labels must be readable- grape, producer, region, country. It has to be simple, beautiful and elegant. But we want to see your beautiful alphabet, too. That’s very important. As a sommelier you
saw guests from 40 countries coming together under the theme ‘inclusion and diversity.’ It is a huge event, with workshops, seminars, daytime exhibitions and a musical program in the evening. Band members Felix Weigt, Max Schröder, Moritz Kramer and Francesco Wilking hardly think of anything but music. In their songs they raise questions: “Who will bring me to others now?” “When will it end?” all accumulated together with those real people to whom they dedicate the songs. Here is Luis, who does not understand why his sweetheart never gets tired, also Kete, who wishes to throw everything against the wall, Tim, who is torturing himself without any reason and Lizbeth who blushes like a culprit when she hears the words: “I love you.” From October 29, ‘The highest Railway’ will start touring in Rostock, Bremen, Munich, Frankfurt, Koln, Hanover, Dresden, Leipzig, Essen, Berlin, Hamburg, and more.
DO YOU ALREADY HAVE GEORGIAN WINES ON YOUR LIST? Yes, we do. Saperavi and Tsolikauri from Lagvinari winery. Georgia is bringing exclusivity and as a sommelier you need to surf in the way of trends of exclusivity because it will bring value to your wine list.
WHICH GEORGIAN DISH DID YOU LIKE MOST? Wild mushrooms in Kakheti, at Shumi, with beautiful herbs and parsley- it was amazing and with an accompanying view over the Caucasus Mountains! It’s all about a systemic approach of the experience you’re having.
WHICH WINERIES DID YOU VISIT? I visited Badagoni, Shumi and Maranuli. We had a very interesting wine tasting and I’m expecting to receive more samples soon.
DO YOU PLAN TO COME TO GEORGIA AGAIN? Yes, I would very much like to see Imereti region. I need to see western vineyards, because, as I said, once you open the doors, there another ten doors to open in front of you. I’ve only just entered the world of Georgian wine!
OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
‘The English Teacher’ Highlights Failings of the Education System BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES
ineClub, in partnership with CineDoc and in advance of the CineDoc Tbilisi festival which kicks off this month, screened the well-appraised 2012 docu-drama ‘The English Teacher’ at Amirani cinema this Monday. The story follows Bradley, a South African who has volunteered as part of thenpresident Saakashvili’s ambitious plan (‘Teach & Learn with Georgia’ [TLG]) to have every citizen of Georgia speaking English. The program is widely known to have been a spontaneous and little-thoughtout endeavour based on the principal of “speak English and you can teach it!” And so the enthusiastic youth came in their hundreds to be shipped off to random isolated villages in worst cases, semi-civilized regional towns at best. They were given the National Curriculum coursebook and, with the translation help of the resident English teacher, were told to teach with it. They were also expected to passively “retrain” the resident teachers in modern and unconventional methods, bringing new life and motivation to the tired Soviet classrooms. But, facing staunch traditionalists, some of whom had been teaching for over 25 years in one and the same style (and probably in one and the same classroom), and severely uneducated children with little-to-no dreams, many of the untrained and psychologically under-prepared teachers fled on the first flights home.
“What do you want to do when you finish school?” Bradley asks a group of 15 year olds who he has been teaching for some months. They look at him blankly until the teacher translates. Then they look at him with half-smiles. One girl stands up. “Go to Tbilisi,” she says with a shy giggle. “What do you want to
do in Tbilisi?” Bradley asks. She shrugs and sits. Other pupils repeats the exact same “dream,” though it’s clear they have no idea what exactly “going to Tbilisi” means- perhaps education, streets paved with gold and endless opportunities to escape the humdrum agricultural-unemployment cycle. Some children don’t
even offer Bradley that. “Where would you like to go outside Georgia?” he asks them, changing tack. He shows them a map of the world but they are unable to identify Georgia let alone stick a pin in possible future travel destinations. Despite knowing little Georgian, Bradley tries to inspire them with song, with music (bad internet connection and no working electricity socket in the classroom for speakers made anything beyond blackboard and book nearly impossible) and with energy. But over the school
year we see his energy and enthusiasm dim. “I don’t feel like I’m making a difference here. It’s a joke,” he tells the documentary makers following a discovery that his resident colleague is faking English-language test results- tests which, as far as Bradley knows, the children never even took. He looks decidedly glum as he is forced to sign graduation certificates that few children truly deserve. In an interview after the screening, director Nino Orjonikidze said that it was never her intention in making the film to create a scandal or cause any of the teachers shown to lose their jobs. “I was curious about the new TLG system. I wanted to open my people’s eyes to the reality of the education system here- not least those so entrenched in that system they are unable and at times fearful to change.” It is precisely that fear of change that resulted in the first “experimental” year of the TLG program to be widely considered a fail. I am hoping to have an interview with representatives of TLG for the next issue of GEORGIA TODAY to find out how the system looks now; how it has adapted and been adapted to; how the TLG teachers are now prepared and how it has strengthened in its admirable aim to revolutionize the English language knowledge of the people of this tiny Caucasus country. As always, the monthly CineClub provided another cultural eye-opener. If you haven’t been along to one of their monthly screenings, please do. It is well worth the 5 GEL!
OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
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INTERVIEW: Levan Tsutskiridze on Creation & Inspiration TIFLIS 7.5x6cm ING.indd 1
BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
EORGIA TODAY, together with BI Auction for Art, is introducing a regular monthly feature about famous Georgian painters. Meet Levan Tsutskiridze, Georgian artist, painter, monumentalist, and illustrator. Expressive, tender, and enigmatic, his admiration for Georgian literature and poetry is deeply rooted in his works, especially in his monumental art. Tsutskiridze entered the Georgian artistic scene at the end of the 1950s with a unique artistic taste and style formed and influenced by prominent Georgian painters David Kakabadze and Sergo Kobuladze, the latter being his teacher at the Academy of Arts in Tbilisi. Tsutskiridze truly has an amazing, intense, artistic biography. His works have been exhibited worldwide through the years- in Tbilisi, Moscow, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Austria The Netherlands and the US.
Awarded with international prizes both for his book illustrations (Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1974) and for his works (prize winner of Bogliasco International Foundation in 2002) Tsutskiridze is undoubtedly the influencer himself who brought Georgian Arts to international acclaim. Yet he is a standalone artist, famous, yes, but with no grandeur, as if he had never worked on some of Georgia’s most iconic cultural assets or imageries. Illustrations for Shota Rustaveli’s The Knight in the Panther’s Skin, Vazha-Pshavela’s works, Galaktion Tabidze’s poetry, and painting the Sioni Cathedral frescoes… all of them gained familiarity through the prism of his talent. Even now, at 90 years of age, his artistic spirit is still young, as his grandson told us before the interview. When you talk to him in his cozy apartment, surrounded by his paintings, with his family around, you instantly feel wrapped in the charm, layers and layers of wisdom, knowledge and talent of his persona. As his spouse Dali told us, Levan’s major inspiration comes from music, poetry
THE ART OF ILLUSTRATION HAS LOST POPULARITY? I guess the epoque itself has changed, the time is different… Maybe younger artists are in search of new ways to express themselves.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU MOST WHEN YOU WORK?
and literature, Vazha-Pshavela, being one of his favourites. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Levan Tsutskiridze.
WHICH IS MORE INTERESTINGTHE PROCESS OF CREATION OR THE FINAL RESULT? I usually work long and hard, but when
I start, I never like the sketch. Then slowly the work forms and gains character. Generally, it’s both the process and the final result that is pleasurable, if you get to the end of it of course.
MANY OF YOUR WORKS RELATE TO BOOK ILLUSTRATIONS. DO YOU THINK
I’m from a beautiful village in Imereti and it has always been an inspiration for me. It still is, even now. It gave me everything, all through my childhood and youth. Monumental painting, classical painting, the art of Renaissance, and Georgian frescoes; they are all very important to me. I think it is the highest representation of art, and art at its best. Sculpture, impressionism - I greatly admire it all and it defined me as a painter in many ways.
HOW DID YOU END UP DOING THE FRESCOES FOR SIONI CATHEDRAL IN TBILISI? The Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II invited many of us painters and monumentalists to meet with him. He said he wanted the Sioni frescoes to be done, and asked who would want to work on it. Everyone pointed at me, probably because from the first year of my studies at the Academy of Arts in Tbilisi, my passion for monumental art was known amongst my colleagues.
HOW DO YOU THINK TIME AND ENVIRONMENT AFFECT AN ARTIST? It is a huge factor, of course. Everything that happens around an artist influences his works. Today, unfortunately, people do not have time for art.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME, WHEN NOT WORKING? I love to read, and I love to write. I often put down my thoughts on paper, as I did for this book [shows me a beautiful book that his family published], which introduces a system of learning the art of painting through Geometric constructions.
WHICH ARTISTS INFLUENCED YOU AS A PAINTER? Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Masaccio, Giotto. I saw Velazquez’s works in Spain… I couldn’t stop looking for hours; I was truly mesmerized And, of course, I loved books- they helped me to enrich my fantasy and inspired me in choosing the themes I worked on in my paintings.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR YOUNG ARTISTS? Education and lots of practise to master the skill!
OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
See a World in a Grain Sand – Irakli Bugiani’s Expo at National Gallery born multimedia artist Levan Mindiashvili who lives and works in both New York and Tbilisi. In 2008-2012 while working at the Laguanacazul Gallery (Buenos Aires, Argentina) he organized several collaborative projects with local and international emerging artists. His current curatorial project includes ‘Heritage,’ first presented at the Georgian National Museum (2013) and later at RichMix, London (2015). Mindiashvili shared his experience of Bugiani with GEORGIA TODAY: “I first connected with Irakli as a curator and artist in 2013 when I made the project ‘Heritage’ at the Museum of Fine Arts.
BY MAKA LOMADZE
he Georgian National Museum Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery opened the exhibition ‘See a World in a Grain of Sand’ by Irakli Bugiani on October 6. Irakli Bugiani is a Georgian artist who lives and works in Germany. This is his first solo exhibition in Georgia, bringing together his pivotal works. The title of the exhibition is inspired by the poetry of William Blake. Irakli Bugiani's abstract paintings contain hints of representation that reveal the artist's attempts to accentuate unknown, mystical aspects of the universe. Bugiani has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Weltkunstzimmer, Hans-Peter-Zimmer Foundation, Dusseldorf (2015); RichMix, London (2015); Salon Des Amateurs, Dusseldorf (2014); and at the Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi (2013). “I use canvas and oil which conveys the sense of unity in the universe. We chose the exhibition title accordingly,” the painter said. The exhibition is organized by project ArtBeat which aims to promote contemporary Georgian art worldwide and to foster cultural activities within the country. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Nino
Irakli is mainly interested in painting; its capacities, existing world experience and painting history. Our aim was to accentuate not so much the paintings as their physical essence, which becomes something of a sculpture. They are represented as statues, rather than pictorial flat bodies hanging on the walls.” The project is supported by the Tbilisi City Hall Cultural Events Center. Where: Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery, 11 Rustaveli Ave. Tbilisi, Georgia. When: Until October 23 Tickets: GEL 5 for adults, GEL 1 for students, GEL 0.50 for children, free for the socially unprotected.
Macharashvili, ArtBeat representative: “We support Georgian artists working in contemporary art to organize exhibitions inside and outside Georgia. We also have exhibitions abroad, at Saatchi Gallery for instance, as well as at Volta, a very important international art exhibition in Basel. We believe that our collaboration with Irakli Bugiani and the Georgian National Gallery has proved very successful.” The curator of the exhibition is Tbilisi-
CineDoc 2016: Show, Educate, Enjoy! BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES
ctober 21st will see the kick off of the 4th Tbilisi documentary film festival by CineDoc, in coordination with the Georgian National Film Center. Once again the packed program promises screenings of both awardwinning and new directors, carefully chosen from the best film festivals around Europe, and workshops for interested youth, filmmakers and NGOs. Screenings are to be held in Rustaveli and Amirani cinemas, with the Frontline Club, the Goethe Institut Tbilisi and the Caucasian House also among the venues for the film retrospectives. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to CineDoc Director Archil Khetaguri and Ileana Stanculescu, Festival Coordinator, to find out more. “We chose 45 films out of hundreds of applications over around five months,” Khetaguri said. “Nearly all those invited have agreed to come.” “We scoured all the major documentary film festivals,” Stanculescu told us.
“And while we have chosen a lot of award-winning films to screen at 2016 CineDoc Tbilisi, we selected those which we found most interesting and diverse and best connected with this year’s theme- ‘Relationships’.” We asked the energetic duo about the educational aspect of CineDoc festivals. “With our CineYouth section, in which we dub films, we hope to encourage more young people to get involved,” Stanculescu said. “Many young people come along to the festival who are curious about what is happening outside of Georgia. They may not necessarily have an understanding of what a documentary is- especially as such films don’t tend to be shown on TV here- but they get to see the wider world, to meet visiting filmmakers and to engage in discussions with them.” We asked why such films rarely – if ever- get shown on Georgia television, to which Khetaguri replied that TV channels just don’t have the budgets for it. “They go for well-known European or American successes but are reluctant to pay the necessary fees to show a lesserknown but equally valuable CineDoc film. We have tried to engage them in
negotiation but at present, the situation unfortunately stands as it is.” “We have a novelty this year,” Stanculescu enthused. “CivilDoc - which covers the themes of human and social rights. There’s also a pitch forum (CivilPitch) in which local NGO representatives get to introduce their latest projects hoping to inspire the filmmakers to take up the topic in a future documentary film. The CineDoc Tbilisi 2016 festival certainly seems as packed with as much educational and entertainment value as ever. Don’t miss out!
Friends of Georgian Ballet Give 11 Scholarships to Future Georgian Ballet Dancers BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES
ast Friday saw the now-annual ceremony of scholarshipgiving whereby members of the Friends of the Georgian Ballet (see below) kindly gave scholarships to the youngest members of the V. Chabukhiani Tbilisi Ballet Art State School to help and inspire them with a full year of study. This year’s donors included the American Ambassador Ian Kelly his wife, and FGB board member, Rebecca, and Andreas Heiidingsfelder, General Manager of the Sheraton Metechi Palace hotel. Nina Ananiashvili headed the ceremony and entertained attendees with classic
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ballet snippets performed by the extremely talented children of the School. About the Friends of the Georgian Ballet: The Friends have a special relationship with the Georgian Ballet – they receive information on the Ballet Company’s news, upcoming performances and other events on a regular basis, invitations to special celebrations (e.g. the
season opening reception and scholarship awarding ceremony, Opera House tour, book presentations) where they can meet and interact with Nina and the Ballet Company’s soloists in person and get to know more about the life of the Georgian Ballet. For more information or to join, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER
GEORGIAN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS GIFT IN TBILISI October 15 – November 25 October 15 LLUVIA Eva Yerbabuena Ballet Flamenco Sevilia, Spain Start time: 20:00 Address: Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater 25 Rustaveli Ave. October 16 DON QUIXOTE Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Tumanishvili Theater / Art Lab (Mystery Play by Puppets) Directed by Giorgi Apkhazava Tbilisi – Georgia Start time: 20:00 Address: Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater 164 Agmashenebeli Ave. October 18, 19 THE WIND IN THE POPLARS by Gerald Sibleyras Directed by Rimas Tuminas Theater Vakhtangov, Moscow Start time: 20:00 Address: Marjanishvili State Drama Theater 8 Marjanishvili Str.
Alexander Grin Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260
Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL October 7-13
September 27 – September 22 (2017) EXHIBITION "STONE AGE GEORGIA"
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (Info Above) Start time: 22:35 Ticket: 13-14 GEL
TBILISI NODAR DUMBADZE STATE CENTRAL CHILDREN'S THEATRE Address: 99/1 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 95 39 27
MASTERMINDS Directed by Jared Hess Cast: Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Jason Sudeikis Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime Language: Russian Start time: 17:15 Ticket: 11-12 GEL
October 16 ROYAL COW Directed by Guram Bregadze Language: Russian Start time: 13:00 Ticket: 6-12 GEL CINEMA
INFERNO Directed by Ron Howard Cast: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster Genre: Mystery, Thriller Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL
October 16 SCARLET SAIL
June 16 – December 16 THE EXHIBITION “NEW DISCOVERIES GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY”
October 15, 16 *Premiere THE TEMPEST Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL
GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATRE Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14
October 14, 15 CHERRY ORCHARD Anton Chekhov Directed by Andro Enukidze Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL
RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge
INFERNO (Info Above) Start time: 22:35 Ticket: 13-14 GEL
AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge
GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36
June 11 – March 11 (2017) EXHIBITION "MEDIEVAL TREASURY"
October 14 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Free Entry
October 21 A LONG BREAK By Data Firtskhalava Directed by Vano Khutsishvili Griboedov Theater Start time: 20:00 Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave.
October 15 HOST AND GUEST Vazha Pshavela Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL
Language: English Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL
Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari October 14-20
FRANTZ Directed by François Ozon Cast: Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stötzner Genre: Drama Language: Russian Start time: 22:10 Ticket: 13-14 GEL MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN Directed by Tim Burton Cast: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
MORGAN Directed by Luke Scott Cast: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie Genre: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 12:45, 15:00 Ticket: 8-10 GEL BLAIR WITCH Directed by Adam Wingard Cast: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid Genre: Horror, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 8-14 GEL MUSEUM
GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO 4TH CENTURY A.D EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases a long history of money circulation on the territory of modern Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834.
MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION SHALVA AMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF ART Address: 1 Lado Gudiashvili St. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 www.museum.ge October 7-20 SOLO EXHIBITION BY LALI ZAMBAKHIDZE GALLERY
THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze. June 24, 2016 – June 24, 2017 NIKO PIROSMANASHVILI’S WORKS “YARD CLEANER” AND “EAGLE SEIZING A HARE” Both paintings were in the ownership of Ilya and Kirill Zdanevich until 1930 when Dimitri Shevardnadze bought part of their collection (39 paintings) including the "Yard Cleaner" and "Eagle Seizing a Hare". Today, both paintings are among the collection of the Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts. September 28 - September 28 (2017) PIROSMANI’S ROE AT A STREAM Kept by the TsitsishviliGedevanishvili family from 1949 until 2011, the painting has never been exhibited to the public before. In 2011, the artwork left Georgia and was sold at Sotheby's auction. It appeared at the same auction again in 2016 where it was bought by Bidzina Ivanishvili and Cartu Fund and donated to the Georgian National Museum. October 5-26 THE CONTEMPORARY CERAMIC ARTISTS' EXHIBITION "CLAY WALL PIECE" The exhibition is participated by: Lia Bagrationi, Nato Eristavi, Otar Vepkhvadze, Aleksandre Kakabadze, Gigisha Pachkoria, Merab Gugunashvili, Malkhaz Shvelidze and the Author of the conception and Project Art Curator - Lali Kutateladze. October 7-23 THE EXHIBITION “TO SEE A WORLD IN A GRAIN OF SAND” BY IRAKLI BUGIANI The title of the exhibition “To See a World in a Grain of Sand” - is inspired by the poetry of William Blake. Irakli Bugiani’s abstract paintings containing hints of representation reveal artist’s attempts to accentuate unknown, mystical aspects of the universe. Curator of the exhibition is multimedia artist Levan Mindiashvili. NECTAR GALLERY Address: 88 Bochorishvili Str. October 11 – November 5
SHINDISI SCREENS KETUTA ALEXI-MESKHISHVILI IN COLLABORATION WITH LEVAN CHOGOSHVILI INFORMATION CENTER ON NATO AND EU Address: 1 Freedom Sq. October 14-20 EXHIBITION "GEORGIAN PHOTOGRAPHS" By Maurice Wolf CHAOS CONCEPT STORE Address: Chovelidze Str. October 11-18 ANDRO ERADZE SOLO EXHIBITION FIREWORKS Fireworks is Andro Eradze's first solo show of photography. It showcases 14 works from his current project of the same title. The exhibition presents photography both as light recording and as means of presentation. MUSIC
TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATRE Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56 October 14 DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH Symohony #10 Georgian Philarmonic Orchestra, Ariel Zuckermann, Sandro Nebieridze Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-40 GEL TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 October 20 IZMIR STATE SYMPHONIC ORCHESTRA LIVE Celebrating 25 years of Georgian independence and renewal of Turkish-Georgian relations. Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-30 GEL INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL “AUTUMN TBILISI” October 15 KETEVAN KEMOKLIDZE Program: Symphony No.3 by Camille Saint-Saens, The Death of Cleopatra’ by Hector Berlioz for mezzo soprano and symphony orchestra, ‘Bolero’ by Maurice Ravel Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 5-20 GEL October 20 THE MILITARY BAND OF THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL ARMY The program consists of works by different composers especially written for military bands Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 5-20 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 October 18, 20 JAM SESSION Leaders: Reso Kiknadze (sax) Nika Gabadze (guitar) Misha Japaridze (bass) Irakli Choladze / Gio Kapanadze (drums) Start time: 21:00 October 19 TANGO EVENING Milonga La Kumparsita Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 5 GEL
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 14 - 17, 2016
Griboedov Theater Opens 171th Season with Finnish Collaboration ‘Frozen Images’
BY MAKA LOMADZE
n October 7, the Tbilisi Alexander Griboedov Russian Drama Theater opened its 171th season with the performance ‘Frozen Images’ within the framework of the Georgian showcase of the Tbilisi International Theater Festival. Frozen Images is a co-production of the Griboedov Theater with Finnish theatrical company Sadsongscomplex:fi. Directed by Jari Juutinen, and with playwright Kristian Smeds, it was performed by the students of Shota Rustaveli State University of Theater and Cinema: Kristine Beruashvili, Khatia Beruashvili, Mikheil Gavasheli, Davit Kotov, Demetre Nakopia, Vladimer Novosardov, Sopi Chalashvsili and Gvantsa Sharvadze (Avtandil Varsihashvili’s Atelier). Frozen Images is a typical story: Frustration, deeply emotional experience, indifference, lost years and searching for the sense of life in daily vanity. Everything has its own name… And still, it is all about love, which is supreme and the strongest of all.
“The playwright won a big prize for ‘New Theatrical Realities,’ won by many such excellent creators,” Jari Juutinen told GEORGIA TODAY. “This co-production comes from a two year relationship with Georgia theater- I directed a play in Liberty Theater, ‘Juliet, Juliet,’ and my performance ‘Sad Songs from the Heart of Europe’ was presented at the Tbilisi International Theater Festival two years ago. Finns will see the show based on the original Finnish version, staged 20 years ago. I love the strong aesthetics of Georgian theater and the adaptation of this play for co-production; it works- the strong way you do classics and the way I do the contemporary,” he said. This is the play about alienation within society, filled with sorrowful people: a single mother who works extremely hard and still struggles, drinking in despair; a priest who wears no cassock and attempts to console the people that Christ loves each of them. “But until God himself wills to summon somebody, he/she will not be able to approach the Lord.” He points out that people misuse their logical gift and are on the path to degradation rather than evolution. “However, there is an way: you have to awaken,” he concludes.
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Mrs. R.M. a Georgian lady in her midfifties seated in the audience told GEORGIA TODAY after the show: “Having seen this performance, I realize that I am too mature for such sharp feelings. My perception is totally different towards reality now. I think it would have touched me more 20 years ago. At my age, much more simple things make me happy. I understand it all but I judge things much more rationally now.” Written in 1996 while Smeds worked in the Baltics, the play has been translated into English, German, Danish, Russian, Estonian, Catalan and Hungarian. In addition to numerous Finnish productions, Frozen Images has been performed by the Associacio Artitistica IndiGest in Spain. Shortly after the opening of the theater, the performance “Frozen Images” went on to tour Finland, where the local audience will attend it in three theaters in of Helsinki. Such guest performances are made possible with the support of the Tbilisi City Hall Cultural Events Center. Frozen Images can be seen on Griboedov Theater’s Small Stage as a part of its repertoire. The grand stage is still undergoing repairs and is expected to re-open at the end of November.
Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Tim Ogden, Joseph Larsen, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Nino Gugunishvili, Thea Morrison, Natia Liparteliani
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Oct. 14 - 17, 2016