Page 1 georgiatoday

Issue no: 809 9

• JANUARY 15 - 18, 2016



In this week’s issue...


#NBAVOTE Zaza Pachulia

The Georgian President pushes for cooperation and transparency



Two Blasts in Turkey, Terrorists Held Accountable NEWS PAGE 2

Gazprom Deal: Playing with Fire? POLITICS PAGE 3

The Anti-Turkish Coalition, Members: 1.5

EU Commissioner Urges Georgian Authorities to Strengthen Independent Judiciary BY TAMAR SVANIDZE

Continued on page 2

Tech Park to Support New Ideas BUSINESS PAGE 5


ollowing his visit to Georgia, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, released his report and highlighted that the country should continue strengthening its independence and the impartiality of judges. “Judicial reforms have yielded some positive results in Georgia, in particular as concerns the reduced influence of the prosecutorial authorities, the increased transparency in the work of the High Council of Justice and an improved juvenile justice system. However, long-standing structural problems still require serious attention, particularly with a view to upholding the independence and effective functioning of the judiciary,” Commissioner Muiznieks said in an address to the Prime Minister of Georgia.


Iago Bitarishvili’s Chinuri in Wine List of London’s Ritz BUSINESS PAGE 7 Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks

Gazprom? Who Cares! Just Keep Us Warm! SOCIETY PAGE 9

From Georgian Folk to Zeppelin’s Kashmir: Giorgi Mikadze Astonishes the US CULTURE PAGE 11

Georgian Movies Being Screened at London Festival CULTURE PAGE 13




JANUARY 15 - 18, 2016

Two Blasts in Turkey, Terrorists Held Accountable

“It is essential that all the actors of the electoral process - political parties, non-governmental organizations and Georgian society as a whole- agree on the rules of the game,” Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili declared

Agreeing the Rules of the A Game

Photo: Huffington Post




he President of Georgia has said the State should ensure that voters should not have to choose between the bad and the worse. As Giorgi Margvelashvili stated on Gurjaani TV, the core issue for strengthening democracy is not a change of government but to move to a more open electoral system. “Today, we no longer have a situation where the future of Georgian democracy is equal to a change in government,” the President declared, adding that, however, “it does not mean that we should not care about extending democratic reforms.” According to Margvelashvili, discussion about a change of authorities is not underway as “we are talking about the advancement of democracy.” He continued that the aim is not to improve any political party and let another in, instead, “The aim is to ensure that voters do not have to choose between the bad and the worse.” The President hopes that communication with the new Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, will be effective. The President emphasized the relation-

ship between institutions is necessary for the state to function effectively; therefore, “none of the parties could gain from the estrangement that has been around these past two years. The process has not brought anything positive to any political actor. So, logically, it will no longer continue this way,” Margvelashvili stated. The President also commented on the upcoming parliamentary elections of October 2016. He said the resignation of the first and the second vice Prime Ministers is part of a normal functioning of a government. “I do not know what the reason was [for the former PM’s resignation late December],” he said. “[but] the effective functioning of a state demands cooperation between constitutional institutions, the President, the Parliament and the Executive Government.” “We should not criticize the government for not wanting to lose. This is normal. Any political party, whether in power or in opposition, aims at coming to power or staying in power,” he said, adding, the important thing is how it happens. “It is essential that all the actors of the electoral process - political parties, non-governmental organizations and Georgian society as a whole- agree on the rules of the game,” Margvelashvili declared.

suicide bomber has been held responsible for a blast in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul city center on January 12. During the explosion, ten people were killed and fifteen injured, most of whom were foreign tourists. The next night a car bomb was targeted at police headquarters near Diyarbakir, south-eastern Turkey, killing six people and injuring at least 39. According to Turkish authorities, the individual guilty of the Istanbul bombing was a man of Syrian origin born in 1988. The bomber was linked with the Islamic State (IS). Later, three Russian nationals were detained, also suspected of links with IS. In total, Turkish authorities arrested 60 suspects for the terror-

ist attack after the explosion in Istanbul. “We have determined that the perpetrator of the attack is a foreigner who is a member of Daesh,” declared Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “Turkey won’t backtrack in its struggle against Daesh by even one step … This terror organization, the assailants and all of their connections will be found and they will receive the punishments they deserve,” he said. Turkish authorities reported that the majority of the victims were German nationals. Peru’s foreign ministry said one Peruvian man was killed and a Peruvian woman was among the 15 people who were wounded. The Russian authorities have also confirmed that the Russian detainees are among those associated with terrorists. “There is information that all three detainees have relationships or partici-

pate in foreign terrorist groups. Moreover, one of them had been previously announced in the Russian and international Wanted List. The other two left Russia a few years ago with the intended purpose of studying on the territory of Middle Eastern states,” reported Tass Agency, referring to a source in the Russian competent authorities. While the Istanbul blast investigation was ongoing, the second blast hit southeastern Turkey on Wednesday night. The BBC, referring to local media, reported that a car bomb blast had hit a police headquarters in Cinar district, Diyarbakir province. The blast also damaged nearby residential buildings, where a mother and baby were killed. Turkish officials blamed the blast on Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) militants. At time of going to press, there is no information that any organization has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Georgia Ranked Third in Free Trade Component BY ANA AKHALAIA


ccording to the Free Trade component of the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom 2016, Georgia is ranked

third. The report assesses countries on a 100 point system, where Georgia had 88.6, a score which hasn’t changed since last year. The leaders of the rating are Hong Kong, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Macau, Switzerland with 90 points. Swaziland has second place with 88.8 points. The authors of the rating point out

that the recent data in terms of free trade shows the countries with free trade have a better record than countries where such practices do not exist. Studies show a strong connection between free trade and other positive indicators, such as low level poverty, economic indicators and a clean envi-

ronment. In terms of free trade countries in the region, Armenia is in 55th place with 84.4 points, Russia has 72 points, while Azerbaijan has 75.8 points. The Index of Economic Freedom of the World 2016 will be published in full within the next few days.

EU Commissioner Urges Georgian Authorities to Strengthen Independent Judiciary Continued from page 1

The observations are based on the Commissioner’s latest visit to Georgia, held from the 9th to 13th November, which assessed the implementation of the recommendations set out in his 2014 report. Commissioner Muiznieks emphasized that shielding judges from internal and external interference is a priority. The Commissioner was informed of specific cases of alleged pressure and interference with the work of judges of the Constitutional Court in relation to decisions they have taken. He is particularly concerned about allegations of politically-motivated measures targeting members of the

Opposition, especially in regard to the use of pre-trial detention measures against them. “Resolute efforts are called for to increase the impartiality and accountability of the work of prosecutors and law enforcement officials,” the report stated, while recognizing that some improvements in the selection, appointment and dismissal procedures of the Chief Prosecutor have occurred. Commissioner Muiznieks urged the Georgian authorities to make more effective use of the existing anti-discrimination legislation and mechanisms. “They should speed up the adoption of the legislative amendments currently pending before the Parliament, as they

The observations are based on the Commissioner’s latest visit to Georgia, held from the 9th to 13th November, which assessed the implementation of the recommendations set out in his 2014 report

would provide the Public Defender with broader powers in combating discrimination, including in the private sector,” he continued. Furthermore, the Commissioner urged the Georgian authorities to improve their responses to hate crimes and hate speech, including such crimes on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to ease tensions between majority and minority religious groups concerning issues related to religious properties and places of worship. This can be achieved, he says, by the engagement of the Georgian authorities in a genuine dialogue with all religious denominations and a tackling of the identified issues following a human rights-based approach.



Gazprom Deal: Playing with Fire? BY ZVIAD ADZINBAIA


eorgia’s Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze has told reporters that the concern created in relation to Gazprom is without basis. The public unrest arose when Kaladze and Gazprom representative Elena Burmistrova met in Zurich on December 27 to discuss an issue which Georgia society regards as of high importance for Georgia’s national security. According to Minister Kaladze, the negotiations are vital for the Georgian side. He stated that this is not the first year the Georgian side has had relations with Gazprom, adding that the existing agreement is reviewed every year. “In this case, changing the agreement conditions is required – we would like to be paid some amount in return for the 10% volume… we launched the negotiations long ago. Several meetings were held but no final agreement has been reached,” Kaladze commented, adding that for the past two months, many vague statements have been voiced by so-called experts. Meanwhile Georgia’s main opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), has demanded the content of the agreement signed with Gazprom to be published. The party has announced it is to launch an anti-government campaign if the agreement is not publicized. The UNM stated this step is a threat to Georgia’s energy security and tarnishes its sovereignty.

“Georgian society was informed about a meeting with Gazprom representative Elena Burmistrova on December 27th in Zurich. Georgian civilians know that the issue of gas supply is not just any economic or commercial issue, but directly linked to Georgia’s political sovereignty,” the UNM statement reads. The Diplomats Club, which brings together former senior Georgian diplomats, believe Minister Kaladze should resign from his post. In addition, several protest actions against the Gazprom negotiations have been planned this week in Tbilisi and other regions. Commenting on the topic, U.S. External Policy Council Expert Stephen Blank told Georgian newspaper Kviris Palitra that gas import from Russia will negatively impact Georgia-U.S. relations. Blank says he cannot see any need for Russian or Iranian gas while Azerbaijan provides Georgia with a sufficient volume of natural gas, naming it “a policy of private and not social profit.” The US expert added that the policy undermines Georgia’s opportunities to resist Russia. On the reports of media over possible import of Iranian gas, Georgia’s Energy Minister responded that there is no particular agreement with Iran signed yet. According to Deputy Energy Minister Ilia Eloshvili, Georgia will have financial liabilities with Gazprom, as the pipeline which will potentially provide Georgia with gas from Russia. Early October, when Kaladze announced Gazprom could fill a “gap caused by the energy shortage of Azerbaijan”, several protest actions were held in Tbilisi to

rail against returning to Russia’s energy influence after the 2006 cold winter, when Russia endeavored Georgia to pay its political price for Euro-Atlantic aspiration and, as a result, cut gas supply during a very cold winter. After the meeting at the Energy Ministry on Wednesday, Head of SOCAR (Azerbaijani state oil company) Georgia, Mahir Mamedov, told reporters that Georgia’s demand for natural gas is slowly increasing; however, Azerbaijan is capable of providing more than enough gas. Experts working in the field assume that the Gazprom negotiations are of a political nature and that the involvement of Bidzina Ivanishvili, a former PM who holds a considerable share at Gazprom, could be a driving factor in this process. At the same time, Frontera Resources, an American oil and gas exploration and production company, recently announced that a groundbreaking amount of gas has been found at the South Kakheti Gas Complex of Georgia. Frontera says the gas field in Georgia is of high significance, needing rapid development. According to the American company, the gas field can potentially transform Georgia from an energy-dependent to a gas exporter for the entire region. However, there is a reasonable notion that the case could be politically ‘muted’. Some experts allege that a correlation between the Frontera discovery and the Gazprom deal could be legitimate. Will the Georgian government sign an agreement which will contradict the country’s national interests? Is the Gazprom deal playing with fire?




inister of Defense Tina Khidasheli has said in a statement it is clear that the Russian Government has set a goal to create a problem for NATO expansion. “There’s nothing new in it and it would be strange if it were not so. The on-going events, in Macedonia, for example, very clearly show Russia’s attitude and intentions. However, the free world acts to its own rules and naturally and it does not subordinate to this kind of blackmail,” Khidasheli said. Concerning Russia’s cooperation with the occupied territories, Khidasheli continued, “We know that ‘agreements’ were signed and entered into force, but we also know very well that nothing in real life has changed in the occupied territories, which often served as grounds for local resident dissatisfaction.” The Minister highlighted that Russia does not observe principals with regard to sovereign states or the occupied regions. This is the real face of the Russian authorities. Early January, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the German Bild publication that NATO could refuse expansion in order to provide international security, but that the Alliance wanted to be ‘king’ and in doing so exacerbated the crisis in Europe. Putin said the third forces used international terrorism while fighting Russia and provided ‘anti-state’ forces with political, financial and armed aid. He added that the sanctions imposed by the

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin Source:

West were a mistake and that Russia did not invade Crimea. Meanwhile, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo an criticized his Russian counterpart for his ‘illegitimate’ claim that Russia was invited by the Syrian government. “The Syrian government is not a legitimate government. Why did you send forces to Georgia, then? Because you were invited? Did you send forces to Ukraine because you were invited there?” the Turkish leader asked Putin. It has been Russia’s declared strategy to prevent Georgia from becoming a member of the European and EuroAtlantic family and to restore the former USSR sphere of influence throughout the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. Yet, despite numerous attempts by Russia to fully subordinate the country, ranging from the 70-year Soviet occupation to provoking a civil war (1990s) and occupying 20 percent of the country’s sovereign territory today, Georgia still maintains its laborious route towards the Euro-Atlantic space.




JANUARY 15 - 18, 2016

The Anti-Turkish Coalition, Members: 1.5 OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA


fter cancelling the visafree travel and lifting the trade embargo, the Kremlin began forming an antiTurkish coalition. For now the coalition is represented only by Russia, however, soon this solidity will be brought to an end and Sokhumi will also be found standing beside Moscow. On January 11th, the de facto government of occupied Abkhazia issued a decree, according to which any kind of trade, economic or financial relations with Turkey is now banned. The ban is officially to begin from January 20th, however, Russia’s navy took care of this in advance, in November 2015 to be precise, and blocked Abkhazia’s waters following the Turkish take down of a Russian bomber. The accession of Abkhazia to the Turkish embargo was also decided at the end of last year, when President Putin’s assistant Vladimer Surkov went there to remind local officials of the “alliance and strategic partnership agreement” signed with the Kremlin, especially the part of the agreement in which it discusses the coordinated foreign policy. Moscow has long been frustrated to observe the Turkish-Abkhazian rela-

tions. In fact, these relations, which are getting deeper and deeper, should be worrying Tbilisi too, however, in this case, Georgian diplomacy chooses to be pragmatic, since Ankara does not recognize Abkhazian independence and because the activity of the Abkhazian diaspora in Turkey should not become a reason to devaluate relations with such a big trading and transport partner. They think completely differently in Moscow, as the North-Caucasus problem is still unresolved; the “Cherkezian Bomb” is ticking and for sure they are unhappy with the introduction of Turkish “soft power” along the Black Sea coast and later its gradual strengthening by trading, informational, cultural or other means. Therefore, Surkov decided to take advantage of the open confrontation that arose between Russia and Turkey and to ask Sokhumi to prove its loyalty with this excuse. And not only to prove, but to take specific and quite painful steps too. “We cannot allow Turkish construction companies to be financed with Russian money,” Surkov told the de facto government of occupied Abkhazia. Abkhazia’s budget is 13.5 million Rubles – approximately USD 182 million. 90 percent of this sum comes directly from the Kremlin, therefore the Kremlin’s demand is understandable. The foreigntrading turnover is USD 200 million.

After cancelling the visa-free travel and lifting the trade embargo, the Kremlin began forming an anti-Turkish coalition. For now the coalition is represented only by Russia, however, soon this solidity will be brought to an end and Sokhumi will also be found standing beside Moscow

According to Russian and Abkhazian sources, approximately 10 percent of occupied Abkhazia’s export goes to Turkey, mainly coal, scrap metal and fish, while mostly construction material, fuel, food and textiles are imported from Turkey. Forcing Abkhazians into this embargo will cost Moscow 8 billion Rubles, that is about USD 110 million. Exactly this amount has already been ear-marked by Russia to be sent to the occupied territory in 2016. Expert Gia Khukhashvili thinks that, in future, Russia will increase its influ-

ence in the region and bring the influence of other States to the minimum: “Abkhazia’s unofficial contacts with Turkey took place outside Georgia’s will. Limitation of these does not change anything for us. I rule out that Abkhazian’s will risk forming economic relations through Georgia, as the occupying regime is fully controlling the administrative border. It is not a secret to anyone that a quantity of Abkhazian nuts was re-exported to Turkey through Georgia. Maybe Russia will turn a blind eye on this, but for sure Turkish goods

won’t be brought into Abkhazia via Georgia,” the expert said. The Russian – Turkish controversy is gradually relocating to the Georgian territory. No need to be a big analyst to realize that taking full control over Georgian territory is increasingly becoming the ultimate goal for Russia. By doing so, it will resolve many strategic problems, will improve its own positions in the Black Sea and will strengthen its military bases in Armenia as well as partly simplifying its aerial relations with Syria.




Tech Park to Support New Ideas BY EKA KARSAULIDZE


he First Technology Park (Tech Park), which recently opened in Tbilisi, will provide young creators with high quality equipment and the ability to turn their ideas into reality. The new facility is also expected to create a big impulse amongst civilians to develop small and medium-sized enterprises and positively affect the country’s economy as a whole. According to Tech Park representatives, this project was created especially for those who had no possibilities to realize their ideas or contact with potential investors. “Anyone can come to Tech Park with an idea and get a free expert consultation. We will support the implementation of the project, not only with technology and equipment assessment, but also by providing training, consultation with our foreign partners, and even conduct learning courses,” said Irakli Kashibadze, Chairman of the Innovation and Technology Agency. The facility was built on an area spanning 18,000m2 in Okrokhana, in Tbilisi’s recreation area near Mtatsminda Park. Tech Park provides resources for start-

ups and is equipped with small incubators, learning centers and laboratories, a library, as well as large offices for companies. It also includes co-working spaces, training centers, showrooms, conference rooms and a recreational space. Georgian innovators who have already made some achievements in the technology field positively evaluated the creation of such a center and noted that in future it could become a space for joint projects with other start-ups as well as a communication platform for foreign companies. Tech Park will play an important role in the creation of new companies, current business development, commercialization of innovations and creation of high-paid jobs. It also gives Georgia an opportunity to create local branches of international companies and attract foreign investment. Another major advantage of Tech Park is access to world brand high technology equipment. Intel, Samsung, HP and the equipment of other well-known

The Prime Minister said the state has made significant investment in the future of the country. PM Kvirikashvili with Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Dimitry Kumsishvili, Avtandil Kasradze and Sopi Gurasashvili at Tech Park

brands allows the testing of products which will be produced in the center. “The Park’s facilities provide an opportunity for young people to go beyond the borders of their ideas. When there is a chance to use the latest equipment and technology, you can reach a completely different level,” said Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Dim-

Ar Dayobot s scis tands sors w at T ith the ech Par officia k lO



itri Kumsishvili. “The potential of our young people is very high and we hope many interesting projects will be launched here that help to develop not only small businesses, but large ones as well.” Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili opened the Technology Park in Tbilisi on January 11 and noted that economic growth is impossible without the development of Information Technology. “Within the next few days I want to arrange the first meeting in Tech Park with young people who have innovative ideas. I am sure we will find lots of interesting ideas and make significant changes in our country,” PM Kvirikashvili said. The idea of building the Technology Park in Tbilisi belonged to former Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. This is a USD 5 million project, which was started at the beginning of 2015 and completed one year later. The project itself was carried out by the Innovation and Technology Agency of the Ministry of Economy.




JANUARY 15 - 18, 2016

Qatar Airways Celebrates Record Sales As Travel Festival Kick Starts Bookings For 2016 Thousands of people are going places thanks to Qatar Airways Travel Festival Just a few days left to enjoy the airline’s biggest promotion ever


nly a few days remain of the Qatar Airways Travel Festival is on for just a few more days, allowing travelers to take advantage of an extraordinary promotion offering huge discounts on flights, companion fares, group deals and special offers on car rentals and hotel rooms. So far thousands of people have already taken advantage of this offer to go places in 2016 and 150 people have won prizes to date. A first-of-its-kind, the Travel Festival offers global travelers a huge choice of dream deals for going places in 2016; from sun-seekers to culture vultures and weekend-breakers to businessmakers. The promotion not only offers superb deals on flights to locations around the world but also offers hundreds of prize draws and bonus Qmiles for Privilege Club members. Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Hugh Dunleavy, said: “Traditionally a time for New Year resolutions and looking ahead, January sees many people setting their sights on travelling abroad. Qatar Airways Travel Festival supports this vision by helping people go places, both new and familiar, near and far. With our Travel Festival everyone can start 2016 with a chance to explore and embrace new countries

and 15 December 2016. The Travel Festival is a continuation of Qatar Airways new global brand positioning, unveiled last month, encapsulated in the engaging tag line: ‘Going Places Together.’ Just like this current promotion, it puts passengers at the heart of the airline’s service and inspires customers to reach higher, go further and achieve more through travel. There are great value fares between

Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is one of the fastest growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world. Now in its 19th year of operations, Qatar Airways has a modern fleet of 175 aircraft flying to more than 150 key business and leisure destinations across six continents. Qatar Airways won Airline of


the Year, Best Business Class Airline Seat and Best Airline in the Middle East at the 2015 Skytrax Awards. This is the third time the airline won the accolade of Airline of the Year. Qatar Airways is a member of the oneworld global alliance. The award-winning alliance was named the World’s Best Airline Alliance 2015 by Skytrax for the third year running. Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance, oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,250 daily departures. Qatar Airways launched Oryx One in 2015, an enhanced interface for its inflight entertainment system, increasing the number of movies and TV shows on board from 950 to up to 2,000. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, A350, A380, A319 as well as select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the five-star airline’s on-board Wifi and GSM service. Qatar Airways Cargo, the world’s third largest cargo carrier, serves more than 40 exclusive freighter destinations worldwide via its Doha hub and also delivers freight to more than 150 key business and leisure destinations globally on 175 aircraft. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet now includes seven Airbus 330, eight Boeing 777 freighters and one Boeing 747 freighter.

577 22 02 20 577 23 02 30

FROM 800$

and cultures with the world’s best airline.” Passengers can simply look online at or through Qatar Airways sales agents, to search for the best deals. The Travel Festival is only live until 17 January 2016 so anyone looking to make the most of these offers must act soon. Travelers can choose from more than 150 destinations globally with travel valid between 19 January

destinations such as Maldives, Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, Dubai and Beijing, with prices designed not just to inspire wanderlust, but to make it possible, too. There are hundreds of prizes still to be given away over the remaining days whilst some winners have already taken to social media using #TravelFestival to celebrate their wins. Passengers booking during the promotion have the chance to be automatically entered in a huge prize draw. Prizes include seven million Qmiles, complimentary flights, upgrades, hotel packages, discount shopping vouchers to spend in all Qatar Duty Free boutiques, and car rental discounts. With the addition of triple Privilege Club Qmiles for bookings made during the promotion, everybody is a winner in the Qatar Airways Travel Festival.* *Terms and conditions apply. Seats and subject to availability and blackout dates apply. Please review at time of booking at





Iago Bitarishvili’s Chinuri in Wine List of London’s Ritz BY ANA AKHALAIA


he iconic Ritz London hotel has recently updated its Le Livre de Vin, or wine list, which now for the first time includes Georgian orange wine, the 2013 Iago Bitarishvili Chardakhi Chinuri. Chinuri is available at the Ritz by the bottle as well as the glass. A 125 ml glass of Chinuri is priced at £14 (around 50

GEL) while the price for a bottle is £65, or around 230 GEL. After being asked whether the Ritz’s clientele were ready to experience such unconventional wines as the Georgian orange, head sommelier Giovanni Ferlito said that he had been impressed by both the knowledge and the open-mindedness of the British people regarding wine. “There are some producers in Georgia that grow international grapes, but Chinuri is only from there,” Ferlito said. Iago’s is a boutique winery founded in 2003 by Iago Bitarishvili. Iago organi-


Iago Bitarishvili organically farms two hectares of Chinuri vine which yield only around 2500 bottles per year. At the Ritz London the price for a bottle is £65, or around 230 GEL

cally farms two hectares of vines which yield only around 2500 bottles per year. All the wine is fermented and aged in Qvevri (a traditional Georgian earthenware vat for wine) using Chinuri, a grape variety indigenous to the Kartli region in central Georgia. Iago’s Chinuri was recently placed by American Vogue magazine at the top of Vogue’s list of orange wines. The Ritz London hotel, already in its 110th year, has been the benchmark by which other hotels are measured since 1906.

Georgian Airports Serve a Record Number of Passengers in 2015 BY TAMAR SVANIDZE


n 2015, Georgia’s Airports served a record number of passengers compared to previous years. The Aviation Agency of the Ministry of Economy published statistics showcasing that Georgian airports served 12% more passengers in 2015 than the previous year. According to data, airports in Georgia

served a record 2,261,006 passengers in 2015. The report highlighted that usage of Georgian air space increased by 6.6% with the total number of flights reaching 123,364. The number of regular and charter flights increased by 4.53%. Georgian airports made 11,409 regular and 2,259 charter flights in 2015. According to statistics, almost 2 million passengers passed through Tbilisi airport, which was 17.25% more than last year, while Batumi airport served 226,476

passengers – 5.91% more than in 2014, and the airport in Mestia, in northern Georgia, hosted 232 % more than in 2014. The number of passengers at Kutaisi airport reduced by 35,049 and totalled 182,954. The agency explains this by Wizz Air’s cancellation of flights to Ukraine. Meanwhile, the National Tourism Administration of Georgia announced that in 2015 the number of visitors to the country increased by 7% with around 6 million visitors in total crossing the border of Georgia.

The English - Speaking Union ინგლისურ ენაზე მოლაპარაკეთა კავშირი Creating global understanding through English Patron: Her Majesty The Queen President: HRH The Princess Anne Invites 16-20 year old young Speakers to take part in the

Public Speaking Competition SPONSORED BY

The theme of the competition is “Integrity has no need of Rules”. Speakers may interpret this theme in any way they see fit, but they should not use the theme as their title. Each speaker will be allocated 5 minutes. The competition will be held in two rounds. The first round, March 14, at the English Language Centre “British Corner” (Vake Park). The second round will be held on 29th of March. The theme of the second round will be announced later. The competition is sponsored by the Bank of Georgia and British Petroleum ESU – Georgia will send the lucky winner to London in May to take part in the finals and organize 5 day stay in England. The deadline for registration is March 11. Contact us: The English Language Centre “British Corner”, Vake Park (entrance from I. Abashidze St.). Tel.: 557 400033, 5 77 477050; 5 55 302512 E mail:;




WMTR Cleans Up and Repurposes Illegal Dumpsites Prepared by USAID’S Waste Management Technologies in the Regions Project


iming for a better environment and human health and waste management system in the country, the Waste Management Technologies in the Regions (WMTR) Program, together with the municipalities of its targeted regions of Kakheti and the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, started clean-up campaigns of illegal dumpsites. A dumpsite covering 1 ha of land in Akura village, Kakheti region, was cleaned by the WMTR team and Telavi Municipality on January 5–7, from which 50 m3 of waste was removed. The land served as a dumpsite for about 350 households in the village, so the Municipal Council installed bins last year, and the population has since stopped disposing of waste here. The area is located near the village’s agricultural land, where the population harvests corn and has vineyards. Additionally, the inhabitants shepherd cattle and collect blackberries. Also, the area has an irrigation channel that runs through it with contaminated water. Like the Akura clean-up campaign, other illegal dumpsites in six villages of both regions have also been cleaned. Sites in three villages of Akhmeta municipality, Duisi, Dumasturi and Khalatsani, covering an area of around 2 hectares were cleaned and repurposed as a forest with 300 walnut trees provided by the Austrian Development Cooperationfunded Sustainable Forest Management in Georgia (SFG) and implemented by Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) in the middle of November last year. Those areas located along the bank of the river Alazani served as a household

The Akura illegal dumpsite covered 1 ha of land, from which 50 m3 of waste was removed

waste dumpsite for many years and had spread all over the bank of the river. Bottles, plastic bags, and sheep wool were the most common materials at the dumpsites, along with other household waste that created a threat to the environment and human health. Moreover, besides being an illegal landfill, it is also being used for grazing and poultry. During the heavy rainfall, it is likely that the waste was washed into the river. During the cleaning campaigns, twenty

three 700-liter waste bins and an information board were installed in both areas in order to prevent future pollution. A regular waste collection service was arranged by the municipalities with the help of the WMTR Team. Additionally, in the WMTR program, in cooperation with local governments, three areas in the villages of Dekanishvilebi, Tsetskhlauri and Legva (located in the Autonomous Republic of Adjara) were cleaned in September-October last

year. The total area of dumpsites in the villages of Tsetskhlauri and Legva was 200-250 m2, while the area in Dekanishvilebi was 250 m2. The areas were repurposed as forests with trees provided by the Adjara Forestry Agency and the CENN/ADA forestry project. In the very near future, the team plans on cleaning a site in Apeni village in Lagodekhi municipality, where “grove oak” (Quercus Longipes), featured on the Red List of endangered species of Geor-

gia, will be planted in the cleaned area. The WMTR Program, implemented by the International City/Country Management Association (ICMA) and the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) and financed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), assists central and local governments, local businesses, communities and municipalities in developing integrated waste management systems for its targeted regions - Kakheti and Adjara.

Gazprom? Who Cares! Just Keep Us Warm! OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


hat does Georgia want from the famous Russian energy giant? And vice versa, what is it that might interest Gazprom in a miniature client like Georgia? Based on what we happen to conceive from the information available to us via local press and broadcast media, the clear answer to those two simple questions is not even looming on the horizon – so far, at least. What I think tends to take place

10 Galaktion Street

is that the Georgian government has long been diligently obfuscating for some cause, unbeknownst to the public, its talks with Gazprom, describing the deal as an attempt to diversify the country’s access to natural gas in general. Yet the opposition to the current Georgian government is persistently qualifying the obvious courting of the Russian gas industry as the fact of betrayal of Georgia’s national interests. What can we, the totally misinformed rank-and-file of Georgia, think in this case, being flagrantly caught between the hammer and the anvil? The thing is that we the people never know anything about the goings-on in the coun-

try’s business world – this is clearly a taboo: businesses are doing their big covert shtick, and the people are busy with their overt little goals and deeds. But the governments have their administrative tentacles all over the place, trying to somehow control both of them. The only thing that we might physically feel is that the imported gas smells like politics here and politics like gas. This is all we might have a receptive nose and sharp ear for. The rest is shrouded in secrecy. As a matter of fact, I don’t give a damn about what is happening with gas in this country. For our own happiness, we the consumers only need to be informed about the purity

Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail:

and caloric quality, and certainly be given low prices on the gas we use in everyday life. Lucky are the nations who would only consume natural gas for heating and cooking, and not be glued to their television sets for hours in order to hear and see who is sending us gas and for how much. We all need to come home after a long day’s drudgery, use our gas-hobs to cook our dinner and then watch something on TV that will not bother us with long and drawn-out gibberish about gas politics that the big bugs up there are terribly interested in for some reasons unknown. Would this be too much for an honest working human to ask? Let the government take care of the politics needed to provide gas that should be readily available to its subjects who are exhausted by too much politics in the natural gas business. And let us, the regular men and women in the street, get on with the business of enjoying our lives. On a more serious note, we all have some

doubts and second thoughts about the entire covered-up deal taking place between the Russian gas company and the Georgian government, but the situation could be made easier on both the governed and the governors if the Georgian administration made the content of negotiations with Gazprom biggies open and transparent so that all of us in Georgia could relax and stay happy. And finally, let us call this one a regular human interest story – not an article on business or politics. I would love to stay away from both this time around, especially in the festive spirit of the New Year holiday, still being celebrated in both Russia and Georgia. Gazprom is a Russian public joint stock company, born the year of Soviet demise, and involved in the business of extraction, production, transport and sale of natural gas worldwide. It is notoriously reputed for abusing its energy potential for clout in global politics.




JANUARY 15 - 18, 2016

The Service: Svaneti BY TONY HANMER


e’ve had a guest/volunteer for a couple of weeks now, and she asked to see an Orthodox Sunday

church service. The first Sunday we remembered late; it starts at 10 am, and after barn duty it was past that. A week later locals suggested the main old church in the village, although they couldn’t be sure that it would be there, as there are several in Etseri and the priest had also started ministering in other nearby villages. We went, but no sign of life. Third time... I now had the priest’s phone number, and was able to confirm that the event would indeed be in the church we had investigated earlier. We set off through the snow and mild winter currently gracing us. The Pkhotreri Church of the Archangels was reputedly built (or ordered) by Queen Tamar, famous granddaughter of King David the Builder, on her legendary passage through Svaneti in the Middle Ages, scattering projects about her as she went all the way to Ushguli. It’s a unique structure- one church around a smaller one housing a few of the fabulous icons which were sent to inaccessible Svaneti many times for safekeeping during the frequent invasions. Our icons, though, are relatively battered, and perhaps thus have not been absorbed by the

main museum housing such things, in Mestia. The church interior is entirely frescoed with scenes from the lives of the Biblical and Georgian saints, although this work too has not fared well over the many centuries since it was done. Just a few figures and faces remain intact to watch you from wherever you are, eyes following. The exterior, however, was being renovated during one of my early visits here some fifteen years ago thanks to EU sponsorship. The soft, creamcolored stone is so worn in places, it looks like it might have grown, all veins. To local outrage, the floor of the church was recently retiled in L-shaped stones—right material, but way too modernly done, apparently spoiling it to a great extent. There was, thankfully, a large electric heater in use, much needed as the place retains little warmth, doing its best but not making the place more than bearable. The inner sanctuary’s steel door was locked but, hearing us approach, they opened it. Aside from the priest, there were only four acolytes—two of my grade 12 girls and two boys I didn’t recognize, all serving in various ways. Perhaps to get through things as fast as possible given the temperature, the whole sung liturgy was performed at auctioneering speed. It was a process of priest initiating and one girl answering, through prayers, Bible readings and other ele-

ments. The pace made it rather hard for me to interpret more than a general outline for my guest, but I tried to let her know the gist. If there had been more singers, we could have had a magnificent a cappella choir, but one was all we had. Where are you, devoted Svans? Another sensory element supreme in Orthodox services and much too lacking

elsewhere is smell. The smoke wafting from the censer is produced by incense made to the Old Testament recipe, and it will always mean the aroma of holiness to me, for my whole life from the moment I first inhaled it. I simply love the way it represents the prayers of the saints— including us, as St Paul calls all believers—going up before God’s throne. The sermon, if there was one at all, was literally about two minutes long. Communion consisted of special bread but no wine; however, my guest and I were allowed to partake in the former. The priest, though, was not the one I had called but another, and we didn’t know each other. He admonished the boys to leave earthly thoughts in this place, and focus on the Divine. Most of the reading was done from the modern Georgian alphabet, but the Scriptures

were read from a book printed in the old alphabet, completely different, although using modern language, an interesting combination which gave both male readers some trouble with its relative unfamiliarity. But they struggled on. Practice will do it. About an hour and a half later it was over, and the priest swished off with the boys to his car and elsewhere. My guest and I said goodbye to the girls and trudged home ten minutes away. I wished that I’d understood more, but it’s a long learning process, especially with Georgian being sung that fast. I’m sure that God got every word, though. Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1250 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:

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




From Georgian Folk to Zeppelin’s Kashmir: Giorgi Mikadze Astonishes the US BY MAKA LOMADZE

V. Horowitz International Piano Competition Kiev, Ukraine, to name just a few.



eorgian Giorgi Mikadze, 26, is an emerging mega pianist in the US. Smart, organized, talented, intellectual, hardworking – he has it all! In his words, in the US, the tradition of producers fades and more self-management skills are required. At the age of 19, he applied to Berklee, the best music school in the world, and got a full scholarship, making him the third Georgian student there. Currently, he studies at the Manhattan School of Music, where he was the only one to obtain – believe it or not – a full scholarship out of the 3000 applicants worldwide. We are proud of him, and thankful that he chose to give an exclusive interview to Georgia Today.

HOW DID YOU START ON YOUR ROAD TO SUCCESS? Eteri Anjaparidze, a Georgian/American pianist and the first Grammy Nominee from the Republic of Georgia, was holding a class in Tbilisi. I was a student at Tbilisi State Conservatoire back then. I played and she took me to the International Festival-Institute at Round Top. I saw the American life and was pretty excited about it. Then I applied to the Berklee College of Music and got in. Then followed the Jazz Performance Award; winning the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center (directed by Jason Moran); the Emanuel Zambelli Scholarship; winning the “New Piano Music” composition and piano department competition as a composer and performer; the Berklee 2012 Berklee Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition; a scholarship from Giya Kancheli, a grant from Eteri Andjapharidze; winning National and International classical piano competitions; the 6th

My biggest project that I shared with Roger Brown, President of Berklee, was to pay tribute to Quincy Jones. I chose all the musicians and arrangers. Among our participants were Patti Austin, a Grammy winning artist, and Siedah Garrett, Michael Jackson’s back vocalist.The concert took place at the Berklee Performance Center in February 2013. In America, dreams come true. After this gig, many doors opened up for me. I became a Berklee Face. Then I was selected for the Betty Carter annual jazz program. Those two weeks at the Kennedy Center for the performing arts were cool. We had amazing teachers and a mentor, Jason Moran. I’m so thankful to him. He is one of the greatest educators in the states, and an awesome person. Then, the Tbilisi jazz and Black Sea Jazz Festivals followed. I really want to create something valuable for the next generation. Therefore, the awards do not matter so much. Prizes just give one the opportunity to move on a step. Berklee was and is still helping me a lot. While at Berklee, I had a meeting with famous Irish composer Bill Whelan. Before that, I’d never heard of Riverdance and Irish music and I never imagined that I’d meet the person who created it. He’s one of my most active supporters now, like a friend. We always share our new works with each other. I used to have a teacher who worked with Beyonce. When graduation time came, Berklee asked me to be a co-director for its commencement concert. Each year Berklee awards four honorary doctorates. In 2014, Geri Allen, an American jazz pianist, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Berklee. I became her musical director and had to arrange her music, as well as perform it. I was really excited. Then legendary Jimmy

Page became a Berklee Honorary Doctorate. We had to pay a tribute to him, and therefore, we performed an extraordinary version of Kashmir arranged by Dave Fiuzcynski and students of the Planet MicroJam Institute. I had an opportunity to meet Jimmy Page, shake his hand, and talk about many things. Oh my god! It was amazing! And he also heard me play! I’ve been listening to Led Zeppelin since I was a teenager. Our Kashmir was different because our band was multicultural, with a violin player from Jordan, a Chinese ethno-instrument player, an American drummer and me, a Georgian guy on the microtonal keyboards. Page liked it. It was a nice gig. I attended the New Port Jazz Festival in 2013, not as a participant but as a regular music lover. However, two years later I was in the line-up myself. This was an unbelievable event in my life – a dream come true!

SO, IT WAS YOUR DREAM AND AIM? Exactly. I met with John Hailer, CEO of Natixis global asset management and the main sponsor for New Port. He offered to introduce me to George Wein, who liked my music and included me in the 2015 jazz festival’s line up, which I gladly accepted. It is unbelievable what type of musicians have played there – Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, etc. George Wein is an American jazz promoter and producer and has been called “the most famous jazz impresario,” having organized the joint gig of Miles Davies and Thelonious Monk. At Six String Theory Competition, I won first prize. One of the competition prizes was to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival. On such occasions you meet a lot of great musicians, and also play with them at a jam-session. I met

John McLaughlin. The show was packed.

WHAT IS THE SECRET OF YOUR SUCCESS? I think the ability to see reality. I realize that now is not the best time commercially speaking for jazz or classical music. The most popular genre worldwide today is Hip-Hop. I had to study from Bach to the Pop period to come to understand what hip-hop really is. Pure jazz is outdated now, and if you are a contemporary musician, you have to accept the reality that jazz is developing and is often expressed in different genres.

APART FROM BEING A SPLENDID PIANIST, YOU’RE ALSO A COMPOSER. WHAT INSPIRES YOU MOST? Musical information is what counts most for a musician to grow. I listen and listen endlessly. You have to know all the latest achievements in all genres. If you ask me how many hours I practice a day, I would say not many. In the past, I would practice the piano 10 hours a day, but nowadays I listen more than I

play. Musically speaking, my main source of inspiration is Georgian folk music, African music and pretty much all the available musical material that exists in the world. Africa consists of many countries but each of them has different rhythms. In my opinion, the Georgian harmony mixes the best with the African rhythms. I listen to Georgian folklore 3-4 hours a day. You cannot surprise the motherland of jazz unless you respect and understand your own musical culture and tradition.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST ACHIEVEMENT I performed at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, playing my original music which was based on Georgian folk. At Kennedy the audience was mainly from the United States and I had no idea how they would take to the music. But I think the audience enjoyed the gig a lot. Very soon, I’m going to record an album that will include Jojo Mayer – my friend and the world’s most famous drummer, and Panaigotis Andreou – another very successful bass player.




JANUARY 15 - 18, 2016

Golden Globes 2016 – Panned by Critics, Ratings Down BY BEQA KIRTAVA


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n January 10, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) gave out trophies to 2015’s designated talents of film and television. The show was hosted by Ricky Gervais, who returned after a three year break. If we take a look at the winners in the film section. The Revenant managed to claim the throne with three wins, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director and Best Leading Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama. Yes, Leonardo DiCaprio is one step closer to winning an Oscar! However, Matt Damon also has his chances with the Best Leading Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy win for ‘The Martian,’ which got crowned as the best comedy film of the past year. As for the ladies, Jennifer Lawrence won her third Golden Globe for ‘Joy,’ while Brie Larson was named as the Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, for the portrayal of Joy “Ma” Newsome in ‘Room.’ Moving on to the main winners of the TV category, ‘Mr. Robot’ (Best Series – Drama and Best Supporting Actor – Christian Slater), ‘American Horror Story: Hotel’ (Best Mini-series or Television Film and Best Actress in a Miniseries of TV Film – Lady Gaga) and ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ (Best Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Leading Actor – Gael Garcia Bernal) stood out from the crowd with two wins each. As the first and the last are both produced by online streaming media companies (Amazon and Netflix), it’s pretty clear that TV as we know it is slowly but steadily transforming. And last but not least, let’s talk about the show itself, which received a windfall of negative reviews from the majority of critics. “When was the last time the Globes were this painful to watch?”

Leonardo DiCaprio took home the trophy in the Best Leading Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama category. © Getty Images

asked Entertainment Weekly’s Melissa Maerz, who gave the ceremony a C and named Gervais’ bad hosting as the main setback. TIME’s Daniel D’Addario also expressed his negative opinions about the show, calling it “bogged down.” The Washington Post’s Hank Stuever seemed to agree – “We ask for the worst, so we get the worst,” he wrote. The 73rd Golden Globes didn’t do well in terms of viewer numbers either, as only 18.5 million people tuned in to watch, which is a significant 800,000

person decline on last year. Now that the Golden Globes are behind us, let’s hope that the 2016 edition of the film industry’s main event, the Academy Awards, will be much better. For the full list of winners and more go to Note: in the previous issue of Georgia Today (January 8) the article – “The Most Anticipated Movies of 2016” featured the wrong poster for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. We apologize for this mistake.

Georgian Music and Theater in New York BY TATIA MEGENEISHVILI


he Tbilisi-based Vaso Abashidze Music and Drama State Theatre Company visited New York’s acclaimed performance venues in lower Manhattan on January 9. Seven actors presented a production titled “Introspection - The Story About Us” for the local audience. The performance told about Georgia’s history from the Soviet era to modern times and was produced by director David Doiashvili. Also in New York was the Georgian National Orchestra which was conducted by Nikoloz Rachveli, who led an orchestra of 30 musicians for a live performance comprised of works by popular Georgian composers from different eras. The New York theatre hosted the performance within its cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia.



Georgian Movies Being Screened at London Festival BY TATIA MEGENEISHVILI


our famous Georgian films from different eras are being screened at a special event hosted by London’s Deptford Cinema. The cinema is hosting the films within the ‘White Horse: Films from Georgia’ program, the aim of which is to highlight Georgian cinematography. Movies chosen for the screening were: Tengiz Abuladze’s 1987 work ‘Repentance’ which was actually made in 1984. However, its release was banned in the Soviet Union for its semi-allegorical critique of Stalinism. It later premiered at the 1987

Cannes Film Festival. The 1985 cinema version of a Georgia folk tale ‘The Legend of the Suram Fortress’ by directors Sergei Parajanov and Dodo Abashidze, which presents the Soviet history of the country’s cinematography. ‘In Bloom’ by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, 2013. In Bloom is a Georgian Drama focused on the friendship of two teenage girls in 1992, after Georgia achieved independence from the Soviet Union. The film premiered at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival. Jason Osborn’s 2009 work ‘Songs of Georgia’, a documentary piece about Georgian culture and folklore. The White Horse screenings opened on January 3 and will continue until January 17.

Oscars Shortlist Tangerines to Fight for Spanish Award



stonian-Georgian wartime drama ‘Tangerines,’ directed by Georgian Zaza Urushadze, is to compete against the best European films this year in its nomination for a Gaudi Award in Spain. Along with ‘Tangerines,’ three other European films have been nominated for the award. These are: ‘Pride’ by Matthew Warchus, ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ directed by Olivier Assayas and ‘Force Majeure’ by Ruben Ostlund.

The Gaudi Awards, established by the Catalonian Film Academy in 2009, are among the most prestigious awards in Spain. The awards ceremony will be held on January 31st in Barcelona. The Estonian-Georgian co-production Tangerines (Mandarinebi) won an Audience Award for best film at the 24th Chichester Film Festival. Earlier in 2015 the film was also shortlisted for the Oscars. Since its release, the film has won awards at Warsaw, Mannheim-Heidelberg, Palm Springs and Seattle film festivals among many others. It was nominated for the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language film category at last year’s Academy Awards.

Sioni Painter Levan Tutskiridze Awarded Special Prize by Minster of Culture BY NINA IOSELIANI


he Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, Mikheil Giorgadze, presented the famous artist and graphic designer, 90-year-old Levan Tutskiridze, with a special prize for his achievements in the development of Georgian art. Levan Tutskiridze painted the Sioni Cathedral in 1980 and is also the illustrator of the books: ‘Holy Gospel’ by Chabua Amirejibi, ‘Data Tutashkhia’ and the poem ‘The Knight in the Panther’s Skin’ by Shota Rustaveli, which is published in Armenia, Russia, Japan and Germany. He is also the artist behind a collection of illustrations called ‘Faust’ by Goethe which are stored in the Goethe Museum in Weimar.





JANUARY 15 - 18, 2016


Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 January 15 AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari January 16 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari TBILISI NODAR DUMBADZE STATE CENTRAL CHILDREN’S THEATRE Address: 99/1 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 95 39 27 January 16 NEW YEAR’S EVE AND COSMIC ALIENS Tale Directed by Dimitri Gvtisiashvili Language: Russian Start time: 12:00 Ticket price: From 6 Lari GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36 January 16 ELDER SON Directed by Gogi Margvelashvili Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari January 17 THE SCARLET FLOWER

Directed by Vakhtang Nikolava Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATRE Address: 182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90 January 15, 16, 17 MARY POPPINS P. L. Travers Musical Directed by David Doiashvili Ticket price: 8, 10 Lari Start time: 19:00 January 19, 20 CHRISTMAS TALE Directed by Davit Doiashvili Musical Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: From 8 Lari TBILISI CIRCUS

Address: 1 Heroes Sq. Telephone: 298 30 35 January 16, 17 NEW YEAR’S TREE Start time: 13:00, 17:00 Ticket price: From 10 Lari CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 January 15-21 THE REVENANT Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller

Language: English Start time: 22:00 Language: Russian Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 13-14 Lari THE HATEFUL EIGHT Directed by Quentin Tarantino Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery Language: English Start time: 18:30 Language: Russian Start time: 15:00, 22:15 Ticket price: 9-14 Lari CREED Directed by Ryan Coogler Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson Genre: Drama, Sport Language: Russian Start time: 19:30, 22:15 Ticket price: 13-14 Lari ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP Directed by Walt Becker Cast: Jason Lee, Jessica Ahlberg, Josh Green Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 12:30, 14:40, 16:50 Ticket price: 8-12 Lari RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 January 15-21 CREED (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 16:45, 19:20, 22:15 Ticket price: 11-14 Lari THE REVENANT (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 19:30, 22;40 Ticket price: 13-14 Lari

THE HATEFUL EIGHT (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 22:35 Ticket price: 13-14 Lari

NATIONAL LIBRARY GALLERY Address: 7 Gudiashvili Str.

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21

January 18 CLASSICAL MUSIC CONCERT Ellen Kachlishvili - Soprano Giorgi Guliashvili - Tenor Oto Shishinashvili - Baritone George Mchedlishvili - Baritone Irma Gigani - Pianist Tsotne Sidamonidze - Pianist Salome Modebadze - Pianist Presenter: Mariam Nachkebia Start time: 19:30


MTKVARZE Address: Agladze 2 Str.


January 16 MAIN ROOM: Cobert Pasha Visual by Vajiko Small Room: Vaska (Mzesumzira) VaXuna (Mzesumzira) Start time: 23:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari




TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 January 15 BANK OF GEORGIA PRESENTS: CHRIS BOTTI Start time: 20:00

DIDI GALLERY Address: 36 Kostava Ave. January 18 DORIAN PAIC BACHO Start time: 23:00 Ticket price: 20 Lari RIFFER Address: 28 Rustaveli Ave. January 15 DAVID BOWIE TRIBUTE CONCERT & KARAOKE Young Georgian Lolitaz Lady Heroine David Lomidze Backwarmer Plus more TBA Dress code: David Bowie






eorgian sociality has united to get basketball player Zaza Pachulia playing in the NBA All-Star Game. During an entire month social networks have been filled with #NBAVOTE Zaza Pachulia posts. Not only are ordinary citizens in on the craze, even the President of Georgia, ministers, journalists, public figures and foreign embassies have joined the action. As a result, now Pachulia has a real chance to play among the true greats of basketball. The NBA All-Star Game is an exhibition game hosted annually by the National Basketball Association (NBA), matching the league’s star players from the Eastern Conference against their counterparts from the West. The next game will take place in Toronto on February 14, 2016. The starting lineup for each squad is selected by a fan ballot, while the reserves are chosen by a vote among the head coaches. Zaza Pachulia is one of the best players in Georgian basketball history, having played in different NBA teams since 2003 and currently playing as a Center Forward for the Dallas Mavericks. According to the All-Star Game’s fan ballot rules, everyone can vote for his or her favorite player with hashtag #NBA-

VOTE and the name of the chosen player on social networks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or on the official website of the NBA. The Top 5 players will be able to join the All-Star Game. Voting was weak at the beginning the fan ballot on December 11, 2014, with the first results of voting showing that Pachulia was not even in the top 15. However, towards the end of the month Pachulia’s name became more and more visible in social networks. According to the second updates of the voting on January 7, 2015, Pachulia reached 8th place in the list of Western Conference with 194,421 votes against 1,262,118 votes for international basketball stars Kobe Bryant and 616,096 for Kevin Durant who are in first and second places respectively. Pachulia’s name in the Top 10 has given a big boost to fan activity and increased hope that the Georgian will be able to be one of the All-Star Game players. As Facebook is the most popular social network in Georgia, thousands of fans soon began to actively write the hashtag there, not only every day, but also in each post, whether or not the post concerns basketball or Pachulia. President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili uploaded a picture of Pachulia and wrote the hashtag on his official Facebook page on January 9. The official Facebook page of the US Embassy in Tbilisi also did the same. “Zaza-mania continues! Let’s support Zaza and send

Georgian Footballer’s Score Included in Top 100 Goals of 2015



he goal of Georgian football player Valerian (Vako) Gvilia, scored for his former team Metalurg Zaporozhye during the country’s national championship in September 2015, has been selected among the Top 100 Goals, 2015, by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). A special gala ceremony was held in Zurich, Switzerland on January 11. Along with the main awards, the gala evening celebrated the Goals of the Year by awarding the Ferenc Puskas prize to

gram. “He deserves it. I am happy for him, and he has been incredible not only defensively and rebounding-wise, but offensively- he is really skilled. He knows how to pass. He does a lot of great things and we’re happy to have him.” Pachulia was touched by the incredible support of his people. “I want to thank everyone for their support! Each of your posts makes a difference and encourages me on,” noted Pachulia on his Facebook

page. “Thanks everyone who gave me even one vote and a chance to make my dream true – to play for my team and my country in an All-Star Game.” The lastest results of the voting will be available at the end of the week but fans all around the world still have a chance to vote until 9 am (Georgian time), January 19. The top five players to gain the maximum number of votes will be named on January 21.

Georgian Fencer Triumphs at Fencing World Cup BY TATIA MEGENEISHVILI


eorgian fencer Sandro Bazadze claimed his first victory of 2016 at the Fencing World Cup competition, taking first place at the International Fencing Federation’s

Satellite event in Turkish capital, Istanbul. Bazadze won against Canadian Joseph Polossifakis in the tournament’s final for the sabre category with a score of 15:13. Polossifakis had beaten Bazadze’s brother Beka Bazadze in the semifinal match while Sandro eliminated his teammate Mikheil Mardaleishvili in his playoff fixture.

In total, three Georgian athletes contributed to the national team with medals at the competition that ran on January 9 and 10. Bazadze was the first Georgian to win a gold medal at the European Youth Fencing Championships which took place in 2013. He also took a gold medal at the Under 23 European Championship in Tbilisi in 2014.

Brazilian Forward Wendell Lira. The goal by Gvilia was named among the year’s most beautiful goals. Gvilia scored the winning goal in the 89th minute, moving the ball with several of his teammates near and inside the Dnipro penalty area, before sliding it past the Dnipro goalkeeper. The fact that the goal didn’t help Zaporozhye to win the match (losing 1:4) had no baring at the awards as the goal was appreciated by commentators and spectators alike for the quality of passing and movement among the team’s players. Gvilia left Zaporozhye and is currently awaiting transfer to Portugal’s national championship.



Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Mako Burduli


him to the All-Star game,” the post declared. Recently, the Dallas Mavericks’ legend and one of the greatest power forwards in basketball history, Dirk Nowitzki, commented his teammate’s success and why he is only 13th in All-Star Game’s list against Pachulia’s 8th place. “He told every Georgian there to get online every day and vote for him,” Nowitzki told reporters via the Fort Worth Star-Tele-


Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #809  

Jan. 15 - 18, 2016

Issue #809  

Jan. 15 - 18, 2016