Issue no: 835
• APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY
PRICE: GEL 2.50
In this week’s issue... Countdown Nine Months: DAGI to Reconstruct Rustavi City Center NEWS PAGE 2
Apple vs. The FBI: A Broadcast of Ineptitude
FOCUS ON NATURE PROTECTION
The new Regional Executive Director of the Caucasus Nature Fund on Georgia’s Protected Areas and what is being done to better them
ccording to a new survey released by the National Democratic Institute on Monday, a majority of Georgian citizens want the country to continue on its path towards joining the NATO military alliance and the European Union. The poll, carried out from February 23-March 14, found that of the 3,900 respondents, 68 percent said NATO membership and is essential for Georgia, and 77 per cent in favour of joining the EU. Continued on page 2
Someone Else’s War
Poll Finds Majority of Georgians Want to Join NATO, EU BY NICHOLAS WALLER
POLITICS PAGE 4
SOCIETY PAGE 16
On Law and the Iranian Connection BUSINESS PAGE 9
Inside the Mind of a Georgian Producer Living in Berlin CULTURE PAGE 16
APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
Countdown Nine Months: DAGI to Reconstruct Rustavi City Center BY EKA KARSAULIDZE
EENA Awards 112 Georgia for Best Innovative Efforts in Disability Support BY EKA KARSAULIDZE
eorgia was among the winners of the annual European Emergency Number Association (EENA) Award. The country’s 112 emergency service was named the best for its innovative efforts to ensure that the entire community, including people with special needs, is able to get help when needed. The emergency hotline 112 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia introduced its service in March 2015. SMS and video call connection was created for those who cannot hear or speak. The service for people with hearing and speech impairments is available 24/7 throughout Georgia, free of charge. In order to have better communication and service provision, the creators of the program ask prior registration as an obligatory condition. Georgia joined the EENA on September 3, 2013 and began a systematized call process for medical services, Patrol Police and Fire/Rescue. The new SMS and video call service has made it available for everyone and has earned the trust of the population. “We created this service to give people with dis-
abilities an opportunity to contact us very easily and independently. Moreover, the EENA award is an impetus for us to move forward, to improve and create new services and to save more lives,” said Giorgi Bichashvili, the Director of 112 Georgia. Chair of the EENA Advisory Board, Demetrios Pyrros, named this as an important step to supporting people with disabilities. “It was a pleasure for us to give an award to Georgia for the second time, this time in recognition of the assessment of people with disabilities,” said Pyrros. The previous Award, “Outstanding Citizen,” was given tor 8-yearold Aleksandr Blozhadze from Georgia. “It was also important to show that the message of 112 message is not confined within the boundaries of the European Union, but also goes outside to other countries which support 112’s initiative,” Pyrros added. EENA is a Brussels-based non-governmental organization set up in 1999 dedicated to promoting high-quality emergency services reached by the number 112 throughout Europe. EENA memberships include more than 1200 emergency services representatives from more than 80 countries worldwide, 75 solution providers, 15 international associations or organizations, more than 200 Members of the European Parliament and more than 90 researchers.
ustavi City Hall and local DAGI Construction Company have begun the reconstruction of the historic center of Rustavi. The project includes reconstruction and modernization of one of the city’s central avenues and the creation of more recreation zones. Reconstruction works will last nine months and are said to be valued at 4.7 million GEL. “This is a large-scaled project,” Rustavi Mayor Davit Jikia sad. “The whole infrastructure is to be changed. Yet, while the avenue will be fully renovated, the buildings will maintain their original architectural character.” In the framework of the projects, buildings 1 to 17 of the central historic Kostava Avenue will be rehabilitated. However, the city authorities plan to continue the project and renovate 23-24 Kostava Avenue up to Alievi Square. Moreover, street cafes, upgraded buildings, new bus stops and rubbish bins, rehabilitated roads, green areas and new street lighting will transform Kostava Avenue into one
of the most beautiful and attractive spaces in Rustavi. “We are supporting the development of street cafes and hope to have several along the length of the new Kostava Avenue,” said the Mayor. “That doesn’t mean, however, that we’ll be forcing current cafe owners out of their buildings to open street cafes- they can do so if they wish, with our support, and have the space in front of their buildings sold to them for a symbolic price.” DAGI Construction Company, which is involved in the project, lays claim to over 300 completed projects throughout Georgia. It is best known for the Dinamo Arena rehabilitation in Tbilisi, the renovation of Sataplia Cave (Western Georgia), and Mestia center (Svaneti). It has also completed or renovated office spaces, residential buildings, community parks, automobile infrastructure, irrigation engineering and drinking water infrastructure. Currently, DAGI is also in charge of the major ‘New Tiflis’ project which aims to restore the David the Builder (Agmashenebeli) Avenue and Dry Bridge area, among the oldest districts of Tbilisi. In addition, DAGI is also conducting works on the important Rukhi Trading Center near the administrative border between Georgia and Abkhazia.
Photos by Info Rustavi
Poll Finds Majority of Georgians Want to Join NATO, EU Continued from page 1
A majority of respondents (23 percent) also said that Euro-Atlantic integration best ensures the country’s national security. When asked if Georgia would benefit both economically and in terms of security, a solid majority of 54 percent of the respondents agreed that closer relations with the West would be a boon for Georgia’s sagging economy and best manage the on-going security tensions over the Russianbacked breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Euro-Atlantic integration scored high with those polled, with 64 percent saying Georgia’s foreign policy should be pro-Western. An overwhelming number of respondents (62 percent) agreed that EU membership should be the stated foreign policy goal of the government. The public’s support for Western integration appears to have recovered from a low point in August 2015, when opinion polls showed backing for both NATO and EU accession had steadily weakened to 46 per cent, with 30 per cent of those
polled advocating closer ties with Russia. Only 19 percent of those polled called for closer relations with Russia and its Eurasian Customs Union, with the highest support coming from Georgia’s ethnic minority communities. These groups are generally known to have poor Georgian language skills and thus rely solely on Russian news sources like Sputnik, LifeNews and RT (formerly Russia Today), all of which have been accused of broadcasting Kremlin-sanctioned propaganda. National respondents listed Russia and its allies (49 percent) and ISIS (8 percent) as the country’s greatest security threats. In what could be a precursor to the way many Georgians will vote in the upcoming October parliamentary elections, 39 percent of those polled said the country is going in the wrong direction and 66 percent rated the country’s economy as either ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’. Amongst those that gave a decisive thumbs down to the current economic situated, a staggering 81 percent blamed the ruling Georgian Dream coalition for their handling of the national economy.
GEORGIA TODAY APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
The West Must Be Serious in Its Support for Georgia and Ukraine OP-ED BY NICHOLAS WALLER
he recent collapse of Ukraine’s post-Maidan Revolution government, a brief war in the disputed C a u c a s u s re g i o n o f Nagorno-Karabakh and an announcement earlier this week by South Ossetia’s Russian-backed rebel leaders that they plan to hold a referendum on formally joining Moscow are a stark reminder for the West’s leaders that all is not well in the post-Soviet space. For more than 20 years, presidents and prime ministers from Washington to Vienna have struggled to formulate a coherent and lasting policy towards the Soviet Union’s 15 former republics. The early euphoria that swept the region shortly after the Soviet Union ceased to exist gave way to economic chaos and bloody separatist wars that claimed thousands of lives and fundamentally sabotaged the goodwill of the West. The West, ever eager but woefully inadequate in its understanding of the vast complexities of the newly independent states, has vacillated between catering to the wishes of Russia at the expense of the other 14 states and taking firm steps towards shoring up the smaller, but no less important, nations
on Moscow’s flank. Russia has pursued a policy of subverting the West’s attempts to gain headway in a region that it considers its ‘near abroad’ Russian President Vladimir Putin has for years bristled at the notion that either the US or Europe has a strategic interest in the region. His worldview remains unchanged from his days as a KGB officer in the old German Democratic Republic. It is because of his unwavering worldview that Putin has been able to undermine the efforts, or lack thereof, of successive Western governments who hoped to promote and expand the rule of law and democratic values throughout the former Soviet space. Since the Soviet collapse, Moscow’s realpolitik view of its former imperial possessions has allowed it to subvert and control the development of each country by promoting endemic corruption and oligarchical by providing cheap money and political support to the many anti-democratic governments that rule from Minsk to Dushanbe. Western leaders were quick to embrace revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine that brought down corrupt discredited governments and ushered in periods of reform and re-orientation towards a Euro-Atlantic alliance. But as we saw in Russia in the early 1990s when a reformist minded govern-
ment failed to deliver on its promise to capitalize and democratize society, the mood in the body politic shifted to such an extent that the rise of populist nationalists and e-KGB agents became acceptable to the average citizen. Georgia’s experiment with post-Soviet democracy, independent of Moscow’s corrosive influence has been mixed. While deep reforms ended the chaotic failed state era of two decades ago, the country has yet to shed its habit of electing a personality rather than a policy that best suits the country’s interests. The successive administrations of former President Mikheil Saakashvili and ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili were based less on the national will and rather focused on the individual merits of the personalities involved. In the case of both, each saw their administrations accused of forcing the country down the wrong path. The West’s distaste for the bombastic demagoguery of Saakashvili and crude oligarch authoritarianism of Ivanishvili tried their patience to the point that neither Washington nor Brussels takes much time to consider their strategic interests in Georgia as seriously as they did 10 years ago. By leaving Georgia adrift the West risks losing a key player in the postSoviet zone. Georgia has been the most successful of the former republics –
Source: Reuters, May 2014
outside of the Baltics – in terms of rule of law, freedom of speech and ease of doing business. Though both Saakashvili and Ivanishvili have been guilty of authoritarianism, the democratic process remains robust and deeply ingrained in Georgians’ minds. Western countries must come to the realization that support for Georgia and Ukraine must be at the center of their foreign policy agendas. Moscow’s ability to foment wars in the South Cauca-
sus or separatism in the Donbass basin force leaders in London and Berlin to come to the realization that a strategic plan must come into focus before the local populations turn on the hard fought reforms and democratic paths that they’ve longed for since 1991. A failure to do so will inevitably lead to the end of both Tbilisi’s and Kiev’s drive towards finding an independent voice, free from the will of Putin’s Russia.
APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
Apple vs. The FBI: A Broadcast of Ineptitude BY WILL CATHCART
t is an unusual thing to see the United States Government go to war with the American private sector. It is unprecedented for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to go to war with the most valuable company in the entire world, Apple, which also happens to be American. This all began, publically at least, when two of what the FBI called “homegrown violent extremists,” (basically two radical Islamic terrorists acting alone) killed 14 people and injured more than twenty in a mass shooting. One of the perpetrators, Syed Farook, who slaughtered his own colleagues, had an iPhone 5c, which was recovered from the scene. As the New York Times reported, The head of the FBI acknowledged on Tuesday that his agency lost a chance to capture data from the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers when it ordered that his password to the online storage service iCloud be reset shortly after the rampage. “There was a mistake made in the 24 hours after the attack,” James B. Comey Jr., Director of the FBI, told lawmakers at a hearing on the government’s attempt to force Apple to help ‘unlock’ the iPhone. FBI personnel apparently believed that by resetting the iCloud password, they could get access to information stored on the iPhone. Instead, the change had the opposite effect — locking them out and eliminating other means of getting in.
This was the FBI’s first mistake. Since February the FBI has endured a public relations nightmare by angering a majority of the tech community and a good portion of the American public. The controversy surrounded a court order compelling Apple to design new software to bypass its own encryption in order for authorities to access the device. Apple refused. It is not the first time. In 20152016 Apple has received more than ten court orders to bypass its own encryption based on a US law from 1789 (seriously). This is a larger issue than simply unlocking an iPhone and is indicative of a larger problem. As Venturebeat.com recently wrote, “The government’s efforts to force Apple to help it unlock the San Bernardino iPhone have reignited a national debate about encryption, security and privacy that continues to rage two weeks after the Justice Department said it broke into the phone without Apple’s help.” Here’s the real problem: It’s not that Apple has gotten too good at this; it is that the United States of America’s FBI cannot keep up. Apple is brilliant at PR. It makes very good and very secure products. What you are reading now was written on an Apple device. In the past Apple has been able to—for the most part—protect its users from the majority of viruses that plagued Microsoft devices, for instance. Now Apple is attempting, successfully, to protect its users from something else: advanced technology designed to bypass data encryption, which is generally either employed by governments or by advanced hackers.
In the case of Syed Farook’s iPhone an unknown outside group of hackers was hired to break into the phone for the FBI. By most accounts even the FBI does not know exactly how they did this. Nor, it seems, does Apple. There is an immense irony here. The FBI’s job is to protect the American people and their property. They don’t have the technology to do this, so they reach out to a foreign group of hackers to find a way into the iPhone. Meanwhile, Apple is trying to protect its customers all around the world from what it sees as an inherent right to privacy and property—something many believe the FBI should be doing—if only it could. Things have gotten a bit turned around. The FBI now looks absolutely desperate, pitiful and inept. They are in charge of protecting the United States. They are the best and the brightest with the full resources of the US Government at their disposal, and they can’t figure out how to unlock a cell phone; to break a four digit code. What happened to America’s brilliant Cold War cryptology tradecraft? Instead, the FBI has come off as publicly bullying Apple and publicizing the FBI’s ineptitude. Imagine- even 15 years ago, if the FBI could not recover information from a CD or DVD, they would not have publicly taken the CD manufacturer to court and broadcasted their inability to keep up with technological advancement. For many in the United States, it seems like the guys who are supposed to be several steps ahead have fallen way behind. Of course, young talent has been
drawn to Silicon Valley for a long time. But that’s no excuse for any government that attempts to play the global role that the United States has chosen to play. At best it seems that the FBI and the White House have lost perspective and miscalculated the situation. They should
be handling these issues in a more savvy way. At worst, they are currently broadcasting a message of weakness to a degree where if Apple is not intimidated, then imagine America’s enemies. FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover, as disgusting as he was, would be disgusted.
GEORGIA TODAY APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
I Am Georgian - Europe Begins Here and Now OP-ED BY ZVIAD ADZINBAIA
he late ex-Prime Minister of Georgia, Zurab Zhvania, at the European Council session back in 1999, proudly said the following: “I am Georgian, therefore I am European.” The very wording by the then-Georgian Parliamentary Speaker mystified many in Georgia and outside as the country’s majority envisioned no alternative to their odious Northern neighbor, Russia. Now it’s quite largely believed that since the Rose Revolution in 2003, Georgia, surprisingly to the masses, had reinvented and transformed itself from failed state to success story in the South Caucasus region. For a country whose name was frequently associated with the US state or Russia’s backyard, it was more than the making of an extra mile to sign the Association Agreement with the EU in June 2014. Conversely, the country, on track to its cultural family, Europe, experienced a myriad of setbacks and political unrests, experiencing debates and claims whether it was a bottom-up democracy, good governance, an attempt to ‘brainwash’ Georgian people or a real path, a path leading to a better, promising future for the long-captivated nation. The European ambitions of the homeland of notorious Joseph Stalin was as unaccepted by Putin’s Russia as any kind of success possible for a South Caucasian or Eastern European, country. For this reason, the Russian government in 2008 sent their ‘Orthodox’ bombardiers, tanks
and other heavy armor to Georgia to disrupt the country’s painfully built western path. However, Georgia transformed the dire event into an opportunity to further solidify its ambitions and empower more to get into NATO and the EU in a faster manner.
EUROPE ON MY MIND BEYOND THE ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT While it is true that the obligations and standards set by the Association Agreement (AA) must be met, there is a lot the government and the public themselves should do. The AA formalities oftentimes give unsubstantiated reasons for some Russia-leaning parties in Georgia to claim that European states are trying to orchestrate processes in Georgia. In this rhetoric, those anti-westerners from the Soviet intelligentsia circles have engendered a term “Gapidarasteba” which means the West is trying to take the ‘manhood’ or ‘Georgian spirit’ from the ancient-rooting public. In fact, Russia’s information propaganda is clearly nontrivial in this opinion-making process.
WHY EUROPE? Because it is Georgia’s cultural family, as the country is part of the Christian civilization and has fought grave wars and battles to reach the old continent. Europe, because it promises a better and secure future for Georgian children who need to make their own contributions to their country and world progress; because Europe has strongly determined that occupation in the 21st century is one of the most uncivilized actions and
For a country whose name was frequently associated with the US state or Russia’s backyard, it was more than the making of an extra mile to sign the Association Agreement with the EU in June 2014
the very principles of freedom, equality and unity still matter. And because there are values people live for and have died for. Because…
ence, freedom or any kind of development.
WHY NOT RUSSIA?
For Georgians, this could be translated as a way to ask themselves: what do we need to make our lives better? Or more European? Or more developed? They could be synonyms for Georgians who really dream of a better country. As the science of mathematics is exact in its philosophy, for Georgia, incorporating a simple arithmetic for securing a European path could be a good way. In fact, respecting the rule of law, learning more and educating future generations, cherishing science and rewarding the bright-minded could lead to a quite promising sum – the sum that equals to being among the developed nations of Europe or any other continent. And with
No statistical analyst is necessary to estimate the damage Russia has caused to Georgia in any period of history throughout two centuries of relations. Even the most biased historians are unable to recall any damage that Georgia has caused to Russia. Is this formula hard to comprehend? The facts that matter in the Georgian-Russian relations are Russia’s annexation of Georgia in the 19th century and subsequent termination of the autonomy of the Georgian Orthodox Church. In addition, the Bolshevik occupation of Georgia in 1921 did not end simply as 20 percent of the territory is under Russia’s current occupation. Innumerable things could be added. And Russia has no respect for independ-
WHERE DO WE GO NOW?
that, finally, one can freely conclude: I am a Georgian – Europe begins here and now. ZVIAD ADZINBAIA is an Analyst at Georgia Today, covering security, foreign policy, and the domestic politics of Georgia. He is affiliated with the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS). From fall 2016, Zviad will be joining the George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs as a Master’s student in Security Studies.
APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
We Love Them, We Love Them Not…
Photo by: MyLifeThroughTheLens
OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA
orecasts in politics are considered a thankless task, especially when it comes to Russia. However, it should be noted that the Kremlin’s new policy has been successful so far. “Refrigerator” instead of “Iskanders” turned out to be much more attractive for Georgians than anyone in Moscow could have imagined. Apparently, this is what the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov had in mind when he announced the increase of staff members in the Russian section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Georgia. Taking into consideration the ‘army’ of Georgian job seekers, the ‘news’ announced by the Russian diplomat seems quite reliable: “The number of visa applications has increased by 30%, therefore we wish to receive support from our Swiss colleagues in increasing the staff of our consulate by a few positions.” In light of this announcement, the results of the survey conducted by the NDI and published after Lavrov’s speech gain a rather original meaning. To the question about which country carries the biggest threat to Georgia, 47% of those interviewed answered Russia, while only 8% responded the Islamic State and other countries. We are dealing with a really interesting phenomenon as the citizens of a country which considers Russia its main enemy at the same time considers it to be its main employer. Member of non-parliamentary party ‘Democratic Georgia,’ Petre Mamradze, believes that the desire of ordinary citizens to go to Russia is not accidental. “This is crucial for the existence of Georgia. Today, up to a million Georgian citizens sending money to Georgia live in Russia. They are supporting their families and relatives with the money made in Russia. Therefore, many Georgian citizens want to go to Russia and find a job there. Apart from this, the historical factor has to be taken into consideration, too,” says Mamradze. Official Russian data suggests that about 160 thousand
Georgian citizens are living in Russia today, not the million Mamradze suggested. However, this does not change the existing reality. This fact could have been explained by the general peculiarity of social surveys, but considering the recent events taking place in Georgia, it still remains a mystery. Some time ago, Bidzina Ivanishvili, the informal leader of the ruling Georgian Dream party, announced that, “All in all, Russia cannot put South Ossetia and Abkhazia on its shoulders and take it away, can it?” And the fact that the shareholder of Gazprom is repeating this famous Georgian narrative is the most interesting part about the announcement. Shouldn’t a political leader carry more responsibility than ordinary citizens? Member of the ‘Expert’s Club,’ Vakhtang Maisaia also sees evidence of Georgian Dream supporting pro-Russian sentiments. He is confident that, despite the official western propaganda, governmental actions are still against it. “78% of the population supported NATO integration in 2008. Today, only 52% do. It is because of this government that the electorate has moved to the camp of pro-Russians,” says Maisaia. Of course Russia cannot carry our territories “on its shoulders” and take it somewhere. But it doesn’t need to do this and most importantly it doesn’t plan on doing so. The Kremlin already did what it wanted by sending military forces to these territories; it doesn’t want to do more than that. Another achievement of the Kremlin is added to all of this: Russia conducts direct negotiations with Official Tbilisi and not in the presence of the international community. Apparently, it was no accident when the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Russia told Giorgi Karasin, “We do not need intermediaries with Georgia.” After this, it should come as no surprise that the population perceives Russia both as its enemy and its savior. In general, naivety in politics is described by another word which has something with do with stupidity. If we continue the same course of the foreign policy that we have been following over the last 20 years, the “Bilateral meetings with Karasin” won’t bring anything other than damage.
NDI: Georgians Still Politically Undecided Six Months Prior to Parliamentary Elections BY EKA KARSAULIDZE
ecent poll results from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and CRRC Georgia, which were presented on April 13, revealed serious problems in public trust of the majoritarian party and showed that many do not know who to vote for. Yet the majority of the Georgian population positively evaluates the work of the current Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and suggests that Georgian Dream will win the upcoming elections on October 8. Conducting this survey was particularly important in the context of the upcoming parliamen-
tary elections in order to identify weaknesses and problems in the community, to hear the voice of the people and to identify priority areas for policy makers. In particular, the poll shows that Georgians do not believe Members of Parliament (MPs) consider citizens’ opinions or take action to solve their problems. The majority (64 percent) believes their MP only represents his or her own interests, while only 24 percent of Georgians describe MPs as representing them. Almost no-one (2 percent) has been contacted by an MP or his or her staff since the 2012 elections, and fewer than one-third (31 percent) can correctly name their majoritarian representative. Continued on page 9
GEORGIA TODAY APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
Nate Schenkkan: Georgia, a Competition of Interests BY NANA SAJAIA FOR VOA GEORGIAN SERVICE
ate Schenkkan is the Project Director for ‘Nations in Transit,’ Freedom House’s annual survey of democratic governance from Central Europe to Eurasia. Considering the noise that NDI and IRI polls tend to bring out in Georgian society, the Georgian service of Voice of America decided to meet with Mr. Schenkkan to discuss the perceptions of Georgia that exist in the West.
YOUR LATEST REPORT FOUND THAT THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO DEMOCRACY IN EUROPE IS THE SPREAD OF DEEPLY ILLIBERAL POLITICS. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR GEORGIAN DEMOCRACY? In Georgia, I think the danger in the elections is alienation of the other sides, demonization of the other within the Georgian political system so that collaboration or constructive criticism becomes impossible. As we have seen in other parts of the region and other parts of Europe, this can create opportunities for other parties; for parties that are, in fact, illiberal, that denounce the system of democracy as a whole or question its values and question the idea of tolerance or the idea of accepting other views. That is not the main danger in Georgia. I wouldn’t say that we’ll be seeing such illegal parties become dominant in Georgia, but they could increase their vote-share, they could become more influential. That’s something we’ll be watching closely.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DANGER, THEN? In Georgia, the biggest danger might be the politicization of the judiciary system. We noted that there were positive reforms on-going in the judicial framework and in the practices of judiciary for the common man. A normal person might actually have a better interaction in the judiciary and in the penal system than they had several years ago. That was a positive improvement and we improved the score for that reason. But in high profile cases – cases like Rustavi 2 and Mayor Ugulava’s case, you have very politicized decision-making and conflicts between different parts of the judiciary, one part of the judiciary rejecting the other part of the judiciary, in some cases the superior part of the judiciary’s reasoning. It seems hard to interpret that in any other way except that these were political judicial decisions. That’s very worrying. The biggest concern that we have is that this kind of politicized decision-making could get worse. We don’t think it necessarily will, but that’s what we would be the most afraid of.
SINCE GEORGIA BECAME INDEPENDENT 25 YEARS AGO, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE HAVE SPOKEN ABOUT INFORMAL RULING. WHAT IMPLICATIONS DOES THAT HAVE ON GEORGIA’S WESTERN ASPIRATIONS AND ITS PERCEPTION INTERNATIONALLY? It’s easier to speak about the perceptions, because
the question of informal rule is very hard to prove by nature. It’s a very challenging one for a report and methodology that is trying to stick with what can be proven. So that degree of informal rule, the degree of informal influence from a billionaire behind the scenes, is hard to evaluate by nature. The perception, however, is definitely damaging. The perception that Georgia’s politics can be subject to manipulation or can be subject to actors working outside the accountable system is dangerous. We pay attention to the fact that there seems to be a quite a bit of influence from outside the system, and Ivanishvili is involved in that and we are attentive to this issue. How that gets solved is a hard question, as is what is the mechanism by which that informal influence can cease to exist.
YOUR REPORT SAYS FRUSTRATION WITH BOTH GEORGIAN DREAM AND THE UNITED NATIONAL MOVEMENT COULD PRODUCE GAINS FOR PRO-RUSSIAN PARTIES, DESPITE OVERALL SUPPORT FOR GEORGIA’S LONG-STANDING POLICY ORIENTATION TOWARD EUROPE AND THE US. HOW SERIOUS IS THE RISK OF SEEING AN INCREASE OF PRO-RUSSIAN FORCES IN GEORGIAN POLITICS? Our understanding is that there’s no risk of them gaining so much as the former government, or becoming the leading party in the Coalition, but that they will gain enough to be in parliament and be well represented, and to be able to influence the discourse. The general attitudes continue to be basically pro-European, but the frustration with the particular parties that hold those views could be leading people to consider voting for other parties that might not even represent them well, but out of frustration, out of protest.
YOUR REPORT FURTHER STATES THAT THE UPCOMING PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN 2016 WILL BE A MAJOR TEST FOR GEORGIA. WILL THEY BE A TEST? WHAT IS AT STAKE? Is the system stable enough to continue very longterm difficult reforms that have been going on now for almost 10 years? Parliamentary elections are a moment when everything that has been worked on for 10 years gets put to the test by voters – do we want to move forward in the direction that we’ve been going or do we want to go in a different direction? It is a test of the process, as every election is – will ballots be counted? Will people be able to vote? In that sense it is always a test to democracy. Unfortunately, right now, you can look at Georgia as what some political analysts call an “affectless pluralist model”. There is pluralism, there is competition between parties, but it is not necessarily a competition of ideas at all times. It is more a competition of interests and the results that it produces tend to be more rotations of who is in power rather than changes in policies or giving direction to state development. For the full interview in Georgian, go to: http://www. amerikiskhma.com/a/nations-intransit/3283982.html
APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
Ogden on Media and Manipulation: Case Study on Stalin, Gori and Media Propaganda OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN
rom what I’ve seen of life during my brief time on this planet, I’ve realised that politicians have wonderfully short memories. Think of the events of the last week alone: David Cameron, who once criticised tax evaders, has been revealed to have undeclared assets outside the UK; Donald Trump, the prospective King of the United States, donated money to Hilary Clinton’s election campaign of 2008 despite his current antiDemocrat stance. It is naturally hard to tell if politicians are oblivious to the parallels between themselves and those they criticise or if they are simply capable of taking hypocrisy into the realms of high art. The UNM contend that the Georgian Dream government is controlled by Bidzina Ivanishvili, who in turn is a thrall to a man in Moscow; the fact that another man in Ukraine who is currently not even a citizen of Georgia has thinly-veiled influence on the UNM is something that is either forgotten or wilfully ignored. The
circumstances are no doubt different, though the principle remains the same. I recall a time when the United National Movement party complained about Bidzina Ivanishvili’s ownership of TV9, a station which they claimed he used for political purposes. Ivanishvili owning a television channel should hardly be surprising; when someone has bought giraffes, penguins and sharks to keep as pets in his luminous green palace, a TV station here or there is surely all in a day’s spending. The UNM also seem happy to deny the fact that Rustavi 2 is a mouthpiece for the party even in the face of past criticism of breaching media impartiality from Georgia’s international partners and despite blatant bias towards the UNM from the broadcaster itself. I personally have little love for the current ruling Georgian coalition, but as a member of the media (I am, you know; I have business cards) I aim for impartiality. Oh, left-wing rags like The Huffington Post or The Guardian might express sympathy towards one party or another but never put them beyond criticism, and generally espouse an ideology rather than act as a propaganda machine for a party (unless it’s the BBC;
it’s high time Blair’s Beautiful Channel went the way of the dodo). This week, Rustavi 2 again showed its allegiance over a case of a university employee in Gori. The city of Gori, it should be noted, is the hometown of Stalin, and many of the citizens still like to fondly recall him as the Local Boy Done Good. The rector of the university is an aged gentleman of Stalinist sympathies who came under fire from one of his former lecturers who claimed that she, a vehement anti-Stalinist, had been denied working hours due to her progressive leanings. Sources claim that the former lecturer’s allegations are simply not true, but the story has been pounced on by Rustavi 2; an episode of its Profili talk show is also being scheduled to be aired soon. My regular readers will recall my complaining over Georgian talk shows needing something new to debate rather than dreadful arthouse sex films, but this was not really what I’d had in mind. In social networks, the UNM claim that the former lecturer is being persecuted due to the malignant pro-Russian Georgian Dream government, which seems a rather simplistic view of the Coalition.
Facts (and the whole town of Gori) remember a fact that speaks of the opposite: the university was pressured to fire the very same lecturer during the dying minutes of UNM rule and they refused to do so. Oh, the woes and pains of having a short memory! The fact that nobody at the university preaches a Stalinist ideology has been utterly forgotten or ignored. It is a sad fact that in Georgia accusations serve the purpose of truths, while denials are solely seen as further evidence of guilt. The UNM’s close relationship with Rustavi 2 is hardly a secret (it’s hard to deny a cordial relationship of some kind when there’s talk of barring the doors of the main offices and fending off the police with rifles together a la Davy Crockett;
I refer to the leaked phone calls between UNM and Rustavi 2 officials earlier this year), but its criticism of the government for hindering a free media environment while enjoying almost open use of one of the country’s biggest television networks is utterly hypocritical. As a Georgian citizen myself, I hope for a media free from outside influences (or at least that’s what I was paid to write) whoever wins the elections this year; I’d also like to see people be more outraged at such obvious tactics of using media outlets to further political aims. To my fellow citizens, I say this – do not be fooled by propaganda. And to our politicians, if you’re going to play dirty, at least try and be a little more subtle about it. Everyone knows politicians speak with forked tongues, but liars we can accept providing we know they are intelligent enough to lie well.
APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
On Law and the Iranian Connection
BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE
EORGIA TODAY met businessman Gelani Khalukhaev, President of Group Anaklia and the head of a consortium of oil companies, to discuss the appeal of Georgia as a place to do business, the challenges that have to be faced and Georgian-Iranian relations.
YOUR COMPANY INVESTS IN THE ECONOMY OF GEORGIA. WHAT WAS YOUR MOTIVATION? In recent years Georgia has taken a stable seat among countries with fast growing economies. Thanks to advantageous leading reforms, Georgia has become one of the most attractive countries for foreign investors. Georgian parliament accepted successful legislation in recent
years, including the Law ‘on High-mountainous Territories,’ which opens the broadest possibilities for business. It is one of the reasons company ‘Anaklia’ decided to do business in Georgia. Georgia for me is the most beautiful country in the world and, what’s more, it has a favorable geographical location that allows one to work equally conveniently for both the western and eastern markets.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMPANY’S BUSINESS PROJECTS AND WHAT OBSTACLES YOU FACED FROM THE FIRST DAY IN GEORGIA. The main activity of our company is connected with the processing of agricultural products, mineral water bottling, and manufacture of pharmaceutical products based on natural ingredients. In the near future, our company plans to launch a pharmaceutical factory for the production of pharmaceuticals in
liquid form, based on a unique mineral water ‘Lugela’ which is known for its high content of natural calcium, an important element in the pharmaceutical industry. On the basis of ‘Lugela’ components, the company ‘Anaklia’ plans to release more than a dozen pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. Regarding the challenges faced by foreign investors in Georgia, including our company, I would like to mention two important issues: Georgia’s Law ‘on Land’, which restricts the right of a foreign investor to purchase land for agricultural purposes. This creates obstacles to the establishment of industrial enterprises. However, since the beginning of this year, there have been positive developments in addressing this problem. For example: a foreign company acquires a license for the production and bottling of mineral water, in which it is stipulated that the mining claim on the well is an integral part of the license and is passed on to the licensee during the term of the license agreement. However, the structure of Nature Protection and the Ministry of Environment of Georgia advises the Ministry of Economy of Georgia, the Committee of State Property, and the Ministry of Justice that mining tracts of mineral water, according to the terms of the license agreement, are in the possession of the licensee. As a result, it is not uncommon for a third party to quietly apply for and purchase without any problems the territory of the mining lease, together with the well, and take it into private ownership. This is a flagrant violation of the Georgian Law ‘on Sub-
Fourth Meeting of Business Café Hosts Synergy’s Papuna Toliashvili
n April 12th, Holiday Inn Tbilisi hosted the fourth meeting of the Business Café, a project initiated by Insource, Executive Search & Consulting and exclusively supported by PASHA Bank. The session hosted the representatives of top management of the leading companies with special guest Papuna Toliashvili, Managing Partner of consulting company ‘Synergy,’ presenting the topic of discussion “Circular Organizational Structures”. The first meeting of Business Café was
held in October, 2015, and has since grown significantly in popularity as it is a format that covers topics of high relevance to the business community. Insource and PASHA Bank plan to organize four more meetings throughout 2016. “We are seeing an increasing interest towards the project that once again underscores the meeting format attractiveness,” said Anano Korkia, Head of PR and Marketing Department at PASHA Bank. “Sponsorship of this project is interesting to us on a number of dimensions, foremost being the opportunity it gives to senior managers to meet and
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share their knowledge and experiences. We generally try to support the projects aimed at fostering a healthy business environment. Business Café is one of the rare projects of the type which even if indirectly, contributes to the above mentioned objective.”
soil,’ according to which mineral resources and mining allotment are public property and can under no circumstances be sold or taken away in favor of third parties.
YOUR COMPANY IS STARTING TO EXPORT GEORGIAN PRODUCTS TO IRAN. WHY IS THIS COUNTRY ATTRACTIVE TO THE GEORGIAN ECONOMY? Georgia is interested in the Iranian market and vice versa. Georgia produces high-quality products, vegetables, fruitsa wide range of agricultural products which are very popular in Iran. In return, hydrocarbons and their derivatives, and technological equipment manufactured in Iran, which is no inferior in quality to the best world analogues, metal, and
more are of interest to Georgia. The proximity of Iran and Georgia, their ageold cultural and economic ties, open up opportunities for a fruitful, mutually beneficial cooperation between the representatives of both countries. I am confident that the availability of these potential opportunities in both countries will be actively implemented in the near future. Born in 1962, Gelani Khalukhaev received his education from Tbilisi State Theatrical Institute and graduated from the Russian Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, Department of Public Service and Personnel Policy (Sociology). He has held a number of positions, at present he is working as the head and director of the group company ‘Anaklia’ in Tbilisi.
NDI: Georgians Still Politically Undecided Six Months Prior to Parliamentary Elections Continued from page 6
“According to Georgians, parliament is falling short on its main responsibility – to represent the needs and interests of citizens. Its members, and even the building itself, are seen as inaccessible to the public,” said NDI Senior Director Laura Thornton. “It is critical that Parliament pursue institutional reforms and build a culture that encourages greater constituent outreach, accountability, and accessibility, which will lead to more responsive legislation and policy-making to ensure that democracy in Georgia is delivering.” Citizens remain dissatisfied with ministerial work. They evaluate the Ministry of Labor, Healthcare, and Social Affairs the most favorably, followed by the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration. Recently-appointed Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili received the highest netpositive evaluation of key leaders, with 27 percent assessing his performance as ‘good’ and 42 percent as ‘average.’ The majority of Georgians (61 percent) remain undecided about their political alignment, including half of likely voters. 16 percent of respondents choose
Georgian Dream as the party which they feel closest to, 15 percent chose United National Movement (the former ruling party), 9 percent Free Democrats, 5 percent the Labor Party, and 5 percent the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia. If elections were held tomorrow, 15 percent of the respondents of the NDI poll say they would vote for Georgian Dream, 13 percent for United National Movement, 6 percent for Free Democrats, 4 percent for the Labor Party, and 3 percent for the Alliance of Patriots. Thornton claims that Georgians are dissatisfied with and disappointed in the country’s political leaders, saying they do not represent them and are not accessible to them. “It is not, therefore, surprising that citizens are completely undecided about their political support. Parties and politicians have a lot of work to do over the months ahead of the elections to rebrand, rebuild trust, and talk to voters about issues that really matter to them,” she said. The results reflect data collected from February 23 to March 14 through faceto-face interviews with a nationwide representative sample of citizens of Georgia that included 3,900 completed interviews.
APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
Bodyline: Fixed Price Model for the Tbilisi Beauty Business BY EKA KARSAULIDZE & KATIE RUTH DAVIES
he Georgian aesthetic clinic market is bursting the seams, with options to satisfy every beauty desire and need at almost any price. Having got to the age when my age is starting to show, I thought it was time to look into what’s on offer. I quickly realized that price doesn’t always match quality. With that in mind, I got in touch with management at Bodyline to find out more. Bodyline was established in 2009 and is the only aesthetic clinic in Tbilisi to offer an FDA-approved Alexandrite laser (it also offers a Korean manufactured diode laser which is able to detect and eliminate blond hair as well as darkgood for us fair-haired Brits!). In 2013, Bodyline was rebranded and, aside from the visual and aesthetics updates of its six locations around the capital, it was also among the first to establish a fixed price system to fit the needs and demands of the current
economy. No more paying-per-pulse for hair removal: now you pay per limb, regardless of how much work is needed to make you picture-perfect! The fixed price system made aesthetic treatment affordable for everyone in Tbilisi. We spoke to Tamar Kikabidze, PR Manager of the chain of Bodyline aesthetic clinics, which, unlike many others, does seem to offer something unique. “We have fixed prices for everything,” Kikabidze told us. “Laser hair removal, cellulite reducing procedures or cosmetology services – it doesn’t matter, you don’t need to worry about the cost of what you are doing each time you go, as Bodyline has fixed prices on all its procedures- making it both competitive and available for the majority of the population. Our main aim is to be affordable for everyone.” She gave an example of one of the most popular services in Bodyline – laser hair removal – which costs only 39 Lari large per body zone. “A few years ago, when laser hair removal first appeared on the Georgian market, it was a kind of luxury service and just a few people were able to use it. Now, everything has changed and everyone
sees the possibility of being beautiful. Prices should be affordable so that even students, who have no stable income, are able to enjoy this service,” she said. Nino Chumburidze, the manager of Bodyline, is based in America. It is from this location that the decision was made to use the American fixed price model and to introduce the well-known American brand South Seas spray tan, also FDA approved and used by many an American star. Accordingly, Americans themselves became loyal partners in the business, providing Bodyline exclusively with high-class Polylase devices for laser hair removal – the only such machines in Georgia with an FDA license, which ensures a safe and painless procedure. Bodyline also provides another indemand service, cellulite reduction, with the unique VelaShape device, also coming exclusively and with an FDA license. Kikabidze explained that both these procedures are in high demand with women of all ages. “VelaShape in
Nino Chumburidze, the manager of Bodyline and Tamar Kikabidze, PR Manager
particular is something new for our market, but is well-known world-wide, so even Hollywood stars advertise it,” she claimed. “Experience has shown that, along with workouts, it gives an excellent result – effectively and safely contouring, shaping and slimming the body and firming problem areas in as little as four treatments.” Bodyline also offers facial treatments using American preparations- Juvederm and Restylane fillers for biorevilitization, and mezotherapy. This author is tempted! Bodyline’s American partners constantly work to provide Bodyline with all the latest technical innovations and upgrades. “Due to the fact that we have such reliable partners who provide us with equipment at a reasonable price, we have an opportunity to offer competitive rates with no loss to business,” said Kikabidze. Moreover, their American colleagues visit Georgia twice a
year to inspect and train staff, so Bodyline clients can always be confident about the quality of service and equipment they are getting. Seven years since the first Bodyline clinic opened, Kikabidze says the fixed price concept has fully justified itself. Clients often have to make an advance appointment. In addition, during their regular special offers, all six Tbilisi branches of Bodyline are packed with happy clients. “Recently, we began to receive requests to open branches in other cities of Georgia. For example, we know that in Kutaisi there are very high prices for laser hair removal. Therefore, we are already planning to enter the regional market,” she said. If you, like me, are encouraged by this news, get in touch with Bodyline. Facebook: Bodyline Tbilisi www.bodyline.ge T: 2 306 306
APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
Someone Else’s War ings where they grow up? Do we have any idea how ambitious they are in terms of building their own lives? I am sure they hate to be dependent on their parents’ miserable fortunes and meager salaries or pensions. They dream wildly of being independent, and the sooner the better. Those boys and girls are falling in love with each other and they want to be married but the circumstances they are part of, by way of their regular living routine, does not
allow a happy conjugal life. The dire situation I hate to be describing here could very well be a weakness that the Islamic State is taking advantage of for recruiting Georgia’s sons, and daughters into the bargain, to widen and strengthen their ever militant forces. Meanwhile, we would all rather hear that our youth are serving Georgia’s national ideals rather than heading off to fight someone else’s war.
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Photo: AFP, from independent.co.uk
BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE
hey were born in Georgia and grew up here with other Georgian kids; they went to Georgian schools and learnt the Georgian language- they hardly knew any language other than Georgian; they even wrote poetry in Georgian and declaimed Georgian poesy while partying with their peers; they made traditional Georgian toasts and drank Georgian wine, claiming Georgia as their only motherland and swearing by its name and glory; they reminisced their dead, as Georgians do, when memories sallied forward as sacred images; they fell in love with their Georgian high school sweethearts and reared their kids in a purely Georgian way, just as they were reared by their parents; they recognized Christ, and, when worshiping Mohamed, they still cherished friendships with their Christian brothers and sisters; they were Georgians physically, mentally and spiritually. They still are. And while they are dying in someone else’s wars, they still bear in mind the land they loved and still love. Today, 50 of these young men from Georgia have been recruited by the Islamic State to fight for their cause against the rest of the world. Some of them had, in the past, done their duty honorably to serve their motherland Georgia with weapons in their hands. Some were too young to be among the Georgian patriots in previous wars. Well, we all serve our own purposes and we are all called for and stand ready to defend the vested interests of our own countries. The Islamic State is probably acting in a similar fashion, but what bothers me is that the sons of Georgia, who have by birth been destined to fight their own wars when the crucial instant of belligerency would dictate, are now waging someone else’s war far from their native country. Why are they doing this? Part of the explanation
should be in the depths of the newest world order which often goes wrong out of hand against the will of piece lovers and makers. Not all is fair and smooth in the world to satisfy and sate us all. The inequality and misbalanced distribution of wealth is still the vice that bothers Mankind and forges weighty reasons for wars. There is no judgment in the pipeline of whether this is fair or unfair. The world is by inertia living the way it is living. Those who are extremely dissatisfied get extremely angry and the extreme anger builds up the extremes that make wars. Some think that those wars are fair, some qualify it as terror. Meanwhile, the parties to the conflict accumulate forces to defend their cause. The flagrantly aggressive and decidedly belligerent Islamic State needs supporters and it operates a vast and powerful PR machine for recruiting purposes. The machine has been effective in Georgia, too, as it happens to be in the rest of the world. The Islamic State Armed Forces are more internationally-minded and organized than any well-known international body. They have fighters in their ranks from literally every part of the globe, including Georgia. And their warriors represent X-number of religions and ideologies, fanatically giving their lives to the Jihad cause. I will not offend them by means of using choice epithets like ‘brainwashed’ and ‘easily convinced,’ but I cannot refrain from describing these warrior Georgian kids as masterfully indoctrinated . . . at least. But there must be other factors – besides ideological – that affect the decision of Georgian youth to fight on the side of the raging Islam and to readily spill their Georgian blood to salvage the truth they believe is irrefutably fair and strong. Could there be some socially-based streaks to the process, too? I suspect so! How busy are the young men and women in those regions of Georgia? What are their chances of making careers at home? Can they be as functional as they would like to see themselves in the surround-
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APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
Developing Ecotourism in Georgia’s Protected Areas: the Caucasus Nature Fund Welcomes New Director
such as UNDP and GIZ, and of course other German-government funded nature protection programs in the South Caucasus like the Transboundary Joint Secretariat.
erman non-profit organization the Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF) recently welcomed its new regional executive director, George Giacomini. via a message posted on its official Web site. A dual citizen of the United States and Italy, Giacomini - who goes by the name of Geof - previously worked as the country director for US NGO Save the Children in Azerbaijan and Egypt. A Russian speaker, Geof graduated the University of Berkeley in California, one of the US’ top ranked centers for higher education. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Geof about CNF Georgia.
having our ED in the Caucasus would ensure the most impact. CNF will continue its comprehensive support for our core programs - sustainable support for the operating costs (rangers’ salaries, fuel, equipment, vehicles, etc.) of parks - while deepening our long-term support for the management of planning at parks, eco-tourism, and biodiversity monitoring. Those may sound like words in a foreign language to some readers, but it simply means we work to improve the parks’ ability to provide better and more sustainable services to visitors, while protecting the flora and fauna in the parks and surrounding areas.
TELL US A LITTLE OF THE BACKGROUND OF CNF IN GEORGIA
AS AN EXPERT, HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE DIVERSITY OF GEORGIAN PROTECTED AREAS AND NATIONAL PARKS?
CNF is a conservation trust fund created to safeguard the Caucasus eco-region, one of the most biologically rich and diverse areas on Earth. We provide grants to the protected areas (you can think of them as national parks) of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and build the government’s capacity to sustain the parks for future generations. Initially established in 2007 by the German Government (BMZ), Conservation International and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and with only one staff member, today we are a committed team of 10 working in the Caucasus and Europe. In Georgia, CNF gave its first grant to Borjomi Kharagauli National Park in 2009. This emergency grant supported fire equipment and vehicles, with the first three year grant agreement for Borjomi in 2010. Since then CNF has provided nearly EUR 2 million in funding to nine parks in Georgia.
THERE HAVE BEEN SOME CHANGES IN CNF. WHAT ARE ITS PRIORITIES NOW IN GEORGIA? David Morrison, who headed CNF for the past eight years, has retired and is now on the CNF Board and as of April 1, 2016, I’m officially the new Executive Director (ED). In addition, and this is part of the evolution of CNF, I’ll be moving to Tbilisi in summer 2016 where I’ll be permanently based. At this stage of CNF’s life, the Board recognized that
The Caucasus Ecoregion is considered one of the earth’s biodiversity hotspots according to Conservation International. There is plenty of information out there describing Georgia’s unique biodiversity, but here is a good place to start: http:// www.conservation.org/How/Pages/ Hotspots.aspx This hotspot has the greatest biological diversity of any temperate forest region in the world. It shelters 6,400 species of plants, at least 1,600 (25%) of which are endemic to the region, and a number of endemic animals, including 50 that are considered “threatened”, which means they have a high risk of extinction in the wild. Mammals include the iconic Caucasus leopard, but also lynx, bears and wolves, as well as unique ungulates (hoofed mammals): the Armenian mouflon, turs, the bezoar goat, goitered gazelle (ceyran) and the maral red deer. The region is also a globally important migratory corridor for birds, and there are a host of endemic reptiles and insect species.
HOW ARE GEORGIA’S PROTECTED AREAS FARING IN THE STRUGGLE TO PROTECT BIODIVERSITY? WHAT CHALLENGES REMAIN? There are many challenges facing the Protected Areas in Georgia and across the South Caucasus, from underfunding of the parks and staff, to threats of unsus-
WHAT IS CNF DOING TO PROMOTE ECOTOURISM IN THE PROTECTED AREAS, GIVEN THAT DEVELOPMENT OF TOURISM IS A PRIORITY FOR THE GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT?
George Giacomini, new regional executive director of German non-profit organization, the Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF)
tainable land use (for example, illegal logging) and the illegal hunting of animals (poaching). The staff I met in the parks and at the Ministry are committed, but more awareness and resources need to be made available in order to ensure our children, and our children’s children can benefit from the beauty of the Caucasus’ nature. One vital challenge to address is how to ensure both people and nature thrive. This important question is the one I want to answer more than any other, and I look forward to working with a large and diverse group of people in the Caucasus to do it. This actually takes more than a village!
Just take out a map, close your eyes and put your finger down somewhere! Wherever you end up will be unforgettable
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YOU RECENTLY VISITED LAGODEKHI PROTECTED AREAS. WHAT IMPACT HAS CNF HAD ON CONSERVATION IN LAGODEKHI? I had the opportunity to accompany Lasha Moistsrapishvili (Director of Georgia’s Agency for Protected Areas) to Lagodekhi two weeks ago to meet staff – including the park director, Giorgi Sulamanidze and the head of the park administration, Natia Shalvashvili. Not only was I impressed by the staff, their knowledge of the parks and language abilities, but the services provided for adults and children are high quality. During a walk through the park, it was evident that that spring had arrived – with the sounds of rushing water, the chirping of too many birds to name, and the green buds from trees pushing out again into the world.
WHAT ARE SOME OF CNFS KEY LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS WITH GOVERNMENTAL/ NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS? Our most important partners are the governments. CNF works through public-private partnerships with the governments, which means that each side commits to long-term support for the parks. Following a “50% principle”, CNF matches but does not exceed State budgets but our contribution potentially doubles a specific park’s operating funds. We also work closely with other non-governmental organizations such as WWF and Nacres, as well as international donors
You’re right; a priority of the Georgian government is to increase and improve tourism experiences for visitors and a question we, and they ask is – how can we do it sustainably. Ecotourism is one of the ways and we believe strongly in the importance of ecotourism – especially in the protected areas as a great source of income for the parks and local communities. CNF is currently supporting the parks to develop tourism plans and hopefully set up concessions at the parks – to provide services for tourists and as a revenue source for the parks and local businesses. In Georgia this year, we will support the development of tourism plans for the Borjomi and Javakheti Protected Areas, in collaboration with the Agency of Protected Arteas. We are also working with them and the private sector to finance and support the development of tourism infrastructure, products and services in the parks.
ARE THERE ANY PLACES IN GEORGIA THAT HAVE REALLY TAKEN YOUR BREATH AWAY DURING A VISIT? I lived for a number of years in Azerbaijan managing a regional project and so I had the opportunity to travel throughout the South Caucasus. Besides the legendary hospitality of people, the thing that struck me most was the diversity of landscapes, climatic zones and colors – from the rugged red mountains in Gnishik (Armenia), to the green wetlands and arid spaces in Shirvan (Azerbaijan), to the sub-tropical magic of Mtirala (Georgia). I cannot wait to get back to the Caucasus and discover more of the natural beauty there, and lead efforts to ensure that others have access to it for generations to come. In terms of a particular place in Georgia – I can recommend just taking out a map, closing your eyes and putting your finger down somewhere! Wherever you end up will be unforgettable. Cover photo landscape (Lagodekhi Protected Area) by: Roman Tolordava-Phototherapy
Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GEORGIA TODAY APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
USAID’s Melia Meets Gori Spring into Springtime at the Beneficiaries
Revamped Iveria Terrace BY MERI TALIASHVILI
Thomas O. Melia, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia had his first visit to Georgia this week
BY MERI TALIASHVILI
homas O. Melia, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia had his first visit to Georgia this week, in the frames of which he traveled to Gori and visited the AgroKartli Farmer’s Service Center and CAMPA juice processing enterprise. In Gori, Mr. Melia and USAID’s Caucasus Mission Director, Douglas H. Ball, met beneficiaries of USAID at the AgroKartli Center and attended training held for local farmers on ‘Principles of Intensive Cultivation of Fruit Orchards’ that aimed at enhancing their knowledge on ensuring a better harvest and building richer agriculture. “The US government and USAID have
been helping farmers and businessmen to modernize their agricultural technique and improve marketing abilities to provide reliable income and reliable jobs for people in the community. As we help those people, we direct the Georgian market to Western audiences,” Melia said. AgroKartli fosters agriculture development on the administrative demarcation line in Gori and South Ossetia villages. Mariam Kandrolashvili, one of the beneficiaries, sets high hopes on USAID in terms of agriculture development. “My field is agriculture and I’m very interested in its development. USAID promised to help us to grow healthier products that can be good for export to Europe. But for me, it’s more important to sell them here first,” Kandrolashvili told GEORGIA TODAY. AgroKartli is a Farmer’s Service Center
supporting the five-year USD 19.5 million USAID project of ‘Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production.’ The Center focuses on rural employment, increasing revenues, farm investment and assisting agribusiness technically. CAMPA, one of the leading juice processing enterprises in Georgia, has been in full and successful operation since 2008. With the help of the USAID ‘Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production’ project, the enterprise increased production, adding sea-buckthorn and barberry juice to its line of production. Thomas Melia, with the US delegation, highlighted bilateral cooperation in developing agriculture, intellectual property rights, energy security, innovation, and entrepreneurship, as well as assistance in implementing economic reforms and Georgia’s Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.
lways up for finding something to surprise us, for the 2016 spring season Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi is offering us a number of novelties, amongst which is the long-awaited Iveria Terrace. On walking into the Iveria Terrace, on the second floor of Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, one immediately notices the cozy modern design and the fabulous views over the Georgian capital. The background music is a perfect accompaniment to the renewed menu- it was certainly hard for me to choose from the tempting choice of sumptuous Georgian,
Italian, and Asian dishes! In addition to this, the Iveria Terrace seems like an ideal place to organize any kind of event, and on Saturdays the in-house DJ provides the right vibe to get the weekly city stresses out of your system! What’s more, catering to all work-and leisureschedules, the Iveria Terrace kitchen works 24/7. This month will also see the opening of the outdoor pool- though the latest news there is still under wraps! From my experience, Radisson Blu personnel always pay attention to detail and strive to excel in customer servicefrom a smile to really making a positive difference to your day. Take my advice and get into the warmth and health of a new spring season at Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel’s Iveria Terrace.
APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
VPA Invites American The Democracy Veterans to Boost Moral Promotion Paradox Book Presentation of Georgian Ex-Soldiers BY MERI TALIASHVILI BY MERI TALIASHVILI
ith the financial support of the Victory Partnership Alliance (VPA), a delegation of American veterans and their family members paid a visit to Georgia from April 9th to April 16th to help Georgian wounded heroes and to demonstrate support for their sacrifices. Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ken Ley, a combat veteran from Vietnam with decades of service in the US Army, and retired US Army Colonel Joe Williams, a combat veteran who serves on the Board of Directors of the United Service Organization (USO) Northwest, were part of the delegation. The visit included activities with wounded soldiers and disabled veterans, engagements with partner organizations, and visits to various points of interest around Georgia. Sean Mulcahey, VPA Founder and CEO, was hosted along with the American delegation and representatives of the State Agency for Veteran Affairs participated with their Deputy Director, at the Chiatura Municipal Hall, Chiatura town, Imereti region. Zedazeni Brewery provided the disabled soldiers with beer. “It was an honor for me to participate
U.S. Army Colonel Joe Williams, Chief Warrant Officer Ken Ley and Sean Mulcahey VPA Founder and CEO
in this event. Georgia is a great friend of the United States. Meeting with these heroes is something I’ll remember for a long time. In addition to the wounded veterans, I’m also grateful for the support of the municipal government and the State Agency for Veterans Affairs,” Chief Warrant Officer Ken Ley told GEORGIA TODAY. Mzia Lezhava, the founder of a private school in Chiatura called ‘Nilemi Ltd.’ received huge thanks from Sean for helping to organize the event with the municipal government. “Mzia is a great example of Georgia’s commitment to helping vulnerable people, especially disabled heroes. Without her support, we could not have held this successful event,” Sean said “This partnership event is a good example of how Georgian society can come
together to make a positive impact on wounded veterans,” Sean Mulcahey told GEORGIA TODAY. “With the support and contributions of Zedazeni Brewery, the Chiatura Municipal Government, and State Agency for Veterans Affairs, we were able to demonstrate the gratitude of Georgian society for the sacrifices of these heroes and to learn about their challenges.” VPA is an independent non-profit organization registered in Georgia to advocate and conduct activities to support wounded Georgian soldiers and their families. The organization is committed to honoring the sacrifices of Georgia’s wounded heroes, helping to enrich their lives and to assist them with the challenging task of reintegrating back into society as productive, proud citizens of Georgia.
incoln Mitchell, writer, practitioner of democracy promotion, scholar and the current national political correspondent of New York Observer, was in Tbilisi this week to present his new book The Democracy Promotion Paradox, at Prospero’s Books&Caliban’s Cofeehouse. Representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce, Georgian youth and a variety of public figures attended the event. In the book, Mitchell examines the future of democracy promotion in the context of evolving US domestic policy and politics in a changed global environment where the US is no longer the hegemon. He also provides an overview of the origins of US democracy promotion, analyzing its development and evolution and discussing how it came to be an unquestioned assumption at the heart of US foreign policy. Mitchel give us bureaucratic logic that underlies democracy promotion and offers important insight into how it can be adopted
to remain affective. “American Democracy Promotion has been getting much more focus here in Georgia,” Lincoln Mitchell told GEORGIA TODAY. “American organizations have influence here and American and Georgian local NGOs are very significant. All that the US has done in Georgia in the last twenty years is to a global standard and Georgia’s been pretty open to American efforts to promote democracy. It’s been a good environment here for democracy promotion- not an easy mission to take on.”
GEORGIA TODAY APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
The Week in Short: Etseri, Svaneti
BY TONY HANMER
t’s been that kind of a period (about the last ten days) in the village, so much has happened, so much change. Not one big thing, but many things which add up to what feels like a lifetime of experiences. There was a wedding, a funeral, and an 80th birthday, for example; and tomorrow, as I write this, either a 99th or a 100th birthday is happening: she says the latter, her documents say the former. It’s risky to wait until a year from now for her full interview and portrait, though, so I might do those soon, in case... well, you know. The wedding: we were assured that the bride and groom would appear at the untraditionally early hour of about six p.m., so we trudged up the road to where the splendid big marquee was decorated, tables and benches for about 150 guests already groaning with food and anticipation of those to be seated. We were given a morsel to eat in a small off-room, where there was a stove burning, to keep warm in the still-cool Svan spring evening, and chatted with a few other early arrivers while we all waited. At about nine p.m., though, we gave up and returned home; and they showed up about an hour later (still quite early for a wedding by Svan standards). I’ve experienced midnight starts to these things, and on a school night to boot, which is just not on. I’m not a night-owl anyway. At least the funerals start and finish while it’s still not yet nighttime! Speaking of which, she was 82 years old and had already lost a husband and two sons, the last son less than a year ago, and now was giving up. After a stroke and a slip into coma-like conditions, she lingered for some weeks with no food, a few days unable to take teaspoons of water, and then was gone, after a full but not un-traumatic life. The day offered rain on and off, making the procession with her open coffin to the grave rather a muddy affair, but for the feast afterwards there was again a tent, so we kept dry thus. The weather report was quite accurate, so they had taken no chances. A wet, or snowed-on, outdoor feast is no laughing matter; I have experienced the latter in a February, and the only good thing about it is that it’s made mercifully short. The feast, being in the Lenten period, was a “fasting” one, so, no milk products or meat dishes. Still all delicious, though. The days of funeral preparations made me wish for the village to make an investment towards its own well-being. The men, as usual here, made all the table and bench legs from scratch, from newly cut small trees and logs. If only we had a set, even
of rebar, of folding legs attached to their planks! To spend the money and time to do this once, and then not lend it out (apparently one such set already disappeared gradually into the surrounding villages). They do have the necessary amounts of crockery and cutlery for these occasions, in boxes, so why not these additions too? It just takes someone to do it, to decide. I didn’t bother going to a recent village meeting about how to spend a large amount of money (for us) in local infrastructure projects. I went to one last year, and it was a circus of old recriminations dragged up and paraded, no one prepared to listen to others, aside from airing these grievances, at louder and louder volumes, to the benefit of none. Svans, you seem to be each other’s own worst enemies, sorry to say. The 80th birthday belonged to one of my colleagues at school; and he’s not even the oldest teacher among us, that honor going to a lady of about 83. He invited all of us to his home for the feast, and a good one it was. He’s still going strong, and we all wish him many healthy, happy years. To top it all off, a crew of three from Rustavi 2 TV channel came to film me and some of those around me, today at home, tomorrow at Becho school. So, yes, it’s been full and busy. Feels like spring, really. Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1300 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
It’s been a period in the village where so much has happened, so much has changed. Not one big thing, but many things which add up to what feels like a lifetime of experiences.
APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
Inside the Mind of a Georgian Producer Living in Berlin
Contact: www.edelbrand.ge Phone: 599 461908
Nikoloz Apriashvili, a Producer and an MBA student at the European School of Management and Technology
BY MAKA LOMADZE
odern times require new rules and standards. The Georgian film phenomenon was very strong and distinguished during Soviet times, when the advantage came in the funding it got. These days, producing and management skills are paramount. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Nikoloz Apriashvili, a Producer and an MBA student at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin, Germany, who has a special interest in the Georgian movie industry and its future.
PRODUCERS ARE NOT BORN. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND HERE IN GEORGIA AND HOW DID PRODUCING COME TO YOUR LIFE? As a child I always had a special interest towards moving pictures which gradually grew into a love of movies. There wasn’t much chance to get handson experience in the filmmaking industry in Georgia of the 2000s, so I decided to join Sarke Studio – a boutique advertising company which soon turned into the market leader and, by the end of the decade, had dealt with most corporate clients in Georgia. While the advertising business serves a different goal, it still has many things in common with film production. Luckily, all the partners at Sarke share an affection for movies, and at some point we decided to diversify our business and within the company started a film production division. Using our video production experience and following a particular business strategy, we were able to fund and shoot a locally produced debut feature film and distribute it the same year to more
than 30 countries throughout the world.
IS PRODUCING MORE A MANAGERIAL OR CREATIVE FIELD? WHAT INFLUENCED YOU TO STUDY MANAGEMENT? Perhaps filmmaking is the most collaborative form of art. For a movie to be successful, it needs layers of creative and managerial input and there’s almost no producer solely focused on just planning and executing the project. The same goes for me – I’ve taken part in script-writing, designing the film sets, as well as budgeting and scheduling the movies. But even though I was proficient at my job, I still felt that I needed a global perspective and a different outlook on the industry – that’s when I decided to join ESMT and its diverse class with 65 international students from 40 different countries. Studying here is a truly transformative experience and my expectations, particularly gaining global leadership skills, have been fully met.
YOU’VE BEEN EXPOSED TO A COMPLETELY NEW WORLD OF BERLIN FULL OF NEW OPPORTUNITIES AND A MULTI-CULTURAL ATMOSPHERE WHERE IDEAS ARE TESTED AND TRANSFORMED. Definitely, living in Berlin means being bombarded with new ideas 24/7. Its multicultural environment, brilliant art scene, and inherent free spirit create a melting pot where one’s perspective on things changes really fast. One might discover that the idea he or she thought was original has either already been turned into a fully operating startup or has been tweaked and upgraded in a way that one might consider going back and reconsidering his or her own business idea, and that’s what I believe is the natural advantage of Berlin- providing access to a great network. Continued on page 17
GEORGIA TODAY APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
The Georgian State Chamber Choir also participated in the recent Festival
Hungarian Angels in Harmony at Tbilisi Conservatory BY MAKA LOMADZE
he 6th Tbilisi International Festival of Choral Music took place from April 2 to April 12. The closing gala on the last day was extremely multicolored, enriched as it was with different local choirs, including some from the Georgian regions. The main discovery was the world-famous Hungarian Girls’ Choir ‘Angelica,’ who fully justified their name and, like angels, led gave us a truly heavenly experience. Shortly after the organizers opened the evening, the floor was given to Hungarian Ambassador, Sandor Szabo: “We are very glad that the Tbilisi International Choral Music Festival gives a platform for outstanding foreign choirs, like the ‘Angelica’ girls’ choir from Budapest. It’s heart-warming to see how choral music brings people together from all over the world and strengthens the cultural coop-
eration between our nations.” The first Hungarian diplomat went on to speak of the choir’s international success story over the last two decades – their tours in North and South America, Europe and he Far East. “Among many others, they sang in the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, the Saint Michael’s Cathedral in Brussels and in the European Parliament.” The ambassador also referred to their repertoire, which reportedly includes pieces of the greatest Hungarian composers, Zoltán Kodály, Béla Bartók and Ferenc Liszt. “In 2015 and 2016 in Hungary we celebrate and commemorate the birth and the passing away of Béla Bartók, whose work also had a significant impact on Georgian classical music.” Archil Ushveridze, Artistic Director of the Festival, told GEORGIA TODAY, “Every year, we try to make it multicolored in terms of genre, as well as to cover repertoires of different countries to give our audience a new and varied experience. This year, the Hungarian
Girls’ Choir performed the Hungarian choral music of the 20th and 21st centuries. One of our main aims is to boost development of the performing level of choral music as well as the choral compositional school. This festival has many bright examples of it.” We asked Zsuzsanna Graf, Conductor of the Angelica Girls’ Choir to comment. “I was in Georgia last year, and that is when I fell in love with Georgian music. Some Georgian professors have already suggested we work on Georgian musical pieces. We will take them home and perform them,” she said. Zviad Bolkvadze, Georgian conductor and composer, member of the Festival Board, told us: “The festival is developing - instead of one foreign choir, we had three this year. It is a great stimulus for Georgian musicians to listen to foreign troupes and get acquainted with different musical cultures. This tradition existed in Georgia and was stopped temporarily. Let’s hope that the festival will gain an even larger scale.”
Inside the Mind of a Georgian Producer Living in Berlin Continued from page 16
ESMT EMPHASIZES TECHNOLOGY IN THE BUSINESS WORLD. HOW DOES IT LINK WITH PRODUCTION? An MBA education, while regarded as a universal and solid business education in the world, differs from school to school and has different ‘flavors’ depending on the emphasis of the particular institution. ESMT’s tech emphasis was one of the primary reasons for coming here, along with Berlin’s unique start-up scene. The startup on which I’m currently working marries the entertainment and tech worlds and will make use of wide range of subjects taught at the school.
TELL US ABOUT ANY PRIZES OR NOMINATIONS OUR FILMS HAVE BEEN AWARDED. Sarke Studio opened in 2011 and to date has produced or co-produced eight feature films and a TV series. One of the major successes of the company was the
production of ‘The Search’, which was directed by the Oscar-winner Michel Hazanavicius. A massive USD 26million project was co-produced in Georgia over more than 9 months and was nominated for various film festivals, including Cannes Film Festival’s Sélection Officielle.
YOU ALSO PARTICIPATED IN ‘LANDMINE GOES CLICK’ – ARE YOU AN ACTOR TOO? ‘Landmine Goes Click’ is Sarke’s latest thriller-drama which has also been nominated for various awards at 11 film festivals. As an amateur actor, I voiced one of the characters in the movie and, quite surprisingly, enjoyed the process.
YOU ARE GRADUATING THIS YEAR. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? Post-MBA, I intend to create a platform that will deliver an irreplicable virtual cinema experience. The system accommodates end-users regardless of their geolocation and immerses them in a virtual cinema auditorium using virtual
reality devices. With social networking, film-suggestion and real-time user interaction modules, the platform reflects the next big thing in entertainment - virtual reality - and emphasizes the appeal of an interactive movie-going experience between groups of people. The irreplicability of the experience can substantially bring down the piracy rate for small film businesses and help them realize a profit even with a limited movie catalogue. In line with the platform mentioned above, I plan to create a global crowdfunding website designed specifically for filmmakers. The resource will connect them with a potential audience and help with two hardest tasks in the business – film funding and distribution. Additionally, in the long run, I want to introduce Georgia as one of the filming destinations in Eastern Europe. With a movie tax credit already enacted, I plan to create strategic business partnerships with Western film producers and, through Sarke, provide affordable production services.
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APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATRE
GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36 April 15 HANGER-ON Ivan Turgenev Directed by Nugzar Lortkipanidze Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari April 16 THE MARRIAGE Nikolay Gogol Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari April 17 SCARLET SAIL Alexander Grin Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 12:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari April 17 CASTING Directed by Nika Kvizhinadze Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 April 15, 16 MATRIARCHY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 15 Lari April 17 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Participants: Kakha Bakuradze,Sandro Nikoladze,
Ana Kordzaia-Samadasvili, Irakli Menagarishvili Start time: 21:00 ILIAUNI THEATRE Address: 32 a Chavchavadze Ave. Telephone: 2 29 47 15 April 16 LES FOURBERIES DE SCAPIN Molier Directed by Goga Kachibaia English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 7 Lari
Start time: 12:00, 17:00, 14:15, 19:30, 22:00 Ticket price: 8-14 Lari HIGH-RISE Directed by Ben Wheatley Genre: Drama Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller Language: Russian Start time: 19:15, 22:00 Ticket price: 13-14 Lari
CIRCUS Address: 1 The Heroes Sq. Telephone: 2 98 58 61 www.krakatuk.eu
COLONIA Directed by Florian Gallenberger Genre: Drama, History, Romance Cast: Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl, Michael Nyqvist Language: Russian Start time: 14:30 Ticket price: 10-11 Lari
April 16, 17 TRAINED LEOPARD SHOW Start time: 13:00, 17:00 Ticket price: From 10 Lari
RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge
AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari April 15-21 SON OF SAUL Directed by László Nemes Genre: Drama, Thriller, War Cast: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn English Subtitles Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket price: 13-14 Lari THE HUNTSMAN: WINTERS WAR Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama Cast: Sam Claflin, Chris Hemsworth, Emily Blunt Language: Russian
Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari April 15-21 THE HUNTSMAN: WINTERS WAR (Info Above) Start time: 14:45, 17:20, 20:00, 22:30 Ticket price: 9-14 Lari BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE Directed by Zack Snyder Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams Language: Russian Start time: 15:45, 22:15 Ticket price: 11-14 Lari 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE Directed by Dan Trachtenberg Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery Cast: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr. Language: Russian Start time: 22:30 Ticket price: 13-14 Lari
EDDIE THE EAGLE Directed by Dexter Fletcher Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama Cast: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Tom Costello Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 14:30, 19:30 Ticket price: 8-14 Lari MUSEUM
GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge THE TRAVELING MUSEUM OF THE CAUCASUS THE PERMANENT EXHIBITION NUMISMATIC TREASURY SHALVA AMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF ART Address: 1 Lado Gudiashvili St. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 www.museum.ge April 20 – May 1 The exhibition TREE OF LIFE ILLUSTRATIONS OF CANONICAL TEXTS MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. April 20 – May 1 Georgian National Museum and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tbilisi present photo exhibition WITHDRAWAL OF SOVIET TROOPS FROM CZECHOSLOVAKIA by Czech photographer Karel Cudlín GALLERY
THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge
PERMANENT EXHIBITION Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze MUSIC
MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 599 555 260 April 19 LIVE JAZZ EVENING WITH RESO KIKNADZE Start time: 21:00 Free entry April 20 TANGO MILONGA TANGO LESSONS Start time: 20:00 Tango lessons price: 5 Lari TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili Ave. Telephone: 99 05 99 April 21-24 SPRING BOOK FAIR BOOKS AND MUSIC Participants: Rezo Kiknadze, Sophia Adamashvili, Blue Sun, The Black Marrows, Tserili (Letter), Lady Heroine, Backwarmer, Soft Eject Systems, Green Room ft. Dato Lomidze, The Window, The BearFox Opening: 11:00 AMQARI Address: 1 Jerusalem Str. Telephone: 599 904539, 597 817281 April 16 SVANSIKH – LIVE Start time: 23:00 Ticket price: 20 Lari OTIUM Address: Turtle Lake Telephone: 592 91 91 91 April 15 SALIO Start time: 21:00 Ticket price: 20 Lari
GEORGIA TODAY APRIL 15 - 18, 2016
A Message of Universal Love Georgian Shotokan & Peace: Puccini’s Messa di Karate Team Wins Gloria Premieres in Georgia SPORTS
Paata Burchuladze and US Ambassador Kelly with his wife at the performance. Photo: Slow Motion
BY MAKA LOMADZE
n April 8, a solidarity concert to commemorate the victims of the recent terror attacks on France, Turkey and Belgium took place at Rustaveli State Drama Theater. Symbolically enough, the honorary foreign guests – the band ‘Sammartini’were from Belgium, here on a visit that had been planned much earlier. Together with the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra and Abkhazian State Chamber Choir, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria was performed
Terrorism is a threat that cannot be addressed by each of us alone, but that we can overcome together
for the first time in Georgia. The evening was presented by the Yevgeny Mikeladze Georgian National Music Center, Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and artists’ union ‘Csoncertart’ and supported by the Paata Burchuladze Georgian Development Fund. Paata Burchuladze, world famous opera bass singer and Head of the Georgian Development Fund, opened the soiree. “The whole world is concerned about the future of Mankind following the series of terror attacks that took place in France, Turkey and Belgium. Today’s concert is an event of solidarity, as each of us is obliged to fight against terrorism. We give our condolences to the families of the victims. We must unite to defeat this wickedness, and more importantly, this maliciousness should be beaten by kindness. It is very symbolic that today we are hosting a band from Belgium, which, in spite of the obstacles they had in getting here, still came to Georgia to participate in this solidarity event.” The concert was opened by the intermezzo from Mascagni’s ‘Village Honesty’ followed by Mozart’s Concerto No. 23. The main event – Puccini’s Messa di Gloria – was chosen as the culmination of the concert. Among the guests were representatives of the Diplomatic Corps. H.E. Mr Ian Kelly, Ambassador Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary of the USA, told GEORGIA TODAY, “It is a great honor for me to be here. I believe this is the kind of event that can help us all to come together after terrible incidents. Music brings hearts and souls together.” Deputy Italian Ambassador, Stefano Crescenzi, also made a public speech: “It is always a very important occasion when a piece of Italian music is played for the first time in another country. And I’m particularly proud because this time it comes from a prominent Italian musician like Puccini, someone who contributed to spreading throughout the world not only Italian music, Italian language and Italian opera, but was also someone who contributed to spreading universal values and to bringing inside of his works various cultures, from east to west, and to promoting universal values like love, fraternity and peace; universal values that must be pursued, overcoming any difficulties or obstacles.” He went on to highlight that in the composing of his music, Puccini was thinking about the obstacles of his own time, but that in fact his work can be translated into present reality just as easily: a reality in which we face terrorism, “A threat that cannot be addressed by each of us alone, but that we can overcome together. To do that we must be united and share the same universal values that Puccini himself put at the center of his works. And to come together, music is a perfect tool for mutual understanding that unites people, cultures and gives us more strength. Honoring the victims of all terroristic acts throughout the world tonight, I hope that Puccini’s music will continue to inspire us to pursue the universal values that make the world a better place.”
BY NICHOLAS WALLER
eorgia’s Shotokan Karate team will return home from the 2016 International Cup in Orakiva, Israel with six gold medals and one silver to add to this year’s awards. The under-20 youth squad finished first in the competition with three of its competitors capturing gold. Andria Karbaia from the 11-12 year-old squad, Irakli Khochava for the 13-14 year-old age bracket, 15-16 year-0ld
competitor Tengiz Mazmishvili and Levan Geldiashvili in the adult group all won gold in the kumite fighting category. “My team and I were very happy with the results. Our success comes after we won the championship in Tehran this past February with two gold and silver medals”, Mzechabuk Makharadze told GEORGIA TODAY. The Georgian Shotokan Karate Federation was founded in 2005 and has participated in International tournaments around the world. The federation will play host to the Caucasus Cup on May 29 in Tbilisi.
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April 15 - 18, 2016