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Issue no: 879

• SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... New Wiretapping Scandal Rocks Georgia ahead of October Elections NEWS PAGE 2

FOCUS

POLITICS PAGE 5

Turkish Ambassador speaks out against anti-Turkey rhetoric, extols democratic processes post-coups d'etat PAGE

BUSINESS PAGE 9

ON DEMOCRACY 4

Georgia Finalizes Free Trade Negotiations with China BY THEA MORRISON

Tbilisi’s Real Estate Market Experiences Spike in Demand Driving Angry: Ogden on Georgians behind the Wheel SOCIETY PAGE 10

Oktoberfest in Tbilisi this Weekend! SOCIETY PAGE 11

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eorgia and China announced earlier this week that the two countries had agreed on the final details of a free trade agreement that will open the world’s largest consumer market to Georgian products. The tax-free agreement will be officially signed in December and enter into force following its ratification by both countries in mid-2017. According to Georgia’s Minister of Economy Dimitry Kumsishvili, 95 percent of Georgian products, including wine and mineral water, will enter the Chinese market without any additional taxes. Kumsishvili also said that in early October, China’s Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng would visit Tbilisi to sign the agreement. In total, three rounds of negotiations and two working meetings were held between China and Georgia. The possibility of establishing a free trade regime between the two countries was first discussed in September 2015, with the first round of talks held in February. Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili welcomed the announcement, saying the freetrade deal will help boost Georgian wine sales to China. “We are developing a network of retail shops

Georgia’s Election Commission Bans AntiWestern Party from Elections

Tbilisi’s Art Palace Hosts Shakespeare Theater Exhibition CULTURE PAGE 12

Following the Incomparable Nneka from Nigeria CULTURE PAGE 15

Georgia's Minister of Economy Dimitry Kumsishvili with China's Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli in June 2016

in China that sell Georgian wines because we believe that China will become one of the most important export destinations for Georgian wine and other goods. This is a significant achievement that will have a major effect on the development of the Silk Road Project," Kvirikashvili said. Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture Levan

Davitashvili weighed in on the issue saying the agreement is of the utmost importance, as it will help develop the agro-food sector. Davitashvili noted that after Russia (14,664,610 bottles), China is the second largest destination for Georgian wine with 3,368,361 bottles having been exported to the country in 2015.


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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

New Wiretapping Scandal Rocks Georgia ahead of October Elections BY THEA MORRISON AND NICHOLAS WALLER

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he release of a taped conversation between the Director General of Georgia’s Rustavi 2 TV Channel, Nika Gvaramia, and the leader of opposition party State for People, Paata Burchuladze, caused an uproar in the Georgian capital Wednesday. In the secret recording, Gvaramia is heard telling Burchuladze that he is dissatisfied with Burchuladze’s partners in the State for the People PartyGirchi bloc, as the latter prefer to be in a coalition with the Georgian Dream (GD) party. Burchuladze is later heard in the recordings denying the claims. According to Gvaramia, the moment when Burchuladze says he has no loyalty to the GD or the main opposition United National Movement (UNM) party was cut out of the conversation. Gvaramia believes the conversation was illegally recorded and released by the State Security Service as part of its clandestine eavesdropping program. The State Security Agency denies any links with the recording. Burchuladze’s party has admitted that the conversation took place, but insists that nothing illegal was discussed. “The only scandalous thing is that State Security Agency continues to spy on opposition leaders and independent media,” said Davit Jandieri from Burchuladze’s party. Georgia’s presidential administration also commented on the issue, saying the state’s security apparatus is violating privacy rights by illegally wiretapping Georgian citizens. “Eavesdropping, distributing and circulating any private conversation to the public is unacceptable.

These actions go beyond the pale of any legal norms,” Mishveladze said at a special briefing. Several members of the Georgian Dream coalition have accused Gvaramia and Burchuladze of staging the incident in the run-up to the October 8 parliamentary elections. According to Georgian Dream member Irakli Sesiashvili, the conversation confirms that Burchuladze’s party is a front for the UNM. The UNM has steadfastly denied the accusations and accused the State Security Services of launching a smear campaign against opposition parties and the independent media. “The fact that the State Security Agency continues to wiretap an opposition leader and independent media boss are more than concerning,” Sergi Kapanadze from the UNM stated. Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation into the incident but has yet to release any details.

Putin to Attend CIS Council in Bishkek BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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ussian President Vladimir Putin will today participate in a meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State, which will be held in Bishkek, reports the official website of the Kremlin. The presidents of the member countries, during the meeting, will sum up their activities and "exchange views on key issues of further development of the Commonwealth." The meeting has been timed to complement the 25th anniversary of the CIS. As a result, the meeting will adopt several "multilateral instruments." In particular, statements on combating international terrorism, on the world drug problem, as well as statements in connection with the 25th anniversary of the CIS and on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the completion of the Nuremberg Tribunal.

In addition, the meeting will see the planning of certain organizational arrangements, in particular the Russian chairmanship in the CIS in 2017. 8TH on December 1991, the President of the rsfsr ( Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic ), Boris Yeltsin, the Supreme Council of Belarus of the HEAD, STANISLAU Shushkevich, and the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, the Belovezhskoe Signed Agreement That effectively ended the existence of the Soviet Union and announced the creation of the territory of the former republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) formed when the former Soviet Union (now called Russia) totally dissolved in 1991. At its conception it consisted of ten former Soviet Republics: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan , Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

KazTransGas Seeks to Calm Tbilisi Residents' Gas Leak Fears BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES

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he strong smell of gas was noticed by residents around Tbilisi starting Wednesday morning. Accounts were heard from Saburtalo, Vake, Sololaki, Mtatsminda village and even from a residential settlement near Tsavkisi. IPN claims that over 3,000 calls had been made to emergency services by worried citizens by noon Wednesday. At present, the gas company is not responding to calls. In an official announcement published by DF Watch, KazTransGas claims that there is no gas leak and nothing for citizens to be concerned about. "The odour comes from a special odorant, not natural gas itself, as the latter has no odor," KazTransGas stated. "Odorant is being added to the natual gas in order to prevent its leakage," they added. "The odorant is absolutely safe and its addition is required by law." Rustavi2 announced that 11 people were taken to hospital with symptoms of intoxication throughout the day on Wednesday. "The poisoning was caused by natural gas," emergency services confirmed. The strong smell of gas was noticed by residents around Tbilisi starting Wednesday morning. Accounts were heard from Saburtalo, Vake, Sololaki, Mtatsminda village and even from a residential settlement near Tsavkisi. IPN claims that over 3,000 calls had been made to emergency services by worried citizens by noon Wednesday. At present, the gas company is not responding to calls.

In an official announcement published by DF Watch, KazTransGas claims that there is no gas leak and nothing for citizens to be concerned about. "The odour comes from a special odorant, not natural gas itself, as the latter has no odor," KazTransGas stated. "The odorant is absolutely safe and its addition is required by law." Rustavi2 announced that 11 people were taken to hospital with symptoms of intoxication throughout the day on Wednesday. KazTranGas highlighted that it is not responsible for the process of odorization of gas as the duty is undertaken by the Georgian Gas Transportation Company, which itself made a special announcement about Wednesday's events. The company claims that no technical problems were detected during odorization. “11 people were hospitalized with symptoms that are characteristic to gas poisoning,” the company said. “The health conditions of each patient were carefully examined. In none of the cases could gas poisoning be confirmed and all patients were discharged from hospital the same day.” The same announcement repeats that odorant is not hazardous to health and that although the process of odorization was carried out manually by qualified staff members on Wednesday, in future the whole process will be carried out automatically using a mechanized system.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

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Bricorama Opens Tbilisi Branch Silicon Valley Tbilisi Opens BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

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rance’s home improvement company, Bricorama opened its first hypermarket in Georgia on September 15. Bricorama is one of France’s largest retailers of home repair and per-

sonal design products. The new EUR 7.8 million Tbilisi retail space offers a full range of do-it-yourself hardware and building products that follow Bricorama’s “create your dream space” slogan. Bricorama owns and operates more than 200 hypermarkets in Europe and hopes its expansion into the South Caucasus will offer affordable European

quality products and services to Georgian customers. The company will have discount cards available for individual customers, with discount schemes offered to corporate clients. Bricorama plans to expand its presence in Georgia with additional markets in Tbilisi and the Black Sea port city of Batumi. You can find the store at 77 Marshal Gelovani Avenue.

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eorgia’s new research, business and development center, known as the Silicon Valley Tbilisi Project, is scheduled to open to the

public today. The space will include business and technology centers, an IT academy, media space, schools and sports facilities. The complex is situated near Tbilisi’s popular Turtle Lake. The Georgian government has already agreed on partnerships with more than 60 international companies with exclu-

sive reach to the global market. The reason for developing the complex comes from the numerous untapped possibilities Georgia has to offer. “We’ve been analyzing global trends and tendencies that will help with Georgia’s development,” the Business and Technology University’s Director, Mikheil Batiashvili, said during a media scrum. “The mission of Silicon Valley Tbilisi is to become a regional educational hub that will meet the educational needs to be competitive in the global market. Our objective is to train highly qualified professionals and to give them a chance to be hired by leading international companies, without leaving Georgia,” he added.

Georgian House is a high class restaurant offering brilliant service, a sophisticated interior, comfortable atmosphere and a selection of delicious, beautifully presented dishes. One of the most important factors is the diversity of our show program and visitors often choose restaurant Georgian House because of it. There are different dining halls, each with its own look and special music programGeorgian House hires only well-known, professional Georgian and foreign musicians. At 19.30 the music program begins in the Central Hall with a two-hour Georgian block. Every day we offer our guests folk and urban songs, and five national dances. The well-known folk ensemble "Alilo", choreographic ensemble "Tiflis", the accompanist and vocalist Tamila Chiradze, the winners of competitions Elene Pochkhua, Giorgi Mepisashvili and Giorgi Nadibaidze always take turns on the stage of the Central Hall. After the Georgian block we continue our music program with foreign pop songs. The music is balanced by a professional sound designer and modern high quality equipment and is equally distributed throughout the whole restaurant. Upon leaving, we ask our guests to fill out a questionnaire, giving us feedback with which to monitor the attitude of visitors towards the dishes, service and show program. We are proud to say that our restaurant has existed for three years and its rate is steadily higher. The music program in the yard and the "Tiflis" Hall merits the highest assessment of guests. The famous Georgian saxophonist Ucha Kordzaia, the symphonic orchestra of Tbilisi, the first violinist Giorgi Khaindrava and the professor and pianist of conservatory Goga Shaverdashvili create a trio which plays well-known Georgian and foreign film music for guests from 8pm. The music program in Georgian House is regularly updated, and the repertoire of national dances and songs is often changed which makes Georgian House more attractive. The high standards of service for high-class restaurant status, the trustworthiness, the taste of dishes and comfortable atmosphere all remain steadfastly unchanged in our restaurant. Welcome to Georgian House- your true Georgian home.

www.georgian-house.ge

www.facebook.com/georgianhouse.ge


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

Ambassador Speaks Out: Turkish Democracy after Coup Attempt & the Need for Better Understanding OP-ED BY H.E. ZEKI LEVENT GÜMRÜKÇÜ, AMBASSADOR OF TURKEY TO GEORGIA

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t has been more than two months since democracy in Turkey came under a heinous attack, when a group of military officers, acting outside the formal chain of command, attempted to overthrow the democratically elected government by a coup. Thanks to the heroic resistance of the Turkish nation and the unprecedented unity among all political actors, the coup attempt was quickly foiled and thus a catastrophe was averted. Today, daily life is back to normal with no restriction on democratic rights and freedoms of the people, while the economy continues to do well in all areas, as Turkey has recorded a two-year high export volume in August and became one of the five fastest growing economies of the world. There has also not been a single example of coup-related violence since July 15. That said, the traumatic impact of the coup attempt still weighs heavily in the minds and hearts of every Turkish citizen. This is not only because the coup plotters brutally killed more than 250 innocent civilians and injured thousands of people on the night of July 15, but also because we have found out that the organization behind the coup had long infiltrated, like a cancerous cell, the entire state, as well as the media, private sector and academia. This is why there is an unequivocal determination across the entire nation to bring to justice all those who planned, carried out and supported this treason-

Turkish democracy today is stronger than ever given the unprecedented social and political unity underpinning it, as well as the sacrifices made to uphold it ous act. To this end, there is no difference of view between the governing and opposition parties. There is also no doubt in the minds of anyone in Turkey that the coup plotters are in fact terrorists and although their organization (FETO) is of a unique nature given its ability to disguise itself as a moderate religious movement, they have to be treated no differently than any other terrorist organization. It is against this backdrop that the Turkish people are truly disappointed to see some of our Allies and partners failing to understand the true nature of the threat Turkey is faced with, and, instead, questioning the necessity and appropriateness of the steps taken to eliminate this menace. It becomes all the more hurtful when we see certain circles claiming that Turkey is deviating from democracy and that the failed coup attempt is being used as a pretext for steps in this direction. I truly find these allegations absurd and even insulting, to say the least. They

are first and foremost disrespectful to and in denial of the many lives lost on the night of July 15 to save democracy. Indeed, millions of Turkish citizens who took the streets on that night did not do so for one person or a single party, but people of all ages and political persuasions risked their lives to make sure that democracy in Turkey is not in any way derailed or hijacked. In other words, Turkish democracy today is stronger than ever given the unprecedented social and political unity underpinning it, as well as the sacrifices made to uphold it. As such, it is inconceivable to think that Turkish people will allow anything to steal away their victory and undermine the democracy for which they made the ultimate sacrifice. Therefore, not only are coups d’etat no longer possible in Turkey, but it is evident that Turkish democracy will continue to flourish in compliance with the will of the Turkish nation. Moreover, all the steps taken so far in the aftermath of the coup attempt are in

conformity with the rule of law principle. In this regard, administrative and legal decisions are within the boundaries of Turkish laws, judiciary processes are conducted with full transparency and all repeal mechanisms, including individual application to European Court of Human Rights, are available for those who are affected. Turkey has also declared its readiness to work with the Council of Europe to ensure that the highest standards of democracy are observed while delivering justice. On the other hand, the measures taken in relation with the coup attempt are also commensurate with the threat faced. For instance, many in the West are questioning the high number of people that are being tried for their involvement in the coup. However, one should not forget that the terrorist organization behind this coup attempt functions like a secretive cult and that they have been infiltrating into the state institutions for the last 40 years without being detected. Therefore, we are now in the process of

cleaning our state and society of decades of intoxication. This is a difficult but absolutely necessary task, without which our democracy cannot function properly. In this regard, one should also see that what is at stake here is not only Turkish democracy. As Prime Minister Kvirikashvili said during his historic visit to Turkey just three days after the coup attempt, the state of democracy in Turkey is critical to the entire region. In other words, if the coup plotters had been successful in overthrowing the democratically elected government in Turkey, the hopes for cultivating and consolidating democracy in the much wider region would also have been jeopardized. This is why we rightfully expect all our Allies and partners with whom we share the same values of democracy to show solidarity with Turkey at this critical time and support our fight against all forms of terrorism, including FETO, which is a threat to not only Turkish democracy but to all countries they operate in. In this regard, it is imperative to have a frank dialogue so that we can dispel misunderstandings and work together around shared objectives. In Georgia, we certainly have such a friend and partner. But I am also glad to see that our Allies in the West are also moving in this direction as evident by a number of highlevel visits to Turkey from the US and European countries. After all, Turkey has always been an indispensable part of the Euro-Atlantic community and nothing can change this fact, which represents not only a longstanding deliberate choice of the Turkish people but an obligation brought upon us by our shared values and principles.

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Indian Cusine


POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

The Industrialists' Gogi Topadze

Georgia’s Election Commission Bans AntiWestern Party from Elections BY THEA MORRISON AND NICHOLAS WALLER

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eorgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) revoked the registration of the Industrialist-Our Homeland bloc for the upcoming October 8 parliamentary elections, according to an announcement published on the CEC’s website. According to CEC Head Tamar Zhvania, the bloc missed the deadline for submitting its list of parliamentary candidates. The leadership of the Industrialists slammed the CEC’s decision, saying it was an unfounded decision aimed at marginalizing the party. The party’s leaders said they have already appealed to Tbilisi’s City Court. The party’s leader, Gogi Topadze, said certain forces in the election committee are actively trying to force opposition parties out of the race for the new parliament. According to Zurab Tkemaladze, a member of the Industrialist Party, the CEC’s decision is in direct violation of the law.

“The CEC’s justification for barring us that we did not submit our candidate list on time is an outright lie. Their decision seems to be in the best interests of the ruling (Georgian Dream) party, as we have MP candidates who will obviously win,” Tkemaladze said. The Industrialists Party is a former partner of the Georgian Dream. Topadze is well-known for his virulent anti-Western, pro-Russian stances and steadfast opposition to Georgia joining NATO and the EU. The ban on the bloc also prohibits Zviad Chitishvili’s pro-Russian Our Homeland party from running. A dual citizen of both Georgia and Russia, Chitishvili continues to maintain all of his business dealings in Moscow and has run on a platform that includes a promise to distribute Russian passports to all Georgian citizens. The bloc will take part in the elections for the Supreme Council of the Black Sea Adjara region. Unlike the Central Election Commission, the Adjara Supreme Election Commission registered the bloc without any objections. Members of the bloc have announced that they will hold protest rallies until the CEC reinstates the registration for the national elections.

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France to Help Georgia Increase Air Defense Capabilities BY THEA MORRISON

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rance's Defense Minister JeanYves Le Drian, during his first official visit to Georgia, pledged to increase the small South Caucasus country’s air defense capabilities. Le Drian said France would help Georgia develop and modernize its defensive weapons systems, including surface-toair missiles. A French air defense officer has been assigned to Georgia to oversee the initial phase of the process. France also plans to increase its naval presence in the Black Sea as part of the NATO substantial aid package that was signed in 2014. “The first French ship will visit Batumi in October…this will be another symbol of our cooperation,” Le Drian said. The Georgian government pledged to increase its military contingent in the Republic of Central Africa (RCA) from five to 20 soldiers. The Georgian troops are part of the European Union’s peacekeeping mission in the war-torn nation. Le Drian took the time to thank the Georgian soldiers for their contribution to international peacekeeping missions and added that Georgian military cadets will now be able to study in France. The French delegation reiterated that they are ready to contribute to the development of a mountain firing range in the Samtskhe-Javakheti Region.

Georgia’s Defense Minister Levan Izoria said the main topic during his meeting with Le Drian centered around moving towards comprehensive military-technical cooperation and developing an air defense system for Georgia. Following his meeting with Izoria, Le Drian met with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. The conversation touched upon cooperation in the defense area and the importance of military education exchange programs.

“We consider your visit to be a clear indication of France’s solid support for Georgia, as well as being a signal that sends a message emphasizing the importance of the existing partnership between our countries," Kvirikashvili told Le Drian. Le Drian visited Georgia’s western Imereti region on Monday to participate in ceremonies marking the 10-year anniversary of the Mountain Training Schools. The facility was set up with French assistance and provide courses for Georgia’s Armed Forces.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

The 2016 Elections: Better than Ever Before OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

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ertain ultra-nationalist flag wavers would blame me for derogating the merits of the nation and exaggerating its flaws, but I usually know what I'm writing about Georgia, depending on what the current social, economic or political moment is asking for. For example, we are now in the middle of the preparatory electoral period to fill the Georgian parliament with new legislative forces, and I like the situation, notwithstanding my mostly negative attitude. Georgia is coping effectively with this wordy, showy and intricate democratic process, successfully emulating the West. Democracy – as good or bad as it seems – is in full swing in Georgia today: 80 percent of the electorate is ready to go and vote; the air is full of open and unabashed discussions; almost every issue that the constituency is concerned about is sitting on the table; most of the candidates for future membership of the parliament impress us with speeches and promises; media is healthy, courageous and moderately critical; no street manifestations are taking place; cute billboards are hanging all over the place; nobody is going physical in political battlefields; civilized knocks on our doors are heard by the promoters of nominated candidates; the election code is almost

fixed and effective; political opponents detest each other, but still carefully choose descriptive epithets; the electiontime television shows are masterfully staged by major TV stations; hosts of those shows look professional and sound knowledgeable; the election information is distributed, digested and reproduced promptly; the entire course of develop-

ments looks as civilized as never before in this country. Well, there are some minor things that could embarrass a solid, faithful and qualified voter, but they are almost negligible. Us achieving this style and level of running elections was not achieved overnight. We have been entertaining this for the last thirty politically strained

and difficult years, and here we go – we are almost there. Finally. An average Georgian voter has understood that each vote has weight and meaning, the oneperson-one-vote theory and practice are in place, fairness of elections and its legality are affordably guarded, gerrymander and vote rigging are not excluded but not easily allowed, the distance

between a voter and the voting booth is no longer as rough and thorny as it used to be, ballot boxes do not ‘blush’ for shame as badly as they did before, and the constitution is not being offended as flagrantly as it was in the past. In a word, the campaign is hot and strained, but it also is well-balanced, and equalized to European standards. There is nothing in the way of openly expressing individual views and ideas. But also, this is the time when the number of swing voters may grow because of the doubts that occur in the process of finding the fairest electoral track. The best corroboration of this statement is the straw vote which is probed occasionally by various poll companies. And money matters, too! Money – soft or hard – is a variable that vibrates, and balances the electoral equation. Yes, if you don’t spend money, you can’t get elected. Same in America, same anywhere else – the more you have, the bigger the chance to get where you want to be. The electoral wannabes in Georgia though, trying to turn themselves into actual gonnabes, are desperately after the votes, standing on whichever platform they think is most popular but in fact not firm enough to get a guaranteed seat in parliament. The electoral horse race is on and it is gathering momentum every inch of the way, but let us not expect a landslide any more. Landslides are now part of the past. This is going to be the most westernized elections we have ever had in our motley political life of the last thirty years.


POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

7

In, Out, Shake it all About- the South Ossetian Referendum Conundrum OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA

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heannouncedSouthOssetian referendum about joining the Russian Federation is not to be held until 2017. The dreamsoflocalnomenclature about Crymeazation did not come true this year as the occupied South Ossetian de-facto government has postponed it until next year. The so-called President, Leonid Tibilov, and the so-called Speaker of Parliament, Anatoliy Bibilov, signed a document in which the date of the future referendum is defined as the first week of May, 2017. The same document states that the official reason for the postponement is the so-called presidential elections. The idea of joining the Russian Federation is nothing new for the Ossetian separatists. As early as 16 years before the Russian-Georgian war of August 2008, in 1992, a referendum was held in Tskhinvali, in which the local population had to answer only one question – should South Ossetia join the Russian Federation? Naturally, the Georgian-speaking population boycotted the referendum, while the 99 percent of local Ossetians responded positively. The second such referendum was held in the occupied territory in 2006. This time the question was asked in a different form, though the idea was the same, and the eventually would result in either joining the Russian Federation or not: “Do you wish South Ossetia to be an independent state?” The Georgian local population with Georgian nationality boycotted the referendum again, with Official Tbilisi recognizing it as illegiti-

mate, and the separatists once again voted to become “independent.” The census of 1989 showed that there were 68,200 Ossetians and 28,500 Georgians living on the territory at the time. Following two ethnic cleansings, Georgians have completely left the territory and even the number of Ossetians has been reduced to about 45 thousand. The separatists hence decided to hold a third referendum on the occupied territory in these “favorable” circumstances, which once again proves that the Ossetian statehood as a notion was merely a fiction from the very beginning, as was the obsessive idea about joining Russia. As the political calendar of the Kremlin suggested, the fate of the referendum in occupied Tskhinvali was decided in spring, the decision about postponing it taken in the Kremlin at that time and announced only today. On April 14, during the annual “Direct Line” with Vladimir Putin, the President implied as much when he said that the Russian Federation was not considering admitting South Ossetia and that he and Leonid Tibilov had not discussed the issue during their meeting. The next day, during a live broadcast, President Putin ratified the so-called border agreement with South Ossetia, which was a clear signal that Russia did not intend to adopt the occupied territory. Political analyst Irakli Tskitishvili believes that the idea voiced by Tibilov about holding the referendum was announced without prior agreement with Moscow. In his interview with Radio Freedom Tskitishvili stated that this time it would also remain at the level of mere discussion. “Today, when Russia is thinking about ways to solve its Ukrainian

Source: Just Dance Kids 2

problem, it will not create a new one for small Tskhinvali. I don’t believe this is a Russian initiative..,” Tskitishvili said. “I just believe that periodically Tibilov wants to check the readiness and possibility for so-called South Ossetia to join Russia. Basically, the appointment of Tibilov to his current position was from the very beginning defined, and that he would eventually hold a referen-

dum and join Russia understood, but since then there have only been talks about this issue, nothing more.., so I doubt there’ll be any kind of actual development.” Expert in political issues Ramaz Sakvarelidze believes that the statement made by Vladimir Putin on April 14 adds some uncertainty to the issue of any holding of a referendum in so-called South Osse-

tia. However, Sakvarelidze does not exclude that this statement was dishonest and thinks that Russia might be preparing a surprise for Georgia. “If Russia chooses not to recognize the referendum, it might not hold any threat. But if Putin declares that this is the will of the Ossetian people and that he is ready to admit the territory to Russia, the situation will become very tense, indeed.”


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

Ecomigrant Women in Disveli Start Cheese Production BY BAIA DZAGNIDZE

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very morning since April 2016 has started the same way for three women in Disveli village, Bolnisi Municipality. At 9am sharp they start their daily job at a small cheese enterprise located in the village to produce Sulguni, butter, and a ricotta-like dairy product from local cattle milk. The morning starts by getting fresh milk from various farms, which is later put into a pasteuriser. After cooling, it undergoes a ripening process, which takes at least 30-40 minutes. When the cheese is ripened, it is simultaneously boiled and stretched and later kneaded into a round-shaped Sulguni. Disveli is a village of ecomigrants from Adjara who were resettled due to a landslide that destroyed their homes in Khulo Municipality. Building the cheese cooperative in Disveli is the result of a partnership between CENN and RED (Rural Economic Development). CENN’s involvement in the establishment of the enterprise was possible in the framework of the Austrian Development Cooperation funded project, Empowered Rural Women for Sustainable Agriculture in the South Caucasus, which is implemented in a partnership with Hilfswerk Austria International and Green Lane Agricultural Assistance NGO in Armenia. The project aims to reduce poverty in the transboundary region of Arme-

nia and Georgia by contributing to the empowerment of women and to increasing their awareness of the importance of sustainable agriculture in the South Caucasus. Consequently, one of the cooperative's principles was gender equality, meaning that at least half its members had to be female. This empowers rural women, ensures their income, and generally improves the living conditions of the vulnerable rural population. In addition, the cooperative also assumes social responsibility for its community and invests part of the cooperative's income in a community fund that targets its development projects. Meri Makharadze, Chairwomen of the cooperative, explains that the existence of such cooperatives and enterprises in the village is necessary as the village will have some novelty and innovation. “A person can learn a lot of things, as the project brought so many international experts to teach us the production of various cheese types with different technologies,” she said. Another woman involved in the cooperative and cheese production is Zaira Shainidze, who has much more experience in cheese production than others. She has worked for at least 5 years in different companies and factories. Zaira notes that she has never worked in any enterprise with such technologically advanced equipment. “Working is much easier than with the traditional Adjaran method, which involves bigger bowls and bare hands,” she said, adding that being in the enterprise is beneficial for her as it gives her

her own income and can help her family. Currently, the cheese produced in Disveli is sold in Tbilisi in low quantities, while the butter and ricotta, while being in high demand, are only sold on the Disveli village market. Members of the cooperative hope to become more efficient and extend production and most importantly the labor force soon. The problem they currently face is that they do not have a vehicle to bring milk from cattle taken to the mountains to pasture during the summer. In addition, the cooperative is working on recommendations received from the National Food Agency in order to introduce a HACCP plan in the factory to enable them to start mass production. According to Makharadze, the enterprise is able to get 2.5 tons of milk every day and fully utilize it. She explains that 100 liters of milk gives around 12–13 kg of cheese, while on average they get at least 300–400 liters each day. Shainidze elaborates that once they begin mass distribution, the enterprise will be able to employee at least 10 people for cheese production, but this is not the only work at the factory, as there is also the daily cleaning of premises and equipment. To raise awareness of the enterprise, cooperative members participated in various national and international agricultural and cheese festivals such as the Georgian Cheese Festival in 2014, the Festival of Rural Life in Yerevan in 2014 and 2015, and the South Caucasus Cheese Festival in Tbilisi in 2015. Last year in Yerevan, the Disveli cooperative was even awarded the Best Enterprise Award.


GEORGIA TODAY

BUSINESS

SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

Tbilisi’s Real Estate Market Experiences Spike in Demand BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI AND NICHOLAS WALLER

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eal estate market experts in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi report that demand for housing and apartment rentals has increased since the end of the summer tourist season yet noted that the market had not experienced any considerable price increase compared to the same period last year. While news of growing demand will be welcomed by estate agents, the demand for available affordable rentals priced at 200 USD or less per month far exceeds the supply. Further compounding the situation is the glut of vacancies for medium to high-end rentals throughout the city. Tbilisi has experienced a construction boom in the last two years but those building projects have focused mainly on middle and upper-class housing, ranging from small condos to luxury penthouses. The overwhelming majority of the properties remain unoccupied, but the construction projects continue at the expense of new projects aimed at building affordable housing for the majority of Tbilisi’s population. According to market sources, the minimum rental price for a centrally located, unfurnished one-bedroom apartment costs 300 USD, with Saburtalo as the most popular district in the city where low-end rental prices range from 250 USD to 300 USD for an apartment in an old Soviet-era block.

The increasing demand for cheaper property rentals has also reached Tbilisi’s suburbs, where housing shortages are common, and the condition of the properties tends to be very poor. On the other hand, low price apartment search often happens without actual involvement from the real estate agencies, with word-of-mouth more actively used in the process. Nika Japaridze, a development manager for online property lister makler.ge, recently said in an interview with a local business journal that his company has over 30,000 ads on their site, indicating that the real estate market is very active due to the number of students coming to the city in search of cheap housing. According to a recent survey of the real estate market, the price for 1 sqm property in Tbilisi ranged from 836 - 900 USD, with the price index decreasing year-on-year to 1.8 percent as of June 1. The survey found that the Mtatsminda district is the city’s most expensive region for both rentals and sales, with the sales price of 1 sqm of property averaging 1,011 USD and 9 USD for rentals. The Samgori district was rated as the cheapest in the city, with the sales price for 1 sqm averaging 544 USD and a mere 5 USD for rentals. The rental and sales prices for commercial spaces are significantly higher, coming in at 1,088 to 1,230 USD per sqm for a sales price and 10.1 to 12.0 USD per 1 sqm for rentals. Real Estate Laboratory research showed an average of 2,384 monthly real estate transactions occurred from June 2015 to June 2016, 34.9 percent of which were sales in the Vake and Saburtalo districts.

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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

PASHA Bank – General Sponsor of Spotlight 2016

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n September 10th, 2016, the year’s major marketing event Spotlight 2016 took place in Radisson Blu Iveria hotel. For the second year PASHA Bank was the general sponsor of the

event. Spotlight has been running since 2013 and sees Georgian marketers and other professionals sharing their experience with the public and colleagues. This year over 450 guests attended the event, among them PR and marketing specialists of both local and international companies, advertising agencies and those merely interested in the subject. Last year, PASHA Bank launched a new project ‘Spotlight Marketing Library’ that aims to create a single comfortable space with the professional literature in Marketing, Branding, PR and other related fields, available for all. This year PASHA Bank donated more than 50 books to the library and those Spotlight guests who registered at the Spotlight Marketing Library stand received free reader passes from PASHA Bank. “PASHA Bank has been operating in Georgia for three years and during this period we have regularly supported educational and professional projects,” said Anano Korkia, Head of PR and Marketing at PASHA

Bank. “Spotlight is one such project as it creates a platform for marketing and advertising professionals to share their knowledge and experience with each other. We are proud to sponsor Spotlight for the second time and that our mutual projects, Spotlight Marketing Library and analytical rubric on Marketer.ge, are very popular among those interested in the sphere.” “Our cooperation with PASHA Bank started two years ago and since then the Bank sponsored Spotlight twice, the video records of which are public and viewed by thousands of users,” said Ako Akhalaia, founder of Marketer. “We have also joined forces on two major projects: Spotlight Marketing Library where one will find the most contemporary professional literature, brought by PASHA Bank, and our favorite rubric on Marketer, where we translate and publish analytical articles by Harvard, Stanford, and Kellogg. Our partnership with PASHA Bank is a good example of companies’ productive collaboration. The initiatives that come from PASHA Bank have a long term effect on the development of our business society as the books, articles and videos are consumed by more and more people each year.”

Driving Angry: Ogden on Georgians behind the Wheel mouth told me it would be pointless. There would be a typical outburst as there always is to the slightest criticism, perhaps even a hint that my worry over his driving makes me less of a man. I’ve heard fter I reminded my wife that my this sort of talk before, and know that it’s no good grandfather was once the captain of to point out that he’s needlessly endangering his a prestigious golf club, the rather own life as well as the lives of my wife and I (who poor showing I made on the Ambas- have to pay him for the privilege), and that while sadori Hotel’s golf course was proof he may not much of a future career to look forward if proof were needed that not all talents trickle to, I have plans, d’ya see, and I’d rather not have to down from genetics. Indeed, as I stood bunkered end my life flying through a windshield in Kakheti and hammering at the sand with every club I could with a scream of ‘West Ham for the Cup!’. (I should explain that I always wanted my last find, she remarked that though I had failed as a golfer I might succeed as a miner, and, may in fact words to be something special. At the moment I rather like ‘Hey, everybody, watch this!’ Go out strike oil at any moment. These encouraging barbs aside, I had rather a with a bang and leave a few smiles behind; it’s a pleasant weekend out of the city celebrating my comforting thought). But it’s still a bloody silly way to die. I’m all for birthday. In a reflective moment after a number of bottles of Saperavi, I did wonder why people wish reaching one’s destination in a timely manner, but you well as you age; it seems rather odd that being trying to overtake a long line of cars without being one year closer to death is something to celebrate. able to see what’s coming the other way is the plan This was but a fleeting and idle thought, you of a moron. I’d have been comforted if it was only understand, and death was far from my mind for our driver who was doing all this, but past experithe rest of the weekend until it came time to come ence of all the other cars around me revealed this to be simply the way Georgians drive. home, when it came back with a vengeance. You may recall a few weeks ago I wrote about I have been on the Kakheti Highway a score of times before, but perhaps as the taxi we hailed to Georgian men and their methods of wooing that take us back to Tbilisi was smaller and more banged leave a lot to be desired; I wrote that I would have up than they usually are, I noticed the appalling loved to ask them what the overall plan is, and what driving rather more. You may recall that Britain’s they hope to achieve. I loathe repeating myself former Ambassador to Georgia, Her Excellency almost as much as contradiction, but feel the need Alexandra Hall Hall, had been unfairly slammed to here. I would love to know why Georgian drivby Georgians for criticizing their standard of driv- ers think that overtaking on blind corners is a briling, but spending most of one’s time in Tbilisi liant idea, or if they’ve thought about what might happen if the car they’re driving so close to sudnumbs you to the real danger of it; there are denly slams on the brakes, or what good can so many cars in this city these days, come of driving so fast at vehicles speeding the worst that can happen are the other way. I suppose it’s just like when bumps and scrapes (except they’re stuck in traffic jams and still feel at night). the need to honk the horn, as though On the main roads out of they expect the cars in front to just the city, however, things are vanish. very different. Excessively ‘Driving Angry’ was an awful film high speeds and needless with Nicolas Cage that came overtaking seem to conout a few years ago, but the title stitute the main dangers, fits the bill here. Behind the and, on seeing this lunacy wheel, a lot of Georgians do first hand, it isn’t hard to seem to take out a lot of anger; see why Georgia had trafI’d love to know why. Either fic-related deaths in the that or the male population thousands last year. of this country loves Nic I was on the cusp of offering Cage, and between those our driver more money to two prospects, I’m not sure slow down, but one glance which is the most worrying. at the vacant eyes and open Cartoon: Brian Patrick Grady

OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN

A


GEORGIA TODAY

SOCIETY

SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

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Ureki Break BY TONY HANMER

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ome very kind young friends recently allowed my wife and I to have an actual vacation, as opposed to a required dash from one end of the country to the other for funeral reasons. They offered to come and look after the cows, chickens and house while we got away to the Black Sea for six days. One could hardly refuse such a generous offer, and we certainly accepted with huge gratitude. Once the four were up to speed with milking and other necessary chores, we felt free to pack up and head off into the sunrise to Ureki, perhaps a less known but still locally popular alternative to bustling Batumi and Kobuleti. We were staying in the same hotel which had hosted us for a TLG training event some two years earlier. A few more interesting place names on the way, which I've translated as: Holy Water; Or Lacking (meaning "or not all there")and Magnetite, for which see below. The owner had extensively renovated the hotel and its grounds, so returning was a pleasant surprise. Much landscaping and greenery, several new swimming pools, new bedrooms and dining room awaited us. Plus, we were a bit earlier in the year this time, still in plenty of time to make some use of the beach and the sea itself, which we did. Ureki was having its last tourist fling before school begins on Sept. 15, so the place was quite busy, but we still felt that there was space for everybody. Ureki and neighboring Magnetiti (original home of X-men foe Magneto?) are famous for their curative dark gray sand, which is somewhat magnetic and supposed to be very good for the bones if you allow yourself to be covered with it from neck to feet for half and hour or so a day. I dug my wife in, and at least I can say that she emerged none the worse. The water was really pleasant, the slope of the beach gentle enough to give you some wading distance before you decided to dive. And sand,

even if it's not yellow or white, beats Batumi's rocks any day! Other choices of entertainment ranged from a pulled banana boat, jet-ski, 4x4 beach car, horse rides, and even para-sailing, also pulled by boat. The sun and sea, however, were enough for us. Really, this is all that's lacking for me in our mountain home, and I suppose that the few hours' drive away which it is makes it all the more special, giving the real holiday feeling when one makes the effort to go. I finally had my question answered about the eerily still and empty new amusement park between Ureki and Kobuleti. Why have I never seen it running? It seems such a sad waste, obviously not old. Was there a curse on it? A legal dispute? Something unsafe in the area's environs, discovered tragically too late? None of the above: the whole park only opens and comes alive between 6 pm and midnight! It's all lit up, and I've never driven past it during these hours, so I wrongly assumed that it was abandoned. Instead, it's more like the nocturnally powered travelling circus in Ray Bradbury's novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes! Well, that makes me feel better. Seriously, I must get there after dark sometime with camera and tripod and make some slow exposures of lit-up things whirling. Could be magic. This was all a good reminder that Georgia's geographic diversity, for such a small country, allows you to experience a huge range of landscapes and climates in a very short distance and time. One of the country's many great advantages, and one which I intend for us to make more use of (once we settle the Cow Question), given our newly returned mobility. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 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

FOR SALE

9,8 ha non-agricultural, privately owned parcel for industrial use (cadaster code # 01.19.26.004.088) located next to Tbilisi Airport (It is possible to divide it into several parts)

Address: Airport settlement, Samgori district, Tbilisi Tel: +995 599 529 529 info@cei.ge

Oktoberfest in Tbilisi this Weekend!

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n the same day as the start of the world´s biggest folk festival, the Oktoberfest Munich, the “Oktoberfest der Deutschen Wirtschaft” is to be introduced to Tbilisi by the German Business Association (DWV) and its partners. On Saturday, 17 September 2016, from 13:00 till late at Mtatsminda Park, guests can enjoy a wide variety of German and Bavarian style food, drinks and entertainment. During the afternoon, from 13:00 onwards, there will be a broad program with exhibition stands, culinary delights and children’s programs, as well as entertainment like wheel of fortune, marathon, mini football, darts, creative workshops and prizes for many lucky winners. In the evening, from 18:00 onwards, there will be an authentic beer tent atmosphere with live music and entertainment opened by the Speaker of the

Parliament of Georgia, David Usupashvili, and the Ambassador of Germany to Georgia, H.E. Dr. Heike Peitsch. Gold Sponsor of the Oktoberfest is Hipp, with silver sponsors Happy Company, Knauf, Lufthansa and Messe Frankfurt Exhibition. Main caterers are Rainer´s European Restaurant, Stelzenhaus and Zedazeni with König Pilsener, further exquisite imported German beers to taste are also to be provided. Exclusive media partner of the festival is Georgia Today. Oktoberfest on 17 September is a one-day-only opportunity providing free entry to the tent and premises, as well as a German-Georgian “Gaudi” for all. Date: 17 September, 2016 Time: 13:00 till midnight Where: Mtatsminda Park


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CULTURE ROUTING

TBILISI - ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT - TBILISI TBILISI - ISTANBUL SABIHA GOKCEN AIRPORT ISTANBUL SABIHA GOKCEN AIRPORT - TBILISI BATUMI - ISTANBUL ISTANBUL - BATUMI

FLIGHT NUMBER

TK 379 TK 387 TK 383 TK 386 TK 382 TK 378 TK 381 TK 381 TK 380 TK 391 TK 393 TK 390 TK 392

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

WEEK DAYS

EVERYDAY

EVERYDAY 1/2/4/5/6/7 3 EVERYDAY 1/2/4/6/7 1/3/4/5/7 1/2/4/6/7 1/3/4/5/7

DEPARTURE

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02:35 06:35 22:55 01:40 18:10 21:15 04:25 05:05 19:40 10:35 20:15 06:25 16:20

04:05 08:05 00:30+1 04:55 21:30 00:30+1 05:50 06:30 22:55 11:40 21:20 09:20 19:20

Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail: info@peoplescafe.ge

10 Galaktion Street

Tbilisi’s Art Palace Hosts Georgian Artist Featured at London’s Shakespeare Theater Exhibition Start Art Fair

IFLIS 7.5x6cm ING.indd 1

13/06/16 15:16

BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

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BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

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rom September 15-18, London’s Saatchi Gallery (UK) is exhibiting the solo project of Georgian artist Beso Uznadze, featuring his new photo series inspired by the aesthetic dimension of flowers and nature, as part of the Start Art Fair. Among the many art fairs held in Europe, Start Art presents an alternative concept, offering a focus on emerging indie artists and galleries from around the world. “Ideally, we want each visitor to go away with interests in artists and gallerists they haven't come across before,” said Niru Ratnam, the director of the Start Art Fair in an interview with FAD magazine. “In terms of the setting, I wanted to move away from the trade show type venues that most art fairs go for and do something in the type of place that you'd normally visit for an exhibition – hence the Saatchi Gallery is our base.” Said to be a platform that brings new artistic talents into the spotlight, the Fair this year is sure to bring greater popularity to both Uznadze and the Georgian art scene. Uznadze usually works on photo reports and photo series featuring ordinary feelings such as love, separation, death, and fear, telling us stories of the people we meet every day. Through his individual techniques, his works are said to balance on the verge between sculpture and painting. Innovative Georgian start-up Project ArtBeat, currently introducing Uznadze to the international scene, aims at giving an opportunity for Georgian and Caucasian artists to be noticed worldwide and also to introduce modern contemporary art locally to the places and com-

munities that have limited access to information on the contemporary arts scene. The declared long-term goal of the ArtBeat platform is to become the regional center for the Arts.

eorgia’s Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection is sponsoring an exhibition dedicated to a history of Shakespeare being performed in Georgia. The exhibition recently opened at Tbilisi’s Art Palace and features some of the country’s most prominent artists including Petre Otskheli, Ioseb Sumbatashvili, David Kakabadze, Soliko Virsaladze, Sergo Kobuladze, Parnaoz Lapiashvili, Giorgi Gunia, and more. The exhibition also features an impressive collection of works from the Art Palace’s archives as well as works by young Georgian artists featured in the ongoing “Shakespeare meets Rustaveli in Georgia” initiative. The project is a collaboration between the Art Palace and the British Council as a way to celebrate the legacy of both Willam Shakespeare and Shota Rustaveli, the medieval poet and progenitor of Georgia’s literary heritage. The exhibition is dedicated to the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the 850thanniversary of Rustaveli’s birth.

"Shakespeare became an integral part of Georgian culture and the local theater arts in in the 19th century after noted linguist Ivan Machabeli translated most of Shakespeare’s works into Georgian,” Giorgi Kalandia, Director of Art Palace said at the exhibition opening. He later added that the exhibition is the first to feature more than 300 works by historic and contemporary Georgian painters alongside the translated writings of Shakespeare. “The idea behind the 'Shakespeare meets Rustaveli' project is to showcase

the incredible contributions both writers have had on Georgia’s culture,” British Council Director Zaza Purtseladze said while announcing the winner of the competition. Georgia’s young artist Giorgi Sisauri was named the competition winner by Art Palace and received a 500 GEL award. Sisauri was chosen from 20 other participants who were taking part in the competition. The exhibition will continue at the Art Palace (Kargareteli Str. 6) until September 30.


GEORGIA TODAY

CULTURE

SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

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Georgia Celebrates European Heritage Days BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

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eorgia’s Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection will celebrate European Heritage Days on September 16-18 with the country’s main cities playing host

to a series of cultural activities. The festival will highlight local traditions, architectural styles and works of art, as well as workshops, exhibitions, seminars, classes and conferences focused on raising awareness of European values and cultural heritage. Launched in 1985 in France, the festival has been operated as a joint ini-

tiative of the European Union and the Council of Europe since 1999. The festival introduces visitors to a wide range of cultural assets through a number of themed free events. Exhibitions will be held in Tbilisi, near the ancient capital of Mtskheta, as well as Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Kvareli, Poti and Mirzaani for special exhibitions and events.

Meet the New Head of the British Council Teaching Center, Tbilisi FOR SALE: BMW – 321 model

Steven Shelly with Natia Khanishvili

Date of issue 1936

PRICE 10.000 USD

CONTACT PERSON 557 12 38 90

BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

my favourite things are rugby, hiking in the mountains and wine, and Georgia is the perfect place for all of them.

S

CAN YOU TELL US WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE TEACHING CENTER AT THE MOMENT?

ince 2012, the British Council Georgia’s teaching center in Tbilisi has provided English language courses for the Georgian public, with classes encompassing students of different ages starting from the very young to adult, while also focusing on providing professional training for English language teachers. Using student-centered methodology, the British Council recognizes that every individual has different styles and preferences, different experiences and learning skills. As such, they give their teachers the opportunity and freedom to experiment with innovative approaches in the classroom. We had a chance to meet with Stephen Shelley, newly appointed Teaching Center Manager at the British Council Tbilisi office to find out more about the Center.

HOW DID YOU END UP IN GEORGIA? I worked for the British Council for 10 years in Vietnam, Hong Kong and Portugal. When an opportunity came up to go to Georgia, I was really very happy because it was the very first place abroad that I’d wanted to come to 15 years ago as a teacher, but I didn’t get the chance back then. So it’s great to have the opportunity to come back in this role! I fell in love with Georgia as soon as I got here; it’s a really nice place, everybody’s welcoming and the food is great! Three of

get is constantly improving. We then regularly observe teachers to help them put all these ideas into practice! All of this helps ensure we maintain our position as the world experts in English teaching and learning.

It’s the start of the academic year when we enrol new students, always a busy and exciting time. We are trialing a new placement test that you can take online and afterwards come to speak to one of our teachers. They’ll tell you your level and how to improve your English. This year we’ve got some new teachers from Australia and England, as well as all our great Georgian ones. As for our courses, we offer lessons to kids aged 7 and up; we also run our usual courses for adults whether interested in General or Business English, and international exam preparation courses like IELTS, FCE and CAE. We strongly believe that the most important thing for our students learning English is that they speak with confidence, so our main focus with the courses is definitely speaking and fluency.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PARTICIPATION IN EUROPEAN DAY OF LANGUAGES

ARE YOU PLANNING ANY CHANGES THIS YEAR?

Art is a big part of what we do. To give you the most recent example, our art team with the Georgian Art Palace organized a competition for young professionals as part of the Shakespeare and Rustaveli Meet in Georgia project. The winner of the competition was Natia Khanishvili who received a free English Language development course at our Teaching Center from October.

There are always changes… new materials, new techniques, new ideas. That’s why we have so much training for teachers. We have training sessions twice a month, where we all come together and share our ideas about what we’ve read about or what we’ve seen online, to make sure that the experience the students

It started with an initiative from the EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) which is a collaboration between the British Council, Goethe Institute, French Institute and the Dante Alighieri Society. It’s a celebration of all the different languages spoken in Europe. This year, we’re sending some of our teachers along, so kids can go and get a free lesson with a British Council teacher. We’re planning demonstration lessons to show what our lessons are like and how they can help a student get more confident with the language. It is on 25th September.

BRITISH COUNCIL IS VERY INVOLVED IN CULTURAL PROMOTION


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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATRE Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 September 16 LULLABY Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL September 17 KRIMANCHULI Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL TBILISI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 200 44 66 September 18 PAGLIACCI Starring: Anzor Khidasheli, Irina Taboridze, Sulkhan Gvelesiani, Zaal Khelaia, Irakli Murjikneli Conductor: Zaza Azmaiparashvili Directed by Temur Chkheidze Set and Costume Designer: Giorgi Aleksi-Meskhishvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 - 40 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 September 16 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Free Entry September 17, 18 INTRO Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 15 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge

NERVE Directed by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman Cast: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade Genre: Adventure, Crime, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 15:00, 18:15 Ticket: 9-13 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL September 16-22 SULLY (Info Above) Start time: 13:30, 17:50, 20:30, 22:40 Ticket: 9-14 GEL NERVE (Info Above) Start time: 11:30, 13:50 Ticket: 8-10 GEL BRIDGET JONES’ BABY (Info Above) Start time: 15:30, 17:20, 20:05, 22:40 Ticket: 10-14 GEL SAUSAGE PARTY Directed by Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon Cast: Kristen Wiig, James Franco, Paul Rudd Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 11-14 GEL BEN-HUR Directed by Timur Bekmambetov Cast: Jack Huston, Nazanin Boniadi, Ayelet Zurer Genre: Adventure, Drama, History Language: Russian Start time: 22:35 Ticket: 13-14 GEL JASON BOURNE (Info Above) Start time: 12:15, 19:30 Ticket: 8-14 GEL MUSEUM

Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari September 16-22 BRIDGET JONES’ BABY Directed by Sharon Maguire Cast: Renée Zellweger, Patrick Dempsey, Colin Firth Genre: Comedy, Romance Language: English Start time: 17:30 Language: Russian Start time: 13:45, 12:30 Ticket: 8-14 GEL JASON BOURNE Directed by Paul Greengrass Cast: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander Genre: Action, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS Directed by Derek Cianfrance Cast: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz Genre: Drama, Romance Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL SULLY Directed by Clint Eastwood Cast: Tom Hanks, Anna Gunn, Laura Linney Genre: Drama Language: Russian Start time: 18:00, 20:00, 22:15 Ticket: 11-14 GEL

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO 4TH CENTURY A.D THE CAUCASUS NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM COLLECTION RENEWED EXHIBITION EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases a long history of money circulation on the territory of modern Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. June 11 – March 11 (2017) EXHIBITION "MEDIEVAL TREASURY" June 16 – December 16 THE EXHIBITION “NEW DISCOVERIES - GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY” The exhibition will be held in the frame of the international conference On Salt, Copper, and Gold: The Origins of Early Mining and Metallurgy in the Caucasus"

MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION Here, visitors can discover the State's personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Sovietera cultural and political repression in Georgia. The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors on which visitors can watch documentaries of various historical events. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 September 16 – October 8 Georgian National Museum Tbilisi History Museum in frames of the project "Contemporary Art Gallery" invites you to the exhibition FROM THE SHORES OF THE BLACK SEA The exhibition brings together artists from Georgia - Lia Bagrationi; Romania - Sebastian Moldovan; Turkey - Nezaket Ekici; Bulgaria - Mariana Vassileva; Russia - Iced Architects; Ukraine - Nikita Kadan. Together they bring installations created in different media, including video art and ceramic works. All of the artists share the same source of inspiration - the Black Sea. SHALVA AMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF ART Address: 1 Lado Gudiashvili St. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 www.museum.ge September 14 – October 1 GURAM TSERTSVADZE’S PERSONAL EXHIBITION GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze. June 24, 2016 – June 24, 2017 NIKO PIROSMANASHVILI’S WORKS “YARD CLEANER” AND “EAGLE SEIZING A HARE” Both paintings were in the ownership of Ilya and Kirill Zdanevich until 1930 when Dimitri Shevardnadze bought part of their collection (39 paintings) including the "Yard Cleaner" and "Eagle Seizing a Hare". Today, both paintings are among the collection of the Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts. September 6-28 THE SOLO EXHIBITION "DEEP CALLETH UNTO DEEP" BY GIA BUGADZE. The project "Deep Calleth unto Deep" is based on the 7th article of the 41st psalm and outlines the drama which lies in the confrontation between the internal and external worlds. TBILISI PHOTO FESTIVAL 2016 September 16 CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHY Start time: 19:00 Address: MOMA, 37 Sh. Rustaveli Ave.

POLISH PARADISE Greatest Polish DJ projection with contemporary Polish photography Start time: 21:30 Address: Fabrika, 8 E. Ninoshvili Str. September 17 OPENING OF TBILISI PHOTO BOOK Start time: 16:00 POLISH PARADISE PRESENTATION Start time: 17:00 Address: Fabrika, 8 E. Ninoshvili Str. OPEN AIR NIGHT SCREENINGS POLISH PARADISE, A NIGHT OF PHOTOGRAPHY Start time: 20:00 Address: Old Tbilisi September 18 TURKISH PHOTOGRAPHY: CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES AND FOTOISTANBUL FESTIVAL'S CONTRIBUTION Start time: 17:00 DERIVE BY YUSUF SEVINCLI, EXHIBITION OPENING Start time: 19:00 Address: Lolita, 7 T. Chovelidze Str. September 19 WOMEN IN PHOTOGRAPHY WITH NOOR AGENCY PHOTOGRAPHERS: ALIXANDRA FAZZINA, BENEDICT KURZEN, TANYA HABJOUQA Start time: 18:30 GIORGI NEBIERIDZE, EXHIBITION OPENING Start time: 20:00 Address: Fabrika, 8 E. Ninoshvili Str. September 20 ARAB DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGORPAHY PROGRAM BY TANYA HABJUCA (NOOR) Start time: 19:00 ANTOINE D’AGATA Start time: 21:00 Address: Fabrika, 8 E. Ninoshvili Str. September 21 THE HISTORY OF JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHY – AN APPROACH TO UNCONSCIOUSNESS Start time: 19:00 SPECIAL NIGHT BY NOOR WOMEN: ALIXANDRA FAZZINA, BENEDICTE KURZEN, TANYA HABJOUQA Start time: 21:30 Address: Fabrika, 8 E. Ninoshvili Str. September 22 YUSUF SEVINCLI Start time: 19:00 Address: Lolita, 7 T. Chovelidze Str. MUSIC

TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili Ave. Telephone: 299 00 99 September 16 ELENA VAENGA SOLO CONCERT Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 30-150 GEL September 18 JEMAL AND GIA BAGASHVILI'S ANNIVERSARY CONCERT Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 20 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 September 17, 20, 22 JAM SESSION AT MT

LEADERS: RESO KIKNAZE QUINTET AND PAPUNA SHARIKADZE Start time: 21:00 Free Entry September 21 TANGO EVENING “MILONGA, LA CUMPARSITA” ARGENTINE TANGO DANCE NIGHT Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 5 GEL BUDDHA-BAR Address: Rike Park September 17 PETER BENCE Start time: 21:00 Ticket: From 45 GEL HIPPODROME PARK Address: Near Lisi Lake September 16 WEEKEND EXPRESS WITH ÂME GIO SHENGELIA, NIKA J, TOMMA Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 20 GEL

KAKHIDZE MUSIC CENTER Address: 123/125 D. Agmashenebeli Ave. TEL 295 01 19 INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL “AUTUMN TBILISI” September 17 MOZART REQUIEM Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 12-20 GEL September 22 ENSEMBLE GEORGIKA Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 12-20 GEL BATUMI

BATUMI STATE MUSICAL CENTER Address: 1 O. Dimidtriadi Str. September 17 BATUMI MUSICFEST 2016 OPENING CHARITY GALA CONCERT TO SUPPORT YOUNG GEORGIAN TALENT Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 20 GEL September 18 "GEORGIAN VOICES" AT BATUMI MUSICFEST Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-50 GEL September 19 FAMOUS AMERICAN CONDUCTOR PHILIP MANN AND BATUMI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-50 GEL September 20 CYPRIEN KATSARIS AT BATUMI MUSICFEST Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-50 GEL September 21 MAYA IRGALINA AT BATUMI MUSICFEST Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 15-50 GEL September 22 ALEXI MACHAVARIANI'S MUSIC AT BATUMI MUSICFEST Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 15-50 GEL


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 16 - 19, 2016

15

Following the Incomparable Nneka from Nigeria BY MAKA LOMADZE

E

vent management company Funday Entertainment brought the sparkling Nigerian female artist Nneka to Tbilisi Philharmonic Concert Hall on September 12, adding to the list of musicians of various genres and ethnic backgrounds that Tbilisi has recently been able to enjoy. Nneka, a physically tiny and young woman but one offering a giant inner world, was distinguished from all those who had been on the stage before her by her depth, intellect and candor. Prior to the performance, Tevdore Makashvili, founder of Funday Entertainment, told GEORGIA TODAY: “Our company has worked in event management, artist management, and teambuilding for four years, cooperating with Georgian and international private and state structures. Nneka is very popular in Georgia and so the choice was simple. We choose artists based on a variety of factors but public demand plays the main role in our decisions who to invite. Nneka had received a number of invitations to come to Georgia, and we are pleased she chose Funday Entertainment- a decision made based on our experience and contacts.” The figures support Makashvili’s observations: Nneka’s live song “Walking” alone has around 5 million views and around 90% of the comments on it are written by Georgians. Named an “incomparable artist” by hip-hop legend Nas, Nneka Lucia Egbuna studied in Berlin, and from the age of 19 became an active singer and song-writer, regularly performing with such artists as Roots, Gnarls Barkley, Nas and Damian Marley. Nneka was acknowledged as the best African singer of 2009. In 2010, she recorded Viva Africa, dedicated to the World Cup. My Fairy Tales is her latest album, distinguished by a Retro Groove

style, as well as traditional authentic afro-groove elements. The Sunday Times called Nneka a young Lauren Hill and compared her debut album to Hill’s Miseducation of Lauren Hill. There is not even a hint of commercialism in Nneka’s voice, nor are there any fake elements in her manner or repertoire. Nneka sings, dances and communicates naturally. With the minimal visual effect and hardly any make-up, without any coquetting or costumes, she took her Tbilisi

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audience around the world. The endings of songs, through her unusual, unbelievable vibration of voice, gave the effect of electronic music. It is not easy to find so much metal and at the same time warmth such as Nneka’s voice gave. Nneka confided with Georgian journalists that her creative work is connected with love, kindness and God. Without doubt, her positive loving rhythm will stay in the mind of Georgians for a long time, at the very least until Nneka’s next promised visit.

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Tim Ogden, Joseph Larsen, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Nino Gugunishvili, Thea Morrison, Natia Liparteliani

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Issue #879