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Issue no: 1195


In this week’s issue...


WB Executive Director: Georgia's Education Reform Efforts are Important


Georgia is in an "alarming" situation according to the 2019 Global Hunger Index



Young Georgians Celebrate Int'l Day for Disaster Risk Reduction in Tbilisi Zoo



USAID to Announce New Partnership to Support Electoral & Political Processes POLITICS PAGE 4

They Love Impeachments in America, Don’t They? POLITICS PAGE 6

UK/Georgia 2019 Hosts First Creative & Cultural Industries Youth Forum in Georgia BUSINESS PAGE 8

Image source: civileats.com

Leader of Labor Party of Israeli Parliament Reads a Public Lecture at the G.Robakidze University

How to Ensure Sustainable Poverty Reduction in the South Caucasus?


hile on a trip to Georgia, Amir Peretz, the Chairperson of Israel’s Labor Party, commonly known as HaAvoda, visited Israeli House, a functioning organization in Tbilisi to discover what it is working on. Itsik Moshe, the Head of Israeli House, noted that the organization aims to encourage the development of relations between the states of Israel and Georgia and present Israel in its friend country - Hasbara. The organization was founded six years ago and has since cooperated with friendship groups of the Israeli and Georgian parliaments, improving and strengthening the friendship between the two states. Amir Peretz evaluated that the concept of Israeli House in Georgia answers well to Israel’s interests in forming and improving friendly connections with other countries. He stated that objective information must be spread about the State of Israel, which is something Israeli House “has managed very successfully.” Peretz further noted that he is learning in-depth about Georgia and plans to actively involve himself in improving connections between the two countries. Peretz was accompanied by Yehiel "Hilik" Bar, a member of the Labor Party of Israel, and the for-


Vivace Association to Hold Charity Concert in Favor of Talented Georgian Musicians CULTURE PAGE 13 mer Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, currently the head of the Georgia-Israel Friendship Group. The Israeli guests visited the Grigol Robakidze University in Tbilisi, where, with the support and on the initiative of Israeli House, a special course is run dedicated to Israel and Holocaust

History. The course is taught by Professor Nona Chanturia. Israeli State officials, Mr. Peretz and Bar gave a two-hour public lecture to the students of the university. Continued on page 7

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OCTOBER 18 - 21, 2019

WB Executive Director: Georgia's Education Reform Efforts are Important BY ANA DUMBADZE


inance Minister of Georgia Ivane Matchavariani met with Koen Davidse, World Bank Executive Director, within the framework of annual meetings with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The sides positively evaluated Georgia’s progress in carrying out reforms

and expressed hope that cooperation between the World Bank and the Government of Georgia would be further enhanced. Davidse welcomed Georgia’s efforts to make doing business easier and expressed support to the development of infrastructure and the private sector. The WB Executive Director noted that Georgia’s economy is developing well. “We had a very interesting meeting with the Minister of Finance. We talked

about Georgia's economy, which is developing very well. The country's efforts to make doing business easier have also been positively reflected in the World Bank's "Ease of Doing Business" and today your country is sixth in the rankings. We also discussed the possibility of future cooperation in terms of infrastructure development and the promotion of the private sector. What is important to us is the great effort Georgia is making towards education reform. We see good prospects

and are ready for support," Davids said. The World Bank is an active supporter of the ongoing reforms in Georgia. It

has invested about $4.3 billion in the implementation of more than 100 projects in the country.

Georgia Ranks 39th in Global Hunger Index 2019

Image source: Kviris Palitra



eorgia ranks 39th in the Global Hunger Index 2019. The report covers 117 countries, among which there are no high-income coun-

tries. This is the fourteenth annual publication of the Global Hunger Index (GHI), a report jointly published by Concern

Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe. The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst. The GHI scores are based on a formula that captures three dimensions of hunger, insufficient caloric intake, child undernutrition, and child mortality, using four component indicators: 1. Undernourishment: the share of the population that is undernourished, reflecting insufficient caloric intake; 2. Child wasting: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight-for-height), reflecting acute undernutrition; 3. Child stunting: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height-for-age), reflecting chronic undernutrition; 4. Child mortality: the mortality rate of children under the age of five. Values less than 10.0 reflect low hunger; values from 10.0 to 19.9 reflect moderate hunger; values from 20.0 to 34.9 indicate serious hunger; values from 35.0 to 49.9 are alarming; and values of 50.0 or more are extremely alarming. The survey shows that Georgia has a worse score than other countries in the

region: Turkey ranks 15th, Russia 22nd, Azerbaijan 29th, and Armenia 30th. The report reads that Georgia's hunger index has improved in 2019 compared to 2005, but the latest figure is worse than in 2010. Georgia had the best ranking compared to its neighbor states in 2000, scoring 14.5 in the ‘Moderate’ hunger category, and the lowest score in 2010, 8.4. It is now worst in the region for the prevalence of child stunting: the report said 10.5% of children under five ‘have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition’. According to the Index, the biggest deterioration was in child wasting, the share of children under five ‘who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition’. The share of wasted children jumped from 1.6% in 2010 to 4.3% in 2019. GHI measures and tracks hunger at global, regional, and national levels. GHI scores are calculated each year to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger. The GHI is designed to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger, provide a way to compare levels of hunger between countries and regions, and to call atten-

tion to those areas of the world where hunger levels are highest and where the need for additional efforts to eliminate hunger is greatest. The 2019 report shows that 43 countries out of 117 have levels of hunger that remain serious. Four countries, Chad, Madagascar, Yemen, and Zambia, suffer from hunger levels that are alarming and one country, the Central African Republic, suffers from a level that is extremely alarming. Concern Worldwide reports that climate change is affecting the global food system in ways that increase the threats to those currently already suffer from hunger and undernutrition. “There is a strong correlation between GHI scores and levels of vulnerability/ readiness to climate change. Countries with high GHI scores are often also highly vulnerable to climate change but have the least capacity to adapt; several countries with low GHI scores are the least vulnerable and most ready,” it stressed. The organization added that climate change affects the quality and safety of food. It can lead to production of toxins on crops and worsen the nutritional value of cultivated food, reducing, for

example, the concentrations of protein, zinc, and iron in crops. “As a result, by 2050 an estimated additional 175 million people could be deficient in zinc and an additional 122 million people could experience protein deficiencies,” it underlined. In the rating, the countries which have less than 5 points are 17 and were ranked together: 1. Belarus 2. Bosnia & Herzegovina 3. Bulgaria 4. Chile 5. Costa Rica 6. Croatia 7. Cuba 8. Estonia 9. Kuwait 10. Latvia 11. Lithuania 12. Montenegro 13. Romania 14. Slovak Republic 15. Turkey 16. Ukraine 17. Uruguay The countries which have the worst indicators are Chad, Yemen and Central African Republic.




Young Georgians Celebrate Int'l Day for Disaster Risk Reduction in Tbilisi Zoo


n October 15, Tbilisi Zoo turned into an educational playground, showcasing the benefits of a climateproof urban development that protects people and infrastructure from catastrophic disasters. Interactive and engaging activities brought together over 50 schoolchildren and representatives of Georgia’s government, city authorities, educational institutions, civil society and international organizations. The educational day in the Zoo was organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as part of a project on reducing the risk of disasters, working in partnership with the Tbilisi Zoo, the Environmental Information and Education Centre at the Ministry of

Environmental Protection and Agriculture and the Emergency Management Service at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The event marked the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2019 celebrated worldwide on 13 October. It sent a reminder of the devastating flood that hit Georgia’s capital city in June 2015, killing 23 people, destroying the Zoo and leaving 300 animals dead, and causing US$24.3 million in direct physical damage. Spurred to action by the consequences of this disaster, the Government of Georgia began a quest for solutions to protect people and property from the impact of climate change. In 2019, with support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Government of Switzerland, the UNDP began implementing a $70 mil-

lion program that covers all 11 of the country’s major river basins and aims to provide direct protection to 1.7 million people, almost half of Georgia’s population. “Georgia is replacing the reactive approach to climate-induced disasters

to one fully grounded in adaptation and prevention,” UNDP Head Louisa Vinton said. “Climate education is an essential element of this proactive vision. It equips people with the knowledge and tools necessary to understand and address the impact of global warming.”

The Disaster Risk Reduction Day in the Tbilisi Zoo included quizzes and educational games designed to help young Georgians explore climate change and understand how this global challenge affects their country and the planet. Winners of the interactive contests received their awards from UNDP Head Louisa Vinton, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Nino Tandilashvili, Tbilisi Zoo Director Zurab Gurielidze and Deputy Head of the Environmental Information and Education Centre Mariam Matiashvili. At the end of the day, all participants visited Beglar the hippopotamus, a symbol of survival from the Tbilisi flood, who enjoys his new home in the reconstructed Zoo.

Elene Suramelashvili, We See One Sun: “Our Differences are not a Problem” BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE


ne light, one sun, one sun lighting everyone, is a song you may know from Raffi’s 1985 album. No doubt you will understand the truth of the lyrics. So do the organizers of the charity exhibition ‘We See One Sun: no matter our differences and mental or physical disabilities, we all see one Sun.’ On October 12, nine high school seniors

united over the idea that “there is one Sun lighting everyone,” welcoming society at the Hotel Moxy at a charity exhibition-auction of artworks by patients of the Evidence-Based Practice Center. Read on to find out about the event from one of the organizers herself, Elene Suramelashvili.

TELL US ABOUT THE EVENT AND THE IDEA BEHIND IT. The idea for this charity event came to me in the summer when I interned at the Evidence-Based Practice Center as

I am going to get my degree in Psychology. I saw the artworks of patients at the Center and I was immediately amazed by them. I shared my emotions with a circle of friends. They found the pictures just as stunning. So then we thought why not let a wider audience know about the gifts of the Practice Center patients? That is how we came up with the idea of a charity auction. Our charity event aimed to break the stereotypes that played the role of a barrier between people and mentally-ill members of society. We aimed to show the

emotions and feelings of these individuals to the public. We all know that art reflects a person’s inner world the best.

HOW DID THE IDEA TURN INTO A PROJECT? It all began by asking the talented patients permission to exhibit and then sell their artworks at auction. The extremely professional group of doctors helped us greatly; communicating with the patients, forming and enlightening us with the rules so that the patients could stay anonymous.

Our biggest challenge was finding a perfect place for our event. Networking helps you overcome everything – our friend helped us find and get in touch with hotel Moxy. As soon as that was taken care of, we only had small obstacles in front of us like spreading the information about the upcoming event. Our parents and friends, once again, played a big role there. We would like to thank the teams of GMT, Marriot, and Moxy as if it weren’t for their support, our event simply wouldn’t have passed the “idea stage”. Continued on page 10




OCTOBER 18 - 21, 2019

The Elite Supper integration and, of course, turbulent relations with the Russian Federation.




n September 9-10, the Washington-based the McCain Institute (MCI) and the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) held the 5th Annual Tbilisi International Conference titled “Now What?”. It would have been another international happening in the capital city of Georgia, where local and international experts exchange “wishes,” if it had not erupted in scandal when a member of the oppositional party, Alliance of Patriots Ms. Irma Inashvili, currently deputy chairperson of the Georgian parliament, expressed her dissatisfaction at the fact that organizers invited representatives of all parliamentary parties as speakers except her. She further criticized the event for lacking real debates, a diversity of voices and called it a “platform for members of the former criminal regime,” the United National Movement and European Georgia, to restore their damaged political prestige with the help of friendly-oriented American political groups represented by former US officials David Kramer, Senior Director for Human Rights and Human Freedoms at MCI, Matthew Bryza, board member of the Jamestown Foundation, and Michael Carpenter, the Atlantic Council’s Senior Fellow. Undoubtedly, Ms. Inashvili’s aggressive rhetoric and provocative behavior is not the way political protest should be expressed but there are some strong arguments in favor of her statements. Unfortunately, such international happenings actually have transformed into “closed group” meetings or, as we can argue, an elite supper – where “friends” and “allies” discuss local and international developments without being interrupted by external actors; moreover, the same people debate the same issues with the same outcomes all over again not offering new ideas or critical thinking at all.

NOW WHAT? NOTHING… The 5th Annual Tbilisi International Conference that took place in Tbilisi is not the only platform designed to promote discussions and, generally, raise sensitive issues among various officials, scholars and experts. There is also the well-known South Caucasus Security Forum that takes a look at security challenges in the Black Sea region. But in both and other cases, the main obstacle is not to bring respective people to panels but rather to provoke really fruitful debates. It cannot be done through highly politically correct statements and speeches, where NATO-EU integration is considered as inevitable and representatives of Russia are not invited at all; furthermore, basic aspects of international relations abandoned and panelists arguing that the Kremlin has noth-

ing to do with the Black Sea region or global politics, that members of the Alliance do not grant Tbilisi the so-called MAP because of a lack of democracy and not threats from Moscow. Such detachment from real global politics makes these events, on the one hand useful in the sense of re-iteration of support from Georgia’s strategic partners but, on the other hand, absolutely useless from the standpoint of establishing the country as a serious well-respected regional discussion platform rather than a concentration of bravado speeches. There is also one issue that does not let these conferences evolve: the extremely small group of states and professionals invited. Unfortunately, organizers rarely take the care to consider participants and panelists; decisions are made basing on “politically correct” and “fit to mainstream” approaches to avoid verbal confrontations and “unnecessary” statements. Thus, while discussing the Black Sea region, you may find that there are no representatives from such important countries as the Russian Federation or, in the South Caucasus case, not enough accent being made on Armenian, Turkish and Azerbaijanian scholars/experts; instead, we have professionals from European countries and the United States of America who sometimes have nothing to do with the region at all but merely have the right “message box” and, of course, can criticize Moscow without being challenged. At the end of the day, you have a small number of scholars/experts who attend these events on a regular basis with the same rhetoric, the same narratives and mainly matching standpoints to global affairs – the elite supper – where critical thinking and opposite views are not presented or even welcomed.

KRAMER VS. INASHVILI Of course, we cannot avoid the direct verbal confrontation between David Kramer and Irma Inashvili. As said, Ms. Inashvili’s aggressive and provocative behavior is not something that should be accepted by Georgian society, but Mr. Kramer’s response was even more damaging. He not only rudely confronted her, calling her to leave the event, but also in the same manner behaved with Georgian journalists; furthermore, after leaving the country he wrote an extensive op-ed article for the Washington Post arguing that “fiends” of Georgia were and are now being attacked. For representatives of the so-called liberal elites and their followers, these steps were considered as respective, but factually Mr. Kramer made a few very important mistakes. Firstly, he gave himself the right to lose nerve and engage in a verbal battle with Ms. Inashvili, who is currently deputy chairperson of the Georgian parliament; by doing so, he showed disrespect to woman (very important for local society) and to a democratically elected Georgian parliament member. Mr. Kramer is an experienced diplomat and former high official who perfectly knows the socalled diplomatic protocol, which he undoubtedly broke. Secondly, Mr. Kramer showed the same level of disrespect to representatives of media that would not have been tolerated neither in the US nor in any more or less “civilized” country. And, finally, instead of trying to settle the misdeed, he wrote an aggressive article attempting to justify himself, knowing that the opposite side would not be able to counter his arguments. Regular Georgian citizens thus wit-

nessed the former American high official, “friend”, showing disrespect to woman, to a democratically elected parliament member and finally blaming modern Georgia for attacking allies; probably not the best way to represent your country and friendship.

GEORGIAN POLITICS EXPLAINED Nowadays, Georgian political, economic, social and military dimensions are in deep crisis, significantly caused not by the willingness or unwillingness of any particular government to act but, most importantly, due to a lack of new critical approaches and standpoints, generally, the non-existence of various critical schools of thoughts that can engage in debate and produce innovations. Georgian elites are stuck in old school views of the world, unable to overstep these concepts, with every single political actor offering the same political, socio-economic and military models of development with some extremely minor differences; those who do not fit into the mainstream and argue for opposite ideas (such as military neutrality, left-wing ideas) are by default considered retrograde elements, enemies and pro-Russian forces, despite the availability of evidence to the contrary. This critical situation is worsened by political crises of the West and Western institutions and the damage being done to the West-led post-Cold War global political order. As a result, Georgian elites fight each other using populism, labeling, insults, baseless allegations and various “friendly-oriented” groups from abroad to gain more votes and legitimize actions, while failing to offer anything innovative or realistic. Among such “old stories” are the NATO-EU

There is no mainstream political power in the country that does not reflect NATO integration and EU membership as key goals and merits of governance success. During the post-Rose Revolution regime of Mikheil Saakashvili and his political team United National Movement, every single reform served to these grand aspirations. Initially, integration to these Western institutions had particular political, geopoliticalandeconomicpurposesbutquickly transformed into an end in itself, an obsession of the Georgian elites that does not consider the changing political environment at all. Hence, these elites are pressed between harsh reality and created narratives, “wishful thinking”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s message to Georgian society was pretty clear and direct when during her South Caucasus tour in 2018, she argued that there are no pre-requisites for NATO enlargement in the region. But unable and unwilling to face this harsh reality, Georgian mainstream elites are still using the “possibility” of integration in various set ups (the latest, without Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region under Article 5) as responses to continuously changing regional and global political environment. In this context, international events are frequently used by the groups to re-assure and calm Georgian society that the country will become a NATO member “very soon”. Such a scenario was used in 2018 when the same McCain Institute held a conference where retired US generals and other officials tried to overshadow the Chancellor’s messages with their own bold rhetoric and assurances. By and large, Ms. Inashvili’s intervention at the 5th Annual Tbilisi International Conference proved that the Georgian political culture is still in need of further development. On the other hand, it raised the issue of international conferences becoming a concentration of useless verbal bravado instead of being platforms for real debates on topics of global politics; furthermore, these events are enslaved by wrongful approaches when only politically correct and mainstream professionals are invited to avoid “unnecessary” debates and statements. The recent conference was also extremely harmful for the McCain Institute and, personally, for former American high official Mr. David Kramer, who broke diplomatic protocol and brought more harm than good to the Georgian-American friendship. Lastly, Georgia has no alternatives except to further push for NATO-EU membership but both local and international experts, scholars and officials must be sincere while discussing the challenges. Unfortunately, neither the government nor the political opposition have anything to offer Georgian society except elusive dreams of NATO and European Union.

USAID to Announce New Partnership to Support Electoral & Political Processes


n October 18, in the Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace, at an event titled ‘Countdown to 2020: Empowered Citizens for Responsive Politics,’ USAID publicly announced its new, four-year, $14 million Elections and Political Processes program. In partnership with nine international and Georgian civil society organizations (CSOs), the new program will support more responsive and citizen-centered political processes. It will be the US Government’s primary electoral assistance initiative for Georgia’s 2020 and 2021 electoral cycles and beyond.

The new program will be implemented by nine partner CSOs. These include three international organizations: the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES); the International Republican Institute (IRI); and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), as well as six Georgian CSOs: the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP); the Eastern European Center for Multiparty Democracy (EECMD); the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA); the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED); the Public Movement Multi-National Georgia (PMMG); and Transparency International Georgia (TI). The organizations will carry out various

activities to support greater civic engagement and strengthened oversight over political institutions. USAID as well as representatives of each partner organization will participate in the program launch. The event will include remarks from US and Georgian government officials as well as two panel discussions devoted to electoral assistance under Georgia’s new proportional system and the role of watchdog organizations in Georgia’s electoral and political processes. About USAID in Georgia: As the leading development agency of the U.S. government, USAID supports Georgia to build the capac-

ity to finance, plan, and implement its own solutions to development challenges. USAID has worked in Georgia since 1992, supporting the country’s transformation into a developing democracy that is increasingly integrated into Western political, security, and economic

institutions. More than 30 USAID programs stimulate inclusive economic growth, develop democratic governance, enhance energy security, and foster social inclusion. For more information, please visit: https:// www.usaid.gov/georgia




OCTOBER 18 - 21, 2019

They Love Impeachments in America, Don’t They? OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


everal funny new terms have broken into the American political lingo, coined by journalists and politicians, among them: Russiagate, Monica Zelenski, OBushinton, etc. The first two are more or less comprehensible, but the third one probably needs interpretation to make some sense out of it. The facetious word is a combination of the famous names of Obama, Bush and Clinton – all of them part of Washington, the metonym of the American administration. All the new appellations were born in the boisterous presidential term of Donald Trump, who is now in GOP’s good favor, within the ranks of which he had quite a number of opponents not very long ago. Concerning the American electorate, almost half of them are said to be on his side. Those who remember Reagan’s deeply conservative America, when public elation was in its zenith, and the famous Reaganomics, were not devoid of appreciating the success too, but there came a slump with liberal aberration following his presidency. This is the legacy of democrats, assisted by hesitating republicans, who Donald Trump has bumped into with excruciating force, but now, as the President is gathering momentum for counterassault, he is preparing to get rid of the OBushinton populace in the American political arena. The world knows well that Trump is simply allergic to anything that could reasonably be called fake, be it the news industry, faith in his presidency, or personal relations. Who am I to judge the intricacies of the American political reality, its past, present or future? But this is what the American press is saying. The Ukrainian hullabaloo has also proven false and the President has already made

Image source: theintercept.com

several public appearances on the stillhot issue. Democrats do not want to believe that their impeachment overture has suffered, which was inevitably doomed from the very inception if the prediction of conservative political analysts means anything at all. It is amazing that democrats want so much to have America’s chief executive downtrodden and crushed. I wonder if they truly love America. Wellknown American journalist, publishing executive, commentator and author Robert Merry recently observed that a central reality of American politics is that when the president is weakened at home, America is weakened abroad. Would democrats be happy if the United States

Trump Sends Open Letter to Erdogan BY BEKA ALEXISHVILI


he White House has released the letter US President Donald Trump sent to Turkish President Erdogan, which talks about the recent developments in north-eastern Syria. “Let’s work out a good deal! You don't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people. and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy and I will,” writes Trump. The authenticity of the letter has been confirmed by the White House, and has received serious criticism from Washington politicians. “I have worked hard to solve some of your problems. Don't let the world down. You can make a great deal. General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you. and he is willing to make conces-

sions that they would never have made in the past. I am confidentially enclosing a copy of his letter to me.” Trump says, referring to Mazloum Abdi, the former General of the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) and currently leading the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces). It is believed that there are about 70,000 soldiers under his command. “History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don't be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” Trump concludes in his letter. The letter is deemed to be so intimidating and unrealistic that the Turkish President's administration had to check with the White House staff if it was legitimate. In response, Erdogan's presidential press agency said: "President Erdogan received the letter, thoroughly rejected it and put it in the bin," they told the BBC.

lost its strongest points while negotiating certain important deals with various nations, especially with Russia and China? It is axiomatic that the weakened American position is directly conducive to lowering the standard of living of the entire American people. I hate to mention the dark times of Watergate, but it has happened in actual fact and America is not guaranteed that it will not happen again. Unless my memory fails me, it was the time of almost triumphant negotiations between the States and USSR and the well-remembered rapprochement between America and China. What happened is that those most welcome deals failed; the contest-

ing oil suppliers were given a chance to better compete; abandoning Vietnam war-fields with the stigma of shame ensued; the habitual American pride was subdued and almost killed. President Nixon avoided impeachment because he resigned under the pressure of his own comrades-in-arms, but was America a winner in the long run? The question is mere rhetoric and not for me to answer of course. Instead, I have a quote from the American press: “Not until the 1980s did America begin to regain the prestige and luster, the confidence and pride that it had once enjoyed.” And right in the middle of that luster, there came the case of another impeach-

ment, the culprit at the moment of shame being Bill Clinton. Incidentally, the Clintons make a curious political phenomenon which needs our special attention, but only after the Trumpian thunderstorm is dealt with and the skies are a little clearer for telling casual stories. Meanwhile, the Democrats are still hopeful and determined to finally get to Trump, but when all the variables are put together for further reasoning, the chances of another court case against the President of the United States of America look very slim. So much better for the Land, the main law of which is still functional enough to let the American people know who is wrong and who is right.

Head of EU Monitoring Mission Briefs Brussels on Georgia BY BEKA ALEXISHVILI


ead of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) to Georgia, Erik Hoeg, has briefed the Political and Security Committee (PSC) envoys from EU member states in Brussels, on the latest developments at the occupation line with Georgia’s presently Russian-occupied Tskhinvali (so-called South Ossetia) region. The EUMM is the only international mission in Georgia that is capable of monitoring the situation at the occupation lines with Georgia’s two occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. Yet, they are still not allowed by the Russian and de-facto authorities to enter the separatist regions. “Good exchange in Brussels today with PSC Ambassadors about recent developments at the South Ossetian ABL and role of #EUMM in stabilizing the situation on the ground. Appreciate strong support expressed by EU member states for activities of Mission.” – Hoeg wrote on Twitter. The situation escalated at the disputed zone near the end of August, when Russian-occupied Tskhinvali complained

about the opening of a conventional police station in the village of Chorchana, Khashuri municipality, under Tbilisi administered territory. The de-facto region is citing ‘security threats to locals’ as an argument for the objection. After Tbilisi denied moving the Police Station, the occupying forces constructed two new “police posts” on Tbilisi-governed territory, near the village of Tsnelisi, Kareli municipality (neighboring village Chorchana) and closed the so-called

border crossing point with Akhalgori district. Two crossing points at the Tskhinvali Administrative Boundary Line (ABL), Odzisi and Sinaguri, have been closed since September 4, creating severe humanitarian conditions on the ground. The Political and Security Committee (PSC) is responsible for the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSFP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).




Bryza: NATO Member States Don’t Support Rasmussen’s Idea Yet, But I Hope They Will tragically predictable. To me, it’s a maddening response within EU foreign policy: anytime there’s a conflict, an armed conflict in particular, they call for dialogue, and by calling for dialogue what they are doing is saying that nobody is guilty, each side shares some blame and in the case of Georgia in 2008, the blame is on one side: Russia provoked it, Russia launched the attack. I’ll believe it till the day I die and Georgia unfortunately responded in a way that ended up being detrimental to its interests.



n the aftermath of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Autumn Session in London, which saw, among the six resolutions adopted, one that appealed for Alliance leaders to, yet again, reassure Georgia of their ongoing commitment to the Open Door Policy towards Georgia, the Georgian Institute for Security Policy spoke to Former US diplomat Matthew Bryza in another edition of its "Talking NATO for Georgia" interview series.


BASED ON YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE GEORGIA CONFLICT SITUATION, WHAT ROOM WOULD YOU SAY THERE IS TO MANEUVER GEOPOLITICALLY? I think there’s little that can be done to force the issue. I mean, Russia is the military occupier of South Ossetia and Abkhazia; we know that Abkhazians are generally not so comfortable with Russia lording it over them. The residents of the Tskhinvali region are somewhat more pliable and perhaps over time there can be a political dynamic in Abkhazia that would pressure the Russian occupation, but I don’t see any signs of Russians relieving their pressure and the same in Tskhinvali: Russians are there to stay. EU member states are not willing to push the issue with the Russians, so over the longer term I think that Rasmussen’s idea is a great one to change the situation: it does not get the separated regions back into Georgia but it does give Georgia the security that it needs and integration into the Alliance. It’s imaginative but not unprecedented. In Cyprus, very similar things have happened, with the EU accepting the entire island of Cyprus, but suspending the EU body of law in the north. Legally all the island is part of the EU, and we’re talking about the same thing for Abkhazia and South Ossetia; technically and legally, we can consider all regions becoming part of NATO, but Article 5 would be suspended in those territories. There’s clearly a precedent for it.


Image source: Turkhan Kerimov (RFE/EL)

DO YOU SEE THIS AS A POTENTIAL RISK? No. Certainly, there will be some European politicians who will keep pressure on Georgia in the future to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries because they have either a special relationship with Russia or they don’t appreciate history and simply want to be quiet rather than see justice done in Georgia. Yet, I think Georgia’s destiny is much more in its own hands than your question suggests. What happened with Germany is different because Germany was essentially responsible for two world wars and a holocaust. Plus, Soviets at that time had so much influence and it was a unique situation. As a counter example, I would, once again, look at Cyprus. There’s no way in the world Turkey and Turkish Cypriots are going to recognize the Greek Cypriot State in the absence of a comprehensive solution in which the Turkish Cypriots' political rights are fully protected; so, there’s no reason why Georgia would ever have to give in.


BE EXPLAINED? When I was official, I was limited in how far I could deviate from established policy in my public statements. This is something that cannot be done by NATO official unless the member states decide this is a policy, and that has not happened yet. They have to be very careful to avoid treading on the toes of member states, especially the USA. But if President Trump starts talking about this proposal, or Angela Merkel or President Macron, then you’ll see the Secretary General and others echoing it much more openly. Member states of NATO have to make this decision first; the NATO staff don’t drive policy, they follow the member states; the member states are not supporting that idea yet, but I hope they will.


MAP, but was blocked by Chancellor Merkel, so, the same thing could happen again. Germans have always been the most reluctant among the major NATO allies to confront Russia and it’s understandable given Germany’s dramatic history. When he was foreign minister, current German President Steinmaier was very reluctant to pursue any policy that would look like confrontation with Russia. In spring of 2008, we developed a plan in Washington to give Georgia a way out of the trap that President Putin was trying to set. The trap was to leave Saakashvili with no good choices: between acquiescing to Russia taking control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia or going to war with Russia. We decided we needed to come up with another plan and we designed a whole set of measures that included having EU police at Kodori Valley, a whole series of things. But in the end, the Germans, who were chairing the “friends of Georgia” group, took out any provision that might be objected to by Russia, leaving all but nothing.

You have to convince major member states, first of all the US, that this makes sense. Georgia should quietly discuss this idea behind closed doors, first and foremost with Washington, and then gauge whether the US will be willing to lead the charge. At the 2008 Bucharest Summit, I know from my own conversations that President Bush pushed very hard for Georgia to receive

I find it incredibly ironic and almost

took and answered questions from the audience. In the next few days, Tbilisi will host a group of twenty guests, consisting of social activists, media repre-

sentatives and public figures who influence the views of Israeli society, from Israel. Within the frames of the ‘taking care of Georgia’s public image’ campaign,

I don’t think Russia would use force, quite the opposite: if it’s clear that Georgia is inevitably, unstoppably becoming part of NATO, Russia would do nothing and that’s exactly why the Bucharest Summit was such a terrible event because instead of saying Georgia gets MAP, it’s going to be a member of NATO, we opted for ambiguity, and that was a red flag to President Putin: Act now, or will be too late. And he did. But once it is clear that Georgia can be a member of NATO, I think Russia will cease to be a military threat.

MANY HAILED THE RECENT MEETING BETWEEN THE FOREIGN MINISTERS OF RUSSIA AND GEORGIA AS A VERY POSITIVE STEP. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE? It’s a normal state of affairs that the foreign ministers of Russia and Georgia talk to each other; Russia is a neighbor to Georgia, Russia has a very large economic market, in general life is better for Georgians if they get along economically with Russia. But that meeting in no way brings any sort of breakthrough in the political or security relationships between the two countries as long as Russia occupies so much Georgian territory. It’s impossible to envisage a normal relationship between the two countries.


Leader of Labor Party of Israeli Parliament Reads a Public Lecture at the G.Robakidze University Continued from page 1 The former Minister of Defense of Israel noted during the lecture that democratic institutes are as important to Israel as strong self-defense. He remembered his personal story, stating that he was born in Morocco where the holocaust would never touch him or his family; they were well-off but despite their “good” life, his parents decided to leave everything behind and go back to their motherland of Israel. When they returned, they found a desert in the place of Israel. At first, they lived in camps but through hard work and love for their country, they developed Israel and it is now one of the leading coun-

tries in the world. “Our country is an example of how you can start from zero and reach great success,” stated Amir Peretz. Hilik Bar talked about the importance of peace for Israel. He stated that despite the various views of different political parties on how peace can be reached, Israeli society stands firm on one, united ground: peace can be reached and the region needs it as much as Israel. Moshe in turn talked shortly about the relations between the States of Georgia and Israel, noting that the new generation has an important mission tobring the two countries’ connections to an even higher level. As the lecture came to a close, guests

Israeli House will give the group detailed information on the potential of Georgia, and they will discover the work and activities of Public Service Hall.




OCTOBER 18 - 21, 2019

The Georgian Elite & the New State

Image source: wikipedia



ny single powerful leader Georgia has, throughout the country’s almost 30 years of independence since the break-up of the Soviet Union, has always been seen as the ultimate decision maker. Perhaps it is one of the features of Georgian political thought that a leader wields all the influence over the economic and political life of the state. True, a single powerful leader is an important factor, but also needing to be considered are the various groups which constitute the government and various elite which uphold those politicians and technocrats from behind. Is there a Georgian elite? Are these the groups which ultimately influence all

the political, economic and cultural life in the country? And more specifically: what is an elite? Classically, an elite is a group of people very successful in their respective fields. They are bound by a certain set of ideals, mutual interests, etc. What is more important, though, is how divided or united those various elite are. Divided, unified by one ideology, or coordinated, are three categories of elite configuration. The Georgian elite, which there certainly are, represent an extremely divided front. Political, cultural as well as military circles have not yet agreed on most basic ideas which would constitute Georgia's state interests in foreign affairs as well as internal development strategies. Indeed, coordination between the elite groups is so necessary that without it, it will be extremely difficult to withstand foreign pressure. Indeed Russia's success at limiting Georgia's ability to

build much more successful state institutions could be blamed on deep divisions among the elite. Divisions between the Georgian elite, however, do not mean that the slow process of unification around a certain set of ideas (national sovereignty, anti-Russian, the need for reforms, etc.) is not taking place. On the contrary, various developments are being seen which indicate that since the end of the Soviet regime, there have been some positive changes where the Georgian elite are increasingly associated with a certain set of ideas. Still, the process is slow, which limits the speedy development of Georgia's economy, education system, etc. Moreover, it is still unclear what the criteria is for inclusion into the Georgian elite. There is no code of behavior or required achievement (as in the West) which would usher a new individual into the elite. Membership is based more on per-

sonal relations between various powerful individuals. However, slowly but steadily meritorious tendencies are taking the upper hand where individual talents are a primary factor in becoming an 'elitist' - the process Western democracies fought for centuries to achieve. There is also an interesting development which will be seen in Georgia from late 2020 to early 2030: the change of the elites' age. In the 1990s, political and economic decision makers were mostly born in the 1950s or before. The Soviet upbringing still made a difference. There was a clear tendency towards one-party (man) rule. A radical shift among the ruling elite was seen in the post-2003 period when a much younger political class was established, mostly born in the 1970s and even 1980s. This change was primarily reflected in the quest for internal reform. However, there has still been a tendency where a certain political

group sought to acquire ultimate influence over every aspect of economic, political and cultural life. What we are likely to see in Georgia in the coming decade is the appearance of major political and economic decision makers born in the late 1980s-early 1990s. This will have a major impact on how the country will be run. It is likely that more attention will be paid to establishing a more effective administration, improving the level of education, economy, and the military. The new Georgian elite, predominantly born in a post-Soviet country, will also be more amenable to public demands. Sure, this progress will not be reached overnight, perhaps only in the late 2030s will there be a distinct break with the past elite groups and their modes of governance, the 2030s- when an entirely new generation will be in place to rule the country.


UK/Georgia 2019 Hosts First Creative & Cultural Industries Youth Forum in Georgia


s part of the UK/Georgia 2019 season, on 15 and 16 October, the Creative and Cultural Industries Youth Forum for Economic Development, Social Inclusion and Creating New Pathways for Young People was held at Rooms Hotel, Tbilisi. The Creative and Cultural Industries Youth Forum was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia, in partnership with Creative Georgia and the Georgia, Europe Program. The Forum aimed to create common understanding of the notion of the Creative and Cultural Industries (CCIs) and of the role of culture and creativity in economic and social development, capacity building and employability for young creative entrepreneurs. The objectives included sharing the UK experience and case studies from the UK, presenting the Georgian context by introducing successful case studies, identifying priorities for future development based on understanding of the current situation in the Georgian CCIs including policy, funding, technologies, skills development through collaboration with the UK based CCIs where possible.

The forum was attended by cultural and creative industries experts of various sectors from UK, and young entrepreneurs and students from Georgia. The program included both panel discussions and workshops on actual topics in the field. The forum also included pitching ideas and announcing the winners of the British Innovation Foundation NESTA Workshop on “Creative Enterprise Program.’ “Creative industries represent the growing economy, which promotes the stable economic and social development of all countries, said Levan Kharatishvili – Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport. ‘‘The forum is focused on the ivolvement of the youth in the process. It will be very interesting for our students, foreign experts, and others.‘‘ “The cultural industry has very big economic value. In the last 10 years, the income doubled,” Justin Mckenzie Smith - British ambassador to Georgia. „The Forum is very important. The British Embassy and British Council in Georgia fully supports the development of creative industries.” The UK/Georgia 2019 season is a specially curated program of more than 60 events jointly presented by the British

Embassy in Tbilisi and British Council in Georgia, running from September to December 2019. UK/Georgia 2019 includes events in Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi and other locations across Georgia and will showcase the best that modern,

diverse, global Britain has to offer in culture, sport, education and business. It draws on the shared values of both the UK and Georgia to deliver a program with a specific focus on diversity and inclusion.

The UK/Georgia 2019 is funded by the British Embassy and the British Council, working closely with a small group of sponsors including Georgia Capital, Bank of Georgia, BP, Adjara Group and Wissol.



Huawei's First Global Flagship Store Opened Saturday in Shenzhen



uawei's global flagship store opened Saturday at 11am in the heart of Shenzhen’s vibrant MixC World, being Huawei's first direct-sale store in the world. The store has been in preparation since 2017 and covers a total area of 1,300 square meters. Customers can explore Huawei's latest and most comprehensive products, experience the fastest 5G connection, relax and meet up with friends. “Shenzhen is an international technology and innovation center. We believe that the Huawei Global Flagship Store will become the new connecting hub between Huawei and customers,” Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group said. “MixC World is a gathering place where fashion, technology and liberal art meet and the Huawei Global Flagship Store will become Huawei’s city living room, connecting consumers.”

DESIGNED AS AN INVISIBLE COMMUNITY SQUARE The Huawei Global Flagship Store, a three-floor building, adopts the design concept of “City Square”, which combines traditional Chinese and western architectural philosophy. The façade, adopting a large area of high transmission glass with rounded corners, feels like exquisite glass enamel. The unique semi-open staircase connects the square and the surrounding environment, presenting a borderless community atmosphere. Customers can walk into the store without any restrictions, relax and meet up with friends.

HUAWEI’S CITY LIVING ROOM At Huawei Global Flagship Store, customers can not only relax and meet friends, but also participate in the free courses held by Huawei Community, which covers your passions, like photography, videography, sports and healthcare. You can also join

the fun sharing from local artists of art, painting, tourism and more. Technical enthusiasts or app developers can learn more from technical experts or build the Huawei global ecosystem together in the Huawei Community. The store has 120 experience consultants having joined Huawei from different fields such as hotel, aviation, art and more. They can provide customers with multi-language and one-stop services, including purchase, maintenance and training. “We no longer call it a retail store: we call it community plaza, an open community for everyone. Consumers can come and create, learn about the most advanced technology and trends, or just reconnect with one another,” said Herman Zhu, CMO of Huawei Consumer Business Group.

A SMARTER, MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY BUILDING “Huawei always brings innovations and features to our smartphones. The store also contains Huawei’s new technical innovations that make the building smarter and more environmentally friendly,” said Richard Yu. 5G is on. For the first time, Huawei's global flagship store has set up 5G network coverage of the whole store. Customers can experience ultra-fast 5G speed and super-low latency 5G Cloud games in advance. In order to give customers the best experience, the store is equipped with an Intelligent Environmental Control System based on Huawei’s Hilink technology, which can automatically adjust the brightness, temperature and humidity, so that all consumers feel comfortable wherever they are in the store. In addition, the store also uses a large number of environmentally friendly and recyclable materials to create a green building that coexists with the environment. The felt used for ceilings and walls is made of recyclable plastic parts; the table uses nanoboard, which can be used for more than ten years; the floor is made of marble with natural ingredients and zero resin to form.





OCTOBER 18 - 21, 2019

How to Ensure Sustainable Poverty Reduction in the South Caucasus?



ariam Baratashvili lives with her family in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region of Georgia. Before 2008, Mariam’s family were able to get by on a modest income. However, the impacts of the global financial crisis meant they were suddenly plunged into poverty. In the Gegharkunik region of Armenia, Tigran Grigoryan’s family underwent a very similar experience. Across the South Caucasus countries of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, many families faced poverty and destitution following the crisis. Ten years later, the Baratashvili and Grigoryan families have managed to pull themselves out of poverty, but it was a long, difficult road. According to official statistics, the poverty rate in Georgia and Armenia, measured by the $3.2 dollar/day poverty line, was reduced by more than half from 2005 to 2017. In Azerbaijan, poverty also declined dramatically, mainly propelled by impressive economic growth: poverty declined from almost 50% of the population in the early 2000s to about 5% in 2013.

But statistics don’t tell the whole story. Despite moving out of poverty, many families in the South Caucasus still feel financially insecure. They know they are living just above the poverty line, vulnerable to risks from various shocks such as a job loss, crop failure, illness or natural disaster. Extreme rainfall and drought are also a threat to communities across the region, endangering crops, livestock, and food security. Major shocks can pose a significant financial burden on households, often forcing them to cut back on critical expenditures such as food and healthcare. The national poverty rate accounts for the share of the population living below the poverty line at any given moment in time. As such, when the poverty rate declines, it is possible that the composition of people below the line changes at different times. In other words, some people could fall into poverty between two time periods, while others could escape poverty. Data in the South Caucasus in Motion report confirms considerable churning, upward and downward shifts, around the poverty line. In Georgia, almost 10% of the population managed to escape poverty between 2009 and 2015, but a significant share has since fallen back, especially in secondary cities. In Armenia, for every three people that moved out of poverty between 2010 and 2016, one person fell back. To better understand the underlying

factors that cause persistent poverty, we must look beneath the surface – and beyond the national poverty figure. Only then, can we design policies that will help alleviate poverty in a truly sustainable way. We know that inadequate risk management is responsible for many of the negative impacts and development setbacks arising from economic shocks. And such shocks tend to affect the poor and vulnerable the most. The costs of inaction are substantial for society and the family. How can countries in the South Caucasus mitigate the risks from shocks and

ensure sustainable poverty reduction? For Georgia, it is especially important to build resilience to shocks by improving macro-fiscal management, strengthening household resilience, and enhancing management of natural resources and climate risks. The constraints to financial inclusion in Georgia can be mitigated by further developing financial markets, strengthening consumer protection and addressing the gaps in financial sector regulations. Financial inclusion and financial literacy are critical for resilience, along with greater capacity for credit reporting, consumer protection, and regulation of non bank financial institutions. Greater investment in human capital is critical for Armenia. As such, the country should ensure better economic opportunities for poor and vulnerable populations, and wider access to social protection services. To this end, Armenia is increasing the share of poor people covered by social protection programs, such as the Family Benefit Program, and

enhancing information systems that provide access to the full range of employment services. Azerbaijan has made remarkable progress reducing poverty over the last decade. However, the country could face strong headwinds going forward, caused by the dual challenges of lower oil prices and an uncertain regional economic environment. Azerbaijan should invest more in improving human development outcomes and increasing opportunities for its citizens. This means ensuring better access to water and sanitation, and improving environmental and health infrastructure and services, all of which can have a positive impact on health and social welfare outcomes. To ensure that families like the Baratashvilis and the Grigoryans are able to live safe, healthy, productive lives – without fear of falling into poverty – the World Bank is helping the South Caucasus countries to mitigate risks from financial shocks and build more resilient economies.


quite packed and we can hardly find the time. In the far future, we all plan to continue our studies abroad and as we get older and mature, we want to offer more events that answer the needs of our society.

Elene Suramelashvili, We See One Sun: “Our Differences are not a Problem” Continued from page 3 Along with that, our school, the G. Zaldastanishvili American Academy in Tbilisi, showed us great help.

WHO ARE THE ORGANIZERS OF ‘WE SEE ONE SUN’? As none of us had much experience in the field, a team of nine school-students united and we planned the event intensively for two months. The nine members of our organizing team were: Elene Suramelashvili, Liza Ingorokva, Mariam Karazanishvili, Nini Shagidze, Keti Loladze, Elene Jishkariani, Sopho Pkhakadze, Sandro Kilasonia, and Mia Okruashvili. I gathered the paintings and communicated with the doctors; Sandro found the place for the auction; Mariam took care of the food and drinks; Elene took on social media management and

spreading the news; Liza managed the transportation of the pictures and many other things; Sopho created the event logo; Keti stocked us up with technical tools, and Nini decorated the auction. Other than these nine team members, Nikoloz Bolkvadze who took care of the music for the night, playing his music throughout the event, and Zurab Ramishvili was the host of our auction, stunning everyone with his amazing oratorical talents. Our classmates who served drinks to the guests deserve an honorary mention as well. This kind of strong team-work made the event what it was, the high-quality of which, I hope, could be seen by everyone who attended.

WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF YOUR CHARITY EVENT? The We See One Sun event raised 12,600 GEL. The money will be fully given to

the Evidence-Based Practice Center, which in turn will give the money to the painters of the artworks that we sold. The amount we raised is quite pleasing. Society’s reaction to our charity event was very positive towards us and the talented patients. We are hopeful that we broke the stereotypes, or started breaking them at least, and we showed people that we all see one sun. On October 12, art united us all and we proved that our differences are not a problem.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP OF YOUR CHARITY EVENT? The Evidence-Based Practice Center is organizing the next and final step of our project. The “delivering ceremony” will take place this week and there, the center will distribute the raised money of 12,600 GEL among the creators of the sold paintings.

In the near future, we’d like to organize such events again, but since we’re highschool seniors this year, our schedules are




Live Long, Prospero’s BLOG BY TONY HANMER


t was quite a surprise, having visited Georgia from Baku in the summer of 1999, to move here on December 1 and find an English language bookshop waiting for me in a courtyard at 34 Rustaveli Avenue. Delightful! It had been my Saturday habit while living in St Petersburg, Russia, to visit bookshops there and scrounge for what suited me and what I could afford in English. Most of those 700-odd books I had to leave behind; although I did manage to fly out with 105 kg of checkin luggage, most of which was literature, and pay a mere $150 for the excess. Now I could start collecting again! It has been my lifelong habit to read from as soon as I could, as well as to write. Not having had a TV in the house until I was 10, my Rhodesian childhood until then was filled with the printed page. I was insatiable. Yes, from 10 onwards

in Canada there were Saturday morning cartoons, and after-school sitcoms like Gilligan’s Island and Happy Days; M.A.S.H. or Little House on the Prairie with the family at suppertime. But books? They were always way more fun. In them my mind MADE worlds. Prospero’s Books has had a birthday party every October, but this is the first time (I think) I’ve ever been to one, its 20th. No more wall of rental VCR movie tapes; free Wi-Fi, though. The space has more than doubled, and the café is doing great as well. The place is booming, I met Tako Johnson and her husband, Steve, early on, of course, but only got acquainted with Peter Nasmyth, the bookshop’s other owner, some years after moving here, plucking up my courage to walk over and introduce myself as he sat reading in the shop’s yard. He and I share many interests, including Georgia as a whole, Svaneti, and photography, and we’ve had some great adventures together, from David Gareji at one end of Georgia to Mestia at the

other. Plenty from which to cement a firm friendship. We now host him about every time he visits Svaneti, and have stayed with him at his London place too. There’s no better place in Georgia than Prospero’s to find books in English, mostly new but also second-hand, with an especially great section on local and regional interests. They also roast and grind their own marvelous coffee fresh weekly, and the menu offers much more besides, in teas, other hot and cold drinks, and delectable edibles too. I know that all of this has not been easy to start, set up, run and expand. Importing, transportation, business laws and a clientele mostly of people in transit all make for a very challenging work envi-

ronment. But, Tako and Peter, you’ve done an awesome job of it. I’m both proud of you and very grateful. You have really made my stay in Georgia that much better, knowing that I can come here and browse, always find something new, learn more, and also return what I no longer need for credit against future purchases. My Caucasus library has grown to what it is chiefly because of Prospero’s, and these are books which I’ll never get rid of. They’re too useful, for me and others, also being usually quite expensive as a niche in the market. History, folklore, languages, cuisines, ethnography and so much more, worth discovering in this ancient corner of the world, birthplace of both Stalin and wine.

Just… Thank you, for being here, for becoming my friends, and for helping me (and countless others) in this relentless pursuit of knowledge related to where I have lived longest in my life. To you, Prospero’s Books, gagimarjos (cheers)!!! 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 nearly 2000 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



eorgia is becoming ever better known internationally. This time, it was not Georgian wine that was presented, it was the music talent of Georgia that charmed the United States. David Gvinianidze, a Georgian baritone currently based in the US, along with Georgia-based music professionals, organized a concert series titles “The Road to Carnegie Hall”. Talented Georgian youth got American media coverage and wide attention. GEORGIA TODAY sat down with Nana Doghonadze, awardwinning pianist, the author of the project and its director, to discuss pursuing the American Dream and the successes of the Georgian-American project.

TELL US ABOUT ‘THE ROAD TO CARNEGIE HALL.’ The core of our project “The Road to Carnegie Hall” is the pure talent and professionalism of the participants – the Georgian youth. Our project enables each musically talented youngster to perform and present their unique abilities on the first stage in the world: Carnegie Hall. The project consisted of two phases; the first was a nationwide competition. Participants from all around Georgia (the contests took place in Kutaisi, Batumi, and Tbilisi) took part in our auditions. The competitiveness was astounding and we had a hard time figuring out the

winners. The three who came in first place in various genres got full scholarships from David’s Fund ‘Talents of the World.’ These winners were: Sophio Giorgadze on the violin, and Saba Mikeladze and Tamaz Mzhavanadze on the fortepiano. Anamaria Khingava on the violin, Lizi Megrelishvili on the fortepiano and Aleksandre Zazarashvili (vocal) got 50% scholarships, while those who came third in the auditions were financed for USA visas. These were: Amiran Beridze (flute), Mariam Kuchava (vocals), Nika Nikabadze (fortepiano). The orchestra maester was Nana Doghonadze. The second phase was the culmination: days spent touring in the United States.

HOW DID THE PROJECT COME ABOUT? I always wanted to create a high-quality, ambitious project that would encourage our talented youth and promote their career growth, integrating them in international professional circles. That was the idea that united us. Our enthusiasm enabled us to create a project never before seen in Georgia. Our project was called ‘Musical Gallery – The Road to Carnegie Hall.’

TELL US HOW THE ORGANIZING GROUP GOT TO CARNEGIE HALL. I contacted my friend, David Gvinianidze, the founder and president of the foundation ‘Talents of the World,’ an artdirector and author of concert programs, a classical singer and concert touring singer, an adjudicator for different vocal contests and festivals, a teacher and regular member at various musical TV-

extra encouragement to deliver their best on the world-renowned stages.


programs and talk-shows of Russian and American national cable television. By happy coincidence he had the same dream as me: to create this ambitious, and for Georgia unique project. Our cooperation then created an AmericanGeorgian staff. The organizing team’s hard work enabled the project to be this successful. David contributed to the project greatly. His altruistic nature, love and dedication to the work, his high-quality expertise and full financial support made our project successful. I can’t thank him enough for bringing this project to life. If it weren’t for David, his amazing personal and professional qualities, this massive project would probably have stayed a mere idea.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR AMERICAN TOUR. The process leading up to our American tour was interesting and professionally dynamic. We had one year of rehearsals as all of us fully realized the responsibility that lay on our shoulders, the responsibility of performing on the stage of

Carnegie Hall. David put our group of young talented professionals on the big stages of the US; on the stage of his Culture Center in Philadelphia, on the stage of the Parliament Concert Hall in Boston and finally the legendary stage of Carnegie Hall in NYC. It’s a joyous occasion when a performer stands in front of a professional audience. The most memorable of all was Boston, where Berkeley professors gave us high evaluations. We were then asked to perform on the Berkeley Conservatoire stage. Obviously, the Carnegie Hall performance will remain in our memories as the highlight of the tour.

HOW DID THE MEDIA AND THE PUBLIC RESPOND TO YOUR PERFORMANCES IN THE USA? The public greeted us with full support and amazement. What more could we ask for? Our concerts had full house attendance, all on their feet applauding us. The American press and television attention and interviews before each concert was what gave our participants

Pursuing the American Dream was something all the participants aspired for. It is a professional project like this and the right management that motivates and enables young musicians to find their place in the world’s artist society. One of the favorites from the project was Aleksandre Zazarashvili, the winner of Ukraine Voice Kids and I would like to proudly note that it was we who first discovered Aleksandre and his unique abilities. His fantastic voice and extraordinary talent was a win-win for us as a project and for him as he is now known internationally. He was invited to one of Hollywood’s most popular and prestigious events – I can’t name the project as I am not allowed to but you will soon see Aleksandre on one of the greatest shows! ‘The Road to Carnegie Hall’ opened the doors of success for many, but we can’t discuss it quite yet. I can say this: our project rooted massive projects that we will see in the future.

WHAT FUTURE PLANS CAN YOU SHARE WITH US? At the start of November, the youth will perform for a Georgian audience. We will go on tour to different cities and towns of Georgia. Our ‘Road to Carnegie Hall’ is not a one-time project; in 2020 we will organize new, now international auditions that will enable another round of talented youth to pursue their American Dream.




OCTOBER 18 - 21, 2019

The Best Acharuli Khachapuri Awaits You at Puri Guliani



he exceptionally rich and diverse gastronomic culture of Georgia has gone well beyond the borders of the country and mesmerized foreigners all across the globe. However, Georgian pastries with a centuries-long history represent yet another dimension of the country’s cuisine and are certainly worth exploring. Khachapuri, comprising of dough stuffed with melting cheese, is one of the most outstanding dishes on the list of Georgian bakes. Khachapuri comes in all sorts of forms, in accordance with traditions of the different regions of Georgia, and is among the favorite Georgian gourmet pleasures for locals as well as guests to the country. But Ajarian (Acharuli) khachapuri is particularly outstanding in shape, technique of preparation and absolutely mouthwatering taste. While this specialty is a discovery for foreigners, for Georgians, Acharuli khachapuri is a dish that brings the wonderful, unforgettable memories of childhood and the incredible flavors of granny’s kitchen, or the best holidays spent in the region of Ajara on the Black Sea coast.

That is why it is of crucial importance for Georgians that Acharuli khachapuri be cooked to perfection. Even though you will probably come across this dish in many eateries countrywide, it is a real challenge to find a really good one. However, there is a venue in the very heart of the Georgian capital, named Puri Guliani, which has something interesting to offer you. However, before speaking about their Acharuli khachapuri, it is worth saying something of the restaurant and its interesting name. Puri Guliani was the name, our ancestors used for pastries baked in the different regions of Georgia with diverse fillings and offered to honorable guests. Today, Puri Guliani is the modern Sakhabazo (bakery) in Tbilisi, reviving ancient gastronomic traditions, constantly enriching and modernizing the Georgian cuisine and focusing on offering clientele the best pastries in the city. Puri Guliani is a place where, along with an incredible array of thrilling pastries, you can discover the most outstanding Acharuli khachapuri. The moment you enter, you can smell a hypnotizing aroma of fresh baked goods coming out of the red-hot oven. The chef works in an open kitchen to show guests a real masterclass of preparing authentic boat-shaped Acharuli khachapuri and to give them a chance to travel in the

universe of ancient traditions of Georgian gastronomy. The process of preparation of Acharuli khachapuri is nothing short of pleasure, but the products used for the dish are equally important. The sky-high quality of products, including the best selected cheese and flour, as well as a small “chef’s secret,” are the major factors making the khachapuri of Puri Guliani so perfect, cheesy, crispy and certainly unforgettable. The special oven also plays a significant role, as it ensures the balanced distribution of heat and contributes to the ideal preparation of the dish. When cooked, the Acharuli khachapuri, with browned edges and stuffed with melted cheese, is topped with an egg, much resembling the sun. It adds a sprinkle of uniqueness to the appearance of the course, as well as its taste. The Acharuli khachapuri of Puri Guliani is undoubtedly a ‘must-taste’ for foodlovers, or the ones striving to discover the best of the authentic Georgian cuisine. What’s more, it should definitely be paired with a glass or two of soft drink, especially the famous Georgian flavored Lagidze waters. On a final note, the pleasant environ of the venue should not be missed either. All the said elements of Puri Guliani make it exceptional and make a very special dining venue for friends and family alike.




Vivace Association to Hold Charity Concert in Favor of Talented Georgian Musicians

Young Georgian and Swiss musicians, the winners of various contests, will participate in the concert, performing together with the Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra – “Georgian Sinfonietta.”

The concert will be attended by honorable guests of the Embassy of Switzerland, politicians, businessmen, and the National Councils both from Switzerland and other countries. Vivace Association was founded in Switzerland in 2009, and the foundation with the same name in Georgia in 2015. Both the Vivace Foundation and the Association have two main goals: the support of highly gifted young musicians and the support of projects for displaced children, refugees or orphans. During these years, with the help of Vivace, many young Georgian musicians have received grants, participated in international competitions and master classes, and received scholarships. In addition, Vivace has purchased modern musical literature for school libraries, donated new instruments to Tbilisi music schools and much more. Vivace is interested in expanding cultural relations between Georgia and Switzerland. For this purpose, the Foundation has conducted numerous concerts of Georgian and contemporary musicians in Switzerland and elsewhere.

train-bombing. He shared his experience and views on graffiti art and culture on the first day of the festival in a free workshop. Space was limited and attendance needed prior registration. The following day, T-KID gave a public talk on 1970s to 1980s gangs and graffiti & hip-hop in a more open-space, giving everyone interested in graffiti art a chance to hear from one of the genre’s founders himself. The Fabrikaffiti Urban Festival 2019 included other international artists, like M-CITY from Poland, GVIIIE from Spain,

and WIESTE HENDRICKX from Belgium who is known for creative graffiti illustrations of Jimi Hendrix in Brussels. Guests could attend workshops and see the graffiti art in the making. The festival was organized by Artists’ Union Tsru in collaboration with Fabrika and Impact Hub Tbilisi. Fabrikaffiti was supported by Fabrika Hostel, TBC Bank, Urban Art Georgia, the US Embassy to Georgia, Embassies of Germany and Italy as well as Tbilisi City Hall, Creative Education Studio and Margo Skate Shop.



n 2019, the International Charity Association ‘Vivace’ (Switzerland) celebrates its 10th anniversary and UNICEF Switzerland looks back on 60 years of history. At the same time, the Swiss Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, opens its new embassy building. On the occasion of this double anniversary, the association Vivace is organizing a charity concert on October 28 in the Small Hall of the Rustaveli National Theater in Tbilisi, one of the most prestigious stages in Georgia, on which a number of world-class musicians have already performed. The charity concert is aimed at supporting Georgian children and youth in the field of education and musical promotion. Donations will be handed over to Georgian UNICEF and Vivace to support young talented Georgian musicians. The President of the Swiss Parliament, Marina Carobbio Guscetti who is visiting Georgia on the occasion of the inau-

guration of the new Swiss Embassy in Tbilisi on 28 October, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia Patric Franzen, as well as other honorary guests, including Swiss delegation, politicians, busi-

nessmen, and the representatives of various countries will attend the concert. This audience will help raise funds for a charity concert held in favor of Georgian children and youth.

Fabrikaffiti Urban Art Festival 2019 BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE


bilisi is not just a city where West meets East; it’s also a place where traditions meet modernism. What’s surprising is that the two fundamentally different realities coexist in harmony in the capital of Georgia: 18th and 19th-century buildings and next to them Soviet apartments with urban street art painted on. Street art has become an internal part of Tbilisi’s culture: no matter what you’re leaving and where you’re going to, you’re bound to see it a few times on your way; in the under-crossings, on abandoned or very-much-full-of-life buildings. Maybe it is due to the growing popularity of street art that the Fabrikaffiti festival has wowed Tbilisi for the fourth time. The Fabrikaffiti Urban Art Festival has

been happening in Tbilisi since 2016. This year’s festival showcased not only the street art culture and potential of Tbilisi, but skateboarding, b-boy battles and other forms of dancing contests, workshops on emerging urban culture, and in all honesty, a lot of chaotic fun. Fabrikaffiti Urban Art Festival 2019 featured some first-time elements: the festival was powered by Sioni HiFi SoundSystem, the first Dub Roots Reggae Bass sound system family in Georgia, and within the frames of the festival, in a closed event, the first-ever twerking contest organized in Georgia. Modern counter-cultures and subcultures, too, carry on traditions. Fabrikaffiti’s tradition is that its main location is Fabrika Tbilisi, a hostel and multifunctional social space that hosts many culturally or artistically important events. On October 11-13, over 20 local and international artists were brought together and united by the Fabrikaffiti

Image source: Fabrikaffiti

festival. The headliner of the 2019 festival was T-KID, a world-renowned graffiti artist from New York. The artist, respected for his talent and style, is Julius Cavero but he is better known in the modern art world as T-KID 170. He began his “career” in the mid-70s, tagging under the name “King 13”. He was related to a local street-gang. After nearly dying in a gun fight, T-KID gave up the dangerous street life for street art. Nowadays he is famous for his unique lettering, illustration style, and extremely prolific

On the Gurjaani Wine Festival 2019: Gurjaani Evolving as a Winemaking Town



n October 12, a wine festival was held in Akhtala Park in Gurjaani. The City of Wine hosted the festival for the third time this year and featured Qvevri-made wine by the locals, as well as wine, chacha and other drinks of various type, color and age produced by large and small cellars. The festival also met guests with all the traditional dishes that can be paired with wine. Gurjaani Wine Festival 2019 aims to promote wine tourism development and the popularization of Georgian wine

culture and traditions. This year, the festival attracted up to 20,000 domestic and international tourists and got involved in the campaign #Spend4SeasonsInGeorgia, making a special and memorable days for the guests. The festival offered an exhibition-sale of over 250 winemakers and entrepreneurs producing wine or handmade, creative and thematic works. More than 40 winemakers were there alongside food stalls, ethnographic exhibitions, museum pieces, entrepreneurial and rural area production, and entertaining activities for the young. More than 20 local bands took care of the musical accompaniment, among them Tbilisi Big Band, Georgian Voices, Gurjaani Ensem-

ble, Khareba, Goofy Land, and Loudspeakers. “Gurjaani Wine Festival is one of the largest events held in the field of winemaking in the region,” said Gurjaani Majoritarian Deputy Davit Songulashvili. “This year, most winemakers participated, presenting their products to the public: both representatives of small cellars as well as great entrepreneurs. The festival is an interesting platforms where visitors can discover famous wines and taste the products of new winemakers. Everyone has their own tradition of winemaking and we had Kakhetian wine, wine from Tsageri, Racha, Baghdati, Shida Kartli and more. The private sector was also involved in the project.” The Bank of Georgia offered the chance for lucky winemaker Givi Tavetetrishvili, whose wine Vachnadziani Valley won the contest, to attend a wine exhibition and conference in Sweden to explore the latest technologies over four days. Songulashvili noted that “Gurjaani is slowly evolving in its traditions and abilities as a winemaking town.” “We have already taken the name of ‘cradle of wine’ abroad and many foreign

guests are attending this celebration,” said Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili during a visit to the festival. “Today, Georgia is a leading country in wine production - the oldest, most interesting and most important in the future, as our winemakers are already developing our bio-wine industry, already clear what the world will be demanding in future. I am happy that many women have taken the lead and been very successful in this field. It means that our society is very lively, very energetic, and very forward-looking.”

Gurjaani Wine Festival 2019 was held during Georgian Wine Week and was supported by the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, the National Tourism Administration, the National Wine Agency and was under the patronage of the majoritarian deputy of Gurjaani Davit Songulashvili. Gurjaani Wine Festival’s general sponsor was JSC m² Real Estate and was sponsored by Bank of Georgia Business.




OCTOBER 18 - 21, 2019


GIFT FESTIVAL PROGRAM 2019 October 19, 20 FESTIVAL OPENING MAY B Choreography- Maguy Marin Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 8-40 GEL Venue: Rustaveli Theater October 22 FESTIVAL TALKS with Dario Facal and Carlota Ferrer Modern Spanish Theater Venue: Rustaveli Theater, VIP Room Start time: 15:00 October 23 Teatros De Canal and Draft.inn (Meine Seele S.L.) present: ESTO NO ES LA CASA DE BERNARDA ALBA (This is not Bernarda Alba’s House) Dramaturgy by Carlota Ferrer and José Manuel Mora Directed by Carlota Ferrer Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 8-50 GEL Venue: Rustaveli Theater TBILISI INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THEATER 2019 October 19 Mattia Carretti DÖKK Direction and Executive Production: Mattia Carretti, Luca Camellini Concept: Mattia Carretti Performer, Choreographer: Elena Annovi Start time: 20:00 Venue: K. Marjanishvili State Drama Theater (The Roof) October 24 TARTUFFE Molière Genre: Comedy Directed by Oskaras Koršunovas Composer: Gintaras Sodeika Start time: 20:00 Venue: Griboedovi Theater TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 25 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 04 56 October 16, 18 NATHALIE Premiere Ballet in two acts Choreography by August Bournonville New choreographic version and staging by Frank Andersen and Dinna Bjørn Reconstructed by Frank Andersen,

Dinna Bjørn, Eva Kloborg and Anne Marie Vessel Schlüter Music by Carl Christian Møller Orchestration by Zurab Nadareishvili Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theater Orchestra Conductor- Henrik Vagn Christensen Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-200 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER 14 Shavteli Str. October 19, 20, 23, 24 THE AUTUMN OF MY SPRINGTIME Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL October 18, 22 REZO Animated documentary film Directed by Leo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER 37 Rustaveli Ave. October 11, 12 REFLECTION Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL

MUSIC & DRAMA STATE THEATER 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. October 22 WELCOME TO GEORGIA The Musical A musical, theatrical play and romantic comedy telling a story about Georgia and its people by combining song, dance, culture, traditions, history, national costumes and local cuisine. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50-80 GEL KHIDI V. Bagrationi Bridge, right Emb. October 24 CIRCE Experimental Platform for Dance and Theater and Goethe-Institut Georgien present a performance and music concert. Performance by Yuko Kasesi– W!O!man MADe- 20:00, Concert by Valerie Renay- 22:00 Credits: Concept/ Direction/ Choreography/ Dance: Yuko Kaseki Live Music /Performance: Valerie Renay Co-Direction /Visual design: Teo Vlad Costume/Stage Design: Yuko Kaseki Ticket: 20-25 GEL MUSEUM

October 18, 29 ABIGLUKOZA Language: Non-verbal Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM 3 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 80 22, 293 48 21 www.museum.ge

MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Agmashenebli Ave.


October 19 FAUST Based on the work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Music: Sandro Nikoladze Language: Non-verbal Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15 GEL October 20 THE STORY OF A MURDER Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Music: Sandro Nikoladze, Davit Kakulia Language: Non-verbal Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15 GEL October 24 ASTIGMATISTS Directed by Ioseb Bakuradze Music: Sandro Nikoladze Language: Non-verbal Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15 GEL

Until December 15 The first-ever exhibition of A REMARKABLE COIN FROM THE TIME OF KING DAVID THE BUILDER Until November 30 Exhibition ‘WISDOM TRANSFORMED INTO GOLD' Supported by the EU With ancient archaeological finds, the exhibition presents for the first time gold jewelry of Late Antiquity (2nd-4th century AD), goldsmiths' tools from the Museum's ethnographic collection, and items made from gold and precious metals.

MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION 4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors, where visitors can see documentaries of various historical events. MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS 10 Betlemi Str. Discover the Museum of Illusions Be brave enough to jump into an illusion created by the Vortex, deform the image of yourself in a Mirror Room, be free in the Infinity room, resist the laws of gravity and size ratio, and take selfies in every possible pose. Enjoy the collection of holograms, and discover optical illusions. GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00 GRAND MASTERS FROM THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM COLLECTION XIX – XX CENTURY Until November 20 Georgian National Museum and the Embassy of Italy in Georgia present the exhibition "THE FORM OF COLOR FROM TINTORETTO TO CANALETTO" from Trieste's National Gallery of Ancient Art. The Gallery displays three centuries of Italian painting– from the late Renaissance to the Rococo. The National Gallery brings together 55 artworks of Tintoretto, Guerchino, Bernando Strozzi, Antonio Canaletto, Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini and other painters. Visitors will get acquainted with the major painting schools of Northern Italy from the 16th18th centuries - from Bologna (Giuseppe Maria Crespi) to Genoa (Givanni Batista Paggi, Gioacchino Assereto, Giovanni Francesco Castiglione) and from Lombardy (Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli, Pier Francesco Cittadini) to Veneto (Bonifacio de' Pitati, Carlo Caliari, Francesco Maffei, Nicola Grassi). MUSIC

TBILISI CONCERT HALL 1 Melikishvili Ave. October 18 An evening dedicated to the legendary Georgian Composer Giya Kancheli. Music for films and theater and the Maestro’s unique creation Styx. Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Nikoloz Rachveli Patriarchy Choir of Tbilisi Holy Trinity Choirmaster: Svimon Jangulashvili and Giorgi Donadze Gori Women Choir Choirmaster: Teona Tsiramua Soloist: Giorgi Zagareli, Nato Metonidze, Liza Bagrationi, Misho Javakhishvili, Zviad Michilashvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-75 GEL October 21 PETER BENCE FIX Group Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-90 GEL SPACE LOUNGE 22 Bakhtrioni Str. October 19 ZAZA NOZADZE (SF-X) LIVE Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL

SPACEHALL Dinamo Arena October 19 DIGITALGIFT Music Series Vol I French band Telepopmusik Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 30 GEL TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE 8 Griboedovi Str. October 23 ORGAN MUSIC EVENING Andrzej Białko Program: Works by Bach, Franck, Reger and Surzynski Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-15 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Agmashenebli Ave. October 22 JAM SESSIONImprov played by different Georgian and foreign musicians and instrumentalists. Musical art director- Sandro Nikoladze Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 5 GEL HOTEL SHERATON GRAND TBILISI METECHI PALACE 20 Telavi Str. October 19 The famous Italian Jazz Band SUGARPIE & THE CANDYMEN Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 150 GEL CHARDAKHI Chardakhi NEW RENAISSANCE Line up: Techno Stage: aCid taS, Devis Dolidze, Kronoss House Stage: Konichiwa, Oriental Trax, Saine Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 30 GEL SOUNDS OF GEORGIA SING AND DRINK Mini concerts in the cozy atmosphere of Old Tbilisi, a mix of traditional Georgian music of different genres: folklore, a capella, guitar, and Georgian pop and city songs every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 24 GEL Venue: October 18- 10 Erekle II Sq., Tekla Palace Hotel, October 19New Tiflis, 9 Agmashenebeli Ave., Wine bar ‘Wine Station’, October 23- Corner of 2 Turgenev Str., and 37 Javakhishvili Str., deep yard, October 24- Europe Square, 2 D. Megreli Str., Hotel “Nata” TSINANDALI ESTATE Tsinandali, Kakheti October 19 Jazz and Wine Jazz & Wine Festival Program: 1 PM- Tsinandali Park: Test-drive, Tesla 3. 2 PM- Tsinandali Estate Amphitheater: Sugarpie & The Candymen (IT) style swing; Maurizio Siciliano Cooking Show; 7 PM- Tsinandali Estate Amphitheater: OZ NOY TRIO - Jimmy Haslip & Dennis Chambers (USA) Style: Jazz-Rock, Fusion 10 PM- Tsinandali Estate Amphitheater: MF Robots (UK) style: Disco -Funk Start time: 13:00 Ticket: 150-200




A Big Round of Applause for “Natalie” REVIEW BY LORRAINE VANEY


n October 16, the State Ballet of Georgia presented the world premiere of the much-awaited new version of the Danish ballet “Natalie” or “From Siberia to Moscow.” Thanks to the lasting creative relationship between Nina Ananiashvili, Artistic Director of the State Ballet of Georgia, and the Danish choreographers Frank Andersen and Dinna Bjorn, the ballet came back to Tbilisi after 10 years and was, this year again, warmly welcomed by the audience. The ballet tells the true story of the meeting between the Danish choreographer August Bournonville and the great choreographer Marius Petipa at the Bolshoi Theater, who told him of the journey of a young officer in exile in South Siberia, who managed to escape with an old nobleman and his daughter, Natalie, interpreted by Nutsa Chekurashvili. “Natalie” is the last ballet of Bournonville, written in 1876. It was carefully reconstructed thanks to the original notations Dinna Bjoern inherited from her father. “With the profound knowledge of his special style, that you only get from having danced in all his still existing ballets, combined with a feeling for the spirit in his works, it is certainly possible to use these notations as an inspirational basis for reconstruction.” she shared. “One of the forces of the Bournonville tradition is that it is a living tradition, that has gone through natural changes with the changing generations of dancers dancing it, and this has prevented it from becoming dead museum pieces.”

Image source: Tiko Vakhania

The costumes were tastefully designed, giving an extra touch of authenticity and realism to the ballet. The decoration, made here in Georgia, was also impressively rich and detailed, alternatively turning the stage into a large Siberian public house and a luxurious palace. The choreography nicely interlaced ballet with national dances from different regions, both impeccably executed by the dancers. Georgia was presented by very young dancers who perfectly demonstrated how technical and joyful the Georgian traditional dance is. This reference to Georgian culture was surely one of the highlights of the night,


late goal from striker Giorgi Kvilitaia salvaged a 3-2 victory for Georgia against minnows Gibraltar at the Victoria Stadium on October 15, extending the Georgians’ unbeaten run to four games. Georgia, in their penultimate Group D fixture of an occasionally encouraging Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, cruised into an early two-goal lead only to carelessly allow the Gibraltarians to come within six minutes of taking their first

points off the Georgians in the fourth meeting between the sides. Having recorded three successive credible draws against South Korea, Denmark and Ireland, Vladimir Weiss’s men approached the trip to Gibraltar in relatively good fettle, and a comfortable evening beneath the famous Rock was expected. Indeed, that’s precisely how it started as Georgia burst into a 10th minute breakthrough when Levan Shengelia’s clipped pass found Giorgi Kharaishvili who slotted the ball past Gibraltar goalkeeper Kyle Goodwin with ease. Kharaishvili, who plays his club football in Sweden at IFK Gothenburg, very nearly



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foreign dancers are on stage tonight,” he said. Nina later called him to join her during her speech at the reception held in the Blue Hall of the Tbilisi Opera House. The five-star wine company Château Mukhrani has been a long-standing partner of the State Ballet of Georgia and the Friends of the Georgian Ballet’s events. The company, represented by Teona Talakhadze, Brand Manager of Château Mukhrani and herself a ballet-enthusiast, supported the reception again with the finest Georgian wines. The dancers joined later to celebrate the premiere with their public. The choreographer Frank Andersen

proudly wore a traditional black Georgian chokha, gifted him by the company 10 years ago when the ballet was first staged in Tbilisi. “I have had the pleasure of following the company since Nina [Ananiashvili] took the helm, and many things have happened, miracles even, for the company. They are a wonderful selection of great and promising dancers, eager to learn and listen and to be challenged, and eager to venture into new lands of choreography.” The company will be touring after the last performance on October 18, and will come back to Tbilisi in January 2020.

Late Kvilitaia Strike Steers Georgia Away from Rock Bottom



warmly welcomed by a diverse and international audience; many diplomats, Friends of the Georgian Ballet and other ballet-lovers came for this world premiere. “The State Ballet of Georgia is playing in the premium league,” one UK citizen, who has traveled extensively and attended ballets all over the world for many years, told us. “The company is really strong for such a small country.” The company attracts more foreign dancers each year indeed, mostly from Japan. The leading male role was held by Yonen Takano, who studied and worked in Saint Petersburg for years before coming to Tbilisi five years ago. “Most of the


Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

doubled his and his country’s tally moments later but he headed wide from full-back Giorgi Navalovski’s deflected cross. The reprieve was short-lived for Gibraltar though as Georgia soon did add the second goal that their dominant start had merited, when captain Jaba Kankava unleashed an unstoppable shot from 25 yards past the helpless Goodwin. Georgia scarcely threatened a third goal before the interval but seemed in more or less total control, as was to be expected against a nation with a population that would only fill three-fifths of Tbilisi’s Dinamo Arena. The second-half began with a similar theme of Georgian control as Kankava fed Vako Qazaishvili, only for the latter to flick the ball over the crossbar from the edge of the Gibraltar box. Georgia’s grip on the game then started to loosen around the hour mark as a defensive daze allowed Gibraltar’s Tjay De Barr to race clean through, but some-

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Samantha Guthrie, Beka Alexishvili, Tea Mariamidze, Ana Dumbadze, Nini Dakhundaridze Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

how fire wide of an open goal after rounding Georgian goalkeeper Giorgi Loria. That represented a warning for Georgia, and one they would fail to heed. In the 67th minute, a low cross from the left hand side found Lee Casciaro who drilled the ball home from 8 yards to halve the home side’s arrears and give them genuine hope of an unlikely point (or better) with a quarter of the game remaining and the Georgians wavering. Seven minutes later and, remarkably, the scores were level. A Gibraltar corner found the head of Roy Chipolina who finished past Loria at the second attempt to spark jubilation among the home players and fans alike. In their 43 previous internationals, Gibraltar had mustered only four wins (against Armenia, Latvia, Liechtenstein and Malta) and three draws (against Slovakia, Estonia and Liechtenstein). Georgia looked set to find themselves in less than illustrious company.

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However, the Gibraltar equaliser appeared to awaken Georgian from a second-half slumber as the impressive Shengelia recorded a second assist of the evening by teeing up Kvilitaia for a predatory 84th minute winner to spare Georgian blushes. Afterwards, Weiss expressed concern that the Georgian midfield and defense had “lost control” and similar shortcomings would certainly be more severely punished in his team’s final group match in Switzerland next month. With automatic qualification for the Euros unlikely from the outset, and all but impossible after just the first two group games, the Georgian focus has for some months been on the play-off next March. At present, their semi-final opponents will be Belarus with the winners of that clash moving on to play either North Macedonia or Kosovo for a spot at next summer’s European Championships.


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1195  

October 18 - 21, 2019

Issue #1195  

October 18 - 21, 2019