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Issue no: 897

• NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue...

Source: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Stoltenberg to Russia: NATOGeorgia Joint Drills Carry No Regional Threats NEWS PAGE 2

Ukraine Fears Termination of US Funding POLITICS PAGE 5

Forced to Be a Hero: Ogden on Re-introducing Conscription POLITICS PAGE 7

Believe Foundation Hosts Third Sector Trainings in Georgia BUSINESS PAGE 8

FOCUS

Public Private Partnership Fund Launched by San Diego State University in Georgia

ON TRUMP

SOCIETY PAGE 10

Fears on-going about Trump's National Interests vs. the foreign policy on which Georgia so much depends PAGE 4-6

Transparency International: Georgia is Leader in Region in Terms of Low Corruption Rate

Tbilisi Zoo Presents New Zoo Latest Developments SOCIETY PAGE 11

Unprecedented Italian Glamor in Tbilisi CULTURE PAGE 13

BY THEA MORRISON

Japan Comeback Gives Georgia a Cold Shower Ahead of Samoa Clash

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on-Governmental Organization (NGO) Transparency International (TI) Georgia presented the results of the Global Corruption Barometer 2016, which revealed that Georgia is the regional leader for a low rate of corruption. According to TI Georgia Executive Director Eka Gigauri, the reforms implemented in Georgia in the past are still effectively working against corruption now, but challenges remain. “While, generally, our citizens do not have to pay bribes anymore, there are some negative tendencies, particularly the government's anticorruption steps which are assessed negatively. We have received recommendations related to prosecution and judicial independence. Furthermore, we need to set up an independent anticorruption service,” Gigauri stated. The new Transparency International report ‘People and Corruption: Europe and Central Asia’ says that they spoke to nearly 60,000 citizens in 42 countries in Europe and Central Asia

SPORTS PAGE 15

TI released the report People and Corruption: Europe and Central Asia. Source: Transparency International

about their daily life experiences with corruption. The report was presented in Berlin, Germany, on November 16. The survey was conducted by the head office of the TI and its findings show that over half the people in European Union (EU) countries (53 percent), EU accession candidate countries (53 percent) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and former Soviet Union countries,

(56 percent) said their governments had failed to curb corruption. The governments of Ukraine (86 percent), Moldova (84 percent), Bosnia and Herzegovina (82 percent), and Spain (80 percent) were judged worst by their citizens. According to the survey, 12 percent of Georgian respondents named corruption among the country's three main problems. Continued on page 3


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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO. Source: radioiasi.ro

Stoltenberg to Russia: NATO-Georgia Joint Drills Carry No Regional Threats BY THEA MORRISON

S Bollywood Masala Indian Restaurant

ecretary General of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, has stated that the NATO-Georgia joint military exercise underway from November 10 to November 20 in Georgia, carries no threats to regional peace and stability. The statement came in response to concerns expressed by Russia’s Foreign Ministry this week. “What NATO does is defensive, proportional and in full line with the Alliance’s international commitments. We will continue cooperation with our close partner - Georgia,” Stoltenberg’s statement read. Georgia’s Foreign Ministry (MFA) also responded to Russia, saying the NATO-Georgia cooperation is aimed at providing peace, stability and development throughout the region, serving the interests of all parties. According to the MFA, the NATO-Georgian drills confirm the firm Euro-Atlantic course of Georgia as well as deep cooperation with the Alliance itself. “The NATO-Georgian drills allow us to make a more important contribution in terms of strengthening international security,” the MFA said. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement

on Tuesday, which claimed that the 10-day joint NATO-Georgia exercise near Tbilisi represents a threat to regional peace and stability. "Georgia’s neighbors Abkhazia and South Ossetia have also expressed concern. We all remember that the statements made at the NATO summit in Bucharest encouraged Tbilisi’s attack on the Russian peacekeepers and civilians in Tskhinvali in August 2008,” the Russian statement said. Moreover, the Russian side stresses that the role that Tbilisi is trying to play prevents improvements in Russian-Georgian relations and underlines that NATO “is doing nothing to hide its goal of military cooperation with Georgia, regarding it as part of its containment policy towards Russia.” The NATO-Georgian drills are being conducted according to the cooperation package adopted at the NATO summit in 2014. The military exercise is being held on the territory of the NATO-Georgian Joint Training and Evaluation Center in Krtsanisi on the outskirts of the country’s capital of Tbilisi. The exercise involves over 250 servicemen from 13 countries and is the first NATO-Georgia joint multinational brigade-level, Computer Assisted, Command Post exercise (CAX/CPX), which is included in the NATO exercises list. This is the second NATO-Georgia exercise to take place through the SNGP (Substantial NATOGeorgia Package) framework.

2017 Tbilisi Draft Budget Criticized by City Council Opposition BY THEA MORRISON

Find your next great lunch or dinner dining experience featuring time-honored recipes at New Bollywood Masala Indian Restaurant

Tel: +995 551 526 000; +995 592 900 002 Add: Str. Kostava 44, Tbilisi, Georgia Email: bollywoodmasala19@gmail.com

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inority MPs of Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo) do not approve the 2017 draft budget for the capital city, published by Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania on Tuesday. The opposition MPs say that the budget does not cover citizens’ interests or problems and is merely a pre-election document, as the local elections are to be held in 2017. The opposition United National Movement (UNM) members at the Sakrebulo stated they will not support the draft budget because the social sphere funding is being reduced by 29 million GEL (USD 11.62 million). “While unemployment has increased and the majority of our citizens are in extremely critical conditions, the Mayor decided to reduce social funding. This means that either he does not know what truly troubles Tbilisi residents or he just does not care,” UNM MP for the Sakrebulo, Irakli Nadiradze, said. An independent MP of the Sakrebulo, Alexander Elisashvili, also criticizes the Mayor’s Office and says that they also reduced financing for building preservation. Elisashvili is also one of those calling on the Mayor to suspend the contract with parking regulatory company C.T. Park, whose work has been criticized heavily by Tbilisi residents many times over and which has the exclusive rights to arrange parking in the capital. “Traffic problems in Tbilisi will never be solved unless the contract with C.T. Park is suspended. I invite Mayor Narmania to a TV debate, where I will prove to him that taking such step is neces-

sary,” stated Elisashvili. The draft budget implemented by the Mayor’s Office enlists several priorities. Development of Tbilisi public transport is the top priority. In this direction, Tbilisi City Hall plans to allocate over 62 million GEL (USD 25 million) while the total budget will be over 800 million GEL (USD 322 million). Moreover, the budget draft also includes infrastructural projects and maintaining the historic districts of the city as well as building more kindergartens and transforming Tbilisi into a greener and more ecologically-friendly city. The draft budget also envisages reduction of administrative costs by 16.1 million GEL (USD 6.44 million) and sharply reducing the bonuses fund by 9.3 million GEL (USD 3.72million). Tbilisi City Council MPs have until December 31 to approve or reject the Tbilisi Budget for the following year.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

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IWAG Announces 17th Winter Fair

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he International Women’s A ss o c i a t i o n G e o rg i a (IWAG) has announced that the annual Winter Fair 2016 will be held at the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel on Saturday, December 3, from 10 am to 6 pm. The aim is to raise funds with a view to supporting projects in Georgia with a focus on women, children and elderly people who are at risk due to poverty, poor health and disabilities. Most projects deal with social, educational or medical issues all over Georgia. All the work accomplished for this purpose by IWAG and its partners is volunteer work. Traditionally held in the pre-Christmas period, this is the 17th Winter Fair in IWAG history. This year, 24 countries and two international organizations will participate: Azerbaijan, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, Qatar, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America as well as NATO and the UNDP, all actively preparing their stands, offering visitors the opportunity to purchase souvenirs, decorations, crafts, and food items from their home countries. The Winter Fair 2016 is for the whole family! This year it will have a kid’s corner with professional carers. Come and shop from the numerous Georgian artisans’ tables, sample dishes from around the world and visit Santa

Transparency International: Georgia is Leader in Region in Terms of Low Corruption Rate Continued from page 1

“Corruption is a significant problem all across the Europe and Central Asia region,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International. “In EU countries, many citizens see how the wealthy and those in government distort the system to their advantage.” Transparency International makes four key recommendations to reduce political corruption and help people speak up without fear of retaliation. Governments across Europe and Central Asia should: • Have transparent rules on lobbying and a public lobbying register, so that

Claus for the traditional photo taking! The International Women's Association Georgia is a non-profit, non-governmental organization and part of the International Women's Association worldwide network. The organization strives to enhance its members’ understanding of Georgia, which enables life to be easier for expatriates. IWAG com-

prises several social groups such as community services and fundraising. As much as 50% of funds raised at the Winter Fair may be allocated to the focus project- the Anti-Violence Network of Georgia (AVNG). The remaining funds are allocated to other projects carefully selected by the Community Projects Committee (CPC).

Georgia has a bribery rate of just 7 percent, which is at least on a par with EU member states

policy decisions can be better scrutinized; • Ensure the independence of the judiciary, particularly in EU accession and CIS countries, by reducing the influence of the executive over the judiciary and prosecutorial services and including transparent and objective systems for the appointment, transferal and dismissal of judges and prosecutors; • Adopt and enforce comprehensive legislation to protect whistleblowers, and; • Support whistleblowers and reporters of corruption and ensure appropriate follow-up to their disclosures. The report revealed that households in a number of CIS countries are at high risk of having to pay bribes to access basic public services. In Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic, Ukraine and Moldova around two in five households who had accessed public services paid a bribe (from 38 to 42 percent) and this rises to 50 percent in Tajikistan. “Georgia, however, is a positive exception to this trend with a bribery rate of just 7 percent, which is at least on a par with EU member states,” the survey reads. Transparency International is a global movement with one vision: a world in which government, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

A US Ally Deals with Uncertainty BY JOSEPH LARSEN

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n two months, Donald Trump will be president of the United States. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned. His comments have raised fears about jingoism, the use of torture, unchecked aggression, the flouting of international law, and America’s obligations abroad. All of those things could potentially happen. Or, none of them. Allies and adversaries alike have no idea what to expect from the political novice. Trump deals in uncertainty, and he seems to take pride in that. Earlier this year he was asked by the New York Times about his proposed policy toward Russia. His response was beyond equivocal: “I don’t want to tell you what I’d do because I don’t want Putin to know what I’d do.” That came after a March interview with ABC where he remarked that “NATO is obsolete.” Uncertainty is a double-edged sword. The element of surprise can be beneficial to a country on the attack. But it goes directly against the logic of deterrence, the principle that keeps NATO and other Western-led institutions glued together. Would-be challengers know that NATO won’t bend or break if threatened, so they have no incentive to threaten it. Everyone knows that Russian ground forces could surround Tallinn (or Tbilisi) in a few hours. Russia doesn’t dare because of NATO Article 5, the principle that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all of them. If invading Latvia means starting a war with the United States, the costs clearly outweigh the benefits. Article 5 works by credible commitment: the US won’t be punished if it refuses to come to the aid of its allies, but the deterrent holds because the commitment is

Tbilisi needs to be prepared for a US administration that offers little support. But as with all things Trump, the future in uncertain. Source: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

viewed as iron clad. Trump has refused to affirm that commitment. If an ally under threat hasn’t contributed enough to NATO’s defense budget, he warns, help won’t be forthcoming. Georgia isn’t a member, so Article 5 doesn’t directly apply. Still, the deterrent provided by Washington is important. Georgia is a small country that can’t defend its own borders. Trump’s transactional approach—to say nothing of his admiration for Vladimir Putin—obviously doesn’t jive with Tbilisi’s interests. Georgia was always going to be a liability in terms of front line defense against Russia, just as the Baltic States are. There are real doubts about whether the US would stick its neck out. According to an op-ed by Alexandra Hall Hall, the former British Ambassador to Georgia, the real concern isn’t that Georgia will be abandoned. It’s something subtler: “Any shift in US policy toward Georgia is unlikely to become overt. It would be a hard sell to the US Congress, which still contains many Russia hawks and friends

of Georgia, or to the US security establishment … Rather, the new US administration will likely continue to proclaim its support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and territorial integrity, while doing little to advance these goals in practice.” There’s a flip side, though: The Kremlin could potentially soften its stance toward Georgia if Trump succeeds in soothing Putin’s fears about NATO expansion. This seems unlikely, but crazier things have happened. A man with few coherent views and no political experience was just elected President of the United States, after all. Georgia’s government has been guarded about Trump’s victory. Both the prime minister and president congratulated the president-elect and expressed optimism about the new administration. However, their statements did little to reassure doubters. The president even seemed to make a backhanded criticism of Trump, reminding him he has “the highest responsibility to us to protect and maintain universal values like freedom, democracy and peace.” Georgia has made NATO accession its

primary foreign policy priority for the past decade. If American support for NATO wavers, the hard work it has put in could come to nothing. America’s foreign aid budget—an important source of investment for Georgia—also looks likely to be slashed. Even US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly sounded iffy about the support that Trump’s America will provide to Georgia, recently commenting, “I do hope the US will continue supporting Georgia in the future as well.” On a more basic level, the uncertainty created by Trump’s electoral victory means countries like Georgia need to anticipate his foreign policy preferences, something that will require intense study. This view was expressed by Henry Kissinger in a recent interview with The Atlantic. More time and resources spent studying the Trump phenomenon mean less left over for practical initiatives, like bolstering domestic defenses and working to find common ground with Russia. Tbilisi needs to be prepared for a US administration that offers little support. But as with all things Trump, the future

in uncertain. As Lincoln Mitchell mentioned in his recent Georgia Analysis, a lot will depend on the incoming cabinet. Vice president-elect Mike Pence is a national security hawk, and the candidates for Secretary of State don’t share Trump’s desire for retrenchment. Former history professor, House Speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich tops the list of candidates to lead the State Department. He and Trump are strange bedfellows: Gingrich is a Cold Warrior who previously supported US interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Haiti as well as George W. Bush’s War on Terror. He has been a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin and a supporter of democratization programs in post-Soviet countries. Formerly a staunch interventionist, Gingrich now seems ambivalent about foreign policy, earlier this year responding “I’m not sure I would risk a nuclear war over some place which is in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg” when asked about NATO support for Estonia. Also under consideration is Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Corker visited Georgia shortly after the Russian invasion in 2008 to express support for the US ally. He also backed a Senate resolution earlier this year in support of Georgia’s territorial integrity.

The Georgian Institute of Politics was founded in 2011 to strengthen institutions and promote good governance and development in Georgia through policy research and advocacy. It publishes its blog with Georgia Today twice per month. Check out our website in English and Georgian at gip.ge for more blogs, data, and analyses.


POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

Donald Trump at Crossroads: Good Cowboy or Magic Enigma? BY DR. VAKHTANG MAISAIA, SPECIAL FOR GEORGIA TODAY FROM WARSAW, POLAND

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he USA, after historical (for all the wrong reasons) elections, has elected its 45th President, Donald Trump, whose real future political inclinations have yet to be clarified. It was an uncertain race, as it recently turned out that one more million people voted for his main rival, Hillary Clinton, nationwide, despite Trump ultimately securing a victory thanks to the intricate nature of the electoral procedures in the US. While Trump doesn’t exactly come out as one having tender feelings for minorities (when we look at the standpoints of his economical policy he can even be labeled a neo-nazi liberal in that regard), he’s all for liberalizing hard taxation, especially for small and medium scale businesses, better insurance and social protection policies, increasing the rich tax rate and so on. These are mixed with his more outspoken objectives of protectionism measures for national industry and curbing the volume of migration into the country, not to say hard handling the US minorities (presented in an, at that time, unrealistic promise to expel more than 3 million illegal immigrants in the first month of his taking Office). At this time, it’s equally unclear just what kind of foreign policy and national security agendas he intends to pursue. Having encircled himself with a team

of so-called “Neocons” (Neo-conservative trend supporters) like Newt Gingrich, ex-Republican leader; former Defense Department Inspector General, Joe Schmitz; Alabama Sen., Jeff Sessions; energy consultant George Papadopoulos; choosing as Vice-President Mike Pence, Indiana Governor; and Michael Flynn, ex-Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, retired Lt. General (which means that the USA military intelligence service would be more influential and dominant than the CIA) to make key national security and foreign policy planning and decisions, it’s the first clue where Trump might be heading. Despite Steve Bannon, a right-wing politician, already being selected as Trump’s key Advisor on Strategic Issues, Mr. Trump’s foreign and national security policy moves are less likely to be as radical and hawkish as some imagine. Yet with the campaign over, Trump’s election promises will be ironed into some sort of modern Neo-Isolationism trend that doesn’t bode too well for the country’s foreign policy. In his pre-election campaign, Trump told Blitzer "there has to be at least a change in philosophy and there has to be a change in the cut up" of NATO's budget. He added that he didn't want the US to "decrease its role, but certainly decrease its spending" in NATO, which marks its 67th anniversary in April. The US is NATO's main contributor, providing about 22% of the organization's budget. Germany is second, contributing 14.5%, followed by France, which gives 11% of the budget, and then the UK at 10.5%. All members agree to spend at

least 2% of GDP on their defense budget, but some don't meet that threshold. As such, Trump’s precarious stance on NATO’s future perspectives really sound in tune with the Neo-Isolationist approach mentioned above. In addition to that, it had perhaps more than a just symbolic importance to whom (of the world leaders) the President-elect Donald Trump called first to discuss the subtleties of modern day geopolitics and the US role in them – his chosen duo were the Primeminister of Great Britain, Theresa May, and President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. It’s a gesture that speaks volumes, indicating that Donald Trump is perhaps seeking to sell to the international community that respecting Russia’s ambitions of geopolitical hegemony in its neighborhood is a given, thus opting for a new world order based on Multilateralism modality. It wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see him one morning introduce a new version of the Monroe Doctrine updated to globalized world politics. He will also most likely be trying to promote the concept of “cooperative security” with equal participation of the other Great Powers, however conflicting the interests of the involved parties might be. It should not be conceived as a sign that US relations with so-called “pivotal nations” like Georgia (backed on the strategic partnership charter signed by Georgian and American high-level diplomats in January 2009 in Tbilisi) are set to flounder, especially with Trump being Israelifriendly. Let’s wait and see to what tunes his new hit- Multilateralism is played to.

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Ukraine Fears Termination of US Funding BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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he Ukrainian authorities were not prepared for the fact that the election of the US President would lead to the victory of Republican Donald Trump, said a source in the Ukrainian Presidential Administration, adding that Kiev’s "communication with the headquarters of the new president is very weak." Only a few Ukrainian businessmen are familiar with the team of Donald Trump, and the 45th US president has never visited Ukraine. After Trump’s victory, Ukrainian politicians fear the possible lifting of sanctions with Russia and the cessation of financial

support from American partners. The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, expressed hopes for US support for reforms and the restoration of the territorial integrity of the country, and invited Donald Trump to Ukraine. The head of the parliamentary opposition, Yuriy Boyko, called Trump’s victory a total failure of the political line. Meanwhile, Ukrainian politicians began to delete records with insults to Trump. Trump will take Office as the 45th US President after his inauguration on January 20, 2017. President Vladimir Putin in his congratulatory telegram to the victorious election Republican Donald Trump expressed confidence that the dialogue between Moscow and Washington will continue in the interests of both Russia and the United States.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

Georgia, Russia and Trump OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

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he Tuesday before last, the world’s curiosity was so piqued to know what would happen at the end that it made the clearest impression that the world’s president – not just America’s – was going to be elected. The planet was glued to television screens, and Facebook was bursting with commentary on the subject. After all, why should it make such a difference which nominee turned out lucky enough to serve as America’s chief executive for the next four years? The world has not known a political show of that caliber in a long time. There should probably be some outstanding significance to the whole American event, turned international, and not only because America is the world’s biggest economy and money maker, or the greatest military power in the universe: it should also be the US’ overall image, including spiritual and cultural, which has such a huge influence on Mankind. Wise philosophy apart, suffice to say that America is the culture that has clad the entire world in jeans and T-shirts and has made us all listen to jazz, saying nothing about the fast-food habit imposed on every mouth and stomach around the world. Part of that world is angry with America and irritated by the way it handles the global processes, but we still want to watch American movies, relocate to the States, squeeze into American citizenship and become part of the American dream, which, by the way, is still very much alive and kicking. The world simply believes that the kind of person the next American president is can change their lifestyle and standard of living.

Georgia was truly part of that excited world, with citizens reacting to every piece of news on the US presidential elections in such a way any local presidential candidate here in Georgia might die of envy at the attention given to the fate of the American presidency. You can qualify it as a natural inclusion in the process – nothing like that meager popular turnout during our local elections a couple of weeks ago. The interest towards America is so keen here that one might think we are all ready to pay dues to the world’s

feeder and policeman rather that into our own state’s treasury. And there are many, many Georgian families living and trying to survive over there- their kids having no idea what Georgia is all about and how much their former motherland needs their economic and demographic assistance. The mix of cultures, minds and souls has become nowadays unusually commonplace, and Georgians have no way to avoid the trend for this is just part of the current world order. And world orders have a habit of com-

ing and going every once in a while, a process usually defined as the distribution of power and authority among the political actors on the global stage. The so called New World Order we are enjoying right now has been in place since President Woodrow Wilson’s reign in the White House some 100 years ago. The latest American president-elect’s campaign rhetoric purported so many radical alterations within the US that the connected presumable change of the world order should almost be at the door-

step with those new Trumpesque ideas and principles. And who would guess what it might have to the benefit of Georgia? Just imagine: The new American president and Russia’s big boys fall in love and pal up. This is followed by Trump’s attempt to lend his powerful hand to our frail Georgia, and asking Putin to get off our case… for a price of course: Maybe Trump will promise Vova something that Russia badly needs in return. I said imagine!


GEORGIA TODAY

POLITICS

NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

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Forced to Be a Hero: Ogden on Re-introducing Conscription OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN

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or those not in the know, Remembrance Day is a memorial day dedicated to members of the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth and Empire who gave their lives in service since the First World War. Though it is customarily observed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the Sunday following Remembrance Day – Remembrance Sunday – is typically the day devoted to organized memorium. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Remembrance Day service at the British Embassy last week, and as well as touching base with a number of the British service personnel working in Georgia (I was only mildly disappointed that none were from my old regiment), I also managed to speak with a number of Georgian veterans from the Wounded Warriors program. Meeting military amputees is always a poignant experience. That these men have been gravely injured in wars that have been invariably described as pointless (and in Georgia's case, arguably even more so) is tragic beyond description, but the fact that they are all universally cheerful, optimistic and upbeat is truly

h u m bling. One trooper I spoke with had lost his leg in Iraq...and then gone to war again in Afghanistan with a prosthetic a few years later. Much is made of the Georgian warrior spirit, but rarely does one see it manifest itself in human form. Little do the Georgian figures of lore, Vakhtang Gorgasali, Davit Soslani and Aghmashenebeli, resemble the middle-aged man patting his gut and boasting that he can eat fifty khinkali in a sitting, or the boy squatting on a street corner quaffing cheap beer and picking at sunflower seeds. That these same people are fiercely proud of their culture and history is well-known to anyone familiar with this country, but what I’ve noticed amongst Georgians is that they have a tendency to speak of their country's past as though they were capable of the same feats. That the medieval Georgian warriors who stopped the Turks dead in their tracks at Didgori were brave beyond belief and deserve a slot in history alongside the Spartans at Thermopylae is undoubtedly true, but I don't imagine that the majority of Georgian men today would be

Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

capable of standing with them. The men I met this last weekend are exceptions, with the kind of bravery and character that most Georgians males would like to think they possess despite the fact that most of them have actively avoided mandatory military service and would balk at the idea of enlisting. I mention all this due to the government's about-turn on abolishing conscription. A friend of mine, who serves in the United States' Army Special Forces and works training his Georgian counterparts, told me that Tinatin Khidasheli, the previous Defence Minister, admitted that she knew little and less of military affairs, and would listen to the Georgian General Staff and her foreign advisors. Her abolition of conscription was a welcome step in the country, especially hailed by a populace unwilling to serve in the Army. Her replacement, Levan Izoria, who has also never served a day

in uniform, has decreed that Georgia, as a small country, does indeed need military conscription. Military history has shown that conscripts perform poorly compared to regular, professional troops, but at least Western conscripts during the World Wars believed in the battle they fought; military acquaintances (including some who were conscripted) have told me that the last real test of Georgia's conscriptbased military in 2008 ended in disaster. Men who were understandably concerned for their families and friends and who had never regarded their brief (frighteningly brief) service as anything but a frustrating, depressing waste of time, simply could not stand in the face of a Russian onslaught and fight a war they knew they were sure to lose. Izoria has claimed that conscript training will be improved and updated, and the equipment issued to these citizen

soldiers will be more modern and resemble that used by Georgian regulars. Despite what Minister Izoria believes, none of this will help improve the performance of the conscript in the field. Unless a man has signed his name in anticipation of doing his duty and facing the fear, the blood, the noise and the horror of combat, those forced into it will be far more of a hindrance than a help. Friends who were dragged to the front line in 2008 told me they saw men flinging away rifles and running for their lives, with one apparently saying, “Georgia has survived the Russians twice before, we can do it again. Fighting will solve nothing.” There is simply no way to know, or even guess, as to how many of those forced into a uniform would agree with him. Not every man – no matter the country – has it in him to be like the heroes of the legends, or like the living, breathing heroes I met last weekend.


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

Believe Foundation Hosts Third Sector Trainings in Georgia

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elieve Foundation hosted two Charity and Social Enterprise Training events in November, bringing together founders, directors, and senior managers of non-profits, social enterprises and other impact driven initiatives. The sessions, one in Radisson Blu Iveria hotel, Tbilisi, the other in Hilton Batumi, were delivered by Andrew Brady, an expert in non-profit management and course leader for the BA in Charity and Social Enterprise Management at the Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. The primary aim of the session was to support Georgian charities and social enterprises by enhancing their leadership skills and promoting new ways of thinking. At the same time, the event was a great socializing and networking opportunity for the attendees, helping to strengthen the sector’s collective voice and identity.

“I was lucky enough to be invited by Mari Nadaraia from the Believe Foundation to run two training workshops,” Brady said. “We covered leadership, social enterprise, fundraising and collaboration, so it was a bit of a packed day, but the energy and enthusiasm of all involved is a positive indicator for the future of the sector in Georgia,” he added. Due to the generous sponsorship of CRYSTAL Micro Finance Organization, Gold Sponsor of the event, delegates of Georgian Social Enterprises and Charities were granted free attendance at the training. In total, more than 70 delegates attended the events. One delegate spoke of how the day had made a huge difference to her life, and how she would reconsider her approach to her job work in future. “We had a great deal of interest from workshop attendees in our Charity and Social Enterprise Management Course,

and hope to be linking many of these Georgian pioneers to our students from across the UK third sector very soon,” Brady said. The Anglia Ruskin University was recently named among the top 350 universities in the world by the Times Higher Education Supplement, and identified as a ‘rising star’, poised to break into the elite level of global higher education institutions, by an independent education consultancy. With over 35,000 students from 177 countries, on its four campuses in the UK, and at partner institutions across the world, ARU is well-placed to continue this upward trajectory. Partner of the event was Anglia Ruskin University, UK, The Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia, International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, Radisson Blu Hotel Tbilisi and Hilton Batumi Hotel.


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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

Public Private Partnership Fund Launched by San Diego State University in Georgia BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

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an Diego State University in Georgia (SDSU) announced the launch of the Public - Private Partnership fund (PPF) at an event held in Marriott Tbilisi Hotel on Wednesday. The first of its kind US University degree program in Georgia has been developed with a USD 30 million investment from the US Government, making it possible to form the San Diego State University - Georgia (SDSU- G) with more than 200 students from all over the country, 15 international students from six different countries and nine American exchange students from the California Campus. The university offers internationally accredited Bachelor of Science Degree programs. SDSU stu-

dents will earn American degrees upon graduation. The project is implemented within the framework and with the financial assistance of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s second compact. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields are considered to have a great lack of professionals in modern Georgia, largely the reason why the students at SDSU are expected to be among the future leaders and innovators in STEM. The newly established Public Private Partnership (PPP) Fund has as its major goal to generate financial resources to make these American degree programs affordable for talented, successful, socially deprived young people through scholarships. The aim of the fund is also to use the financial resources gained from the public private partnerships for the development of students’ innovative projects and studies. Georgian students will also have the chance to

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participate in special exchange study visits to the main campus in San Diego California. In return, SDSU will offer trainings to the staff of the PPP Fund’s partnering organizations and companies, who will be able to offer work placements and internships to successful students in their respective organizations, thus making the process mutually beneficial for the students and for those organizations interested in cooperation with the recently established venture. In addition being a supporter of the PPP Fund brings the companies numerous possibilities, brand exposure and publicity, or getting connected with American business representatives through visits and exchanges. It also allows access to cutting-edge industry research. The PPP Fund launch is primarily aimed at assisting and fostering STEM education in Georgia, thus forging its economic growth and creating a high-qualified workforce which will be in high demand in Georgia, throughout the region, and globally. As Ian Kelly, US Ambassador to Georgia, said in his speech, “With the SDSU Georgia Public Private Partnership Fund, even more bright students will benefit from the opportunity to get a US education right here, at home, in critical fields like biochemistry, and computer engineering. I would like to assure you that the US government strongly supports this program, that this is a critical part of our investment in Georgia’s success and I encourage you to think creatively about how you can support this joint US- Georgian initiative.” Ketevan Natriashvili, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, also underlined the importance of the emerging public-private sector cooperation, specifically in the educational field, noting that although it is widely practiced internationally, it is still relatively new to Georgia and that fostering such cooperation assists in the sustainable development of the country. “Educated professionals are those who can create a better future for the country, those who create intellectual resources and empower the economy. It is vital for the private sector to support these resources. And education needs to be accessible for the socially vulnerable and minority students in order to fully communicate their potential,” Natriashvili said. The educational reform is an essential part of the government’s four stage reform plan that seeks to adjust the educational system in Georgia to meet modern requirements, needs and challenges. “It is crucial to develop human capital, which may be a long-term goal to achieve, but is still very important for the development of our country,” said Ketevan Bochorishvili, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development. “Today we see the private and public sectors standing together and it’s a step towards integration which will help us to create a competitive environment based on education and skills, ensuring that there are high professionals in the country that the business sector can benefit from.” Dr. Stephen L. Weber, President Emeritus of San Diego State University, a special guest at the event, made a presentation on Public Private Partnership practices, explaining why they are so mutually beneficial in the case of universities. “The secret of success of San Diego State University, as well as other State Universities in the US, lays in a successful public-private partnership tradition,” he said. “Only 19 percent of university funding comes from the state of California, whereas USD 130 mln was gained from private corporations last year. Another major portion of income for the

university comes from philanthropy,” he added. From investments from private companies or individuals, last year SDSU saw USD 107 mln. “Ours is a knowledged-based economy, and universities are repositories of knowledge,” Weber said. “American universities are major economic drivers in their communities and these programs are about giving Georgians a chance to develop the skills the country needs. It is a wise investment in the future of Georgia and in the future of young man and woman.” Dr.Weber said, generously donating USD 1000 himself to the fund at the end of his presentation. Dr. Ken Walsh, Dean, SDSU Georgia, talked about the PPP Fund goals and concepts. “The objective of the project is to build a STEM workforce in Georgia with internationally recognized degrees that can be used to build investment in Georgia, to improve the capacity for higher education and, through that, attract more investment and fuel economic growth. For these degree programs we’re building a wide range of infrastructure to support laboratories at the same level

as in San Diego. This year we’re also embarking on a new effort to add civil and construction engineering, so we’ll be able to address technology, information technology, bio-technology and infrastructure- three critical need areas for Georgia.” He went on to point out that many of the students at SDSU are from socially deprived families, and although the goal of the project was to give Georgian students a US education locally at a low cost, and that objective is fulfilled, it is still expensive to obtain an American degree in Georgia, which is where the help of the public private partnership is needed. “Support of such students is critical and that’s why the PPP Fund was created. It is the vehicle that will enable public and private sector leaders to support the program and, most importantly, the students of the program.” The Public Private Partnership Fund launch ended with the announcing of students who received scholarships from the public and private companies who already decided to partner with SDSU G PPPF: TBC Bank, LTD Adjara Water, SAGA and Dr. Ken Walsh’s family.


GEORGIA TODAY

SOCIETY

NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE’S 'TINY STORY'

Universal Children’s Day: 200 World Renowned Writers Unite for Children’s Rights

O

ver 200 prominent writers, including novelists, playwrights and poets, have joined a global literary campaign this week, penning ‘tiny stories’ of around seven lines each to highlight Universal Children’s Day and the injustice so many of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged children still face. The short story series kicks off UNICEF’s commemoration of its 70th year working to bring help and hope to every child. The short stories will be shared by some of the world’s most celebrated writers with their own social media audiences. The First Lady of Finland, Jenni Haukio, introduced the concept, which gained global momentum with writers joining from Asia, Africa, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. The writers participating in the campaign from Georgia are: Paata Shamugia, Irakli Kakabadze, David Gabunia, Shota Iatashvili, Nestan Kvinikadze, George Lobzhanidze, Vasil Guleuri, Diana Anfimiadi, George Kekelidze, Rati Amaglobeli, Lia Likokeli, Lela Samniashvili, Gaga

Nakhutsrishvili, Dato Kardava, Nino Sadgobelashvili, Lela Samniashvili, Lela Tsutskiridze, Mariam Tsiklauri, and Toreza Mosi. “As writers, we are able to advocate through the simplicity of storytelling. With this worthy and necessary campaign, we advocate for the protection of the rights of precious children all over the world,” said celebrated Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie. The group of writers, whose genres range from fairy tale to fiction, include one the world’s youngest published authors, seven-year-old South African, Michelle Nkamankeng. Written in over 10 languages and varying in style, all stories illustrate that the rights of many children are still neglected. The campaign comes at a time when there are increasing threats to children’s rights. Over 50 million children have been uprooted from their homes due to conflict, poverty and climate change and millions more are facing unspeakable violence in their communities. Around 263 million children are out of school and last year nearly six million children

I want every child to go to sleep wellfed And not worry about the next meal Or the next. I want every child to have primary healthcare. I want every child to be protected by adults And to take for granted the kindness of adults And never to be treated like adults. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and the story collection The Thing around Your Neck, all of which received numerous accolades. Her latest novel, Americanah, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and The Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction; and was named one of The New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year. A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, she divides her time between the United States and Nigeria. under five died from mostly preventable diseases. “It is shocking to see that the lives of many children are still so heavily impacted by the horror of conflict, inequality, poverty and discrimination. I hope these Tiny Stories can remind the world that we must sustain our commitment to all of these children whose lives and futures are at stake,” said Paloma Escudero, UNICEF Spokesperson. Chimamanda Adichie used her ‘Tiny Story’ to launch the series today, which will run until November 20 - the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. A full list of authors and their Tiny Stories are available throughout the week here (they will also be shared on the author’s social media pages): www.unicef. org/tinystories

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Tbilisi Zoo Presents New Zoo Latest Developments

BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI

I

n 2015, the swollen Vere River flooded Tbilisi Zoo. Half the animal inhabitants died, while many surviving animals, such as a hippopotamus, lions, tigers, bears, and wolves, escaped into the streets of Tbilisi. Some animals were recaptured but several were shot by emergency forces. While the old zoo has been rehabilitated and re-stocked, it has on-going plans to relocate and expand its collection. On November 13, journalists were invited to visit the territory of the new zoo near Tbilisi Sea, guided around it on horseback by Zoo Director Zurab Gurielidze, who explained the construction process of the new open-air animal enclosures, the zonation of the new territory and future plans for the New Tbilisi Zoo. The new zoo area has already been fenced with the help of international funds, in particular from the German International Cooperation: Society Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbe (GIZ). “For the open-air cages we plan to use the natural landscape of the territory, keeping it as close to the natural environment of the animal as possible.

In this open-air cage, wolves and bears will live together,” said Gurielidze. “This is a method that involves cohabitation and creates an environment that is very close to the one present in the wild. The shrubbery is very comfortable for bears; and good for the wolves to hide in. Every animal needs to hide at times, and this is reflected in the world standards for zoo zonation that we are applying here. As bears are swimmers, diggers and climbers, there will be double fencing: electro and regular fence, with a net in between for visitor safety.” Gurielidze also talked about the animals and the importance of ensuring their reproduction. “Wild goats and deer have become extinct in Georgia, with the Wild goat now only found in Tusheti. We plan to buy them, breed them and eventually release them back into the wild Caucasus. We have already developed a management plan for this process. Goats and deer are our priority at this stage, however we also want to work with aurochs, also extinct in the Georgian wild. They are very hard to come by but we found some in Tallinn Zoo- they’ll be brought to Tbilisi soon.” The design of the open-air and cliffside enclosures for the deer and wild goats will also be funded by GIZ.


12

SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

Community Spirit: Etseri, Svaneti

BY TONY HANMER

T

his article has a really weird feel in the writing. This is because I'm putting it together in Montreal's Pierre Eliot Trudeau Airport, on my way back to Edmonton, Canada, to deal with a death in the family (more on that elsewhere), while its events concern a similar theme "at home" in Etseri. Our unmarried close neighbor and friend in Etseri recently lost her sisterin-law, long widowed, with whom she had lived for many years. The two of them had a barn full of cattle and some pigs and poultry, too, plus land with hay, corn and potatoes on it. Far too much for two ladies aged 64 and 70 to deal with, when you add DIY water and firewood splitting and all the other things necessary to village life in Upper Svaneti. And for just one? So it was wonderful to see the village's

name, the Hebrew word for "help," being acted out a few days ago in relation to said potatoes. The widow had recently died suddenly, leaving behind a wake of grief; her funeral feast was over, and it was time to get on with life, somehow, for the elder lady. A field of tubers needed attention before frost could ruin them in the ground. Vital winter food. Our own potato crop was rather meager this year, needing perhaps for the land to lie fallow; but it was bolstered by my businesswoman wife's clever idea to get back some of our former shop's outstanding debts, not in cash but in the form of the debtors' own potatoes. So our barn coffers were relatively full. Zoya's potatoes were many more, and much larger, than our own. I went over as early in the day as I could to help with the gathering, in which her nieces and nephews were already active. From there, it only got better. First, the old dry plants must be scythed out of the way and raked up. Their job was done. Next, you either pitchfork or plow the land to reveal the prize after

the months of spring and summer care: plowing, sowing, hoeing. In this case, relatives brought over their steers and plowed them up, by far the faster way. Then many more of us appeared, for suddenly it was a case of "many hands, light work." Size and quality grading is important. These ones will go to market in Zugdidi, where Svan potatoes are sought after. These are for next spring's seed. These, softened by frost or spade-damaged, or mole-bitten, the pigs will relish. And the rest are for the long winter's consumption. Separate sacks for each kind, separate locations in the barn, where the cattle's warmth will keep them from freezing. We drew them from the earth, piled them up all over the field in a few locations, and began the sorting. Scything and plowing continued here and there, too. The plowmen took the filled sacks, loaded them onto a Svan sled pulled by the hefty steers, and hauled them off to the barn for storage. And I marveled at the way the whole neighborhood, from seven to seventy, had rallied around bereft Zoya to get her harvest taken care of in record time. Her future plans remain uncertain, but she seems to be in good hands. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1350 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svanetilong trek

Rally for Pedestrian Rights Planned in Tbilisi BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

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on-Governmental Organization ‘Walk’ (Iare Pexhit) plans to hold a rally to defend pedestrian rights of citizens on Sunday, November 20 in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi. The rally will start in front of the Old Parliament building at 14:00. The organization claims it is advocating and improving the rights of pedestrians in the cities through education, rising of awareness and lobbying, while using different tools to “return public spaces to their rightful owners.” According to the organizers of the rally, their goal is to address a continuous, massive disappearance of public spaces in the city and unregulated constructions taking place all over, resulting in a high level of air pollution on the one hand, and

ROUTING

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

Rally for pedestrians event

the rise of the injured pedestrians reaching unprecedented numbers on the other. The NGO states that the number of people injured during car accidents have increased by 11 percent from the previous year with every third person injured a pedestrian. During two incidents that happened recently, on October 22 and November 2, three persons were hit by a car in Tbilisi, one on a so called zebra crossing, and another on a side-walk.

FLIGHT NUMBER

TK 387 TK 385 TK 383 TK 386 TK 384 TK 382

WEEK DAYS

DEPARTURE

ARRIVAL

EVERYDAY

05.50 11.45 18.10 01.40 07.30 13.55

07.25 13.25 20.00 04.55 10.50 17.15

07.40

09.00

20.45

00.10+1

17.50 13.55

19.10 16.55

TK 381

As such, the rally organizers are addressing the Tbilisi Municipality, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and Parliament to take necessary measures and prohibit car parking on side-walks, in accordance with the legislation, to maximize the penalty for unauthorized parking, and prioritize the safety of pedestrians. The NGO urges Parliament to discuss and implement issues related to contactless patrol and points system alongside the law on road safety.

CULTURE

Cullum, Payton, Dulfer and Porter Make a Hit of the 2016 Jazz Fest, Joint-Organized by TBC

BY MAKA LOMADZE

T

bilisi Jazz Festival 2016, featuring Jamie Cullum, the Nicholas Payton Trio, Candy Dulfer and Gregory Porter, sold-out, proving that Georgians, without any exaggeration, are among the most musical nations. Four memorable jazz days on November 10-13 filled Tbilisi Concert Hall and Event Hall with a multitude of precious melodies, voices and sounds! Opening the Festival was Jamie Cullum, a 36-year-old British composer, singer and pianist, and the youngest performer at the Tbilisi jazz event, who said, “I like to use the moment to invent when I am on stage.” He went on to reveal he was inspired to come to Georgia by close friend Katie Melua, wellknown Georgian-born British female singer, who reportedly told Jamie that he would love the country. Jamie appeared on stage with extraordinary energy, shifting from one instrument to the other, even climbing up on the grand-piano, dancing non-stop, to the delight of the audience. Jamie has all the features of a pop star and more – he is a genius in terms of voice, playing, and improvisation. On November 11, Nicholas Payton, a multi-instrumentalist and Trumpet Master, one of the greatest masters of our time, stepped on stage with his trio-mates, Vicente Archer on Bass and Joe Dyson on Drums. Nicholas served as Distinguished Artist at Tulane University and has taught master classes, clinics and workshops at over 40 institutions, including Berklee College of Music, The Con-

necticut Forum (with Beverly Sills, Bobby Weir and Trey Anastasio), and Cornell University. Founder of the Black American Music Movement, Payton says his mission is to go back in history to extract the richness and lost knowledge of the past in order to elevate today’s consciousness. Candy Dulfer&Band on November 12 presented the most joyful and light performance with the female soloist showing off her great class in saxophone and her cheerful character. The Dutch musician presented “Lily was Here,” her most famous hit, and got the audience moving with a number of unknown songs and covers. On November 13, Gregory Porter, one of the best jazz vocalists in the world, capped Tbilisi Jazz Festival 2016 with his magic voice, virtuously blending Funk, Blues, Soul and R&B. GEORGIA TODAY heard from Tamara Kirvalidze, TBC Bank Communications Head: "The partnership of TBC Status and Eastern Promotion counts six years. In addition to offering our clients beneficial terms for attending the concerts, we are glad to promote jazz culture in the country. Year on year the number of people who attend jazz concerts is increasing. This, first of all, is a result of Eastern Promotion’s well designed high-quality concert programs. We fully rely on them in planning Festivals and Jazz Series- they are the number one company with highly proficient staff. The latter was an essential factor for TBC Bank when we decided to partner with them. Throughout these years we have grown into one team and this is most positively reflected in the quality of Jazz Series and Jazz Festivals organized."

EVERYDAY TK 380 TK 393 TK 392

EVERYDAY

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


GEORGIA TODAY

CULTURE

NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

13

World-Acclaimed Georgian Tenor Returns to Restore Tbilisi Opera Glory

BY MAKA LOMADZE

A

fter 30 years away from his homeland, spreading the reputation of Georgian opera music and the country itself on numerous world stages as an indelible tenor, Badri Maisuradze is back to take the reins of the Tbilisi Opera Theater as its new Artistic Director. On November 13, Maisuradze met media representatives at the premises of beautiful opera building, introduced by Minister of Culture Mikheil Giorgadze who welcomed Maisuradze to the post and promised much in store for the Tbilisi Opera House- to “become one of the leading creative institutions and honorable member of World Theater.” “We will work as our theater’s history and future deserves. Our aim is to make achievements of which we will be proud. This is my one and only ambition. I will try to justify your expectations,” Maisuradze said.

Badri Maisuradze, was born in Tbilisi in 1966. He graduated the Shota Rustaveli Theater, Cinema State University and Tbilisi State Conservatoire. Later, he continued his studies in Milan and Moscow. Maisuradze’s debut at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater happened in Otar Taktakishvili’s opera ‘Mindia.’ He won the Francisco Vinas International Singing Competition (Spain) and Bjorling Vocalists Contest (Sweden). His international career began in 1993 at the Liege Opera Theater where he performed the part of Dmitri liar in the performance by Mussorgsky ‘Boris Godunov.’ Since then, he has collaborated with multiple leading theaters around the world, including: Berlin Deutsche Opera Vienna Staatsoper, Milan La Scala, Florence Teatro Comunale, Madrid Teatro Real, Naples Teatro di San Carlo, and Palermo Teatro Massimo. During his lengthy career, Maisuradze has collaborated with well-known conductors, among which are: Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Oren, Antonio Guadagno, Marcello Viotti , Maurizio Barbacini, and Carlo Rizzi.

He became the soloist of Tbilisi Opera Theater in 1989. In 1994, he was the soloist of Moscow Bolshoi Theater. In 2002, he became professor of the Opera Center of Galina Vishnevskaya. He regularly holds master-classes in Germany, Italy, France, Canada and Australia. GEORGIA TODAY spoke with Sulkhan Gvelesiani, one of the leading singers of Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater: “We were unanimously against the former leader, as he made many mistakes. If one is unprofessional, one must leave one’s post. We feel very optimistic now, as this man knows the theater very well, is a magnificent singer himself and has been breathing the air of the theater all his life. Our mission is to support him and prepare all future performances to the utmost quality.”

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Unprecedented Italian Glamor in Tbilisi BY MAKA LOMADZE

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his is not a PR article but there are events that should not be missed for any reason. ‘Sixty Years of Italian Fashion History/60 years of Made in Italy,’ represented at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) from November 14, is one of them. The Italian Ambassador Antonio Enrico Bartoli opened the event, highlighting the genius of Italy, expressed in the precious fabrics created by various great fashion names for top models and movie stars throughout the past 60 years. “‘60 years of Made in Italy’ pays tribute to the genius of those who were able, over time, to impose their aesthetics and to determine the success of the unmistakable ‘Italian Style’ worldwide,” the Ambassador said. “We hope this splendid show will become an inspiration for Georgian fashion designers,” added Mikheil Giorgadze, Georgian Minister of Culture.

THE BEGINNINGS In 1951, the Marquis Giovani Battista Giorgini, a “resident buyer” for large American department stores, was living with his family in Florence: Florence, with its famous and beautiful works of art, its society pages brimming with parties thrown by Florentine nobility, beautiful villas and magnificent gardens hosting cultural and social events attended

by world-famous personalities in the field of art and culture, influential international politicians, film stars, and powerful business magnates. The tradition of first-rate tailoring, which had existed in Italy since the late 19th century, was carried on by recognized dressmakers, many of whom, such as Biki (the favourite fashion designer of soprano Maria Callas) or Simonetta Visconti, a personal friend of Giorgini, were members of Milan and Rome highsociety. The Marquis accompanied to the tailor shops rich foreign ladies who were unable to resist the temptation of buying something Italian. To help, he recruited the most prestigious names in Italian haute couture, aiming to promote them on the international market. On February 12, 1951, he gathered in his wonderful Villa the first group of “brands” soon to become famous in the world: Carosa (Princess Giovanna Caracciolo), Fabiani, Simonetta Visconti, Emilio Schuberth, Sorelle Fontana, and more. Today, Italian fashion is everywhere synonymous with good taste, elegance and quality. Despite the huge growth of this industry, creativity and craftsmanship, the main ingredients of “Made in Italy” remain.

PROTAGONISTS OF THE ITALIAN STYLE IN TBILISI At MOMA, each item comes from the fashion houses’ archives as well as from private collections, like the heavy satin evening dress by Schuberth, photographed in the 1950 Fashion Encyclopaedia. Some creations represent a time when Italian fashion first became a hit with Hollywood movie stars, like the “Priest”

dress, by Sorelle Fontana, first worn by Ava Gardner (1956) in Fellini’s film ‘La Dolce Vita’ (1960). The famous trendsetting “Palazzo Pyjamas” created by Irene Galitzine (a princess of Georgian origin and fashion designer in Italy) and worn by Claudia Cardinale in ‘The Pink Panther’ (1963) and precious corset-dress designed by Luciano Soprani for Jacqueline Bisset in ‘The Wild Orchid.’ The exhibition also features stunning “red-carpet” gowns worn at special premieres or for Oscar night, like the tulle, sequin and gold-embroidered Prada dress worn by actress Cate Blanchett (2000) and the chiffon Prada dress designed for Milla Jovovich for the Los Angeles première of her film, ‘Joan of Arc’ (1999). And one cannot forget the unique Valentino “red” creations, like the dress worn by actress Elizabeth Hurley at the Estee Lauder charity ball (1998). Tailoring is represented by Marcello Mastroianni’s dark suit designed by Litrico (1961) and dinner jacket designed by Brioni for Pierce Brosnan, alias “007James Bond” in the movie ‘Die another Day’ (2002). Visitors can admire a spectacular Fendi leopard coat (1970), one of Sophia Loren’s favorites, and Gianni Versace’s passion for luxury and pomposity, well represented by a Swarovski fabric dress enhanced by top model Naomi Campbell at the Leopolda Station in Florence (1998). There is more…so much more. But you’d do better to go and see for yourself rather than read about it here- it will prove to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I promise! The fascinating fashion adventure is on at MOMA until January.

CONTACT PERSON 557 12 38 90


14

CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATRE Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56 November 21 NIKOLOZ RACHVELI AND GEORGIAN PHILARMONYC ORCHESTRA Conductor: Kakhi Solomnishvili Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10, 15, 20, 25 GEL GEORGIAN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS GIFT IN TBILISI October 15 – November 25 November 20, 21 DEMON. VIEW FROM ABOVE A collective composition based on the poem by M.Y. LermontovMoscow, Russia Start time: 21:00 Address: Tbilisi Caravanserais (Tbilisi History Museum) 8 Sioni Str. November 23 TANGO DE ROSAS Irma de Flore Tbilisi, Georgia Start time: 21:00 Address: Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater,164 Agmashenebeli Ave. TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATRE Address: 182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90 www.musictheatre.ge November 24 DIVORCE Giorgi Eristavi Directed by Davit Doiashvili Musical Start time: 19:00 Ticket: From 8 GEL TBILISI NODAR DUMBADZE STATE CENTRAL CHILDREN'S THEATRE Address: 99/1 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 95 39 27 November 20 KOLOBOK Directed by Anatoli Lobov Main Stage Start time: 12:00 Ticket: From 6 GEL GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATRE Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14

November 18 KRIMANCHULI Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL

PERFORMANCE INI & IANI Modern Theater Art Coalition Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (Info Above) Start time: 11:45, 13:40, 16:40, 19:30, 22:30 Ticket: 8-14 GEL

November 19 TERENTI GRANELI Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL

CIRCUS Address: 1 The Heroes Sq. Telephone: 2 98 58 61 www.krakatuk.eu

DOCTOR STRANGE Directed by Scott Derrickson Cast: Rachel McAdams, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mads Mikkelsen Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Language: Russian Start time: 14:40 Ticket: 9-10 GEL

November 23 SAINT GEORGE Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL

November 19, 20 TRIUMPHANTS OF THE ARENA Start time: November 19 - 17:00, November 20 – 13:00, 17:00 Ticket: 10 GEL CINEMA

GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36 November 19 THE PLAYERS N. Gogol Directed by Giorgi Margvelashvili Language: Russian Comedy Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 November 18, 24 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL November 19 STALINGRAD Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari November 18-24 FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Directed by David Yates Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Ron Perlman Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy Language: English Start time: 19:00 Language: Russian Start time: 11:30, 13:00, 16:00, 20:00 Ticket: 8-14 GEL ARRIVAL Directed by Denis Villeneuve Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi Language: English Start time: 22:20 Language: Russian Start time: 16:45 Ticket: 10-14 GEL

November 20 AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN Directed by Tate Taylor Cast: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson Genre: Mystery, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 14:15, 19:00 Ticket: 9-14 GEL

MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260

RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge

November 19, 20 PERFORMANCE CONCRETE ZONE Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL

Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL November 18-24

November 23, 24

ARRIVAL (Info Above) Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL Directed by Mike Flanagan Cast: Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Annalise Basso Genre: Horror Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 22:30 Ticket: 10-14 GEL THE ACCOUNTANT Directed by Gavin O'Connor Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons Genre: Action, Crime, Drama Language: Russian Start time: 11:30 Ticket: 8-9 GEL THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (Info Above) Start time: 22:40 Ticket: 13-14 GEL

ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION OF GOGI ALEXI-MESKHISHVILI FABRIKA Address: 8 E. Ninoshvili Str. November 18 BRIAN GRIFFIN EXHIBITION 'MOTHER GEORGIA' FOR COMME DES GARCONS The story was shot for “Six” magazine consisting of striking images to bring Comme des Garcons founder Rei Kawakubo’s vision to life. The photoshoot was featured in Dazed magazine almost 25 years later. EXPO GEORGIA Address: 118 Tsereteli Ave., 11th pavilion November 17-20 TBILISI BOOK DAYS 2016 & BOOK FAIR The Book Fair being held within the Tbilisi Book Days event is appealing for everyone interested in books. Along with a wide diversity of cultural events, each visitor will be greeted with significant discounts on most of the books that can be found on the Georgian market.

MUSEUM MUSIC

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

TBILISI EVENT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99

PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO 4TH CENTURY A.D EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY

November 19 ONYX W / SNAK THE RIPPER & JUNK, DJ ILLEGAL Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 30 GEL

NUMISMATIC TREASURY June 11 – March 11 (2017) EXHIBITION "MEDIEVAL TREASURY"

MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260

June 16 – December 16 THE EXHIBITION “NEW DISCOVERIES GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY”

November 22, 24 JAM SESSION Leaders: Reso Kiknadze (sax), Nika Gabadze (guitar), Misha Japaridze (bass), Irakli Choladze / Gio Kapanadze (drums) Start time: 21:00

September 27 – September 22 (2017) EXHIBITION "STONE AGE GEORGIA" IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 November 15-22 THE EXHIBITION OF GIOVANNI VEPKHVADZE'S ARTWORKS

November 23 TANGO EVENING Milonga La Kumparsita Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 5 GEL

MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave.

BACKSTAGE 76 Address: Vake Park Telephone: 597 58 75 09

PERMANENT EXHIBITION

November 18 GEORGE ERGEMLIDZE LIVE Start time: 20:00

GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION June 24, 2016 – June 24, 2017 PIROSMANI’S "YARD CLEANER" AND "EAGLE SEIZING A HARE" ON DISPLAY September 28 - September 28 (2017) PIROSMANI’S ROE AT A STREAM November 3-23

TBILISI BAROQUE FESTIVAL 2015 www.tbf.ge November 22 KRISTOP MEIER AND GEORGIA BROWN GEORGIAN SINFONIETTA Start time: 19:30 Ticket: From 10 GEL Venue: Rustaveli Theater, Small Scene


SPORTS

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 18 - 21, 2016

15

Japan Comeback Gives Georgia a Cold Shower Ahead of Samoa Clash BY ALASTAIR WATT

O

n a sun-soaked autumnal afternoon on November 12, Georgia let slip a ninepoint advantage in the final twenty minutes to suffer a sobering 28-22 reverse at the hands of Japan. A thrilling encounter played out in front of a capacity crowd at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium, advertised both the quality of rugby among the game’s second tier nations today as well as some deficiencies. The Japanese struggled to cope with Georgia’s forward power but the home side’s inability to make pressure count at key moments and, worse still, to concede tries from seemingly harmless situations, made this a frustrating afternoon in which defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. In the words of one GRU official, this was a “cold shower”. Japan, who leapfrogged Georgia in the world rankings in the wake of their victory, began brightly and opened the scoring in the 9th minute, taking advantage of the Georgian backs’ failure to clutch a high, bouncing ball. Full-back Kotaro Matsushima pounced amid the panic to power over the Georgian line for the first try of the game, despite the best efforts of Georgian scrum-half Valeri Lobjanidze. Japanese stand-off Yu Tamura, perhaps toiling against the howls of the home crowd, missed an elementary conversion

meaning that Georgia trailed by only five points. Tamura would make amends soon after, scoring from 40 meters with a 16th minute penalty to increase the Georgian arrears to eight. It had been a sluggish first quarter of the game for the hosts but they sprang to life in the 26th minute as Giorgi Nemsadze leapt to grasp a lineout near the Japanese line, and the Georgian pack bulldozed its way to visitors’ line with flanker Viktor Kolelishvili notching their first try of the game. Merab Kvirikashvili spurned the resulting conversion but Georgia were now in the ascendancy and would take a deserved lead before half-time. A sloppy Japanese lineout saw the ball break loose to Lobjanidze and the youngster raced home to score, after a few minutes of deliberation from the officials. Kvirikashvili made no mistake this time with the boot and his conversion handed Georgia a 12-8 lead at the break. The hosts began the second period like they finished the first, in a tenacious mood and seeking to increase their advantage. However, just as it seemed Georgia would score their third try of the afternoon, Japanese wing Lomano Lemeki intercepted brilliantly inside his own 22 and galloped the length of the field to restore Japan’s lead. The home crowd, who seconds earlier had been bracing themselves to celebrate a try of their own, looked on in disbelief. Tamura again missed with the conversion but Japan led 13-12 in any case. In the 50th minute, the Georgians’ for-

ward dominance was turned into points as Beka Bitsadze threw himself over the line, spotting a gap in the Japanese defence, to put Georgia back in front. Kvirikashvili’s subsequent conversion and a further three points from a 57th minute penalty put Georgia to within sight of victory, armed with a 22-13 advantage. The Japanese had other ideas though, and within three minutes they had cut their deficit to two points. A perfectly measured kick through from center Harumichi Tatekawa was grabbed by the rapid Lemeki who burst clear to score Japan’s third try of the game, duly converted by Tamura. If that made the home crowd uneasy, what happened next made them queasy. A flowing move into the Georgian half culminated with Tamura setting up replacement Kenki Fukuoka to touch down in the corner in the 64th minute, putting Japan into the lead for a third time. Tamura once again failed with the conversion but did add another penalty in the closing stages to secure a six-point winning margin that looked highly unlikely until the hour mark. After the match, Georgian head coach Milton Haig refused to be overly critical of his team and expressed hope that his men would learn and become stronger from such a frustrating experience. He also thanked the noisy home support and pleaded with the Georgian fans to again turn up in good numbers for the match with Samoa on Saturday November19.

CULTURE

CineClub to Show “The President”

O

n October 21, Tbilisi CineClub, in cooperation with the Georgian National Film Center, will screen "The President" directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf and produced by Vladimer Katcharava. A revolution is happening in a country ruled by a dictatorial president. The president sends his family abroad but his grandson wishes to stay with his grandfather. Eventually, they must both run for their lives, experiencing hardship

the director says. After the screening the producer will participate in an open discussion and Q&A session with the audience. Tickets can be purchased online at www.kinoafisha.ge approximately 1 week before the show or at the cinema box office. and hunger as they head to the coast, disguised as gypsies. “I was inspired for this film when I visited the Darul Aman Palace in Kabul,”

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GEORGIA TODAY

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WHERE: Amirani Cinema, Kostava Str. WHEN: Monday October 21, 19:00 TICKET: 3 GEL (ticket) plus 2 GEL (donation for organization costs)

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

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Issue #897