Page 1 georgiatoday

Issue no: 803

• DECEMBER DECE 18 - 21, 2015



In this week’s issue... Embassy of South Korea Opens in Georgia NEWS PAGE 2

Random Shots- How High Should We Jump?

Politicians playing dirty?


The Soviet Origins of Russia’s Information Warfare



Georgian Churchkhela on Market in Netherlands



PAGE 1-6

Former Head of the President’s Pardon Commission, Aleko Elisashvili

WSJ: European Commission’s Report on Georgia to be Published Today BY ZVIAD ADZINBAIA


he Wall Street Journal (WSJ) claims that today the European Commission’s report on Georgia and Ukraine’s visa liberalization, of which the release was initially planned Monday, will be published. According to WSJ, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and top European Union officials reached a tentative deal on Wednesday on Kiev’s bid to win visa-free access to the bloc, opening the way for Brussels to back the step, EU officials said. “The European Union’s executive had been pressing Mr. Poroshenko to complete—or at least to pledge to complete soon—two key anti-

corruption measures before giving its backing to Kiev’s push for the EU to give Ukraine’s 40 million citizens THE RIGHT to visit the bloc without a visa,” the WSJ cites. After talks Wednesday evening between Mr. Poroshenko and several of the EU’s top officials, the two sides crafted a deal on moving ahead, two EU officials said. “The agreement will need to be signed off by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.” “Under the plan, the EU will issue a report backing Ukraine’s request but making clear that the EU’s executive will only begin the legal work to enact that decision once Kiev delivers on its remaining commitments.” The WSJ says the EU is likely to publish similar reports on visa-free bids of Georgia and Kosovo today. Both are expected to win Brussels’ broad support.

Drowning in Uncertainty: Svaneti SOCIETY PAGE 13

Stranded in Despair: Ogden on Expats SOCIETY PAGE 14

58th Grammy Nominations Have Arrived CULTURE PAGE 16

The European Commission’s report on Georgia was expected last Monday; however, Georgia’s Ambassador to the EU, Natalia Sabanadze, later confirmed the report for Georgia was postponed by a few days.

Female Lenny Kravitz at Tbilisi Event Hall on the 31st CULTURE PAGE 17

Delicious Dishes to Delight Food Lovers

Zandukeli Str. 27




DECEMBER 18 - 21, 2015

Embassy of South Korea Opens in Georgia BY ZVIAD ADZINBAIA


n December 15th, the Embassy of the Republic of South Korea was opened in Tbilisi. The diplomatic representation held a reception attended by Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, diplomatic representatives accredited in Georgia, and the Free University’s Asia-Africa Faculty. Kim Chang-Gyu, the newly appointed Ambassador of Korea to Georgia addressed the audience and thanked them for coming.

Kvirikashvili also addressed the audience and congratulated the representatives on the opening of representation in Georgia. The Georgian Minister underlined that during recent years, a new positive tendency of bilateral trade between Georgia and South Korea has been steadily increasing, adding that investments from Korea have been remarkable, a fact wellexemplified by the participation of the Korean K-Water company in the Nenskra (hydropower) Project. On December 15th, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister David Jalagania met with the delegation of the Republic of Korea, including the newly appointed Ambassador Kim Chang-Gyu; Director

of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Choi Yonjae; and Charge d’Affairs of the Tbilisi Office, Kim In-Hwan. The MFA says discussions focused on the current bilateral relations between Georgia and the Republic of Korea; on the increased level of co-operation between Georgia and the KOICA; and on the prospects for development of that co-operation. “David Jalagania underlined the importance of three projects (related to the issues of agriculture, health and environment protection) presented by the Government of Georgia to the KOICA. The decision on possible financing of projects will be made by the Agency in 2017.”

Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Georgian Foreign Minister (left) and Kim Chang-Gyu, South Korean Ambassador (right) at the official reception

The Deputy Minister thanked the Agency for its active co-operation and for the grant assistance rendered to the Georgian Foreign Ministry in 2013 and 2015, in the frames of which the Agency supplied computer equipment to the amount of 100,000 USD to the MFA. Both sides reaffirmed their readiness to further enhance the bilateral co-operation with a view to realizing projects

with regard to the country’s development agenda. The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) was established in 1991 by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a Governmental Organization for Official Development Assistance (ODA) to enhance the global development agenda by promoting sustainable social-economic development of partner countries.

Scandal: Political Involvement in Pardon Commission BY ZVIAD ADZINBAIA


Former Head of the President’s Pardon Commission, Aleko Elisashvili, was questioned Monday at the Prosecutor General’s Office

ormer Head of the President’s Pardon Commission, Aleko Elisashvili, was questioned Monday at the Prosecutor General’s Office for claiming pressure was exerted on him by authorities to give a favorable decision in the cases of specific prisoners, disregarding standard criteria. Elisashvili stated, in light of an investigation failure, he was planning to publish the names of the politicians involved in the illegal process, however after his questioning he declared that he is satisfied with the progress

of the investigation. He said he has presented phone messages received from high officials, to the President. Yesterday the President confirmed that fact. According to Elisashvili, President Margvelashvili has offered him a personal body guard. Prior to being questioned for the second time, Elisashvili told reporters he had brought a phone with him to show “historical messages” proving his recent statements. The scandal followed an article by Georgian newspaper Kviris Palitra, based on an anonymous source, speaking out about one of the cases of alleged pressure on the Pardon Commission and Elisashvili. This came from Parliament’s

Vice Speaker Manana Kobakhidze. Kobakhidze and head of Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Eka Beselia, were also questioned at the Prosecutor General’s office on Monday. Beselia called the scandal a “political adventure” as the election campaign is approaching. “My patience, experience, endurance and professional skills will be adequate to end this case,” Beselia declared. Kobakhidze told journalists that she, as an MP, has an obligation to react to every application from prisoners concerning the protection of their rights. She believes this is “a disreputable campaign” against her, and she plans to fight until all questions have been answered.




Romanian Government and UNDP Give Joint Gift to EMA BY MERI TALIASHVILI


he Government of Romania and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia has officially gifted an off-road Toyota Land Cruiser to the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia for rescue operations in less accessible areas. They also gave a high pressure oxygen compressor to be used by the portable

clinics for emergency situations. Shombi Sharp, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Georgia, stressed the necessity of the emergency response equipment for Georgia, especially after the disastrous flooding in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi this summer: “It is no secret that Georgia is exposed to many very serious risks in terms of potential natural disasters from flooding, landslides, and earthquakes. We recognized the very important efforts of the Emergency Management Agency to strengthen its capacity in training and in the provision of modernizing response equip-

ment. Together with the Romanian Government we are able to help and provide some of the most modern emergency response equipment enabling them to respond in any condition and also to organize study tours for EMA personnel in Romania. I think that the importance of strengthening Georgia’s emergency response capacity was underlined by the tragic events in Tbilisi this past summer. So this equipment will enable the EMA to lead better, safer lives in the event of disaster.” At the gift-giving ceremony, the partners discussed the benefits of a profes-

Georgia: Diplomacy Not Guns BY ZVIAD ADZINBAIA


n December 9th, a Russian helicopter violated Georgian airspace triggering concern from the Georgian side. Following the occurrence, the Georgian Foreign Ministry (MFA) released a statement calling it a provocation from the Russian side. “On 9th December 2015, at about 18:48, an unmanned Russian aerial vehicle illegally deployed in the occupied Tskhinvali region violated the airspace controlled by Georgian central authorities and flew over the checkpoints of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia in the villages of the Gori district, Koshka and Gugutiantkari,” the MFA said. The act has been named a provocation by Georgian officials who say it was directed against the sovereign state, pro-

Russian military helicopter. Source: Host Photo Agency/Ria Novosti via Getty Images

viding further evidence of the Russian Federation’s defiance of the fundamental norms and principles of international law. The MFA has called upon the Russian Federation to comply with its commitments under international law, including those under the 12th August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. Meanwhile, Cory Welt, Professor of

International Affairs at George Washington University, says Georgia would face an immediate threat if a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan would escalate in light of the Turkish-Russian hostility. “I think the direct threat for Georgia is possible escalation of a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, especially if the conflict indirectly reflects the TurkeyRussia conflict,” Welt said.

Shombi Sharp, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Georgia and Zviad Katsashvili, Director of EMA

sional exchange between the countries and plans for future collaboration. Dumitru Badea, Romanian Ambassador to Georgia, recognized Georgia as a key partner for Romania in terms of assistance for development. In October, the Romanian Government

and UNDP Georgia jointly organized a study tour to Romania for the EMA Georgian staff. During the visit, representatives of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs visited emergency hospitals and ambulance service centers and met their Romanian counterparts.

According to Welt, diffusion of the heated environment is pressing. “Georgia’s airspace has already been violated several times, and I think it is the kind of pressure which needs a responsive reaction,” he said. The expert underlined that - whether Georgia receives MAP or membership of NATO or not - it should actively continue to develop the NATO Training Center in Tbilisi. “The United States must keep close ties with Georgia in various fields. In the end, Georgia is not a direct victim in this new reality, however, the situation certainly contains some threats,” Welt said.

cept any unknown objects illegally crossing Georgian airspace. Instead, Georgia relies on her active diplomacy to involve her international partners in the process and reduce these signals of intimidation from the country that has already occupied one fifth of Georgia’s territory. Questions, such as the potential of an attempt by Russia to utilize Georgia and/ or Armenia as buffer zones in case of a Russia-Turkey escalation, still remains at least reasonable for experts. While the majority of international political commentators and analysts expect no direct clash between the two large powers of the region, history knows not a single fact of Turkey-Russia war in the absence of NATO and globalization. Are the Turkish and Russian governments only demonstratively brandishing their swords or should we expect further hostilities in the pursuit of geostrategic interests? Georgia, as a small state of the region with a strategic location, has no alternative other than proactive diplomacy, strategy-based foreign policy and robust local institutions to provide security.

ANALYSIS: Such aberrant movements from Russia in Georgia’s occupied regions and on the occupation lines have been less surprising as Russia has repeatedly violated Georgian airspace this year, though I do not seek to excuse them. The Georgian government unlike Turkey, which shot down a Russian jet last month, is unable to be adequately responsive to the violations though it has the same sovereign right as Turkey to inter-




DECEMBER 18 - 21, 2015

MFA Releases Report on Human Rights Violations in Occupied Territories BY ZVIAD ADZINBAIA


he Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (MFA), in the third quarterly report on the human rights in Georgia’s occupied regions, has found that the installation of barbed wire fences across the occupation line had added gravity to an already tense situation. The Report published in early December covers the period from July to September 2015, exposing human rights violations in the occupied territories of Georgia. “Gross violations of human rights, including torture and inhuman treatment, illegal detention, restriction of free movement and mass infringement of property rights and the right to receive education in the native language, continue to be reported from the occupied territories,” the report reads. The document is based on open and public information sources and is prepared in coordination with various Geor-

gian government agencies. The aim of the report is to update the international community on the human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied territories. Meanwhile, the 34th round of the Geneva International Discussions was held on December 9th, co-chaired by the EU, UN and OSCE and attended by participants from Georgia, the Russian Federation and the United States, alongside de-facto Abkhazian and Ossetian leaders and representatives of Abkhazia’s legitimate government. According to the MFA, after the 6-hourlong session, while reviewing the return of internally displaced persons and refugees, representatives of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali occupation regions, and later the participants from the Russian Federation, walked out of the talks. “As a result, according to the established practice, the co-chairs had to stop the discussions.” The participants from Georgia reviewed the security situation in the occupied regions. In particular, emphasis was placed on the results of implementation of the so-called “treaties”

Georgian citizens divided by Russian-built fences on the occupation line of Tskhinvali Source:

signed by Russia with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, as well as concerns over the militarization of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, with an increase seen in the number of illegal military drills and violations by the Russian Federations of the airspace controlled by the central Government of Georgia.” The Georgian delegation focused on the statement by the so-called “Abkhazian Defense Minister”, that the united group of military forces may be involved in military operations outside Abkhazia region, which once again illustrates the necessity to ensure the non-use of force and the international security arrangements in the occupied territories. The MFA stated that the Georgian participants thoroughly discussed restrictions on education in native language in the occupied territories, in particular in the Gali district, and demanded they ensure the possibility to receive education in the Georgian language. “During the discussion of the issue, Georgian participants and representatives of international organizations underscored the need for international monitoring on the ground, in order to

properly assess how the right to receive education in their mother tongue is protected,” the MFA announced. “Discussion was also held on the restrictions on the free movement for the local population and property rights violations, and in this context it was noted that discrimination on ethnic grounds is totally unacceptable.” Several civic organizations working for IDP issues, led by the Center for Reforms

and Monitoring, assembled in front of the EU office of Tbilisi on December 3rd. The peaceful demonstrators were protesting against the current situation in Gali region, calling it “an exact form of racism against Georgians on the ground.” How should rights of Georgians on the occupied regions be protected? What actual mechanisms can the Georgian government employ in the process?




DECEMBER 18 - 21, 2015

Random Shots- How High Should We Jump? OPED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA


ess than a month has passed since Turkey shot down the Russian Su-24 and the Russian Foreign Affairs Minister is still in excuse mode. Unlike the Turkish-Russian air gambit, this time the Kremlin has been accused of violating the air borders of two countries. Although neither Finnish nor Georgian governments have ordered the shooting down of Russian helicopters, the fact that the borders of other states are only “conditional’ notions for Kremlin has been proved once again. Unintended mistakes of Russian pilots or the deliberate politics of President Putin? What should the action plan in these sorts of cases be: ‘Turkish’ or ‘Georgian’? Before answering this question, it should be noted that the violation of airspace controlled by Georgia, by a Russian Mi-8, happened after the Defense Minister of

Georgia, Tina Khidasheli, publicly declared that “Georgia’s airspace is more unprotected than that of any other country. This is proved by the events which we have witnessed.” By this comment, of course, Minister Khidasheli meant the anti-air defense complexes document signed with France. Hence, we can conclude that Ms Minister rushed when she commented on the invincibility of French complexes. However, the case is even more complicated than the feasibility of French anti-air complexes. The occupational bases are located in Tskhinvali region, which are served by helicopter. Each of their take offs means violating the air space of Georgia. This isn’t the first case of flying in from the occupation zone. This happens continuously. This time the case was about violating that so-called border which was formed after the war in 2008. As the editor of journal Arsenali, Irakli Aladashvili says, neither the French complexes nor any other zenith facilities can be discussed in this case. “Even if we wanted very

“You can jump up and down, but you won’t be able to jump higher than Tkachenko.” The Russian-Turkish gambit has once again shown that the West still does not know what to do with the Kremlin ‘hooligans’

much, we can’t do anything about it. If we shoot it down, it is a sad reality that the situation might get even tenser. However, there is another threat – their impudence might go so far that they even fly over Tbilisi. This is already a threat of different level. Therefore, reacting on the diplomatic level is necessary, along with constant protest. When there is no other forces, you are obliged to be satisfied with this. Shooting down one helicopter is possible, but what will follow this is what has to be determined,” claims Aladashvili. Finland acted like Georgia. Following the Georgian incident, a Russian Mi-8 entered 9 kilometers into Finnish territory, though got away with this also. As Western media notes, the Russian warplanes have violated the air space of Finland numerous times over the last two years, which is what initially triggered the discussion about Finland being admitted to NATO. Whether Russian aircraft roaming into the territories of other states will become

the reason for NATO’s expansion into the East is difficult to imagine. The Russian-Turkish gambit has once again shown that the West still does not know what to do with the Kremlin ‘hooligans’. The signs of this have already been exposed: the French right-wing opposition leader, possible future president, Nikola Sarkozy, declared recently that a new Cold War would be senseless, and so would Russia’s isolation. Upon returning to the ‘Elysee Palace’ he will by all means restore relations with Moscow. Therefore, as one Georgian sports commentator said: “You can jump up and down, but you won’t be able to jump higher thanTkachenko.”Tkachenko was a 2.25 meter-tall USSR basketballer.

For Reservations, please call: +995 322 221 221




DECEMBER 18 - 21, 2015

The Soviet Origins of Russia’s Information Warfare BY MAKSYM BEZNOSIUK


ince the recent Russian incursion in Ukraine, many political experts have worked on deciphering Russia’s strategic approach to modern warfare. Some of them have even claimed that the Russia’s takeover of Crimea and ongoing destabilization in eastern Ukraine serve as an indication of the emergence of the Russia’s hybrid warfare doctrine. After taking a closer look at the current processes of modernization and transformation of the Russian armed forces, it becomes clear that the Kremlin’s grand imperative is not only to improve the quality and raise standards of its military but also to achieve Western standards in terms of adapting itself to the new realities of modern warfare. Two important factors should be taken into consideration to understand Russia’s attempts to catch up conceptually and practically with the West. First of all, Russia realizes that a relatively low level of investment in its military modernization compared to the NATO member states makes it impossible for its conventional capabilities to match the Western military strength. Further, Russia intends to compensate for its underfinancing of the military by putting significant effort and resources into the development of non-military means of influencing its adversaries. This can be seen in its recent activities to resort to the appli-

cation of information warfare technologies to ensure sufficient domestic support and survival of the regime, and to prevent the West from its attempts to grant assistance to those countries that oppose Russia’s actions. The origins and application of the reflexive control theory Russia’s approach towards modern warfare has focused on attempts to achieve its dominance via information and psychological warfare by mentally exhausting the opponent’s armed forces and the targeted country population, without the need to deploy its military troops to achieve its political goals. What is usually overlooked is that Russia hasn’t tried to reinvent the wheel in its attempts to adapt itself to the realities of modern warfare. There is increasing evidence that Russia has mainly relied on the Soviet research that was concentrated on the development and application of a so-called “reflexive control” theory (RCT). However, it should be stressed that RCT has existed much longer that the concept of information warfare. By the late 1950s, the Soviet military experts had become increasingly aware of the fact that their country would find it difficult to keep up its technological investment at the US level. This situation led to attempts to find alternatives to hard power, which laid down the foundation for the Soviet studies on social and psychological regulatory systems. Hence, the comprehensive research on RCT spanned more than four decades and embraced the admixture of its psychological, psychosocial and practicallyoriented applications.

Many political experts have worked on deciphering Russia’s strategic approach to modern warfare. Source:

Not surprising that such Russian military experts as Major General Nikolai Turko have considered RCT as a means of information warfare, which are much more important than conventional military capabilities. According to Vladimir Lefebvre, one of the RCT originators, conflicts shouldn’t be considered an interaction between the two military forces, but rather as an attempt by each opponent to better imitate the thoughts of their enemy in order to predict their behavior. Hence, it becomes crucial to be able to interfere in the decision-making processes of the adversary by shaping his perceptions and to incline him to voluntarily take steps that serve the Russian agenda. In this regard, Russians consider disorganization of the enemy as the main goal in achieving informational supremacy.

To this end, RCT additionally entails the simultaneous use of power pressure, disinformation and deception techniques. In addition, some Russian military experts have considered nation-states as biological organisms, composed of discrete systems, each of which could be targeted by different means. Hence, RCT serves as an effective means for influencing such systems as armed forces, population, mass media, and political leadership of the target country to achieve necessary political goals. And finally, RCT is currently at the heart of the Kremlin’s hybrid warfare techniques applied in Ukraine. It was skillfully applied by Russia in Crimea by helping Russian strategists to better understand such three target audiences as Russian-speaking inhabitants, Ukrainian authorities and

Western audiences. Through the use of RCT, Russia was able to better predict and influence their behavioral patterns to achieve its annexation of Crimea. It also managed to hide its genuine intentions and deny the presence of its boots on the ground. Apart from that, RCT was used to prevent the possibility of any significant Western military assistance to Ukraine. One of the last examples of skillful use of RCT in combination with other political instruments is the Minsk Accords, according to which the whole responsibility to resolve the conflict in the Donbas region is born by Ukraine, while Russia is merely one of the signatories, not parties to the conflict. Maksym Beznosiuk is an international relations specialist from Kyiv, Ukraine.




Grant Thornton Georgia Awarded ACCA Approved Employer Status

Nikora Plans to Take Shares to International Stock Market


ikora, a leading Georgian company on the local food market, plans to issue its shares at the end of the year. Five to 10 million dollars will be invested in new projects. The company plans to create a modern bread and bakery in 2016. They also plan to sell finished products

and continue investing in existing programs. According to company director, Irakli Bokolishvili, the current year was very difficult, not only for Nikora but for the business sector in general. The depreciation of GEL reflected on all businesses and the company’s plans changed. However, it has not stopped the development of several

large projects which are still on the way. The company’s shares will be issued by Galt and Taggart. The company will use attracted sums to develop and cover their loan. Bokolishvili added that some steps are planned to develop the stock market in order to use the stock exchange as a trading platform.



rant Thornton Georgia has been awarded the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Approved Employer Status - trainee development. The award recognises the high standards of training and development provided by Grant Thornton Georgia to ACCA students and affiliates who are working towards the ACCA Qualification. ACCA’s Approved Employer Programme is designed to help employers derive maximum value from their ACCA

students, affiliates and members. It enables employers to benchmark their training and development practices against ACCA’s best practice training standards and to receive global recognition for the training and development opportunities they provide. Nelson Petrosyan, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Georgia said: “This status means our firm meets ACCA’s demanded criteria for trainee development, including having the policies and processes in place that allow trainees to meet the minimum performance experience requirements for ACCA. It is a great honor and responsibility to continuously maintain the highest quality of training and development of our staff”.




DECEMBER 18 - 21, 2015

Georgian Churchkhela on Market in Netherlands BY ANA AKHALAIA


wo hundred Georgian Churchkhela have gone on the market in the market in the Netherlands at a price of just 1 Euro per unit. According to Cooperative Alvani founder Lia Papiashvili, Georgian Churchkhela, made following the local tradition and modern safety standards, proved itself most popular with Euro-

pean businessmen. The Cooperative received an offer not only from the Netherlands but from Brussels, Belgium, too. However they were unable to satisfy demand. Women’s Cooperative Alvani was founded in 2014 by members of the War Widow’s Association. The cooperative was promoted under the budget support scheme of ENPARD, which aims to increase agricultural production and income through the promotion of sustainable structures of business-orientated agricultural

cooperatives. Alvani representatives received training in business planning and organizational development after which, in October 2015, it opened churchkhela production in Alvani, Kakheti, producing 2-3000 units seasonally. The retail price in Georgia is from 2.5 - 3 GEL. Purchase is available by private order only so far. However, Lia Papiashvili stated that if production increases, churchkhela made in Alvani will also become available in supermarkets.

Another New Express Bank Service Center Opens in Tbilisi BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES


xpress Bank, the simplest bank, continues its nationwide branch network expansion by opening another new service center, this time at Navt-

lugi St. 8.

Express Bank’s customers can easily perform any of the standard types of banking operation, as well as take advantage of the Express and Express credit deposit. Across the country 110 service centers can be found, enabling easy access for consumers to Express Bank services. For more information about Express Bank’s services, please visit:



New Mziuri Project Receives 50,000 GEL from TBC Bank This year’s Mziuri Children’s Sun Festival. The New Mziuri project will benefit children, the disabled and each and every visitor to the future Mziuri Park




BCBankhasannounced it is to give 50,000 GEL to the New Mziuri social project. The project aims to revitalise the park and make it a lovely place for all citizens and guests from around the world with special activities planned for people with disabilities. Tbilisi City Hall is also supporting the project and publishing house “Books in Batumi” will gift New Mziuri with books. For New Year you can also make a gift for New Mziuri, collected by organizers to go towards a future café in Mziuri. Georgia Today will soon be interviewing the brain behind the social project, Anna Goguadze, to find out more.

How threatened do YOU feel? BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE


he issue of terrorism in Georgia is, like in the rest of the world, unfortunately as relevant as ever. In a survey conducted by the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Center of Research for the Study of Georgian Complex Development Issues on 1-8 December 2015, in which 381 respondents were interviewed in Tbilisi, we aimed to find out how the Tbilisi population views the threat of terrorism following the Paris terrorist attacks. 16% of the respondents consider the so-called Islamic State as an extreme threat to Georgia, 33% believe it a serious threat while only 9% of consider it not a threat.

32% of respondents believed that there is a need to tighten the legislation in Georgia against religious extremism and 45% consider the Georgian legislation already strict enough (very strict). The existence of the socalled Islamic State is clearly seriously worrying to the Tbilisi population. Further, there are concerns regarding the participation of Georgian citizens in Islamic State terrorist activities. 42% of respondents claimed they are seriously concerned with only 14% not being at all worried. In conclusion, from this survey we can determine that despite reassurances from the authorities as to the security of the country, the growing extremism apparent in eastern regions of the country (as reported in previous issues of GT) leads Georgians to feel less secure than they would like to be.



DECEMBER 18 - 21, 2015

Holy Funkadelic! Electric Bassist Nik West to Hit Tbilisi New Year BY ROBERT ISAF


ast Saturday night, American Friends of Georgia (AFG) traditionally gathered all leading business corporations and organizations at its annual Charity Gala, in the ballroom of the Radisson Blu Iveria, for a lighthearted evening in service of a good cause. The Annual American Friends of Georgia Charity Gala, now in its ninth year, raised a record 111300 USD. American Friends of Georgia’s Charity gala is the most important and largest of its kind celebrated in Georgia. The ticketed dinner was accompanied by a raffle and auction, the latter headed as always by Honorary Consul of Canada to Georgia, Cliff Isaak. All proceeds from the event will go to support American Friends of Georgia’s two main charitable projects, namely the Dzegvi Shelter Community, a shelter for the mentally ill, disabled, and former street children with nowhere else to go, and the Transfiguration Convent’s Hospice and Palliative Home Care Program, directed towards needy elderly and terminally ill patients. As the evening opened, project heads presented videos explaining

their work to the crowd that had come to help. AFG itself is a non-profit, non-political organization founded over 20 years ago, which according to its mission aims to help provide “practical humanitarian assistance to improve Georgia’s educational, economic, social, medical and environmental conditions.” Dinner was accompanied by a programme of entertainment which included young ballerina Kato Matnadze dancing to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and musical performances by the Iriao Ethno Jazz band and The Quintessence A Cappella group. The Quintessence in particular delivered a forkstopping show, capped by a phenomenal rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy that had been shocked up with an infusion of Kartvelian polyphony. It was hard not to consider this the entertainment highlight of the evening. Contending for best-in-show from a sheer entertainment point of view was the auction itself. Mr. Isaak, who worked in the former Soviet Union for over two decades before becoming an Honorary Consul of Canada to Georgia, has served as the AFG Charity Gala’s auctioneer since the role’s inception. No stranger to the job, the Auctioneer Extraordinaire kept the business fast, light, and engaging.

Photo: David Khizanishvili


Auctioneer Extraordinaire and Honorary Consul of Canada to Georgia, Cliff Isaak kept the fund-raising auction fast, light, and engaging

Highlights from the auction included: sculptures of two abstract human forms by Tamar Kvesitadze, a sketch for movie from David Kakabadze; and a painting, ‘Dancing Girls,’ by Gigo Gabashvili. The Gabashvili garnered the highest price, selling for $11 500. Somewhat surprisingly, the raffle provided more than its share of amusement as well. Ticket buyers who actually read the prize list found, among the prizes, one Mr. Donald Trump tie, donated by Sandra Elizabeth Roloefs, wife of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili. The air soon bloated with anticipation and spec-

ulation over whom the winner of the tie would be, and how he or she would receive and respect the prize. The winning ticket – N666314 – was found, appropriately and to great applause and amusement, at the table of the United States’ Embassy party. Another year of festive cheer and giving draws to a close, with another brilliant contribution from the AFG and all its supporters. AFG thanks the sponsors of the event, amongst who stand: Petrocas Energy Group-Patron, BDO, Deloitte, Adjara Hospitality group, and Radisson Blu.

The Quintessence A Cappella group delivered a phenomenal rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy that had been shocked up with an infusion of Kartvelian polyphony

Another year of festive cheer and giving draws to a close, with another brilliant contribution from the AFG and all its supporters




Drowning in Uncertainty: Svaneti BY TONY HANMER


his is a continuation of the saga which began in last week’s article. My wife went to Tbilisi for a few days while I was wrestling with the water issues. This was great timing: she had a big fat shopping list for Lilo Mall, mostly things for Christmas-New Year, and I was free to tinker with the H2O in her absence, taking the time it would need with only my own minimal discomfort to worry about, not hers too. First I had to thaw out the new pipes, the 150m of plastic ones I had just bought in Zugdidi and hooked up. To do this I must boil some water, put it into a plastic bottle big enough for several liters and strong enough to take the heat, and then add lots of salt. The combination, hot salt water, would be the best thing (car antifreeze not being recommended in drinking water systems) to effect a local thaw. I lugged my hot salt water bottle up to the start point with rubber gloves and a funnel, disconnected the plastic pipe, and began pouring. It gurgled down into the hose, bit by bit, and I lay it down to let time, gravity, and the heat and salt do their thing. It would take a while, possibly some hours. Meantime I did other home chores, such as chopping wood in the garage, bringing some of it in, cooking and eating, washing up, mucking out the barn and so on. Every now and then I checked the near end of the pipe to see if anything—bits of broken up ice, water—was starting to emerge, indicating that the thaw was in process. Eventually this became the case. As I only had a few hours until the sun went down at 4 pm and we began to dip into below freezing temperatures again, time was definitely a factor. If I couldn’t get this to work before then, any water left in the pipe might just re-freeze! Once it began running, I must reconnect the source end, far away uphill, and let the fresh water push out the salt. I actually had to do the salting twice in one day to get my desired result. Then I joined it back up at the top, and let it run as the twilight set in. I went out to check it at 7 pm and then 9 pm, well into freezing temperatures, and it was still running—not

into the house yet, but along the road (not being driven over by any more cars than was necessary!) and back into the river which runs parallel. So far so good. Next morning the water was still running—hooray, a step in the right direction! I waited a few more hours to be as sure as possible that we were above freezing, then joined it back to the house and luxuriated in my first proper hot shower in about two weeks... This while my wife was making the long journey back home from Tbilisi in a minivan about half full of just her shopping for the shop. And I was able to run the washing machine as well. Joy! She returned, we unloaded, then I ordered her into the shower just in time before I had to disconnect the water from the house for the night. In the meantime I had filled every water container from 1 to 200 liters, and put a couple of our biggest pots on the big wood-burning Svan stove for the evening and following day’s hot water. It wasn’t perfect, but it would do; and bless her, my wife was and remains willing to stick by me through these trials, while I try to minimize them for her. Today, as I write this... the pipe, which I left running into the river while I went to school in Becho this morning, reportedly stopped running while I was away. Inexplicable! During the day, in the sun, above freezing? Well, there was a trickle emerging from it when I came back at about 4 pm, but not the steady flow I was used to. This is one of the hard things for me. I like to think that I have a fair grasp of the basic laws of nature operating around me; those events which surprise or puzzle me I try to winkle out the truth of, by reiterative observation-and-hypothesis cycles or simply by asking questions of Google. Here, I was stumped. It was friends of ours, dropping by for a gander at the massive new line of “this just in” goods from yesterday, who provided a clue to what had happened. Turns out that I was lacking a crucial piece of information. Someone had been working on the spring which is the source of the whole village’s water, today. And they had turned it off as a matter of course. Of course! Our water hadn’t frozen, it had simply been stopped! Tomorrow, if the proceedings of today haven’t frozen part of the pipe and thus blocked it from there down, we’ll have water running again. If they have frozen it, I’ll just do my hot brine routine again; it is already just that, a routine. Come spring, when everything has thawed for six months or more, we’ll seek a more permanent, radical solution to the annual hydrological nightmare. Hey, you can’t just call a plumber here. Best you can do is beg the attention of an indulgent neighbor if you get really stuck with plumbing or electrical struggles or other obscure and possibly dangerous “arcane knowledge gaps”. I try to do this as little as possible, so as not to be a perpetual bother. Mostly it works, if my patience and my wife’s nerves hold out. But hey, we communities should also be here for each other when it’s needed. I like to think that we are; we are, in any case. Very worst case? Melt all the snow around us and use it for everything. Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1250 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: svaneti

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




DECEMBER 18 - 21, 2015

Stranded in Despair: Ogden on Expats BY TIM OGDEN


ontinuing last week’s theme of foreigners, this week I am sharing my experiences of The Stranded, a rare - but not unheard of - breed of alien in Georgian which I have always found to be the most unpleasant. The Democrat and The Genacvale are annoying, but The Stranded is poison. Occasionally, The Stranded might just be The Democrat gone savage, someone who has been in Georgia too long and perhaps never had the chance to travel before, and hence misses the comfort of home and the familiar. This is only natural, of course, but when they put roots down in Georgia (such as a spouse and a family) then continue to remain and complain...well, my sym-

pathy wains, rather. I recall a particularly unpleasant man of my acquaintance, who, despite being a rather extreme example, sums up the attitude and behaviour of The Stranded rather nicely. One day, this chap wanted a haircut (though God alone knows why, since he had about as much hair on his head as I do on the back of my hand), and, not trusting the plethora of salons on just about every street in Tbilisi, insisted that we go to one of the American-style malls here. I warned him that the price might be extortionate compared to one of the small salons and the result more or less the same, but he batted my concerns away with a jerk of his neck. We found a hair salon in one of the malls. My companion placed a paw on my shoulder, pointed at it and declared ‘That’s a salon,’ in the same way Columbus might have looked at America and

said “That’s the New World”. We entered the place, the smiling hairdressers greeting us in Georgian, only for my new best friend to bark ‘You speak English?’ at the room with the air of a bank robber working for Al Capone. Wide-eyed, they shook their heads. He turned to me for help. ‘You speak Russian.’ It was a statement rather than a question, snapped at me in the way a highwayman of old might yell “Stand and deliver!” I admitted that I did. ‘Right,’ he said with a nod, having established this, ‘you tell her-’ he stabbed

The Stranded bleats for no good reason, pines for home, yet refuses to go The Stranded is someone who has been in Georgia too long and misses the comfort of home and the familiar. Source: Advert for Eurostar

a finger the hairdresser, causing her to flinch, ‘that I want low fade.’ Seeing as I had absolutely no idea what that meant in English, explaining it in a language I only speak second-hand proved to be something of a challenge. I asked for further clarification. ‘You don’t know what low fade is?’ he growled, looking at me as though I’d just stamped his dog to death. With artful hand signals that would have done credit to any hard-ofhearing translator, the hairdresser managed to propose a style which received a grudging nod. I spent the rest of the afternoon listening to a tirade of complaints about Georgia. Georgians, he said, did not care about their city (this after he dropped litter on the floor), were aggressive and pushy (after the above-mentioned incident) and did not respect women. This last one was particularly interesting, since he had leered at every girl who walked

past and muttered the kind of suggestions that would have had Charlie Sheen bawling for the police. He was also married with two children, something I did not learn until his wife called him and asked him to come home. Since he then shouted her down with curses worthy of a Los Angeles rapper, I wondered that she wanted him back at all. While The Democrat whines and complains, but usually with a desire to see genuine change; The Stranded bleats for no good reason, pines for home, yet refuses to go. It is easy to see why Georgians become sick and tired of listening to their country being criticised by people who have chosen to live here, even married into the people. The Stranded should, I think, do us all a favor– the Georgians who are tired of complaints about their home and the foreigners who hate being tarnished with the same brush – and go home.




DECEMBER 18 - 21, 2015

important awards of the upcoming night. Starting off, D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s “Really Love”, Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” (ft. Bruno Mars), The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face”, Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” have all made the cut in the Record of the Year Category. The last two songs are also up for the Song of the Year title, alongside “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town and “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth. As for the Album of the Year Category, we have “Sound & Color” – Alabama

Kendrick Lamar

58th Grammy Nominations Have Arrived BY BEQA KIRTAVA


usic’s biggest night is just a few months away... The 58th annual Grammy Awards will be held on February 15, 2016 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, and will honor the best recordings, artists and composers meeting the eligibility period of October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015. The Recording Academy has already revealed the latest nominations and Georgia Today is here to fill you in on the four most

Taylor Swift

2016 Golden Globe Nominations: Netflix De-thrones HBO BY BEQA KIRTAVA


he nominations for the 73rd Golden Globe Awards are here and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has made some very interesting decisions this year, so let’s dive right in, shall we? For the first time in Golden Globes history the most nominations in the TV section were grabbed by a streaming network – Netflix, which managed to top HBO with a total of 8 nominations. It goes without saying that the streaming revolution has finally reached HFPA, with Amazon getting 5 nods and even Hulu being mentioned. As for the shows, Empire, Game of Thrones, Mr. Robot, Narcos and Outlander will battle it out for the title of Best Drama, while Casual, Mozart in the Jungle, Orange is the New Black, Silicon Valley, Transparent and Veep are going head to head in the comedy section. Moving on to the film nominations, Carol, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Room and Spotlight all have a chance to be crowned winner in Best Motion Picture – Drama category, while The Big Short, Joy, The Martian, Spy and Trainwreck all grabbed their places

in the comedy division. If we take a look at the actors, Leonardo DiCaprio finally has a big chance to dominate the entire awards season, however, he will have to beat Bryan Crantson, Michael Fassbender, Eddie Redmayne and Will Smith to end up going home with a golden globe. Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Rooney Mara, Saoirse Ronan and Alicia Vikander dominated the drama category, while Jennifer

Lawrence, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer, Maggie Smith and Lily Tomlin are the nominees in the comedy section. The 73rd Golden Globe Awards will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on January 10, 2016. Georgia Today will provide you with a full recap of the show as always. For the full list of nominees visit

Shakes, “To Pimp a Butterfly” – Kendrick Lamar, “Traveller – Chris Stapleton”, “1989” – Taylor Swift and “Beauty Behind the Madness” – The Weeknd. Finally, Courtney Barnett, James Bay, Sam Hunt, Tori Kelly and Meghan Trainor are going head to head for the Best New Artist trophy. Kendrick Lamar leads this year’s nominations with a total of 11 nods, with Taylor Swift and The Weeknd following with 7. Georgia Today will offer you full coverage of the 2016 Grammys as usual. For the full list of nominations visit




Female Lenny Kravitz at Tbilisi Event Hall on the 31st Celebrate New Year in a Sophisticated Musical Environment BY MAKA LOMADZE


nlike New Year’s traditions in the West, Georgians are more inclined to celebrate the biggest party of the year at home. However, Eastern Promotions is set on breaking the tradition by offering highclass concerts not only all year round the year but also by holding an annual New Year celebration at the Tbilisi Event Hall. Food, drink and dance the night away this New Year in a cozy American-like club atmosphere while enjoying the talent of young female artist Nik West. Eastern Promotions introduced the New Year tradition to Tbilisi in the Sheraton Hotel ballroom, in 1999, when hardly anything good happened in Tbilisi and there was no gas or electricity – it served as a new light in total darkness. “This is already an established

Eastern Promotions tradition,” Giorgi Kereselidze, director of Eastern Promotions told Georgia Today. “Last year we brought Maceo Parker. Before that we had CeCe Rogers, Incognito, Matt Bianco and many others. This year, we are offering new generation female artist Nik West, a pupil of Prince, who is a singer and a bassist at the same time.” He also remembers that when this away-from-home celebration tradition was first set up in Georgia, the gender case was very topical – there were only options for men to celebrate and only at some restaurants, with the focus on plenty of food and drink. However, this stereotype no longer exists and one can now often see women out with only their female friends, celebrating birthdays and other festive dates. “Once the stars hear that we have brought Joe Cocker, James Brown and Al Jarreau here in the past years, no one is scared to come, just the contrary. It helps other businesses as well, as Georgia has become an attractive musical

destination for jazz players,” says Giorgi. Almost all the band members coming this New Year sing, a rare occurrence: John Blackwell, a contemporary pop and rock drummer who used to play in Prince’s band; a member of Justin Timberlake’s acting band, Hubie Wang on guitar and vocal; Ariel Bellvalaire on guitar and vocal; Dave Schulz on keyboards; and Rose on back vocal. Bassist, singer and songwriter, Nik West, the star of the up-coming New Year show, is anything but just a pretty face. Aerosmith once said of her: “Holy Funkadelic, I felt this girl’s energy the first time I was in her presence, I knew there was something special about her with that hair.” She has worked with Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame, Prince, John Mayer, Steven Tyler, Glee and, most recently, had special guest appearances on American Idol. Noted music journalist Alex Henderson (Billboard) sums up West’s incredible talent saying, “Nik West is one 21st Century artist who isn’t lack-

ing in the chops department.” “She is a 25 year old electric bassist who clearly knows her way around her instrument and plays like she was inspired by the funky likes of Larry Graham, Louis Johnson (of Brothers Johnson fame) and Marcus Miller. Nik West is also a highly expressive singer. Known for recording a cover of ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC, Nik pleasantly shocked many rock fanatics. There are many great singers, but only a few have a voice with character that forces all who hear it to listen closely. Lenny Kravitz himself requested a meeting with her when he saw her cover of Teen Town, so impressed was he by her work. West’s musical journey began in her hometown, Phoenix, AZ when her father —an accomplished guitarist—taught her to play the rhythm guitar when she was just 13-years-old. Growing up in a household filled with music and creativity, West’s family includes her sisters (keys, drums, violin, and guitar) who were her first band and singing act, and

an older brother. Though she began her musical journey playing the guitar, the left-handed phenomenon truly realized her calling when she discovered the bass in high school while listening to Michael Jackson’s ‘You Wanna Be Startin Somethin’. After discovering the instrument there was no stopping her. Among other hits, Prince’s “Kiss” and Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman” await the audience. The event is supported by TBC Status, which offers two concerts of Nik West on the 1st and 2nd of January at Tbilisi Concert Hall (Grand stage) exclusively for its clients. The show which begins at midnight on New Year’s Eve in Tbilisi Event Hall, however, is a gift to the ordinary citizens and music lovers with festive tables included in the price of the ticket. Tickets cost 250 Gel and can be bought on For more info, call 2-99-05-99, or visit www. Enjoy the party! All the best in the coming New Year!



Prima Ballerina Discusses Resurrection of Famous Theatre Curtain in Tbilisi Opera House BY MERI TALIASHVILI


fter 42 years of absence, the Zakaria Paliashvili Opera and Ballet Theatre has got its unique and symbolic Sergo Kobuladze curtain back. A copy of the curtain was made in Germany, by the Gerietse Company on the initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. Georgian specialists worked on Kobuladze famous curtain sketch and, by using modern digital technologies on the 11 meters long and 17 meters wide piece, created the final version. The curtain became a symbol in 1960 but was

completely destroyed in 1973 as a result of a mysterious fire also ruined the interior of the theatre. Georgia Today met up with Georgian Ballet company head and Prima Ballerina, Nino Ananiashvili, to talk about the new curtain and its place in the Opera.

NINO, HOW IMPORTANT IS THE CURTAIN TO GEORGIAN SOCIETY? The curtain was and is very important to the Georgian Opera and to Georgians as well. The burning of this unique curtain and its subsequent disappearance from the Georgian Opera and theater scene was regrettable for everyone because it was the face of our opera theatre. I was a child when it burned so I don’t remem-


DECEMBER 18 - 21, 2015

The presentation of the new curtain at the Opera House with VIP guests, including Mariam Gvelesiani, Temo Gotsadze, Nana Iashvili, Giorgi Gegechkori, Kakhi Kandelaki and Minister of Culture Mikheil Giorgadze

ber it vividly but I would constantly hear people talking about it and expressing grief over its absence. Later, together with my friend Levan Bakradze, I started looking into the possibility of getting the curtain remade. In Moscow, along with my colleague Tanya Rastargueva, we performed to raise money for this cause but various circumstances meant we were unable to finish our task. But we never lost that need for our curtain. When we started reconstruction works on the Opera House, we again returned to the issue and, fortunately for everyone, on the initiative of Minister of Culture Mikheil Giorgadze, a high-quality print of the curtain was created with the involvement of Academy of Art professor Nana Iashvili and her students. Giorgi Kalandia,

Director of the Art Palace (Georgian State Museum of Theatre, Music, Cinema and Choreography) also participated in the initiative. The print was made in Germany at Gerietse Company, which makes stage curtains for most world famous operas.

WHEN WILL THE PUBLIC GET TO SEE IT? Everyone will get to see it at the opening of the renovated theater. We will stage Vakhtang Chabukiani’s ballet Gorda and the Opera will be opened by a theatre performance of Abesalom and Eteri. Then we will have the premiere of Swan Lake. We also plan to stage old performances which the audience has not seen for six years. The entire season we will be a very interesting and eventful. The

season is set to open at the end of January and close in June. We were planning to open it in October but it had to be postponed. Sergo Kobuladze was a Georgian illustrator and painter. His illustration style was unique and many artists were inspired by it. He graduated from Tbilisi State Academy of Arts and later during 19521959 served as its principal. He interest toward Italian Renaissance and ancient Georgian art was conveyed in his works. He illustrated Shakespeare Tragedies and Rustaveli’s ‘Knight in the Panther’s Skin.’ Additionally, he did illustrations for the epic poem ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’ (The Author is unknown), and Ilia Chavchavadze’s ‘Is That a Human Being?’




DECEMBER 18 - 21, 2015

Santa Lucia Day in Tbilisi: Bringing Light to a Dark Winter



9,8 ha non-agricultural, privately owned parcel for industrial use (cadaster code # located next to Tbilisi Airport Address: Airport settlement, Samgori district, Tbilisi Tel: +995 599 529 529


he winter is ahead. However, on the 11th of December, the Swedish Embassy reception filled everyone with hope that light and warmth will stay with us even through dark and cold days. The day of the Martyr, most commonly celebrated in Scandinavia and Italy, was once again also celebrated in Tbilisi, bringing men, women and children together in Mtatsminda Funicular restaurant with a nice view and all the accompanying traditions, fascinating to witness. In fact, the pleasant journey began in the tram which helped us to ascend the Mtatsminda Mountain. Everything was original and resembled no other reception. As a prologue to the pleasant soiree, guests were treated to a Swedish appetizer; a prelude to further discov-

eries of the Swedish cuisine. “The Lucia tradition in itself is very old. It has survived through many centuries. It has changed the forms. It brings light, warmth and goodness through dark nights. Lucia reminds us that the darkness will not last forever. At the end of this year, which has been very hard with war, violence and terror, such sentiment is particularly important,” Martina Quick, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden in Tbilisi, said at the opened ceremony. Lucia of Syracuse (283–304), also known as Saint Lucy or Santa Lucia, was a young Christian Martyr who died during the Diocletianic Persecution. She is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Churches. She is one of eight women who, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. Her feast day, known as Saint Lucy’s Day is celebrated in the

West on 13 December and coincides the Winter Solstice. The real candles once used are now often battery-powered, but there is still a special atmosphere when the lights are dimmed and the sound of the children singing grows as they enter from an adjacent room. Tradition has it that Lucia is to wear ‘light in her hair’, which in practice means a crown of electric candles in a wreath on her head. Each of her handmaidens carries a candle, too. Parents gather in the dark with their mobile cameras at the ready. The star boys who, like the handmaidens, are dressed in white gowns, carry stars on sticks and have tall paper cones on their heads. The brownies bring up the rear, carrying small lanterns. The parade was followed by a feast, the culmination of which was a performance of the famous Neapolitan “Santa Lucia” song. Let Santa Lucia bring light and peace to our families in the coming New Year.

Christmas Exhibition at Enamel Art Gallery ‘Ornament’



namel Art Gallery ‘Ornament’ is continuing its cycle of annual holiday-themed exhibitions with the most recent titled “Christmas is Coming.” The launch of the latest

showing took place on December 4, 2015 at the main branch of the gallery on Erekle II Str. The event was attended by numerous honorary guests, including the US Ambassador to Georgia, Ian C. Kelly. The very first Christmas-themed exhibition took place at Enamel Art Gallery ‘Ornament’ in 2013 and has grown ever since. This year, the exposition features

works of cloisonné, vitreous and pictorial enamel by 17 Georgian artists. Visitors will have a chance to purchase oneof-a-kind items, ranging from Christmas tree decorations to large knick-knacks and icons. The exhibition will last till January 7, 2016, so this holiday season you still have time to truly impress with very special presents.



LIMEN: Addressing a Gap in Cultural Tourism


he George Chubinashvili National Research Center for Georgian Art History and Heritage Preservation opened a photography exhibition this month entitled: “OLKAS- From the Aegean to the Black Sea- Medieval Ports in the Maritime Routes of the East,” held in the frames of the EU financed project: LIMEN. The exhibition in Tbilisi was attended by the Leader of the OLKAS and LIMEN projects, Dr. Flora Karagiani (EKBMM, Thessaloniki) and Dr. Charalampos Chotzakogly, President of the Society of Cypriot Studies, (Cyprus). By their sides was George Psiachas, First Counsellor, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Greece to Georgia; Plamen Bonchev, Ambassador of Republic of Bulgaria to Georgia; Zeki Levent Gümrükçü, Ambassador of Turkey to Georgia; and Revaz Lominadze, Embassy of Georgia to the Republic of Cyprus. The LIMEN project ‘Cultural Ports from the Aegean to the Black Sea (2013-2015)’ is co-financed by the Joint Operational Program ‘Black Sea Basin 2007-2013’ as well as national resources, and is being coordinated by the European Center for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments (E.K.B.M.M. Thessaloniki, Greece). Seven bodies from six countries are collaborating as partners to this project: Istanbul University and Koc University of Istanbul (Turkey), Municipality of Kavala (Greece), Museum for National History and Archeology for Constanta (Romania), Odessa City Council, Department of Culture and Tourism (Ukraine), and Municipality of Varna (Bulgaria). Georgia is represented by the George Chubinashvili National Research Center. Dr. Flora Karagiani, EKBMM, scientific coordinator of the project: “The aim of the LIMEN project is to decisively contribute to addressing an important gap in the development of cultural tourism in the wider Black Sea area. “Using valuable experience from the Institution of the European Capital of Culture, the project is preparing a basis for the establishment of a new Institution, the ‘Black Sea Cultural Port.’ The establishment of this new and promising Institution is proposed as an innovative tool for the promotion of the city-ports of the Black Sea and of their cultural treasures. “Additionally, the project aims to promote the institutional cooperation of the city-ports on a permanent basis as well as to develop a structured

cultural-touristic-economic-social network, improve the administrative capacity at local level and to create the right conditions for promoting and supporting the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) involved in the fields of culture and tourism.” By using the European experience from similar institutions and the existing networks in the area, the project expects to: • become the ‘umbrella’ for all the cross-border and transnational development initiatives that concern the city-ports of the Black Sea basin • create a development platform that, in economic and cultural terms, will ensure equal and sustainable cooperation which will meet contemporary needs • promote the cultural value of these areas and to connect the past with the current economic scenery • promote the tourism product by developing an institutionalized model of cooperation, characterized by parity between the participant city-ports • support tourist and other enterprises in the promotion of special tourism products of each area, especially those connected with the ports and the sea routes. The recent LIMEN project is a continuation of the project OLKAS: ‘From the Aegean to the Black Sea – Medieval Ports in the Maritime Routes of the East’ (, which was implemented in 2012-2013 under the same Joint Operational Program Black Sea Basin 2007-2013.’ Within the frames of the project an exhibition has been arranged that reflects relevant images and cultural and historic data concerning the cultural ports in the participant countries. The photographic exhibition has so far been displayed in Thessaloniki, Athens, Volos, Kavala, Aiani (Greece), in Constanta (Romania), in Odessa, Simferopol (Ukraine), and in Istanbul (Turkey). The same exhibition, enriched by 26 more cityports from Cyprus and the Aegean, has been displayed in Cyprus (Lefkosia, Paphos, Limassol, Ayia Napa) under the title ‘OLKAS II: Sailing from and to Byzantium. Medieval City-Ports from Euxeinos Pontos to the Eastern Mediterranean.’ The OLKAS II Exhibition was presented in collaboration with the Society of Cypriot Studies. In the presentation of the exhibition in Ayia Napa, Georgia featured as the honorary country and the Embassy of Georgia took on the role of co-organizer.





DECEMBER 18 - 21, 2015


Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 December 18 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari December 19 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari December 20 AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 December 18, 19, 20 FAN DO’S MAGORY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 15 Lari TBILISI NODAR DUMBADZE STATE CENTRAL CHILDREN’S THEATRE Address: 99/1 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 95 39 27 December 19 KOLOBOK Russian Tale

Directed by Anatol Lobov Language: Russian Start time: 13:00 Ticket price: From 6 Lari

Language: Russian Start time: 11:45, 13:45, 16:45, 19:45, 22:45 Ticket price: 8.50 – 14.50 Lari

GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36

MACBETH Directed by Justin Kurzel Cast: Michael Fassbender, Elizabeth Debicki, Marion Cotillard Genre: Drama, War Language: Russian Start time: 14:45, 22:00 Ticket price: 9.50 – 14.50 Lari

December 18 HANGER-ON Ivan Turgenev Directed by Nugzar Lortkipanidze Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari December 19 MARRIAGE Nikolai Gogol Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: From 5 Lari December 20 SCARLET SAIL Alexander Grin Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 12:00 Ticket price: From 5 Lari CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 December 18-21 STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Directed by J.J. Abrams Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Language: English Start time: 17:05, 20:00

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA Directed by Ron Howard Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson Genre: Action, Adventure, Biography Language: Russian Start time: 15:00, 22:50 Ticket price: 9.50 – 14.50 Lari CAVEA EAST POINT

Address: 2 Tvalchrelidze Str. December 18-21 STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 13:00, 16:30, 19:30, 22:00 Language: English Start time: 22:30 Ticket price: 13-19.00 Lari IN THE HEART OF THE SEA (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 22:00 Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 14:30, 18:15, 19:45, 22:30 Ticket price: 8-14.00 Lari MACBETH (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 13:00, 17:00, 21:00 Language: English

Start time: 19:30 Ticket price: 5–14 Lar SPECTRE Directed by Sam Mendes Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 13:30, 16:30, 22:00 Ticket price: 4.00 – 6.00 Lari MUSEUM

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

December 9- 19 KETEVAN MATABELI’S RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION. BAIA GALLERY Address: 10 Chardin Str Telephone: 2 75 45 10 December 17-24 LEVAN MARGIANI EXHIBITION EUROPE HOUSE GEORGIA Address: 1 Freedom Sq. Telephone: 2 47 03 11 December 15-January 17 PSILOCYBIN MUSHROOMS A multimedia project by Tato Akhalkatsishvili MUSIC


THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave.

TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 December 19 COMEDY SHOW AND VANO’S SHOW New Year Concert Start time: 18:00, 21:00 Ticket price: 15, 20 Lari J. KAKHIDZE MUSIC CENTER Address: 123/125 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 295 01 19 December 20 FILM SOUNDTRACKS OF SULKHAN TSINTSADZE 90 years anniversary Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra Georgian State choir Soloists: Neka Sebiskveradze, Maka Zambakhidze, George Sukhitashvili Conductor: Vakhtang Kakhidze Program: S. Tsintsadze film soundtracks Start time: 19:30 Ticket price: From 5 Lari




White Christmas by White Studio BY MAKA LOMADZE


lay culture is not a new thing for Georgia, but white clay is. And it is difficult to remain indifferent as you pass by White Studio on Janashia Street and get a glimpse of those marvelous hand-made ceramics. Handmade things are not yet very appreciated in Georgia. Let us hope that they will soon become so, especially considering that the owners of the studio aim to be represented on the Georgian market with the national trademark and rival foreign brands. It makes one proud to be Georgian! And for Christmas they have surprises and special offers. Find out more below. Aptly named, almost all the ceramic items contained within the gallerystudio are white. The owner, the tall and stylish Nato Eristavi, is a goodlooking woman who will always welcome you and try to help you to make a good purchase of anything from 10 Gel to 500 (and more!). It is well worth a visit no matter what your budget, especially now with the Christmas display rich with unique treasures to tempt you. Everything is made in the studio itself, under the shop floor. “We opened two years ago with professional ceramists. We work not only in Georgian porcelain but also in red clay and other materials that we import from Turkey,” says Nato Eristavi. However, the white clay is their visiting card. “We named it White Studio because of it. No one else uses ‘Georgian porcelain’ – the name we gave to the mixed material that we receive after the processing of differ-

ent Georgian materials. It is our own know-how. “ White Studio aims to develop and popularize ceramic art. Georgia used to have such tradition in Shrosha, Western Georgia, but in red clay. White clay is White Studio’s exclusive. The gallery-studio features a wide selection of one-of-a-kind handmade items- from vases, teacups and wall plates to tree ornaments and bowls. “We also design the interiors of the houses, hotels, restaurants etc. We make everything that can be made from clay, even accessories for the bath-room.” One example that this author knows well is the Novella bookshop and café on Chavchavadze Ave. Nato teaches students and hopes that awareness and love of ceramics will grow. “Georgians have always had taste, but the conditions were not right. Now, in our studio, special ceramic dyes are available, as well as special ovens. Therefore, I can tell you with joy that a new generation of ceramists is coming, some of whom are currently working with us. Where there were no prospects for them, now there are. We also have hobby classes for Georgians and English-speakers.” White Studio has also written some projects that can serve to restore this particular school of art and Tbilisi has witnessed two ceramics fairs. Nato Eristavi herself is an experienced ceramist and a lecturer who has had exhibitions around the globe, including in the US and Japan. Having attended symposiums abroad, Nato had a wish to prove that Georgians are also capable. Her White Studio was an experiment, a comparatively commercial start-up that has proved successful. However, due to the prices, the items are currently more popular with foreign-



Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Mako Burduli



Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

ers who, reportedly, often buy them wholesale. The works are fulfilled to the highest level of western standards. White Studio aims to produce a high-level exclusive production, a mix of contemporary ten-

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Tamar Svanidze, Zviad Adzinbaia, Beqa Kirtava, Meri Taliashvili, Eka Karsaulidze, Zaza Jgharkava, Ana Lomtadze, Maka Bibilashvili, Nina Ioseliani, Tatia Megeneishvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Nino Japarashvili, Maka Lomadze

dencies and their own aesthetics. The main emphases are made on traditional elements that turn these magic things into very beautiful souvenirs, when Georgian souvenirs overall are in poor condition. The exclusivity is guaranteed

Photographer: Zviad Nikolaishvili Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

and if you head along to White Studio, you will be able to gift loved ones a quality Georgian national souvenir this festive season. Wishing you an enjoyable White Christmas!


1 Melikishvili Str. Tbilisi, 0179, Georgia Tel.: +995 32 229 59 19 E: F: GeorgiaToday ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION

+995 595 279997 E-mail: marketing@

Reproducing material, photos and advertisements without prior editorial permission is strictly forbidden. The author is responsible for all material. Rights of authors are preserved. The newspaper is registered in Mtatsminda district court. Reg. # 06/4-309

Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #803  

Dec. 18 - 21, 2015

Issue #803  

Dec. 18 - 21, 2015