Issue no: 947
• MAY 19 - 22, 2017
• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY
PRICE: GEL 2.50
In this week’s issue...
FOCUS ON SOCIAL CHANGE
A look at the tragi-comedy being played out over the Church and the Constitution PAGE 4,6
Trump Congratulates Georgia on 25th Anniversary of Geo-US Diplomatic Ties NEWS PAGE 2
Scandal: EU Representative Congratulates Tskhinvali ‘Leader’ on Winning Elections POLITICS PAGE 4
Georgia’s Cyber Security Challenge BUSINESS PAGE 8 Source: The Odyssey Online
Parliament Approves Smoking Restrictions BY THEA MORRISON
he 150-member Parliament of Georgia has finally adopted amendments to the Tobacco Control Law with 85 votes for and only one against on May 17. The legislative amendments envisage that from May 1, 2018, smoking of tobacco, including electronic cigarette and chillum, will be prohibited in all enclosed areas except for houses, psychiatric clinics, penitentiary facilities and casinos. Smoking of cigars will be allowed only in cigarbars where it will not be permitted to sell food products. In addition, a special license will be necessary to open such a bar. From May 1, 2018, advertisements for tobacco products will be prohibited and it will be necessary to show anti-tobacco advertising at the beginning of films showing smoking. Moreover, from July 1, 2018, all kinds of tobacco sponsorship and promotion will be prohibited, including display of tobacco products in points-ofsale outside (and inside from 2021). Continued on page 2
A Journey to the World of Glenmorangie, Finest Scottish Whisky SOCIETY PAGE 10
Austrian Company & Bank of Georgia Sign Memorandum on King David Residences SOCIETY PAGE 13
Interview with Vakho Bughadze CULTURE PAGE 15
MAY 19 - 22, 2017
2 km Long Tunnel to Be Built in Dariali Gorge Daliali Gorge. Source: marshalpress.ge
Trump Congratulates Georgia on 25th Anniversary of Geo-US Diplomatic Ties BY THEA MORRISON
BY THEA MORRISON
he Roads Department of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia is to begin construction of a tunnel at the crossing of Dariali and Devdorak gorges. The Dariali Gorge is a river gorge on the border between Georgia and Russia. It is at the east base of Mount Kazbegi and south of present-day Vladikavkaz. The gorge was carved by the river Targi and is approximately 13 km long. The Ministry says that the construction of the 2km-long tunnel will be launched later this year and will cost GEL 47,179,224 (around $19,667,705), to be financed from the state budget.
The works are expected to be concluded within 12 months of the signing of the contract. The Roads Department stated that the projecting and construction works will be carried out by the tender-winner company Peri, which presented several versions of the project within the framework of the detailed project preparation report. A team made up of specialists, geologists and Chairman of the Roads Department, Giorgi Seturidze, will choose the best option from these. The Roads Department reports that during the last few years, natural disasters have occurred several times in Dariali gorge, presenting a danger to traffic along this section of road. They also explain that during this period, the transit function of MtskhetaStepantsminda-Larsi road was stopped, resulting in the loss of around GEL 1 mln (around $417,374) per day for the State.
he United States (US) President, Donald Trump sent a letter to Georgia’s Margvelashvili, congratulating him on the 25th anniversary of Georgia-US diplomatic relations. The letter of the US President was then released by the Georgian President’s Press Office. “In the first quarter century of our partnership, the United States and Georgia created a close transatlantic connection. We share common values and always stand against international terrorism and regional instability in order to defend these values,” Trump’s letter reads. The US President went on to say that the United States supports Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders.
“We also support Georgia's right to define its own future. Georgia's independence and democracy is still inspiring for the world,” Trump added. “I and my administration are looking
forward to future cooperation with you and the Government of Georgia for the development of shared values and the well-being of our countries,” the letter reads.
Parliament Approves Smoking Restrictions Continued from page 1
The medical warning campaign about tobacco consumption risks will be increased from 30% to 65%.
The author of the package of amendments to the Tobacco Control Law is Guguli Maghradze, a member of the ruling party Georgian Dream. Maghradze’s initiative initially envis-
aged the ban of smoking in public places from September 1, 2017. Moreover, the previous bill envisaged the prohibition of smoking in all buildings except houses and prisons.
At present, around 1.5 million Georgians are active smokers, among them 15 percent are underage. Today, smoking is prohibited only in hospitals and schools, but still 35% of
the population remain smokers, including women and children. The MPs hope that after the law enters into force, the number of smokers in the country will decrease.
GEORGIA TODAY MAY 19 - 22, 2017
Assaulted Auditor General of Georgia Does Not Trust Investigation BY THEA MORRISON
eorgia’s State Audit Office Head, Lasha Tordia, who was physically assaulted several days ago, says that he does not trust the investigation that is underway into his case. Tordia says he was attacked by Otar Partskhaladze, a former Chief Prosecutor, together with his security personnel in El Centro nightclub in central Tbilisi. The victim stressed that the assault was related to a specific case which the Auditor’s Office is investigating. According to him, the case involves the transfer of plots of land in 2016 and Partskhaladze’s name is involved in the case. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia launched the investigation under Article 126 of the Criminal Code of Georgia which criminalizes battery and other violent acts. The Auditor General alleges that the Prosecutor’s Office, the Interior Ministry and the Financial Police are acting together against him and to defend Partskhaladze, who was the Prosecutor General in 2013. Moreover, Tordia claimed that the police seized the footage from security cameras in the nightclub soon after the incident, which “will clearly show the truth of the matter,” however, he said he suspects the police may “cut” or “delete” said footage.
“I’m sure that now they are getting testimonies from me and then they will make a statement that will be directed against me,” Tordia said. Partskhaladze rejected all charges. A day after the incident, he released a letter claiming that the conflict was initiated by Tordia, who allegedly was heavily drunk. After questioning on May 17, he said the incident was very short-lived and denied assaulting the Auditor General. Moreover, Partskhaladze’s lawyers stated the ex-chief prosecutor’s guards had to stop Tordia, as he initiated the confrontation. The lawyers also believe that the injuries Tordia received were “self-inflicted”. The President, NGOs and the opposition have demanded an urgent investigation into the case. A number of NGOs released a statement urging the government and Parliament of Georgia “to take timely steps to address the problem of impunity and to create an effective independent investigative mechanism.” They also called on the investigative agencies to timely disclose information on the investigation so far. Georgia’s Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze, says it is important to wait for the investigation results and then make comments. “We call on the law enforcement agencies to investigate this case as soon as possible. This is very important for Parliament, as we have a special relationship
Auditor General, Lasha Tordia. Source: epn.ge
with the Audit Office. This case will remain under our special supervision," the Speaker said. The opposition United National Movement (UNM) says the investigation will be a test for the Georgian Dream ruling team, to prove that the country is not being run by former officials from the backstage. Parliamentary minority Movement for Freedom-European Georgia demands
Mtskheta: 38 arsukidze str 40 arsukidze str 42 arsukidze str 44 arsukidze str 46 arsukidze str
Tbilisi: 3 king erekle ll str 12 bambis rigi str 13 abano str 2 kipshidze str +9955 55 50 89 54 ENG; +9955 55 31 13 76 RUS
the creation of an independent parliamentary investigative commission, which will study the case and reveal the truth. The State Audit Office is an agency that presents findings on the activities of government entities to Parliament. “Georgia’s State Audit Office is directly subordinated to Parliament and the incident that happened to the Auditor General directly applies to Parliament,” Zurab Chiaberashvili from European Georgia said.
On May 17, the State Audit Office Staff released a statement regarding the case. They addressed Parliament, the President, the government, and local and international organizations, asking them to ensure proper functioning of the body. The State Audit Office employees confirmed they were supporting Tordia in the situation and condemned any attempt to somehow discredit the activities of the agency.
Daniel Fried: Georgia Should Not Lose Hope BY ANI CHKHIKVADZE, VOICE OF AMERICA, GEORGIAN BUREAU
ith the election of Donald Trump in the United States, and Brexit, the populist wave has the supporters of the European project worrying about the future of liberalism on the continent. At a panel discussion at the Johns Hopkins University, America’s top diplomats and analyst discussed the future of the European Union following the recent elections in France. The discussion touched upon the issues of EU and NATO enlargement for the Eastern partners, among them Georgia. Voice of America’s Georgian bureau talked with some of the panel members. Constanze Stelzenmüller, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, suggests that to advance its Western bid, Georgia needs to lobby its case together with its Ukrainian counterparts. “You [Georgia] might be a tugboat behind the frigate of Ukraine. It is somewhat easier for Europeans to ignore Georgia, and they were very much irritated by Saakashvili. They did not like him and he did not make himself popular, including with my chancellor. This
Every day that Georgia maintains sovereignty and freedom of choice is another day that you get to wait for history to turn again and for Europe and the US to regain confidence
made it easier for Europeans to dismiss what was going on in Georgia as irrelevant. What is going in Ukraine is not only not irrelevant; it is essential to the European project, in my view. It is a tipping point for the future of Europe’s eastern periphery. It’s the spearhead for the Russians regaining a sphere of influence in a most nasty and authoritarian way. And the spearhead for the EU achieving a Europe which is whole and free, and democratizing the arc between Belarus and the Caucasus. Ukraine is the key pawn on the chessboard, Ukrainians understand this and they have been working very hard despite the efforts of their oligarchs and some of their political elite, to make sure it happens,” said Stelzenmüller. The best way to convince the European partners about Ukraine and Georgia is to take a page from the book of the unification of Germany, he adds. Daniel Fried, longtime member of the American diplomatic community, calls upon Georgia to continue reforms and not to lose hope for the prospect of membership. “I wish I could tell Georgia that the West will resume the enlargement of its institution. After 1989, the West and its institutions, the NATO and the EU, took around 110 million Europeans. Georgia was not among those countries. I was in Bucharest at the NATO summit when Georgia did not receive the MAP. And I remember a few months later, Russia attacked Georgia,” Fried told VoA Georgian. However, he says that Georgia should not fall into despair but hope for the future. “I wish that Georgia’s Rose Revolution and Georgia’s successful reforms had taken place 10 years earlier than they did, but by the time Georgia was a serious candidate, the West was less certain of itself and Russia was a far less benign country. But every day that Georgia maintains sovereignty and freedom of choice is another day that you get to wait for history to turn again and for Europe and the United States to regain confidence. Don’t write off the future,” Fried concluded. Despite the pessimist outlook among observers in the West, the French elections represent a candle that can signal the revival of the European project.
MAY 19 - 22, 2017
Scandal: EU Representative Congratulates Tskhinvali ‘Leader’ on Winning Elections
Photo: European Union Special Representative Herbert Salber in Tskhinvali. Source: cominf.org
BY THEA MORRISON
ff icial Tbilisi has expressed concern over Tuesday’s incident in de facto South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) when the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Crisis in Georgia, and the Co-Chair of Geneva International Talks, Herbert Salber, congratulated so-called president Anatoly Bibilov on winning the ‘presidential elections’ held in April. Georgia’s Foreign Ministry stated this step was “incomprehensible and unacceptable” and it contradicts the principles of international law and does not support the efforts of Georgia and the
international community aimed at peaceful resolution of the conflict. Moreover, the Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Georgia, Janos Herman, and the Deputy Foreign Minister, Davit Dondua, held a meeting in the Foreign Ministry over the issue. After the meeting, Herman said that Herbert Salber would make explanations himself. He added that the EU does not recognize the so-called presidential elections held in Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia and also recognizes and support Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. “We spoke with the Deputy Minister about cooperation in this field and I would like to reiterate with clarity that the European Union does not recognize the framework in which the so-called
elections were held in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia,” said the Ambassador. Dondua said that EU was one of the first to condemn the so-called elections in Tskhinvali. “We are in touch with the EU leadership and we hope that this will be properly responded to by Brussels,” he stressed. Sopo Katsarava, Chair of the Parliament Committee on Foreign Relations of Georgia says that Salber’s statement contradicts not only Georgia’s sovereignty but EU politics as well. Herbert Salber and the other co-chairs of Geneva International talks arrived in Georgia’s Russian-backed South Ossetia region on May 16 to discuss the details of the next round of Geneva Talks, scheduled for June 20-21, 2017.
The Stench of Constitutional Debate in Georgia OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE
ords like constitution, constitutionality, constitutionalism, constitutionalist, constitutionalization, etc. have all of a sudden become more than trendy in Georgia. Such words are continuously heard from the glib, indiscriminate lips of journalists and politicians, having at the same time become the most commonplace part of our household vocabulary. We are all fed up of hearing and using these words but our attempts to free ourselves of them are ineffective – they stick, they simply stick. What a heavenly time it was when we lived in God-blessed socialism! Of course, we had a constitution, but who cared? It was sitting, unbothered, somewhere in the depths of public libraries and offices of critical importance, covered with dust; not even reminding us of its existence. I treasure those peaceful times in my long memory of our unperturbed past, when freedom of word and democracy were not even issues, but at least, public discussions of the supreme law – if they ever happened – did not stink as much as they do nowadays.
Right now, the first and the utmost question is why public discussions of the new version of Georgia’s Constitution make sense in a situation where the final decision concerning the amended document will in any case be made by an absolute and invincible majority in the parliament. Why so much wasting of time, money and energy?! There is not even a vestige of doubt that things will happen only at the discretion of the ruling party, which, in addition to its technically guaranteed triumph in matters constitutional – and others, too – desires to have public approval of its political behavior, whatever that behavior might represent. It was said that the current parliamentary majority is trying to eschew the suggested plebiscite on the subject of constitutional optimization. But what if the people differ from them when interpreting the introduced changes? There was also a talk about the presidential elections – whether direct by public or indirect by electors. This is
also a waste of time because the President of Georgia, in his current status, is practically an impotent political figure, having nothing to do with the decision-making process. So, why should it make such a big difference who he is elected by – the outcome of his activity will be the same in either way. For instance, the president has the right to veto the parliamentary approval of the
new constitutional text but his veto will be instantly overridden by the majority. So it appears that the presidential veto is not worth any effort at all. Issues like political blocks and the distribution of stray votes, definition of marriage, testing time for judges, and finally the acutest issue of selling land to foreigners, are also being discussed in public-governmental get-togethers, although with no specific results or by actually influencing the text of the suggested document. After the politicians are done with those vain public discussions, the venue of controversy will move to parliamentary premises, where special sessions will be held in June to prepare the new text of the country’s constitution for voting
sometime this coming October or November. And again, the consequence is not difficult to predict. Some hopes for the right decisions are connected with the so-called Venice Commission, which is just an advisory body of the Council of Europe. The recommendations of its independent experts in the field of constitutional law will either be taken into consideration or not, and for ignoring them, no sanctions will follow that the Georgian parliamentary majority might suffer from. It is interesting that the Commission's official name is the European Commission for Democracy through Law. We truly need to enhance the quality of our democracy through law, which in the first place has to be reflected in the Constitution. Now the point is whether we can do this in the stench-ridden constitutional environment we find ourselves in. I’m using this epithet only because all those ‘town meetings’ often stink politically so much that it becomes hard to stay there for long enough to see the relevant output. And here is why: in order to achieve enough constitutional correctness and suitability, we have to possess the appropriate constitutional logic. We have some, but it is shaky, and smelly, too, for that matter.
The Delegation of the European Union to Georgia is searching for a property to be leased or purchased, to be used for office purposes
MAY 19 - 22, 2017
Tragedy & Farce: The Georgian Church & The Georgian Dream OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA
This property should meet the European Union's requirements, concerning quality of construction, space, security and location. It should comprise a lot with a stand-alone building located at a minimum distance of 15m. (ideally 20m.) from the perimeter of the lot, in particular from neighboring streets and surrounded by a boundary wall. The building's surface area should be between 1 700 and 1 900 m² and should consist of a maximum of 4 floors. The property should be situated within the city limits of Tbilisi. Its location should be easily accessible and consistent with the needs of representation and visibility of an important diplomatic mission. The required office space should be suitable for hosting around 60 members of staff either in individual offices or in shared offices and in open space in different combinations. It should also provide an adequate number of meeting rooms, one multi-purpose conference room of approximately 140 square meters, as well as archive spaces, storage rooms, server room, kitchenette and lavatories. Sufficient natural light is a pre-requisite for the offices; rooms without windows can only be foreseen for archiving, photocopying, etc. Energy-efficient, "green buildings" will be considered with preference. The total 1 700 – 1 900 square meters as indicated above should include corridors, entrance hall, reception area, and internal staircases but not parking spaces and areas entirely dedicated to technical equipment. A minimum 30 parking slots should be available within the perimeter boundary of the compound. The office space must be compliant with all local building standards and regulations, in particular in terms of occupational health & safety, fire prevention and anti-seismic construction codes. Compliance with EU standards or other international standards is a valuable asset. The overall quality of finishing as well as the technical and mechanical equipment facilities should be in line with EU or international standards. The office space should be available for occupation, after construction or fitting-out works completion, on 1 August 2019. Offers may include either: - Proposals from private constructors to develop, sell or lease a bespoke office facility to shelter the European Delegation - Proposals to rent or sell existing suitable buildings, including if in need of refurbishment. In case of rental, the building will stay the property of the owner, while the European Union will enter into a long-term agreement assumed to be for 10 to 20 years minimum, with an option to extend and/or even purchase at a further stage. Submitted proposals should provide: • A full description of the lot and/or the existing building • Spreadsheets of surfaces in square meters • Detailed information on the construction proposal • In case of a construction proposal, information on building company • Information on rental and sale conditions, including rental price per square meter. Proposals must be submitted: a. either by post or by courier not later than 16:00 on 20 June 2017 to the address indicated hereunder. b. or delivered by hand not later than 16.00 on 20 June 2017 to the address indicated hereunder For further information please liaise with the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia at DELEGATION-GEORGIA-HOA@ eeas.europa.eu Address of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia: 38 Nino Chkheidze Street 0102 Tbilisi - Georgia Tel.: 995 294 37 63
rom Stools to Cyanide could be the title of a book about the last four-years of activity of the Georgian Orthodox Church, which began on May 17, 2013, when the LGBT rally was disrupted on Rustaveli Avenue, and ended on February 12, when the alleged plan to murder the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia was prevented in the neutral zone of Tbilisi International Airport. In Georgian reality, just as in ancient Greek mythology, history repeats itself: once as a tragedy and then as a farce. Four years ago, the main street of our capital became a battlefield. Armed with crosses and stools, priests and their supporters announced a public hunt against the local LGBT community, who were preparing for International Anti-Homophobia Day. The celebration soon grew into an inquisition and almost finished by turning into a common national tragedy. For the Georgian Dream, which had recently come to power, this day was like the first exam after their victory. On this day, it would become clear whether or not the government planned to show appreciation for the help that the Georgian Church had provided them prior to the October 1 elections, and this they did, paying back “kindness for kindness” and turning a blind eye to the crimes of the clergy. The day launched dangerous and ominous trends in our country. A day doesn’t pass without an assault against members of the LGBT community. Orthodox Christian activists attack anyone they don’t like, sometimes even only because of their outfit or hair style. Moreover, there are murders of transgender people, who successfully avoid imprisonment with the help of the clergy. Threats can be heard from the Georgian Orthodox Church in light of the government’s inaction. Bishop of Bodbe, Chorbishop of Catholicos-Patriarch, or his deputy, Bishop Iakob, who was one
of the organizers of the anti-gay rally in 2013, said: “Today these gentlemen say such things about us! They should conduct themselves! They shouldn’t confuse us with people who won’t ask for any explanation for their words! The era of their scuffle should end! No foreign countries can force us to become their slaves!” Historian Lasha Bakradze believes that Georgia “faces a serious threat of religious fundamentalism and theocracy” and this threat is increasing. The clergy publicly demands delegating secular authority, for example, they want to be able to give official consent to certain legislative acts. We can also recall the sermons in which they mobilized parishioners against the United National Movement. This was the attitude that the Georgian Dream and the Georgian Church carried until February 12. On this day, Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze was arrested at Tbilisi Airport and charged for attempting to prepare the murder of the Patriarch. This day somehow turned into the day of separation of the government and the
Church, an episode once again proving how multifaceted the whole situation is; how many various intrigues and conspiracy processes have been caused by the cyanide case, the devastating result of which we have yet to realize. And the last few days became a complete tragicomedy: curses from the Church, comical reactions to these curses, all-encompassing falsehood, the obvious confusion of the government, the complete intellectual and voluntary helplessness of the highest Church hierarchies (how can a journalist destroy you so shamefully during live streaming!?) and the ultimate demoralization of society. This last one is the worst, though, as you often hear: “I don’t know what is happening or what happened in reality, “whose cassock is in whose pulpit?”- I’m not interested in this anymore.” The Georgian Christian Church hasn’t received such a destructive punch in the face since the communist era and it is very hard to predict whether it will be able to survive it – regardless of the “project” outcome and the “winner,” be it the Georgian Dream or the Georgian Church.
Interpol Cancels Search for Yanukovych, Ukraine in a Rage BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE
he authorities of Ukraine became furious after Interpol decided to stop the international search for former President Viktor Yanukovych. The Prosecutor General's Office is to propose to change the legislation in order to catch the ex-head of state. Thanks to the work of the lawyers of the former president of Ukraine, who destroyed the plans to detain the politician, the General Prosecutor's Office of the country was left in shock and says it fully intends to challenge Interpol's decision.
Head of the Department of Special Investigations, Sergei Gorbatyuk, said that stopping the search for Yanukovych was not due to shortcomings in the investigation or violations committed by the investigative authorities but that "the adoption of such a decision is motivated by the existing shortcomings of the Ukrainian legislation on the choice of a preventive measure in respect of the wanted persons and the status of the suspect," the ministry said. The Ukrainian authorities learned about the cancellation of the search in late April and Interpol was warned that law enforcers should not disclose this information. The staff of the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine has already come up with a plan to newly open the interna-
tional search for Yanukovych but to do so, will necessitate amendments to the local legislation. Viktor Yanukovych is currently living in Russia. He repeatedly said that he was ready to testify at the Kiev Court on charges of treason and even tried to do it on television, but the court session was “foiled by the nationalists”.
GEORGIA TODAY MAY 19 - 22, 2017
The Embassy of Canada in Ankara
Ogryzko: Georgia Has the Same Place as Ukraine: in EU & NATO
irst it was Moldova, then Georgia, and now it’s Ukraine’s turn - Kyev was granted a visa free regime from Brussels, and the citizens of Ukraine will be able to enjoy visa free travel across Europe as soon as early June. This, arguably, was a huge decision on the EU’s part – one of Europe’s biggest countries, Ukraine boasts 44 million citizens. While a big country, Ukraine has also big challenges, mostly thanks to its northern, even bigger neighbor. What’s in store for Ukraine and how do they plan to make use of the visa free regime? GEORGIA TODAY and Panorama TV Show asked former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Volodymir Ogryzko.
WHAT’S THE MOOD IN UKRAINE AND WHAT ARE PEOPLE EXPECTING? Personally, I’m very happy because I started this process some 8 years ago in Brussels when I was a minister of Foreign Affairs. So, it is to some extent my personal victory as well. It is something that opens doors for Ukrainians because for more than four centuries, we have been artificially separated from our homeland, from Europe. This is the very first, but very important, step towards the European community and coming back to our homeland.
WHAT IMPACT WILL THE VISA FREE REGIME HAVE ON UKRAINE? DO YOU PERHAPS EXPECT A MASS EXODUS TO EUROPE? We are really a very big country and we do have some problems, but I have yet to seen a country without problems. I don’t expect the visa free regime to produce some new problems for Ukrainians or for our European partners. It it is important for Ukrainians to better understand what it is to be in a democratic society. To have, to say, a fresh look on that. In this sense, I do believe it will accelerate our internal developments because of the very simple reason – if Poles or Hungarians can be successful, why not Ukrainians?
SO, YOU EXPECT UKRAINIANS WILL BE WELCOMED IN EUROPE? That’s our goal. I do understand that, at least for the time being, not all the EU will be happy to have Ukraine on board, but it depends on the Ukrainians themselves. If we are successful with our homework, I really see no reasons to say no. In this case, I think Europe will be interested in having Ukraine and Georgia as new member states because it is important to have successful countries within but not without. After Brexit, one gentleman said: OK, UK out, Ukraine in! Probably a good idea.
WHAT DO YOU THINK RUSSIA’S RESPONSE WILL BE? WE READ THAT RUSSIAN DEPUTY MFA MESHKOV SAID VISA FREE FOR UKRIANE IS A CARROT ON A ROPE. Probably the same as Georgia expected. I believe it will be a very traditional reaction. I expect that for a couple of weeks we will have another wave of propaganda from Moscow saying that it is nothing new, it will have no practical impact on Ukrainian society, etc. But I am really convinced that the best answer will be a successful Ukraine and successful Georgia. If so, we will really reach our goals, which are very clear and understandable – full membership in EU & NATO.
IN A RECENT INTERVIEW, YOU PREDICTED A SUPERPOWER STATUS FOR UKRAINE: “IN 22 YEARS, UKRAINE WILL BE ONE OF THE LEADING COUNTRIES IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC DIMENSION. A LINE CONNECTING PARIS, BERLIN, WARSAW AND KYEV WILL BE THE NEW SPINE OF EUROPE THAT ALL
THE OTHER COUNTRIES WILL DEPEND ON.” WHAT FUTURE DO YOU FORESEE FOR GEORGIA IN THAT TIME? I’m convinced that we will be strong if we are united. I think that Georgia has the same place as Ukraine – in EU, in NATO. We should really be successful both in Tbilisi and Kyev and in this case it won’t be us asking for membership, they will offer us one. We should be strong and successful and then we will be invited.
WHAT CAN GEORGIA DO TO BE MORE ATTRACTIVE TO THE WESTERN BLOCKS? Georgia is already attractive – it has made great progress comparing to the state it was in some years ago. My understanding is that Georgia will be a very important state in the Black Sea region, one of the key regions in terms of security. Imagine Georgia a NATO member state and it will change situation in the Black Sea region significantly. If Ukraine will be a NATO member, too, it will mean that it will be NATO’s Black Sea. So, territory for peace, territory for democracy, territory for sustainable development. In this sense, both our countries can be very influential contributors to the stability in this region. Georgia is absolutely important in this process.
IT’S AN IDEALISTIC FUTURE BUT WON’T RUSSIA DO EVERYTHING TO ENSURE IT DOESN’T HAPPEN? I don’t agree it’s an ‘idealistic future’. I remember 1989 when we were discussing Ukraine’s independence. And there was no one who would predict that in 2-3 years Ukraine would be independent. Nevertheless, it happened. I remember US President George Bush, senior, who came to Kyev saying: “Look, Gorbi is a good guy, please, stick with him”. I remember British PM Madam Thatcher who said, frankly speaking, the same. But after a couple of months the geopolitical map changed dramatically. So, let’s have very concrete goals and let’s try to reach these goals. In this sense I believe this idealistic view will become a very realistic one.
YOU RECENTLY SAID THAT FOR EVERY MISSILE COMING FROM THE EAST, UKRAINE SHOULD ANSWER WITH THREE. DO YOU BELIEVE YOUR COUNTRY HAS THE CAPACITY TO WIN THIS WAR? Each and every day we lose Ukrainian soldiers. It is not a good practice. We should stop it. How can we stop it? In my view in two ways: by really showing Russia and Russian society that Putin’s regime has no future; that democracy is much better that autocracy. Once again, to develop effectively and to show a very good example. And secondly, to be strong militarily. To show Putin’s generals that even an attempt to continue this aggressive policy will have a very high price for them if not bring them to economic or military disaster. My understanding is that we should be successful economically and strong militarily. In this case we can really hope that our goals will be achieved.
THIS WEEK, ANOTHER GEORGIAN SOLDIER PERISHED IN UKRAINE. THE GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT VIEWS THEM AS HIRED SOLDIERS; MERCENARIES. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE? We are very thankful to all our friends who help us to counter Russian aggression, and especially our Georgian friends who have helped and are helping us now. All together we are in the same boat and we are fighting for our liberty because if there is disaster in Ukraine, I do not think that Georgia will survive. And vice versa – if Ukraine is successful, Georgia will be successful as well. So we should unite our efforts and in this sense our common goal and struggle is stop Russian aggression.
Honorary Consul The honorary consul program allows the Government of Canada to provide representation and services to Canadians in locations where no Canadian diplomatic mission or consular office exists. Honorary consuls are expected to maintain close relations with the local Canadian community and are often the first responder in providing emergency consular services. Honorary consuls are not employees of the government they serve. They are private individuals who provide consular and other services on behalf of the appointing government. Essential Qualifications: • Degree from a recognised university • Fluency in either English and/or French • Independent means • Good standing in the local community • Good relations and access to local government authorities • At least 5 years resident in Georgia • Good judgment • Tangible connection to Canada Application Instructions: Please submit your resumé and a letter of interest outlining why you would like to be an Honorary Consul and how you meet the criteria outlined above by email only to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon EET on May 26, 2017. Consular Section
MAY 19 - 22, 2017
Georgia’s Cyber Security Challenge BY ZURAB KHUTSIANIDZE
n the contemporary world, our personal life has become increasingly dependent on the technologies that humanity has developed. Over decades, the internet has granted us inexhaustible sources of beneficial information together with limitless entertainment. Yet the virtual realm has also been known for the exposure of our personal data to the domestic or foreign intelligence services. While the recent attempt of President Margvelashvili to limit unwarranted domestic cyber surveillance has failed, it is also important to review Georgia’s capabilities of defending its citizenry from foreign cyber espionage. Cyberwarfare is a type of an asymmetric warfare that has developed concurrently with the advancement of the internet, possessing two types of threat: espionage and sabotage, both of which can be used regardless of whether the country is engaged in actual conflict or not. Undoubtedly, it is the government’s responsibility to mitigate these threats
to protect the state apparatus as well as the population, however the endeavour requires costly modernization of cyberdefence capabilities. In the case of Georgia, the need for modifications in the cyber-defence mechanisms were vividly demonstrated during the 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict. 2008 is an important milestone as it presents the first historical case when a coordinated cyber-attack was synchronized with major combat actions, providing Russia an advantage on four fronts: ground, air, naval, and cyber. 54 websites in Georgia related to communications, finance, and the government were attacked by rogue elements within Russia, demonstrating Georgia’s defencelessness and eventually lowering public morale during the crisis. Although the cyber-attacks seemingly supported Russian aggression, the Kremlin has not acknowledged or claimed responsibility for the attacks. In the aftermath of the conflict, the Georgian government vowed to improve the cyber-defence capabilities of the country and introduced a relatively modernized Cyber Security Bureau. Nonetheless, this article intends to emphasize the overlooked weaknesses of the Geor-
gian cyberspace. Inspired by Edward Snowden’s revelations, the investigation aims to expose plausible contemporary cyber-espionage conducted by the Russian secret services against Georgia, using fibre-optic cables. Suggested by Snowden’s revelations, the secret services, such as Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the American National Security Agency (NSA), have successfully used connected fibre-optic cables which carry internet traffic as well as phone calls, to collect and store a vast amount of private data, including emails and Facebook messages, of foreign citizens. With Georgia, the fibreoptic cable providing internet for the Georgian people comes directly from Novorossiysk, Russia. In fact, the cable system connecting Novorossiysk and Poti was established in 1999 by Russia’s Rostelecom and Georgia’s FOPTNET. Thereupon, Georgia voluntarily enabled Russia to manipulate Georgian internet traffic at will, and to create a cyberblockade during the 2008 conflict.
www.ibf.ge BY OTAR KIRIA
n May 2017, Batumi will be hosting an unprecedented business event – the International Business Forum - which gathers 800 professionals from more than 10 countries for a two-day forum lead by world-renowned personal development coaches, in Hotel Euphoria. One of the prominent speakers is Marshal Goldsmith, author of almost all bestselling books about leadership. Before you get to hear the leaders for yourself in Hotel Euphoria, Batumi, here
10 Galaktion Street
are some interesting pointers from Goldsmith, sent to you by the IBF team. Do you think you weren’t born a leader? That you lack charisma or talent, or some other secret ‘ingredient’? Well, surprisingly, you might be wrong, as personality and talent has nothing to do with leadership. You might well be very charismatic but still not a good leader. The most successful leaders have three main characteristics – attitude, values and strengths. A leader is either open or closed; easy or strict; generous or stingy; number-oriented or visionoriented. So, what skills should a leader possess? Peter Drucker used to say that a leader
Today, Georgian cyberspace is as vulnerable as ever. The internet traffic provided by Rostelecom, does not guarantee the much needed security of Georgian virtual data. On the contrary, the scandal involving Rostelecom’s cooperation with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) during the Sochi Olympics, suggests needed rethink of Georgia’s partnership with this ambiguous company. Moreover, Russia’s secret system for electronic surveillance, SORM (Система Оперативно-Розыскных Мероприятий), together with the surveillance law passed in 1995, allows the FSB to access the data of any Russia-based network company, including Rostelecom. One would suggest that, in order to secure the privacy of its citizens, the Georgian government should seek to disconnect from the Novorossiysk cables and connect to relatively safer fibre-optics provided by Turkey. Nevertheless, with the rise of Erdogan’s authoritative power, this option remains questionable. One of the possible solutions to Georgia’s contemporary cyber dilemma is to
rely solely on the Caucasus Cable System – a Georgian-owned submarine communications cable linking Poti to Balchik, Bulgaria. The 1182-kilometre cable provides cyber independence from Russia and Turkey, and enables Georgia to provide a safer internet pathway for Ukraine as the cable system can also be reached from ports like Odessa. Apart from Ukraine, the Caucasus Cable System opens up opportunities for Armenia and Azerbaijan to avoid Russia’s cyber espionage by partnering with Georgian network providers. While there have been attempts to purchase the cables by Russian companies such as VimpelCom, the system remains under the ownership of a Georgian major internet service provider. In sum, Georgia, due to its strategic location, has the potential to offer safe internet passage for itself as well as its neighbors, while posing a considerable challenge to the regional powers such as Russia and Turkey. This potential should be highly prioritized, as the virtual realm is becoming increasingly significant on a day-today basis in Georgia.
Who Do You Lead – a Team or Yourself?
always solves very precise problems and that eight general rules make him an effective executive: 1. They ask “what needs to be done?” 2. They ask “what’s right for the company?” 3. They develop action plans. 4. They take responsibility for decisions. 5. They take responsibility for communicating. 6. They focus on opportunities rather than problems. 7. They run productive meetings. 8. They think and said “we” rather than “I”. Using a discipline system for applying
Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail: email@example.com
these rules helps individuals make insightful decisions, as leaders easily turn knowledge into actions; moreover, they spread accountability across the whole organization. Prof. Jim Collins from HBR believes that the best executive is the “Level 5” leader – a person who is a unique combination of personal humility and professional will. The “Level 5” leader thinks of success as a result of the company’s team efforts, outer factors and luck. However, they take complete responsibility for failure themselves. Only this kind of conduct is regarded as humility. As for will, a leader does not show it only by saying what he wants. The “Level
5” leader is one who overcomes all barriers on his way to pursuing his goal, of course considering correctness, humility and effectiveness. But is the leader alone in a team? According to the work of Prof. Deborah Ancona of MIT, there are no perfect leaders because managing an organization includes many aspects, which always require different approaches and decisions. There are no certain formulas that one can follow every single time... A real leader analyses the situation, finds power in his own self and looks around for assets that can solve his weaknesses. Moreover, a leader never forgets that WE is always better than ME.
GEORGIA TODAY MAY 19 - 22, 2017
The Budget is the Big Loser in the State Lottery
What is Destiny? BY MAKA LOMADZE
hat is destiny? Nearly everyone asks this at some point in their lives. Some believe that it exists and everything is determined as soon as we are born, while others say that they are the own authors of their lives. GEORGIA TODAY met with Mikheil Khalvashi, philosopher, to discuss the issue that scientists and writers have been discussing for centuries.
HOW CAN WE DEFINE DESTINY? In answering, itâ€™s impossible not to remember the history of mythology, religion, philosophy and science. This issue has been discussed since antiquity. According to Greek mythology, the fate of an individual, as well as of the whole universe, is predetermined: it cannot be altered even by the gods, as they obey it just like others. The Roman philosopher Seneca said: â€œDestiny takes along its path obedient ones, and drags along those who are stubborn.â€? This standpoint is well expressed in the myth Oedipus where the king was told that his own son would kill him. Later, his son was told that he would kill a Father and marry a Mother. Both father and son try to escape from that fate, but in vain. When Oedipus, the kingâ€™s son, is born, the ruler left him exposed on the mountain. One shepherd took pity of the baby and gave him to another shepherd. Laiusâ€™s son was adopted by Polybus, King of Corinth. When Oedipus learnt that he was doomed to kill his father and marry his mother, he left Corinth for Thebes, his real homeland. There, he met Laius, who provoked a quarrel, and killed his biological father without knowing about it. Thebes was found plagued by the Sphinx, whom he kills and as a winner, marries the queen, his real mother. According to the Ancient Greeks, the universe is a cosmos where order reigns, where there is inevitability and there is no room for contingency.
WHAT DOES PHILOSOPHY TELL US ABOUT FATE? The religious point of view is based on the sacred sources that exist in the field of idealistic philosophy and theology. However, there is material philosophy that denies God. However, even materialism, like mythology and religion, believes that the universe is ruled by some regularity. Moreover, it denies any free choice as well as eventuality. It says that everything has a symmetry. This stance is called determinism.
HOW SHOULD WE UNDERSTAND FREEDOM UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES? According to materialism and science, freedom is a cognizable inevitability and the actions based on it. For instance: a student ought to study. If they do not realize this regularity, the process of learning will be a compulsion, non-freedom and torture. Opposite to that, if they realize that studying is a must and set getting an education as the goal, then compulsion will vanish, and they will become free and enjoy the happiness as a result of success achieved in this work. It means that freedom is not something that we want, but something that we
must do and that is our requirement as a result of our cognition of this inevitability. Besides the aforementioned viewpoints, the freedom and destiny of a human being is also defined by the general energetic power, based on the symmetry of happiness and kindness ascertained in the past few years. It means that if the general energetic power, in other words, the spiritual level, of a human being is high, he feels free inside, as well as joy and happiness; is ready to assist others, behaves morally, etc. They are ready because kindness needs more life energy and they possess it in abundance. Kindness is giving our own life energy to others. But if one does not have the relevant power, what will one give?! Opposite to that, if an individualâ€™s general energetic potential is low, they are spiritually feeble. In such cases, they think they are not free, that they are restricted, miserable, doomed to torture, etc. Consequently, they basically choose evil over kindness, as they do not have sufficient power for the latter. Therefore, because of this and not accidentally, a wicked person prefers appropriation and dissoluteness to giving and kindness.
BY NINO BAKRADZE, IFACT.GE
ive years ago, the young brother-in-law of a very well-connected Georgian gave an interesting gift to his nation. The well-connected Georgian was former Minister of Defense (and now fugitive) David Kezerashvili. His brother-in-law is Dimitri Chikovani, who at the time was only 24 years old. And the gift? A majority interest - 70 percent - in the Georgian Lottery Company, which Chikovani had controlled for the previous two years. On Aug. 9, 2011, he turned those shares of the lottery over to the Ministry of Economics, free of charge. This company was the only one with a license to run a lottery in Georgia. It was not nearly as generous a move as it might have seemed at first glance, however. According to
documents given to ifact.ge, the Lottery was already $12 million in debt to the state - a debt that was only going to grow. Now it appears the government can't give the Lottery away. Eight months after announcing an open tender, the Ministry refuses to say if there is any candidate to take over the Lottery. The Ministry also refuses to release figures on how much taxpayer money it continues to lose under the current management. Officials involved were not eager to talk about how a potential gold mine like a national lottery was managing to lose money. But some of the details are revealed in the Panama Papers, a collection of 11.5 million secret documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack-Fonseca, obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zietung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with reporters from more than 80 countries, including OCCRP and ifact.ge. Continued on page 12
DOES IT NECESSARILY MEAN THAT SPIRITUALLY LOWERED PEOPLE ARE DESTINED TO WICKEDNESS FOREVER? Of course, not. It just means that they have fewer possibilities to do kindness compared to kind people. In spite of that, it is inevitable that even such people are doomed to do kindness only if they wish to make their soul fit and to continue existing worthily or face punishment. This is the symmetry that wicked people do not realize. They do not reckon that they need kindness even more than kind people, because they are more vulnerable to destruction than kind individuals.
IF A PERSON IS ONLY PARTIALLY FREE, WHERE IS THE ABSOLUTE FREEDOM WHICH IS ATTAINED BY VERY FEW? This is another issue. Fate in Eastern philosophy and religion is understood similarly to the Western world. The main difference is that there is Samsara in the East, which defines the regularity and destiny of all living beings. According to this theory, destiny depends on a human beingâ€™s previous life, karma. It means that if a human being was oriented to obtain wisdom and lived in accordance to the cosmic laws, they will be reborn in better socioeconomic, national and family conditions and will have more possibilities to self-development. Eventually, if lucky, they will be able to totally escape from Samsara, which implies the automatic resettling into another body, by means of becoming a saint or moving to another world, attaining nirvana. This is already absolute freedom. Such people can fully manage their destiny.
WHEN DID EUROPEANS LEARN ABOUT THIS CONCEPTION? In ancient times. Socrates, Plato and Pitagora were aware of it. Later, together with Christianity, pagan wisdom was partially forgotten. So, as we see, we are only partly free, however, we can become real creators of our destiny if we make our existence obey moral laws.
FIRST BRAND HOTEL IN KUTAISI UNDER BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL Within the framework of the Georgian Hotelsâ€™ Regional Network Development Project â€œ12 hotels in 12 regionsâ€? by GHYHORSPHQWFRPSDQ\Âł6LPHWULDÂ´WKHÂżUVWEUDQGKRWHOKDV been opened in Kutaisi under the Best Western International brand. The hotel accommodates 45 guest rooms, including 40 standard rooms and 5 suites. The hotel was designed taking into consideration special conditions and safety for guests with disabilities.
Address: 11 Grishashvili Str., 4600, Kutaisi, Georgia TEL 219 71 00 firstname.lastname@example.org
Three mobile conference halls are available with a total capacity of about 100 persons. (XURSHDQFXLVLQHFDQEHHQMR\HGLQWKHJURXQGĂ€RRUFDIp and a grill-bar menu in the roof top restaurant with panoramic views over the city. The International Hotels Management Company â€œT3 Hospitality Management,â€? providing the hotel management, has 20 yearsâ€™ experience in hotel management in different countries globally.
MAY 19 - 22, 2017
A Journey to the World of Glenmorangie, Finest Scottish Whisky BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
t a presentation - degustation held for the press on May 4 in Tbilisi Marriott hotel, Karen Fullerton, global brand ambassador for Glenmorangie, introduced Glenmorangie Original, Glenmorangie Lasanta, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban and Glenmorangie Nectar D’OR. The presentation and tasting was organized by GD Alco. The brand name Glenmorangie comes from the Scottish Gaelic “Gleann mor na sithe,” meaning “valley of tranquility”, a perfect description of the peaceful setting of the distillery near Tain. Glenmorangie is considered the 4th best premium malt whisky in the world, first made in the highlands of Scotland by William Matheson, a local highlander, who back in 1843 converted his brewery into a distillery at the Morangie farm he owned, making Glenmorangie one of the earliest distilleries in Scotland. Over the years, Glenmorangie has won 18 Gold Best in Class medals by IWSC,
making Glenmorangie the most awarded among other single malt Scotch whiskies. As Karen Fullerton described the elements that go into making Glenmorangie, Scotland’s favourite single malt whisky, she mentioned that Scotch whisky is the most complex spirit in the world; stimulating all our five senses. “The moment you take your glass, pour it into your glass, taste it- that’s when all the flavors and aromas explode in your mouth and take you on a liquid journey”. Karen went on to explain that in order to be classified a Single Malt Scotch whisky, it must only be made, distilled and aged in Scotland for a minimum of 3 years using three basic ingredients: water, malted barley, and yeast. “By definition, every single drop of Glenmorangie can only come from the Glenmorangie distillery, Fullerton said. “We have 120 licensed distilleries in Scotland and in every single distillery we have a unique size and shaped still that produces a slightly different character of spirit”. She explained that brands like Chivas Regal and Ballentine use another type of whisky, called grain whisky, which
uses less expensive materials like wheat and corn, and the reason why single malts are more expensive than blended whisky is because from a continuous still where single grain comes from, you can make 19 bottles of spirit, while in a single malt distillery, the amount of spirit produced is less than 1/10th of a bottle. When it comes to production, Glenmorangie claims to have the tallest stills at 8 meters high (26ft 1/4 inches) with their long copper necks standing at 5.14 meters (16ft 10 1/4 inches), equivalent to the height of an adult giraffe, using only the finest oak casks to mature the whisky. “Everything about Glenmorangie is indigenous to Scotland and the area. The key thing that makes us unique to any other distillery is the height of the stills, and what this means is that we get only the lightest, the smoothest, the purest taste of spirit,” Fullerton, going on to talk about the extra maturation techniques and wood management, as wood is said to be regarded as a major provider and contributor to the taste of whisky. After ten years in first fill and second fill casks, Glenmorangie Original is ready to be bottled. After two more years fin-
ished in very specific ex-oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, it becomes Glenmorangie Lasanta; finished in Port pipes for the same two years, it becomes Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban; and if these are Sauternes barriques, it becomes Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or. The first one represented was Glenmorangie Original. By adding just a little water to it, “to open up a character” as Fullerton recommended, we were able to enjoy the citrus notes of mandarin orange, peach, apples and pears. “Glenmorangie is as great for someone who’s never had a whiskey before as it is great for a connoisseur,” Fullerton told us. “At Glenmorangie we’re known for being pioneers in extra maturation, the idea of it being to add different layers and complexity to the liquid journey. We really re-vitalized the Scotch whisky category.” We moved on to Glenmorangie Lasanta, Lasanta meaning warmth and passion in Scottish Gaelic. Glenmorangie Lasanta turned out to be richer, fruitier and spicier; it also has a stronger and darker in color with the floral notes of Glenmorangie Original wrapped in sherry sweetness, it’s slightly mouth drying with lots of concentrated sun-dried fruit, with a spicy ginger aftertaste, ideal for a chilly winter’s day. The third on the range Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. According to Fullerton,
Quinta Ruban is both velvety and voluptuous, with a complex balance of sweet and dry flavors and an intriguing contrast of smooth and crisp, cooling textures. “For me, it’s like a Turkish delight wrapped in dark chocolate. Everything within a Glenmorangie range will take you on a different journey, depending on your mood,” she said. Last one was Glenmorangie Nectar D’OR, having, as Karen beautifully described during the tasting, “a creamy white chocolate, lemon tart tatin, lovely sweetness of honey and freshly sliced almonds,” the sweetness in its flavor profile, “almost reminding you of walking into a French patisserie”. The name Nectar D’OR means golden liquid of the gods in Scottish Gaelic, and it makes a great aperitif and a fantastic digestive. For someone who’s just starting to get to know the taste of Scottish whisky, Fullerton recommended to “first know how to nose it, by placing your nose into the glass and inhaling gently through your mouth, this way you’ll be better able to uncover and appreciate all the fabulous aromas within the whisky. Secondly, the best way to enjoy Scottish whisky is to add some water to it and drink it the way you like best- there are no set rules to whisky drinking, “it’s a personal experience,” Fullerton emphasized.
GEORGIA TODAY MAY 19 - 22, 2017
Dream Interlude BY TONY HANMER
t came back to haunt me as I was lying in bed one recent night, the only sound in this so quiet place my wife’s gentle breathing next to me as she drifted off. That
place! I remembered a dream, something which I’m very rarely privileged to do; or was it a set, a suite, a collection of recurrences with variations? It was so vivid that it made the “real” world seem pale and ghostly next to it. I know that I’m not the first person to think, or write, about the next, eternal world after death being that much more substantial than this one. C.S. Lewis’s short novel, The Great Divorce, is all about such a heaven, and a hell which hardly exists at all, while earth is somewhere between these two extremes. A busload of hellions are taken to heaven to see if any of them might solidify enough to survive that crashingly real place’s perfections. Not that Lewis is suggesting that he believes in this possibility; but the What If? of the novelist can go anywhere, after all. And does. My dream’s setting was, no surprise perhaps, Svaneti; but the one after this one in which I live, of which this one
is, yes, just a shadow. That next one had a view of Mt. Ushba so thunderingly THERE that you couldn’t ignore it. You came upon it from a number of different angles, and from each its profile was different enough to make you wonder whether you were seeing the same mountain after all. This mountain was ravishingly beautiful, hugely severe, both overwhelmingly masculine and feminine at the same time, dominating the surrounding landscape like an emperor and empress among peaks, but not taking away from the others’ grandeur, or from the valleys’, either. There was a village, too, complete with huge stone watchtowers of course, knowing where we were. But a perfect place. You could walk to it with some strenuous activity, enough to make your legs ache but in a pleasant way. There was no garbage anywhere, just life, rock, soil, green and flowers, trees, slate houses and their inhabitants always welcoming. No failing electricity or struggle with winter’s frozen water pipes, although the seasons remained distinct. There is no place quite like it on earth. The strange thing was that I had to rack my brain to think, as I lay there: Am I remembering real places from my life so far? Do that Ushba and that vil-
lage really exist? Are they syntheses of places I have seen, or something only far beyond any of them? And the other miraculous thing, which made me glad, was that having seen such magnificences, instead of their spoiling my comparatively drab (it must be said) reality, they somehow lifted it, too, up into glory. If my life is only their shadow, it also contains enough of them to be wonderful on its own. They work backwards, to infuse everything with their splendor. I debated whether to include a photograph to accompany this article, which is more about my worldview’s next life than this short existence. And decided in the end that yes, if my current life’s landscapes have indeed been enriched by their successors, then one of them (they being all I have for now) will do to illustrate what I am trying desperately to convey. 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.svaneti
MAY 19 - 22, 2017
The Budget is the Big Loser Time to Improve Your in the State Lottery Language: Education and Training International Continued from page 9
According to documents, emails and interviews with current Georgian officials, the Lottery ran aground because the people behind it promised the government wildly unrealistic profits in exchange for the exclusive right to run it. The story starts with a holding company called Lexor Capital, founded in the offshore tax haven British Virgin Islands (BVI), in 2008. Chikovani, then 21, was the sole shareholder. His brother-in-law, Kezerashvili, was only 30 years old and already flying high. Kezerashvili had served as Minister of Defense under former President Mikheil Saakashvili until late 2008, when he left to go into business fulltime. After Saakashvili lost the 2012 election, however, Kezerashvili abruptly decamped to Europe. The Georgian government accuses him of stealing tens of millions of dollars in cash and properties, and for the past two years has tried unsuccessfully to extradite him, first from France and more recently from England, where he now lives. Kezerashvili's lawyers have successfully argued that the charges against him are politically motivated. The Georgian Lottery Company was founded in 2009 by Lexor Capital. One month later, it won a tender to exclusively operate a lottery for the Ministry of Finance for 10 years. In exchange, the Lottery promised to pay the ministry a total of GEL 913 million (about $406 million). After a year, much like a homeowner refinancing a mortgage for better rates, the Lottery Company renegotiated the deal. In exchange for a longer payback period—15 years as opposed to 10—the lottery would now pay the government GEL 1.5 billion (about $667 million). That didn’t come close to happening. Levan Chikvaidze, the current Lottery Company director, says that since its founding seven years ago, the lottery has paid only GEL 19 million (about $8.4 million) to the government. The Ministry of Finance would not confirm that figure, saying lottery information is confidential, despite the fact that 70 percent of the Company belongs to the Georgian people. Chikvaidze said the Lottery does take in more money than it pays out, although annual revenues have dropped more than 50 percent since 2010. On paper, the annual losses are increasing rapidly because the Lottery is falling so far behind on the payment schedule for the rights fee. In just its first two years, the Lottery fell GEL 30 million (about $12 million) into the hole. The Panama Papers documents trace how, in 2011, Lexor Capital managed to dump the money-losing operation onto taxpayers. On August 5, 2011, Mossack-Fonseca employees told Lexor Capital that it was against Mossack-Fonseca policy to work with any BVI-registered company engaged in the gambling industry, due to BVI’s strict anti-gambling laws. Three days later, a Mossack-Fonseca staffer wrote that Lexor Capital had stated that its activities were limited to “ticket printing, computer systems and accounting” and that Lexor Capital claimed it was not involved in collecting lottery money or distributing it to winners, even though it was the 100 percent shareholder of the Lottery Company. On August 9, Lexor Capital handed over 70 percent of its shares to the Ministry of Economy - along with the fast-growing debt. The document was signed by Chikovani and Zurab Aznaurashvili, who at that
time worked in the Enterprise Management Agency within the Ministry of Economy. The Ministry of Economy was already trying to manage hundreds of failing and failed Georgian businesses. Aznaurashvili said he was told by thenDeputy Minister of Economics David Giorgadze to sign the document. Chikvaidze and Gigla Mikautadze, head of the Taxpayers Union, an independent organization that tries to protect taxpayers' rights, agree that Chikovani simply wanted to dump an unprofitable company. Chikovani, former Lexor Capital director Leli Chelidze and former board member Alexander Gogokhia have either been unavailable or refused to comment. Attempts to reach Deputy Minister of Finance Giorgadze were not successful. Lottery director Chikvaidze says the original owners had totally unrealistic projections for the lottery revenues. Indeed, the current yearly rights fee alone works out to about $11 for every man, woman and child in Georgia. “The license conditions agreed to in 2009 showed a lack of experience in calculating the company's payments, and are not relevant to the current situation,” Chikvaidze said. In January 2016, the Ministry of Finance announced that it was willing to sell its 70 percent share of the Lottery Company for only GEL 1,000 (about $440). According to its website, the Ministry calculated the Lottery Company's debt as of 2016 at GEL 216.3 million (about $96.1 million). But when civic groups complained about the low sales price, the Ministry canceled the sale. According to Nick Kamushadze from the National Agency of State Property, there is no current strategy for selling the shares. The Ministry of Finance refused to comment. As for the other 30 percent, the Panama Papers show that in 2013, Chikovani transferred Lexor Capital to Teimuraz Aronia, a Georgian businessman who serves on the board of mobile phone operator Beeline Ltd. and internet service provider Caucasus Online. The Panama Papers documents do not show whether Aronia paid anything for the Lottery Company shares. Chikvaidze, the current Lottery director, says he has never spoken to Aronia, and that four letters to Lexor Capital have gone unanswered. The distance between the Lottery office and the Lexor office is about one kilometer. Chikvaidze says that since the government owns 70 percent of the shares, he makes decisions unilaterally. Aronia did not reply to e-mail questions. Chikvaidze says the Lottery Company has held talks with the Ministry of Finance about reducing the huge license fee debt, but he says the Ministry refuses to change the contract now. The ministry declined to comment. In September 2016, the Ministry announced a tender to pick a new licensee. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Georgia was paid $73,470 to organize the tender. According to documents prepared by PwC Georgia, the new licensee should have earned at least GEL 350 million (about $144 million) from lottery games in the last five years and paid at least $5 million into national budgets. The license was supposed to be awarded by the end of 2016. The Ministry now refuses to answer questions about the tender auction results, calling it confidential information. Ana Iaseshvili, a spokeswoman for Georgia Lottery Company, says employees are waiting for this information from the Ministry just like everyone else.
INTERVIEW BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES
ducation and Training International (ETI) was established in 1995 with the purpose of providing training and consultancy services to the international oil and gas industries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The company is privately owned and its Chairman, John Eades, has been involved in English language, Business and Technical training for many years and has worked with a large number of blue chip and multinational organizations. Since operations kicked off in 1996, the company has opened offices in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Baku, Sumgayit, Ganja, Aktau, Atyrau and has its head office in London. ETI’s local and international instructors deliver a wide variety of training courses in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan and ETI employs over 100 people. Training is outcome-led, in that programs are designed to meet the specific needs of the trainees. GEORGIA TODAY met Managing Director, Pam Kemsley-Dugladze, to find out more.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO START A BUSINESS IN GEORGIA? Our Chairman, John Eades, visited Baku and Tbilisi on many occasions in the mid nineties, working on the BP graduate training program. During his visits to the, region he was impressed to find talented young people who were eager to be educated to international standards. He also spotted opportunities to help other western companies who needed support to develop their local workforce and so ETI opened its first office in Tbilisi in 1996. Since then, we’ve opened offices in Azerbaijan where we have offices in Baku, Ganja and Sumgayit, and in Kazakhstan where we have offices in Aktau and Atyrau.
WHAT SORT OF COURSES DOES ETI OFFER IN GEORGIA? A lot of people think that we only do English language courses but as well as offering a variety of General and Specialist English courses, we also offer other languages such as Georgian, Russian, Farsi and Azerbaijani. We also deliver Management Training and HSE courses including NEBOSH and IOSH courses.
DO YOU OFFER ANY OTHER PROFESSIONAL TRAINING COURSES? We believe that training local teachers is vitally important and so we offer internationally accredited Teacher Training programs such as TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) and are only one of two centers in Georgia that offer the prestigious CELTA (Certificate of Language Teaching for Adults) course. We can also offer a variety of accredited Project Management courses.
ARE YOUR LANGUAGE COURSES ONLY FOR ADULTS? No not at all. We have students as young as 5 years old, and we believe one is never too old to learnthe main thing is to be motivated and to have a reason to learn.
DO YOU OFFER ANY EXAM COURSES? Absolutely! We have TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge University English preparation courses at all our centers in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi.
DO YOU PROVIDE INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATES? ETI is an accredited Cambridge University English examination centre and we can conduct Cambridge exams anywhere in Georgia. We offer the widest range of Cambridge University English exams in the Caucasus.
Address: Sioni Str. 8, Tbilisi, Georgia Tel.: 593330990 / 558511811
CAN YOU OFFER ANY COURSES OVERSEAS? ETI has several partnerships with excel-
lent schools in the UK at a variety of different locations, so depending on how long you want to study for, what your aims are, your age and the time of year you want to go, we have something for everyone and at very competitive prices. For example, at the moment we have a special offer with our partners in Liverpool with prices starting from GEL 1900 for 2 weeks, including tuition and accommodation.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF STUDYING ENGLISH OVERSEAS? It’s very effective to go to the UK or another English-speaking country to do a course- you’ll be more focused as it’s why you went there. You’ll also be surrounded by people speaking the language everywhere you go. Many of the schools we work with offer a home-stay option which means that you have total immersion whilst you’re there. All the schools also offer a very varied social program, so you’ll guaranteed to have fun, too.
WHAT IF MY BUDGET WON’T STRETCH TO STUDYING ABROAD? We understand that study abroad is an expensive proposition, so ETI has a variety of things we can offer which don’t involve leaving the country, in fact, if you sign up for our new digital learning program, you don’t even have to leave home. ETI’s new digital learning platform is a blended learning solution meaning that you have guided tuition through a personal tutor who assigns you tasks from the online learning platform according to your level. This is then supplemented by classes either at ETI or online over Skype. The system has over 5000 activities at a variety of levels and, because you have 24-hour access, you can go at your own pace.
WHAT IF I WANT MORE COMMUNICATION WITH OTHER STUDENTS? For younger students, ETI will be holding a twoweek Summer Camp for students of 7-17 from July 2 - 16. This is an excellent opportunity to learn English in a practical setting through lessons and a variety of sporting and other leisure activities. The lessons and activities are led by native speaker teachers from the UK. For our adult students, we offer intensive summer courses as well free English courses as part of our CELTA courses at Elementary and Intermediate level throughout the summer, which is a fantastic opportunity to improve your English, experience different teaching styles and meet new people from all over the world.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ETI? You can visit our website wwww.eti.uk.com or Facebook: ETI Tbilisi. If you prefer to talk to someone, you can call us on +995 32 2250945 or email me at email@example.com
GEORGIA TODAY MAY 19 - 22, 2017
Georgian Schools to Embrace Human Rights, Gender Equality & Reproductive Health Education BY MAKA LOMADZE
uman rights, gender equality, healthy lifestyle and reproductive health will soon make up an integral part of the school curriculum in Georgia. On May 15, the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and the UN Joint Program for Gender Equality signed a Memorandum of Understanding to assist the ongoing revision of the national curriculum and help integrate the issues of human rights, gender equality and healthy lifestyle into the educational programs in an initiative supported by the Government of Sweden. Cooperation between the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and three United Nations agencies – United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nation Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), covers three main areas of secondary education: formal education in schools; non-formal education, including for optional courses and parents’ education; and vocational education and training. Focusing on both content and delivery of education, the United Nations will assist the Ministry to analyse the school and college curriculum from the gender equality perspective, develop new educational programs, upgrade teaching methodologies, train teachers and career councillors, and share best international practices in promoting human rights, gender equality and healthy lifestyle through general education. The United Nations will also work with the vocational colleges and local governments to create more educational and employment opportunities for women across Georgia, and to involve locally elected women councillors in the pre-school education reform. "Cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia will contribute to the healthy and harmonious development of youth and to
strengthening human capital and helping in achieving national priorities defined under the Sustainable Development Goals, National Youth Policy, Maternal and Child Health Strategy, and Demographic Security Policy Concept. Integration of these issues into the education system, when delivered within a safe and enabling learning environment and alongside access to health services, has a positive and life-long effect on the health and well-being of young people: reduction in teenage pregnancies and abortions; decrease in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young people aged 15–24 years; decrease in HIV infections among young people aged 15–24 years; decrease in sexual abuse," Lela Bakradze, Assistant Representative, UNFPA Georgia, told GEORGIA TODAY.
Austrian Company & Bank of Georgia Sign Memorandum on King David
n May 15, 2017, the Austrian company "Rezid Holding GMBH" and the Bank of Georgia signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on the multifunctional complex “King David.” The new conditions of cooperation under this agreement make it more convenient to purchase a premium class residence in the skyscraper. In frames of the joint project, customers will have the opportunity to purchase apartments at the King David through the Bank of Georgia’s mortgage program. Bank of Georgia mortgages will ensure maximum affordability for customers by offering co-funding of only 10%, payment period of the loan up to 20 years, and a preferential interest rate of 7%. Furthermore, customers interested in purchasing the Kind David residences will be offered the following two options: • 5 % discount in case of a single payment;
• Price per square meter from $1,500. King David creates a 5-star lifestyle within exceptionally elegant residential and business towers with beautifully designed amenity spaces organized enticingly as a multistory urban resort and exclusive collection of specially-designed services. The first condominium-type residential complex strategically located on a hill overlooking the Queen Tamar Bridge, next to Heroes Square, where four of Tbilisi’s main avenues from varying districts come together, has reached the finish line of construction works. The project, worth $70 million in investment, has created a precedent of skyscraper construction in Tbilisi and laid a foundation of a 5-star lifestyle. Royal-style residencies, with stainedglass views, high ceilings, and 5-star hotel services, make every minute unforgettable at the complex. The capital will get its landmark from July, which will be officially opened in September 2017. For more detailed information, please call 200 18 18.
“In the framework of the Memorandum, the UNDP, UN Women and UNFPA will support the working group established at the National Curriculum Department of the Ministry of Education and Science with experts to integrate the human rights framework, healthy lifestyle, domestic violence and reproductive health issues into the National Curriculum of public schools,” Erika Kvapilova, UN Women Country Representative in Georgia, told us. “Gender issues will be mainstreamed in the revision process of the National Curriculum of VII-XII grades of other mainstream subjects (history, literature, etc.). In addition, technical expertise will be provided for reviewing and enhancing the specific subject standards for basic and secondary levels of the general education and higher school in order to ensure the
integration of healthy lifestyle and reproductive health, as well as domestic violence issues into the formal education system, focusing on subject standards like “Biology” and “Civic Education”. Support will also be provided to the Ministry and the Teachers Professional Development Center in integrating the training module on gender equality, domestic violence, healthy lifestyle and reproductive health and rights issues into the teachers’ professional education system.” The representatives of the Georgian Ministry of Education assert that the curriculum of secondary schools was upgraded in the first four grades last year. It is unknown when the process will come to a conclusion, but the relevant action plan is expected to be concluded by the end of the coming summer.
MAY 19 - 22, 2017
WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER
GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 13 Shavtelis Str. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 May 19 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL May 20 STALINGRAD Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL May 21 AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 May 18 IGI After Jemal Karchkhadze’s story ‘Igi’ Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Music: Sandro Nikoladze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL May 19 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Special guest- Dato Turashvili Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 10 GEL May 20 DON JUAN Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Composer: Sandro Nikolava Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL May 21 ECLIPSE Directed by Nino Burduli Composer: Sandro Nikolava Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL
GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATER Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 May 19, 20 LULLABY Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 9 GEL CINEMA
(Info Above) Start time: 19:40 Ticket: 10-14 GEL MUSEUM
GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge
AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava Str. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge
PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO THE 4TH CENTURY A.D
Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari May 19-25
EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY
ALIEN COVENANT Directed by Ridley Scott Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 22:15 Ticket: 8-14 GEL
KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD Directed by Guy Ritchie Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Annabelle Wallis Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama Language: Russian Start time: 16:25, 19:10 Ticket: 10-14 GEL May 23 ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD Event Cinema Directed by David Leveaux Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire, David Haig Language: English Start time: 20:20 Ticket: 27 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL May 19-25
THE TESTAMENT OF DAVID THE BUILDER AND NEW EXHIBITS OF THE MEDIEVAL TREASURY September 27 (2016) – September 22 (2017) EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA May 16-25 Museum Week EXHIBITION "GEORGIAN ALPHABET" BY NIAZ DIASAMIDZE May 17-June 15 Museum Week EXHIBITION "SPACE OF DIFFUSION" May 17-June 12 Museum Week EXHIBITION OF ZIGA WALISZEWSKI'S ARTWORKS MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS Address: 1 Gudiashvili Str. March 6 – August 30 EXHIBITION MASTERPIECES FROM THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS COLLECTION GALLERY
ALIEN COVENANT (Info Above) Start time: 14:00, 22:30 Ticket: 8-14 GEL
THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge
KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD
GEORGIAN PAINTERS PERMANENT EXHIBITION
May 4 – June 2 EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO 100th ANNIVERSARY OF ROBERT STURUA. May 5 – June 7 EXHIBITION BACH EXERCISES BY LEVAN LAGIDZE May 5 –24 GROUP EXHIBITION THE LIBRARY OF COLORS MUSIC
TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE Address: 8 Griboedov St. Telephone: 2 93 46 24 May 20 NODAR GABUNIA STUDIO CONCERT Participants: Ketevan Badridze, Nino Gvetadze, Tamar Kordzaia, Mamikon Nakhapetov, Steven Spooner (USA), Nato Tsvereli Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-15 GEL May 21 SYMPHONY AND PIANO MUSIC CONCERT E. Mikeladze State Symphony Orchestra Conductor: VAKHTANG MATCHAVARIANI Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-15 GEL DJANSUG KAKHIDZE TBILISI CENTER FOR MUSIC AND CULTURE Address: 125 Aghmashenebeli ave. Telephone: 2 96 12 43 May 20 Grammy winner PATTI AUSTIN Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-60 GEL May 24 Concert dedicated to 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN ITALY & GEORGIA The program is based on the works of Italian composers and includes the pieces of musical genres from 16th to 20th century. Special guests – famous Italian accordionist Mario Stefano Pietrodarchi and Well-known Georgian opera singer
Iano Alibegashvili Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-30 GEL SOU 2017 May 19 WILLIAM BASINSKI Basinski is one of the leading ambient composers of the last 15 years, specializing in tape music. He will present an eulogy to David Bowie. A SHADOW IN TIME (FOR DAVID ROBERT JONES) Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 30-35 GEL Venue: Ilia’s Garden, Garden Hall May 21 MASAYOSHI FUJITA, JAN JELINEK Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 30-35 GEL Venue: Artists' House May 22 CHRISTOPHER TIGNOR Violin player, composer and software engineer, Tignor combines genres of wildly different origins in a post-minimalist manner. Tignor’s set will be based around his new release “Along a Vanishing Point” with additional custom software and tuning forks. Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 30-35 GEL Venue: Royal District Theater May 24 RYO MURAKAMI Innovative Techno and Housemusic producer of the decade, with heavy isolating tendencies, Japanese Ryo Murakami described his last work as: “No geometric figures this time, but something real.” Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 30-35 GEL Venue: Sarajishvili Factory BLACK SEE ARENA Address: Shekvetili May 20 Black Sea Arena hosts the legendary Rock and Roll band AEROSMITH As part of their huge “Aero-Vederci Baby!” Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 70 GEL MUSIC FESTIVAL 4GB Address: The Center of Space Constructions, Saguramo Nay 20 TOMMA, VINCENT LEMIEUX, DANDY JACK, SAN PROPER, RICARDO VILLALOBOS Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 70 GEL RUSTAVELI THEATER Address: 17 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 72 68 68 www.rustavelitheatre.ge May 19 BEL SUONO Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-60 GEL May 22 MUSICIANS FROM USA Small Stage Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-20 GEL May 22 5TH ANNIVERSARY GALA CONCERT & AWARDS CEREMONY OF THE GEORGIAN CHANTING FOUNDATION Main Stage Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 7-25 GEL
GEORGIA TODAY MAY 19 - 22, 2017
Interview with Vakho Bughadze BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
EORGIA TODAY continues a series of interviews with Georgian artists together with BI Auction for Art. In this issue, we introduce Vakho Bughadze, painter and sculptor who experiments and uses different methods to express himself through his art. Bughadze graduated from Tbilisi State Academy of Arts in 1991, gaining acclaim as one of the most talented artists of his generation. His works have been showcased at various personal and group exhibitions both in Georgia and abroad throughout his career as an artist. We met Vakho Bughadze at his studio to talk about his art, inspiration and creativity.
WHAT WERE THE FACTORS THAT MADE YOU BECOME AN ARTIST? As I remember, I was in the fourth or fifth grade at school when my Russian language teacher invited me to participate in a sculpting competition which I won and they took me to art school, where I studied sculpture. So, when I decided to enter the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts I wanted to pursue my studies in sculpture again, but I only got in the Academy for the second year and studied applied arts. I served two years in the army and only when I came back was I able to finally change to sculpture, graduating in 1991. The 90s were a chaotic
time. Two of my friends, Lado Gorgadze and Zaza Lejava, and I found ourselves at the Silk Factory, which was on the Academy balance, so we had our first artists’ studios there. The Silk Factory soon became a place where not only painters, but musicians, met, held rock concerts, performances, and exhibitions- in many ways it became a center of an underground culture in the city of the 1990s.That lasted almost four years and that’s where I started painting and had exhibitions. It’s difficult to say what started me painting, and I think there are number of factors that define us. Sometimes you may know what you want to do as early as your childhood, or on the contrary, there are lots of young people who struggle to decide what they want to pursue as a profession, and their parents try to encourage them. I think it’s important to follow your way, although it may be challenging, and artists of my generation had reasons enough to choose a different path, considering the time we lived in.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION? It’s always different and consists of so many things. It may be searching for something, the process from which your work, your art comes to life, or it may be a different inspiration, an impulse each day. In my case, especially with the last few exhibitions, they were all thematic, so if that could be called an inspiration, it turned out that I was thinking about a certain theme, not so much searching, but rather discovering it in me. That was the actual dynamic. You have to decide how it’ll look, which
CinéDOC-Tbilisi 2017 Winners Announced
material you will use, what size the works will be and details like that. One of my exhibitions, Hippodrome, was inspired by a true story, when in the early 90s, together with my friends, I bought a horse, and we were regularly going to hippodrome, uniting many people around us, who shared the same interests, all from the same generation. That story, from almost 20-22 years ago inspired a whole exhibition in 2013. The last exhibition, held just last month in the Literature Museum in Tbilisi, was on the theme of boats and piers and docks, something I remember from my childhood, and yet another one called Suburb that came from my memory of relocating from the center of Tbilisi, where I lived with my grandparents, to the city suburbs in Gldani, that was just being built and had just two or three blocks. So, if we’re talking about inspirations, all of these are. Memories in general for me are related to the art of painting.
universe that can be found in one painting. For me, Deer Hunting by Lucas Cranach is the one, a key to understanding the universe. It depends what’s important for you. In Deer Hunting, I can see the whole substance of our living. Creation is a continuous process, and the most important part is to take pleasure from it. Even if I have a certain concept while I work, it doesn’t mean I know for sure what the end result will be. I may know I’m painting a house, what I don’t know is how it will end up looking. It’s almost on the level of sensations, especially with abstractions, which are the most difficult to work on, because in reality you’re trying to paint something that doesn’t exist and it’s on your craft what will come out of it.
TO WHAT EXTENT HAVE YOU TRANSFORMED AS AN ARTIST?
I think exhibitions are a necessity as you work, and new paintings are being created that you have to exhibit, because it’s often difficult to collect all the works afterwards in one place: some can be even lost. At the end, I’m satisfied if the way I visualized the exhibition is the same as it’s done.
I would say it’s a process of discovery and pleasure. Of course, in different periods you yourself may have different types of energy and vibes that change; your works change as long as a person changes through different stages and ages in life. It transforms, turns into a different form, but there’s no fatigue in it. You don’t get calmer with age, not at all. It’s difficult to explain, I think in painting, not everything is explainable.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EXPRESS THROUGH YOUR WORKS?
From 'You have no idea how much I love you', directed by Pawel Lozinski
BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
he winners of international documentary film festival CinéDOC-Tbilisi 2017 were announced at the award ceremony on May 16. The main award in the International Competition category went to: You Have No Idea How Much I love you by Pawel Lozinski, a film exploring the difficult and painful relations between a mother and a daughter. Normal Autistic Film, a film about children and teenagers with Asperger’s Syndrome, directed by Miroslav Janek, got a special mention from the jury. The Main Award in the Civil Doc competition went to Ada for Mayor - a film by Pau Faus fol-
WHAT DO YOU THINK NEEDS TO BE DONE TO PROMOTE GEORGIAN PAINTERS MORE? Lack of exhibition spaces and galleries is certainly a huge problem, especially big spaces for larger exhibitions. There must be more people supporting young artists. I just saw at the Venetian Biennale, where my students are attending and posting photos from, the works of Damien Hirst. Just imagine how many people are working to make it happen- it’s amazing. We’re not in a stagnation, we’re lacking people to assist and collaborate with artists. We need such people because then new ideas will be born.
lowing activist Ada Colau as she decides to run for the Mayor’s Office of Barcelona, Spain. Venus, directed by Lea Glob and Mette Carla Albrechtsen, got a special mention from the jurya film portraying young women talking openly and honestly about their sexuality. Georgian fillmaker Shorena Tevzadze was awarded the Focus Caucasus Competition’s main award for her film Didube the Last Stop, while Sasha Voronov’s Bonfires and Stars got a special mention. Stranger in Paradize directed by Guido Hendrix got the Student Jury Award, and CinéDOC- Young Award went to Conversations on Serious Topics directed by Giedre Beinoriute. Pawel Lozinski with his film: You Have No Idea How Much I loveYou took the Audience Award at CinéDOC-Tbilisi 2017.
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Lots of things, so many things actually: it’s a unity of numerous components, but for me painting is something that stays with you forever. Not necessarily my own work, someone else’s, too. It doesn’t matter which paintings you admire, you can be fond of the very first works of art on the cave walls, for example. Something moves you, and it’s a whole
ARE EXHIBITIONS IMPORTANT FOR YOU, AND ARE YOU USUALLY SATISFIED ONCE THEY ARE OVER?
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MAY 19 - 22, 2017
Eminent Georgian Female Composer Receives Another Award BY MAKA LOMADZE
he Best Variety Art Composer of the Year, owner of the Order or Honor and Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi: to this long list, the special award of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection, Priestess of Art, was added on May 11. The lucky recipient? Well-known composer Marika Kvaliashvili, who was conferred this latest award for her special contribution to the development of Georgian art. The granddaughter of Maro Tarkhnishvili, a well-known Georgian performer of folk songs who also happened to be the first female choirmaster, Marika Kvaliashvili has a special talent running through her genes. She founded the project “Propaganda of Georgian Songs” aiming at the popularization of Georgian songs in all regions of Georgia, as well as at trying to discover talented children. Kvaliashvili, a member of the Georgian Composers’ Union, is a genuine patriot. To prove this, she is the author of odes dedicated to every region of Georgia. She worships everything national: Georgian language, land, and traditions, and tries to preserve them as much as she
can. Besides the patriotic theme, she is the author of variety and children’s songs. Another leitmotif of Marika (Mariko) Kvaliashvili’s creativity is romance. Nukri Kapanadze is an indelible performer of her song “If only you smile at me,” based on the verse of Lilly Nutsubidze. Many more of Kvaliashvili’s songs are sung by men and ensembles. One of the most popular songs of hers is “Heart, please wait a bit more,” based on the verse of Dodo Gvishiani and sung by legendary Nani Bregvadze, joined later by her daughter, the famous Eka Mamaladze, and her granddaughter, Natalia Kutateladze. The late Gogi Dolidze, indelible performer of Georgian songs, was one of her favorites. The songs “Oh, you Futile Transient World”, to the verse of Moris Potskhishvili, and “Once upon a Time”, to the verse of Inola Gurgulia, sung by Gogi Dolidze, belong to Kvaliashvili. In 2010, Kvaliashvili’s star was unveiled in front of the Tbilisi Concert Hall. “This award, Priestess of Art, is another example of appreciation from the government. It fills me with a dual feeling of gratitude and embarrassment,” the composer modestly told GEORGIA TODAY. Kvaliashvili was born in 1937, in Tbilisi. Together with Rusudan Sebiskveradze, Nunu Gabunia, Nunu Dughashvili, Inola Gurgulia, Eter Chelidze - prominent
Composer Marika Kvaliashvili with Minister of Culture, Mikheil Giorgadze
composers of her generation - she has contributed a lot to Georgian melodies, which will remain timeless. To the question, where she gets her inspiration from, the composer tells us: “When something happens that touches me, be it good or bad news, it is always reflected in my creativity. Nevertheless, if I am in a calm mood, I read books and get inspiration from them. As for the absolutely necessary circumstance that
I need as a precondition for my working process, it is a quiet night, when there are no guests, no calls, no noise at all. This is when my songs are born.” Besides her musical creations, Kvaliashvili also writes short stories. Her book “Life is worth it” was published in 2016. Notably, her niece, Eka Kvaliashvili, is one of Georgia’s eminent female singers. Nuka Kvaliashvili, Eka’s daughter, is a very successful young singer who is
predicted a great creative future. So, the beautiful tradition of the big musical family continues. GEORGIA TODAY congratulates Marika Kvaliashvili on this reward, and wishes her longevity, health and many more beautiful songs! h t t p s : / / w w w. y o u t u b e . c o m / watch?v=P3DFkLXWOks h t t p s : / / w w w. y o u t u b e . c o m / watch?v=FPYXYD4nnu4