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Issue no: 991

• OCTOBER 20 - 23, 2017

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Editor-in-Chief of The Messenger Zaza Gachechiladze Dies at 70 NEWS PAGE 2

Keeping the Good Status Quo POLITICS PAGE 4

Georgia’s Culture of “Breakthrough” Celebrations POLITICS PAGE 6

FOCUS ON THE ARTS SEASON

Russia & an Independent Kurdistan

The Georgian International Festival of Arts (GIFT), Baroque Festival of Tbilisi, Tamar Iveri's debut and Georgian painters in Qatar...The Arts season is here! PAGE 13,15

Tbilisi to Host Massive Sales Forum

POLITICS PAGE 8

SOCIETY PAGE 12

Georgian Foreign Minister Holds High-Rank Meetings in Brussels BY THEA MORRISON

Emotional & Expressive Soprano Tamar Iveri to Conquer Tbilisi Opera Stage CULTURE PAGE 15

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uring an official visit to Brussels on October 18-19, Georgian Foreign Minister and Vice-Premier Mikheil Janelidze held high-rank meetings with European Parliament VicePresident Ryszard Czarnecki and various Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). During the meeting, expectations for the Eastern Partnership Summit and cooperation with Georgia were actively discussed. "I think the future Eastern Partnership summit will be the next step forward for Georgia and other countries. We need to open the door of closer cooperation not only in the economic sphere, but on the political level," Czarencki stated. Continued on page 2

Georgian Foreign Minister met the Group of Friends of Georgia in the European Parliament


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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 20 - 23, 2017

Georgia May Host Munich Security Conference Events BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

Editor-in-Chief of The Messenger Zaza Gachechiladze Dies at 70 BY THEA MORRISON

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aza Gachechiladze, Editorin-Chief of the daily English newspaper in Georgia, The Messenger, passed away at the age of 70. He was a Ph.D, a specialist in English literature and the author of books on Dylan Thomas and Geoffrey Chaucer, as well as a lecturer at Tbilisi State University and a journalist. He created The Messenger as it is now in the beginning of 2000s. Prior the Messenger, he founded and was Editor-in-

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n 2018-2019, Georgia may host a number of events connected to the Munich Security Conference. The possibility was discussed at a meeting held in the government administration office between Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Geor-

gia, and Benedikt Franke, Chief Operating Officer, Munich Security Conference, on October 17. It is said that the ‘Georgian Defense and Security Conference,’ or ‘Georgia’s European Way’ might be used for the events. The opportunity was first discussed during a meeting of Prime Minister Kvirikashvili and Chairman of the Munich Security Foundation, Wolfgang Ischinger, while the former was on an official visit to the US.

The PM is to participate in the upcoming Munich Security Conference (MSC) in February 2018, joining over 450 decision-makers, heads of state, international organizations and NGOs, alongside business sphere, public sector and media representatives coming from all over the world. The MSC is the largest annual global forum where major issues of security policies are discussed.

Chief of the English language ‘Georgian Times’ from 1994-2001. At the Messenger, Gachechiladze often employed his students, aiming to give them “a good start for their successful future careers”. Over the years as Editorin-Chief, he helped those students to gain experience and to become professional journalists. He was known as a high-level professional and a patriot who aimed to be of best service to his country and particularly the younger generation. The funeral will be held on October 21. Georgia Today offers its condolences to his family and relatives.

Georgian Foreign Minister Holds High-Rank Meetings in Brussels Continued from page 1

The Georgian Foreign Ministry reports thattheEuropeanparliamentVice-President noted that Georgia is an integral part of the European culture, history and civilization. “We cannot imagine a European political future without Georgia, without the significant place occupied by Georgia in the European political family,” he added. Janelidze also met with the ‘Friendship Group of Georgia’ in the European Par-

liament. The Group Chair, Clare Moody, noted that Georgia has made significant progress in many directions, making it a leader in the Eastern Partnership format. Moody also positively assessed the visit of the Georgian Foreign Minister and noted the special relations with Georgia, reflected in the recommendations of the European Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee. “Georgia is a recognized leader in the Eastern Partnership countries and we

support the progress achieved in different directions such as democratization, judicial reform and economic development. In all these directions, the European Union offers great support for Georgia and we should ensure this support continues in future," she stated. The meeting was also attended by Friendship Group member Andrejs Mamikins who is a Latvian politician, journalist and an MEP. Janelidze thanked the MEPs for being

an important voice for Georgia in the European Parliament and active members of the Friendship Group. He also met MEPs: Laima Andrikiene, Sandra Kalniete, and Sajjad Karim, who is the Co-Chair of the EU-Georgia Association Committee, as well as Hans van Baalen, a MEP, who is the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) party president. “The Russian Federation should leave the occupied Georgian territories!” van

Baalen wrote after his meeting with Janelidze. During his visit, Janelidze also delivered a speech at the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee. “We have many friends in the European Parliament, and this was first proved when they supported Georgia’s visaliberalization earlier this year…With such support, we will be able to achieve even more success,” Georgian Foreign Minister stated in summary of his visit.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 20 - 23, 2017

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Saudi Aramco to Make Largest Export Reduction in its History BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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audi Arabia has decided to show all partners on the Vienna OPEC+ an example of how to reduce oil exports. The Saudi Energy Ministry announced that in November, Saudi Aramco will produce "the largest scale cuts in deliveries to customers in its history". State corporation is expected to reduce export flows by 560 thousand barrels, with Saudi Aramco to supply 7.15 million barrels per day to customers, while demand, according to its data, exceeds 7.7 million barrels per day. "The Kingdom expects that all other participants in the Vienna OPEC+ deal will follow suit and will continue to maintain the high overall compliance indicators reached in August," the Saudi Energy Ministry stated. Saudi Aramco is reducing oil exports for the fourth consecutive month. In October, foreign shipments fell by 350 thousand barrels per day. "Despite the fact that the demand for oil at the refinery is growing, a decision was made to reduce it". Demand for oil and refining margins in Asia is high, but the state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco will reduce supplies to the region, with most of the cuts going to Japan. The agency also claims that, according to its data, Europe will also be exported 70,000 barrels of oil a day less. In summer, Saudi Aramco cut its exports to suppliers in the US. In July, oil ship-

ments to US ports fell to an absolute minimum for the past 30 years. In June, Saudi Arabia exported about 1 million barrels per day to the United States, in July - only 800 thousand, and in August, deliveries "dried up" by another 100 thousand barrels a day. There can be two reasons for this happening. First, Riyadh is aiming to achieve a reduction in record commercial oil reserves in the US, which for a long time exceeded the level of 500 million barrels.

Second, everything can be explained by the rise in the price of Saudi oil, which American customers are now reluctant to buy. The cost of Arab Light and Arab Medium brands increased by $ 0.5 per barrel, Arab Heavy - by 30 cents per barrel, Arab Extra Light - by 10 cents. Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, most popularly known just as Aramco, is a Saudi Arabian national petroleum and natural gas company based in Dhahran.

Photo source: PEC

De Facto South Ossetian Foreign Minister Pays “Working Visit” to Italy BY THEA MORRISON

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Photo source: lsbf.org.uk

he de facto Foreign Minister of Georgia’s Russianbacked South Ossetia, Dmitry Medoev, has paid a working visit to Italy, where he held a series of meetings with representatives of political and cultural circles. The information was released by the breakaway South Ossetian news agency PEC. The article reads that the “minister” participated in the opening of the exhibition "Colors of the Caucasus" in the Gallery of Contemporary Art Alexander Museum Palace in Pesaro. “The exposition presented paintings by famous Ossetian artists Magrez Kelekhsaev, Lavrenty Kasoev, Akhsar Esenov, Georgy Gabaraev, Oleg Basayev, Vadim Pukhaev, Vadim Kadzhaev and others,” the agency reports. Ria Novosti reports that Medoev says South Ossetia intends to expand international contacts. "We are going to expand the geography of contacts. This applies to European

countries, Central Asia, Latin American countries, and of course, the CIS countries, with which we have experience of living together within the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union and where the Ossetian diaspora is represented," the so called minister stated. He also claimed that Italy is one of those countries that has expressed interest in breakaway South Ossetia in recent years, since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Medoev added his "visit" was carried out at the invitation of the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Italian Province of Pesaro and Urbino. The Georgian Foreign Ministry responded to the visit of the occupied region’s de facto minister to Italy, saying the visit had no legitimacy. “It is a continuation of illegal actions by Russia, aimed at legitimizing the occupational regimes on the territories of Georgia,” the ministry stated. “Italy strongly supports our country's territorial integrity and sovereignty and the policy of non-recognition of Georgia's occupied regions,” the ministry added.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 20 - 23, 2017

Keeping the Good Status Quo OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

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very so often, I hear that the Government of Georgia is not even lifting a finger to move its territorial conflicts from their abominable dead end. Wrong! And here's why: In the wake of the dismantlement of the infamous Soviet Empire, Georgia, due to certain unfavorable circumstances, suffered a severe loss in historical territories, actually, losing one third of its entire landmass. Today, this loss has that dry, formal geopolitical qualification of ‘frozen conflict’. For the unconcerned international community, it is perfectly frozen, while for all of us here in Georgia, it’s as hot as can be. We have two of them: Abkhazia and so called South Ossetia. ‘So called’ because, for Georgians, it is not Ossetia – neither

north nor south. It is Samachablo. That is what this piece of Georgian land was called before the Soviet power overwhelmed the country. Those two runaway territories continue their wretched existence under the Russian protectorate but without international recognition. In a nutshell, the de facto leaders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia want independence; the Georgian government wants the temporarily lost territories back as soon as possible, something which seems impossible to achieve at this time while the current Russian administration is so supportive of the illegitimate causes of the weakened and exhausted separatists, and not to the liking of the international family of nations. At the same time, the West wants to live a calm, idyllic life without separatist headaches which is quite feasible with the help of ‘frozen conflicts’. So, what’s happening in the meantime

with the current leadership of Georgia? It’s in limbo, doing very little to alter the picture except by restrained participation in hardly functional international geopolitical formats to work on the resolution of the conflicts with affordable moderation. To answer the question about the attitude of the Georgian government, we might need to consider several hypothetical developments for the situation. First: Let flimsy little Georgia go to war with strong and spacious Russia and fight for the return of the lost lands to the last drop of the Georgian patriotic blood; if needed, let the Georgian people leave their homes and families and take to the woods for guerilla actions to have the Russians eat their humble pie, thus liberating our escapee relatives from the Russian yoke. Would this be possible? I don’t think so: no resources, no power, no will, no readiness and no desire! Sec-

ond: Let us go down on our knees and crawl from Tbilisi to Moscow, crying and eating out our bleeding hearts while beseeching Russia to give us a friendly hand and take back all Georgia, including the lost territories, so that we may continue the erstwhile slavery – us the slaves and them the slave-drivers – for the price of getting back our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers and sisters. Would this work? Probably not, because our new cousin the West will likely get angry and drop all that comprehensive assistance keeping us alive and kicking right now, leaving us to the mercy of the returned big brother bear and without a chance of ever seeing NATO or the EU. How about the third version: trying not to upset the apple-cart, at least for the time being? This seems to be the most optimal behavioral paradigm for Georgia, which feels quite at a loss and unclear in which direction to turn. So, let us keep the West happy with our

tolerance and patience; let us not refuse the minimum subsistence it provides us; try to present ourselves as an A-student; let time pass and see what the future has in store for us; do not make unnecessary waves; maintain the cherished internal tranquility and let the tired people of Georgia do their affordable best to survive peacefully. To recap, if this government is doing all that makes life tolerable, let them do it and let’s leave them alone, giving preference to bad peace compared to good war. Why don’t we call it a good status quo which this government is maintaining wisely enough to have a positive effect on us all? Sooner or later, things will change anyway, and what we have today looks much better than what we had in the very recent past.

Lithuanian Ambassador on Georgia’s EU Aspirations Ambassador of Lithuania to Georgia, his excellence Giedrius Puodžiunas

INTERVIEW BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

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ithuania is one of the more resilient strategic partners that Georgia can turn to nowadays, with the country an outspoken supporter of Georgia’s coveted aim, EU and NATO membership. GEORGIA TODAY and Panorama TV Show sat down with the Ambassador of Lithuania to Georgia, his excellence Giedrius Puodžiunas, at the International Black Sea University, to talk more about relations between the two countries. The interview was attended by the students and academic staff.

AS A HISTORIAN, HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE THE SHARED HISTORY OF POST-SOVIET TIMES OF OUR TWO COUNTRIES?

I’ve been here more than two years and I’m impressed with how many similarities we can enjoy despite being geographically and linguistically remote countries. We’ve both had our golden days and dark times. Next year, we celebrate 100 years of Lithuanian statehood. History was a bit nicer to us as we secured our independence for 22 years while Georgia had just three. I’d say that our special glue is the attitude of Georgians and Lithuanians towards freedom. Freedom is not given: you have to fight for it. We know the value and importance of freedom. That’s why Georgians and Lithuanians can so easily relate to each other.

ON GEORGIA’S EURO-ATLANTIC ASPIRATIONS: WHY IS WHAT YOU ACHIEVED IN 2004 A STRUGGLE FOR GEORGIA? Don’t look for answers in the past. Look forward and you will be successful. Our way to the EU and NATO wasn’t rosy. You have to be united in your geopolitical goals. We joke that we are two Lithuanians and three parties: we quarrel a lot but in our geopolitical projects, we’re united and speak in one voice. You also need to be ambitious and realistic;

dedicated and consistent. I believe Georgia is on the right path. The visa liberalization is very important symbolically and we congratulate you and the Ukrainians for this big achievement.

IS BEING DEMOCRATIC, MAKING REFORMS, TRYING TO BE PART OF THE WESTERN SOCIETY ENOUGH? You implement reforms not because NATO and the EU are imposing something on you but because you want to be better governed, more resilient, more competitive, and because all those reforms work for the future of your country. I first came to Georgia 15 years ago and now it’s a totally different country. The process of reforms is useful for Georgia. The DCFTA opened up a window of opportunities. You can sell your services, and goods to the most lucrative market in the world. How your business will use that chance is a different story. There’s tough competition. You have to be prepared for this and adapt. Consistency is key. Georgia’s contribution to NATO is very important and everyone acknowledges that. Georgia is a valuable and reliable partner.

GEORGIAN SOVEREIGNTY & GEORGIA’S EUROPEAN FUTURE? We believe that every country has the sovereign right to decide to whom it will be joined. If you decide to be part of NATO and the EU no one has the right to veto it. That’s very clear. What concerns the neighborhood is a more difficult question- there are a lot of challenges, especially since the wars of 2008 and 2014 that completely changed the geopolitical reality to which Lithuania is trying to adapt. We face challenges but we’re doing a great job by increasing our budget. Next year we’ll have 2% of GDP for defense, conscription is back, we are purchasing necessary military equipment, so we are doing our homework and adapting to modern challenges.

SO BE PREPARED AND HOPE FOR THE BEST? Before 2003, we were told many times that Lithuania would never be a NATO member, but we were consistent and here we are. You have the declaration of the Bucharest Summit that one day Georgia will be a NATO member. You have to do what you do and be very ambitious until the very end.

LET’S DISCUSS THE RUSSIAN INFLUENCE. BASED ON LITHUANIA’S EXPERIENCE, IS DIALOGUE WITH RUSSIA RESULT-BASED? Well, it’s not an easy neighbor; one which dramatically influenced a change of security and political architecture up to 2014. Lithuania is doing its part. We’d be happy to have best possible relations with our big neighbor but you do need two to tango. As I said, on the military side, we’re doing our homework and we believe in future it will be different. Russia will most probably change, too. What we can do now is support such countries as Georgia and Ukraine which are looking for a better future and see that coming from close cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic family.

AND THE ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT? The EU AA is a very important milestone on the way to integration. Implementing those reforms, such as those foreseen at the Prague Summit for the ambitious AA agenda, is not easy. It is costly, sometimes painful and often very unpopular, such as the technical inspection of cars: it will be costly and needs adaptation but there is no other way.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 20 - 23, 2017

Georgia’s Culture of “Breakthrough” Celebrations OP-ED BY ARCHIL SIKHARULIDZE

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his year, Tbilisi celebrated the EU’s decision to pursue an “open-door” policy and give Georgian citizens the right to enter the Schengen zone without visa. The decision was highly praised by various political actors and proclaimed as a significant political victory for the post-Soviet state. At the same time, some experts have doubts about the visa liberalization policy. Moreover, the notion of a “great victory” reminded many of a few similar stories that have been celebrated by local political elites as grand achievements that later turned out to be a part of political populism and simple exaggeration; an attempt to overshadow a domestic political, economic and/or social crisis.

FROM GEORGE W. BUSH TO THE 2008 AUGUST WAR There are three prominent cases that have been re-thought: George W. Bush’s visit to Georgia, the NATO Bucharest Summit and the 2008 August War. For such a small country as Georgia, which at both the internal and external level significantly depend on support from strategic partners, it is a great honor to host high-ranking officials. The US President’s visit was the highest victory for Georgia, especially when taking into consideration the fact that this was the only time a US president had ever visited South Caucasia. George W. Bush gave a speech in the city center of Tbilisi on May 10, 2005 and proclaimed Georgia as a beacon of democracy in the region. Moreover, he argued that his administration had drawn a ‘red line’ over Caucasia, meaning that Russia should not try to intervene in the State’s affairs. Only, during the 2008 August War, Georgian society realized that the visit was more about PR rather than real politics. Georgia’s president Mikhail Saakashvili used it to legiti-

mize his government’s aggressive “zero tolerance” policy that led to power abuse and frequent cases of human rights violations that Bush’s administration mainly ignored. Bush himself considered the Tbilisi trip a political step to boost his political popularity at home by showing the “success story” of his foreign policy, which was under fire over the Afghanistan and Iraq operations. Finally, neither Saakashvili nor Bush thought about the impact the visit would have on GeorgianRussian relations. While the leaders of both countries were trying to solve internal issues, the Kremlin perceived it as a direct threat to national security. Moscow’s approach became even more offensive which, in combination with Bush’s Tbilisi “assurances” and Saakashvili’s hot-headed nature, led to the 2008 August War. The NATO 2008 Bucharest Summit is probably the most interesting case. At the end of 90s, the second president of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze, knocked on NATO doors. Saakashvili’s pro-Western government took all measures to finally integrate Tbilisi into the military organization; it even conducted a state referendum to officially prove the devotion of local society to the goal. In 2008, due to extreme support from the Eastern European countries (Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia) and the US administration, Georgia was never before as close to acquiring the so called MAP (The Membership Action Plan). But despite this unique political backup, the attempt failed and instead of received MAP, representatives of NATO member states expressed merely a commitment to integrate Georgia and Ukraine once they meet the respective criteria. This commitment was proclaimed by Saakashvili’s government as another strategic victory while American and European offi-

cials praised Georgia’s democratic development. And, once again, only the August 2008 War made it clear that the decision was a huge blow to Bush administration’s foreign policy and a reflection of the Saakashvili government’s failure to gain support from leading Western European countries. Nowadays,

it is frequently argued that the Bucharest decision was a political miscalculation of the West that gave a green light to Putin’s regime to stimulate the August 2008 War, rather than a victorious moment for Tbilisi. Finally, we cannot avoid assessment of the August 2008 events themselves. This war is important not only from a political and geopolitical perspective, but also as a clear example of state propaganda. While Moscow tried hard to persuade the local electorate that this was a big victory for the Russian Federation, Tbilisi aggressively promoted the idea of exposing the Kremlin’s real face. In fact, both states lost. While Russia managed to restrain Georgia’s aspiration to become a NATO member, it created two practically internationally non-recognized self-proclaimed states totally dependent on Moscow’s political, financial and military donations. In turn, Saakashvili’s government, to undermine the catastrophic results of the conflict on the count r y ’s political, economic and social dimensions, focused more on Russia’s international pres-

tige. Tbilisi argued that it had managed to expose the evil nature of the Kremlin’s regime. As Russian scholar, Ivan Kurilla, perfectly noted, it is questionable whether Georgia exposed something but it is definitely unarguable that Saakashvili put his country in a position where neither the West nor liberal groups in Moscow were capable of blaming with total confidence the Russian government for the outbreak of the war. Hence, the game wasn't worth playing. All in all, each “breakthrough” analyzed above was presented by the Georgian government as a grand achievement to hide some concrete political misdeeds

10 Galaktion Street

mainly connected to an inability or unwillingness to pursue a logical, politically calculated and balanced policy at home and on the international arena or were simply highly motivated political exaggeration.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH VISA LIBERALIZATION? There are lots of taboo topics in Georgia that will by default lead to an aggressive response from local conservatists (LGBT community rights) or liberals (NATO membership). The new issue that will probably cost the status of the pro-Russian movement is the visa liberalization. From March 28, Georgian citizens holding biometric passports are free to travel to the Schengen Zone without a visa for a period of 90 days within any 180-day period for purposes other than work. The EU’s political decision to open the door for Georgians was warmly received by pro-Western movements and democratic governments worldwide. Proponents of the Ukraine ‘Maidan’ used this precedent to motivate local society to continue on its existing political course while liberal elites opposing Putin’s regime in Moscow tried to attract more voters. The Georgian government, as usual, went all out to celebrate this “breakthrough”. European and Georgian officials and members of civil society a r e pretty confident that visa free movement will bring Tbilisi closer to Brussels. Only a minority of international and local experts express doubts and point to the questions this “open-door” policy raises. One of those is whether the move will actually promote pro-Western attitudes and make more Georgians familiar with European culture? Receiving a Schengen Visa was a challenging task due to a lack of financial resources rather than the unwillingness of the local population to visit the EU. Moreover, it was never problematic to travel Europe in the scopes of various international forums, conferences, school exchanges or other activities that are well-organized and funded in Georgia. Lastly, in comparison to other areas

like the USA or UK, the Schengen Zone was always perceived as the easiest to enter. So far, the move, in practice, should create new opportunities for those Georgian citizens who had issues with affordability and this is practically impossible to achieve due to the poor socio-economic situation. Georgian society experiences comparatively high levels of poverty and unemployment. Furthermore, local salaries are largely far below the European ones, added to which the country is witnessing probably the worst socio-economic crisis for the last decade. Unless improved, these factors will keep Georgian elites that never had problems with visiting EU “in” the European dream and representatives of financially less-prosperous groups “out”. One more question that comes to mind is whether the visa free policy is about freedom of movement between Tbilisi and Brussels or is more about countering, as Georgian neoliberals actively argue, increasing pro-Russian and anti-Western sentiments in the country today. It became a tendency after the collapse of the “Rose Revolution” government, to maintain an alarmistic approach regarding internal processes in the State. Former members of Saakashvili’s regime, then representatives of other non-governmental groups, started promoting the idea of a possible deviation from the Western course with the “enhancing of ties” between Tbilisi and Moscow. Such attitudes finally found reflection in the articles and speeches of various European experts, scholars and officials calling on EU member state representatives to acknowledge Georgia’s achievements and instead offer something that would keep Georgian society devoted to the western course. As soon as NATO and EU membership was off the table, the EU leaders decided to grant Georgian citizens visa free movement. Georgia has a long history of “breakthrough” celebrations following various political decisions announced by the government as a great victory. Lately, to the dissatisfaction of local society, it has become politically motivated exaggeration and/or an attempt to overshadow the incapability or unwillingness of the state apparatus to handle existing domestic challenges or governmentnon-friendly processes. EU’s visa free travel approach is definitely a positive step for Georgia, but we need to be aware of its political, social and economic aspects in order not to give the government another opportunity to hoodwink Georgian society.

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


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 20 - 23, 2017

Friends of Russia & Int’l Back Scratching OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA

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he alleged independence of Catalonia was announced in occupied Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, who said that it is vital that Catalonians demonstrate the same consistency as the Abkhazian and Ossetian people did. Leaders of the Georgian separatist enclaves Raul Khajimba and Anatoliy Bibilov showed readiness to send their representatives to Barcelona and share the “Abkhazian and Ossetian experience� with them. We don’t know if the offer from Sokhumi and Tskhinvali has reached Barcelona yet, but what we do know is that interviews with leaders of Catalonian separatist groups that have been published in Russian media, clearly stating that, if granted independence, Catalonia would become an ally of Russia and recognize Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence. Russia has chosen to remain silent about the events developing in the separatist region of Spain, making no public statements about the offers by Khajimba or Bibilov. That, while Syrian MPs make frequent visits to Sokhumi to discuss the issue of independence, though not of Catalonia, but of Abkhazia. Nobody doubts that the Syria-Abkhazian

bruderschaft is backed by Russia and that the separatist viruses in Europe are spread precisely by Russia. Political analyst Kornely Kakachia thinks that Russia believes the division of the Spanish state will be followed by a chain reaction and which will further weaken the European Council and NATO. Hence, all the support for the Catalan separatists. That Russia’s main geopolitical goal is to split the European Council and NATO, we all know, however, what role the occupied territories of Georgia hold within this plan remains ambiguous. Also, isn’t it interesting why Khajimba and Bibilov aren’t as interested in the idea of an independent Kurdistan, and why they don’t offer to send emissaries to Kirkuk? Political expert Mamuka Areshidze believes that the independence of Kurdistan is not in the interests of Moscow, which is why the Ossetians and Abkhaz remain silent. “Sokhumi and Tskhinvali both voice the moods of the political circles in Moscow; they are clutching at straws by having big expectations for the independence of Catalonia, which will never happen. Spain will maintain its territorial integrity, while Abkhazians will have to wait for events similar to Scotland and Catalonia, hoping to somehow use it in their favor,� Areshidze said. How long Sokhumi and Tskhinvali need to wait is hard to say. Separatist enclaves like Catalonia can be found in almost every state around the globe, including in Russia, which is full of its “own� Catalonias. How would Sokhumi and Tskhinvali act if, for instance, Kazan and Grozny held referendums on the independence of Tatarstan or Chechnya? The answer is obvious: they would not support the causes of the Chechen and Tatar people and would not be sending their emissaries to share their experiences. Khajimba clearly told the MPs from Syria that Abkhazians would be friends with those countries and people that are friends with Russia.

Russia & an Independent Kurdistan

Kurds in Kirkuk show their support for the independence referendum Š Reuters

ANALYSIS BY EMIL AVDALIANI

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FIRST BRAND HOTEL IN KUTAISI UNDER BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL Within the framework of the Georgian Hotels’ Regional Network Development Project “12 hotels in 12 regionsâ€? by GHYHORSPHQWFRPSDQ\Âł6LPHWULD´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 info@bwkutaisi.com

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 “T3 Hospitality Management,â€? providing the hotel management, has 20 years’ experience in hotel management in different countries globally.

ften, a simple look at the geographic map of a country or a region gives a perspective of what the state interests are. Take an example of the Middle East the geographic map of which reveals three most visible features: Anatolia, the Arabian Peninsula and the Iranian Plateau. Each is almost synonymous with the states located on those territories: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Each has large ambitions throughout the Middle East and behavior is more or less conditioned and moderated by location, geographic features and neighbors. Each of the three regions has historically been characterized by the population size, enabling the creation of strong states. Take the example of Anatolia, which served as an eastern bulwark of the Roman Empire and a center of the later Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The same goes for the Iranian Plateau, which was famous for being a center of successive Iranian dynasties (Achaemenes, Sasanians, Sefevids, etc.) throughout several millennia. Even the Arabian Peninsula, despite its arid territory, has proved itself a center of a major Arabian empire. These three power centers successfully projected their influence through military or economic means across the Middle East and the only bridge connecting them was Mesopotamia or modern-day Iraqi territory. This simple geography largely conditions the vulnerability of the Kurdish entity. Like its predecessors, the modern Kurdish autonomy would be subject to military and economic pressure from Turkey and Iran. Even the powerhouse of Russia, which could potentially help Kurdistan attain its own statehood, remains hesitant to assist the autonomous entity. Historically, Russia has always tried to insert itself through various diplomatic games into Middle Eastern affairs, done with the aim to reap the benefits and, if possible, gain as much political leverage as possible in order to trade it with its weakened positions in conflicts elsewhere, such as that in east Ukraine. While looking back at the Russian policy towards Iraqi Kurdistan through the last 15 years, it is difficult to see a clear pattern in Moscow’s policies towards the autonomous region. So far, Moscow has forged partnerships with the central governments in Baghdad and the Kurds in Erbil. Is has long had a strong historic connection to both governments: Russia’s relationship with Baghdad dates back to 1958 when Iraqi General Abdul Karim Kassem overthrew the pro-West monarchy, and the Kurds remember well that the late Mustafa Barzani (father of the current president of Kurdistan Mas-

soud Marzani) spent years in exile in the Soviet Union. This seems to have created a certain anticipation of warming ties between Moscow and the Kurdish regional government. However, beyond that, Russia understands that Kurdish independence will largely hurt its interests in the Middle East. First, it would jeopardize Russia's relations with Baghdad; second, and most importantly, Russia’s support for Kurdistan would endanger its burgeoning relations with Turkey and Iran. Russia currently enjoys good relations with the two powers which fear the Kurdish independence mood spreading over the Middle East. Moscow plans to implement long-term energy projects in Turkey and the two countries are close to finding consensus regarding the sale of the Russian S-400. Both, for the moment, have shared interests in Syria although the two support opposing sides in the conflict. Russia’s relations with Iran also underwent a certain upswing following the conclusion of the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2015. Both work closely in Syria supporting the embattled Bashar al-Assad. On other fronts, Iran and Russia share the common view that any western presence in the South Caucasus and Central Asia would be damaging for them and the two are working on extending trade corridors such as the North-South through Azerbaijan. To support the above arguments, once the independence referendum was held in Kurdistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with the presidents of Turkey and Iran to discuss the situation in the Middle East, thus demonstrating that the three are currently close partners. Another reason Russia would abstain from supporting Kurdistan is purely economic. Russian energy giants such as Rosneft and Gazprom Neft, which operate an oilfield in the Kurdish-controlled territories, will have difficulties gaining financial benefits as Kurdistan, due to its geographic location, is entirely dependent on Baghdad-controlled ports in south Iraq and Turkey. Turkey could easily follow up on its threat and shut down the major Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, thereby potentially endangering Russian profits. Another reason for Russia to abstain from supporting an independent Kurdistan lies in Moscow’s perennial fear of ethnic minority strife inside its borders. The general consensus among the Russian politics elites is that an oil-rich independent Muslim Kurdistan would be a negative example for the Muslims living in Russia. In that sense, most important is the North Caucasus, long-known for its insurgency and general instability, and the predominantly Muslim Republic of Tatarstan with which Moscow has refused to prolong a powersharing agreement.


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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 20 - 23, 2017

Turkish Airlines Top Public Defender’s Report: Violence Is Frequent among/against of List of Number of Children at Georgian Schools Passengers Served BY THEA MORRISON

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BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

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he Georgian Civil Aviation Agency has released passenger flow information for the first nine months of 2017. Turkish Airlines leads among the air companies operating on the Georgian market, with the top number of passengers transported (350,706 / 11%) followed by Georgian Airways (298,964 passengers / 10%). The low-cost airline Wizz Air came in third, (240,055 passengers / 8%) followed by Ukraine International Airlines with

(227,801 passengers / 7%) and Fly Dubai (193,405 passengers / 6%). The percentage share corresponds to the number of passengers served through scheduled and charter flights operated by the air companies operating the Georgian market. Also according to the Civil Aviation Agency, the number of passengers served in Georgian airports increased by 46.63%, in the first nine months of 2017, with 3,199,063 passengers flying in and out of Georgian airports overall, on both scheduled and charter flights, compared to 2,181,683 from the previous year. This passenger number growth is visible in all three international airports of the country.

dren and 4% of school staff do not regard beating as child abuse, 37% of schoolchildren and 12.7% of school staff do not regard hitting as child abuse, 42.5% of schoolchildren and 13.9% of school staff do not think that ear pulling is violence. The monitoring showed similar attitudes to other forms of violence, including psychological violence. “Yelling was named by most students as a form of communication with them. 20.30% of schoolchildren reported yelling by school resource officers, 47.10% said shouting was used as a form

ases of psychological and physical violence among and against children, especially by persons who have active communication with them, are frequent; bullying is also a common form of communication,- the recent report of the Public Defender of Georgia, Ucha Nanuashvili, reads. Nanuashvili’s report, published on October 17, is based on a survey conducted in general educational institutions by the Center for Child’s Rights of the Public Defender's Office within the framework of the UNICEF-supported project ‘Strengthening the Center for Child’s Rights of the Public Defender's Office’. The monitoring, conducted during the academic year of 2016-2017, covered 109 general educational institutions throughout Georgia, including 98 public schools, five private schools and six boarding schools. “Students’ awareness of their rights or different forms of violence, as well as the competence of responsible persons in response mechanisms to various forms of violence against children, is low. Schools do not have a common policy against violence,” the report reads. The survey revealed that 13.2% of schoolchil- Photo source: Sputnik-Georgia

of communication by school administration: 61.50% named class teachers and 78.80% named other teachers. 25% of school staff do not consider shouting as violence,” Ombudsman stated. He emphasized that the monitoring showed that school staff members are not well aware of response mechanisms to child abuse. “Given the above and all other challenges discovered by the study, the Public Defender urges the State to develop and pursue a coordinated policy for the prevention of violence in educational institutions and to improve response mechanisms,” the Public Defender said. Deputy Public Defender, Ekaterine Skhiladze, said that the first step should be raising awareness of pupils about their rights and about violence. “The Ministry of Education conducts a lot of trainings for teachers. Unfortunately, the monitoring results show that the problem of violence at schools is still high and alarming. If the teachers’ trainings and monitoring do not have a systemic nature, this problem cannot be solved in the short-term,” she added. Georgia’s Deputy Education Minister, Lia Gigauri, also made a comment on the monitoring results, adding violence has reduced in recent years due to the presence of resource officers at schools who are responsible for order and safety within the educational institutions. She added that the teachers who abuse children will be dismissed from the education system.


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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 20 - 23, 2017

Tbilisi to Host Massive Sales Forum

ADVERTORIAL

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he massive International Business Forum (IBF) is to be held at Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi, with representatives of world famous brands coming to Tbilisi on November 3 - 4. Ania Jakubowski, former General Director of

Coca Cola; Procter & Gamble Global Brand Manager Pierandrea Quarta; Haseeb T Hasan, coach for companies like Apple, BMW, Siemens, Barclays; Founder of the International Sales Institute Davit Chikvaidze; Sales HR expert Vakhtang Kordzaia; Sales Trainer Tornike Guruli; Sales Trainer Evgeni Kotov; and Gil Petersil, Networking Guru are to be among the speakers of the forum. Sales create success! Tickets available at www.ibf.ge

Tale of Two Supras: Marneuli/Tbilisi BLOG BY TONY HANMER

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ontinuing my couple of weeks’ break from faraway Svaneti, a last fling before going home to the gorgeous burning colors of autumn now in full swing. One supra (feast) was with four other men in a run-down house in the middle of nowhere in Marneuli region, no women cooking or even present at all; the other, one night later in Tbilisi, was with about fifty other people in one of many rooms in a posh Georgian restaurant. Both had exactly two Svans among the guests, as well as me. I would be hard pressed, though, to say which was the better event, despite the humble simplicity of the first and the many-course magnificence of the second. I was driven to both in the evening after dark, visiting each for the first time, so was unable to fully take in the surroundings as well as I would have liked. The first hosted me for the night, but I broke off early, not feeling great. Plus, I had urgent business the next morning and had to tear myself away before starting to respond to what could have resulted in hours of photographs of the rustic sunrise-lit surroundings and gorgeous decay. The second I also cried off from early in the evening, knowing that next morning I faced the eight-hour minibus slog from Tbilisi back home to my wife in Svaneti, leaving at 7 am. The first featured a former chef of a Georgian restaurant in Moscow, so, a guy who knew his stuff; a massive brick corner fireplace lit for much needed comfort; a wonderful display of harvest fruits, especially local grapes and gourds, hanging from the ceiling; walls well-patterned by damp mould; the first time I’ve ever seen a Georgian, unprompted, use wine IN cooking (adding it to roast pork shish kebabs); few but delicious dishes; and exactly the right herbal tea to stop the cough which was threatening to ruin my night. Its location was deep in the scene of more than one ancient historic GeorgianPersian battle, and no doubt many bones still await discovery in its fields. Oh, and walnuts the size of tennis balls made me wonder even more where I was. The second had, no doubt, legions of cooks; beautiful décor; many dishes, all good but typical Georgian fare (which was fine!); and my own-bought cough syrup, which did much less to help the problem than the tea had. Being in the capital, it too would have witnessed some of the many times of complete destruction in its 1500-plus-year service.

Here, too, I learned of an Arab who is deemed the protector of the city for his conversion to Christianity from Islam and the important role this played at a crucial time. I took photographs at both, for contrast, and would still say I’m at a loss to say which was better. Both were with a few people I have known for years and others I had just met, and some good, important, memorable things were said at both sets of toasts. Both easily passed my main test of a good Georgian supra, which is a gauge of its total summed-up MOOD more than anything else. Some are full of interpersonal conflicts which surface and can ruin everything. Others end up with a lot of drunkenness which can lead anywhere, usually nowhere good, as useful inhibitions are cast off. As I missed the ending of both, these things may even have resulted, to my blissful ignorance. A useful tactic, take note: leave supras early! These two were both just happy events, farewelling me as I left the area for home. 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 1700 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


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 20 - 23, 2017

Georgian Artists Exhibited in Qatar BY MAKA LOMADZE

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his autumn, a number of Georgian painters visited the State of Qatar, Western Asia, the first such visit to the Arabic world. The exhibition was named 'Expressing Space, New Art from Georgia' and was organized by the Cultural Village FoundationKatara, the Georgian Embassy in Qatar and Vanda Gallery. The ongoing aim is to popularize art from Georgia worldwide. “One year ago, the Georgian embassy in Qatar contacted me and requested we hold the exhibition of Ali Dasmal AlKuwari, a young successful painter from Qatar, at our gallery,” Vanda Mujiri, cofounder of ‘Vanda’ Art Gallery told GEORGIA TODAY. “We gladly accepted. Together with the painter himself, Dr. Khalid Bin Ibrahim Al-Sulaiti, General Manager of the Cultural Village Foundation – Katara, a wealthy organization financing cultural events and the overall development of cultural ties, also visited Tbilisi. Having seen our gallery and collection of different painters, he promised to invite Georgian painters to Qatar”. Ekaterine Meiering-Mikadze, Ambassador of Georgia to Qatar, is also very active in supporting cultural activities. To

GIFT Fest 2017 BY MAKA LOMADZE

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all has come, as has the abundant season festivals. One of our favorites is the Mikheil Tumanishvili International Art Festival ‘GIFT,’ represented by the Mikheil Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater, Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection, Tbilisi City Hall and governmental project ‘Check in Georgia’. The festival will run until November 12, giving Tbilisi dwellers ample opportunity to attend masterpieces from Germany, Japan, Finland, Russia and Israel. The Georgian theatrical space will host the best works of Sasha Waltz, Cale Nio and company ‘Sankai Juku’. On October 15, the festival was solemnly opened at the Silk Factory. This is the 20th anniversary of ‘GIFT’ and commenced with Lasha Kuprashvili’s personal photo-exhibition, which the artist dedicated to the jubilee of the festival. On the same day, the screening of the cinema verses of film director Shota Kalandadze also took place, inspired by ‘GIFT’. As per tradition, an award-giving ceremony was held, seeing Ushio Amagatsu, Japanese choreographer, and Keti Dolidze, Georgian film and theater director and Artistic Director of the festival, awarded for ‘Perfection in the Realm of Art’. Check out the official webpage of the Mikheil Tumanishvili International Art Festival ‘GIFT’: http://giftfestival.ge. The GIFT FESTIVAL Program 2017 October 25 18:00 “CRAFT SHOW” Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater 164 Davit Agmashenebeli Ave., Tbilisi 20, 21 October 20:00 Goethe-Institut Georgien Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany Auswärtiges Amt in association with German Embassy Tbilisi

date, the Qatari population has already seen an exhibition of manuscripts from Georgia, as well as exhibits from the Georgian Arts & Culture Center, and been able to attend a concert by Nani Bregvadze. Six Georgian painters and one sculptor were invited to Qatar: Alex Berdysheff, Gogi Chagelishvili, Levan Mindiashvili, Gia Gugushvili, Mamuka Tsetskhladze, Gogi Lazarashvili and sculptor George (Gia) Japaridze. “There were 54 paintings and nine sculptures in all. It was a huge exhibition which received full funding from the Qatari side,” Mujiri said. “Chagelishvili, Lazarashvili and Japaridze delivered workshops and were met with great interest and enthusiasm. 2,000

catalogues were printed and the opening saw the whole diplomatic corps and numerous representatives of international organizations in attendance. We tried to offer a spectrum of painters of different age and style. Around 7-8 works of each painter were represented. There was very broad coverage, including Al Jazeera and other press outlets”. One of the priorities of Qatar is to raise the level of cultural education among a population which lives in luxury. It turned out that Georgia is very popular from the tourism point of view, as there were a lot of citizens of Qatar at the opening of the exhibition saying they had just visited Georgia.

for Georgian-German Year 2017 Present: “CONTINU” Sasha Waltz and Guests Berlin, Germany Zakaria Paliashvili Georgian National Opera and Ballet State Theatre 25 Shota Rustaveli Ave., Tbilisi 22 October 20:00 “This Century is Ending” Biblical texts and chants in theatrical recitative of Joseph Brodsky’s Poetry One-man show by Igor Pekhovich Alexis Granowsky Theater Moscow, Russia Theater on Atoneli 53 Giorgi Atoneli Str., Tbilisi 25 October 20.00 “For Real” Play by Manana Menabde, Kato Javakhishvili, Nino Sadgobelashvili Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre Tbilisi, Georgia Directed by Manana Menabde Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater 164 Davit Agmashenebli Ave., Tbilisi 29 October 20:00 “The Kumquat Seed” Sankai Juku In association with The Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, Devision of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Shota Rustaveli State Academic Drama Theater 17 Shota Rustaveli Ave., Tbilisi 31 October 18.00 “Gift of Death” Play by Alexand Chigvinidze Directed by Zurab Khvedelidze Bolnisi Municipal Theatre Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater 164 Davit Agmashenebli Ave., Tbilisi 2 November 20:00 “The Tiger” Play by Murray Schisgal Directed by Keti Dolidze Batumi State Drama Theater New Stage Batumi, Georgia Theatreon Atoneli 53 Giorgi Atoneli Str., Tbilisi

3, 4 November 20.00 “Anna Karenina” Based on Leo Tolstoy’s novel Scenic adaptation by Elena Gremina Directed by Alexander Galibin Baltic House Theater-Festival Kote Marjanishvili State Academic Drama Theater 7 Kote Marjanishvili Str., Tbilisi 4 November 18.00 “The Syndrome” Play by Slawomir Mrozek Directed by Andro Enukidze Batumi State Drama Theater Batumi, Georgia Theateron Atoneli 53 Giorgi Atoneli Str., Tbilisi 7, 8 November 20:00 “B POLAR” After Gogol’s ‘Diary of a Madman’ Ayit Ensemble Beer Sheva, Israel Directed by Yoav Michaeli Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater 164 Davit Agmashenebeli Ave., Tbilisi 10 November 14.00 TALKS AND WORKSHOPS implemented in association with the Georgian National Tourism Administration “The Moonshine Dream Story” Screening of animation Created by Tom Graham-Adriani & Lunching a new animation project “Discover Georgia“ (UK) Silk Fabric Studio 59 Merab Kostava Str., Tbilisi 10, 11 November 20.00 “Lähtö/Depart” WHS/Visualtheater/ContemporaryCircus Helsinki, Finland Directed by Kalle Nio Kote Marjanishvili State Academic Drama Theatre 7 Kote Marjanishvili Str., Tbilisi 12 November 19:35 FESTIVAL CLOSING - PREMIERE LIVE STREAMING “MARRIAGE K opus 1” RAMDAM ART CENTER Director Philippe Vincent SCÈNES Théâtre-Cinéma Lyon, France, Silk Fabric Studio 59 Merab Kostava Str., Tbilisi

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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 20 - 23, 2017

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

TBILISI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 00 44 66 October 26 PAGLIACCI Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Cast: Anzor Khidasheli, Tamar Iveri, Sulkhan Gvelesiani, Giorgi Tsamalashvili, Irakli Murjikneli Tbilisi State Opera Theater Chorus, Orchestra Conductor- Zaza Azmaiparashvili Directed by Temur Chkheidze Set, Costume and Lighting Designer George Alexi-Meskhishvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-60 GEL GIFT- GEORGIAN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS www.giftfestival.ge October 20, 21 CONTINU Sasha Waltz & Guests Directed and choreographed by Sasha Waltz Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-50 GEL Venue: Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater 25 Rustaveli Ave. October 22 THE CENTURY IS ENDING Joseph Brodsky’s poetry in recital Performed by Igor Pekhovich Alexis Granowsky TheaterLaboratory, Moscow Based at Taganka Theater Small Stage Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL Venue: Theater on Atoneli 31 Atoneli Str. October 25 FOR REAL Kato Javakhishvili, Nino Sadghobelashvili, Manana Menabde Directed by Manana Menabde Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL Venue: Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater 164 Agmashenebeli Ave.

SHALIKASHVILI THEATER Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 595 50 02 03 October 20 HOST AND GUEST Vazha Pshavela Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Pantomime theater Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 20 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 October 20 THE TEMPEST Directed by Ioseb Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL October 20 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Kakha Bakuradze, Sandro Nikoladze, Irakli Menagarishvili, Simon Bitadze, Dato Kakulia, El banda del “მუდო” Start time: 21:30 Ticket: 10 GEL October 21 PARADISO Our Theater Directed by Irakli Khoshtaria Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL October 22 LABYRINTH One Act Mystery with Live Music Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Composer- Sandro Nikoladze Choreography- Lasha Robakidze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15 GEL October 26 SIMBIOSIS One-act choreographic sketch Director and Choreographer: George Ghonghadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93

October 21, 22 MASHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 20, 30 GEL October 20 AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 20, 30 GEL TBILISI SPORTS PALACE Address: 1, 26th May Sq. Telephone: 2 33 33 11 October 21, 22 CIRCUS EXTREME An unforgettable adventure in the circus world with animals, acrobatics and air tricks Start time: 13:00, 17:00 Ticket price: 10-25 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava Str. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 GEL October 20-26 GEOSTORM Directed by Dean Devlin Cast: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, Ed Harris, Andy García Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy Language: English Start time: 19:10 Language: Russian Start time: 13:45, 21:45 Ticket: 9-14 GEL AMERICAN MADE Directed by Doug Liman Cast: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright Genre: Action, Biography, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 16:15 Ticket: 10-11 GEL LAMANT DOUBLE Directed by François Ozon Cast: Marine Vacth, Jérémie Renier, Jacqueline Bisset Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller

Language: Russian Start time: 19:00, 21:30 Ticket: 13-14 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL October 20-26 GEOSTORM (Info Above) Start time: 14:30, 22:30 Ticket: 9-14 GEL AMERICAN MADE (Info Above) Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 13-14 GEL RENEGADES Directed by Steven Quale Cast: Sylvia Hoeks, J.K. Simmons, Ewen Bremner Genre: Action Language: Russian Start time: 13:45 Ticket: 9-10 GEL MUSEUM

The exhibition includes works by Bernardo Daddi, Lucas Cranach (Elder), Guido Reni, Jan Steen, Jacob Van Ruisdael, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, Vassily Kandinski; Masterpieces by Niko Pirosmanashvili, Lado Gudiashvili and David Kakabadze. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 15 73 00 www.museum.ge October 5 – November 30 Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery is to host two Italian exhibitions: UNIVERSAL VALUES: BOTTICELLI, THE BEAUTY AND CARAVAGGIO, THE LIGHT, DISPLAYING MASTERPIECES OF ITALIAN PAINTING

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

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

May 18 – November 18 EXHIBITION GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF 18TH-20TH CENTURIES

October 21 ART EVENT OF VAZHA DURGLISHVILI Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-30 GEL

Georgian National Museum and Korneli Kekelidze National Centrer of Manuscripts present the exhibition MEDIEVAL TREASURY Permanent Exhibition

OLD HIPPODROME PARK Address: Old Hippodrome Park

EXHIBITION NUMISMATIC TREASURY MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS Address: 1 Gudiashvili Str. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 March 6 – December 31 EXHIBITION MASTERPIECES FROM THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS COLLECTION

MUSIC

October 21 STEPHAN BODZIN Line up/Time table: Tade, Arnaud Rebotini, Stephan Bodzin, Rere Gelenidze Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 60 GEL SPACEHALL Address: 2 A. Tsereteli Ave. October 24 JOHN MAUS EREKLE DEISADZE Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 25 GEL FESTIVAL TBILISI RHYTHM Venue: Rustaveli Theater October 24 THE MARE NOSTRUM CONCERT Festival Opening Gala Trio of virtuoso jazz musicians: Richard Galliano- French accordionist of Italian origin, together with Italian trumpeter Paolo Frezu and Swedish piano player Jan Lundgren. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 25-100 GEL BUDDHA-BAR TBILISI Address: Rike park October 20 VALERIAN SHIUKASHVILI Season Opening: Valerian Shiukashvili piano recital Program- Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Dolidze and Babajanian. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50, 70, 80 GEL UNDER WHEEL Address: Mtatsminda Park October 21 3 GIRLS DJ REMBO In Underwheel Club Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50, 70 GEL


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 20 - 23, 2017

Emotional & Expressive Soprano Tamar Iveri to Conquer Tbilisi Opera Stage

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n October 26, at the Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater, Ruggero Leoncavallo’s ‘Pagliacci’ will be shown. The role of Nedda will be a home debut for the world acclaimed Georgian soprano Tamar Iveri. To date, she has sung it at the Theatre du Capitole, Toulouse, and at the Staatsoper, Vienna, at the performance of the outstanding opera director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. Iveri will be partnered by: Anzor Khidasheli (Canio), Sulkhan Gvelesiani (Tonio), Giorgi Tsamalashvili (Silvio, intern) and Irakli Murjikneli (Pepe). The choir and orchestra of the Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater will take part. This version of ‘Pagliacci’ was first staged in 2006 by Temur Chkheidze. The debut of ‘Pagliacci’ took place on October 13, 1893, at the Tbilisi Opera Theater, shortly after the world premiere in Milan on May 21, 1892. It retells about the passions of the strolling cast of actors, with a fatal end, based on real life. ‘Pagliacci’ is among the 20 most frequently staged operas of the world. GEORGIA TODAY met Tamar Iveri to find out more.

HOW DID YOU BECOME SUCH A SUCCESS AND SO BELOVED BY AUDIENCES? Sleepless nights and a lot of anxiety are needed for your name to become a brand. The more famous you become, the more requirements emerge from the public. Of course, talent is the most important thing, merged with emotion and expression. There are some singers who possess a certain technique and voice, but have a lack of inner drive. A singer should ennoble the public for some hours. As for my path, I won a contest at Bussetto, homeland of Verdi, in 1997. Then, in 1999, I came first place in the Salzburg Mozart Competition. After that, all doors opened to me. It was 1990s, the hardest years for Georgia, it was real ‘impudence’ to surpass even Italians and there are very few singers who can claim they have won both the Verdi and Mozart competitions. It was my niche – Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Tchaikovsky- a niche of absolute diversity. After winning, I became a soloist of the Graz Opera, Austria. When Ioan Holender, legendary director of Vienna Staatsoper, listened me in Graz, he proposed I sing in La Boheme, in Vienna. I accepted his proposal and studied the role of Mimi in two weeks. Since then Mr. Holender has invited me each year to different performances in Staatsoper, Vienna. He even awarded me the Eberhard Waechter Medal for the best interpretation of

Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugeny Onegin’.

YOU PERFORMED ON THE NEW OPERA HOUSE STAGE HERE IN ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI’S ‘ABESALOM AND ETERI’ LAST YEAR. HOW DO YOU FEEL LEADING UP TO ‘PAGLIACCI’? Prior to the restoration of the Opera Theater in Tbilisi, there was a real fall and stagnation in Georgia. I had invitations during David Sakvarelidze’s period [former artistic director of Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater], but those parts did not suit me. I was a regular guest at ‘Iavnana’ charity concerts. Then, following the restoration, I sang ‘Abesalom and Eteri’. Before that, I sang at the Batumi Opera Theater in ‘Othello’, where I was a soloist. Avtandil Javakhisvhili, my father, was a famous Baritone who dreamed of seeing me sing on the Tbilisi opera stage. Unfortunately, he died when I was only 19 but I made his dream come true and dedicated my first show to him. He used to sit in the tier, as he considered good singers were best listened to from there. I had a feeling he was sitting somewhere in the tier again while I sang.

TELL US ABOUT THE PART OF NEDDA I often sang this part in Vienna. I believe

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GEORGIA TODAY

Tbilisi State Orchestra ‘Georgian Symphony’ to Hold 3rd Festival ADVERTORIAL

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bilisi State Orchestra ‘Georgian Symphony’ will hold its third festival on November 7, 11, 16, 20, 24, and on December 1 and 7. The concerts will be held with the backing of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. All seven concerts will be held in Rustaveli Theater. Both Georgian and international stars alike will perform in the festival, including Georgian performers Katevani Kemoklidze (mezzo soprano), Salome Jikia (soprano), Ana Tsartsidze (soprano), Sergey Malov (violin / cello); and international guest starts Jean Rondo (France); Davide Amadio (Italy); Sergio Azioli (Italy); Giovanni de Angelli (Italy); Priška Compole (Italy); Aaikeda (Japan). During the festival, world-renowned

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY MAKA LOMADZE

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT:

Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

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Orchestra "The Academy of Old Music of Berlin," will perform in Georgia for the first time. On November 11, and together with European performers, Georgian musicians will perform for the first time at the festival, proving that Georgia really does form a vital part of European culture. Partners of the festival include The Italian Embassy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Goethe Institut, Tbilisi State Conservatoire, Tbilisi City Hall, and The Georgian Department of Tourism, among private companies. As with the previous festivals, the 2017 concerts will also include master classes and lectures, which will be conducted by international and Georgian specialists in the Tbilisi Conservatoire during the festival. From November 7 to December 7, the "Baroque Festival of Tbilisi" will once again revive the Baroque epoch, bringing together world-renowned stars and Georgia’s very own Georgian Symphony.

that the Austrian public was deeply in love with my Nedda. The Toulouse staging was very beautiful, too. Nicolas Joel, Intendant of the Opéra National de Paris, told Mamuka Kudava, thenAmbassador of Georgia to France, that he loved Georgia because of me. Nedda is a strong woman, but the public detests her, considering her a negative character. Nonetheless, in spite of her being an adulteress, I do not blame her, as her spouse Canio treats her very badly. There is an age difference too. In Silvio, Nedda saw a person with whom she escaped with the hope of starting a new life. Nedda is close to me for her strong character, principles and stubbornness.

IF NOT AN OPERA SINGER, WHAT YOU WOULD BE? An actress. I’ve always liked the idea of taking part in films. I like the expressiveness, especially tragic roles.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? November 3 is the 100th anniversary of the Tbilisi State Conservatoire. Various Georgian stars will participate in this concert. For me, this building is sacred, as I was raised there. Later, George Gagnidze, my partner, has a charity concert. Then, I leave for Hong-Kong.

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Joseph Larsen, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Nino Gugunishvili, Thea Morrison Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

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Issue #991  

October 20 - 23, 2017

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