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Issue no: 1220/215

• JANUARY 21 - 23, 2020 • PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Weekly Entrepreneurial News @entrepreneur.ge NEWS PAGE 2

The Georgian Tax Lottery Experiment after Seven Years ISET PAGE 4

FOCUS ON ALABWAZ

Creating self-sufficient spaces for harmonious living

PAGE 6

Gardabani Thermal Power Plant 2 Opens, Highlights Need for Energy Sector Growth BUSINESS PAGE 5

Salome Zurabishvili to Attend Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem POLITICS PAGE 9

New US Ambassador's First Comments on Georgia

How Can the Georgian Employment Agency Help Job Seekers? 'The Passion of Saint POLITICS PAGE 10

Shushanik' Published in Istanbul

BY TEA MARIAMIDZE

CULTURE PAGE 11

F

or the first time in Georgia, a State Employment Promotion Agency has been launched. Opened on January 1, 2020, it aims to reduce the level of unemployment in the country and train qualified workers for potential employers. After the new agency was launched, the functions and duties that were previously performed by the Social Service Agency will now be fulfilled by the State Employment Promotion Agency. These include

Georgian President Awards Best Sportsmen of 2019 SPORTS PAGE 11 Prepared for Georgia Today Business by

Markets Asof17ͲJanͲ2020

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Image source: Forbes

professional development, training, retraining, internships, subsidies, counselling and career planning. The same agency will be responsible for managing circular migration issues, for which local staff will be trained and legally employed abroad. Before the employment agency was established as an LEPL, a special department existed in the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, that employed citizens or helped them improve their job prospects. Continued on page 3

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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

JANUARY 21 - 23, 2020

@entrepreneur.ge Gamarjoba! I’m the Editor-in-Chief of the Georgian edition of Entrepreneur magazine and I’m here to share the top weekly Entrepreneurial news with you: Ringo is a Tbilisi-born American Cocker Spaniel who can consider himself lucky that Nestan chose him out of the five puppies to take home and travel the world with. When they came back to Tbilisi three years ago, Ringo decided to make the Georgian capital a little cleaner and Nestan helped him, creating the ‘Ringo’ brand: leather and vegan bags, each with 20 biodegradable dog bags inside to help dog owners clean up after their pets. Ringo is Georgian, determined to protect the environment and makes people’s lives easier – this was enough to turn a social project into a profitable business. Ginventor’s ‘Tene’ is the first Georgia-made USB cable. The prototype is ready, and will soon be the first green USB cable in the world made from recycled material. Income from initial Tene sales will be used to rid nature of polyethylene bags. Founder Sandro Liluashvili went to China with his team to explore USB production, and decided to use Georgian, recycled material to make their own version. The length of the USB 3.2 GEN Tene is 1.2 meters and it transfers up to 10 Gigabits/second. Ginventor aims to re-invest the income from Tene back to its production while also helping to reach environmental, sustainable goals. Mari Bregadze, 24, suffered from insomnia for a long time and, not totally satisfied with any of the sleep masks she tried, she decided to create her own. Bubusi produces comfortable sleep eye masks that are as cute as the name. Bubusi also has bags, bracelets and pillows with thematic quotes; from infant-sized sleep eye masks to ones better suited for the elderly, Bubusi is made for every taste and size. In the near future, Bubusi promises to launch women’s pajamas, nighties and robes. Follow the Entrepreneur Georgia Instagram page to get the latest updates from Georgian Entrepreneurs. For doing business with Georgian Entrepreneurs, write us on business@entrepreneur.ge

Govt' Decides to Again Separate Ministries of Culture and Education

BY ANA DUMBADZE

T

he Georgian government has decided to split the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport into two ministries, Nukri Kantaria, the first deputy chairman of the Education, Science and Culture Committee of the Parliament, says. He noted that the process of separating the ministries will begin in February. “An agreement has been reached on the split of the Ministries of Education and Culture. I think nobody is against this decision. We have agreed that it was

a mistake and the Ministry of Culture should return to its place. The process will start in February. The merge of these ministries (the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Culture and Sports) back in 2018 under Mamuka Bakhtadze’s premiership was a mistake,” Kantaria said. He added that the separation of ministries will not create a problem for the state budget, as the field of culture has a separate budget. 14 ministries were reduced to 10 ministries and one State Minister Office in Georgia in 2018 on the decision of then Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze with the aim to decrease administrative costs in the state bureaucracy.

Georgian President to Respond to PACE Questions

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inter session in Strasbourg (27-31 January 2020) sees the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) set to elect its new President. The Presidents of Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, as well as the Georgian Foreign Minister and President of the Committee of Ministers, and the newly-elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe, will address PACE and answer their questions. Debates on the agenda include a com-

plementary joint procedure between the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly in response to a serious violation by a member State of its statutory obligations, the functioning of democratic institutions in Poland, and reported cases of political prisoners in Azerbaijan. There has been a request for a current affairs debate on 'Recent developments in Libya and in the Middle East: what consequences for Europe?' MPs will also discuss threats to media freedom and journalists’ security, a report on 'Democracy hacked? How to respond?'

and the protection of freedom of religion in the workplace. The Assembly will hold two joint debates, one on migrant trafficking and missing refugee and migrant children, and another on organ transplant tourism and trafficking in human tissues and cells. A report on minimum standards for electoral systems and a report on the observation of elections in Belarus are also on the agenda. The Assembly will decide its final agenda on the opening day of the session.

Historical Military Drill “Defender Europe 2020” Kicks off BY BEKA ALEXISHVILI

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he huge military exercise 'Defender Europe 2020' launched in January. with an overall 37,000 soldiers from 18 countries partaking in the drill. The historical military drill will take place in Germany, Poland, Georgia and the Baltic States. The innovatory Defender 2020 has five stages. As Army Recognition notes “in the second phase, an immediate response force from the 82nd Airborne Division will conduct joint forcible entries in Georgia.” Amongst the European host nations, Poland will be the one that will accommodate the largest number of troops.

These five phases of the military exercise are as follows: The first phase includes a reception, staging, onward movement and integration, or RSOI, of a division-sized element, while many other units, including a National Guard brigade, will draw prepositioned stocks in Belgium and Germany. In the second phase, an immediate response force from the 82nd Airborne Division will conduct joint forced entries into the country of Georgia. The third phase has a division command post exercise that will have units spread out across the continent. It will also involve a Joint Warfighting Assessment to test multi-domain operations as well as capabilities being pursued by Army Futures Command. Soldiers will then conduct a river cross-

ing in the fourth phase, as well as forward passage of lines and a maritime prepositioned force off-load mission. The fifth phase will consolidate Army forces and redeploy them The exercise will cover 4,000 kilometers of convoy routes and rely on 10 European countries to host exercise activities. US Army Europe officials note that “moving and sustaining thousands of troops for months at a time, along with their tanks and armored vehicles, will cost the US about $340 million.” US Army Europe also wrote on twitter, “During the first phase of #DefenderEurope, 20,000 [American] troops will deploy from the US to Europe. These troops will be the largest deployment of US-based forces to #StrongEurope for an exercise in more than 25 years.”


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY JANUARY 21 - 23, 2020

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US Congressman Mullin Addresses Georgian PM with Open Letter BY ANA DUMBADZE

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S Congressman Markway n e M u l l i n h a s addressed the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia in an open letter in which he states his concern about “Georgia’s continued decline from democratic values and the associated decay of its economic prosperity.” “As a member of Congress, I am writing today because of my increasing concern regarding Georgia’s continued decline from democratic values and the associated decay of its economic prosperity," he wrote. "With that in mind, I join my colleagues in Congress, who represent the Georgia Caucus, Chairmen Adam Kinzinger and Garry Connolly, in their letter to you of December 13, 2019, that highlighted con-

cern over the forego promised democratic reforms, as well as reports of violence against the associated peaceful protests. "Despite Georgia’s progress since declaring its independence in 1991, recent years have revealed a continued negative trend in democratic and free-market economic indicators that have not gone unnoticed in the United States. "The result is that foreign direct investment in Georgia is on the decline because US and European business interests have been subjected to harassment and expropriation attacks. A notable example of this is the oil and gas company from Houston, Texas, Frontera Resources. Moreover, the US social media Facebook has announced that it recently shut down an extensive network of accounts linked to the ruling Georgian Dream party, that were found to advance 'coordinated inauthentic behavior' in order to crush opposition views in Georgia and advance

anti-Western sentiments, especially towards the United States. "This deteriorating environment has resulted in both the House of Senate passing and the President of the United States signing into law, two consecutive annual appropriation bills for 2019 and 2020 that have addressed Georgia’s government’s progressively antagonistic actions against democratic values, freemarket principles and American business interests. For the first time in Georgia’s modern history, your country has been cast in a negative and cautionary light with respect to appropriations from the US government. "Because of the negative trend I’ve described and in an attempt to encourage a reversal, the voice of concern and calls for consideration of sanctions and other penalties are increasing. I joined this call for reform by introducing the Georgia Fair Business Practices Sanctions Act earlier this year in the US House

of Representatives,” the letter published by the US Congressman on Twitter reads. Markwayne Mullin goes on to express hope that the Georgian government will halt aggressive actions against US companies. “While it is my hope that Georgia will continue to be a strategic partner of the

US for many years to come. I also hope that your government will halt aggressive actions against US companies and act quickly on the increasing warning signs that represent a threat to the democracy and economic prosperity that the Georgian people deserve so much”, he added.

How Can the Georgian Employment Agency Help Job Seekers? Continued from page 1 About 2,000 people were employed through the department annually, and the renewed agency intends to improve on this rate by around 15%. In Q1 2020, the Employment Agency will be focused on finding its own staff and developing a structure. The agency will employ up to 100 people in its department on a budget of GEL 4 million ($1,393,728). The budget is similar to that allocated for the abovementioned department, but Deputy Health Minister Tamila Barkalaia believes the money will be

spent more effectively as the agency plans to work individually with each beneficiary. She said that, together with beneficiary training, the agency may subisidize salaries of up to 480 GEL ($167) for not more than four months, but this will apply only to very vulnerable beneficiaries. Barkalaia claims the biggest problem Georgia faces today is 'structural unemployment', when there is demand in the market and there are vacancies, yet there is a very high unemployment rate and the qualification of the unemployed does not meet market requirements.

“We saw a need for the State to become more involved with intermediary services in these processes and to help job seekers acquire the necessary skills and help them find a job. Not all job seekers have job qualifications, so they need a variety of support services,” she said, adding that, to date, the support programs involved only standard short-term trainings. The Deputy Minister said beneficiaries will be put into four categories: 1. People who have work experience and job seekers; 2. People who want to improve their working conditions;

3. Unemployed persons with no work experience; 4. Persons whose qualifications are outdated. In the first and second cases, the employment agency's assistance may be limited to providing them with information about vacancies and in-demand professions. In the third and fourth cases, the involvement of consultants will be greater. “Sometimes, the beneficiary comes with a specific vision of his or her career that may not be in line with his or her qualifications or market requirements. Our consultants will provide them with

appropriate advice, helping them to plan their careers. If needed, they will be sent on retraining courses, which will be funded by the State, to provide them with key qualifications and skills, such as filling out a CV, preparing a presentation, etc.,” said Barkalaia. The Deputy Minister also noted that focus will be placed what is in demand on the market today. “The Employment Agency will fund the programs and professions that are most requested by businesses, these currently being in the transport, construction and tourism sectors,” she added.


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

JANUARY 21 - 23, 2020

THE ISET ECONOMIST A BLOG ABOUT ECONOMICS AND THE SOUTH CAUCAUS

www.iset-pi.ge/blog

The ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI, www.iset-pi.ge) is an independent think-tank associated with the International School of Economics at TSU (ISET). Our blog carries economic analysis of current events and policies in Georgia and the South Caucasus region ranging from agriculture, to economic growth, energy, labor markets and the nexus of economics, culture and religion. Thought-provoking and fun to read, our blog posts are written by international faculty teaching at ISET and recent graduates representing the new generation of Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian economists.

The Georgian Tax Lottery Experiment after Seven Years BY SOPHIKO SKHIRTLADZE

M

ore than three decades ago economists famously concluded that tax compliance is rather irrational behavior. Literature, across a wide range of disciplines, has since been overflowing with analysis as to why we see so much tax compliance in the modern world. The academic literature is concerned with why people pay so much tax or why so many people pay taxes, therefore policy-makers can gain an understanding of the underlying mechanisms, which thus allows them to design appropriate policy actions to boost revenue efforts. Income generated from tax collection is essential for any government in order to provide decent public services and adequate infrastructure for its citizenry. However, tax evasion practices are widespread around the world and create real challenges for governments. This issue is particularly relevant to governments in the developing world, with their nascent political and social institutions. In such environments, taxpaying culture is feeble, with the existence of widespread corruption, hence distrust in the governmental institutions. Such weak administrative capacities provide a further deterrence to governmental efforts in collecting sufficient revenues. To tackle this problem, complex and comprehensive reforms are required. The traditional method of prevention is to create punishment mechanisms to detect and punish tax evasion, i.e. deterrence. Though recently, more creative approaches for increasing tax collection efforts have been emerging, e.g., creating incentives through reinforcement of positive actions, not necessarily on the taxpayer, rather on those who do not always exercise their ability to impact fiscal outcomes, in our case citizens. Cash receipts generated from a register provide proof of payment to a customer, but the cash register itself stores the information that documents purchases. This information then becomes the basis for tax payments to the revenue authority. In order to avoid these payments, business owners may be tempted simply to not register certain purchases, if not explicitly requested by a customer or if the threat of detection and punishment is low. The usual practice to eradicate such practices is, therefore, to complete random checks in which an undercover revenue authority representative makes a purchase at a particular store, and if the seller fails to catalogue the purchase in the cash register, the representative punishes the owner of the store by levying a large fine. This practice has multiple limitations: business owners usually know their customers, and thus it is relatively easy to detect an undercover representative. Moreover, in an environment with weak institutions, the opportunity of collusion between an owner and a representative

arises, where in exchange for a bribe, the official fine is never submitted. The other remedy in countering these corrupt practices is with customers who lawfully request a receipt of purchase, although there are few incentives to do so. Requests for receipts bear social and economic costs, albeit tiny, but when the expected benefit is virtually nullified, no rational agent will thus be incentivized. Therefore, one solution to this problem is to introduce private benefits to customers, which outweigh such costs, to positively reinforce their actions. The potential benefits of this mechanism are numerous. It could immediately result in higher tax receipts, but most importantly, such practices could stimulate behavioral changes, and with the eventual absence of such reinforcements, citizens may find it less costly to ask for a receipt and better realize the consequent benefits. While large-scale corruption practices might not be directly affected by this mechanism, it could help establish a culture of tax compliance, with possible additional spillovers in other settings. Finally, in different settings these implemented initiatives can help us understand and design stronger incentive mechanisms. While the need for more creative approaches is well understood, gaps remain in the understanding of what exactly constitutes such

creative yet beneficial approaches. A handful of countries are in the process of, or have already implemented, similar initiatives. These countries include Taiwan, Malta, and Slovakia, among others. Interestingly, Georgia is one country to have introduced a mechanism, albeit short-lived, as part of its efforts to fight the shadow economy. To date, very few studies have investigated the effectiveness of these mechanisms and the evidence for Georgia was simply non-existent until a recent study by Larsen et. al (2019), which provides the very first analysis of the Georgian tax lottery experience from seven years ago. The Georgian Revenue Service introduced the tax lottery in early 2012. The initial plan was to keep the lottery running until 1 January 2013. However, the lottery ended prematurely on 12 November 2012, on the grounds of inefficiency; although no analysis, at least public, exists to justify this statement. In order to participate, customers had to check receipts provided by any shop or service provider for a chance to win up to 50,000 GEL. The Revenue Service, for its part, promoted the campaign through different means; via TV, radio, and other channels of communication. While, the happy recipients of the 10,000 and 50,000 GEL prizes were often highlighted due to countless interviews, all

with the objective of keeping the perceived probability of winning high, so that more and more people would participate and be engaged by the campaign. The quantitative analysis by Larsen et. al (2019) studies the Revenue Service data of cash receipts for 2012 and 2013, which show that the reported aggregate weekly sales rose by 11% during the lottery, compared to non-lottery weeks and considering the overall differences between 2012 and 2013. The average sales per register also rose by 7.7% and the average number of cash registers reporting any cash transaction increased by 4% within lottery weeks. Notably, the study also discerns certain limited evidence of habit formation, where unexplained factors kept registered sales high even after the lottery was terminated, compared to the following year. The study also utilizes a qualitative approach by interviewing a wide range of stakeholders that were directly or indirectly involved in the lottery, including both consumers and the architects of the campaign. The interviews reveal that the key reason the lottery was prematurely terminated was due to insufficient budget allocation. There were not enough funds to maintain a high enough perceived chance of winning, and therefore hold public interest and participation, as daily receipts decreased

significantly from around 2 mln. out of 2.5-2.8 mln in the first months of the lottery to only 300,000 by the end. Boosting the budget to keep consumers engaged was not a priority of the newly elected government, and considering, with its existing budget, that the project did not appear to pay off, the decision was made to discontinue the program. Seven years after the termination of the program, Georgia still struggles with a significant shadow economy. According to the infamous study by Medina and Schneider (2018), in 2015 the shadow economy in Georgia constituted 53% of the GDP, which is in stark contrast to the National Statistics Office estimate of 10.3% for the same year. The truth, most likely, lies somewhere in between. With the rapid development of available financial services, we have outgrown cash register based receipt lotteries, however increasing financial inclusion through more innovative mechanisms is a promising method of curbing tax evasion and eliminating the shadow economy.

REFERENCES Larsen, L., Arakelyan, R., Gogsadze, T., Katsadze, M., Skhirtladze, S., & Muench, N. (2019). The Georgian Tax Lottery of 2012. A Multi-Methodological Assessment. International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY JANUARY 21 - 23, 2020

5

Gardabani Thermal Power Plant 2 Opens, Highlights Need for Energy Sector Growth

BY ANA DUMBADZE

W

enowopena230-megawatt thermal power plant. Our main objective is economic growth, for which energy efficiency and energy source are critically important - Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said at the official opening ceremony of the Garda-

bani Thermal Power Plant 2 on Friday. He stressed that the new thermal power plant will ensure the sustainability and energy security of the country. “We all know that our main task is to create new jobs and economic growth, for which, of course, energy efficiency and energy sources, in general, are critically important. That is why Gardabani's new thermal power plant will ensure the sustainability of Georgia's power system and the country's energy security. In recent years, a lot of money has been

invested in power generation. We should all understand that we must not stop working, as we need new sources of generation,” the PM said. He then noted that the reforms implemented by the Ministry of Economy in the field of energy are critically important, and if Georgia is stable and sustainable in terms of energy transit, it should also become an important and stable transit country in terms of electricity transit. He added that these are the tasks of the Ministry of Economy and the government. The Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation has invested up to $185 million in the construction of this 230-megawatt thermal power plant built on the territory of an existing thermal power plant complex in Gardabani. Construction of the plant began in February 2018. "One of our main goals is to support the construction of a new generation of facilities. Today, another large-scale facility is added to our energy system," Natia Turnava, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, said at the opening. The Minister noted that the plant is a very important facility, which is to ensure Georgia's energy security with an uninterrupted power supply to the population and businesses. “This new technology plant is twice

as efficient as the old 'open cycle' plants. Energy is one of the priorities of our economic policy. We have high economic growth, which puts on the agenda the need for energy reform and the radical transformation of this sector. Under the direction and instruction of the Prime Minister of Georgia, we launched this reform in 2019. We have drafted and adopted new European legislation. We have created an open, competitive energy market, and we have established an

energy exchange,” Turnava said. She added that renewable energy consumption remains a priority and 2020 is a special year in this direction. She also stressed the importance of building new thermal power plants to ensure the sustainability of the system. “It is our reserve that ensures the stability of the system. For example, just this plant alone can cover 70% of Tbilisi's average monthly consumption,” she said.

Georgian Railway Transported over 3 mln Passengers in 2019 BY ANA DUMBADZE

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eorgianRailwaytransported a record number of passengers in 2019, with a total of 3 million. The statement released by the national railway company reads that in 2019, more than 3 million passengers were transferred via Georgian Railway.

Adjara Presented at Helsinki International Tourism Fair

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he Department of Tourism of Adjara presented the region at the International Tourism Exhibition in Helsinki. The department was participating in ‘Matka 2020’, the largest tourism exhibition in Northern Europe, together with representatives of the National Tourism Administration and travel agencies. The exhibition, which on average hosts

more than 64,000 visitors, was chaired by Department Chair Tinatin Zoidze, who held meetings with representatives of the Finnish Tourism Industry Association, leading media outlets, and airlines. In discussions at these meetings were opportunities to popularize the region of Adjara and Georgian tourism products in the Finnish market. This year, Georgia was named the Tour-

ist Destination of the Year at "Matka 2020". The exhibition opened on January 17 and closed on January 19. The Department of Tourism of Adjara will promote tourism opportunities of the region at 28 international exhibitions this year, including the world's most notable tourism exhibitions in Germany, Spain, the UK, Israel, the Baltic and neighboring countries.

“We have record figures in passenger transportation. We have transported more than 3 million passengers in 2019,” David Peradze, General Director of the company, said. Georgian Railway transferred about 2.8 million passengers in 2018, meaning 2019 saw a 7% increase. As a result of the record number of passengers, the revenue also hit a record high: 31 million GEL, up from the 2018 figure of 27 million GEL.


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

JANUARY 21 - 23, 2020

Alabwaz Construction CompanySetting Criterion for Better Living and offers high quality infrastructure to the smallest detail. Alabwaz is designed to offer a whole new style of living, where the meticulously designed atmosphere is there to serve every imaginable need.

ADVERTORIAL

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perating since 2014, Alabwaz Real Estate has set a new benchmark for customer-oriented administering and truly immaculate service. The concept behind Alabwaz is based on creating self-sufficient spaces for harmonious living, which implies designing residential neighborhoods fully tailored to the needs of its clients. Synthesizing innovation and experience, Alabwaz pampers its residents with the finest infrastructure and service to create a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for living. To learn more about this standout project, GEORGIA TODAY talked to Ahmed Elabwaz, the founder and director of the company.

WHAT URGED YOU TO START A CONSTRUCTION SITE IN THE OLD ORTACHALA DISTRICT? Ortachala features tree-lined streets with a steep and beautiful hillside at its rear. Whereas Vake is quite far from Old Tbilisi, Ortachala is less than 20 minutes’ walk from some of the most enthralling aspects of the city, ranging from vital historical monuments to the famous and ancient Abanotubani district known for its sulphur baths. There was a time when Ortachala was Tbilisi’s main cultural oasis. All this is considered history today; however, projects like Alabwaz are there to see the potential in Tbilisi’s historical districts and with due attention and care, turn them into irresistible living spaces.

WHAT URGED YOU TO START THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS IN GEORGIA? Alabwaz has been operating in the construction industry for five years. The first head offices opened in Dubai and Egypt simultaneously. The next office was opened in Qatar; then two more in Saudi Arabia. Overwhelmed by the beauty of Georgian scenery and the country’s potential in general, I decided to open a branch in Tbilisi to see my vision through. The company has been present in Georgia for seven months now. There has never been a better time to invest in Georgia, and the country is more open to new ideas and new investments than ever before. Being a young democracy of merely 30 years, Georgia has managed to turn into a growing economy in which the rate of investment increases rapidly. I felt inspired with Georgia’s inherent direction toward prosperity and the maintenance of safe,

COMPARED TO SIMILAR PROJECTS, WHAT SPECIAL CONVENIENCES DOES ALABWAZ OFFER?

democratic values; this is why I chose Tbilisi for the implementation of my construction projects.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CONSTRUCTION SITES IN TBILISI. Our current project-in-progress is in Ortachala (alongside the Mtkvari River).

All the premium class apartments are designed to accentuate Tbilisi’s mesmerizing panoramic views; gardens and playing areas are a few among the facilities created to let residents enjoy the luxury of saving time. The planning of our 11-story apartments envisages bringing new architectural trends to Tbilisi

There are a lot of construction companies operating on the Georgian market, and Alabwaz’s strategy in this highly competitive atmosphere is to uphold impeccable quality and safety in its services and products. Our work ethic involves managing and taking responsibility for the projects all the way, from their inception to their completion. In each individual case, the Alabwaz team creates a well-thought-out business plan, develops an investment project based on thorough research, and in the end ensures that the project is well-implemented. What distinguishes us from other companies is the transparency of the processes inside our company; the relation-

ship to every client is individual and sincere. The main orientation is not business-making, but the satisfaction of the client and doing honest work. For instance, we offer interest-free installment terms and individual payment schedules to serve the needs of singular persons. I try to communicate with people individually and design plans in the same way. We support the client equally through the stages of the purchase and in the aftermath, to ensure his access to the options best fitted to his individual needs and to help him enjoy huge investment returns in dollars. I think this customer-oriented attitude is the main distinguishing feature about Alabwaz.

THE ALABWAZ CONCEPT IS LARGELY BASED ON ECO-FRIENDLINESS. TELL US MORE ABOUT IT. There is a pressing need to address the urgent challenges in our declining ecosystem. Alabwaz constructs all its the projects with the vision to become the greenest parts of the city, with clean air and lots of space for walking and relaxing in the open. We strongly believe that the accumulated problems in the environment should concern one personally; the perpetual eagerness to try and solve these issues is essential. Overall, Alabwaz’s approach to construction and design puts emphasis on natural surroundings, accentuating Tbilisi’s views and supporting greenery.

WHAT ARE THE FUTURE GOALS FOR ALABWAZ? We’re currently working on another large project; this is a more ambitious project both in its dimensions and concept, as the space we are developing will resemble a small self-sustained city. We do not yet want to disclose the location; we will soon hold a grandiose presentation of the project.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY JANUARY 21 - 23, 2020

Image source: geostat.ge

GeoStat Report on External Merchandise Trade of Georgia in 2019 BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

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he National Statistics Office of Georgia published their annual summery report on Monday, January 20. The document reads that in 2019, the external merchandise trade (excluding non-declared trade) of Georgia equalled $3.77 billion. The number is 12.4% higher than last year’s percentage. “In 2019, Georgia’s external merchandise trade (excluding non-declared trade) amounted to $12 834.7 million, 2.7% higher year-on-year. Including exports, it totals $3.77 billion (up 12.4% y-o-y), while imports stood at $9,063.2 million (0.8% lower),” reads the report. Last year, motor cars reclaimed the first place in the list of top export items, equalling $686.7 million or 18.2% of total exports. The exports of copper ores and concentrates totalled $651.6 million and their share in the total exports amounted to 17.3%. Ferro-alloys exports occupied third place at $303.0 million and constituting 8.0% of the total exports. The top import commodities in 2019 were petroleum and petroleum oils, whose imports equalled $757.0 million (8.4% of the total imports). Motor cars followed on the list at $53.7 million, or 7.2% of imports. Copper ores and concentrates were third in the top import commodity list, at $603.7 million (6.7% of imports). The report also highlighted Georgia’s top partners in trade. In 2019, the share of the top ten trading partners by imports in the total imports of Georgia amounted to 65.8%. The top partners were Turkey ($1 613.7 million), Russia ($975.9 million) and China ($858.7 million). “In 2019, the exports from Georgia to EU coun-

The top import commodities in 2019 were petroleum and petroleum oils

Cars reclaimed first place in the list of top export items tries amounted to $825.7 million (13.0% higher compared to 2018) and constituted 21.9% of total exports, while imports amounted to $2,321.5 million (7.4 % lower) at 25.6% of total imports. The external trade turnover of Georgia with EU countries amounted to $3,147.2 million, showing a 2.8% decrease compared to the corresponding indicator of the previous year. The EU countries accounted for 28.3% of the trade deficit. In 2019, the exports to the CIS countries stood at $2 003.1 million (20.0% higher compared to 2018) and reached 53.1% of total exports, while the imports equalled $2,438.6 million (9.5% lower) at 26.9% of total imports. “The trade turnover with the CIS countries totaled $4,441.6 million (1.8% higher). The CIS countries accounted for 8.2% of the overall trade deficit in the corresponding period,” the report reads. The negative trade balance was $5,291.8 million in 2019 and its share in external trade turnover constituted 41.2%. The exports, excluding reexports, amounted to $2,352.3 million, 5.7% higher year-on-year.

ABOUT GEOSTAT The National Statistics Office of Georgia, also known as GeoStat, is a legal entity of public law, and it carries out its activities independently. It is an institution established to produce statistics and disseminate statistical information according to Georgian legislation. GeoStat is established by the Law of Georgia, issued on 11 December 2009, on Official Statistics. Historically, the entity dates back to over a century ago, last summer seeing it celebrate 100 years. On July 25, 1919, under the Law adopted by the Constituent Assembly, the Central Statistical Committee of the Republic was set up at the Ministry of Agriculture. The Committee was tasked to manage all the statistical works of state significance.

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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

JANUARY 21 - 23, 2020

When Will the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Become Fully Operational? BY TEA MARIAMIDZE

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he Baku–Tbilisi–Kars (BTK) railway, which became operational on 30 October 2017 and is to complete a transport corridor linking Azerbaijan to Turkey and therefore Central Asia and China to Europe by rail, is not fully functional at present and it is unknown when it will become so. Most of the railway construction works in Georgia were completed several years ago. Only works directly related to the commencement of the operation of the railway remain undone. The Georgian section of the railway is being constructed by the state-run Marabda Kartsakhi Railway. The project envisages construction of 29.2 km railroads in Georgia as well as the rehabilitation of the existing 157 km of rails, the construction of new stations and the upgrading of other older infrastructure. After the project is commissioned, the first-phase 5 million tons of cargo and the next 15 million tons of cargo are to be transported. This amount is much more than the whole amount of cargo transported from Georgia by rail last year. The financial statements of Marabda Kartsakhi Railway 2018 read the company's expenses amounted to GEL 102 million ($35.54 mln) per year. Because the state-owned company is only carrying out engineering works and the railway has no operating income, the company closed last year with a loss of

GEL 102 million. The project is financed by the Azerbaijani side with a loan granted by the Republic of Azerbaijan. The total loan amounted to $775 million and was issued in two parts: the first, $200 million, with an annual interest rate of 1%, and the second, $575 million, with an annual interest rate of 5%. The principal amount of the loan and the interest accrued on it will commence upon completion of the project and should be repaid within 25 years. However, the agreement reads this period may be extended. Davit Peradze, Head of Georgian Railway, says the Marabda Kartsakhi Railway is still operating in test mode. “There were 19 block train trips from China in 2019, and by 2020 the number of trains coming from China will increase to 170,” he added. Levan Kankava, General Director of the Marabda-Kartsakhi Railway project, also says that currently the railway is in test mode and the exact date of full commissioning is not known at this time. “Works on the Georgian section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway are underway and are in their final stage. Communication systems have been tested and the Georgian section fully complies with safety standards,” he said, adding that upon completion of construction works, a joint venture of the Azerbaijani Railway and the Georgian Railway will be established, which will provide for the exploitation of the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway includes 826 kilometers of track. In Georgia, 29 kilometers of new train tracks were laid

Image source: vestnikkavkaza.net

from Akhalkalaki, west to the border of Turkey, and 76 kilometers of track were laid inside Turkey, from the border to the city of Kars. Construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was announced at the end of 2007. Initially, the completion date was 2010, but it was postponed many times.

Following the first test run by a passenger train from Tbilisi to Akhalkalaki on 27 September 2017, the BTK was inaugurated in a ceremony hosted by the President of Azerbaijanm Ilham Aliyev, in Alyat on 30 October 2017. The reasons for the postponement of full completion of the project stated by

officials in Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan, have varied, ranging from delays in funding, political changes and problems with a contractor in Turkey, to difficult geographic location and climate conditions. Even today, the full exploitation of the BTK railway depends on Georgia's neighboring countries.

Report Ahead of Davos: World's Billionaires Have More Wealth than 4.6 Billion People BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

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heWorldEconomicForum’s annual meeting in the year of 2020 kicks off on January 21 in Davos, Switzerland. There, the world's leaders, business executives, and academics will discuss problems, achievements and future plans in the world of economy. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum, and around 600 public speakers are expected at the four-day event.

Image source: Euronews

But before the Davos economic forum began, a report was published that unleashed the economic situation in the world: Billionaires have more wealth that 4.6 billion people. The report done by international organization Oxfam and published by Euronews also reads that the world’s richest 1% owns more than double the wealth of 6.9 billion people. The organization further states that the number of billionaires has doubled in the last decade. The non-profit organization deliberately released its annual report ahead of the famous economic meeting to address the mounting inequality seen since 2014. This year will

be no exception, as the organization’s representatives are expected at the world economic forum, and they have promised to highlight the growing tendencies of wealth inequality at the event. "Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big businesses at the expense of ordinary men and women. No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist," said Amitabh Behar, the CEO of Oxfam India, who is expected to be present at Davos 2020. "[Inequality is at the] heart of fractures and social conflicts all over the world, and no one is fooled," said Pauline

Leclère, Oxfam France's senior campaigner for tax justice and inequalities. "Inequality is not someone's fate. It is the result of social and fiscal policy that reduces the participation of the wealthy [through taxes] and weakens funding for public services," Leclère added. The report focused on overall inequality and the gender divide. "Unfortunately, the organization's conclusion is the same. Inequality continues to rise in extreme proportions," Leclère told Euronews, stating that inequality is bad for the economy. This goes hand in hand with the statement of Kristalina Georgieva, director

of the International Monetary Fund, at a conference in Washington DC last week, where she noted that “although inequality between countries was decreasing, inside many high-income countries, inequality is growing”. "The gap between rich and poor can't be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to these," added Behar, Oxfam CEO. Representatives of the NGO told Euronews that they’re waiting for the Davos participants and politicians to take action that make actual changes for improvement in the world economy, and not some “lofty political speeches,” because the inequality in the world cannot be overcome merely with statements. This year’s Oxfam report analyzed the sexist tendencies in the world’s economic system, and found that men worldwide own 50% more wealth than women. “Women and girls are among those who benefit least from today's economic system," said Behar. In particular, to help paint a clear picture of the drastic reality, the report suggests a comparison: the 22 richest men in the world have more wealth than all the women in Africa. What’s more, women tend to work in sectors that are more insecure and less valued economically, the Oxfam report states. “They do more than 75% of unpaid care work and make up two-thirds of the ‘care workforce’ in nursery and domestic jobs,” writes Euronews. What will the world leaders do with these reports? Will they only come up with ‘lofty political speeches’ while addressing them, or will there actually be actions that follow up? We’ll have to wait and see.


POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY JANUARY 21 - 23, 2020

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Georgian Parliament to Continue Legislative Activity on February 4 BY ANA DUMBADZE

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he Parliament of Georgia will officially resume its legislative activity on February 4. According to Parliament's Rules of Procedure, the Spring Session will open on the first Tuesday of February. As part of the spring session, lawmakers will have to make several staff decisions, including the election of the Pros-

ecutor General and the Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia. Legislators will also discuss several annual reports during the spring session, including reports from the president, prime minister, public defender, audit office, National Bank and the Prosecutor General's Office. According to Parliament's Rules of Procedure, the Spring Session will close on the last Friday of June. The Legislative body officially completed its activities within the Autumn Session on December 20 last year.

Elizabeth Rood - Now is an Important Moment for Georgia's Democratic Path BY B.ALEXISHVILI

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ongress is the legislative branch of the US, therefore, we recommend you to appeal to it for detailed information, US Chargé d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood stated in response to Congressman Markwayne Mullin’s letter to PM Gakharia. “I would like to underline the great progress Georgia has made, but now is a very important moment on Georgia’s democratic path, in particular the political dialogue that is taking place with the support of the United States, the

European Union and the Council of Europe. This is a very good opportunity for the ruling party and the opposition parties to reach an agreement, make some concessions and get the best model for the development of the country and democracy,” Rood emphasized. CDA Rood added that “electoral reform should envisage the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations.” “Also, it is important that the investigation, the accusation or the trial should be free from political influence, as this will further strengthen the protection of human rights, as well as promote an attractive investment climate and at the same time, strengthen our common values,” she said.

Salome Zurabishvili to Attend Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem BY ANA DUMBADZE

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eorgia’s President Salome Zurabishvili will attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, leaving for Israel on January 21.

46 heads of states, members of royalty, presidents, prime ministers and parliamentary leaders from Europe, North America and Australia will attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, titled 'Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism'. “This is an unprecedented and historic event, the highest-level meeting ever

held in Israel and on the issue of antisemitism,” Dr. Kantor, initiator of the event, said. “We must use this event as a crucial and defining moment to build a global coalition of leaders who will send a strong and united message that antisemitism, in all its forms, will not be tolerated, and those who perpetrate it will be met with zero tolerance.”

Gilead Continues to Actively Support HCV Elimination in Georgia BY ANA DUMBADZE

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he Ministry of Health of Georgia has released Gilead’s official statement saying that “Gilead is proud to have supported the country’s national HCV elimination plan since its launch in 2015 and it continues to actively support HCV elimination in Georgia.” “Georgia is at the forefront of international efforts to eliminate hepatitis C (HCV) and Gilead is proud to have sup-

ported the country’s national HCV elimination plan since its launch in 2015. As of the end of 2019, Georgia’s government has successfully treated more than 58,000 Georgians with Gilead medicines." "We understand that a small proportion of HCV medicines donated by Gilead, representing 5% of our total donation to date, reached their expiration date without being used. This is not unusual, as public health programs typically procure more medicines than their project will require. In this case, some of the medicines expired because Georgia transitioned to a newer and more tolerable regimen. We do not believe that the

expiration of these medicines has affected the reach or impact of Georgia’s HCV elimination efforts in any way." "Gilead continues to actively support HCV elimination in Georgia, and we are working with the Ministry of Health to ensure that Georgians living with HCV can continue to access the latest advances in HCV treatment,” the American biotechnology company stated. The Hepatitis C Elimination Program was launched in the country in 2015 and it has been and remains the main public health priority. To date, more than 64,000 people received treatment within the program.

The President’s Press Office reports that Zurabishvili will meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, President of Northern Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski, Governor-General of Canada and other leaders of various countries participating in the forum, as well as representatives of the Georgian community in Israel. Salome Zurabishvili, together with the

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, the Minister of Culture and Sport, and the Mayor of Jerusalem, will open a new office of Georgia’s Honorary Consulate in Jerusalem. After a working visit to Israel, the President of Georgia will leave for France and deliver a speech at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on January 28.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

JANUARY 21 - 23, 2020

New US Ambassador's First Comments on Georgia

BY ANA DUMBADZE

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elly Degnan, the new US Ambassador to Georgia, who was approved for the role in December 2019 by the Senate, was sworn in on January 16 at the US Department of State. The oath-taking ceremony was attended by David Hale, the United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

In her swearing-in remarks, the Ambassador said she feels “particularly honored to be selected to be the US Ambassador to Georgia, a country that shares America’s love of freedom and democracy.” “Like America, Georgia has had to fight for its independence: hard-won independence that remains under threat from Russia,” she noted. Degnan added that “now we are fighting together in NATO’s Resolute Support Mission to help Afghans secure their freedom and build their democracy.” The new US Ambassador also noted

that “like Americans, Georgians want to grow businesses, vote in fair elections, hear from a responsible media, worship freely, and raise their families in a country where rule of law governs.” Ambassador Degnan said, “I’m also committed to continuing America’s deep collaboration with Georgia, including on democratic development, trade and prosperity, and security cooperation.” She further added that “through joint training and exercises, we are strengthening Georgia’s ability to defend its own borders: an important sign of America’s

steadfast commitment to supporting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The new US Ambassador to Georgia has 25 years' diplomatic experience and is a recipient of the Secretary of State’s Expeditionary Service Award. Before the nomination to the post, Degnan served as the political advisor to the Commander of United States Naval Forces Europe – the United States Naval Forces Africa. On the upcoming 2020 parliamentary elections in Georgia, she noted their

The Dynamic of the Eurasian Economic Union for 2020 OP-ED BY EMIL AVDALIANI

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ecent developments in Russia regarding the country’s f ut u re co n s t i t ut i o n a l reforms sent an important foreign policy message to Russia’s neighbors: Moscow’s foreign policy will remain unchanged beyond 2024, when Vladimir Putin’s presidency ends. One of the components of Russia’s foreign policy is the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and it is clear that Moscow will be putting a lot of energy into expanding the project beyond what it currently covers (Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Russia itself). The creation of the EEU in 2015 reflected Russian geopolitical imperative, through which western economic or military encroachment on the former Soviet space would be if not forestalled, then considerably constrained. The creation of the EEU (although economics does play a big part in it) is also about further enabling Russia to solidify its influence over Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Beyond trade, the countries often discuss security, military affairs and other vital spheres of cooperation. The overall idea, however, even though not openly stated, has been to place the EEU against the European Union (EU) and the latter’s enlargement plans near Russian borders. The EEU enables Rus-

Image source: vestnikkavkaza.net

sia to project its influence over large swathes of lands and, like NATO in the West, potentially use its Collective Security Treaty Organization as a shield against various security challenges emanating from the Central Asian region or in the South Caucasus. Now, with more clarity about Russian foreign policies beyond 2024, one of Moscow’s primary goals in 2020 and beyond will be to enlist Uzbekistan into the EEU. Over the past year, there have been active talks on Tashkent’s likely decision to join the EEU. In fact, so many hints have appeared in the Russian and

foreign media that the decision could indeed be coming in 2020. Uzbekistan sees that the EEU has a number of strategic advantages for it. Altogether, the grouping has a population of nearly 179 million people. The gross domestic product nears $1.9 trillion. This is much lower than what the EU or BO has. Another advantage for Uzbekistan is the size and borders of the Union, which almost correspond to the former Soviet Union’s borders. It has been in Russia’s core interests to have Uzbekistan as a close partner, as the country arguably has the most strategic

location in the region. Uzbekistan shares borders with all Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) and Afghanistan, and also sits on a big part of the agriculturally rich Fergana Valley, with a sizable population as well as oil and natural gas deposits. This has resulted in, at times, difficult relations between Tashkent and Moscow since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Yet, the country’s strategic location as well as quantity of natural resources have enabled Uzbekistan to always successfully resist Russian pressure to enlist

importance as “an important opportunity for Georgians to show the world that the progress they have worked so hard for cannot be reversed.” “We have an ambitious work plan with Georgia and high expectations of our Georgian friends. Georgians have shown they have the determination, and the fortitude to implement the reforms needed to protect the democratic process they have worked so hard to establish, and that is essential to Georgia’s trans-Atlantic integration. "There is no doubt that Georgia is an important and strategic partner for the United States. During almost 30 years of working together, we have witnessed a remarkable transformation: the result of Georgians’ courage and love for their country’s independence. "Georgia has much to be proud of, and the United States is honored to stand with our Georgian friends. "We’ve got great momentum, and as Ambassador, I’m committed to keeping our partnership strong and on a path to realizing the bright future that all Georgians deserve,” the Ambassador said. The US Embassy to Georgia congratulated Degnan on her swearing-in. "Congratulations to Ambassador Kelly Degnan on her swearing-in! We look forward to her arrival in Georgia," reads the official Facebook page of the Embassy. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia also congratulated the newly appointed US Ambassador to Georgia. "Congratulations to Kelly Degnan on her swearing-in as the US Ambassador to Georgia. We look forward to working with you to advance Georgia's European & Euro-Atlantic aspirations and bringing even greater dynamism to the strategic partnership between our two great nations," the Prime Minister wrote on social media.

Tashkent into CSTO or the EEU, which upholds the sceptics’ view that Tashkent is not going to join Russian-led groupings. This development is important to watch, as Russia will be also active in trying to enlist other neighboring states, among them Azerbaijan. Most likely, Baku will resist this, as membership of EEU will only increase Russia’s influence. Moreover, Azerbaijan will resist because of Armenia’s EEU membership. The Union requires its members to have open borders and active trade, while Baku and Yerevan have an intractable territorial conflict over the Nagorno Karabakh region. Nevertheless, it is likely Russia will be consistent in its efforts in the South Caucasus. For Georgia, which has its regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali under Moscow’s military occupation, larger Russian influence in the South Caucasus would bring additional pressure on Tbilisi. This could limit the Western reach in the region. What the EU and the US need to do to correct the situation is to increase their economic influence in the South Caucasus through larger investments propped up by close political contacts with Georgia. In this respect, building new transport infrastructure across Georgia is of crucial importance to the region overall, as is western reach into the region. That explains why such projects as the Anaklia port, railways and new roads are always regarded geopolitically as near game-changers.


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY JANUARY 21 - 23, 2020

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'The Passion of Saint Shushanik' Published in Istanbul BY ELENE DZEBISASHVILI

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he Turkish publishing house Otello has published a Turkish-language translation of 'The Passion of Saint Shushanik' (also translated as 'The Martyrdom of the Holy Queen Shushanik') in Istanbul. The translator is Farna-Beka Chilashvili, a Georgian literary writer and researcher residing in Turkey. Composed between the years A.D. 476 and 483 by Jacob of Tsurtaveli, fatherconfessor to the princess, 'The Passion of Saint Shushanik' is the oldest surviving jewel of Georgian literature and is salient for its direct, transparent style of writing. Shushanik died as a result of her refusal to accept the Zoroastrian religion professed by Georgia’s Iranian overlords. Her denial to abjure the Christian faith enraged her husband, the Mihranid ruler (pitiakhsh) Varsken, who had embraced Mazdeism to flatter the Persian court.

Shushanik’s perseverance ultimately urged him to murder her in particularly barbaric circumstances. After seven years of torture and imprisonment, she died a martyr. “Interest in Georgian literature has been on the rise in Turkey over the last five years”, says Chilashvili. "I have been translating Georgian literature for years. The interest of publishers is growing, and there has been a lot of feedback from the public too. Erlom Akhvledian's novel "The Mosque in the City" (also translated by Chilashvili) was most successful here in Turkey." Apart from Shushanik’s heartfelt story, Parna-Beka Chilashvili has translated into Turkish notable Georgian literary works by Otar Chiladze, Naira Gelashvili, Mikheil Javakhishvili, Erlom Akhvlediani, Nodar Dumbadze, Jemal Karchkhadze, Dato Turashvili, Irakli Kakveladze and others. The first printed version of 'The Passion of Saint Shushanik' was published in 1882. The work has been translated into French, Russian, English, German, Hungarian and Icelandic.

SPORTS

Georgian President Awards Best Sportsmen of 2019 BY ANA DUMBADZE

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eorgian President Salome Zurabishvili attended the 2019 Sports Summarizing Event organized by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, within the framework of which she awarded the best sportsmen of 2019: Lasha Talakhadze (weightlifting), Lukhum Chkhvimiani (judo), Geno Petriashvili (freestyle wrestling), Beka Lomtadze (freestyle wrestling), Nugzar Tsurtsumia (Greco-Roman wrestling) and Lasha Gobadze (Greco-Roman wrestling). The President of Georgia addressed the invited guests and thanked the athletes for their achievements and contribution to presenting Georgia in the international arena. "Our athletes made Georgia famous as one of the most sporting and successful countries. Along with the recognition, the

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Georgian flag has been raised many times outside the borders of our county, while our society feels proud. Today, when 20% of the territories are occupied, this is grounds for hope. Your role is invaluable both internationally and internally. You are the best example for our young people. I wish all spheres of our country to be as successful as sports. A healthy lifestyle is necessary, as it makes people stronger and resistant," the President said. "Today's nominees are clear examples of what can be achieved if you put all your energy and effort into doing it. You are the best example for our young people on how the younger generation should be brought up, how to be healthy and successful. Our country needs us all to be active, healthy, and focused on success and victory," she said. The top athletes were revealed in 11 nominations at the annual awards ceremony at the State Ceremonial Palace. In addition, 14 special prizes were handed to athletes for their contribution and success.

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1220 Business  

January 21 - 23, 2020

Issue #1220 Business  

January 21 - 23, 2020

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