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Issue no: 1229

• FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020 • PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Majority Members Assess Merabishvili's Release NEWS PAGE 2

Adjara TV Staff Speak about Threats to Editorial Independence NEWS PAGE 3

On Georgian Strategy Towards the Occupied Regions POLITICS PAGE 4

FOCUS

ON MERABISHVILI

The former Minister of Internal Affairs is released and dives straight back into the political battle.

PAGE 2

Georgian President on Femicide: The Problem Comes from Society’s Mentality

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emicide is the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender. The issue was thrown into the spotlight again this week when a man killed his wife in public, in Samtredia, western Georgia, ahead of their divorcing. Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili released a statement on femicide, emphasizing that any kind of violence against women is unacceptable and all cases of murder “are terrifying.” Zurabishvili pointed out that when a woman is killed because she is a woman, it is a problem within society, and that the active involvement of the state and education system in culture and civic awareness-raising is crucial. “It is necessary to raise public awareness. Joint work and efforts from state, public, and religious organizations are important to prevent violence,” the statement reads. Taking into account the alarming statistics and the importance of the issue, the President has called for a meeting to be held at Orbeliani Palace next week with the participation of international and non-governmental organizations who work on the prevention of violence against women. Continued on page 2

EU, UNDP Reps on Polarized Nature of Georgian Politics POLITICS PAGE 4

An Ex-President, Ex-PM & the Former Parliament Speaker All in One Party? POLITICS PAGE 5

Beeline Introduces Updated Website with Additional Features BUSINESS PAGE 8

Sleeves Up: Etseri, Svaneti SOCIETY PAGE 10

Fresh Perspectives: A New Window on High-drama Caucasian History as Told by a Maker CULTURE PAGE 12

Georgian Traditional Supra to Be Put Forward for UNESCO List Image source: nbcnews.com

CULTURE PAGE 15


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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

Vano Merabishvili Released from Prison, Dives Straight Back into Politics BY THE GT TEAM

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ormer Interior Minister of Georgia Vano Merabishvili was released from the “Matrosov” penitentiary facility early Thursday morning, having spent almost seven years there as, according to the opposition, “a political prisoner”. On February 17, 2014, the former Interior Minister, one of the most influential figures of the United National Movement, was sentenced to imprisonment after being found guilty of the brutal dispersal of the May 26 rally, hiding of evidence in the Sandro Girgvliani case, voter bribery, and physical abuse of opposition MP Valeri Gelashvili. He was sentenced to 6 years and 9 months in prison. Merabishvili denied all charges, claiming they were politically motivated. The opposition in turn said his imprisonment was a ‘witch hunt’ against the former government. The trial for the November 7, 2007 rally crackdown, in which water-cannons were used against demonstrators, and for the raid on Imedi TV, is still ongoing against him. In both cases he stands accused of abuse of power. Merabishvili told those waiting for him outside the prison that he plans to return to active politics, adding he "guarantees" that the ruling party Georgian Dream, under Bidzina Ivanishvili's leadership, will lose power this year. "I would like to thank my supporters gathered here and those who show support from far away. With their support and hope for the future, I have retained

Photo: IPN

strength, energy and belief to continue to fight to end this regime this year. I guarantee that this government will be finished within a year," he said. He also promised that "by the end of the year, after toppling the government, the doors of the 'Matrosov prison' will be thrown wide open." Merabishvili then stressed the need to change the current government. “It is necessary to do so and we will certainly do so,” he said. “It is necessary for the country to start developing, to move forward, to improve the welfare of our people, to dissolve hopelessness, to give prospects to the youth, to increase employment and wages, and to give

decent pensions to older persons. We will definitely win. "I guarantee you that by the end of the year, after toppling this government, the doors of this prison will be opened for [the release of] every political prisoner. Everyone I know in this prison is a political prisoner," the former Interior Minister said. He then addressed the Georgian police officers, saying that he will do his best to “restore the dignity” of law enforcers in the country. “I would like to address the Georgian police officers and tell them that we will do our best, together with our friends, to restore the dignity of the police, restore

confidence and improve their social situation,” he noted. Opposition leaders Giorgi Vashadze and Giga Bokeria welcomed Merabishvili's release. Giga Bokeria, one of the leaders of European Georgia, believes that Merabishvili's detention is a stain on Georgia's recent democracy. As he told reporters, Bidzina Ivanishvili's political repression targeted people representing a political danger to him. “This person had been in jail for seven years and I can't talk on his behalf. He has to say it. I’m just glad that after serving such a sentence of seven years in confinement, the political prisoner has

now been released. "This story is a stain on our recent history of democracy. That is why Ivanishvili's regime must end peacefully through elections so that such things never happen in Georgia. Nobody should ever be put in prison due to such a political order," Bokeria said. Giorgi Vashadze, leader of the New Georgia party, said that the fight for freedom continues and Vano Merabishvili will play his part in it. In light of Ivanishvili's eight-year rule, the success and progress that Georgia achieved from 2003 to 2012 was clearly visible, he said. “I welcome the release of Vano Merabishvili from illegal detention. In the wake of Ivanishvili's eight-year reign, the efforts, successes and progress that Georgia made from 2003 to 2012 have become even clearer. The fight for freedom continues, and I believe that along with thousands of patriots of the new generations, Vano Merabishvili will play his part in this fight. Freedom for all illegal prisoners!” he stated. The former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, also welcomed the news of the ex-interior minister’s release. "I welcome Vano Merabishvili's release after many years of imprisonment," he wrote on social media, adding that he is "proud of Merabishvili's strength and bravery." “I am proud of his strength and bravery. I agree that Bidzina Ivanishvili's regime will definitely end. He will be out not because of our personal feelings, but because, like Vano said, our country needs progress and development. "I call for reconciliation. We must be oriented to the future and not to the past,” Saakashvili wrote.

Majority Members Assess Merabishvili's Release

BY ANA DUMBADZE

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he ruling party Georgian Dream representatives have responded to exinterior minister Vano Merabishvili's release after

almost 7 years of imprisonment, and to his statements about the need to "change the current government." Merabishvili said he "guarantees" that the ruling party Georgian Dream, under Bidzina Ivanishvili's leadership, will lose power this year. He also promised that "by the end of the year, after toppling the government, the doors of the 'Matrosov prison' will be opened wide [to free the political prisoners there]." Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has responded to the statements, saying that "there have been several attempts to topple the government, but they have never succeeded." He added that the goal of the government is to create a better future and a strong state, which will be a country of opportunities, not a place for coups and

overthrows. “I did not want to talk about this today, but it is once again confirmed that the National Movement is already of the past. We must think about tomorrow, we must work to make this country not a country of challenges and coups, but a country of opportunities for young people. Today, in the first minutes of freedom, this person spoke about toppling the government. Let us all agree that we are looking to the future. There have been attempts to overthrow the government several times, and they have never succeeded. Our goal is to create a better future and a strong state, which will be a country of opportunities, not a place for coups and overthrows, which we have left in the past,” PM Gakharia said. In turn, ruling party MPs Nukri Kan-

taria, Via Volski and Irakli Sesiashvili said that Merabishvili is a person "demanding dead bodies from his employees and issuing orders to brutally disperse demonstrations, and he will never gain public support again." "I advise opposition member Giga Bokeria, who is a friend of Merabishvili, to explain to him that he no longer lives in a country where he can overthrow the government or demand corpses," Irakli Sesiashvili, Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee, said after Merabishvili's release. “This is a man who not only demanded bodies but who committed real crimes. Those crimes were committed in reality. The United National Movement's tactics and strategy were to blackmail people and take away their lives; they thought it was right. Vano Merabishvili

spoke about it today when he left prison. We all know that he is guilty of that for which he was sentenced to imprisonment. He committed a crime and is still aggressive instead of repentant,” Gia Volski, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, said. Ruling team member Nukri Kantaria noted that "Merabishvili has no chance of success and the political parties may accept collaboration with him only symbolically." "It is impossible for a person who was demanding bodies to return to active politics and realize his threats to topple the government," he said. Former Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili left the so-called Matrosov prison this morning, after 7 years of imprisonment with promises to return to active politics.

Georgian President on Femicide: The Problem Comes from Society’s Mentality Continued from page 1 “The meeting will discuss additional needs and possible initiatives related to this issue,” the statement reads. Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) reports that a husband was arrested in Samtredia for killing his wife this Tuesday. According to the Ministry, the man inflicted wounds on his wife, born in 1994, at the Citizens' Service Hall of the Samtredia Branch of the Civil Registry Agency, prior to the commencement of divorce proceedings. The wounded woman died on the scene. Law enforcers arrested the man, born in 1992, shortly after the incident at the Service Hall, and seized the murder weapon, a knife. “Investigation is underway of a fact of premeditated murder of a family member in aggravated circumstances, under Article 11 of the Criminal Code of Geor-

gia and Article 109 (2). The crime envisages from 13 to 17 years in prison,” the MIA announced. Public Defender of Georgia Nino Lomjaria condemned the incident, saying women need to feel that there exist such institutions in the country where they can get help. According to her, much work is needed not only in law enforcement agencies but in the education sector too. “The mentality of society must change. Attitudes towards women are stereotypical and discriminatory. It is very important to empower women victims of violence. When a woman has no independent income, she endures violence. Even in the case of publicly speaking about violence, they do not have the opportunity to live independently from the abuser,” Lomjaria stressed. The Ombudsman says that in the first months of 2020 alone, three women were

killed in domestic violence and three were victims of attempted murder. “The fragmented efforts made by the state to prevent violence against women are not enough! There is also much to be done in terms of education, changing societal stereotypes, victim support and economic empowerment, and gendersensitive approaches when reporting femicide cases,” Lomjaria’s Facebook post reads. In December 2019, Lomjaria reported at the Conference on the Prevention and Monitoring of Femicide held in Tbilisi that 151 femicide cases had been reported in Georgia in the preceding six years. Lomjaria said that according to the Prosecutor's Office, 135 killings of women were reported in 2014-2018. Of these, three victims were led to suicide, while 64 showed signs of domestic abuse. Other motives were identified in 71 cases. In the same years, there were 69 attempted

murders of women, of which five of the victims were led to attempt suicide and 46 contained signs of domestic abuse. Other motives were identified in 23 cases. Also, according to the Ombudsman, the first 10 months of 2019 saw 16 killings of women reported, of which one of the victims was led to suicide and nine showed signs of domestic abuse. Other motives were identified in seven cases. In the same period, there were 16 attempted murders of women. Signs of domestic abuse were identified in 12 cases, while other motives were identified in the remaining four cases. Baia Pataraia, Head of the NGO Sapari, says that the whole problem regarding violence against women is in the mentality of Georgian society. “We have a huge problem with our mentality. Women are still not considered full-fledged members of society… Nothing will change while women are

not recognized as fully independent persons who can be strong, who can lead the country, who deserve their own money, whose salary is not 36% less than men’s, who can have a free sex life and who can freely choose to end their marriages,” Pataraia stressed. She added that if society does not make changes to its mentality to place women equal with men, the “current attitude towards women will continue.” MIA statistics read that 10,266 restraining orders were issued to protect victims from domestic violence last year, which is 34% more than in 2018. The ministry says the order was violated by 376 individuals, which is a decrease compared to the previous year. It further reports that the number of people convicted for driving a family member to suicide has increased. In total, 4564 persons were charged with domestic violence and domestic crimes in Georgia last year.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

3

Adjara TV Staff Speak about Threats to Editorial Independence BY TEA MARIAMIDZE

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mployees of the Adjara Television News Service of the Georgian Public Broadcaster released a joint statement and called on the diplomatic corps, and international and local organizations for assistance to protect the editorial independence of the company. The statement reads that the Adjara TV and Radio Advisory Board on Wednesday made a decision regarding staff changes which, according to the statement, “restricts the editorial independence of news staff.” “The abolition of the position of deputy chief of news service, occupied by Maia Merkviladze, is a direct attack on the editorial policy,” the employees say. The staff explains that disciplinary proceedings were launched against Shorena Ghlonti, the Head of the News Service, which has further exacerbated suspicions that the management of the broadcaster want to bring new people into the organization that are “desirable for the management.” The employees of the channel claim that after the company’s ridding itself of Maia Merkviladze, the editorial staff of Shorena Glonti will be also removed from the editorial policy department. “We believe that the situation created in Adjara TV and Radio in the year of the parliamentary elections aims at removing unwanted staff, especially critical journalists,” the statement reads. The staff addressed the diplomatic

corps, international and local organizations to help “save the broadcaster.” “Not only will journalists be affected, but the idea of a public broadcaster will be damaged, which will further damage the media environment, pluralism and democratic processes in the country,” Adjara TV employees stressed. The Adjara TV company was distinguished for its free and impartial editorial policy, which was many times praised by local and international authoritative organizations. Questions were raised after Natia Kapanadze, Director of the broadcaster, was impeached by the Board of Advisors in April 2019. The Board failed to elect a new Director General a number of times, but after half a year, Giorgi Kokhreidze was elected as the new director. The process of electing the new director raised suspicion among civil society and the TV staff that the process may have been orchestrated by the government. The non-governmental sector says that Kokhreidze expressed his discontent with the Adjara TV journalists on the very first day of his coming there, and soon presented a reorganization plan, which some of the staff suspected was an attempt to rid the channel of “undesired employees” and to change the editorial policy. Deputy Director Natia Zoidze thereafter repeatedly stated that she was being pressured by the director to digress from the editorial policy. Later, she was removed from the management of editorial policy on the broadcasting platforms and eventually quit her job. NGOs

Image source: batumelebi.netgazeti.ge

say Zoidze's resignation was evaluated negatively by international organization Reporters Without Borders, which linked the above to increased political pressure on state-owned media in Georgia. The non-governmental sector noted that recent reports of planned staff changes in the TV company, disciplinary proceedings against the head of the news service and the expected removal of one of the presenters of the Hashtag program are particularly worth noting. NGO Transparency International (TI) Georgia expressed its solidarity with the employees of Adjara TV. “We call on the director of Adjara TV and the Advisory Council (especially

those members who were selected through the quota of the ruling party Georgian Dream) to stop the persecution of employees who are critical of the management; to adopt all decisions through discussion and broad consensus so as not to deepen further the mistrust between management and staff, and to address the questions of the public concerning the independence of the TV station,” the TI-Georgia statement reads. Georgia’s Public Defender, Nino Lomjaria, also made a comment on the Adjara TV and Radio case, saying the recent developments raise suspicion about an attempt to change the editorial policy of the critical media outlet.

“It is particularly noteworthy that Adjara TV is a publicly-funded broadcaster, which was founded with the aim to air impartial and diverse programs that would be free of influence and would serve public interests. In order to ensure this function, the TV channel has a number of obligations under legislation, full fulfillment of which is essential given the polarized media environment in the country,” Lomjaria stated. The Ombudsman also called on the Board of Advisors of Adjara TV to critically review the proposed staff changes and make a reasoned decision aimed at dissolving doubts and ensuring the smooth functioning of the TV Company.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

On the Georgian Strategy Towards the Occupied Regions OP-ED BY EMIL AVDALIANI

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heRussia-occupiedAbkhazia and Tskhinvali regions remain a major problem for Tbilisi. Diplomatic attention to economic resources of the state is diverted towards these two territories. Though there is at times much pessimism among the Georgian population as to how the two regions can ever be reengaged, there are several long-term trends (conditioning the future of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region) which could provide Tbilisi with powerful tools to increase its influence in the two territories:

ECONOMIC UNDERDEVELOPMENT World powers and even regional players will be increasingly hesitant to provide any economic incentives to the two regions. The Tskhinvali region’s fate is especially difficult, as the region mostly borders Georgia proper and has no access to any other state except for Russia. Abkhazia, meanwhile, is in a relatively better position as it enjoys sea access and its tiny diaspora in Turkey can provide limited economic support. Still, any serious economic lifeline is unlikely to be provided to Abkhazia. The US factor will remain a major hindrance, as the country would sanction any state which provides direct economic support to Georgia’s territories.

STEEP POPULATION DECLINE There is a steep population decline in the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. The decline will further complicate already low chances of the two regions developing economically. The population there is mostly goes to Russia and supports its families back in the two regions through remittances. The decline also means that there are little, if any, chances for the regions be a part of the developing road and railway infrastructure transcrossing the rest of Georgia. The declining population is also a sign of significant problems (with no real hope for development) seen in worsening education and healthcare conditions.

Abkhazia. Photo by Mike Goldwater

THE GEOGRAPHIC FACTOR Whatever the number of Russia’s military installations in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, the two are geographic continuations of the rest of Georgia. Moreover, the two are divided from the north by the Caucasus range, which in the longrun signifies that Tskhinvali’s and Sokhumi’s attention will be always directed towards the south.

HISTORICAL ARGUMENTS Though many nowadays argue that history is of very little essence in this con-

flict, the struggle for historic truth is nevertheless a significant battleground to be won. The very fact that both regions were always populated mostly by Georgians and were the place where the creation of the unified Georgian monarchy took place in the 10th century, points to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali being an integral part of the South Caucasus and Georgia in particular. All of this will complicate the two regions’ hopes for building secure entities. But this also means that in the long run, Russia will remain the only state

which can provide Sokhumi and Tskhinvali with meaningful support. What is troublesome in this scenario is the lack of diversification of foreign contacts. Ossetians and especially the Abkhazians clearly see what this is fraught with: loss of national languages and virtual Russification (which has already taken place among the political and cultural elites), and exodus of the population to Russia. Still, this is not the whole story. Though heavily dependent on Russia, the latter has been changing its attitude towards separatists entities throughout the for-

mer Soviet space. There is a rising fatigue with financing the Abkhazian and Ossetian political elites, which have become increasingly predatory over the past two decades or so. Russians will be more hesitant to spend indiscriminetly on the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, as there has been little progress made on the local level with Russian money, which is mostly spent in corruption schemes. These long-term developments open a wide range of opportunities for Tbilisi in the 2020s to increase its economic footprint in the occupied regions.

EU, UNDP Reps on the Polarized Nature of Georgian Politics BY BEKA ALEXISHVILI

SFRC Staff Director Holds Meetings with Georgian Officials in Tbilisi BY BEKA ALEXISHVILI

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enate the Foreign Relations Committee Staff Director, Chris Socha, arrived in Tbilisi to meet with Georgian administrative and opposition officials. The SFRC Staff Director met with the Georgian Prime Minister Gakharia, as well as parliamentarians and NGO representatives. The US embassy issued a statement in which they summarize the formal meetings held with the Senate official: “In all of his meetings, Mr. Socha reiterated the United States’ commitment to Georgia's territorial integrity and its Euro-Atlantic integration. He specifically raised the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia

under Russia's illegal occupation,” read the statement. The statement issued by the Embassy further states what Mr. Socha had to say about Georgia’s internal political problems, such as the issue of polarization and the legitimate functioning of Georgia’s democratic institutions. “[Mr. Socha] also discussed concerns about a weakening of Georgian democracy and governance and carried a clear message from the chairman of the committee, US Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), that the United States supports Georgia's democratic development, but the institutions of governm e n t m u s t re s p e c t eve r yo n e ' s political rights and continue to strengthen the checks and balances that ensure government power is properly constrained.” reads the statement.

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arl Hartzell, the Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, commented on the highly polarized nature of Georgian politics and suggested what could be done to decrease the ideological gap. The Ambassador spoke with the Georgian media and concluded that the main provision for successful advancement is ‘dialogue’ between the Government and the Opposition. “As far as we know, presently there’s a

tough situation. Although, we’ll see what can be done, I want to say that time is running out. In order to make changes to the legislation, a core bilateral foundation must be sought, because the window of opportunity is closing. We are in coordination with all sides, to see the opportunities we have. We are certain that successful completion of the dialogue will help sort out the issue of highly polarized politics,” said Hartzell. Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Georgia, Louisa Vinton, also expressed concerns about the polarization in Georgian politics. She stressed the ways in

which this polarization can be overcome, while further stating that Georgia’s friend-nations are worried about the current situation in Parliament. “I think Georgia had a difficult road to establishing its reputation and building a democratic republic. Today, the countries which are associates of Georgia are concerned about the overall situation and specific occurrences happening in the Georgian Parliament. For example, yesterday we were attending a hearing, and the seats apportioned to the opposition were empty, which is quite hurtful. In order to overcome this polarization issue, different methods must be researched, for the Parliament to factually continue its consensual workings,” Vinton noted. The Resident Representative also commented on the elections. “I want to return to the issue about the elections. In this case, a very careful approach is necessary. We should not think about who has what opinion on this or that issue, we must think about what has already been done. What impressions are left, that’s what we should think about.” states Representative Vinton.


POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

5

An Ex-President, Ex-PM & the Former Parliament Speaker All in One Party? OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA

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he former stars of the Georgian Dream are making a comeback to show business and are planning to cooperate with the political movement Lelo. Yet another ex-GD megastar is forecasted to return to the big scene, Irakli Alasania, but he has his own party so it is quite unlikely he’ll also be joining Lelo. In any case, the transfer window to Lelo will open this spring for everyone, even Alasania. The ex-Speaker of Parliament, Davit Usupashvili, was the first to sign a contract with Lelo, joining the new political movement after the infamous election “trick” played by the Dream at the end of last year. Next in line are ex-President Margvelashvili and ex-PM Kvirikashvili, whose contract terms have yet to be revealed, but who, according to ongoing developments, seem very likely to end up in Lelo. What matters most is that with Lelo we are getting a power in the election “market” whcapable of boldly joining the “Battle of the Titans.” The main messenger informing us of the new political reality came from Giorgi Margvelashvili a few days ago, finally proving himself not to be made of “plasticine,” as he described himself earlier in his political career. “It is time to leave our comfort zones and ove our country away from this provincial dictatorship. I urge everyone, be they Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Irakli Alasania or others, everyone who stood before 2012 and created the 1st of October: we are all obliged to

our country, so that Georgia is formed as a pro-Western democracy,” Margvelashvili told Palitra News. The rumors about Margvelashvili’s return to big politics first spread when he was still the President and could have run for his second term. The political establishment envisioned the creation of a new political center precisely around him, but the 4th president resigned as quietly as he had come, disappointing everyone. Despite this, the idea of the formation of the that political center around him remained, not only within the opposition but also within the government. Margvelashvili’s chief asset is

his neutrality, which he has been able to maintain successfully for years. The Tbilisi elite looks at this important asset with merciful eyes. Nevertheless, an advantage even more significant is the Patriarchal locum tenens, Shio, who has been Margvelashvili’s friend since childhood. Based on these electoral treasures, it is easy to guess what sort of acquisition the fourth president embodies for Lelo. Former PM Kvirikashvili will also bring quite an important benefit for Lelo. Two years ago, when he resigned, everyone wanted to know where he would go, and there were four possible answers: a) politics b) prison c) home d) abroad.

The first two answers were most popular, however, the correct one is still unknown. Although the ex-PM is already considered as a supporter of Lelo if not a member, we shouldn’t forget that resigning officials in this country tend to have only two choices: prison or politics. Imprisonment of the former mayor Gigi Ugulava for the second time once again proved this. Hence, it can’t be ruled out that the ex-PM’s road could lead to the Matrosov Prison instead of Lelo’s headquarters. Ivanishvili’s scandalous interview supports this opinion, seeing him accuse the PM of making 700 million disappear. Despite these accusations,

after his resignation, the bankers, his native New Rights Party and most importantly a group of MPs, announced their support, the latter still in parliament and waiting for his signal. Therefore, the ex-PM is as strong an asset for Lelo as the ex-President. Today, Lelo is mainly comprised of Margvelashvili’s personnel, people who are disappointed by Ivanishvili’s government. So it can be asserted that today Lelo is the bigger competitor of the Dream, rather than the United National Movement or European Georgia, who have their own electorate and aren’t planning to leave the arena anytime soon.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

President Addresses WHO, UN, CoE on Seizure of Georgian Meds in S. Ossetia BY ANA DUMBADZE

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he President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, has sent letters to the DirectorGeneral of the World Health Organization, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights in connection with the seizure of Georgia-produced edication in Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region, the President's administration reports. In the letters, the President of Georgia also notes that in addition to the seizure, the crossing point to Akhalgori, a town in so-called South Ossetia, is closed, which has directly led to a humanitarian crisis on the ground. Due to this situation, the population living in the occupied territories and especially pensioners, those suffering from chronic diseases and in need of permanent medical treatment, are in difficult conditions.

The President points out that by blocking the crossing point and banning the use of Georgia-produced medicines, fundamental human rights, such as the

right to health, the right to life and the right to freedom of movement, are restricted. The President called on the commis-

sioners to respond to the situation in the occupied territories of Georgia and the closing of the crossing point within their capabilities and competence.

Medicines with annotation in the Georgian language have been banned from two pharmacies in the Russianoccupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia). The seized medicines include Voltaren, Flu Cold, Crestor, Hemoral, Tolarin Plus, and more- Russian media reports. This is not the sole case of pharmacies undergoing inspections and confiscations of Georgia-made products in the Russian-occupied territory. The sale of Georgia-produced medicine (along with other products) has been prohibited in Tskhinvali, conforming to a resolution adopted by the region’s defacto Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2006. The resolution likewise forbids the import and sale of meat, alcohol, non-alcoholic beverages, mineral water and other produce from Georgia. In response to the above-mentioned, State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality of Georgia, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, said this is “a deliberate policy” of Russia-controlled Tskhinvali aimed at “cutting ties and contacts with the rest of Georgia, at any price.”

Georgian FM: Despite External Shocks Georgia’s Economy Showed Resilience BY BEKA ALEXISHVILI

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eorgia’s Finance Minister, Ivane Machavariani, states that despite internal inconsistencies and external shocks, Georgia’s economy showed important ‘resilience’ in 2019. The Finance Minister spoke at the plenary session of Parliament in the ‘Hour of the Minister’ format. Machavariani said that the country's progressive economic indicators and economic durability could be visualized in the official assessments of international rating companies. The FM further stated

that last year was manifested by substantial positive advances, which was greatly due to improved revenue and tax system management. “We planned the budget for 2019 with 4.5% of economic growth, and despite internal disparities and external shocks, our economy showed significant resilience. As a consequence, according to the preliminary data, economic growth hit 5.2%. The sustainability of our country's economy was highlighted in the reports of the three most trusted rating companies. Along with the implemented reforms, the sustainability of the economy is one of the most important components, due to which, all three companies raised our sovereign rating,” the Finance Minister said at the hearing.

Vakhtang Gomelauri Appointed Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council BY ANA DUMBADZE

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akhtang Gomelauri, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, has been appointed as the Secretary of the country’s National Security Council, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced at the Executive Government Meeting this week. ”The Security Council is a vitally important body, especially today; one that is expected to work and function effectively.

I present to you a new Secretary of the Security Council, Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri. "I congratulate Mr. Gomelauri on his appointment to this important and responsible position. Of course, at the same time, he serves as the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, which means that the functionality [of his position], as well as effort, will be increased and more effective," PM said. The post of the secretary of the Security Council was occupied by Levan Izoria, who resigned a few weeks ago. Izoria is to be appointed Georgian Ambassador to Germany.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

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Winners of Media Competition 'Journalists for CSR 2019' Awarded

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n February 18, the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG) awarded the winners of media competition - “Journalists for Corporate Social Responsibility 2019”. The competition was held within the framework of the “Georgian Civil Society Sustainability Initiative” funded by the European Union and co-funded by Konrad-AdenauerStiftung, while the award ceremony was held at the Writer’s House in Tbilisi. 5 journalists were awarded for their works featuring CSR topics in the following categories: Best TV report: Manana Gigineishvili, First Channel - http://bit.ly/3229cJM Best Radio coverage: – Nino Khugashvili, Radio Imedi - http://bit.ly/2vHv2pU Best Online/printed article: Katie Ruth Davies, Georgia Today-http://bit. ly/2P3OBiY Best multimedia, video material: Nino Vartapetiani, TV Borjomi http://bit. ly/328B9Qb Best blog: Marika Mchedlidze, Forbes Georgia - http://bit.ly/326wTAB The competition was announced earlier in 2019, while submissions were evaluated by an independent jury comprised of prominent journalists and CSR experts. A total of 36 materials were submitted by 33 journalists across Georgia. Winners were awarded with monetary

prizes (1,500 GEL). The partner company of the award - Japan Tobacco International (JTI) nominated two journalists – Shorena Labadze, (Kviris Palitra) and Vakhtang Daraselia (Fortuna) - who, with the support of JTI, will attend the European Publishing Congress held in May 2020 in Vienna, an outstanding event with the participation of media professionals from all over the world discussing present challenges and achievements of media. During the award ceremony, Eka Urushadze, executive director of the CSRDG, welcomed the guests: “The role of media is extremely important in the process of

inculcating the concept of CSR and its right understanding in society. Therefore CSDRG counts multiple years of active work with central and regional media to raise awareness about CSR.” Dominika Skubida, Attaché, Program Manager for Civil Society of European Delegation to Georgia stated: “Coverage of the Corporate Social Responsibility by media constitutes a far-reaching incentive for business for complying with human rights, labor and environmental standards, as well as for better addressing consumers’ needs and supporting socio-economic development.”

'Journalists for Corporate Social Responsibility' is the first competition of its kind, successfully implemented by CSRDG for the second year in a row. The purpose of the award is to promote active and accurate media coverage of CSR and raise awareness on the CSR concept and its understanding through media. The competition was preceded with a number of training and consultation meetings both with central as well as regional media. The competition is organized within the framework of the Georgian Civil Society Sustainability Initiative.

Since January 2017, a consortium led by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, in partnership with Georgian civil society organizations: Center for Strategic Research and Development (CSRDG), Civil Society Institute (CSI), Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC) and Education Development and Employment Center (EDEC), has been implementing the Georgian Civil Society Sustainability Initiative (CSSIGE) in order to address key challenges of the Georgian civil society sector. The project is funded by the European Union and co-funded by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. The Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia, which was established in 1995, has a successful multiyear experience in the field of civil sector development in Tbilisi as well as in the regions of Georgia. CSRDG has been focused on results that can improve the lives of individuals and societies in general. It was the first Georgian organization that prepared and published: the sustainability report in accordance with GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) sustainability reporting guidelines; the first Georgianlanguage textbook on CSR for higher educational institutions; and comprehensive analytical research on “Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Sector’s Role” (analysis and recommendations for the government of Georgia).

AREA EXPO 2020 - The Largest Real Estate Exhibition-Sale in Georgia

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rea Expo 2020, Georgia’s largest real estate exhibition-sale, will take place on April 4-5 at the Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace. Area Group is holding the event for the third time in Tbilisi. To find out why we should mark this date on the calendar as a must-see event, GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Tamar Mashava, the Group Director.

AREA EXPO IS BEING HELD FOR THE THIRD TIME THIS YEAR. THE EXHIBITION-SALE IS BECOMING A TRADITION. COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT THE EVENT? Area Expo is a platform whereby Georgian developers get a chance to offer special prices and terms to those interested in purchasing residential or commercial spaces. Area Expo represents an annual exhibition-sale where the developers and financial institutions presented on the Georgian market gather in one space to provide access to diverse products and financial resources for people interested in acquiring real estate. The exhibition is likewise interesting for those who want to find information about the real estate market and study it.

HOW DOES PARTICIPATING IN THE EVENT ASSIST CLIENTS IN PURCHASING A FLAT OR OTHER TYPE OF REAL ESTATE? Buying real estate is a complex process, requiring a lot of time, energy and attention to minor details. The competition is fierce, and the choice is quite varied, making professional consultant advice vital. Searching on a one-to-one basis is a lot more time-consuming; but the expo area brings together developers, with customers having immediate access to up to 100 projects. We expect a significant increase in the

number of projects presented this year. These two days allow attendees to see ongoing projects in different neighborhoods and regions, all in one space. Potential clients can evaluate the choice of apartments or other types of property for sale and thus save time. They can compare terms, and compare developer bids to find solutions best tailored to their needs. To simplify the final stage, that is, the buying process, banks are also represented at the exhibition, and consumers can control access to financial resources. Our pivotal aim is to facilitate the best deal possible between a developer and a real estate seeker, and to ensure a streamlined communication.

persons whose business is related to the real estate sector. Here, one can observe market trends, discover business players in the field, and choose a business partner to invest in a real estate business. The business forum and talk series will provide an overview of the field, and this year's theme is ‘Innovations in Development,’ with speakers from both local and international industries. These are helpful resources from real estate professionals, who gather in one space to offer tips for making a real estate investment profitable, choosing the right apartment, and more. We try our best to equip market players, product creators and consumers with useful and necessary information.

AREA EXPO OFFERS INNOVATIONS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THIS YEAR?

THE EVENT IS SUPPORTED BY THE MINISTRY OF ECONOMY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR COOPERATION WITH THEM?

To effectively implement our goals, we have invited My Home Real Estate's largest digital platform as a General Partner of the event to pre-deliver individual offerings to participating developers on their projects, in line with the specific customer preferences; major emphasis will be on sites, budget, functional loading of the buildings, and more. At the same time, a new registration feature has been added to areaexpo.ge, enabling registered visitors to pre-determine their preferences; we then provide information about the participating developers 1-2 weeks before the exhibition.

AREA EXPO DOES NOT MERELY FOCUS ON THE REAL ESTATE EXHIBITION, BUT ALSO ENTAILS A BUSINESS FORUM. WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE APART FROM THOSE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING REAL ESTATE? Area Expo is an interesting space for

Yes, we are pleased that the Ministry of Economy annually represents stateowned property that is prepared for investment, and offers interesting potential to those interested in investing in Georgia. The National Agency for State Management is our constant partner and ensures that the country's investment potential is presented to interested parties.

HALF A MONTH IS LEFT BEFORE THE EXHIBITION. CAN YOU TELL US WHO IS PARTICIPATING? Exhibitors from both large and mediumsized developers are taking part in the exhibition, so the choice really is impressive and meets the needs of any user. The registration of participants has not yet been completed, so we will refrain from disclosing the complete list, however, in your subsequent releases, you will doubtless present the participants

and their projects to your readers. Area Expo has become a tradition. This year will mark the third largest exhibition-sale of real estate. Also interesting are the Area Expo 2019 statistics, an event which was also held at the Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace. About 30

developers took part, presenting more than 100 projects in total. The developers included Unixdeveloper, Binadary, Owen Capital, York Towers, as well as developers working in Batumi. The number of visitors in two days climbed to 2000 interested persons.


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

Beeline Introduces Updated Website with Additional Features

Visit Our Updated Website BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI

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eeline, a member of the international group VEON, introduced a modern, updated website that meets modern, digital requirements. With new design and additional

features, the website is tailored to the needs of the user and is much simpler to use. The updated website integrates all of the company's products and services into one space, enabling customers to perform operations quickly and easily. Any visitor to the website can learn about Beeline services, easily purchase a SIM card and activate the package they

want. Existing Beeline subscribers can also quickly and easily perform transactions, such as money transfer, automatic payment and credit activation, or purchasing of voice and mix packages from both their mobile and bank card accounts. With the integrated “Personal Cabinet”, customers can check their personal data and balance. Another interesting piece of news that

subscribers will be happy to hear about is the Beeline computer game, which gives users the ability to earn mobile internet. The game is available on the updated website and new versions are planned for the future. The website is adapted for both smartphone and tablet screens. Subscribers who participated in the relevant study and provided feedback

to the company contributed significantly to the creation of the new Beeline website, seeing it updated to meet the best interests and needs of Beeline clients. Beeline continues to create and develop digital products and will offer many innovations in the future. This will include an updated version of MyBeeline's favorite Android app, among other Georgian ones.

TBC & Tbilisi Wine Museum Host Meeting for Wine Sector Representatives

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BCCapitalhaspresented Wine Sector Research to help companies and entrepreneurs to discover up-to-date market information and sector development potential. The Tbilisi Wine Museum opened its doors to TBC and Maidan Group and hosted an Adriatic Capital event a few weeks before its official opening. Pursuant to the research conducted by TBC Capital, total exports of Georgian wine increased by 13.2% in 2019 (compared to 2018), to reach $222.9 million. According to the study, there is a positive trend of export growth being seen in the Georgian wine markets, although dependence on foreign markets is still high. Interesting export countries for Georgian wine are: Germany, USA, China, Japan, and Poland. In line with the survey, there are currently 5.2 tons of vineyards per hectare in Georgia on average; large companies produce 8-9 tons, and a third of wine production is maintained by domestic winemakers. Yet, in parallel with the growth of urbanization and formal production, the share of family win-

emaking is expected to decline. Beneficial for the sector is the gradual growth of organized viniculture, which will increase the average productivity of vineyards in the country. “TBC is the leading financer of the wine industry, accounting for more than 50% of the market share,” says the Deputy CEO of TBC Bank, Giorgi Tkhelidze. “We actively cooperate with international institutions and government programs to provide best funding opportunities for the sector. Along with standard banking products, TBC offers international winemaking guarantees and international credentialing services to facilitate trade and export operations. Our research provides a trustworthy basis for determining the sector's growth potential. The culture of wine consumption is improving on the local market and, with the rapid growth of tourism, the potential of local sales is more and more promising”. Since 2017, TBC Capital has been an advisory arm of TBC Bank offering financial consulting, corporate advisory, rating services, bond issuance, sector research and brokerage solutions to its clients.


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

The Travel Book Launch Reception on Georgia & Armenia

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he Danish edition of Politiken (a leading Danish daily newspaper) has produced a 144-page travel book about Georgia and Armenia - two of the oldest Christian nations in the world. The book provides plentiful insights into the history, geography, culture and traditions of the two countries and is intended primarily for those who plan to travel there. The book also aims to draw the attention of Danish citizens to the skyrocketing tourism opportunities in the two countries. "Politiken now features for the first time a solid guide book on Georgia and Armenia, available in book stores from early March. The travel guide, written by Tom Trier and Søren E. Hansen, zooms in on the two small countries in the South Caucasus. With short but insightful introductions to society and culture, it provides a wealth of background and also practical information for the traveler and introduces the most important sights, including UNESCO world heritage churches and monasteries, spectacular mountain hiking routes and some of the best restaurants, eateries and vineyards the South Caucasus has to offer," reads the Facebook post by the Embassy of Georgia to the Kingdom of Denmark. The travel book launch reception is scheduled for March 19 15:00-17:00 and is hosted by the Embassy of Georgia to the Kingdom of Denmark.

Address: Kalvebod Brygge 45, 1560 Copenhagen

Tbilisi City Hall to Redeem Saburtalo Tennis Courts

BY ELENE DZEBISASHVILI

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bilisi City Hall has redeemed Saburtalo tennis courts from a Kazakh company, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze said at Thursday's government meeting. He noted that a sports complex with four tennis courts and a swimming pool is planned for the site. “The previous government engaged in yet another shameful act that deals with the tennis courts at the intersection of Saburtalo Street and Bakhtrioni Street. Many people enjoyed these courts; many

young people grew up there, including successful athletes. The government sold the area to a Kazakh company in 2009 and buildings were to be built on the site. The investor lawfully took hold of the land and requested to construct residential buildings. With our involvement, the process was ceased due to the great dissatisfaction from the population, who demanded the courts to be redeemed, "Kaladze said. “We want to announce a tender for a sports complex with four tennis courts, one outdoor or indoor swimming pool and a gym to be set up at this location. I'm sure this will be interest many investors. Next week all due documentation will be ready,” Kaladze added.

Located in one of the oldest and most picturesque districts of Tbilisi, Mtatsminda and distinguished for its fairytale architecture, restaurant Funicular opened its doors to guests for the first time eight decades ago in 1938 and since then has hosted several honorable guests, from Margaret Thatcher to Indira Gandhi and Fidel Castro. If you are looking for authentic experience of Tbilisi, served with mouth-watering gourmet food and a memorable evening in an atmosphere that lets you travel back in time and experience best of what the city could offer, then Restaurant Funicular is a definite must visit place during your visit to Georgia. +995 032 2 98 00 00 +995 577 74 44 00 info@funicular.ge

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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

Sleeves Up: Etseri, Svaneti

BLOG BY TONY HANMER

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t’s been about a year since my friends brought a pottery wheel, quite a few kilos of raw earthenware, and other associated tools and supplies to our house and gave the local children a couple of weeks of intensive after-school classes in ceramic arts. They’re back now, with two wheels, 100 kg, and a whole lot more experience and expectation. Once again they have transformed one of our dining rooms into a plastic-covered safe area for exploring and getting one’s hands “dirty” with clay. This time, music plays in the background and a slideshow offers inspiration for young eyes and hands. The children have been waiting for this return for weeks, since we told them, and are now several days into it. New ones are trying their hand at the wheel

for the first time ever. (Most important lesson, at the wheel as in life: if it’s centered, the possibilities are limitless; offcenter, and sooner or later it’ll betray you and fail). Occasional power outages don’t faze us: the generator takes over and the wheels turn. The big Svan stove provides heat as necessary, along with some blessed days of sunlight melting the accumulated snow outside and warming our hearts. Those who fell in love with ceramics last time are back for more. Others who never gave themselves a turn at the wheel are feeling the sheer, actual magic of that lump responding to their hands, arms, fingers, growing up, shrinking down again, opening out into a vessel. They’re hand-building too, with all sorts of instruments to roll out, add texture, pierce, carve. Once everything is “bone dry”, when no more water can come out of it at room temperature, it can still be dissolved back

into workable clay simply by putting back that water. Fire it to a high enough initial temperature, though, and you permanently change its chemical composition, driving out all remaining H2O: bisque or biscuit firing. Then, after glazing it if desired, you can fire it again, hotter, to about 1000-1150 degrees C for earthenware, over 1200 degrees for stoneware and porcelain. At these temperatures some of the material in it actually vitrifies, or begins a bit of melting; once cooled and hardens, the piece is now much stronger, as strong as it can get, matured. Last year I discovered, because it was too easy not to try, that my Svan woodburning stove will get hot enough for an earthenware bisque firing… and commenced using it to do just that, with everything we made. This time we plan to do the same. I’ve been storing cut and split wood in a crawl space right under where the clay room is, accessed by a trapdoor. No more dressing to go outdoors and dig down to find a snow-cov-

ered tarpaulin under which is my firewood! It’s there waiting for me. We’re not glazing yet, partly because the glazes are virtually impossible to come by in Georgia, and partly because I have no oven hot enough to do the second firing. But we’re already thinking about future clay camps, including an outdoor raku firing, which involves taking nearly red-hot pieces out of the kiln with tongs, plunging it into a container of combustible material like hay, letting that catch fire, then putting a lid on it. The fire, trying to continue burning, takes oxygen from the piece’s glaze and deposits salts onto it, along with some

very handsome cracks. Thrilling stuff, if we can do it. The looks on young people’s faces as clay responds to their touch are all the reward they, and we, need. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer and photographer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with nearly 2000 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

CULTURE

Georgian Polyphony Given Status of ‘National Importance’ BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI

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ntangible cultural heritage ‘Georgian Polyphony’ has been identified, along with the tradition of the Georgian Supra (traditional feast- see page 16), as having the status of “national importance,” a fact that is expected to promote, preserve and transmit unique Georgian culture and traditions to future generations. Georgian polyphony, recognized by UNESCO in 2001 as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of Mankind, has always been an integral part of the traditional musical culture and existence of the Georgian people. Through syncretistic forms typical of the pagan era, it expressed the features and representations of the vision of the world, firstly of the Kartvelian tribes and later of the Georgian nation. In the Christian era, it continued to be an integral part of both secular life and theological worship and, along with folk performances, expressed the Christian outlook of the Georgian nation. Changes in public life since the 1980s have also been reflected in Georgian traditional

Image source: playbill.com

secular and theological polyphony. In some villages of Georgia, secular polyphony, which is mostly original,

still exists in the form of performances. Due to its high artistic value, it currently performs an artistic and aesthetic func-

tion and represents one of the most important factors of the Georgian national identity.

Georgian polyphony was granted the status of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ in 2014.


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

‘IERI of 8 Infinite Faces’ – Chubika’s Exhibition at the IERI Concept Store

Image source: IERI

BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

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ounded in May of last year, IERI concept store has opened many doors of perception in Georgia’s understanding of fashion and beauty. In an attempt to brighten up what’s left of this gloomy February in Tbilisi, IERI has collaborated with famous Georgian artist Nino Chubinishvili, also known as Chubika. The exhibition of eight

unique styles of jewelry made by Chubika will be on at the IERI store from February 21. Nino is a conceptual artist who emerged on the scene in 1991. Throughout the years, she has created many art performances and shows around the world. One of the big names in the world of fashion that the Georgian artist has collaborated with is Pierre Cardin, the renowned Italian-French fashion designer known for his avant-garde style. Later, Nino started experimenting and transmitting her art into objects.

The performance-exhibition to be presented to Georgian fashion and art enthusiasts is called ‘IERI of 8 infinite faces.’ It features a unique collection of rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces, which are made of brass and are plated in gold or silver. Each piece comes with a postcard signed by the designer herself. “These items are supposed to be visual metaphors of our collective unconscious, linked to mythological archetypes, which help us navigate between ideal and real, and embrace the hypnotism of mystery,” Chubika said of the pieces. The opening event of ‘IERI of 8 Infinite Faces’ was held at the IERI flagship store on February 20. For the night, IERI store transformed into a “Museum of Chubika”. Two dresses and eight jewelry pieces were presented in spotlights, accompanied by a mysterious audio show. If you weren’t there, no worries- the museumlike concept of the IERI store is on until the end of March. Visitors to IERI will be able to see not only the unique jewelry pieces crafted by Chubika, but also get a glimpse of her famous sculpture called ‘Elena’. Chubika received her bachelor's degree in Stage and Costume Design at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, and her graduate degree in Fashion Design from the Institut Français de la Mode in Paris. Her shows and performances have been held in numerous countries, including France, the Netherlands, and Germany. She has worked with many fashion brands including Kenzo and Pierre Cardin, and has designed costumes for theater companies throughout Georgia. IERI store is a multifunctional conceptstore that opened in May on the first floor of the historic winery in Tbilisi. The opening of the store was followed by several pop-up projects in Tsinandali Estate during the Tsinandali Festival of classical music, in Republic and in City Mall Tbilisi. The store has a special name. The word IERI can’t be translated from Georgian to English in just one word, as, in one word, it means: look, appearance, image, outfit, and attitude. It’s a brand new concept for Tbilisi- a store, a gallery, a coffee-spot, and a wine-bar. Anka Tsitsishvili, a well-known fashion expert, is the creative director and buyer of the IERI store. Sofia Guguberidze, an international expert in luxury business management, is the project director. The design project of the IERI store was made in cooperation with Georgian studio “OBJECTS” owned by Keti Asatiani and Nuka Korinteli. The main aim of the IERI store is to change the stereotypical perception of the country and to develop the fashion retail industry. It’s the first store based in Tbilisi to gather all Georgian brands in one unique space. The team behind IERI likes to call the space an “inspiration spot” rather than just a concept store.

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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

Fresh Perspectives: A New Window on High-drama Caucasian History as Told by a Maker BY PETER SKINNER

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lmost all visitors to Georgia (and its neighbors in the Caucasus) report having had a great time –truly hospitable people, great scenery, splendid food and wine, vibrant folklore, and exciting cultural and artistic life. But attempts to grasp even the outline of Georgian-Caucasian history – even recent history – pose problems. There’s too much of it: Imperial Russia invading in 1800; a Georgian republic in 1918-1921; Soviet occupation from 1921-1991; today’s new republic . . . And what about day-to-day events in Georgia and beyond; the lives of diverse peoples; the traditional cultures; and not least, the epic war Imperial Russian waged against the Muslim highlanders – in Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Dagestan? And where can a manageable account be found? Truly readable narratives are few indeed – and almost all in Russian. J. F. Baddeley’s admired classic, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus (1908), is a military history primarily covering the mid-1700s to 1859, when the Muslim guerilla leader Shamil surrendered; Baddeley’s ethnographically-oriented The Rugged Flanks of the Caucasus (1940) collects pioneering regional trips he made between 1898 and 1902. And, of course, Baddeley wrote as a visitor, not as a resident. Is there any hope of finding a solid slice of superbly exciting, action-packed, high adventure in the Caucasus – a feeton the-ground, I-was-there narrative, but in English? Yes, there is: with the publication of the two very engaging volumes of Twenty-Five Years in the Caucasus, 1842-1867, which the muchtraveled Arnold Zisserman wrote during his retirement. They were published in Russian in 1879, but are now available in a first-time English translation – and they come with extras: 352 period illustrations, 17 maps, appendixes, bibliographies and indexes. No other work available in English is so far-ranging, vivid and rewarding as this near-encyclopediac account of a quarter-century of travel, war, danger and escape throughout the length and breadth of the Caucasus – from the Black to the Caspian Sea; from the snow-capped peaks of the Greater Caucasus to the hidden valleys of Dagestan. But who was Zisserman? And why do his memoirs merit an English-language edition 122 years after their original publication? It’s simplest to say he was an exceptional young man who carved out a career as an administrator, military officer, strategist, explorer and ethnographer in the Caucasus, driven by his inherent qualities of imagination, curiosity, energy, courage, and competence. For the record, Arnold Zisserman, born in 1824 to a German émigré physician practising in Kamenets-Podolsky, in the then Russian province of Ukraine. At age 9 he became fascinated by military parades and soon thereafter – like Tolstoy and Turgenev – became an avid reader of the exiled Alexander Marlinsky’s highly colorful tales of life in the exotic Caucasus. During his 17th year he applied for a government job in the seething multicultural Eurasian city of Tbilisi (Tiflis to the Russians) – and before his 18th birthday made the exhausting 2000 km stagecoach journey to begin unhappily clerking away in the Imperial government’s dreary Office of Abandoned Property. In 1843, at 19, Zisserman secured the post of an assistant to Prince Mikheil

Cholokashvili, administrator of the Eastern Georgian region centered on Tianeti, which included the remote deep-rural Tushin-Pshav-Khevsur districts, located high in the challenging Greater Caucasus range. He was the ideal deputy: the prince enjoyed visiting and feasting, leaving his young assistant to administer justice, settle disputes among nobles, and ride out with the militia against raiding highlanders – even supervising construction of the first wheeled-vehicles road from Tianeti to Tbilisi, opening up the region to trade and prosperity. Zisserman worked hard to learn fluent Georgian and also began making notes on highly traditional local life, particularly that of the highlanders, while also recording the often horrific events of the drawnout Russian-Muslim war, in which the great guerrilla leader Shamil led the highlanders. In 1846 Zisserman had a fortunate meeting with the farsighted and liberal Prince Voronstov, Viceroy of the Caucasus, when he provided a simultaneous translation into Georgian of a speech the latter was delivering in Russian. Vorontsov recognized Zisserman’s intelligence and – despite an immense difference in background and rank – became a well-disposed supporter of the younger man. Unfortunately, Prince Cholokashvili died in 1847, and his successor was hostile to Zisserman, making his life as hard and office-bound as possible. Nonetheless Zisserman engineered long absences in the field, surviving many adventures, variously reconnoitering mountain routes, meeting makers and shakers in Tbilisi, and exploring Pshavi, Khevsureti and Tusheti in the remote and rugged mountainous northeast, where he carefully compiled important ethnographic notes. He also gave much thought – and made many incisive comments – on the conduct of the Russian-Caucasian war, and Shamil’s strategies and tactics. His gifts of acute observation, of capturing personalities (particularly those of obnoxious and misguided senior military officers) and incisive reporting shine through his memoirs. Above all, Zisserman is far from being any sort of official propagandist: he is at times critical of the platitudes about Imperial Russia’s mission civilisatrice. In 1848 Zisserman secured a new job, that of police-chief in the dangerous Sultanate of Elisu, in Azerbaijan, where his predecessor had been killed in action against the Muslim highlanders. In his new post Zisserman was now fully embroiled in an unending Russian campaign to crush Muslim resistance to the occupation of their lands. Though events – most of them better termed adventures – followed thick and fast, with Muslim raids, field expeditions, meetings with generals and with Viceroy Vorontsov among them. Finally, with the personal help of well-placed Georgian generals and that of the Viceroy himself, Zisserman achieved his greatest ambition: Emperor Nicholas I commissioned him as a military officer. For a civilian of modest birth – despite pioneering achievements and action in the field and subsequent awards – this was an almost unheard-of transition. Service in the Dagestan Infantry Regiment gave Zisserman a broader canvas of experience to survey and record in his unique memoir. In every way, the Russian Army was a world unto itself, distinctly different to and deemed by many to be superior to the civilian world; it saw itself not only as the sword and shield of the sacred Tsar, but as the very bedrock and sustaining force of the

Russian Empire – the key to Russia’s standing among nations. The Army of the Caucasus saw itself as even more prestigious and privileged – and the engaging tales of Marlinsky, Lermontov and Tolstoy added glamor. A number of Russian generals wrote their memoirs, with different degrees of propagandistic strutting and selfjustification, inflating the numbers of Muslim highlanders killed and minimizing Russian losses – and also the immense collateral destruction wreaked on highlanders’ families, children and food sources. Zisserman is virtually unique in describing the abilities and characters of generals (Bariatinski, Evdokimov, Muraviev, Vorontsov, Vrevsky, Wrangel and Yermolov among them), and provides human detail not found elsewhere. Even more importantly he writes of the Georgian and Caucasian-born generals – Andronikov, Argutinski-Dolgoruki, Bebutov, the Chavchavadzes, Eristov, the Orbelianis and others. Zisserman also provides insightful portraits of Imam Shamil who, leading some 12,000 to 20,000 Muslim highlanders, held down c. 200,000 Russians for 30 years while operating in regions as distant as southern Dagestan and

Chechnya. His thoughtful assessments of Shamil and Hadji Murad in part run counter to the received pictures – and it is of interest that Tolstoy consulted with Zisserman when writing his great novella Hadji Murad. What adds depth, breadth and value to Zisserman’s narrative is the extent to which it captures the human (sometimes scarcely human) aspects not only of army life in forts and on campaign but also of ordinary Caucasian life, whether in the mountains or on the plains; whether at weddings and funerals, festivals and feasts or during feuds. Zisserman is rightly recognized as an acutely observant though not professionally trained ethnographer – and his accounts are often cited by later experts. Throughout Zisserman’s text the reader feels he is present, whether on a razorsharp ice-clad ridge during a blizzard, on the plains in scorching heat, crossing torrential rivers, or standing guard in the field, ever-alert for midnight raiders. Readers travel far beyond Georgia, accompanying Zisserman on arduous journeys into turbulent Chechnya, into war-torn Ossetia (where he optimistically built churches) and into still untamed Dagestan – and they benefit

from a useful ethnohistorical introduction to these frontier regions. Zisserman also describes relaxing side-trips in Georgia to Tbilisi and to Imereti and Kutaisi (where he escorted the future Tsar Alexander II), to the Caspian Sea and historic Derbend, to Vladikavkaz and on to the fashionable spa towns of Pyatigorsk and Kislovodsk in Russia’s North Caucasus region. Nor is the reader denied knowledge of what filled the literary and news journals that arrived belatedly from Russia or the social life of the officers’ mess, which ran to banquets, even theatrical performances and much horseplay – to say nothing of episodes of neurotic excess from chronically alcoholic or clinically depressed officers. Zissserman is a sane, sober but critical observer of a great contest: imperial might vs the Caucasians’ inextinguishable yearning for independence. We are fortunate to have his ever-colorful account and unique insights. Twenty-Five Years in the Caucasus, 18421867, by Arnold L. Zisserman (2 Vols with 352 added illustrations and 17 maps) will soon be available at Prospero’s Bookshop, 34 Rustaveli Avenue.


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

13

Paint the World International Concert INTERVIEW BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

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n February 15, an International concert organized by organization called “Paint the World” took place in Kuching, Malaysia. If you’re wondering why it should be an interesting topic for GEORGIA TODAY, here’s the twist: the founder of the Paint the World organization, and hence, one of the main organizers of the international concert, is Lika Torikashvili, Georgia’s Youth Ambassador to the United Nations. Lika told us that the international concert featured many speakers from around the globe, and brought colors to the lives of young people with disabilities and severe illnesses. But that’s not all. Getting to know the work Paint the World is doing will revive your faith in humanity. So, to bring some colors into your own life and read on.

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT YOU'RE CURRENTLY WORKING ON AIM TO ACCOMPLISH? Paint the World - Gauperade Samkaro - was originally established in 2012. I was 14 at that time, and I wanted to find a way to contribute to society. I noticed that some people live “grey” or “black and white” lives, because they are suffering or going through difficult times and need support. That’s how the idea was born “to paint the world”. I associate colors with happiness, and I thought that my friends and I could find more like-minded young people and unite to bring colors, smiles and positivity. Our target was places where young people were undergoing treatment, or lacked support: we started going to orphanages, hospitals, centers for young people with disabilities, old folks’ houses. We painted their world by using all the skills and

resources we had: made them dance, sing, organized carnivals and concerts, performed plays and held magic shows, asked famous TV stars to join us and visit the kids with us. And every time, we had tons of colorful objects with usballoons, facepaints, toys, and presents: we wanted our visits to be very colorful, metaphorically and literally. Soon, the Movement went international and now we have many supporters and various branches around the world.

HOW DID MALAYSIA START TO “PAINT THE WORLD”? When I left Georgia to study in UWC

Atlantic College, I met my future best friend and soulmate Aziza Aznizan. Together, we decided that Paint the World needed to be an international movement, because everyone needs those colors of positivity, all around the world. So, we decided to bring the idea of Paint the World to Malaysia. Alongside the message of activism and empathy, we also sent a message of peace. Aziza and I are sending a very powerful message to the world. Aziza is a Muslim girl from Malaysia; I am a Jew from Georgia. And we are painting the world TOGETHER. We are celebrating our

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differences and showing the world that differences must unite people, not separate them. We not only paint the world, but also promote peace and unity, because without those the world will always lack color.

WHAT WAS THE CONCERT ABOUT? WHO DO YOU PLAN TO BRING "COLORS" TO NOW? “We have been organizing a Paint the World Concert in Malaysia for the past 4 years. “The purpose of the concert is to brighten the day of young people with disabilities and severe illnesses.

“We put together a program and invited guests that could help the kids feel uplifted and cheerful. In total, we hosted 300 children from orphanages, centers for the deaf and blind, centers for children with autism and centers with children with disabilities. We also had 400+ youth volunteers from all over Malaysia, helping to us to bring it all together. “We made everyone dance and sing all day long, showed performances and even made the little guests participate in a fashion show, where they had to walk alongside professional models. “The message of the concert was to share knowledge about sustainability, wildlife preservation, women’s right to education, youth leadership and entrepreneurship. We had guest speakers at the event- Young Peace activists and Malala Yousafzai’s friends Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan. “This year, the concert was supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Sarawak, Borneo, and we had the pleasure to host the Minister of Youth, Datuk Karim, who is now a very good friend of Paint the World. It means a lot of us that now we have the official support of the Government of Malaysia”. Lika shared with us, that she, too, had doubts about realizing her dream. But as she fought the hard current of challenges, her story became an inspiration to many who want to make this world a better place. “A long time ago, I would have considered myself a dreamer. I wanted to paint the entire world. But today that is exactly what my friends and I are doing- not only in Georgia, but internationally. We have run projects in countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Swaziland, Mozambique, Lebanon, Indonesia, Oman, Serbia, Spain, the UK, and Timor-Leste. And we don’t plan to stop any time soon! “The story of Paint the World is a real life example that you must dare to dream big- because dreams turn into goals and goals turn into reality.”


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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 25 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 04 56 February 26, 27 GAETANO DONIZETTI'S OPERA L'ELISIR D'AMORE Two-act ballet A co-production of the Auditorio de Tenerife, Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater and Teatro Comunale di Bologna Conductor: Levan Jagaev Stage Director: Pablo Maritano Scenographer: Serena Rocco Costume Designer: Lorena Marin Lighting Designer: Virginio Levrio Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater Choir and Orchestra Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-200 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER 14 Shavteli Str. February 21, 22 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL February 23 STALINGRAD Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. February 23 MAGICAL NIGHTS Directed by Ioseb Bakuradze Composer: Sandro Nikoladze, Davit Kakulia Choreographer: Lasha Robakidze Starring: Jonathan Rousselle,

Ekaterine Gabashvili, Niniko Avaliani, Viqtoria Kosova, Tazo Kikalishvili Start time: 13:00 Price: 10 GEL February 23 DIVINE COMEDY Based on the work of Dante Alighieri Directed by Ioseb Bakuradze Composer/arrange: Sandro Nikoladze Choreographer: Lasha Robakidze Start time: 20:00 Price: 20 GEL February 27 FAUST Based on the work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Director, Designer: Kakha Bakuradze Composer: Sandro Nikoladze, Davit Kakulia Start time: 20:00 Price: 10, 15 GEL Every Wednesday A LO CUBANO NIGHTS Cuban dancers’ masterclass Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER 37 Rustaveli Ave. TEL 595 50 02 03 February 21, 22 LIKE THIS Comedy genre novels based on Georgian national motives Language: Non-verbal Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM 3 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 80 22, 293 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND

WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION 4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors, where visitors can see documentaries of various historical events. MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS 10 Betlemi Str. Discover the Museum of Illusions Be brave and jump into an illusion created by the Vortex, deform the image of yourself in the Mirror Room, free yourself in the Infinity Room, resist the laws of gravity and size, and take selfies in every possible pose. Enjoy the collection of holograms and discover optical illusions. GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00 GRAND MASTERS FROM THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM COLLECTION XIX – XX CENTURY Until February 29 Georgian National Museum and the Embassy of Italy in Georgia present the exhibition ROMA AETERNA. MASTERPIECES OF ROMAN SCULPTURE FROM THE DINO AND ERNESTA SANTARELLI FOUNDATION National Gallery features 33 sculptures depicting the stages

of artistic or stylistic evolution from the Roman Republic to Neoclassical era. SPHERO City Mall Saburtalo, Veranda, II Floor SPHERE A domed cognitive-entertainment space where you can become part of an impressive 360-degree panorama image. For all ages. TBILISI DIGITAL SPACE Tbilisi Mall The first museum of digital art in Tbilisi, where you will meet three different spaces: Vazha-Pshavela's "Dried beech", the world of torches, and a digital space decorated with various graphic and visuals effects. In the main hall decorated with video projections and mirrors you will discover that there is no boundary between Man and nature. DIGITAL SHOW OF GUSTAV KLIMT Ticket: 5-20 GEL MUSIC

RUSTAVELI THEATER GRAND HALL 17 Rustaveli Ave. February 25 A CONCEPTUAL CONCERT OF COMPOSER KETI GABISIANI Performers: Nato Metonidze, Liza Bagrationi, Nino Katamadze, Nukri Kapanadze, Achiko Nizharadze, Nodiko Tatishvili, Natia Peranidze, Giorgi Mephisashvili, Giorgi Kelaptrishvili, Liza Kalandadze, Sopho Gelovani, ‘Shvidkatsa’, ‘Teatraluris Kvarteti’, ‘Quintessence’ Special Performance: Giorgi Tsagareli, Papuna Sharikadze, Luka Topuria, Nino Guliashvili, Lasha Deisadze Musicians: Levan Deisadze, Paata Andriadze, Zaza Tsertsvadze, Irakli Menteshashvili, Ucha Metreveli,

Dato Japaridze Director: Bakur Bakuradze Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-30 GEL DJ. KAKHIDZE TBILISI CENTER FOR MUSIC & CULTURE 123a D. Agmashenebeli Ave. February 22 CONCERT DEDICATED TO THE 250TH ANNIVERSARY OF LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Participants: Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra, Georgian State Choir, pianist Giorgi Gigashvili and narrator David Pataridze Program: Beethoven’s concerto for piano and orchestra No.5; Symphony No.4 of Johannes Brahms and “A survivor from Warsaw” for narrator, choir and symphony orchestra of Arnold Schoenberg. Conducter- Maestro Shavleg Shilakadze Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-30 GEL SILK FACTORY STUDIO 59 M. Kostava Str. February 21 NIAZ DIASAMIDZE AND 33A Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 40-60 GEL COLIBRI Noe Jirdania Bank February 21 THE LEGEND OF HOUSE MUSIC– FRED P Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 40 GEL TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE 8 Griboedovi Str. February 26 DISCOVER GEORGIA WITH TRADITIONAL MUSIC Audio album presentation and concert Participants: Folk Ensembles: ‘Adiley’, ‘Anchiskhati’, ‘Didgori’, ‘Conservatory Ensemble’, ‘Patara Kakhi’ and soloists. The concert will feature Georgian traditional music- folk and urban songs of different angles and moving tunes, church and chanting chants. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 5-15 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. JAM SESSION Improv music Every Tuesday Musical director- Sandro Nikoladze Start time: 21:00 Price: 10 GEL February 22 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY BY KAKHA BAKURADZE ALBUM PRESENTATION Musical evening with a recitalTicket: 5 GEL Album price: 30 GEL Start time: 20:00


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY FEBRUARY 21 - 24, 2020

15

Georgian Traditional Supra to Be Put Forward for UNESCO List

T

he Georgian Supra/traditional feast is being prepared for presentation for placement on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Intergovernmental Committee of Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection of UNESCO considers applications submitted by the member states on an annual basis. If accepted, the Georgian Supra will enjoy guarantees of future protection, which implies preservation, protection and development of the tradition. The National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia has been working on a short documentary, which will fully reflect the Georgian Supra as valuable heritage of the Georgian culture. Four elements of Georgian intangible cultural heritage are already on the Representative List of UNESCO: Georgian polyphony, the ancient Georgian traditional method of Qvevri wine fermentation, the living culture of three types of Georgian alphabet, and Georgian wrestling. Georgia has been a UNESCO member country since 1992, and a signatory of the Convention on Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2008. This year, two nominations will be submitted by Georgia to UNESCO for two lists: one the ‘Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ and for the ‘List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Protection’. “We are completing work on the dossier of Georgian Supra, which will be submitted to UNESCO in the near future and which will, in our opinion, be as successful as the other four objects,

which were recognized by UNESCO as elements of universal importance. The nomination ‘Georgian Wheat Culture (endemic species),’ initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, has already been submitted to UNESCO for the ‘List of Urgent Protection’. This dossier was submitted to prevent the loss of valuable experience related to the endemic species of Georgian wheat. UNESCO also created a third list, the ‘List of Best Practices,’ which provides countries with the opportunity to share their experience with others. We are planning to prepare the nomination for this List next year,” says Head of UNESCO and International Relations Service, Manana Vardzelashvil. The person responsible for preparation of the nomination, Marina Taktakishvili, agreed with her, saying, “The Supra nomination to UNESCO will probably be sent in March this year and, in the case of absence of remarks, the Intergovernmental Committee will consider it and make the relevant decision”. However, before nomination to UNESCO, first it is necessary to recognize the object as a cultural heritage monument and as such an element of national importance in Georgia. The Georgian Supra was already granted the Status of Monument on March 13, 2017, based on the Order of the General Director of the National Agency of Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia, Nikoloz Antidze. “The Supra, in an open or hidden way, can be seen in almost all stages of our lives, from the joy of birth, to the ritual of death. Study of this showed that not only is it intangible heritage of national importance, but that it goes beyond the

borders in its values, and it deserves proper safeguarding and recognition. The Georgian Supra is a method of personal development and conveying knowledge, the democratic foundation of which lies in Supra members enjoying equal rights, and the Tamada, the person, directing the Supra, being elected. It is an important nomination, related to the oldest valuable Georgian tradition, which will be sent to UNESCO from Georgia,” Antidze said. The recommendation for the Georgian Supra to be defined in the category of national importance has already been elaborated in the Section of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Council of Cultural Heritage Preservation, which is the deliberative body of the General Director of the Agency. According to the recommendation, the industry experts, members of the Section, positively assess its inclusion in the category of national importance, as well as its intangibility, seeing it as bearing nationwide value, and in need of preservation- the protection and promotion of which is important. “The majority of the population of Georgia recognizes the culture of the Georgian Supra as an integral part of its own cultural identity and cultural heritage,” says Salome Khmiadashvili, member of the Cultural Heritage Preservation Council. With consideration of the existing recommendation, according to Law Of Georgia on Cultural Heritage, the Georgian Government defined the category of national importance to The Georgian Supra/Traditional Feast (Georgian Supra) on February 18. It is difficult to date the origin of the Georgian Supra as a cultural, creative

tradition, because its roots go back centuries. This is confirmed by a bronze statue (dating back to the 7th century BC ) discovered in 2006 in Vani, western Georgia, during archeological excavations. The now renowned statue is a figure of a man with a horn in his hands, called “Tamada.” A larger copy of the artifact sits in the old district of Tbilisi (Bambis Rigi Street) and tourists love him. Written sources of early, middle and later periods provide important information about the Georgian Supra: ‘Martyrdom of Shushanik,’ ‘The Knight in the Panther’s Skin,’ ‘The Life of Kartli,’ ‘Regulations of the Georgian Royal Court,’ ‘Dasturlamal,’ Iese Baratashvili’s life, ‘Life

– Will,’ and ‘Kalmasoba,’ and the records of travelers of the 15th to 19th cc: Ambrogio Contarini, Dionigi Carli, Jean Chardin and others. From ancient times to nowadays, the Georgian Supra is the gathering of people, unifying the intangible elements of Georgian polyphony, recognized as a heritage of universal importance, and wine, made in traditional Georgian Qvevri. By entering the culture of the Georgian Supra on the UNESCO List, it will be recognized as intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This way, the promotion of the traditions of the Georgian Supra and relevant protection at national and international levels, envisaged by the Convention, will be ensured.

Exhibition ‘Georgia - Azerbaijan's Friendship from Generation to Generation’ Held in Azerbaijan

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI

W

ith the participation of the Embassy of Georgia to Azerbaijan, the Heydar Aliyev Center and the Union of Artists of Azerbaijan, an exhibition titled ‘Georgia – Azerbaijan’s friendship from generation to genera-

tion’ was held in Baku. The event featured up to 150 works by 120 artists, including works of applied and fine arts. The exhibition reflected the centuriesold friendship between Georgia and Azerbaijan from generation to generation; the culture, nature and traditions of both countries. Speaking at the exhibition, Georgian Ambassador Zurab Pataradze spoke about relations between the two neighboring countries. The Ambassador noted that culture and the arts play an important role in bringing people together and that the goal of the Embassy of Georgia is to contribute to further deepening friendship. He thanked the Azerbaijani artists, who sincerely expressed their emotions and impressions on Georgia in the paintings. At the end of the event, Ambassador Pataradze presented certificates to the artists for their dedicative works.

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1229  

February 21 - 24, 2020

Issue #1229  

February 21 - 24, 2020

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