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Issue no: 1059

• JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Georgian President Meets OSCE Ambassadors NEWS PAGE 2

FOCUS ON THE VOTE

And he's in! Mamuka Bakhtadze, former Finance Minister, becomes the new Prime Minister of Georgia

Georgia-US Defense Cooperation Continues POLITICS PAGE 4

Russia, De Facto Regimes of Georgia’s Breakaway Regions Leave Geneva Talks in Protest POLITICS PAGE 6

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Georgian Parliament Approves New "Temporary" Government

CoE Celebrates 20 Years of Protecting National Minorities, Urges Georgia to Sign Up

BY THEA MORRISON

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eorgian Parliament supported the new cabinet presented by PM candidate Mamuka Bakhtadze on June 20 with 99 votes for and only 6 against, as the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party has 116 seats in a 150-member parliament. The vote for a new government became necessary after the former Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, stepped down on June 13 amid internal disagreement within the governmental team.

POLITICS PAGE 6

Embassy of Germany Holds Ceremonial Reception for Winners of German National Olympiad SOCIETY PAGE 10

Continued on page 2

Georgian Embassy’s Employee in Israel Claims 1st Place at Kalmi Piano Competition

Chat with us CULTURE PAGE 15


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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

Russia’s Karasin Says Tatunashvili’s Organs are in Vladikavkaz BY THEA MORRISON

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ussian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told 1TV that the organs of the deceased Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili, who died in unclear circumstances in Georgia’s breakaway, Russian-backed region of South Ossetia, are in Vladikavkaz, the capital city of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, under the Russian Federation. Karasin made the comment after the 44th round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID), which represents the only format of an ongoing international dialogue between Georgia and Russia. Karasin explained that the forensic examination of Archil Tatunashvili's body was conducted in a Vladikavkaz laboratory.

“The internal organs of Tatunashvili’s body are not in Moscow but in Vladikavkaz. The forensic examination was held in the laboratory of Vladikavkaz. The laboratory conducted an independ-

ent investigation. Russia cannot solve this problem, because it arose between South Ossetia and Georgia,” Karasin said. However, Official Tbilisi says Russia is part of the conflict as it has its armed

forces deployed in the occupied regions and exercises its power there. Georgia demanded Russia not hinder the investigation into the Tatunashvili case and called for the handover of the man’s

internal organs. The forensic examination report released on June 5 reads that Tatunashvili was likely tortured, as he had more than 100 injuries inflicted on his body before death. However, the report does not mention what caused his death. Archil Tatunashvili and two other Georgian men were detained by occupant forces on February 22 and taken to a breakaway Tskhinvali detention facility. The next day, the de facto law enforcers released information about Tatunashvili’s death. The puppet regime stated he died of heart failure but later said he resisted the guards and fell down the stairs and was taken to hospital, where he died. De facto authorities of South Ossetia handed the body to the Georgian side only on March 20. After the autopsy, Tatunashvili was buried with military honor at Mukhatgverdi Brothers Cemetery near Tbilisi.

Georgian President Meets OSCE Ambassadors BY THEA MORRISON

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eorgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili hosted the 25 member delegation of OSCE Permanent Representatives who are paying an official visit to Georgia. The meeting was attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Vakhtang Makharoblishvili, the President’s International Secretary, Tengiz Pkhaladze, and Ana

Natsvlishvili, Parliamentary Secretary. The sides discussed the importance of OSCE support for Georgia and ongoing democratic processes in Georgia. Special attention was paid to security problems and the situation in the occupied territories. The ambassadors were provided with information related to kidnapping, torture, human rights violations and other problems in the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The conversation touched on the specific steps that will activate the international organizations and especially the

OSCE role in the security context in the region. The President emphasized that the occupied territories of Georgia should not be left beyond monitoring. Margvelashvili provided the Ambassadors with the detailed information about the policy carried out by the Russian Federation in the region and he thanked thanked the delegation for supporting territorial integrity and sovereignty and non-recognition policy. A group of OSCE Ambassadors arrived in Georgia on June 19.

Georgian Parliament Approves New "Temporary" Government Continued from page 1

The new cabinet consists of the same number of ministers as the previous one; however, Bakhtadze announced earlier that in 2-3 weeks he intends to reduce 14 ministers to 11 and apply to the parliament for confirmation. The new “temporary” governmental cabinet is as follows: 1. Minister of Foreign Affairs – Davit Zalkaliani 2. Minister of Culture and Monument Protection – Mikheil Giorgadze 3. Minister of Defense – Levan Izoria 4. Minister of Economy and Sustainable

Development – Giorgi Cherkezishvili 5. Minister of Education and Science – Mikheil Chkhenkeli 6. Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture – Levan Davitashvili 7. Minister of Finance – Nikoloz Gagua 8. Minister of Corrections – Kakha Kakhishvili 9. Minister of Internal Affairs – Giorgi Gakharia 10. Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia – Sozar Subari 11. Minister of Justice – Thea Tsulukiani 12. Minister of Labor, Health and Social

Affairs – Davit Sergeenko 13. Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure – Maia Tskitishvili 14. State Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality – Ketevan Tsikhelashvili. Prior to voting, the opposition parties harshly criticized Bakhtadze and the new composition of the government, saying none of them presented serious and effective action plans while delivering speeches at the parliament during the extraordinary session. European Georgia (EG) and the United National Movement (UNM) refused to participate in the voting process on

Wednesday evening. Davit Bakradze, one of the leaders of the EG party, believes the new government will not be able to respond to the public expectations. “Their program says nothing about the expectations of the larger part of society, including the reform of the law enforcement system,” Bakradze said. UNM member Salome Samadashvili says the new government’s plan does not respond to the main challenges facing the country. “Mamuka Bakhtadze does not have experience in any direction and he has no visions regarding the main challenges

of the country. The ministers presented in the cabinet are not new faces. Society was asking for changes, especially in terms of the Justice and Interior Ministers,” she stated. Georgia’s Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze congratulated Bakhtadze on gaining the confidence of the lawmakers. "I am glad that this position was taken by a worthy person and the country will have a dignified prime minister who I am sure will lead the country's management successfully. We are moving to a new stage of development of our country. I wish Bakhtadze success,” Kobakhidze said.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

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New Prime Minister’s Plans for Change BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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amuka Bakhtadze is Georgia’s new Prime Minister. On June 20, Parliament voted 99-6 in favor of Bakhtadze and his interim cabinet, which he has said he plans to adjust within three weeks of his term beginning. Bakhtadze sees himself as a reformer, and has already announced several policies he hopes to enact. Speaker of the Georgian Parliament and GD member Irakli Kobakhidze called Bakhtadze “distinguished by his education and versatility. He is a very serious expert in economy.” Bakhtadze worked for Georgian Railways from 2005-2017, including as CEO from 2013-2017, before becoming Minister of Finance. At Georgian Railways, he lobbied on behalf of the Georgian position for Project Viking, ZUBR and the South-West corridor. Bakhtadze also actively contributed to

He is a very serious expert in economy

Georgia joining China’s One Belt One Road initiative, focusing on Georgia’s role as a regional transport hub. Bakhtadze moved from the private sector to the Ministry of Finance just eight months before being nominated for prime minister. During a speech accepting his nomination for prime minister, Bakhtadze listed his four main principles of governance. First, “A new economic model with new fair rules,” promising to deliver reforms “in all directions,” affecting every Georgian family. Second, small government, with stronger institutional and public control and less corruption, “the starting point is that we need a small, effective and flexible government. Small government, of course, means that certain agencies may be united,” said Bakhtadze. Third, “Georgia’s full integration into the Euro-Atlantic space,” strengthening and deepening cooperation between Georgia and partner countries and organizations. Fourth, “Education, innovation, youth — The biggest priority of my life.” Until his nomination, Bakhtadze’s most significant move in public office was introducing sweeping reforms to the banking sector. In April, he called Georgia’s very profitable banks an impediment to the national economy by encouraging growing debt among citizens. While, as Finance Minister, bank reform was not in his purview, as Prime Minister, Bakhtadze will have the power to initiate any reforms he sees fit – with the support of his party, of course.

In plans announced since his nomination, Bakhtadze has discussed wanting to reform the banking sector, most notably: Cutting the effective annual interest rate ceiling on loans to 50% instead of 100%; Recalculation of late fees on loans, including lowering them; Prohibiting banks from seizing property not listed as collateral in a loan agreement. He also plans to create a “financial arm” of the Georgian Government to spend up to 1% of GDP on affordable loans for small, local start-ups. Banking sector reforms could lessen the burden of debt on a nation with low salaries and high unemployment. Predatory lending practices are common in Georgia, used as a stop gap for urban and rural families who cannot make ends meet. Bakhtadze also introduced a program he is calling “Freedom, Fast Development, Prosperity,” which includes economic policies such as reforms on VAT returns, continued removal of bureaucratic barriers for businesses owners, the establishment of a commercial court system, and a preferential tax regime for small businesses. Bakhtadze expressed a desire for capital market reform, pension reform, increased public-private partnerships, and a more responsible lending system, particularly regarding e-loans. He also expressed concern about inequality in Georgia and unequal growth, saying “We do not refrain from recognizing problems and have a specific vision on how to cope with poverty.” Regarding strategy towards the rein-

tegration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Bakhtadze said “We believe that Georgia will become a democratic, economically powerful and modern country that will be attractive for our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers, in order to return to the joint family and build a powerful, European country together.” Another major policy is the consolidation of the government, including reducing the number of ministries from 14 to 11. Although the specifics have not yet been officially released, media has speculated that the Ministry of Corrections will join the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons will be divided into two parts – one part to join the Ministry of Health, the other the Ministry of Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Culture and Sport, which was unified during the previous govern-

CASINO JEWEL

Education, innovation, youth — The biggest priority of my life mental changes, will join the Ministry of Education. As Bakhtadze’s government gets approval and moves forward with his policies, the Georgian people wait to see if his reforms will improve quality of life, or are simply populist lip service.

At The Biltmore Hotel 29 Rustaveli Ave, 0108 Tbilisi, Georgia


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

2019-2020, State Pensions Will Increase by GEL 20 Per Year BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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he pension will rise by GEL 20 per year in 2019-2020, - said PM-designate Mamuka Bakhtadze at an extraordinary session of

parliament on Wednesday. Monthly pension amounts are proposed to increase by GEL 20 in 2019, and again by GEL 20 in 2020, marking a total GEL 40 increase. Bakhtadze announced several potential new policies, including the pension increases, saying, "The government will continue targeted social programs to

alleviate the material situation of vulnerable groups. Programs to improve the physical and social conditions of disabled and elderly people and children will be enhanced. Within the frameworks of these efforts, the increase of state pensions is planned in 2019-2020 by GEL 20 per year, for this purpose, we have considered an additional 400 million GEL

in the medium-term budget." Currently, the state pension in Georgia is 180 GEL a month after a pension reform in 2016, which represented a total 65%

increase from 2012. In 2016, Georgia had 33,000 more retired people than in 2012. The pension is available to women aged 60 and older and men aged over 65.

The New Ways of a New Government OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

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he old command is gone, long live the new! This is the most vibrant Modus Vivendi & Operandi in today’s Georgian politics. We all live and breathe what our TV sets tell us in the evenings about the current governmental alterations, as if our bliss and satiation totally depend on the ongoing administrative adjustments. I must’ve been looking into the fortune teller’s ball the other day, having caustically hinted on a small government in my previous piece. Our new prime-ministerial candidate (I would say, quite an impressive one even in his salad years) is starting his career with an emphasis on a reduced managerial echelon. I also noticed that we are placing certain directorial magic in the figure ‘four’. Memorably, the newly-dropped ex-head of the Cabinet nursed the idea of four pillars in the Republic’s development – job creation, inclusion of business in the decision-making process, regional development and education. In the formative rhetoric of Georgia’s incipient administration, the four-bulwark promise sounds just as resonantly. There must be some undeniable fiscal and political thrill in this recurring digital obsession. Now, the four main directives that are proudly sitting on the renovated govern-

mental desk are: first, taking to a successful finale the historic choice of the Georgian people of fully initiating Georgia in the European family of nations; second, the fundamentally reformed economic model based on fair play; third, a small government with effective and flexible administrative bodies in action; fourth, education, innovation and youth. Speaking absolutely frankly and without an iota of facetious reservation, I love both - the ardent pledges of the former boss and the future undertakings of the comingup man-in-charge, although they definitely repeat each other to a certain extent. How

about making seven assurances of all those eight pledges? I am saying ‘seven’ because the last ones of each set are clearly the same. So we will consequently have the famous biblical figure, which will probably symbolize the entire process of development more expressly. OK, away with irony! Enough is enough! The overall journalistic propensity of mockery, which every so often sparkles in the coverage style of some of our media, might lead to nothing after all. The incoming PM of Georgia has embarked on the idea of a small government. This is a purely western term

which, in principle, happens to be a controversial issue, widely discussed in the West. The role of government, I have heard, was smaller before. For example, there were only three executive departments in George Washington’s first Cabinet, and those who are in favor of small government insist that the United States return to what the Founding Fathers reckoned optimal. The famous Jeffersonian wisdom sounds quite relevant today when it comes to limited government: ‘That government is best which governs least because its people discipline themselves’. President Reagan put

it even better: ‘Government is not a solution to our problem; government is the problem’. People around the world usually associate big government with bureaucratic attitudes, inefficient work, an intrusive style and corrupt activity. This might very well be true, but on the other hand, we have to bear in mind that government jobs are very cozy, lasting, attractive and well-paid, which most of us enjoy; governments construct roads; governments run healthcare and many other humaninterest programs; government supports scientific research; they provide for our security inside and beyond the country limits. In a word, they do many good things that we normally take for granted, and oftentimes don’t even remember that they are functioning to our benefit. This does not mean that I will ever go for big government. I’m simply giving the new government a little heads-up that the cutting of government has to be done very carefully. When two and a half years ago the Georgia’s governing potential was put in fresh capable hands, I felt elated and hopeful, and I wrote a eulogy to the new guy, which was run in this newspaper. I know for sure that he read it and liked it. Who wouldn’t? A lot of water has flowed under our old and repair-hungry bridges since then, and now he is gone too. Quite speedily, by the way! The nation is now watching one more swearing into duty of another chief vizier. And I wish him well!

Georgia-US Defense Cooperation Continues Photo: Raytheon

BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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cting Defense Minister Levan Izoria announced to parliamentarians today that Georgia will soon receive an order of FIM-92

Stingers from the United States. The Stinger missile is a man-portable airdefense system (MANPADS) with infrared homing capabilities. It operates primarily as a surface-to-air missile (SAM), but can be adapted to fire from a wide variety of ground vehicles and helicopters. 30 countries’ militaries use Stingers, including the United States.

The date of the Stingers’ delivery has not yet been announced. Izoria said that, alongside the anti-tank Javelin missiles delivered from the United States in January, the new systems will significantly empower the country’s self-defense capabilities. The Javelin missile order was publicly announced in November 2017 for an estimated USD 75 million. “Such support from the United States indicates that we have the right defense policy,” Izoria said in a speech to law-

makers. “20 percent of the Defense Ministry budget is being spent on armament, which is one of the key standards of NATO,” Izoria added, noting that Georgia’s defense budget is 2 percent of the country’s GDP – also a NATO standard. The Ministry of Defense has a long-term plan, 2019-2025, for weaponry procurement. The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the State Department of the United States donated two Toyota LC-78 trucks to sup-

port Georgia’s Canine Drug Interdiction Program. The program is run by the Ministry of Internal Affairs Patrol Police. The US Embassy in Georgia released a statement saying that the “specially outfitted vehicles will be deployed to the airports in Kutaisi and Batumi to safely transport drug interdiction canines to/from the airports and other locations.” The vehicles can also be used by Georgia’s Patrol Police in emergency situations, operating on rough terrain or through floods.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

Russia, De Facto Regimes of Georgia’s Breakaway Regions Leave Geneva Talks in Protest BY THEA MORRISON

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eorgia and Russia could not reach agreement on key issues of the 44rd round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID), held

on June 20. The discussions, which represent the only format of an ongoing international dialogue between Georgia and Russia, are usually held with Co-Chairmanship of the EU, UN and OSCE, and with the participation of Georgia, the Russian Federation and the USA. The representatives of Georgia’s breakaway regions, Sokhumi and Tskhinvali occupation regimes, also attend the Working Groups. The talks are usually held within a two meeting-group format. At one meeting, the sides discuss security and stability issues in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, while the second meeting concerns the safe return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes. Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) reports that as usual, the Russian and occupation regimes left the second part of the talks in protest while discussing the issues of the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees to their homes in the occupied regions. However, the Russian MFA claimed in its statement that it was the resolution of the UN General Assembly on Refugees, initiated by Georgia and adopted for the eleventh time in row, which made it impossible to reach agreement on the issue of IDPs.

The representatives of Russia and the occupation regimes stressed they are concerned “with the growing activity of NATO in the region, which poses a serious threat to regional security.” It was stressed that Moscow, breakaway Sokhumi and Tskhinvali “reserve the right to carry out appropriate retaliatory measures.” One of the top issues of the talks was the killing of the Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili in May with the Co-Chairs emphasizing the need to avoid any perception of impunity. The Georgian side condemned the delay in handing over Tatunashvili’s body and underlined that the absence of his internal organs had prevented Georgia from conducting a proper autopsy. Official Tbilisi introduced the results of the autopsy to the participants of the discussions, which read that around 100 injuries were inflicted to Tatunashvili before his death. Georgia imposed responsibility for the Tatunashvili case on Russia, saying the destruction of the lives of ethnic Georgians “has already become an alarming trend in the occupied territories.” The participants were encouraged to continue exchanging information on this and other similar cases, such as the killing of Giga Otkhozoria in May 2016, and Davit Basharuli, who was killed in unclear circumstances in breakaway South Ossetia in 2015. The non-use of force is another key issue of the Geneva Discussions. Georgia made a one-sided promise about the non-use of force in 2008 and demands the same from the Russian Federation. However, Russia, which claims that it does not consider itself a part of the

conflict, wants Georgia to sign such agreements with its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Such an initiative is unacceptable for the Georgian side. The Russian delegation stressed that the only way to ensure more productive work in Geneva is for the representatives of Georgia to enter into a direct and respectful dialogue with the representatives of occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “Unfortunately, this appeal was not accepted by the Georgian side, which, during the round continued to untwist the ridiculous thesis about the "Russian occupation" of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and also tried to politicize the tragic death incidents of its citizens,” the statement of the Russian MFA reads. Given the divergent positions expressed by the participants on a draft joint statement on non-use of force, the Co-Chairs proposed to continue working further on the matter. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia David Dondua, who was taking part in the meeting, says they were unable to receive a proper answer from the Russian Federation regarding the main issues of the GID. Dondua says Russia does not fulfill the non-use of force agreement, saying first of all it is necessary for Russian forces to leave the occupied territories. “Artificial barriers preventing people from traveling and reconciliation should be removed; illegal detentions, kidnapping practices and other violations should be ended,” Dondua stressed. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told reporters after the dis-

Russian and Georgian Deputy FMs said GID is very important. Source: 1TV

cussions that if not for the format of the GID, the hostilities in Georgia’s occupied territories would have been resumed in 3-6 months. He spoke about the effectiveness of the talks, underlining that more frequent meetings are necessary. Davit Dondua also expressed the same position regarding the frequency of the GID.

"I agree with Grigory Karasin on this matter and every participant is of this opinion. If we want to avoid further escalation of the situation, meetings in Geneva four times a year are not enough,” Dondua said. The participants of GID reiterated their commitment to this format as a unique dialogue platform and agreed to hold the next round on 9-10 October 2018.

CoE Celebrates 20 Years of Protecting National Minorities, Urges Georgia to Sign Up BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

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n 18 June, the Council of Europe hosted a conference to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) & European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML), organized as part of Croatia’s six-month Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The event was attended by high level guests, including Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia, Marija Pejcinovic Buric. The two documents are considered as the most important international legal instruments for protecting national minorities at the European level. So far, Georgia has not ratified the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. The Council of Europe Action Plan for Georgia for 2016-2019 says: “Georgia is under a commitment to

the Council of Europe to sign and ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML). Since 2013, a high-level inter-ministerial commission on the ECRML has been in place and dialogue with the media and the public about this Convention has been initiated. A draft of a ratification instrument was prepared in June 2013, with the support of the Council of Europe. Since May 2015, within the framework of the EU/CoE Joint Project, the CoE has conducted activities which aim to create the conditions for the signature, ratification and subsequent implementation of the ECRML. The CoE will support the Georgian authorities in their preparation for signing, ratifying and subsequently implementing the ECRML, assist in protection and promotion of regional and minority languages and enhance and strengthen national mechanisms for minority protection.” The draft ratification document lists the languages that, if/when Georgia ratifies the Charter, would be protected under it. “In accordance with Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Charter, Georgia declares that Article 7, paragraphs 1-4 of Part II of the Charter (“objectives and

principles”) shall apply to the following minority languages: Azerbaijani, Assyrian, Abkhazian, Greek, German, Estonian, (Urum) Turkish, Kurmanji/Kurdish, Ossetian, Polish, Russian, Armenian, Udi, Ukrainian and Kist/Chechen, Avar.” As for the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Georgia did sign and ratify it without

10 Galaktion Street

derogations back in 2005. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, delivered a speech at the conference, calling on member countries for a higher level of protection of human rights and rights of national minorities. “In light of the range of recent challenges that Europe has faced, and the

rise of extreme nationalism and xenophobia that we have witnessed, the protection of European minorities’ rights must remain a priority today,” the Secretary General stated. “Otherwise, we put at risk the benefits for everyone that come from living and working together in a spirit of unity where the minority is valued as part of the whole.”

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


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

MEP Fotyga on those For & Against the EP Resolution EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

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ast week the European Parliament, with an overwhelming majority, adopted the Resolution on Georgian Occupied Territories 10 years after the Russian invasion. Polish MEP Anna Fotyga was one the chief architects behind the resolution and it was largely due to her staunch and uncompromising stance that the resolution ended up with such an outspoken title. To discuss further the benefits and leverages that the EP resolution yields to Georgia and Georgians, we sat down with MEP Fotyga for yet another episode of our “Messages from Brussels” series.

It is becoming obvious for the whole transatlantic community that by defending Georgia, we defend our values

THE RESOLUTION ITSELF WAS ADOPTED WITH A RATHER LARGE MAJORITY, BUT FROM PRIVATE TALKS WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES, IT SEEMED THERE WERE SOME COMPLICATIONS REGARDING THE RESOLUTION

RESOLUTION IS WHAT PRACTICAL USE IT HAS

Well, the end result is very positive; we succeeded in gaining a very comfortable majority for the Resolution. But yes, there was an attempt to undermine the process- at the very beginning of the session there were requests to change the title, requests that actually questioned the role of the sides involved in the conflict. But this resolution clearly indicates who was the aggressor and who was the victim and also that the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are still occupied territories of Georgia.

WHICH POLITICAL GROUPS ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? BECAUSE THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION PURPOSES FOR GEORGIA; MAYBE WE HAVE MORE WORK TO DO TO CONVINCE THESE PEOPLE? The whole motion came from the extreme left. When you look at the voting panorama in the EP, you might frequently witness this strange alliance between extreme right and extreme left, but in this case the endeavor came from the extreme left;

THE QUESTION THAT EUROSKEPTICS HAVE BEEN ASKING IN GEORGIA ABOUT THIS

While this resolution is not a legislative act, it’s certainly a step moving things in the right direction

First of all, it’s an official document of the European Union; it was voted on during a plenary session of the Parliament and it expresses the view of the majority of the elected members, representing citizens of the European Union, of a variety of member states. It was a clear majority, the broad acceptance of five major political groups in the Parliament. From this point of view, it was a real success that so many MEPs accepted the statements. The debate was also something extremely important because members were very outspoken, very clear in their views; actually it was pressure exerted from the Parliament on other institutions, on the Commission, on the High Representative, to use clear language to clearly support Georgia; that's extremely important in terms of Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations. I see it as very strong support, proof, testimony from important EU politicians. In the Parliament we have former prime ministers, former ministers; people who are very experienced in international law, international policy relations, and there was very clear support for Georgia.

THE RESOLUTION ALSO MENTIONS THE EU-MEDIATED CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT BETWEEN RUSSIA AND GEORGIA, WHICH REMAINS UNFULFILLED. I THINK WE CAN SAFELY ASSUME THAT RUSSIA WILL SHRUG OFF THIS RESOLUTION, BUT DO YOU SEE ANY REALISTIC WAY OF MAKING RUSSIA FOLLOW UP ON ITS OBLIGATIONS? I’ve been in international politics for a really long time and I have seen moments when such statements were not so obvious. Yet I have seen first and foremost a change in the attitudes of the international community of the West. It is becoming obvious for the whole transatlantic community that by defending Georgia, we defend our values.

execute things immediately, it’s certainly a step moving things in the right direction, and believe me, such changes of mental attitudes are extremely important; it may be that in the not-so-distant future, Russia feels real pressure from the outside. On such occasions as the tenth anniversary of the aggression on Georgia, the fourth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea, we have to keep repeating the messages in order for Central and Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and the Balkan states to remain on the table of international debates, not to be treated as a ‘side argument,’ somehow lost in the big game or bargained as a footnote.

WHILE THE RESOLUTION MENTIONS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ON THE ADMINISTRATIVE BOUNDARY LINE, THERE IS NO MENTION OF SPECIFIC CASES (EG. GEORGIAN CITIZENS TATUNASHVILI AND OTKHOZORIA). IN NEITHER CASE WAS JUSTICE SERVED NOR THE KILLERS PUNISHED. THE GEORGIAN GOV’T IS ADOPTING A SANCTIONS LIST AGAINST THOSE INVOLVED IN SUCH ACTS - COULD WE EXPECT EU COUNTRIES TO FOLLOW SUIT?

HOW MUCH IS THAT THE CONSENSUS OF TODAY’S EP?

I'm aware of this. Actually, in my statement in debate, in many statements in debate, in fact, support for the “Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili List” was very much clear and very visible; we intend to keep this pressure up through the institutions, through our respective member states. I do not exert pressure on my own government but believe me, my government monitors my activities.

There's quite a broad consensus on this. While this resolution is not a legislative act, not a legal norm that enables us to

TWO WEEKS AGO, THE BREAKAWAY REGIONS OF

GEORGIA WERE RECOGNIZED BY ASSAD. LAST YEAR, THE US ADOPTED A BILL WHICH PROHIBITS STATE AID TO COUNTRIES WHICH RECOGNIZE THESE TERRITORIES; IS IT TIME PERHAPS FOR EU TO DO LIKEWISE? The political equilibrium within the EU needs to be assessed but this tends to change if individuals exert enough pressure. Those clearly aware of the activities of Russia, perhaps not so many, around 70 of us here in the Parliament, use all opportunities to bring such topics to debate. As for Syria’s decision, I think it was good because I always prefer clear situations and here it was obvious that the regime was very much supported by Russia and Putin.

REGARDING THE LATE PRESIDENT KACZYNSKY NOW. YOU WERE A CLOSE ASSOCIATE OF HIS. AFTER EIGHT YEARS AND AFTER THE POLISH REINVESTIGATION IN 2018, WHAT'S THE FINAL PUBLIC CONSENSUS IN POLISH SOCIETY? WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN SMOLENSK? Public opinion is divided. Things are not clear, of course; many mistakes were made at the early stage of investigation; there was not enough international support. It's extremely difficult but we are absolutely dedicated and sooner or later, I am sure that we will have clearer picture. Personally, I consider this case as a certain stage in a whole series of events happening in our region; it was President Kaczynsky warning the international community about the policies of Russian neo imperialism, their desire to impose

Those in the EP clearly aware of the activities of Russia use all opportunities to bring such topics to debate influence on our part of the world to regain the influence of the former Soviet Union under a different flag, and I'm still of this same opinion in assessment of Russia's policies. My private opinion is that President Kaczynsky was the victim of the general situation. I'm not sure what the real trigger of this was, but surely he was alienated in his views; he was alienated and that diminished his chances, weakening his personal security.

This material was prepared in the scope of the “Messages from Brussels” series, a project of the European Alliance for Georgia, a Brussels-based NGO aiming to bring more Georgia into Europe.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

The Campaign "Because I Say So” Continues G et your blood pressure checked! Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is known as the ‘silent killer’ because it can lead to serious cardiovascular disease despite there being no signs or symptoms. A blood pressure test is the only way to find out if your blood pressure is too high. In light of these facts, and in collaboration with the May Measurement Month campaign run by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), Servier launched a new worldwide campaign to raise public awareness about the importance of having your blood pressure checked regularly. The international awareness campaign “Because I Say So,” launched by Servier and supported by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), aims to refocus public attention by encouraging young adults to motivate their parents and loved-ones to get their blood pressure checked. Having their blood pressure checked lets older adults know where they stand and allows them to manage their blood pressure to reduce their risk of a cardiac event. The purpose of the campaign is to put this disease back in the spotlight because talking to those around you –

friends or family – about hypertension can make a difference in their lives. Maia Khetsuriani, the General Manager of French pharmaceutical company Servier’s representative office in Georgia discusses the details, ideas and implementation of the “Because I Say So” campaign.

MS. MAIA, COULD YOU TELL US FEW WORDS ABOUT SERVIER? Servier is a French pharmaceutical company with a worldwide presence in 140 countries, with more than 40 years of research experience. Servier has been operating in the Georgian market for 15 years and for its anniversary date, we decided to implement the social responsibility project “Get your blood pressure checked – Because I Say So,” which is a part of a global campaign. Taking care of patients is the main goal of the company and as a result, more than 15 million patients worldwide manage hypertension with Servier’s effective medicine.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CAMPAIGN “GET YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE CHECKED – BECAUSE I SAY SO”? The main objective of the campaign is to focus on the younger generation and

motivate them in order to encourage their parents, relatives, and friends to regulate and control arterial pressure regularly. The campaign's creative “Because I Say So” idea echoes what parents say to their children when they need them to behave. Now these children are grown up, it's their turn, and their responsibility, to tell their parents what they need to do for their own good – get their blood pressure checked! Hypertension, or elevated blood pressure, is widespread both worldwide and in Georgia. Many people are not even aware that they suffer from hypertension. A part of the society has some information regarding hypertension, but do not perceive increased blood pressure and complications seriously. Consequently, they do not treat the disease systematically. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of hypertension – a global problem that is now treatable, and the first step to diagnose it is to simply check the blood pressure.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ARTERIAL HYPERTENSION? A patient may experience headaches, nausea and dizziness. However, sometimes it has no visible symptoms and is even referred to as a ‘silent killer.’ It is vital to know that increased blood pres-

sure can lead to serious complications such as heart attack and stroke. As we’ve mentioned, diagnosing the disease initially is a blood pressure check, which is quick, simple and non-invasive. Timely diagnosis is of great importance in order to avoid cardio-vascular complications, disabilities or fatal consequences.

THE CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR 1 MONTH, WHAT EVENTS TOOK PLACE DURING THIS PERIOD? Many events and activities have been initiated in this period, including the active involvement of the medical and public society. Through the official page of Servier Georgia, anyone can get extensive information regarding the campaign and hypertension in general. More information is available on our website: www. BISS.ge. Additionally, we filmed a video with the participation of some famous Georgian faces - Duta Skhirtladze, Nika Tsulukidze, Ruska Makashvili, Ani Chiradze, Giorgi Kekelidze, Lela Meburish-

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vili acted as goodwill ambassadors for the campaign, asking their parents to get their blood pressure checked.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? In general, the French pharmaceutical company Servier is the initiator of numerous important projects. “Get your blood pressure checked – Because I Say So” is our most patient-oriented and large-scale project of this year in Georgia. We think that the campaign is successfully being executed and many have learned about hypertension. We have received a lot of positive feedback from the community. We want to continue discussing this topic for the next few months and for this reason, have planned activities throughout Georgia. We hope that more will join and support us, in order to raise awareness and periodically inform family and relatives to check their blood pressure. This will be a crucial step forward towards fighting and preventing hypertension.


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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

Turkmenistan as an Example of Water for Sustainable Development BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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he environmental policy of Turkmenistan became a focused topic within the speech of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the International High-Level Conference on the UN Decade of Action "Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028". Turkmenistan, implementing national plans in various sectors, strictly links them with the environmental component of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, with the optimization of the use of water resources. The new Turkmen Water Code acts as the basis for a comprehensive program to develop and apply scientifically sound rules for the rational use of water resources, their conservation and restoration, protection against pollution, contamination and depletion. Adaptation measures to restore forests and improve land use to mitigate climate impacts are also widely implemented throughout the country. Currently, as

part of a large-scale national program "Green Belt", extensive forest belts have

been created around cities and settlements with the use of progressive water-

saving irrigation methods. As an illustrative example, the head of state also introduced a large-scale project on the construction of a unique lake "Altyn Asyr" in the heart of Karakum (a desert area) to collect drainage water from irrigated lands of all velayats (administrative units) of the country. Its first stage was commissioned in 2009. The construction of this man-made reservoir, and most complicated hydrotechnical system, makes it possible to successfully solve pressing environmental, economic and social issues. Among them is the improvement of the meliorative state of agricultural lands, the protection of soils from degradation, the return of thousands of hectares of land underflooded by drainage waters, the cultivation of salt-tolerant crops in the zone of main and inter-farm collectors, the irrigation of pastures, the development of fisheries, and the creation of a reserve of water resources. “The construction of the next phase of this grandiose facility is to ensure ecological well-being, and therefore, to improve the quality of life of people both

in Turkmenistan and throughout the Central Asian region,” President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said. “Special attention”, the head of state continued, “is being paid to providing the population with clean water. In the capital and in the velayats, modern plants for the production of drinking water have been built and are being built, and on the coast of the Caspian there are powerful desalination plants. More than half a billion dollars are spent annually on the maintenance and development of the ecological environment and various environmental and water projects in our country.” He went on to note that Turkmenistan “fully supports the goals and tasks put on the agenda of the conference.” “We expect the decisions made as a result of this conference to become platforms for subsequent focused and substantive international cooperation, the development of innovative models and management strategies to coordinate national water use programs with regional and global development plans in this area,” he concluded.

Embassy of Germany Holds Ceremonial Reception for Winners of German National Olympiad BY SHAWN WAYNE

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n June 20, the Embassy of Germany held a reception at Ibis Styles Tbilisi for finalists and winners of the German National Olympiad. The ceremonial reception was delivered by the Deputy Ambassador of Germany, Dr. Peter Schaller, and Deputy Director of the Goethe Institute Sasha Fabri. In the frames of the event, Deputy Ambassador Schaller and the winner of the German National Olympiad will meet with the best pupils of Tbilisi and Georgian Regional Schools not only to support their success but also to discuss such topics as the European way of democratic development of the country, and prospects, engagement and the importance of the role of future generations in the process of reconciliation. The winners of the German National Olympiad organized by Goethe Institute of Georgia, the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and National

We will work on the South Caucasus’ future, looking at how young people envision their future in terms of tourism, economic development, sustainability, love, and peace and war

Center for Assessment and Examinations will be honored at the German Language International Olympiad on July 15-28, where 100 students from 60 countries of the world will compete in the German

“GOOOOAL!” – a New Name for Natakhtari Beer!

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o one doubts that the Football World Cup is a global event. This is a universal festival. Even those not fans of this sport are engaged in the football fever. Naturally, all brands react to this global event and Natakhtari Beer is no exception. For them, it is a tradition to organize various activities for European and World Cups in soccer. This time, its objective was to make its communication campaign different from those of the other companies: “We were ready for a revolutionary and audacious step that would make our consumers smile and keep them happy,” the company stated. “We conceived of the idea to change the brand

name purposefully during the World Cup period and call it “GOOOOAL!” (Football Natakhtari). In our opinion, the 10-year history of the brand and its high recognizability allowed us to take such a bold decision. Thus, we linked Natakhtari Beer with one of the most exciting moments in football.” Beer is an essential drink for football supporters. “We hope that our campaign will allow the friends who get together to watch the games enjoy beer and videos instead of standard ads during the commercial breaks,” explained Ana Karchava, Senior Brand Manager of Natakhtari. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0U2sF3rZJQ Advertorial

language through group work and communication skills. The Goethe Institute and Project Partner Arvato Bertelsmann awarded the 22 finalists of the German National Olympiad

from the schools of Tbilisi and Georgia with a scholarship to the German Summer Academy, which will be held at the Scouts International Camp in Rustavi on July 21-29, which students from Azerbaijan and Armenia will also join. “We will work on the South Caucasus’ future, looking at how young people envision their future in terms of tourism, economic development, sustainability, love, peace and war, etc. The Laboratory for the Future is a specially designed concept to enable people to have an open-minded and borderless vision of the future; we want to enable them to think freely. The German language can give people the opportunities they need to change their future for the better,” Bertelsmann noted. During the camp, pupils from the Berlin and Leipzig theaters will present their individual perspective in discussing relevant topics, such as "What profession do I want after finishing school?", "How do I imagine my ideal city?", "How can we achieve greater political participation?" and "How to find a balance between economic development and sustainable development?”


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

Photo: Supra, Andrew Propp

“Supra” Brings High-End Georgian Cuisine to Washington, D.C. REVIEW BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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hen you walk into Supra, you are hit first with the smell of spices, not recognizably Georgian, but recognizably delicious. Then you notice the glass case full of fluffy white Caucasian hats (papakhi) and antique photos of Georgians on the walls. A few moments later, you pick up the strains of Georgian folk and popular music breaking through the sounds of clinking glasses and laughter with mouths full of bread and cheese. The interior is modern and smooth, mostly wood and glass, brightened by a wall of indoor plants. The Georgian flair is added in subtle touches, nodding to the country’s traditions rather than emulating them. In the open kitchen, the staff works feverishly to prep for the dinner service. Supra opened seven months ago in the increasingly trendy Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Shaw. Husband and wife team Jonathan and Laura Nelms say it’s a family business. When they first scouted for an executive chef, they invited Malkaz Maisashvili down from New York City, where he was working at the time, to stay in their home and cook for tasting parties of friends and neighbors. Most of the restaurant’s investors are family members. Having previously lived in Moscow, the couple was familiar with Georgian food as some of the best in the former Soviet Union, yet tragically unknown in the United States. After a fairytale vacation to Georgia in 2011, the pair began to kick around the idea of a Georgian restaurant in the D.C. area. Supra offers traditional Georgian dishes and innovations on old staples. They want to fulfill the cravings of die-hard Georgian food fans by serving up favorites, and to surprise those familiar with Georgian classics with new twists. They also feel a sort of mission, a calling, to educate the D.C. community about the cuisine and wine of Georgia. The menu rotates seasonally. It showcases mostly traditional Georgian foods, prepared and served in a slightly new way, with few outrageous alterations. After a few months of being open, Supra

found its sweet spot among customers. There are plenty of Georgians who frequent the restaurant, including the embassy personnel, alongside the culinarily curious who have never tried Georgian food. All the wines on offer are Georgian, with a focus on natural and organic products. There is also a cocktail menu with chacha based drinks – many with a sprig of tarragon or walnut syrup. The semiseparate bar has its own menu, which offers unique small-plate creations inspired by Georgian flavors. The dessert menu is surprisingly robust for Georgian food, playing with nuts and fruits. Supra is also open for a creative brunch on the weekends, showcasing the amazing hangovercure power of Georgian dishes. I was able to try some of the dishes and can report that the quality of the food is incredible. On the sampler platter, the pkhali spread with white beans is something special, and I loved Maisashvili’s interpretation of a cold summer matsvnis (yogurt) soup. The khachapuri is airy and light and meat dishes are rich and greasy, with a more nuanced flavor palate than the average Tbilisi restaurant. Maisashvili is truly passionate about his work, saying he finds freedom in the kitchen, and Jonathan and Laura let him have full creative control at Supra. While I was visiting, the restaurant’s big front windows showed, surprisingly, an Amish man unloading a truck full of fresh produce – Supra’s regular delivery of locally grown veggies. Almost all the ingredients, apart

from a few things imported from Georgia, are fresh and local. When Jonathan and Laura decided to open the restaurant, Jonathan said he felt something like a movie producer – supporting, encouraging, guiding, but neither the lead in the kitchen nor on the operational side. A sort of Georgian evangelist, Jonathan returns regularly to Georgia for wine tours, and brainstorms with his kitchen team ways to introduce new concepts to the menu. Inspired by their favorite Tbilisi restaurants Café Littera and Shavi Lomi, Supra plays with visitors’ expectations as well as their taste buds in an attempt to honor Georgia’s long food history, not just its greatest hits. Jonathan and Laura want to see Supra develop into a neighborhood staple but have also been bitten by the restaurant bug and are already discussing their next project idea – perhaps an alternative take on Georgian food. Jonathan says Georgia inspires him, that the country is cooler, funkier, and more ramshackle (in a romantic way) than other countries in Eurasia. Georgians are known for their hospitality, but also for a love of tradition and resistance to change. Supra has, however, faced little pushback despite the liberties Maisashvili takes with some classic dishes. Supra satisfies cravings for classic Georgian food and introduces a few new dishes to love. A welcome, well needed addition to the Washington, D.C. restaurant scene, we hope Supra continues to serve up innovative takes on Georgian cuisine for a long time to come!

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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

Rickshaw through Svaneti?! busier main road, sticking to trails as much as possible. Eventually they settled on a unique single-wheel vehicle made in a garage in Germany, picked one up, modified it, packed it into a bicycle box, and flew over. Last night they stayed with us and we discovered a mutual acquaintance in the family of fellow traveler Bruce Kirkby, who also takes his young family on exotic tours, most notably from Vancouver to Tibet avoiding all motorized transport for practically the whole journey. My wife and I had met them in Mestia during a horse and foot tour they made on Georgia about eight years ago, and since then they have only gone from strength to strength. Francois-Xavier and his family are now taking a few days to go up to Mazeri, and from there to Mestia and Ushguli. The rickshaw’s brake makes a huge difference in safety and stability going downhill, and they have managed some rather challenging descents so far, so I think that what lies ahead they can achieve as well. The girls are taking it all in stride; the elder one, to my delight, is already an avid fan of books, and I hope that this will stay with her for life, as it has with me from about her age. Meanwhile, you can find more details of this intrepid foursome at https://www.deruydtsphotography.com/ to see what they’ve been up to so far. What a life!

BLOG BY TONY HANMER

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thought I’d nearly seen it all when, in 2011 or 12, we started getting four new forms of transport up here in our mountains: bicycles, motorbikes, taxis and full-size buses. All, no doubt, thanks to the much improved road and safety which former president Mikeil Saakashvili brought here during his big renovation of the province. I remember at that time making another mental list of what other modes of motion might arrive. People Walking through were already getting common. Camel? (Horse is ancient here already). Ostrich? Unicycle? How about travelling by rickshaw? That’s one I never thought of, but yesterday it showed up on our doorstep, having crossed by trail from Nakra over several days. Pulled by a father of two young girls, accompanied by his wife; all Belgians, but living in Canada for about 7 years now. Welcome to the family of Francois-Xavier De Ruydts. He is an adventure photographer recently switched to film, having earlier specialized in cave and canyon photography in my former home country. He was also one of the discoverers of a new canyon near Vancouver; I had no idea that such finds were even possible anywhere on the planet, but I suppose they are. They had some months of hard-earned holiday, and were considering Morocco, but with two girls aged less than a year and just over three, it would have been high (to escape the heat) and dry, not to mention rather barren. But FrancoisXavier had done some cycling though Georgia about 10 years ago, and a chance

sight of an article on the country at a friend’s house inspired him to rethink this location. There was almost no trek-

king information on the country online, but his first Google find was the best: http://www.caucasus-trekking.com/ told

him everything he needed to know. How to travel with the little ones was certainly an issue: avoiding the now

Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with nearly 1900 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: w.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

Tbilisi to Host Ballet Festival on June 23-July 1 BY THEA MORRISON

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he Ballet Festival, which was established last year, will open in Tbilisi on June 23 and close on July 1 at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater. Within the program of the Festival, spectators will be able to see the performances of distinguished ballet stars and prominent ballet companies. The Festival will be opened on June 23 with a program consisting of a world premiere of the resident choreographer Medhi Walerski - “Orawa”, and another ballet of his - “Petite Cérémonie”. “Rossini Overtures” and “Formami” of Mario Astolfi and his Spellbound Contemporary Ballet will become a welcomed addition to Medhi’s creations. This will be the first visit of Spellbound Contemporary Ballet to Georgia. American superstar Marcelo Gomes will also take part in the festival and together with Artistic Director of the Festival, Nina Ananiashvili, he will perform in ''Romeo and Juliet" on June 26. The Nederlands Dans Theater 2, are back in the

festival, their first time being in 2017. They will present “Sad Case” and “Subtle Dust” of Sol León & Paul Lightfoot, “WirsagenunsDunkles” and “Midnight Raga” of Marco Goecke, and “Short Cut” of Hans van Manen on June 28-29. The festival will be closed by “The Sleeping Beauty” with the participation of Nutsa Chekurashvili, Nino Samadashvili, Ekaterine Surmava, Ruika Yokoyama, Amandine Etoiles Albisson and Jérémy-Loup Quer from the Paris Opera Ballet and Marcelo Gomes. The conductor of the performances will be Alevtina Ioffe (Russia). The Festival is held with support of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia and project “Check in Georgia.” Sponsors and supporters: Ministry of Culture and Sports, Tbilisi City Hall, Embassies of Italy and the Netherlands, Italy Authors and Publishers Society (SIAE), Italian Cultural Heritage Ministry (MiBACT), Georgian Ballet Friends' Society, TBC Bank, Hotel IOTA, Company Wissol, Château Mukhrani, TV Company Imedi, Radio Imedi, Radio Fortuna, TV Company ARTAREA, Indigo and City, Kikala Studio, Georgia Today. You can see the festival program here. Tickets are available here.

19th Century Nobility Portraits on Display in Sighnaghi

BY SHAWN WAYNE

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astern Georgia’s picturesque town of Sighnaghi is set to host an exhibition of 19th century portraits of the country’s noble families, showcasing their legacy and artistic trends of the era. Hosted by the Georgian National Museum at the network’s Sighnaghi Museum venue, the show will be centered around over 40 paintings of historical figures of the royal court and nobility, including King Erekle II, Queen Darejan and Tekla Batonishvili, which will form the central point of the exhibits. Organizers revealed some of the exhibits would be displayed publicly for the first time, a part of

them following conservation and restoration work carried out by experts. At its emergence, portrait art for royal court personalities in Georgia had commonalities with the European genre of the same type. However, they also feature the distinct manner of their painters and influences generated by Georgia’s ties with Imperial Russia and the Western world. This later evolved into a style referred to as the "Tiflis Portrait School," titled after the old name for the capital city. In works created under this School, smaller-size portraits featured feudal era nobility and the new bourgeoisie, with the style of works persisting until the 1860s and 1870s. Beside the paintings, the exhibition, to last until September 21, it will also include works in sculpture and miniature genres.

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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56 June 23, 24 TBILISI BALLET FESTIVAL Opening of the Festival Ballet Company of the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater Premiere of the New Ballet Petite Cérémonie Choreography by Medhi Walerski Spellbound Contemporary Ballet (Italy) Formami Rossini Ouvertures Choreography by Mauro Astolfi Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-50 GEL June 26 ROMEO AND JULIET Sergei Prokofiev Soloists: Nina Ananiashvili, Marcelo Gomes (USA) Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-100 GEL June 28 NEDERLANDS DANS THEATER II TOUR Sad Case Choreography By Sol León & Paul Lightfoot. Wir sagen uns Dunkles Choreography by Marco Goecke Subtle Dust Choreography by Sol León & Paul Lightfoot Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-100 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 598 19 29 36 June 22 DON JUAN Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 595 50 02 03 June 22, 23 HOST AND GUEST Based on a work of Vazha Pshavela Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 20 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 June 23, 27 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL

June 24, 26, 28 An animated documentary film REZO Directed by Leo Gabriadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATER Address: 182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90 www.musictheatre.ge June 22 WELCOME TO GEORGIA A musical, theatrical play and romantic comedy telling a story about Georgia and its people by combining song, dance, culture, traditions, history, national costumes and local cuisine. Musical Language: English, some Georgian (with English subtitles) Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50-80 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL June 22-28 OCEAN’S 8 Directed by Gary Ross Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime Language: English Start time: 22:15 Language: Russian Start time: 19:30, 22:15 Ticket: 13-15 GEL JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM Directed by J.A. Bayona Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 13:45, 19:15, 21:55 Ticket: 9-14 GEL SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY Directed by Ron Howard Cast: Emilia Clarke, Paul Bettany, Alden Ehrenreich Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Language: Russian Start time: 16:15 Ticket: 13 GEL

LOVING PABLO Directed by Fernando León de Aranoa Cast: Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Peter Sarsgaard Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 16:45, 22:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL June 22-28 OCEAN’S 8 (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 14:00, 16:45, 19:45, 22:15 Ticket: 10-15 GEL LOVING PABLO (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 22:35 Ticket: 13-14 GEL JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 13-14 GEL CAVEA GALLERY Address: 2/4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 200 70 07 Every Wednesday ticket: 8 GEL June 22-28 OCEAN’S 8 (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 20:00 Language: Russian Start time: 15:15, 19:30, 22:30 Ticket: 10-19 GEL INCREDIBLES 2 (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 12:05, 14:15, 20:00 Language: Russian Start time: 11:45, 22:15 Ticket: 10-19 GEL LOVING PABLO (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 22:30 Ticket: 16-19 GEL

MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY Exhibition showcasing a long history of money circulation on the territory of modern Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS April 26 – September 1 UNKNOWN COLLECTIONS OF GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM– INDIA, CHINA, JAPAN May 26 – September 30 THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA - 100 YEARS IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 May 19-June 20 THE EXHIBITION OF KETI KAPANADZE'S ARTWORKS 8 MINUTES MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION SVANETI MUSEUM Address: Mestia, Svaneti May 19 – August 19 The Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography hosts an exhibition "MAGNUM PHOTO 70 - GEORGIAN JOURNAL: ROBERT CAPA 1947, THOMAS DWORZAK 2017". GALLERY

INCREDIBLES 2 Directed by Brad Bird Cast: Sophia Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure Language: Russian Start time: 11:45, 19:10 Ticket: 8-15 GEL

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 17:00 Language: Russian Start time: 14:00, 17:00, 22:30 Ticket: 11-19 GEL

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge May 15 – August 5 Exhibition TITIAN - MASTER OF COLOR: THE VIRGIN AND CHILD May 25-August 26 The Georgian National Museum and the Embassy of Italy to Georgia, within the Museum Fest, present the exhibition EVIDENCE. A NEW STATE OF ART The National Gallery is hosting the exhibition of Garuzzo Institute for Visual Arts- presenting contemporary Italian artists' artworks created since the 1950s. May 25-August 26 GENIUSES OF RENAISSANCE MUSIC

TBILISI OPEN AIR 2018 Start time: 15:00 Ticket: 70-170 GEL Venue: Lisi Wonderland June 22 MAIN STAGE Kayakata, Rejjie Snow, Beardyman, Eko & Vinda Folio, Che Lingo, Toyshen EYE STAGE Roman Flügel, Cleveland, Gio Shengelia, Autumn Tree [Leon],

Vako T B2b Mzhavia GARDEN STAGE Avalon, Ritmo, Fungus Funk, Acidwave, Katana SINGER JAZZ STAGE Rezo Kiknadze Quintet June 23 MAIN STAGE Róisín Murphy, Rachael Yamagata, Papooz, St. Nude, Mokumoku, Killages EYE STAGE Alex Niggemann , Matthias Meyer, Sascha Sibler, Liza Rivs, Bero, Stimmhalt, Prømescu GARDEN STAGE Yestermorrow, Kala, Oogway, Marcuss, Ancient Om, Ellarge, Space Teriyaki, Eldario, Tabu, Beka Talakhadze SINGER JAZZ STAGE Dini Virsaladze Trio, Blue Moor, Lasha Abashmadze Quintet June 24 MAIN STAGE Tom Odell, R.O X Konoba, Green Room, Salio, Sophie Villy, Newcomer 2018 EYE STAGE Super Flu, Nuno Dos Santos, Innellea, Bacho B2b Tomma, Dastia, So Laut, Bekuchi GARDEN STAGE Anthill, Additivv, Obri & Zen, Neverthesame, Dimitree, Infest, Dm3, Kalratry, Kaya Matu, Ra SINGER JAZZ STAGE Zura Ramishvili Trio, Amaze, Papuna Sharikadze Trio Feat, Misho Urushadze GRIBOEDOV THEATER Address: 2 Rusyaveli Ave. June 24 David Bokhua’s children’s professional team Presents solo concert in two sections, Devoted to the 65th years anniversary of ENSEMBLE ‘SHAVLEGO’ Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 15-25 GEL TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 June 22 TENGIZ SUKHISHVILI 80 CHARITY CONCERT 80th anniversary concert to raise money for The National Autism Center of Georgia Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 15-50 GEL June 26 GOLDEN WAVE AWARDS 5TH CEREMONY Participants– Georgia Symphony Orchestra Special Guest– Legendary musician, American vocalist LISA FISCHER Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 30-150 GEL TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE Address: 8 Griboedov Str. Telephone: 298 71 86 June 22 PIANO MUSIC CONCERT Soloist: Irma GIGANI Supervisor: Professor Manana Doijashvili In program: the works of Prokofiev, Chopin and Schumann Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-15 GEL June 25 TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE COMPOSITION STUDENTS Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5 GEL BLUES FEST Venue: Lagodekhi June 23 The second blues festival Organized by the company "BluesfestGe" will be opened by the legendary BLUESWOMAN- DEITRA FARR Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 20-70 GEL


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY JUNE 22 - 25, 2018

15

Georgian Embassy’s Employee in Israel Claims 1st Place at Kalmi Piano Competition BY LIKA CHIGLADZE

Y

oung Georgian pianist Alexander Julakidze was named winner of the prestigious Haim Kalmi Piano Competition in Jerusalem. The 24-year-old Georgian musician was awarded first prize at the grand ceremony of the competition on June 15. The ceremony was transmitted through 30-minute live streaming on Kol HaMusica Radio, which saw the virtuoso pianist performing famous pieces: Toccata by Robert Schumann, Balade No 4 by Johannes Brahms and Spanish Rhapsody by Franz Liszt. “The winner of the contest is… Alexander Julakidze, an employee of Georgian Embassy to Jerusalem and a pianist from Tbilisi, also a student of the Jerusalem Music and Dance Academy,“ the anchor of the popular radio show announced. As the winner told GEORGIA TODAY, the contest was carried out on a global scale and 30 students took part in it. “The contestants were selected through two stages. After the first stage, 10 students were shortlisted and at the second stage winners of the first three places were announced. Winning the competition was one of my top goals since arriving in Jerusalem. During my first days here, I discovered the Haim Kalmi Piano

Competition and started preparing for it,” Alexander Julakidze told us. Before claiming the first place, Alexander had already earned his fame through a variety of activities. Apart from the fact that he pursues an MA at the Jerusalem Music and Dance Academy, in parallel he works at the Georgian Embassy. On May 26, he also performed at the concert in Tel Aviv dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of

Georgia’s First Democratic Republic together with his tutor and great maestro, Vadim Monastyrski. “It has been quite an exhausting month,” he admitted. “First I took part in an audition and earned a scholarship. That was followed by the concert marking 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of Georgia’s First Democratic Republic, and then this competition. I had a very busy schedule over these months. Every

day I went to work and then practiced at home. Currently, I’m working in the direction of electronic music as well and soon I will release my very first set. I’m basically focused on techno sounds, yet I’m also attracted by Acid House Tech House and Deep house. Now I’m mastering Abletone and am planning to produce my own pieces in this direction. I’m also giving DJing a try and will soon complete my debut set. In short, I have

successfully established myself in Jerusalem. Three months ago no one knew me in the academy, but now the situation has changed. I want to thank my professor and friend Vadim Monastyrski who assisted me. It is all the result of our friendship and the musical language through which we communicate. I also want to express my gratitude to Tbilisi State Conservatoire that gave me the foundation and carved me as a pianist. I also want to thank my supporters, in particular, those people with whom I interact every day. I want to thank my colleagues for bringing positive energy into my life, feeding me as an artist,” Alexander elaborated. Alongside all the achievements mentioned above, the Georgian student has also initiated a cultural and professional exchange program between two countries that will be implemented at the beginning of October 2018. He says the project will establish and deepen the relations between the Tbilisi State Conservatoire and Jerusalem Music and Dance Academy. Within the frames of the program, five students from Jerusalem will visit Georgia, participate in workshops run by Georgian professors and will deliver concerts- and vice versa. Through performing in front of a Jewish audience, Georgian students will also demonstrate their skills and show the Georgian temperament to the foreign public.

Vivace Association Dedicates Charity Concert to Georgian Violinist in Zurich BY LIKA CHIGLADZE

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n June 17, a charity concert dedicated to young Georgian violinist and member of the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra, Vato Magradze, took place in Zurich (Switzerland). The concert was organized by Swiss charity Association “Vivace”, founded by famous Georgian pianist Tamara Kordzadze. The concert was carried out successfully at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and received waves of applause. The ZHdK gave use of its Concert Hall for free to the musicians after discovering the purpose of the event. Participants in the concert included Georgian musicians and students based in Switzerland: Tamara Kordzadze, Mamuka Tepnadze, Sofia Goshadze, Eka Bokuchava, Tedo Diakonidze, Mirian Kvaliashvili, Mariam Chakvetadze, Dali Zakalishvili, Davit Ketsbaia, Teona Kazishvili, Tamar Midelashvili as well as other artists such as Sergey Markosyan, Larisa Bagdasaryan, Azat Fishyan and Korbin Beisner. 26-year-old Georgian violinist Vato Magradze was diagnosed with very severe illness: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). As there are no modern treatment methods in Georgia, Vato has to undergo chemotherapy and Bone Marrow Transplants in Germany as soon as possible.

The first stage of medical treatment abroad requires 268,000€ - too much for the Georgian artist to cover by his own means. To help the young musician, many public figures and citizens have united around the aim to help Vato beat the disease. The Vivace Foundation joined this charity campaign by organizing a Fundraisings and a Charity concert. Vivace collected money for the Georgian violinist through the help of Georgian emigrants and Swiss people. The collected amounts from Charity Concert and Fundraising are transferred to bank account “Help Vato” specifically created for this purpose. The accumulated fund will then be transferred to the Oldenburg Hospital where Vato is undergoing medical treatment. Those willing to donate can contribute through the following means: PayPal: paypal.me/vatostvis Bank of Georgia: GE52BG0000000100979687 Recipient: Natia Kuloshvili TBC Bank: GE72TB7770245061600009 Recipient: Nino Tavberidze Donate from abroad or in Switzerland:

SPENDENKONTO Vivace “Help Vato” Zürcher Kantonalbank Postfach, CH-8010 Zürich Clearing-Nr. 700

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BIC (SWIFT) - ZKBKCHZZ80A IBAN: CH25 0070 0110 0023 8092 9 Postkonto: 80-151-4 Kontonummer:1100-2380.929 The Swiss-Georgian association Vivace was founded in 2009 by renowned Georgian pianist Tamara Kordzadze, who is based in Switzerland. The foundation is aimed at supporting highly gifted young musicians, as well as deepening cultural relations between Georgia and Switzerland which is a special concern of the association. Vivace has carried out over

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

40 important projects to date and has assisted around 100 Georgian artists from the classical music field through the help of partner foundations and organizations. The association has also purchased eight strings and wind instruments for the Tbilisi Zakaria Paliashvili Central Music School, three pianos for the Evgeni Mikeladze Central Music School, a violin for the Tbilisi State Conservatoire, special chairs designed for grand pianos for concert halls of the Georgian musical academies, and more. Additionally, the foundation has held concerts for eight

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gifted Georgian musicians in Bern and Zurich and taken seven Georgian Students to Italy to take part in the Montepulciano International Music Festival,” giving them the chance to present their performing skills in front of a European audience. Vivace has enabled another nine Georgian musicians to perform at the “Young Artists Festival” in Germany as well as in “Youth Classics“ in Germany and Switzerland. Two years ago, at the initiative of Vivace, within the frames of the Georgian-Swiss charity project named “From the Alps to the Caucasus” a joint concert of the students of Zurich University of the Arts and Tbilisi State Conservatoire was held in Grand Hall of Tbilisi Conservatoire and in TBC Bank’s Art Gallery. The concert marked the 15th anniversary of relations between the universities of the two countries. Through the concert, Georgian and Swiss students established international contacts that fostered enhancement of a cultural exchange between Switzerland and Georgia. The Founder and President of the Vivace Association, Georgian pianist Tamara Kordzadze, herself experienced the importance of support and affection during her childhood. As a result, she was able to participate in major competitions and master classes. For several years Ms. Kordzadze had the wish to pass on to other young Georgians the help she had once received herself, and that’s how the association emerged.

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1059  

June 22 - 25, 2018

Issue #1059  

June 22 - 25, 2018

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