Page 1 georgiatoday

Issue no: 863

• JULY 22 - 25, 2016


FOCUS ON YEREVAN Violent clashes between public and police on-going



In this week’s issue... Batumi to Receive First Electro Buses in the Region NEWS PAGE 2

Azerbaijan’s Aliyev Unveils Plan to Amend Constitution POLITICS PAGE 4

Gunpowder, Treason & Plot…

Source: AP

Georgia’s PM Visits Turkey to Show Support, Hold Bi-lateral Talks BY TAMAR SVANIDZE


ollowing the coup attempt in Turkey (See pages 6-7), Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara Tuesday to meet with his counterpart Binali Yildirim and discuss aspects of the strategic partnership between the two neighboring states in the wake of a failed coup attempt late last week. Continued on page 2


Abkhaz-Georgian Youngster Seeking Support to Study in America’s Top School SOCIETY PAGE 11

New Magazine about Anaklia Project Launched in Georgia CULTURE PAGE 16

Georgian Wheelchair Fencer Irma Khetsuriani Wins Another World Cup SPORTS PAGE 19




JULY 22 - 25, 2016

Batumi to Receive First Electro Buses in the Region


atumi City Hall plans to overhaul the city’s bus fleet with new electronic buses after receiving a grant from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The estimated cost of one bus is USD 250,000 (586,000 GEL), reported the Business Contact media outlet. Batumi City Hall will also buy buses

operating on Euro-5 diesel to comply with European emission standards. “Batumi will be the first city in the South Caucasus to have electronic buses,” Batumi Mayor Giorgi Ermakov said. Further information will be available after a final agreement is signed with the EBRD in September.

Belarusian Investigative Journalist Killed by Car Bomb in Kyiv Source: AP



avel Sheremet, a pioneering investigative journalist and tireless critic of the post-Soviet governments in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, was killed Wednesday morning by a massive car bomb as he drove to work in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. At the time of his death, Sheremet was on his way to host his popular morning talk show. He was driving the car of his girlfriend – Ukrainska Pravda owner Olena Prytula – when the blast occurred in central Kyiv. Investigators at the scene believe that a homemade bomb with 500-600 grams of TNT was detonated remotely by an unknown assailant. Chief Investigator Zoryan Shkiryak said Sheremet’s reports and professional activities were likely the motive behind his murder, adding that investigators would not rule out that Russia’s FSB – the successor to the Soviet-era KGB – had a hand in Sheremet’s assassination.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called Sheremet’s death a “terrible tragedy” and requested that specialists from the US and European Union assist in the investigation. Sheremet began his career as a broadcast journalist in his native Belarus in the 1990s, but later moved to Moscow after revealing a massive smuggling ring between Belarus and neighboring Lithuania. He later relocated to Ukraine where he became a strident critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko. Sheremet – a recipient of the Committee to Protect Journalists press freedom award and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s prize for journalism and democracy – was Ukrainska Pravda’s most respected critical voice on matters regarding clean government and corruption. He was a staunch supporter of the 2014 Maidan Revolution that toppled Ukraine’s disgraced proRussian former President Viktor Yanukovych. In recent weeks he repeatedly warned of the dozens of war crimes committed in eastern Ukraine by warlords and militia commanders.

Georgia’s PM Visits Turkey to Show Support, Hold Bi-lateral Talks Continued from page 1

Kvirikashvili reiterated the Georgian government's support for the democratically elected Turkish government and called for the preservation of political stability in Turkey. Kvirikashvili also took time to emphasize the need for both countries to reinforce their existing strategic partnership. Commenting on the importance of Kvirikashvili’s visit, Yildirim said it was a step towards the further development of a deep strategic partnership between Georgia and Turkey. “The parties paid particular attention to cooperation in the areas of trade and economy, transportation and energy. There remains the need for a further intensification of bilateral trade, and the prospects of increasing Georgian exports to the Turkish market were discussed. The conversation also touched upon existing joint energy and trans-

portation projects,” Kvirikashvili’s press office said in a statement. Turkey’s Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister, Ahmet Arslan, who met the Georgian delegation at Ankara International Airport, emphasized that the Turkish Government greatly values its relationship with Georgia, particularly as it adds to regional stability. PM Kvirikashvili and members of the accompanying Georgian delegation visited the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of the modern Turkish Republic. "Ataturk, as one of the most prominent figures and leaders of the 20th century, occupies an outstanding position in the history of Mankind," Kvirikashvili said. At the end of his visit, Kvirikashvili attended the first High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council session.


GEORGIA TODAY JULY 22 - 25, 2016


Armenian Protestors, Police in Violent Clashes as Standoff Continues BY KAREN TOVMASYAN AND NICHOLAS WALLER


emonstrators clashed with police late Wednesday as thousands turned out in the Armenian capital Yerevan to support an armed militant group that seized a city police station on July 17. The police attacked the demonstrators at just after 10:00 PM with tear gas and stun grenades after the crowd attempted to break through a police cordon and deliver food to the besieged militants. The melee left dozens injured, including at least 25 police officers, according to the Armenia’s Health Ministry. The Ministry said most of the injuries were from the effects of the tear gas and concussions caused by repeated body blows from police truncheons. At least 13 people were taken to a Yerevan hospital, each with varying degrees of injury, RFE/RL reported. According to reports, the chairman of Armenia’s Socialist Party Movses Shaverdyan received several serious injuries to the head.

Eyewitnesses said the clashes began after the demonstrators began hurling rocks at the security services, after which the police used stun grenades to disperse the crowd. A group of officers reportedly detached from the rest and chased some demonstrators. Running street battles between demonstrators and police continued through the night as civilian crowds armed themselves with stones and iron pipes and built barricades in front of the heavily armed riot police. Parliamentarian Nikol Pashinyan, who was present when the clashes began, said plain-clothed provocateurs from the National Security Services (NSS) – Armenia’s secret police – were responsible for provoking the situation on the ground. Pashinyan’s claim came on the heels of claims by the leader of the militants inside the station, Varujan Avetisyan, who said Russia’s feared special-forces ALPHA team had been deployed to Yerevan to assist the NSS in cracking down on the protests. The protests were sparked by a growing degree of national support for a fringe group of mostly anti-government veterans from the 1988-1994 Nagorno-

Karabakh War known as the Founding Parliament Movement. The group – said to number between 25-30 people – took over the Erebuni police station in the early morning hours Sunday, killing a police officer in the process and wounding six others. The group said the raid on the district police station was a response to the arrest of prominent opposition activist and former Karabakh commander, Jirayir Sefilyan. The militants continue to hold at least four police officials hostage, including Armenia’s Deputy Police Chief, Vartan Yeghiazaryan, and Yerevan’s Deputy Chief, Valery Osipyan. Avetisyan has demanded that Sefilyan – a Lebanese-born Armenian and leader of the Founding Parliament Movement – must be released and the charges of illegal weapons possession immediately dropped. The militants have also demanded that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan resign immediately. The Founding Parliament Movement has been deeply critical of Sargsyan’s handling of the two-decade-old frozen conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, including his conduct during the most recent flare-up in April.

More than twenty years after a ceasefire ended a bloody war between Christian Armenia and Muslim Azerbaijan – both former Soviet republics – over the ethnic Armenian enclave of NagornoKarabakh, a brief four-day conflict erupted in early April that claimed hundreds of lives and wounded up to 3,000 others. Ethnic Armenian forces were forced to relinquish up to 2,000 hectares of territory to Azeri forces as a result of the fighting. Many opposition parties in Armenia blame Sargsyan for having done little to shore up the Armenian defenses along the contact line or order a counter-offensive before agreeing to a new ceasefire. The fact that all of the gunmen inside the police station are Karabakh War veterans has played well with the Armenian public, most of who sympathize with their stridently anti-government sentiments and sharp criticism of Sargsyan over the situation in NagornoKarabakh. One of the gunmen’s leaders, former Karabakh commander Pavlik Manukyan, recently called for a national armed insurrection after he accused Sargsyan in an interview with a local news outlet of betraying the families of soldiers who

had died in Karabakh. Yerevan’s police force had already broken up a gathering of opposition members on the city’s central Freedom Square and detained up to 400 people on Monday night, though the exact numbers could not be verified. Armenia’s human rights ombudsman later confirmed that 50 people had been arrested for publicly demonstrating for the armed group, but were later released after questioning. The tense situation in the Armenian capital has caught Russia – Armenia’s closest ally –and the US off guard, with both Moscow and Washington calling for a return to calm and a peaceful surrender by the militant group. Speaking to state-run news agency RIA Novosti on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said, “The emergence of this type of unrest so near our borders causes great concern. It certainly encourages us to monitor the situation closely.” A spokesperson for the US State Department said the White House strongly condemns the attack but urged Armenian authorities to show restraint when dealing with the gunmen.

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JULY 22 - 25, 2016

Azerbaijan’s Aliyev Unveils Plan to Amend Constitution BY NICHOLAS WALLER


zerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on Wednesday unveiled plans to amend the country’s constitution that would prolong the presidential term from five to seven years and introduce the newly created posts of first vice president and vice president. Azerbaijan's Constitutional Court will rule on the amendments within the coming days, after which they will be put to a national referendum.

Critics of the amendments charge that Aliyev’s proposals are meant to permanently entrench his and his family's complete dominance over the small, energy-rich South Caucasus nation. The amendments would also grant Aliyev the power to schedule early presidential elections and dissolve parliament within one year if the government loses two no-confidence votes or if it rejects his nominees to the Constitutional and Supreme courts, as well as the board of Azerbaijan’s Central Bank. The minimum age for presidential candidates would be abolished and the age for election to parliament lowered

by seven years to 18. Aliyev has been in power since 2003, following the death of his father, Heidar. The younger Aliyev’s rule has followed in the footsteps of his KGB father, who ruled the country with an iron fist while courting outside investment and using oil revenues to prop up Azerbaijan’s shaky economy. As energy prices have plummeted over the last 18 months, concerns by opposition and pro-democracy forces in Azerbaijan fear that Aliyev will become even more authoritarian as he attempts to suppress dissent as living standards and real income fall.

Ministry of Environment Talks Air Pollution and Plans to Reduce It BY JOHAN FRITZEN


his June a report on the health of the peoples of the world was released by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The report contained a vast amount of data linked to mortality rates, obesity and number of health staff in each country. In terms of deaths linked to air pollution, Georgia topped the list with 292 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants pro annum. That equals 11,500 deaths in Georgia solely because of air pollution. Every year. Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan have annual numbers of 125, 110 and 68 per 100,000 inhabitants respectively. The release of the report caused a minor demonstration in Tbilisi calling for cleaner air, and spokesmen from the demonstrators as well as the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MOEP) have had a busy time giving interviews on a subject that is rarely discussed publically: The quality of air in Georgia and how it affects the lives of the citizens.

The following interview was conducted on 13 July 2016 with Noe Megrelishvili from MOEP who is chief specialist in ambient air protection.


not fair in that aspect.



The transport sector is the main air polluter. We have established some goals which will enable us to reduce emissions from this sector. They are: Mandatory checks for all vehicles which at the moment only apply to trucks and buses; strengthening public transport systems; and making the use of renewable energy more attractive. Furthermore, we are bringing the quality of fuel in Georgia in line with European Union (EU) regulations. It is also our hope that we can promote the sales of environmentally friendly cars by making them cheaper, but this has to be coordinated with other agencies.

The most recent numbers suggest that Georgia has 92 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants due to air pollution and not 292. We understand that there is a problem with poor air, but these numbers you mention are exaggerated. Our neighbouring countries have been granted the use of newer data, so the report is


No, we do not. The numbers in the report are based on data from 2004, which suggests that 46 percent of the population depends on solid fuel (e.g. wood and coal) in their homes. That is no longer the case.

They are now mentioned in our Association Agreement with the EU. The procedure with car inspections will be in force from the end of 2017. We then intend to strengthen the enforcement of this scheme as it is vaguely enforced now with fines as low as 10 GEL for failing to pass an inspection. However, we do not plan to confiscate sub-standard vehicles: only monetary penalties are on the table.

WHILE THESE GOALS SHOULD INCREASE THE AIR QUALITY THEY ONLY WORK IN THE LONG TERM. DOES THE MINISTRY HAVE ANY SHORT-TERM GOALS? First, we need to understand the causes of the pollution and the composition of the pollution itself. The past years we have expanded our use of air monitoring stations across the country so as to have more data on the subject. This information is already publically accessible through the internet and, from late 2016, automatic stations will provide data directly to the webpages. Air pollution has previously not been a high priority for the government, but the topic is now receiving more and more

focus from the public and politicians alike. For instance, WHO personnel have briefed the cabinet on the effects of air pollution. When it comes to the upcoming car inspections, we will have campaigns to raise awareness of why these checks are being implemented. They are not only linked to the environment, but also the road safety of the car with a check of “the whole package”. This autumn will also see a new set of standards to different fuel quality from MOEP.

ONE OF THE LONG-TERM GOALS OF THE MINISTRY IS TO HAVE CLEANER AIR THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. HOW CLEAN? We aim for as few deaths as possible. The release of the WHO report and the growing attention to the issue will presumably lead to the environment being discussed more at this year’s election than it has been in previous elections. Whoever wins this election one can only hope that the trust from the voters and the thrust coming from being newly appointed will be used to keep up steam in order to ensure that the recent progress on the environmental front continues.

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GEORGIA TODAY JULY 22 - 25, 2016


Gunpowder, Treason & Plot… OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA


urveys on political party ratings have long been a comedy in Georgia. Where else can a person come across results, where in one poll the support is 13 percent; 28 percent in the other, and 18 percent in the third? Especially strange when the polls are conducted almost at the same time and in the same locations. Truly miraculous, isn’t it? Over the last month, the broadcasting company Rustavi 2, governing party Georgian Dream and the newly established party the ‘State for the People’ published the results of conducted surveys and the abovementioned wonders were detected right there: the first published by Rustavi 2 on June 28th, suggesting that the error of margin in the results of the poll conducted by the company GFK was only 1-2 percent. The first three places were distributed among Georgian Dream – 30.5 percent, United National Movement – 28.2 percent and State for the People – 11.6 percent. Two days later, Georgian Dream made the results of their surveys public and although the first three winning places were the same, the distribution of percentages was completely different: Georgian Dream – 35 percent, UNM – 13 percent, State for the People – 5 percent.

Twenty days later, the State for People party, established by the former opera bass Paata Burchuladze, published their results, where the results were also different, as expected: Georgian Dream – 18 percent, UNM – 19 percent and Free Democrats – 13 percent. As we can see, the only thing an observer interested in the local politics can see clearly is that UNM has not vanished from the radar, as opposed to what the governing party “faces” predicted. The rest is chaos, and therefore logical reasoning or making conclusions becomes impossible. Even the sociological studies conducted by such reputable organizations as NDI and IRI, having published their results in spring, are hard to count on. IRI polls suggested the following results: GD – 20 percent, UNM – 19 percent and Free Democrats 13 percent. The NDI results were different again, here the UNM was in lead position with 15 percent. GD got 14 percent and Free Democrats were in third place with 5 percent. Notably, the world bass Burchuladze had not established his party at that time, therefore his party is not in those studies. However, as experience suggests, this is not important in such studies. From year to year and from poll to poll, it is always observed that in Georgia the number of the so-called “undecided electorate” is extremely high. Very often the Georgian “volatile” electorate, unlike

GD and UNM will try to create another devastating shock to this already oft-shocked country in order to ensure that the competitor will blow up on the powder keg, just as UNM exploded on the prison abuse “keg” in 2012. Source: beastyliddy

American, French, German or Japanese voters, gives their vote not to programs, concepts or values, chosen even at the last moment, but to those who in their mind seem as “strong”, “doers” and “successful”. Therefore on the day of elections, the Georgian “undecided electorate” votes against those who seem “weak”, “confused”, “unsuccessful, “failed“, “losing”, or “fearful”. The main political players know this very well: Misha knows this, Bidzina

knows this, Burchuladze and Alasania know this, too. All four of them know better. Nevertheless, in this case the latter serve the function of on-servers, trying to get the most benefits out of the political battle of the Titans. GD and UNM will try to create another devastating shock to this, already oft-shocked country, in order to ensure that the competitor will blow up on the “powder keg”, just as UNM exploded on the prison abuse “keg” in 2012.

Taking this into consideration, let’s take a closer look at the intimate video scandal, which might work as an “ignition” when the elections approach. Other ways and technologies exist as well. To be concise, the only thing for us left to “dream” for, is that the upcoming explosion won’t destroy the whole country and drag all of us with it, since GD will not easily give up its power, nor the UNM give up the real opportunity of returning to the government.




JULY 22 - 25, 2016

Could Turkey Become US Ally 'Like Pakistan'? BY IA MEURMISHVILI FOR VOICE OF AMERICA


ow the Turkish government deals with the aftermath of the July 15 attempted military coup could have lasting implications for US-Turkish relations, according to some US foreign policy experts. Turkey, as a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member, is a valuable ally of the United States. According to Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute, however, if Ankara backslides even further on democracy, rule of law and human rights, Turkey could become an ally much more in the mold of Pakistan, which has little in common with Western values, and where bilateral frictions, mistrust and recriminations are commonplace, even though both countries depend on each other for regional stability. After the failed coup attempt, many observers are concerned that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will further tighten his grip on power, purge the military and be more controlling of democratic processes in the country. While President Erdogan’s rule was widely seen as authoritarian in style, most of the international community nonetheless condemned the military coup attempt and declared support for

Turkey’s democratic institutions. But if Erdogan uses the coup as justification for further crack-down, this sympathy could evaporate. Less than 24 hours after the attempted coup started, President Erdogan appeared on live television at a rally in Istanbul, declared he was in control of the government, and said he was ready to take on the Gulenists, whom he said have caused much pain to Turkey. Erdogan then publicly asked US President Barack Obama to extradite Fethullah Gulen to Turkey. Gulen is a 75-yearold Turkish cleric residing in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. “If we are strategic partners, or model partners, do what is necessary,” said the Turkish president. In response, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that US authorities would investigate and issue a judgment against Gulen if Turkey submits evidence of wrongdoing.

MANY ARRESTS In the meantime, thousands of military personnel, including flag officers, have already been arrested, thousands of judges have been suspended, and some 140 arrest warrants have been issued against members of Turkey's Supreme Court. In addition, Turkish media reported that the education ministry fired about 15,200 teachers, Ministry of Internal Affairs dismissed almost 9,000 workers and the Ministry of Finance fired another 1,500 staffers. The Turkish

board for higher education also requested the resignation of over 1,500 university deans. As the coup attempt was unfolding, the West showed unequivocal support for Turkish democracy. Executive Director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership and former US Ambassador to NATO, Kurt Volker, believes “this [support] will give Erdogan some running room to establish order and security in the country” following the coup attempt. He also stated that “Erdogan, who had

Even though we recognize it’s a flawed ally, we do whatever we can to keep the relationship up regardless

already shown some very strong antidemocratic tendencies before this coup, will use it as a justification for cracking down on society even more.” This type of repressive governance could potentially lead to a “more restrictive environment in Turkey, less press freedom, less political openness.” Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former US Defense Department official, says the West is not going to be trapped by this stated support for democracy if the government cracks down. “Going after the judiciary and the press is not acceptable. The Europeans, Americans and others can say that they stood up against an illegal coup. However, they also support the rule of law – and it can be violated either by the coup plotters or by the president of Turkey,” Rubin told VOA. Volker does not think Turkey’s overall strategic goals would change. He therefore does not anticipate any major foreign policy cleavages with the United States in the short term. However, if human rights and rule of law are abused by the government, “in the long run, it will lead to frictions” with the West.

DELICATE DIPLOMACY In light of a turbulent election year in the United States, as well as increased terrorist activities in Europe, Western leaders may be inclined to be less critical of Erdogan’s authoritarian rule in

order to maintain stability in the region. “He may try to ride that wave of stability,” admitted Rubin. However, the United States “relying on a strongman in order to stabilize the region may be a shortterm strategy.” Rubin believes US-Turkish relations are already changing and not for the better. “The United States is entering into a corollary situation to what we have with Pakistan. In that, we deal with antiAmericanism, which sometimes is incited by the government. At the same time, even though we recognize it’s a flawed ally, we do whatever we can to keep the relationship up regardless.” Shortly after Erdogan demanded Gulen’s extradition from America, Turkish authorities grounded almost all US military flights from Incirlik airbase. From this airbase, the US military conducts its air raids in neighboring Syria against the Islamic State. These flights are now on hold. Officials claimed the need to protect the safety of Turkish airspace until all military aircraft, which may have been used during the attempted coup, are accounted for. In addition, the Pentagon reported that commercial power to the base was cut, and Incirlik was operating on an internal power supply. While it may be too early to say what the implications for US-Turkish relations may be after the failed coup d’état in Turkey, steps such as these may suggest that Ankara has already started saberrattling.


GEORGIA TODAY JULY 22 - 25, 2016


Conjecturing Turkey’s Attempted Coup BY GSR


t’s readily apparent that the July 15th attempted coup in Turkey caught everyone by surprise. The very idea was off the analytical radar screen. Military coups were passe, a relic of the Cold War era. Furthermore, the Pashas (aka Turkey’s military leadership) had been chastened by a series of purges regarding alleged conspiracies against civilian rule, particularly Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 13 year tenure as Prime Minister now President. The nation’s EU drive was another factor and a putsch would negate any progress Turkey had made to formally become a part of Europe. Obviously these assumptions need to be re-examined. There’s dissension within Turkish military ranks as to where the nation is heading. The list of grievances – terrorist bombings, the Kurdish conflict, neighboring Syria’s ongoing quagmire, Erdogan’s growing authoritarianism – likely prompted what occurred. Questions linger as to who masterminded this effort, with speculation ranging from a once-close ally of Erdogan’s to theories that the coup might have been deliberately staged by the government itself. What’s implicit with this outlook is the military having been led astray by a manipulative force outside its purview. Are these accurate evaluations?

THE GOVERNMENT NARRATIVE Turkish officials condemn Fethullah Gulen, a cleric living in the United States for what transpired. Until the recent past, Gulen

was closely aligned with the Erdogan administration and an influential factor in the rise of Islamist politics within Turkey. The Gulen network, commonly referred to as the Hizmet (‘movement”), contributed financial and organizational support to solidifying Erdogan’s governmental hold. Several of Turkey’s ministries, noticeably those dealing with security matters, became Hizmet enclaves. A “parallel state,” as the Erdogan administration now derisively calls it, was being formed. The Erdogan-Gulen alliance began disintegrating when the former began to cull the movement’s influence in 2013. Government audits were launched against

Latest Turkey Stats 7,500 soldiers have been detained, including 118 generals and admirals 8,000 police have been removed from their posts and 1,000 arrested 3,000 members of the judiciary, including 1,481 judges, have been suspended 15,200 education ministry officials have lost their jobs 21,000 private school teachers have had their licences revoked 1,577 university deans (faculty heads) have been asked to resign 1,500 finance ministry staff have been removed 492 clerics, preachers and religious teachers have been fired 393 social policy ministry staff have been dismissed 257 prime minister's office staff have been removed 100 intelligence officials have been suspended Source: BBC & Sabah

Gulen’s commercial and educational enterprises – the core of Hizmet’s financial support – while Gulenist-dominated agencies were investigated. In retaliation, the Hizmet released information reflecting widespread corruption among government ministers and several of Erdogan’s business associates. The Erdogan family was eventually implicated, prompting a massive purging of governmental employees. Bureaucracies affiliated with the Gulenists were especially targeted, the foremost being the police, judicial and intelligence agencies. Gulen has denied being behind the attempted coup, declaring himself “as someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades” and therefore insulted “to be accused of having such a link to such an event.” The government and most of Turkey’s media believes otherwise, seeing this as a concerted effort by the Gulenists to regain authority.

THE ANTI-GOVERNMENT NARRATIVE Certain media outlets suspect the coup was deliberately created by Erdogan and his colleagues for political purposes. According to this viewpoint, the undertaking was badly coordinated, lacking a coherent command structure; vital matters considering the risk and magnitude involved. An attempted overthrow would also galvanize support for a contentious measure Erdogan wants to achieve, namely his desire to attain greater executive powers. Parliamentary opposition and Turkey’s constitution has made this an elusive goal so far. There is a foreboding sense, especially in secularist circles, that if

Erdogan achieves this, the governmental system would resemble Putin’s Russia.

SPECULATION Who were the conspirators? Did they act on behalf of the Gulen movement or their own impulse? While the majority of those being detained are privates and NCO’s, the significant number of junior level officers under arrest is leading commentators to deem this a “colonels coup”. Senior command wasn’t supportive of the rebellion, the respective heads of the various branches held by the plotters until the coup fell apart. Whether the Hizmet was directly involved remains to be seen. Certain officers were likely aligned with the movement, but there are questions about active support, considering the aforementioned purges and logistical challenges for managing such an undertaking from Gulen’s US headquarters. Regarding whether this was a staged incident to enhance Erdogan’s ambitions, the resultant bloodshed – 265 people dead,

1,440 wounded – makes this a cynically bitter assertion. Instead of viewing the coup as part of the ongoing struggle between Erdogan and Gulen, the officers involved might have participated for a very different reason. What’s missing from many interpretations is the probable concern these participants had about Turkey’s direction. It’s conceivable that this was a last ditch Praetorian effort to salvage the nation from encroaching authoritarianism and Islamist precepts. A core belief still exists in the Turkish military that they are the guarantors of Western secularist values by whatever means necessary. While this was a misguided action with potentially costly consequences for the armed forces and Turkish society, it also conveyed a sense of desperation about the country’s future. GSR is a policy analyst who has worked with democratic development projects in Turkey and the Caucasus. Copyright GSR 2016




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JULY 22 - 25, 2016

In Defiance of Secularism, Democracy and Freedom of Expression: Ogden on Georgian-Turkish Relations OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN


he behaviour of politicians and national leaders often makes me feel the urge to scream at my computer screen and risk the neighbours calling for psychiatric assistance, but the reactions to last week's coup attempt in Turkey have given me even greater concern than usual (by which I mean I only managed to narrowly restrain myself from smashing the crockery and charging into the street with a burning torch). I've not spent much time in Turkey, but I have rather a mixed perception from what I've seen in the time I have spent there. My negative views were further vindicated by stories my wife told me of the country; as a young medical student of 21 (a number of years before I met her), she worked in a Turkish hospital as part of an internship experience program for one month. During that time, she was told not to leave her accommodation after five o'clock at night (yes, that's right, five), and was very nearly raped on two occasions – and undoubtedly would have been, had her friends not been with her. All of this, mark you, in a 'secular' and modern European-Asian state. I do not believe that one can truly like or dislike anything without proper study

One can only assume that modern Turks don't care too much for modern Turkey, and would prefer a return to the Ottoman which case, Georgians might do well to recall their history before the Russians annexed Georgia for their empire

and understanding, and my Turkish research eventually led me to Kemal Ataturk. I had originally thought the praise given to the memory of Ataturk by politicians (Saakashvili amongst them) was the typical fawning of politically correct-minded public figures, but the ignorance of fashionable think-

ers was, in this case, nothing compared with mine. I learned that this was a man who recognised the rotting Ottoman cancer for what it was, and resolved to drag his country into the modern world and create a secular republic; he was also quoted as saying that all the best things in the world were a result of the

work of women, and I, as a misandrist who despises all men, found myself in ready agreement. Yet what I had seen and heard of modern Turkey – in both its culture and its government – did not resemble Ataturk's vision. Plainly the Turkish military have had similar misgivings, as they have never been afraid to launch coups against the government whenever they feel that Turkey's secularism was at risk. In addition, since the instigators of the coup – the Peace at Home Council – took their name from an Ataturk quote, it is highly unlikely that they were in any way connected with Fetuhullah Gulen as Erdogan would like the world to believe. Turkey's secularism has never been more at risk than it is now. That Erdogan's government has become increasingly Islamist over the years is common knowledge, but the reaction by the rest of the world to the attempted coup has served as another example of the spinelessness of the West. Washington hedged its best by originally simply stating that it 'supported democracy', which could be taken to mean that it was hoping for the downfall of the Erdogan dictatorship or that the US supported the elected government. The strongest step the West has taken is stating that Turkey's membership in NATO will 'maybe' be at risk if it reintroduces the death penalty to execute the revolutionaries. As a Georgian citizen, it causes me

considerable alarm when the Georgian government periodically announces more Turkish investments in Georgia, or 'deepening cooperation' with Turkey, or 'deepening bilateral ties' with Turkey. Though Georgians have such long memories of Russian domination over them under the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union, it often surprises me that they seem to have forgotten the centuries of Ottoman raids, enslavement and conquest...and the ideology behind all of it, which is the same as that which Erdogan adheres to. Georgia naturally needs to maintain good relations with a neighbour as big and powerful as Turkey, but I was truly shocked by the support Erdogan enjoys, especially as his ideology is so at odds with that of Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey; one can only assume that modern Turks don't care too much for modern Turkey, and would prefer a return to the Ottoman which case, Georgians might do well to recall their history before the Russians annexed Georgia for their empire. A country which has been dogged by allegations of sympathy for the Islamic State, and launches attacks against the Kurds (the only people who have fought effective campaigns against IS) and openly talks of reintroducing the death penalty and headscarves for women in defiance of secularism, democracy and freedom of expression, is not a country I would want Georgia getting any closer to.


GEORGIA TODAY JULY 22 - 25, 2016


Cruelty Has the Ball, or World War Three

The rules of WW3 do not include words like brave, intelligent, courageous, strong and fair. The newly recognized values are cunning, ambush, anger, grudge, kill-theinnocent, get-them-now, grab-the-moment, mercy-does-not-pay, cruelty-has-the-ball.



ould it be fair to say that the world has become a more violent place to live than it was before? Probably not, because the world may not be described as more violent now than it was during World wars One and Two, but more weirdly violent- yes, it definitely seems to be so today. Weirdly violent! Secretly violent! Surreptitiously violent! These epithets would describe the violence in the modern world to the level of accuracy of mathematical precision. Weird it is because the sides of violence are weird. One of the warring sides is the peacefully working unsuspecting population of the world, hereinafter referred to as Population, and the other side is made up of angryfor-various-right-and-wrong-reasons part of the world’s population, which uses physical terror against the Population to perpetuate their mostly incomprehensible cause. Let us, for the sake of simplicity, here call them Terrorists. Confrontation between the Population and the Terrorists could easily qualify as war, and I am tending to call it World War Three. In conventional wars though, the adversaries know each other, the sides are identifiable, and they are armed to the affordable capacity and power. The whole game – as strange as it might sound – looks fairly honest: the strongest and the smartest to emerge a winner. In the new World War Three, things are

slightly different: only one side is armed, the Terrorists; the other side, the Population, is absolutely defenseless and vulnerable, not even having a pen-knife in the pocket to peel an occasional apple or peach. The Terrorists are usually invisible, and the Population is displayed in the field, clear to all. The Terrorists plan their attacks well in advance and the Population is always caught napping. The Terrorists are always angry and fuming, thus morally ready to commit violence, but the Population usually feels happy and balanced, each of us minding our own business and never suspecting the possibility of violence against us. In this process of violence perpetrated by the Terrorists and taken as another Wrath of God by the Population, even

regular human values vary in the two different cases of human existence. For instance, the rules of World War Three would not even include words like brave, intelligent, courageous, strong and fair. The newly recognized values are cunning, ambush, anger, grudge, kill-theinnocent, get-them-now, grab-them o m e n t , m e r c y - d o e s - n o t - p ay, cruelty-has-the-ball, etc. The Population is scared and losing courage, and even taste for life, as a consequence of those unfathomably wicked attacks of the Terrorists, and the Terrorists are becoming stronger, braver and readier with every new assault, proudly and openly claiming that the new massacre was their work. One of the most stunning differences

between the Population and the Terrorists is that the Population counts billions of human heads, and the Terrorists are only hundreds of thousands in number, creating a clear impression that numbers do not count. It is faith that has meaning and does wonders. As to faith, it is universally and tactfully recognized that religious difference is not an argument in World War Three. Talking straight and loud about religious differences between the Population and the Terrorists is a taboo, and breaching that taboo might mean a global catastrophe. In the meantime, we hear some faint voices that the continuous violence, committed by the Terrorists and so cruelly suffered by the Population almost every day of the week, could be ascribed

to a clash of civilizations. Some famous authors and their wise books would dare talk about this most difficult issue of contemporary life on Earth. Some of these books even state that violence in the given form will never stop unless the global problems are taken care of globally. As we philosophize and theorize around the issue, somewhere in the world there could be a crowd of Population right now which might in a twinkle of an eye become victim of another attack of Terrorists- Terrorists contemplating at this very moment their revenge against those who are only the innocent instruments with which to send a signal to those who are thought to be the real brewers of injustices in the world.




JULY 22 - 25, 2016

Ukrainian-US Military Exercises Sea Breeze started in the Black Sea BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE


nternational Ukrainian-US military exercise “Sea Breeze”, involving 16 countries and 4,000 personnel, began on Monday, July 18, in the north-western part of the Black Sea, Odessa and Nikolaev areas. The opening ceremony of the manoeuvres took place in Odessa. The Ukrainian side in this year's manoeuvres is led by Captain of the First Rank, Alexei Doskato, while the American division is headed by Captain of the

First Rank, Richard Dromerhauzer. Sea Breeze exercises have been held since 1997. This year's exercises significantly expand the geography of places and areas of conduct. “Time has shown that they are one of the most effective measures of international cooperation, since they allow the training of soldiers, ships and units to work out cooperation, exchange experiences and establish friendly relations,” said First Deputy Commander of Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Andrey Tarasov. Besides Ukraine and the United States, Sea Breeze sees the participation of Bulgaria, Great Britain, Georgia, Greece, Italy,

Ukrainian Navy frigate Hetman Sahaidachnyi (R) and US Navy missile destroyer Donald Cook (DDG-75) tied up during the Sea Breeze 2015 military drill opening ceremony at the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine. Source:

Spain, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Sweden and Finland. Manoeuvres to practise "stabilization operations during operation in the crisis region to NATO standards" will involve 25 warships, boats and supply vessels of the Ukrainian, US, Romanian and Turkish navies, 20 airplanes and helicopters, more than 140 cars and armored vehicles, and 700 personnel of Marine and Army units, says the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. As part of the exercise, scheduled tasks are to be held in combat sea and air landing, working artillery during anti-airborne defense, overcoming water obstacles with the assistance of engineer units, specific actions to ensure security in the maritime sector, search and rescue operations at sea, firing artillery guns of various calibers (14.5, 30, 76.2 mm), control and inspection of suspect ships, aerial reconnaissance operations to destroy bridges, and the construction of floating pontoons. Further, this week, in the territorial waters of Romania and international waters of the Black Sea, extensive international exercises involving the naval forces of Romania are taking place, named “Sea Shield,” on 18-22 July. "As part of the exercise it will be evaluated, by the structure of the Romanian Navy, which should become part of the NATO Response Force," the Romanian Navy said Monday. A thousand Romanian sailors and sailors will fulfil the standard NATO procedure to repel submarines, air threats and threats from the sea. 22 ships and nine aircraft will be involved.

Iran May Supply Gas to Georgia



ran is soon to begin to supply gas to Georgia. According to managing director of the National Iranian Gas Exports Company (NIGEC), Alireza Kameli, Tehran is seriously working on the gas export project which has significant geo-economic importance, the final point of the route being the European Union.

On July 13, Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov, was on a visit to Tehran to discuss the creation of an energy corridor for the transportation of gas to Bulgaria. The new gas route Iran Armenia - Georgia - Bulgaria is to be discussed by experts in Sofia. Every year, Iran plans to export to Georgia 500 million cubic meters of gas annually. The 113 km long pipeline Iran Armenia was put into operation in 2007 with a maximum capacity of up to 2 billion cubic meters of gas per year.



JULY 22 - 25, 2016


Abkhaz-Georgian Youngster Seeking Support to Study in America’s Top School BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES


viad Adzinbaia, 24, is an internally displaced person (IDP) from Abkhazia. The young man of Abkhaz origin graduated from Sokhumi State University two years ago and earned his BA diploma in Political Science with honors. Since then, Zviad has shown extraordinary zest and daring in deciding to join a top US school in International Relations. The day he made the decision, Zviad put a large sticker of the world renowned Tufts Fletcher School on his wall and carefully set to following a strategy to become part of it. Zviad Adzinbaia’s motivation to join the family of world leaders and global thinkers stemmed from his sore life experience. As a two-year-old, along with his family and hundreds of thousands of others, he faced deadly occupation in Abkhazia and became homeless in his own country in 1993. As a child raised in a windowless temporary shelter in western Georgia, Zviad dreamed about having an apple from his garden in Abkhazia’s district of Gali, where he and his family were no longer allowed. “I had a strong sense of injustice and wanted to make a change in the future,”

Zviad told GEORGIA TODAY. Zviad had internalized his future plans and Fletcher’s role in his life, but it did not prevent him from being rejected in 2015. Despite this unpleasant fact, he successfully employed principles of “being able to fail and never giving up” and effectively transformed his challenges into possibilities. He made his extra mile toward the institution he believed could change his life and not surprisingly, in March this year, Zviad Adzinbaia, “for his outstanding skills and significant achievements”, was accepted on the Fletcher School’s distinguished Master’s program in Law and Diplomacy. His early student life has clearly directed him to this success, with Zviad joining dozens of international projects, including Leadership Schools with Harvard instructors and a Global Youth Conference at the UN Headquarters that helped him shape his international perspective. “My goal is to make a contribution to my country’s unification,” the sophomore told Harvard Magazine in 2012. At the age of 19, Zviad started an NGO in order to promote his most deeply held ideal: “Georgia should return to its European family.” He involved hundreds of volunteers country-wide to help raise awareness on Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic path.

Zviad’s former Dean at Sokhumi State University, Professor Kavtaradze, told GEORGIA TODAY that while an undergraduate, Zviad extensively explored issues of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and conflicts he believed were vital matters for Georgia. “Zviad is a globally thinking, intelligent and progressoriented person, who I strongly believe can make a change in his country and beyond,” the Professor said. As a young scholar, Zviad flourished academically and professionally at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), one of the leading think tanks in Georgia. He greatly enjoyed lessons by GFSIS’s late founding President, Alexander Rondeli. As a fellow of the USG-funded Security and Diplomacy Program, Zviad was also privileged to attend modules of lectures by Ambassador David Smith, one of the latter negotiators with the USSR delegation in Geneva, and Professor Ross Harrison from Georgetown University. Zviad’s education and experiences in Georgia, Europe, and the USA have also inspired him to attain more advanced knowledge to achieve a position – preferably in a diplomatic or security field – in which he could make a greater impact in the geopolitics of the South Caucasus. He says Fletcher’s unparalleled academic

reputation and its special programs with Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) can greatly help him advance human rights in Georgia and contribute to the resolution of conflicts in his own country. To this aim, Zviad Adzinbaia is asking the broader public for support. Last week, he was able to receive a prestigious government-funded scholarship based on merit, along with Fletcher’s academic award, to help cover his tuition expenses. However, he is still missing 18 000 USD to fully be able to start his MA Studies this August. “I am honored to have received the scholarship award from the International Education Center where the competition was tremendous,” Zviad told us, adding that he is trying his best

to gather the rest of the funds to pursue his lifelong passion. “I am almost in this great country (USA) and the institution (Fletcher School) and I need people to help me become a more committed global citizen. I am kindly asking everyone, in Georgia and outside, who has anything common with me or just shares my ideas and goals, to extend any kind of assistance,” says the young Abkhaz. “I am committed to my own country and to the world and I will be honored to dedicate my entire career to positively contributing to making my country and the world better places to live in,” Zviad declares. Zviad can be contacted at: +995593421750,




JULY 22 - 25, 2016

Field Invasion: Svaneti to plant a hay crop as we will have killed everything else in the same process. We haven't done this before. Reminds me of the temp job I had for a few months in a greenhouse "factory" in the southwest of England in 1991. They sterilized the chrysanthemum beds between plantings by covering them with a thick sheet of plastic weighted down on all edges, and then pumping superheated steam through this for half an hour or so. Stops all organic life dead in that soil, and then you're free to plant only and exactly what you want. In this case, 'mums for London. Drastic times like these call for equally drastic measures, so we'll do what we must to annihilate the hated invader as thoroughly as possible; and then if it creeps back, I'll be ready to deal with individual plants as and if they crop up in future. What's the beloved phrase? With extreme prejudice, that sums up exactly how I feel, un-martial and pacifist though I usually am. Its name, you were wondering? In Latin, it's called heracleum (from Hercules: nice) mantegazzianum, or "giant hogweed" in plain English. Let the cautious reader beware, you have been warned! If you're going to mess with it, armor up well; if you have the possibility to call in the big guns to do their thing, all the better, believe someone who is not looking forward to his task.



was warned, but I failed to understand how quickly this one spreads. If I had (literally) nipped it in the bud, there would likely be no reason to write this article. Ah, good ol' 20-20 hindsight. Instead, I find myself fighting a daily battle with a weed which, if you find it in, say, Canada, you are advised to leave alone and call for the specialists. Huh! Wish I had that luxury. Weed? More like a monster. Its leaves can grow to a meter long, its stalks that long too, and thick as my big toe or more. The only redeeming thing about such thick stalks is that they're ridiculously easy to scythe or clip, quite succulent and soft, not tough or woody; the blade rips through them like the proverbial knife through soft butter. In the photo, the fence is about a meter high, for size comparison. BUT! The juice therein will react with sunlight if you get it on your skin, and a day or two later you'll have nasty burnlike boils erupt. And if it gets in your eyes... you'll likely go blind. So you need good protection if you decide to make a stand, gloves and goggles a minimum. There's nothing edible here by humans, either, in case you're thinking of a relative of, say, rhubarb, which at least you can consume once you've boiled it. Cows, however, will eat it and not be harmed, fresh or dry, which is a small help. If you cut it right down to the ground, more stems will quickly push themselves up from the root, and they'll realize that the battle is on and rush to flower as quickly as possible, much faster than you

would have expected. You need to dig it out by the roots, and clip every flower. But even if you do succeed in eradicat-

ing it from your own yard, there are more happily flowering plants laughing at you from the neighbor's, and your fence is

useless to stop them. Invasion indeed! We plan to plow all our land this fall, to deal with the thing firmly, and them

Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance� Facebook group, now with over 1300 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:




JULY 22 - 25, 2016

A Perspective on Dog Population Management, Rabies Prevention & Control in Georgia

Mayhew vets demonstrating surgery at Tbilisi Agrarian University



ayhew International, part of the UK registered charity The Mayhew Animal Home, began its association with Georgia in 2009, when we welcomed a Georgian vet with an interest in animal welfare to our facilities in London for intensive training in small animal reproductive surgery. That connection remained on her return to Tbilisi and since 2013 our team has made regular visits to Tbilisi and built up a network of contacts to help introduce more effective ways of addressing the issues of street dogs there. Presently, this comprises providing veterinary training for the Municipal shelter vets and qualified vets and vet students at Tbilisi’s Agrarian University Clinic, working with the local authorities to improve shelter management and guidance on the implementation of a Trap, Neuter, Release programme for street dogs in Tbilisi with mandatory rabies vaccination, combined with advice on community education and disease control, including rabies, as well as supporting local animal welfare NGO – Dog Organisation Georgia. Mayhew International collaborates with other international animal welfare organisations around the world and has actively participated in mass rabies vaccination programmes with Mission Rabies in Ranchi, India and high volume neutering campaigns for dogs and recently completed the first ever Dog Population Survey Kabul, Afghanistan, laying the groundwork for a large scale rabies vaccination project there. Rabies prevention, control and ultimate elimination of the disease is a global public health issue. Rabies is 100% preventable yet continues to kill thousands of people around the world, many of whom are children. Intervention by post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment following a bite will never completely eradicate the source of the disease; it is very costly and only available to those who have easy access to appropriate healthcare facilities. Most rabies cases in humans come from dog bites, not only from free roaming dogs, but from owned pets carrying the disease. It has been scientifically proven that a decline in human rabies deaths closely mirrors the decline in dog rabies cases, and by investing in the global elimination of

dog-mediated human rabies through mass vaccination, presently being promoted though cross-collaborative campaigns such as the End Rabies Now campaign, Mission Rabies, World Animal Protection’s Better Lives for Dogs campaign and through the auspices of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control amongst others, is ultimately the most effective approach. Vaccination of 70 percent of the dog population is considered to be sufficient to eliminate canine rabies regardless of dog density or ownership patterns and there is substantial evidence from projects in Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, Tanzania, KwaZulu Natal, SA and Malawi (too numerous to list here) to show this. Culling of dogs does not eliminate rabies or other zoonotic diseases, nor does it help to reduce the roaming dog population in the long-term – government funds spent on culling dog populations in the misguided hope that the number of dogs on the streets will disappear never to return or that rabies will not raise its ugly head is a waste of money and not sustainable. However, it must be acknowledged that free-roaming dogs can and do cause concerns for the communities in which they live, and not just for the dogs themselves. Concerns around disease transmission, dog bites, traffic accidents, noise etc. need to be addressed through constructive collaboration between the animal health, human health and environmental sectors. Such collaboration is known as the One Health concept. The One Health approach, combining vaccination and population management control with education and training is more humane and more sustainable in the long-term. In recent years the WHO, the OIE – World Organisation for Animal Health and Food & Agricultural Organization of the UN, working with both animal welfare and human health NGOs, have developed the One Health Tripartite which gives global guidance and was launched in December 2015 in Geneva. Georgia, like every other country, reports to the One Health Tripartite for both human and animal rabies and is also working on the Canine Rabies Stepwise Approach - a system to ensure full integration of all aspects required to eliminate rabies in animals and people. Georgia is also part of the MEEREB group (which covers the Caucasus, Balkans and Middle East) which regularly reports on ongoing rabies efforts. In Georgia, with a human population of ca. 4 milContinued on page 15



JULY 22 - 25, 2016

Continued from page 14

lion, that reports approx. 5 human deaths of rabies/ year presently, nearly USD 3.5 million is spent on dealing with the rabies issue and ca. 28 000 PEP treatments a year. However, the actual size of the Georgian dog population remains unknown. Some studies have been carried out recently in Tbilisi which suggests a roaming population of ca. 45,000 dogs, but more research needs to be done on the methodology and accuracy of such figures. Earlier studies for the period 2004 -2014 of the number of animals infected reported 47.8 percent were owned dogs, 28.4% roaming dogs and the rest wildlife, cats, and cattle. Dog population management and rabies control is a massive challenge for any country, any organization or agency. There are no simple, short-term answers and the issue needs a multi-faceted approach which must include buy-in from several stakeholders including national and regional government, legislators, the local populace, the private and public sector, the veterinary profession, veterinary training establishments and educational bodies in general as well as animal welfare groups both from inside Georgia and out. Therein lies the challenge as there will be a myriad of opinions on the best methods to address the issues and, yes, it is an emotive issue. But ultimately it is not the behaviour of dogs that needs to be changed but the behaviours and attitudes of people. The main components of a successful dog population management programme include • Legislation; • Controlling access to resources; – i.e. waste control, litter etc.; • Holding facilities/shelters and rehoming centers; – all of which should be temporary as these facilities alone cannot solve the issue of free-roaming dogs and nor is it possible to “rehome” oneself out of the problem. They are also very costly and time-consuming to run properly. Any dog (or cat) rehomed from a center should be neutered, vaccinated and treated for parasites and the new owners provided with information on their responsibilities. Rehoming unneutered, non-vaccinated animals is irresponsible and simply adds to the problem you are trying to solve; • Preventative dog health care – neutering, vaccination and parasite control - of both free-roaming dogs and owned pets; • Humane euthanasia - for cases of incurable disease, injury or behavioural problems with no prospect of recovery or rehabilitation and to end suffering when an animal’s quality of life is seriously in question, euthanasia is a necessary part of a dog management program. But understanding the reasoning behind

Roaming dogs neutered & vaccinated against rabies

this is vital. Euthanasia should not be a tool for population or disease control per se and when carried out should be done 100% humanely and with sensitivity; • Identification and registration - the best way to connect a pet with its owner and promote responsible, caring pet ownership; • Education/awareness-raising – this is really fundamental as the causes and effect of freeroaming dogs are all influenced by human behaviour and understanding. Communities need to understand the benefits of having dogs in the area, understand dog behaviour, the background behind their concerns and to understand the basic concepts of a dog population management program, disease prevention and control, which will all lead to an overall improvement in dog ownership and standards of animal welfare. Tbilisi, and Georgia as a whole, needs a cohesive strategy to deal with the very visible roaming dog population and the threat of rabies. Georgia has some national and local government infrastructure in place and understands largely the theories behind dog population management and rabies control, but presently is lacking some baseline assessments, capacity and recent expertise to address it in such a way that impact is visible. This is where commitment from all stakeholders in necessary. Through our work over recent years we can see gaps in the process which can ultimate mean that present interventions will fail unless a more cohesive approach is taken. • A proper survey of the dog population (owned and roaming) needs to be carried out. Without knowing your starting figure, no evaluation of impact can be made for interventions implemented; • Investment in veterinary training and other animal care professionals so that standards can be brought up to international levels: • there is limited knowledge of small animal medicine & surgery and presently not enough competent surgeons internally to carry out high volume neutering campaigns, notwithstanding the provision of high standard veterinary care to the pet owning population; • Raising awareness in the general public on the root causes of street/stray dog populations, the correlation of these dogs with the owned pet population and the concept and benefits of how a trap, neuter, vaccinate & release initiative works. Mayhew International works and will work with those agencies in Georgia that are committed to introducing this One Health concept. We will share the knowledge we have and give practical assistance where appropriate; this includes continued collaboration with the Tbilisi Agrarian University to improve the veterinary science degree curriculum, practical training for vet professionals, assistance with dog population management and vaccination programs on a national and regional level and encouraging a more cohesive coalition of Georgian partners to address issues constructively to create an environment where dogs and humans can live alongside each other safe and secure in their communities. For more information on Mayhew International go to: or email

Contact: Phone: 599 461908





JULY 22 - 25, 2016

New Magazine about Anaklia Project Launched in Georgia BY EKA KARSAULIDZE


he Anaklia Port and Free Industrial Zone is launching its own personal communication means with the public from July 18. Anaklia Magazine will be published every two months, to cover the stages of Anaklia project development, the stories of local residents, culture, and changes in the city. The magazine will be distributed free of charge. Mamuka Khazaradze, the Co-founder of Anaklia Development Consortium, said that despite the fact that Anaklia is developing in a potentially important economic location, the success of the country depends on not only a single point. “Aside from information about the Port and Industrial Zone, we will provide our citizens and business sector with all the information about what is happening in other regions of Georgia,” he said. The creators of the magazine noted that over the years, Georgia has




neglected it maritime potential, while the Port’s construction in Anaklia will be able to open new economic benefits. “Moreover, Anaklia has always been considered as a key in its bordering of Abkhazia, and we created a separate section in the magazine where we will talk about the relations between the two and even involve Abkhazian authors in our project,” said Merab Adeishvili, Publisher of Anaklia Magazine. That said, despite the economic potential of the city, the main focus of the magazine is made on its inhabitants. “Because everything being built and developed there is done for local residents,” Khazaradze said.


TK 379 TK 387 TK 383 TK 386 TK 382 TK 378 TK 381 TK 381 TK 380 TK 391 TK 393 TK 390 TK 392

The magazine has many stories of local people, the heroes of the seaside town, farmers, beginner entre-



EVERYDAY 1/2/4/5/6/7 3 EVERYDAY 1/2/4/6/7 1/3/4/5/7 1/2/4/6/7 1/3/4/5/7



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04:05 08:05 00:30+1 04:55 21:30 00:30+1 05:50 06:30 22:55 11:40 21:20 09:20 19:20

10 Galaktion Street

preneurs and children. It gives an opportunity to see how the lives of local residents change in parallel with the

construction of the Free Industrial Zone and Anaklia Port, which is called the Project of the Century.

Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail:


GEORGIA TODAY JULY 22 - 25, 2016


Acclaimed Georgian Multimedia Artist Takes Tbilisi’s Museum of Fine Arts by Storm

FOR SALE: BMW – 321 model



bilisi’s Museum of Fine Arts on July 20 hosted Georgian multimedia artist Irina Gabiani. The graphic artist and Luxembourg resident showcased several of her two-dimensional works, installations, statues, video-art and photos as part of her ‘Open Universe’ exhibition. The works were created for this particular exhibition, with the artist’s main source of inspiration being the complexity and diversity of the macro and micro world. Gabiani believes that humanity is part of a unique series of events that are interlinked with one another. Her works include images of leaves, vases and glasses split into two parts that represent both the physical and cerebral worlds, as well as the thin boundary that separates them.

“I want to congratulate Irina Gabiani on today’s exhibition. I am happy that every new exhibition of hers is connected with new discoveries. Each and every display of Irina’s works enables us to see the creative works of this talented and extraordinary artist from a new angle,“ Lela Tsitsuashvili, the curator of the exhibition, said in her opening speech. Gabiani moved to the Netherlands in 1993, where she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts. Following her graduation, she moved to Luxemburg where she remains today. “My last exhibition here was at the auditorium of the Georgian National Museum’s video arts department. I’d had a photo and video exhibition here, before. A year earlier, I had an exhibition at the Georgian National Museum. I am an artist and I am Georgian, and therefore, it is of the utmost importance that I exhibit my work in my home country. I try to present something new to my compatriots. I have different

directions as I do installations, graphic art, videos, performance, etc. Normally, I work on pieces that resemble the micro and macro worlds. I try and observe how similar rivers and the roots of trees are to human veins,” Gabiani said in and interview with GEORGIA TODAY. “I really enjoy different pictures. The longer you look at them, the more you see. If you look at pictures from a distance, there are only 2-3 lines. But when I approached it, I saw people, cars, circles, etc,“ German patron Eike Pockrandt told GEORGIA TODAY. Gabiani holds regular exhibitions and participates in dozens of international video art festivals, art-forums and prestigious international projects. In 2015, Gabiani’s ‘Part of the Whole’ video was screened in Japan and she had a solo exhibition in Turin, Italy at the Giampiero Biasutti Gallery. She also held exhibitions and screenings in Paris and Berlin throughout 2015. The ‘Open Universe’ exhibition continues through to July 30.

Georgia for the Jewish Travelers Brochure Published BY MERI TALIASHVILI


he fact that Georgia is becoming increasingly popular in Israel was the incentive for the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) to publish a brochure called Georgia for the Jewish Travelers. It has been published both in Hebrew and English languages and contains information about existing synagogues throughout Georgia and the David Baazov Museum of History of Jews of Georgia located in Tbilisi. “The booklet describing almost all Jewish historical and cultural buildings, including synagogues, is of utmost importance,” said Giorgi Chogovadze,

Head of the GNTA. “Israel is our top priority destination market from which

we receive a lot of tourists and the GNTA does its best to attract as many of them as possible. For example, we brought dozens of journalists from Israel to make our country more recognizable on the Israeli market and will continue in this way.” According to the six months of 2016, 33 252 international tourists came from Israel to Georgia. Compared to the same period last year: the number has increased by 95.4 percent. “The Museum of History of Jews of Georgia is pleased with this initiative,” said Jamlet Khukhashvili, Chairman of the Council of Museum Revival. “The brochure is vital not only for Jews but all tourists coming here. Jewish cultural monuments are what Israeli tourists like most in Georgia and this small book contains everything.” The booklet is to be made available at airports and tourists agencies.

Date of issue 1936

PRICE 10.000 USD

CONTACT PERSON 557 12 38 90




JULY 22 - 25, 2016


MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 July 22 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Free Entry July 23, 24 PERFORMANCE "LABYRINTH" Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: From 15 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari July 22-28 CAFÉ SOCIETY Directed by Woody Allen Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL STAR TREK BEYOND Directed by Justin Lin Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Anton Yelchin, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 14:30, 19:45, 22:00 Ticket: 8-14 GEL EQUALS Directed by Drake Doremus Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Vernetta Lopez, Scott Lawrence Language: Russian Start time: 17:15 Ticket: 8-14 GEL ME BEFORE YOU Directed by Thea Sharrock

Genre: Drama, Romance Cast: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer Language: Russian Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL GENIUS Directed by Michael Grandage Genre: Biography, Drama Cast: Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL July 22-28 LIGHTS OUT Directed by David F. Sandberg Genre: Horror Cast: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello Language: Russian Start time: 18:30, 20:30, 22:30 Ticket: 11-14 GEL SADAKO VS KAYAKO Directed by Kôji Shiraishi Genre: Horror Cast: Mizuki Yamamoto, Tina Tamashiro, Aimi Satsukawa Language: Russian Start time: 19:45, 22:30 Ticket: 13-14 GEL THE SHALLOWS Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller Cast: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen Language: Russian Start time: 12:45, 15:15, 22:00 Ticket: 8-14 GEL STAR TREK BEYOND (Info Above) Start time: 14:30, 17:15, 20:00, 22:35 Ticket: 9-14 GEL EQUALS (Info Above) Start time: 17:30 Ticket: 11-12 GEL


GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO 4TH CENTURY A.D THE CAUCASUS NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM COLLECTION RENEWED EXHIBITION EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases a long history of money circulation on the territory of modern Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. June 11 – March 11 (2017) Georgian National Museum and Korneli Kekelidze National Center of Manuscripts present THE EXHIBITION “MEDIEVAL TREASURY” The exhibition showcases preChristian and Georgian medieval art which reflects the continuity of the cultural traditions that were the basis for the formation of Georgian statehood and national identity. June 16 – December 16 THE EXHIBITION “NEW DISCOVERIES - GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY” The exhibition will be held in the frame of the international conference On Salt, Copper, and Gold: The Origins of Early Mining and Metallurgy in the Caucasus” MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION Here, visitors can discover the State’s personal files of “subversive” Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts

representing Soviet-era cultural and political repression in Georgia. The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors on which visitors can watch documentaries of various historical events. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 July 6 – August 30 EXHIBITION “QUARTER OF THE DAY” BY TAMAR MELIKISHVILI The exhibition showcases 70 paintings depicting people united by emotions: passion, melancholy, alienation, and mystery. SHALVA AMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF ART Address: 1 Lado Gudiashvili St. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 May 18 – September 11 AVANT-GARDE 1900-1937 The exposition showcases the collections of the Museum, including around 100 paintings and graphic works, archival material, avant-garde posters and books by Vasily Kandinsky, Niko Pirosmani, Mikhail GELonov, Natalya Goncharova, Olga Rozanova, Kiril Zdanevich, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili, Ziga Valishevsky, Kazimir Malevich, Alexei Kruchenykh, Robert Falk, Osvaldo Lichin, Alexander Shevchenko, Shalva Kikodze, Mikhail Bilanishvili, Voldemar Boberman, Lev Brun and Kliment Redko. July 16-30 THE EXHIBITION "UNROLLING THE UNIVERSE" BY GEORGIAN ARTIST IRINA GABIANI The exhibition presents a selection of large-scale mix media works by the artist, who is inspired by the micro and macro worlds that, seen in a different perspective, becomes a source of endless inspiration. Showcased artworks have been created especially for the exhibition.


THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze June 24, 2016 – June 24, 2017 NIKO PIROSMANASHVILI’S WORKS “YARD CLEANER” AND “EAGLE SEIZING A HARE” July 8-29 KETEVAN MAGALASHVILI’S RENEWED EXHIBITION MUSIC


BLACK SEA JAZZ FESTIVAL Address: Batumi Tennis Club July 22 RENEGADE BRASS BAND JAMIE CULLUM Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50 GEL July 23 NIK WEST CHRIS BROWN Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50 GEL July 24 MACY GRAY Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50 GEL MUSIC FESTIVAL ‘ORANGE KOBULETI’ July 24, 27 Start time: 19:00 Address: The Amphitheater, Kobuleti Seaside Park CONCERT OF FOLK AND MUSIC GROUPS July 23, 24 Start time: 13:00 Venue: Khulo Municipality, Beshumi resort, Open Air FOLK CONCERT July 25, 26, 27, 28 Start time: 19:00 Venue: Batumi Boulevard Colonnades GEORGIAN CORNER GEORGIAN NATIONAL DISHES CHEESE, WINE Every Day Start time: 19:00 Address: Batumi Boulevard Colonnades


GEORGIA TODAY JULY 22 - 25, 2016


Ministry of Justice Opens New Exhibition Space


Georgian Wheelchair Fencer Irma Khetsuriani Wins Another World Cup BY EKA KARSAULIDZE



new exhibition gallery has opened at the National Archives of Georgia’s Ministry of Justice displaying manuscripts and historical documents of 9-19th centuries and other historical materials. Besides exhibition projects, the new gallery will hold open lectures, educational projects and presentations of various publications. It also has a media library with a collection of unique books, access to computers and the Internet. In the near future, the Ministry of Justice plans to open a bookstore which will sell various publications prepared based on archival materials, and national souvenirs. The gallery was opened with the “Our Archive is Our Treasure” exhibition, which presented diverse historical and cultural exhibits from the National Archives’ collections. Among them are historical documents which reflect the national liberation movement of the 19th century, archival material, the first documents of the Georgian Democratic Republic, as well as photographs and

written documents of the Soviet period and a documentary chronicle of the 1990s. The National Archives of Georgia is the biggest repository of ancient documents in the country. It keeps up to 5 million documents, including 439,063 photos, more than 55,000 phonon and film documents, and up to 80,000 books and 50,000 periodicals. “This gallery is a long-term project that will be able to revive the industrial center of Tbilisi – the Saburtalo district,” said Thea Tsulukiani, the Minister of Justice of Georgia at the gallery’s opening. “We hope that it will be of interest not only for locals but also for tourists as we present interesting and unique exhibits.” The most ancient manuscripts preserved in the National Archives of Georgia were included in the register of UNESCO’s Memory of the World program in 2015, which is aimed at protecting the world's documentary heritage. The Minister added that since the National Archives’ opening in 1920, it never before had its own exhibition space for cultural and educational activities. The gallery is built next to the Archive building, at the intersection of Vazha Pshavela Avenue and Pekini Street. Entrance is free of charge.



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Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

eorgia’s champion wheelchair fencer Irma Khetsuriani won her third Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Poland’s capital Warsaw last weekend, in the final match defeating Anastasia Kastsiuchkova from Belarus with a score of 15-14. In the semi-final she beat Patrycja Hareza from Poland. Hareza and her compatriot Jadwiga Pacek finished joint third in the competition that featured eight female fencers from all over Europe competing in the Sabre category. Khetsuriani took advantage of her versatile skills by also competing in the Foil category of the Warsaw tournament, where she finished sixth in the final classification. The final match with Kastsiuchkova reversed the result of a match earlier this year at the European Championships in Italy where the Belarusian took the continental title. Irma Khetsuriani is the first female wheelchair fencer in Georgia. At the 2014 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Germany, she finished fifth, while later that year she took bronze at the Montreal Grand Prix. In the November 2014 Polish Wheelchair Fencing Open, she won two medals: a bronze in the Foil, and a silver in the Sabre. The following year she continued on her winning streak and at the 2015 IWAS World Championships in Eger, Hungary, won a silver medal in the women’s Sabre B. After this competition she was ranked as the best wheelchair fencer in the world

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Tamar Svanidze, Zviad Adzinbaia, Beqa Kirtava, Meri Taliashvili, Eka Karsaulidze, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Tim Ogden, Ana Akhalaia, Robert Isaf, Joseph Larsen, Will Cathcart, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze

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for the first time. In October 2015, she won her first gold medal at the World Cup in Paris in the Senior Women’s Sabre B event after beating Patrycja Hareza in the final by a score of 15-9. This year the Paralympic fencer also claimed gold at the Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Montreal, Canada, in April.


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #863  

July 22 - 25, 2016

Issue #863  

July 22 - 25, 2016