Issue no: 974/92
• AUGUST 22 - 24, 2017
• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY
In this week’s issue...
Second Tsagveri Blaze, Borjomi
ON NEW HEIGHTS IN TOURISM Check out Kazbegi's latest int'l recognition and the new Adjara tourism campaigns PAGE
PRICE: GEL 2.50
NEWS PAGE 2
Donald Trump’s Batumi Morass & Stateless Saakashvili POLITICS PAGE 4
V.F. Tanker Ltd Continues to Transport Turkmen Crude Oil to Iran BUSINESS PAGE 7 Kazbegi, Georgia. Source: Business Insider UK. By Levan Gokadze
Another Market Fire Destroys 40 Shops in Tbilisi
Georgia in the Reference Books SOCIETY PAGE 9
BY THEA MORRISON
ollowing on from two large-scale fires at markets in the Didube District, Tbilisi, this year, a fire has now destroyed around 40 shops of construction materials and car parts in Isani district market. The fire started on Saturday morning and 21 brigades and more than 100 firefighters fought to put it out. As in the previous burnings, the shops and goods of the traders were not insured. Continued on page 2
One Fine Day I Was Born Again: Letter to Hepatitis C Elimination Program Heads SOCIETY PAGE 11 Prepared for Georgia Today Business by
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COMMODITIES CrudeOil,Brent(US$/bbl) GoldSpot(US$/OZ)
NASDAQ MSCIEMEE MSCIEM
AUGUST 22 - 24, 2017
Kazbegi Named Second Tsagveri Blaze, Borjomi among 100 Destinations to Do in a Lifetime BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
n a recent article, Business Insider UK published a list of places everyone should visit in a lifetime, based on recommendations from the 20 top travel bloggers, writers, editors (Lonely Planet, Suitcase and Airbnb) who shared the top five places they had ever visited or ones topping their bucket lists, “from off-the beatentrack hidden gems to well-recognized yet stunning locations” author Bobbie Edsor writes. “From off-the beaten-track hidden gems to well-recognized yet stunning locations” author Bobbie Edsor writes. Kazbegi, Georgia, is among the top picks of India Dowley, digital editor of Suitcase Magazine, followed by Verunga National Park in Congo, villages of the Loften Islands, Norway, the Desert Island at Motu Tiapaa in Maupiti, and Cappa-
docia, Turkey. Kazbegi, according to Dowley, is “one of the most beautiful places” she has ever been. “This small town in the Caucasus Mountains is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been," Dowley said. "Tbilisi locals go in the summer months to camp among wild horses on the lush carpet of the mountains, with vertiginous views of waterfalls and towering peaks”. The list of the top 100 destinations to visit also includes the Ice Hotel in Levi Finland; Tuvalu, Ghana; the Kiribati Islands; Samarkand, Uzbekistan; Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA; Point Roadknight, Melbourne, Australia; Camden Market, London; the Hawaii Islands; and the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia. See the full article here: http://www.businessinsider.com/100trips-everyone-should-take-in-theirlifetime-according-to-the-worlds-toptravel-experts-2017-8/#get-to-knowhawaiis-islands-14
Another Market Fire Destroys 40 Shops in Tbilisi Continued from page 1 The exact cause of the fire is still unknown. Some traders affected by the fire in Isani market lay the responsibility on the management of the market, while some shopkeepers suspect the fire initially broke out in a bakery and later spread to the shops. “Compensation should be paid to us by City Hall and the administration of the market,” one of the shopkeepers said.
Beka Makharadze, Director General of TransService, the company that owns Isani Market, stated that this was not the first case of fire there, adding a similar incident occurred two years ago. “All entrepreneurs were warned after the 2015 incident that they had to insure their goods,” he added. The police have launched an investigation into the case to reveal the cause of the fire. The exact amount of damage caused by fire has yet to be calculated.
Photo: Borjomi Fire. Source: Public Broadcaster
BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
irefighters struggled for seven hours on Sunday to contain a blazewhichstartedforunknown reasons in the Tsagveri forest, Borjomi region. Five hectares of territory near Daba village is reported
to have been damaged. Around 100 firefighters worked with border police helicopters on site, continuing works into Monday morning to contain the situation. Volunteers also appeared to help fire fighters put out small pockets of fire still remaining. According to TV reports, the relief of the area is the reason for difficulties in extinguishing the blaze, which spread quickly due to windy conditions.
The Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, who visited Tsagveri village on Monday, said the fire brigades had been mobilized from across the country, and commended them for having worked “extremely effectively”. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has begun an investigation into the blaze according to Article 187 on damage to property.
Democratic Georgia & Free Georgia Present Tbilisi Mayoral Candidate BY THEA MORRISON
wo non-parliamentary opposition parties Democratic Georgia and Free Georgia have presented their joint candidate for Tbilisi Mayoral race, Kakha Kukava, who is the leader and founder of the Free Georgia party. The leader of the Democratic Georgia, Nino Burjanadze, said that both parties have reached agreement to name Kukava as their mayoral candidate. “Despite the fact that the Democratic Movement has a very worthy candidate for the Tbilisi Mayor’s position, we decided jointly that Kakha Kukava will be our mayoral candidate and another dignified person, Dimitry Lortkipanidze, will be our candidate for the position of
City Council Head,” Burjanadze noted. The Democratic Georgia and Free Georgia invited other opposition parties to join them before the local October 2017 elections. Together with the new candidate of the opposition Democratic Georgia and Free Georgia, there are seven Tbilisi mayoral
candidates in total: Georgian Dream – Kakha Kaladze, The United National Movement - Zaal Udumashvili, European Georgia – Elene Khoshtaria, the Development Movement-Tengiz Shergilashvili, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia – Irma Inashvili and an independent candidate - Alexander Elisashvili.
Finance Ministry Launches GEM Fest Investigation
GEM Fest is said to have failed financially this year. Source: bestgeorgian.com
BY THEA MORRISON
he Investigative Department of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia has launched an investigation of the Georgian Electronic Music Festival (GEM Fest). The Department reports that the investigation was launched with regard to a number of alleged financial violations occurring during the festival. “At this stage, necessary investigative actions are underway. In particular, documents are being seized and wit-
nesses are being questioned,” reads the MoF statement. Giorgi Sigua, GEM Fest founder, confirmed he had been summoned for questioning regarding the case and claimed that he will be cooperating fully with the investigation. He highlighted that state funds were spent on bringing foreign artists to Georgia as allocated by the government. “They say I embezzled state funds, but I took nothing from the State. The State contribution was very small and we brought more than 500 artists to Georgia. All artists, for whom the state funds had been allocated, arrived and performed,” he stressed.
Sigua explained that the festival, which ran from July 14 to August 14, was not as successful as expected for various reasons, which led to serious financial problems. He also commented on the statement of festival employees who are threatening the GEM Fest administration with legal proceedings for unpaid salaries. “35 of 350 employees have yet to receive their full payments. But we’re not running anywhere: everybody will get their money. As for state taxes, we paid as we should each month and we have no arrears,” Sigua said, adding that while GEM Fest had failed, he fully intends to implement other projects, without state funding.
AUGUST 22 - 24, 2017
Donald Trump’s Batumi Morass & Stateless Saakashvili OP-ED BY LINCOLN MITCHELL
ive years ago, Donald Trump and Georgia's then-President Mikhail Saakashvili stood together to promote the construction of a Trump project in Batumi. For many of us, this was just another act of disingenuous Saakashvili showmanship: Trump was a brander, not a builder. The contract would have paid Trump for the use of his name, with the then real estate developer turned reality television star putting up no money of his own. The whole thing seemed like a press event aimed at helping Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) in a tough parliamentary campaign. A long piece in last week’s New Yorker by Adam Davidson suggests there was a lot more to the deal than that. The piece itself is worth reading in its entirety, but the takeaway is that the Batumi project, which remains unbuilt, was part of a murky network of Trump related, selfdealing, money laundering and general sleaze. In 2012, few who watched that media event in Batumi would have thought that Donald Trump would be President of the United States one day. Because he is now President, that deal and other somewhat similar Trump projects in Azerbaijan and elsewhere will receive more scrutiny by the media and probably by special investigator Robert Mueller as he probes Trump’s ties to Russia as part of his investigation of Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 American election. Trump’s project in Batumi is a residue from another era of Georgian politics and a reminder of some of the often-overlooked problems of that period. It may end up at the center of an investigation that could bring down the American President. It also could be quickly forgotten as Robert Mueller III’s investigation either moves in another direction or is prematurely terminated by an increasingly desperate and embattled President. The New Yorker article will not change anything in American politics, at least not right away, but it has introduced Trump’s short-lived Batumi project to a larger audience than was previously aware of it. Davidson's article will also heighten awareness of Trump’s shady dealings in the post-Soviet region more generally. The timing of the piece is also interesting as it was published a few weeks after Saakashvili was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, which occurred while Saakashvili was on his way to the US. In the initial days following the event, Saakashvili was in the US contacting American media and political figures and once again trying to restart his political career. All of which he did while continuing to try to thread the needle
It will still be necessary to explain to investors that the Trump project in Georgia occurred while a different government was in power and that the project was never built. Source: assets.bwbx.io
of being both a staunch foe of Russia's President Vladimir Putin and an obsequious Trump apologist. It also occurs only a few weeks after Vice President Michael Pence’s trip to Georgia that was by any measure a successful event for Georgia, but also was not a major story in a very cluttered American media environment. Given all this, it sometimes feels like Georgia is stuck in some sort of geopolitical Groundhog Day where it is always,
There is nothing the Georgian government can do about a strange deal involving Saakashvili and Trump five years ago. They can, however, make sure the deal does not get revived
at least in part, 2012. The political debate that dominated that election cycle is no longer relevant in Georgia. Its persistence in campaigns and politics more generally hinders Georgia’s advancement and political development. Moving beyond that dynamic is essential for Georgia’s future, but recent events have conspired to drag 2012 back into, if not the center, then an important periphery of Georgia’s political life. This amounts to something more than a distraction, but well less than a crisis for Georgia and the Georgian government. Saakashvili may continue to peripatetically move between Eastern Europe and the US, but at this moment he is little more than a gadfly in a harried and stressed American media and political environment. He will appear on the occasional news broadcast and around right-wing media and politics, but is unlikely to get much traction in Washington. Similarly, the moribund Trump project in Batumi will continue to be investigated and perhaps even written about, but it will not be at the center of American or Georgian political life. Nonetheless, neither of these stories are good for Georgia. The Batumi project, if it draws continued attention in the west, could influence how many think about Georgia. For well over a decade, Georgia has worked hard to reduce corruption and present itself to the west as distinctly not another corrupt post-Soviet state where murky business dealings occur with a nod from the highest level of government. The New Yorker story, sadly, describes just that. There is much more to Georgia than one development project, but that project
10 Galaktion Street
may help define Georgia to many in the west. Similarly, Georgia is a much different country than the one Saakashvili describes to western media, but now that he is without a job or country, he may devote more time to promoting his own version of Georgia. None of this, even in slight doses, is good for Georgia. There is perhaps some good news in the confluence of these two stories. A relatively high-profile article highlighting corruption in Saakashvili’s Georgia may reduce the ability of Georgia’s erstwhile president to get attention from the media and political elites in the west. It is apparent that Saakashvili does not benefit from Trump’s project in Batumi being in the news. For longtime observers of Georgia’s former president, one of the most striking sentences in Davidson’s piece was “Saakashvili did not respond to requests for comment.” Over the years, Saakashvili has been accused of being many things, but not media shy. If Saakashvili didn’t want to discuss this project, it is very likely he knows it is not a good story for him. On the other hand, Saakashvili is clever enough to note that the New Yorker article is a reminder that he and Donald Trump were once close and to recognize how he might be able to parlay that in the US. Embarrassing the already discredited former president may assuage the most virulent anti-Saakashvili forces, but it does not solve the problem these developments pose for Georgia. It will still be necessary to explain to investors and others who are interested in Georgia, that the Trump project in Georgia occurred while a different government was in power and that the project was
never built. However, it is still one more unnecessary red flag to potential investors. It also may not entirely put their minds at ease, as several of the interests described in the New Yorker story are still active in Georgia. These stories occur after several years of Georgia rebranding itself in western media. During this period, Georgia has sought, successfully, to appear more on blogs, websites and in newspaper sections covering food, design, wine, tourism, fashion and film rather than the hard news sections where countries like Georgia tend to only get covered during times of international conflict or domestic instability. This strategy, essentially employing Georgia’s frequently underrated soft power, has paid off in the form of increased tourism, some foreign investment and an expanding reservoir of good will. The Batumi story is a blow to this, but one whose overall impact is not yet clear. These developments also demonstrate the ongoing challenge for Georgia raised by Donald Trump’s presidency. Tbilisi needs to remain close to the US and to strengthen the ties that have long existed between Georgia and the American foreign policy establishment. However, they must do this while keeping a healthy distance from Donald Trump personally, not least because of how extraordinarily unpopular he is in the US. That unpopularity is now at the point where countries seen to be courting Trump risk damaging their standing with the rest of the American public. This is why the Batumi story is so potentially damaging. A cursory read that does not recognize the extent to which these events are in the past, could link Tbilisi to Trump in the eyes of readers. There is nothing the Georgian government can do about a strange deal involving Saakashvili and Trump five years ago. They can, however, make sure the deal does not get revived, because if it does it will be interpreted as a clumsy effort to curry favor with the American president. Doing that is unnecessary and would undermine the strong ties Georgia enjoys with many other US foreign policy actors. Similarly, there is nothing the Georgian government can do about its former President turned stateless gadfly as he seeks to spin out self-serving analyses of Georgia, Ukraine, Russia and Donald Trump. However, the Georgian government must recognize where this might lead and be prepared to actively demonstrate that the era described in Davidson’s piece, and the leaders associated with that era, are indeed unambiguously part of Georgia’s past. Lincoln Mitchell is a political development, research and strategic consultant who has worked extensively in the post-Soviet region. Read more on lincolnmitchell.com.
Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GEORGIA TODAY AUGUST 22 - 24, 2017
Russia-China Cooperation Grows but So Does Distrust OP-ED BY EMIL AVDALIANI
ussian-Chinese relations have reached new heights in recent years. Several reasons have been in play: the China-sponsored Belt and Road Initiative and the need to cooperate with Russia (although it also needs to be said that the Russian route is not a major one); Western pressure on Moscow, and the need on the Kremlin’s side to reorient itself towards the East. Although the countries could be seen as partners in their trying to limit the US’ dominance and in working together on many security issues in Central Asia, the South Caucasus and the Korean Peninsula, they nevertheless share different geopolitical imperatives. Russia wants the former Soviet space closed to any foreign interference, while for China, Central Asia and the South Caucasus represent very good avenues for extending its reach towards Europe. China made significant progress in increasing its economic and political clout in Central Asia over the past decade. Central Asia, home to over 65 million, is a landlocked region of five countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. From the Chinese perspective, these, along with Mongolia, represent two major transit routes which will make a large part of Beijing’s One Belt One Road initiative operational. True, that from the Russian perspective, cooperation with China in the eco-
nomic realm in Central Asia serves Russian interests, as investments from Belt and Road could alleviate the region’s low economic development and mitigate security problems. However, Russia is also worried that as China reaches strategic successes in the economic realm with the Central Asian countries, the more likely it is that Beijing will get more involved security-wise to protect its vital infrastructure. Indeed, China has reasons to be concerned, as Xinjiang remains a problem, and Central Asian fighters return home from the Middle East. There were already signs of deeper problems when, in August 2016, a Uighur national ran a car into the Chinese embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where it exploded, leaving several people injured. Instances like this could drive Beijing into assuming bigger a military posture in Central Asia. Further west, in the South Caucasus, China has close trade contacts with all South Caucasus countries and has increased its investments in the region. For instance, China is now Georgia's third-largest trade partner (the first two places being occupied by Turkey and Azerbaijan and the fourth by Russia). Trade between the two countries increased from approximately $115 million in 2006 to $820 million in 2014-2015. In 2017, China and Georgia finally signed a free trade agreement during the visit of the Georgian delegation to China in May. It is true that the Chinese presence in the South Caucasus for the moment is only limited to economics. However, in the long-term perspective, the deeper
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, July 3. Source: orissapost.com
Beijing is involved in defending its assets in the former Soviet space, the bigger the possibility that the country will eventually become a big security player in the South Caucasus. Despite potential cooperation between Russia and Moscow on numerous issues regarding terrorism, separatism and general political security, the two giants’ geopolitical imperatives would still be at odds with each other. On a much larger scale, there is also the rarely discussed issue of Russia’s far eastern provinces which border China.
As we discussed, China is feared in Russia. Indeed, it is not openly said as only cooperation efforts between the countries are publicly touted. However, in Moscow, politicians see that in the long run China could be not only a source for development of the Russian Far East, but also a problem. And the major reason for that is the lack of population to counter potential Chinese settlements. When Russia acquired its Far East provinces, including modern Vladivostok, from China in 1858 after the Aigun Treaty, both Romanov and Soviet civil and mil-
itary establishments founded colonies along the River Amur and deep in East Siberia. Back then, 19th century China was a weak, decentralized power and the major European powers had little difficulty in convincing Beijing to follow Europeans’ wishes. Still, Russia has not been able to effectively exploit Siberian resources. Moscow is also worried that with around only six million Russians living near Russia’s Chinese border, tens of millions of Chinese living on the other side of the Amur River will be a decisive force.
AUGUST 22 - 24, 2017
Barcelona Attacks: What We Know So Far BY THE GT TEAM
van ploughed into a group of people on Barcelona's busiest tourist street, Las Ramblas, on Thursday, August 17. It is reported that 13 people died and several others were injured, including children- citizens of 24 different countries. The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through its online news agency. "All of sudden, it was real chaos. People just started running, screaming, there were loud bangs. People started running into shops, there was a kind of mini-stampede where we were, down one of the alleyways," witness Ethan Spibey told Sky News on the day. Emergency services requested that train and metro stations be closed and the Festival of Gracia, a well-known street festival that runs from 15 - 21 of August in Barcelona, was canceled. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili offered his condolences to the Spanish nation. "I’m deeply saddened by the terrorist act in Barcelona. I offer my sincere condolences to the government of Spain and Spanish people. Terrorism threatens world citizens with new violent methods. Innocent people fall for victims. I hope the civilized world can face this enormous challenge and achieve peace. We have to do everything in our power to defeat terrorism and bring people a chance to live peacefully". President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili also commented on the incident: “I’m horrified about the terrorist act in Barcelona, Spain. Innocent lives were lost. We, together with the international community, continue our fight against the greatest threat of modernity. In these difficult times, in the name of the Georgian people and myself
personally, I offer my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and declare my strongest support to the Spanish government and people". On Wednesday, August 16, an explosion in a house in the town of in Alcanar, 200 kilometers south of Barcelona, killed one and it was revealed that the residents of the house were preparing explosive devices. The incident is now being linked with the Las Ramblas attack. On August 17, in Vic, a town 80 kilometers from Barcelona, police found a second van, now suspected to have been intended as a getaway vehicle for the Barcelona attackers. In Sant Just Desvern, on the day of the Barcelona attack, a car was driven into officers at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Barcelona. “One man was found dead in the car but the interior ministry
KUK-Hndesl GmbH is pleased to announce a vacancy in Georgia on the position Country Manager / Technical Sales Manager
denies reports he was killed by police gunfire. The dead man is not believed to be linked to the Las Ramblas attack, officials say, but investigations are ongoing,” the BBC reported. On August 18, Spanish police shot dead five suspected terrorists in the town of Cambrils, following a second vehicle attack. Cambrils is a popular seaside resort 110 kilometers south-west of Barcelona. Seven people, including a police officer, were injured when a car drove into them. When the attacker’s car overturned, the men who got out were seen to be wearing explosive belts. The attackers were shot by the police and a series of controlled explosions was carried out, the BBC reported. Morrocan national Younes Abouyaaqoub may now be the key suspect in the Barcelona attack,
since it became clear that Moussa Oukabir, named as the primary suspect earlier, was shot in the Cambris attack, the BBC wrote. Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami, Omar Hychami and Houssaine Abouyaaqoub were also killed. Two others were arrested along with Driss Oukabir, brother of Moussa Oukabir. It is believed that larger attacks may have been planned. “They were preparing one or several attacks in Barcelona, and the explosion in Alcanar stopped this as they no longer had the material they needed to commit attacks on an even bigger scale," the BBC quoted Catalonia police official Josep Lluis Trapero as saying. It is still unknown exactly how many people were involved in the planning of the terrorist attacks in Spain.
86 Georgians Illegally Living in EU Sent Home
MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES: • • • • • •
Found LLC, run and develop company’s business in Georgia; Create better products together with the food producers in all branches; Establish and commit to a vision and sales strategy; Responsible for sales activities, deal with key clients and close cooperation with them; Directly reporting to regional branch; Other duties as assigned;
REQUIREMENTS: • • •
• • • • • •
Bachelor and preferably Master’s degree in Food Technology; Minimum 3 years of experience in food production; Be a good food technologist, who likes to solve technical problems and also likes to develop good food products and have practical experience in the development and production of high quality food; Have very good selling skills; Be capable of independently running a business and simultaneously have the potential to be an active sales person; Action oriented, willingness to take responsibility and initiative; Ability to influence and negotiate while maintaining a strong focus on customer service; Fluency in English; Clean driving license.
COMPANY OFFERS • • • •
Connection with 40 ingredients producers, with all their research centers and also with 60 food technologists within the company sharing his/her experiences with them; Training to enable the candidate to be provided with know how behind Company‘s Specialties, to help the Georgian Industry to produce better Food and Pharma Products; Challenging and very interesting job; Salary to match your performance;
Interested candidates can send their CV (English Version) at:email@example.com Attention: We consider and contact only suitable candidates!
BY THEA MORRISON
ighty-six Georgian citizens who were residing illegally in the European Union (EU), were returned to Georgia last week, the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia announced. The statement of the Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili reads that the Georgian citizens were handed over to the escort of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia by border police officers of Germany and Greece (in Dusseldorf and Athens). “The process was coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union FRONTEX,” the statement reads. Nanuashvili adds that a representative of the Department of Prevention and Monitoring of the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia monitored the joint return operation of the Georgian citizens
residing on the territory of the EU countries without permission. “Representatives of the Department left Tbilisi International Airport for the airports of the German city of Düsseldorf and Greek capital Athens, where they attended the return of 86 Georgian citizens from European countries,” the statement reads. The Ombudsman’s Office reports that no incident took place and no force or special means were used during the return operation. The statement highlighted the handover of information booklets, which provided information about the State Program on Reintegration of Returned Migrants, to the Georgian citizens on board. “Telephone communication with family members was still problematic. Like the previous monitoring, the Georgian citizens were allowed to use phones only after the representatives of the Department of Prevention and Monitoring of the Public Defender's Office requested they be allowed to do so by FRONTEX representatives,” the Ombudsman’s Office reports.
GEORGIA TODAY AUGUST 22 - 24, 2017
V.F. Tanker Ltd Continues to Transport Turkmen Crude Oil to Iran SPONSORED BY/SOURCE: PIA
he Russian-flag vessels VF Tanker-20, VF Tanker-13 and VF Tanker-8, belonging to V.F. Tanker Ltd, continue to transport Turkmen crude oil to Iran for the companies Dragon Oil and ENOC. Earlier this month, four cargoes of Turkmen crude oil produced by Dragon Oil were delivered to the Iranian port of Neka on board vessels VF Tanker-13 and VF Tanker-20. Deliveries of Turkmen crude oil in early August were carried out without the proper permission of the authorities of Turkmenistan. Customs and cargo documents were issued by Dragon Oil for the transit of these cargoes to Europe via the port of Baku. VF Tanker-20 and VF-Tanker-13 were to leave the port of Aladja in the direction of Azerbaijan and then turn to Iran soon after exiting the territorial waters of Turkmenistan. Most probably, shipowners and cargo owners were trying to hide true destination of the cargo: Iran. Later, the scheme was modified, and now loading documents are being issued directly with the discharge port Neka, Iran. Therefore, Dragon Oil, ENOC and VF Tanker are admitting that crude oil is being delivered to Iran. Sources in Iran claim the receiver of the cargo is NICO Naftiran Intertrade CO, which is already under American sanctions. Despite the fact, that "secondary sanctions" from Iran have been lifted, US sanctions continue to be in full force to date. Dragon Ol and ENOC risk losing their American partners (service companies Schlumberger, Halliburton,
Wetherford, etc.), losing the support of financial institutions and even being put on the sanctions lists of OFAC (Office for Control over Foreign Assets of the US Treasury). US banks, the correspondents of all other international banks for US dollar transfers, still have the right to block any transactions even indirectly related to Iran. In this regard, banks and financial institutions, even those without offices in the US, are still wary of financing Iranian businesses. For the same reasons, international trading companies may completely reject the services of shipowners involved in deliveries to/from Iran. It is not uncommon for seaports to add shipowners working with Iran to their own "black lists". Further, P&I Insurance (Protection and Indemnity Insurance for Shipowners) can be withdrawn, without which vessels cannot transport any cargo. P&I Insurance is provided to V.F. Tanker Ltd by The Shipowners’ Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association (Luxemburg) and The Standard Steamship Owners’ Protection and Indemnity Association (Europe) Limited (London). It appears that V.F. Tanker Ltd is not the sole shipowner approached by ENOC for the transportation of Turkmen crude oil. Another Russian shipowner, actively working in the Caspian region, refused to transport the cargo due to the Iranian destination. Yet it seems that V.F. Tanker Ltd has no fear of the possible consequences of its actions as VF Tanker-13 and VFTanker-20 continue to load crude oil for Dragon Oil and ENOC and deliver it to Iran, while vessel VF Tanker-8 is currently on its way to Aladja. V.F. Tanker Ltd is part of the international transportation group Universal Cargo Logistics Holding (UCL Hold-
Georgia - China Business Forum Kicks Off in Tbilisi
BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
orty-four business companies from China’s Gansu province are participating in the Georgia-China Business Forum which kicked off in the Tbilisi Marriott hotel Monday. The forum was opened by Nato Chikovani, Georgian Trade and Industry Chamber Deputy, and Zhang Wei, Vice Chairman, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. The agency ‘Produce in Georgia’ intro-
duced Georgia’s investment potential to forum participants, made up of representatives of the agriculture, energy, industry, real estate, IT, aviation, construction materials and hotel industry sectors. The forum gives Georgian and Chinese business representatives the chance to discuss future possibilities of cooperation. A memorandum of cooperation is to be signed within the framework of the forum between the Trade and Industry Chamber of Georgia and the Gansu Committee of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
ing), owned by prominent Russian businessman Vladimir Lisin. This year, Lisin came 3rd on the Forbes list of the richest people in Russia and 57th on its list of richest in the world. It was recently revealed that UCL
Holding intends to conduct an IPO (Initial Public Offering). In 2011, Lisin announced his wish to take the companies of the Holding to the Stock Exchange, but, so far, no IPOs have been conducted. UCL Holding is currently actively com-
municating with potential investors – both Russian and foreign. And right now, scandals related to documentary fraud, supplies to Iran and "blacklisting" of the shipowner are, naturally, highly undesirable.
AUGUST 22 - 24, 2017
Meet the Lucky Winner of Natakhtari Lemonade’s Magic Drawing Competition
he magic drawing competition of Natakhtari Lemonade was opened on May 20 and one lucky winner has just been chosen: Tamar Razmadze, who won a trip to Disneyland for four peo-
ple. Tamar lives in Tbilisi, and is married with three children. She never dreamed of winning, but the Natakhtari Lemonade magic drawing competition changed her attitude dramatically. “I never believed it was possible to win some-
thing. It was a total surprise and I still feel like I’m in a dream. I told my husband and he made me even happier when he told me that the trip was for four persons not two. Then Natakhtari Company gave us tickets for the third child, so the whole family will be able to go to Disneyland together!” Tamar’s family often buys Natakhtari Lemonade and is a loyal customer. “I like Natakhtari Lemonade very much. I often buy it, especially when we walk with children. I’ve never been to Disneyland before and often dreamed of it. I promised my children we’d take them but to travel as a whole family was just beyond our means. So, this was a real surprise for us, I couldn’t believe it … and really dreams can come true!”
GEORGIA TODAY AUGUST 22 - 24, 2017
Georgia in the Reference Books
Not all references show Georgia as it is today...Source: hmmlorientalia.files.wordpress.com
OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE
ne can say that the world has enough knowledge of Georgia to make it recognizable, but the information presented in various reference books is amazingly disparate about our little country, especially when it comes to describing the Georgia of today as one of the worldâ€™s cartographically registered geopolitical units. For instance, I went to the American Heritage Dictionary, which says of modern Georgia that it was a separate soviet republic from 1936 until its independence was declared in 1991, but to the delight of Georgians, it shows the full map of Georgia in which the land configuration of the country might make us feel we....territories at all. Then I opened the good old Encyclopedia Britannica, which also demonstrates the nostalgic sealion contours of Georgia and presents it as a country which includes three ethnic enclaves â€“ Abkhazia, Ajaria and South Ossetia. It is so good to know that we still have those lands, although two of them have definitely broken away, and who knows if theyâ€™ll ever come back or not. As I understand, Britannica either wants to make us Georgians feel good about ourselves, or it has no clue of what has lately happened to Georgiaâ€™s territorial integrity, the reinstatement of which is so ephemeral that the possibility no longer even pops up in our dreams. On the other hand, we can also say that the Britannica is very much into the decency of observing international law, be it effective or not these days. The New World Encyclopedia, too, graphically shows the internationally accepted borders of Georgia. It also recognizes verbally the fact of the inclusion of Abkhazia and Ajaria in the Republic of Georgia but at the same time notes that the Kodori Gorge is the only part of Abkhazia that remains under effective Georgian control. There is something wrong here, isnâ€™t there? The reference source also emphasizes that the status of South Ossetia, a former autonomous administrative district, is being negotiated with the Russian-supported separatist government. Is Georgia negotiating anything with the so-called South Ossetia? Have we recognized it as an independent state? If not, on what grounds are we negotiating anything with a non-existent state? Let us now look at the famous Webster Diction-
ary, according to which the Republic of Georgia is an independent country of southwestern Asia, bordering on the Black Sea and the European part of Russia and including the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and Ajaria and the autonomous region of South Ossetia. Webster seems to be even deeper in history, respectfully maintaining a sincere sense of respect for the hurt political feelings of the Georgian people. The Webster map of Georgia is as intact as it used to be in the safer soviet times. Thank you for that! And, finally, our faithful intellectual friend Wikipedia! The main article in English reflects the current situation more realistically than any other reference source available in the cyber world. It shows Georgia in two greenish colors: Georgia proper painted in dark green and the areas outside Georgian control given in light green, thus admitting the presence of Georgiaâ€™s ongoing geopolitical embarrassment and moral inconvenience. The article qualifies Georgia as a unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic, whereas the Russian article simply calls it a parliamentary republic, and the article in the Georgian language repeats the English version. Meanwhile, the Georgian article shows the map of complete pre-independence configuration, and the Russian article repeats the map of the English version. According to official definition, a unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme and any administrative divisions (sub-national units) exercise only the powers that the central government chooses to delegate. Is it overwhelmingly so in Georgia? Then, how about the relationships between the Republic and the capital city of the country where self-government is strongly supported by law? I wish I had a chance to go through every available reference source, but alas, this was impossible. I only have what I have, but the bottom-line is that the information about Georgia fed to the world is as bungled as our current geopolitical status is. This needs to be taken care of. How? Easy! We have to spend an affordable amount of money, at least occasionally, on introducing corrections to the reference sources that most of the world uses to find out about Georgia and build opinions thereof; opinion that, on its own, will play a significant role in building Georgiaâ€™s international image. What do we need the right international image for? To make it possible to talk to the rest of the world in Georgiaâ€™s favor.
Last Aerial Record of Georgia BY THEA MORRISON
adio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL) reports that on September 1, Georgia, like many other countries already have, is to impose tight restrictions on the use of drones.ThearticlepublishedbytheRFERL reports that after hearing the news, Amos Chapple, one of the early pioneers of drone photography, headed
to Georgia with a high-end quadcopter to make one last aerial record of Georgia's mountains, lowlands, and cities before the new rules come into force. "When they first buzzed onto the market in 2013, camera drones transformed the photography world by enabling cheap and (relatively) safe aerial imagery. But as security and privacy fears mounted, new laws began limiting their use. Georgia was one of the last countries with relatively open skies. But on September 1, it too will impose tight restrictions on drones," the article reads.
FIRST BRAND HOTEL IN KUTAISI UNDER BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL Within the framework of the Georgian Hotelsâ€™ Regional Network Development Project â€œ12 hotels in 12 regionsâ€? by GHYHORSPHQWFRPSDQ\Âł6LPHWULDÂ´WKHÂżUVWEUDQGKRWHOKDV been opened in Kutaisi under the Best Western International brand. The hotel accommodates 45 guest rooms, including 40 standard rooms and 5 suites. The hotel was designed taking into consideration special conditions and safety for guests with disabilities.
Address: 11 Grishashvili Str., 4600, Kutaisi, Georgia TEL 219 71 00 firstname.lastname@example.org
Three mobile conference halls are available with a total capacity of about 100 persons. (XURSHDQFXLVLQHFDQEHHQMR\HGLQWKHJURXQGĂ€RRUFDIp and a grill-bar menu in the roof top restaurant with panoramic views over the city. The International Hotels Management Company â€œT3 Hospitality Management,â€? providing the hotel management, has 20 yearsâ€™ experience in hotel management in different countries globally.
AUGUST 22 - 24, 2017
275 Georgians Die in Road Accidents This Year
BY THEA MORRISON
he Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA) six-month statistics for 2017 show that there were 3,331 road accidents in Georgia that left 4,696 people injured and 275 dead. The most traffic accidents were observed in MayJuly 2017. In July alone, 537 road accidents occurred, 778 people were injured and 42 died. In January, 499 road accident cases were reported, resulting in 58 deaths and 735 people injured. In February, 406 traffic accidents occurred, 26 people died and 542 people were injured. 427 road accidents occurred in March. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 26 people died and 579 people were injured. A slight increase is reported in April and, according to the official statistics, 455 road accidents occurred in which 44 people were killed and 643 citizens received various injuries. As for May, 434 people died as a result of 504
traffic accidents and 734 citizens suffered serious injuries. Nearly the same data was recorded in June, with 503 road accidents, which resulted in the deaths of 36 and injured 368. Due to the increased number of road accidents, the Government of Georgia has tightened road regulations, according to which stricter sanctions have been introduced for drink-driving, speeding, driving without a seat belt and other violations. Moreover, from July 1, a new 100-point driving system came into effect, which means that drivers are given 100 points each year, monitored on their license. Points will be deducted each time a driver commits a traffic violation. If drivers lose all the points, their license will be annulled and they must retake the exam. The 100-point system also applies to foreigners driving in Georgia. Moreover, from 2018, the MIA plans to introduce mandatory technical testing of all vehicles in Georgia. It is believed that all these steps will reduce the high number of road accidents in the country.
Colors of Adjara Promoted on Instagram BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
he Colors of Adjara promo clip is now actively being promoted on Instagram, introducing the region in 30 different graduating colors. Both the photos and the video show Adjara through the eyes of tourists. New photos are added to the Instagram account daily, which means that if you follow the ColorsofAjara Instagram account, you’ll see the region “in its entire color palette”. “Using such popular social media platforms is extremely important for promoting our region. With the campaign now on Instagram, we’re aiming at introducing Adjara and attracting tourists to the region,” said Sulkhan Glonti, Chairman of the Adjara Tourism Department. Apart from Instagram, the active promotion campaign, made by JVT Metro, is also being shown on other media platforms in 16 targeted countries.
“This advertising campaign is special: it’s lively, it’s fun and it expresses the diversity Adjara as a region has,” said Eka Kopalini, Creative Director, JVT Metro. “The promotional photo project shows the colors of Adjara following specific places. We consider this approach to be much more memorizable; the message is transmitted more clearly, and overall, it’s much more effective”.
Batumi Cable Way Hosts Millionth Visitor BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
rgo, the Batumi Cable Way, this weekend hosted its millionth visitor, Aleksey Turchak from Ukraine, who was visiting Georgia for the first time. As the millionth visitor, Turchak received an unlimited pass to the cable way, a five day tour to Goderdzi Resort, a dinner in Argo restaurant and a discount Batumi card. “It’s very important for us that for every tour-
ist, a stay in Adjara is unforgettable,” said Sulkhan Glonti, Chairman of the Adjara Department of Tourism. “For our millionth visitor, the day was full of surprises. It’s important to have the right touristic infrastructure in the city and we plan to develop that and do our best to encourage more and more tourists to come to the region”. The Argo-Batumi Cable Way, which was opened in 2012, this year hosted 17,813 visitors more than in the first eight months of 2016. Batumi cable way is 2,586 meters long with nine gondola cabins able to serve 245 visitors per hour.
GEORGIA TODAY AUGUST 22 - 24, 2017
One Fine Day I Was Born Again: Letter to Hepatitis C Elimination Program Heads And one fine day, I was born again. What I was dreaming of came true! The full support and the goodwill of the government, along with tireless efforts on the part of Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia in carrying out the program resulted in rewarding thousands and thousands of people for their desperate efforts with good health. Thanks to you and Minister David Sergeenko, what seemed impossible became possible. You need to know that thousands of HCV-infected persons in Georgia, including myself, owe our lives to your company. Let me thank you for that. Thanks to all who granted us a second chance! In my struggle for my life, I learned that whatever happens to you, you should
EXCLUSIVE FOR GEORGIA TODAY BY TEMUR RADIANI
r. John C. Martin, Executive Chairman; Mr. Gregg H. Alton, Executive Vice President; Mr. Clifford Samuel, Senior Vice President; Mr. Graeme Robertson, Senior Director - Gilead Sciences, Inc. Dear Mr. Martin, Dear Mr. Alton, Dear Mr. Samuel, Dear Mr. Robertson: This is a letter from Dr. Temur Radiani, a biologist, an amateur artist and a beneficiary of the Hepatitis C Elimination Program from Tbilisi, Georgia. We met in Tbilisi on August 8, 2017, during your visit to Georgia. While then we had a chance to shake hands and talk a little bit about the program and my recovery
from illness, I really did not have an opportunity to fully express myself in describing how much I appreciate your company’s exceptional contribution to this unique program called ‘Georgia without Hepatitis C’. I feel it is my duty to do that not only for myself, but also for the thousands of other patients who have already benefitted or will be benefitting from the program in the future. In 2008, I accidentally learned that I had been infected with HCV. I still remember how painful it was to learn it. HCV had caused me to lose a couple of close friends and, therefore, I knew very well what kind of problem I was facing. Some of them had undergone treatment with medicaments available at that time and I had personally witnessed what it had cost them both physically and morally, let alone financially. I realized that I was close to a critical margin and that I had to fight for my life. I never hid my diagnosis from my fam-
never give up, you should keep fighting, and eventually with a little luck and a lot of help from kind people, the virus will be defeated! I am sure that a few more years will pass and we will all be celebrating the full elimination of Hepatitis C in my country. Yes, I won my war against the virus. All others will win theirs, too. We just need to remember: the future belongs to the world without HCV! Yours, Temur Radiani P.S. I am really glad that Mr. Martin and Mr. Alton were awarded honorary medals from the Georgian government and I would like to sincerely congratulate them both.
ily and friends. Why would I do this? It was with their moral and physical support that I learned to live in a new reality. First of all, I started collecting all sorts of information about HCV, the number of infected people in Georgia, the methods of treatment, available medicaments, etc. It is hard to describe the feelings that a man anticipating an inevitable lethal consequence has. In 2013, with my friends’ support, I started taking a costly medical treatment, but after three months I had to give it up because I found it completely ineffective. At the end of 2013, my doctor, Professor Tamara Gegeshidze, told me that a new drug that could effectively fight HCV had been invented, but it would be totally inaccessible to me due to its price. I was desperate and hopeless. I was thinking of my family and those people who, like me, were badly in need of something new. Two words stuck in my head teased me constantly: ‘maybe sometime?’
Gov’t to Gift All First Graders Laptops for School also be given to first grader teachers. The Ministry of Education bought 53,700 portable computers in total for this purpose. The laptops come with games and logic puzzles and other learning-aid programs. Moreover, the Ministry reports that the students of public schools this year will receive textbooks as gifts from the state. According to the Ministry, 60 percent of said free textbooks will be new and 40 percent will be secondhand. Free textbooks will be available to all pupils at public schools from 1 to 12 grades. Furthermore, free books will be granted to socially vulnerable pupils and to schools located on the territory of the
BY THEA MORRISON
n the new academic year 20172018, all first graders joining public schools of Georgia will receive Acer laptop computers from the State. The LEPL Educational and Scientific Infrastructure Development Agency of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia reports that on September 15, all first graders will receive their laptops. In total, 50,300 first graders will be granted Acer TravelMate B117 Notebooks for classroom use. The same laptops will
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breakaway regions of Georgia - Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In total, 4,724,660 books, notebooks and tests were printed by the State for the 2017-2018 Academic Year. Laptops and books have been free for public school pupils since 2010. In 2011, under the previous government, a joint factory of Georgian Algorithm and international company Intel opened in Tbilisi to make the first Georgian net books, which, under the presidential program of education, were handed over to every first-year pupil in Georgia’s public schools. Studies at Georgian public schools are to begin on 15 September, while state kindergartens are to open their doors on September 18.
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