Page 1

Issue no: 1205

• NOVEMBER 22 - 25, 2019 • PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... After 14 Years, GeorgianTurkish Economic Commission Resumes Talks on Trade Relations NEWS PAGE 3

CoE Sec Gen Marija Pejcinovic Buric on Georgia’s Presidency, Letting Russia Back in & the 2020 Action Plan for Georgia POLITICS PAGE 4

On Making Women’s Political Participation Part of the Georgian Culture POLITICS PAGE 6

FOCUS

ON m2 COLLECTIVE Taking co-working to a new level

PAGE 8

Multi-Screen Collaboration: Mobile Meets PC, for Enhanced Performance On-the-Go

Poll Shows Georgian Support for Council in Georgia NATO & EU Up but Trust in Gov’t Down British Announces Launch of IELTS BUSINESS PAGE 7

on Computer

BY TEA MARIAMIDZE

SOCIETY PAGE 8

T

he International Republican Institute (IRI) has released the results of their poll, conducted September 11 - October 14, 2019, which showed that dissatisfaction with the government has been growing in Georgia. “The (IRI) national poll conducted in Georgia since the anti-Russia protests in June 2019 indicates a continued deficit of trust in the government. No party has a clear lead in the upcoming election, but there is potential to make headway with voters by addressing economic issues, which continue to be the top national concern for citizens,” the organization stated. Steve Nix, IRI’s Regional Director for Eurasia, says that the party leadership has the opportunity to develop detailed programs and platforms that respond to issues that voters find most pressing. “The economy and unemployment have been high-ranking concerns for Georgian residents for nearly a decade, but these issues are not present in the country’s political party discourse,” he stated. The results of the poll revealed that the most

Young Georgians Stand Up for the Ozone Layer SOCIETY PAGE 9

Meet the Creative Mind behind the Soundtrack of Tbilisi CULTURE PAGE 11

Image source: city.kvira.ge

untrustworthy institutions in Georgia are the President’s office (70%), the political parties (63%) and the parliament (61%), while the most trusted institutions are the army (86%), the Church (85%) and the media (72%). In regard to the overall situation in the country, 68% of respondents said they believe that

the country is going in the wrong direction, whilst only 22% were convinced that it is going in the right direction. Eighty percent of respondents ranked economic concerns such as unemployment, the cost of living and poverty as their top national concerns. Continued on page 2

Special Offer for readers of Georgia Today -15% off all Diet Plans!

PAGE 7


2

NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 22 - 25, 2019

Election Protests, ‘Padlock New Touristic Attraction to Open in Chvana Valley Days’ Continue in Georgia BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

BY ANA DUMBADZE

F

ollowing the November 18 rally dispersal in front of Parliament, the political situation remains tense throughout the country. A few tents remain in front of the parliament building on the central Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi, in which activists spend their nights. Demonstrations are held every day at different locations throughout the capital. Opposition representatives and civil activists have taken to expressing their protest by padlocking various governmental buildings, such as the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Government Administration, claiming that the “padlock symbolizes the fact that these Offices are no longer functioning.”

On November 20, protesters padlocked the gate of the General Prosecutor's Office while holding a rally outside the building. They initially planned to padlock the building door shut but were prevented from doing so but law enforcers. Yet another demonstration took place on November 21, during which opposition members and activists symbolically put a padlock on the fence of the government administration building. Police prevented the protesters from padlocking the main entrance, resulting in clashes and the promise from the demonstrators that the picketing would continue. Also this week, several demonstrators detained during the November 18 rally dispersal in central Tbilisi were sent to administrative detention for ‘hooliganism and disobeying police.’ The trials were held on November 20. Continued on page 6

C

hvana Valley in Ajara has many projects coming up – including a hotel hanging off the side of a cliff for adrenaline addicts, a festival space, touristic paths, and relaxing and entertainment spaces in Mother Nature. The concept of touristic development was created by the Agency of Developing Touristic Products of the Tourism Department of Ajara and it aims to make the beautiful location of Chvana Valley more attractive to tourists. The presented plan views the development of general touristic routes and spaces, from the major cultural heritage of the valley, the bridge of Khabelashvili, to a village of windmills. “Our aim is to create a new center attractive for tourists, where the guests of the region will be welcome any time of the year,” stated Tinatin Zoidze, Head of Tourism Service Division of Ajara. “In this way, the Valley of Chvana is really

Image source: Adjara Department of Tourism

outstanding, being as rich as it is in cultural heritage and natural resources. From 2020, developing touristic infrastructure will be in special focus. First of all, we need to establish new touristic infrastructure, while on the other hand new routes must be presented that will enable everyone to travel to and from other municipalities. As result, Chvana Valley will become more of an attractive destination for people looking for loca-

tions that unite eco-tourism, cultural tourism, and adventure tourism.” Chvana Valley is 58 from Batumi and is prominent in the region with its amazing folklore and musical traditions. What’s more, those visiting Chvana Valley with tourism in mind are gifted with the opportunity to taste local dishes, honey and fruit. Adding more to the attractiveness of the place, Chvana Valley has picturesque vintage wooden windmills surrounded by mother nature – the village is even known as ‘the Village of windmills’. The Valley is rich in waterfalls, historical-cultural heritage and traditions. In this way, the three-centuryold bridge of the Khabelashvilis particularly stands out, being an acknowledged cultural heritage monument in the region. There in the valley is the small studio of Panduri – the traditional Georgian musical instrument, and everyone visiting the Chvana Valley can, and should, drop in and get a hand-made panduri from Ajarian masters as a souvenir and celebration of the culture as well as for its value as a memory of time spent in the amazing valley of Chvana.

Poll Shows Georgian Support for NATO & EU Up but Trust in Gov’t Down Continued from page 1 “These issues are the most prevalent concerns at the personal level as well, with 50% of respondents claiming unemployment, low salaries, poverty and the general economy are their largest concerns at home. Moreover, the majority of respondents (59%) identify economic issues as having the greatest potential to stymie democratic development in Georgia,” IRI reports. The political issue which made the most gains during the past year was freedom of speech (34% of those questioned consider it to have progressed), while the economy was considered the area where the country had mostly

regressed (66%). The organization says that earlier this year, the government promised to change the parliamentary system from mixed proportional and majoritarian to fully proportional. 78% of Georgians who are aware of the proposed change to a fully proportional system for parliamentary elections are in favor of the proposed switch. Additionally, 58% of all Georgians surveyed believe that a change to a fully proportional parliamentary list would positively affect Georgia’s democratic development. “With elections less than a year away, a clear front-runner has yet to emerge. Because 6% of voters are focused on economic policies in the run-up to the

election and a third are undecided on their first choice, the political parties that develop coherent and appealing economic platforms will be best positioned to form a parliamentary majority,” IRI said. The most favorable political figures in the country, according to the survey, are the leader of the opposition party European Georgia David Bakradze (57%), Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze (49%) and the leader of the Development Movement David Usupashvili (47%). Meanwhile, the most unpopular political figures in the country according to the polls were President Salome Zurabishvili (70%), leader of the Girchi party Zurab Japaridze (66%), and leader of the

Russia-affiliated Alliance of Patriots Irma Inashvili (59%). Regarding the political parties in the country, the poll revealed that the ruling Georgian Dream is still the most popular party in the country, with 23% of those questioned regarding it as their first choice, followed by the United National Movement (15%), European Georgia (5%), Labor Party (5%) and Alliance of Patriots (4%). 23% of Georgians said they were undecided who to vote for in the parliamentary elections. In the field of Georgia’s international relations, Russia was perceived as the biggest foreign political threat to Georgia (83%) and 72% of those interviewed said they believed that Russia represents

a threat for Georgia economically too. 77% of the respondents also underlined that the Russian aggression on the territories of Georgia is still underway. In addition to this, 52% of respondents considered the United States to be the most important political and economic partner to Georgia, followed by the EU (50%), Ukraine (32%), Turkey (24%) and Azerbaijan (22%). Public support for NATO and EU membership within Georgia has increased in the last six months from 68% to 71%, and 75% to 80%, respectively. “This support appears to be motivated by the perceived security and economic benefits associated with NATO and the EU,” IRI says.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 22 - 25, 2019

3

After 14 Years, Georgian-Turkish Economic Commission Resumes Talks on Trade Relations

Image source: economy.ge

BY TEA MARIAMIDZE

T

he Georgian-Turkish Economic Commission, which was suspended in 2005, held a meeting after a 14-year pause in Ankara on November 19 and agreed to deepen economic cooperation. The meeting was scheduled when

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara in late October. The commission meeting was cochaired by the Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan and Georgian Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Natia Turnava. The meeting ended with the signing of a protocol setting out all the main steps of bilateral socioeconomic cooperation. Particular

emphasis was placed on sectors such as trade, transport, logistics, energy and tourism. Minister Pekcan said she suggested Turnava work on simplified customs procedures. “Our goal is to prevent loss of time and money due to delays in shipping between our two countries,” Pekcan noted. Turnava stated that the meeting was very productive and many issues were discussed in the field of business and

trade. She noted that the Turkish side is successfully negotiating removing technical barriers on Georgian products of animal origin in Turkey. In addition, the Minister noted that there is significant potential to increase the volume of exports from Georgia to the EU market through the cooperation of the two countries' businesses. “Turkey is our very important strategic economic partner, number one trade partner and one of the largest investor countries in Georgia. Also, the number of tourists from Turkey is continuously growing,” she said. The Minister noted that at the meeting of the commission, the sides signed a protocol, according to which the cooperation will be deepened in a number of directions, most importantly in trade. “Although Turkey is Georgia's top trade partner, the import from there is around seven times more than export from Georgia to the Turkish market and we made a decision about steps toward further liberalization of mutual trade. These steps are about tariffs and other barriers, Georgian products of animal origin and our agricultural products that may soon be seen on the Turkish market,” she said. Turnava added that the talks also concerned simplifying trade procedures for textile, which will also promote export to the EU market. “10-month trade statistics to the European Union show that the export of Georgian products has increased by 14% and we are happy that after the meeting of the commission, more export will be

possible to Turkey as well,” she stated. Bilateral trade between Georgia and Turkey has always been at a high level. The volume stood at $3.45 billion with Turkey exporting $2.06 billion worth of goods to Georgia and its imports from this country amounting to $1.4 billion in 2011. The trade volume climbed to $4.7 billion in 2013 and further up to $5.1 billion in 2014. Moreover, Turkey shipped $1.3 billion worth of goods to Georgia, while its imports from the country amounted to $234 million last year and in JanuarySeptember this year, Turkey’s exports to Georgia stood at nearly $1 billion, and its imports were $179 million. There are more than 500 Turkish companies doing business in Georgia and providing jobs to around 20,000 people. Georgia’s National Statistics Office reports that in January-October, 2019, Turkey was the 6th in the list of top trading partners in terms of export, with 5.6% share in the total exports from Georgia amounting $169,505 million. Turkey is the top importer country in Georgia. The share of Turkish products in total imports in Georgia in JanuaryOctober this year was 17. 7% with production worth $1,300,257,000. In terms of the whole trade turnover, Turkey is the top trading partner of Georgia in the mentioned period. To note, Turkey mainly sells iron and steel pipes, petrol, as well as medicines to Georgia, while its main import items include chemical fertilizers, iron and knitted fabric products.

Inn Group - High Standard Budget Hotel Chain in Georgia needed reinforcement and restoration. We decided to let the building retain its traditional appearance. As a result, on September 30, we opened a 21-room hotel that merges modern and classical styles of architecture.

ADVERTORIAL

I

nn Group is a chain of hotels that offers visitors high-class hotel rooms at reasonable prices. We spoke with Teona Kokaia, their Deputy Director, who told us about the company's central strategy and projects that are scheduled to be implemented in the near future.

WHAT WAS THE MAIN IDEA BEHIND THIS PROJECT? Our main goal was to provide our guests with high standard hotels at affordable prices. As already mentioned, Inn Group combines 4 hotels, but in the near future we want our brand to appear in all parts of Georgia.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA TO START A CHAIN OF HOTELS? The idea goes back to my family. The city center was so overwhelmed with hotels that we wanted to bring something new to the market by designing a distinctive type of space. We decided to create a fancy hotel with a proper level of service and pricing that envisages an average segment customer. Soon enough, like-minded friends and partners put this idea into effect.

WHAT OTHER SERVICES DO YOUR HOTELS OFFER?

HOW MANY HOTELS DOES INN GROUP INTEGRATE?

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FUTURE PLANS.

Inn Group currently operates four hotels, including: Iveria Inn, Gudauri Inn, Royal Inn and Bakuriani Inn. At the outset, we founded Iveria Inn, which consisted of 70 rooms, but it came to be so irresistible to the public that we added 30 more on demand. Today, the hotel has 195 rooms and fully meets the standards of a high-class 4-star hotel, equipped with everything needed for a comfortable vacation. Next was Gudauri Inn. We chose Gudauri as it was the most popular place for our tourists after the capital. Given that in that period, demand in Gudauri was growing faster than supply, our deci-

In the near future we plan to add the hotel ‘Kutaisi Inn,’ which will have 120 rooms. In addition, we’ve started building apartments in Bakuriani because there was a great demand for it. We offer buyers 25-60 sq.m apartments with complete renovation, furniture and appliances. Apartment owners will benefit from a 20% discount on any of our hotel services. Holidaymakers will be able to rest in their apartments from next year onwards. These types of apartments are especially suitable for families who want to stay with their children.

Every hotel has its own charm. For example, Bakuriani Inn has a fitness room, a sauna and a pool; at the Royal Inn, you can find 19th-century Tbilisi architecture and a charming Tbilisi courtyard. In all our hotels, one can taste a wide assortment of delicious dishes and varieties of Georgian wines.

sion was even more auspicious. We opened one of the most prominent hotels in Gudauri and this was reflected in the first few days, as the hotel was fully operational three days after its opening. Due to high demand, we increased the number of rooms from the initial 60 to 93 in December 2019. The added rooms include spa rooms and conference spaces. After Gudauri, we initiated the largest

project of the company in Bakuriani. This time, we went from a 4 to a 5-star hotel. The hotel complex occupies 25,000 square meters of land. The outside area is replete with cedars and green meadows; hiking and biking trails; billiards and play areas for guests; conference and meeting rooms of various sizes; several types of restaurant and lounge, and a winter garden. The hotel has 154 rooms, including 125 stand-

ard, 10 family, as well as luxurious rooms of more than 100 square meters. Our customers requested a hotel in the center of Tbilisi, but it was impossible to build a large hotel there. When we began our search for land, it turned out that the house of George Tsitsianov (Tsitsishvili) was on sale- a house that today is considered a historical monument. The building was in ruins and


4

POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 22 - 25, 2019

Internal Georgia: The Year Ahead of the 2020 Elections 2012, the then governments were either forcefully ejected or changed through elections. However, when comparing the current situation with 2003 and 2012, we should bear in mind that the need for changes across the country is not as acute as in those two cases. Moreover, the opposition forces nowadays lack a clear leader (as in 2003 and 2012). The period leading to the 2020 elections will be traditionally absorbed by internal developments in the country: the need to implement various economic, education and social reforms. However, this time, foreign policy issues too will feature high on the parties' agenda. Put into this context, the issue of the stillbreathing Anaklia project will be repeatedly brought up.

DESPITE THE CRISES, THE RULING PARTY WILL SURVIVE

Image source: rferl.org/TASS

BY EMIL AVDALIANI

A

s Georgia braces for crucial parliamentary elections in October 2020, the period leading up to it will be characterized by internal

struggles between the ruling party and a number of major opposition forces. This will also be a period when many other small political parties will be created. The major challenge for the ruling party will be to navigate the diverse political landscape slowly merging ahead of the 2020 elections. One of the key motivators for the

opposition to coalesce will likely be the inability of many opposition parties to cross the 3% barrier set for the 2020 elections. Characterized by deep ideological divisions since gaining independence in 1991, Georgian political parties have rarely managed to create a unified front against a ruling party. When it happened in 2003 and

Though many members of the GDDG left the party and there are calls to hold early elections, it is unlikely we are going to see a collapse of the government. The ruling party still enjoys popularity among various elite groups such as the business community, education sphere and, most importantly, security services. Moreover, the growing number of Georgian middle class is also disinterested in having an abrupt end to the current government. A fair amount of disenchantment exists among the populace with the opposition parties, domi-

nated by the UNM and European Georgia parties. Both represent former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's rule, which is often associated with swift and positive reforms, but was also marred by political repression of opponents and widespread human rights violations. This will limit the support the opposition parties expect to garner before the 2020 elections. There is also a counter opinion, shared by many among the general population, that the shift to a proportional system in 2020 could have brought a more chaotic parliament with numerous parties and constant squabbles and protests in central Tbilisi.

LONGER-TERM VIEW Thus, as there are rising merging tendencies among the opposition parties, Georgian Dream will find it ever harder to keep its erstwhile popularity across the country; while there are signs of disenchantment with them in the West with many institutions and governments (including the US and EU) expressing criticism regarding the failure to shift to the promised proportional electoral system. However, this does not mean that the ruling party will collapse. Despite the problems it will face in the coming months, there are still many indicators showing that the GD will remain a significant competitor in the 2020 parliamentary elections.

CoE Sec Gen Marija Pejcinovic Buric on Georgia’s Presidency, Letting Russia Back in & the 2020 Action Plan for Georgia INTERVIEW BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

D

uring the Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric’s first field visit to Georgia, and ahead of Georgia taking up the Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on November 27, for the first time in its history, we caught up with her to find out her views. “I think it's a very historic and important step for Georgia, but at the same time it's very important year for the Council of Europe since it, as an organization, celebrates its 70th anniversary,” she told us. “Georgia itself marks its 20th anniversary of membership of the Council of Europe; so this visit was first and utmost to prepare the presidency, but it was also to discuss the bilateral issues and in general issues that are important for the organization and Georgia.”

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF GEORGIA IN THE FORTHCOMING PRESIDENCY? Georgia, like any country holding the presidency, is to choose its own priorities among the work area of the CoE, which is human rights, democracy and rule of law, and Georgia has really been very accurate choosing themes for its presidency events that will tackle human rights and the environment, something which is very pertinent for the global scene. It will be first time that environment-related human rights are discussed as the priority of one presidency; so it is a completely new approach and a very pertinent one for the discussion we have on the world level. Georgia will also discuss child-friendly justice. Georgia has been very successful in the area of child protection. A number of important things will be tackled during the presidency but of course Georgia itself will present a more detailed plan. What we expect is high level events that highlight both nationally in Georgia, but also develop a dialogue with and between other member states.

WITHIN THE THEME OF HUMAN RIGHTS, THE CURRENT

BORDERIZATION OF GEORGIA’S OCCUPIED TERRITORIES MIGHT COME UP. HOW OPEN WOULD THE COE BE TO THAT? The CoE is very strict about the respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty of each member state and for Georgia as well. The Secretary General issues a twice-yearly consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia that reflects the state of affairs. This is a pertinent and important way in which the Council of Europe deals with the issue of occupied territories; we are working a lot on confidencebuilding measures, assisting the government in their effort to find a peaceful settlement to this situation. This is reflected in our consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia which is submitted to the Committee of Ministers twice a year.

WE HAVE SOME EURO-SKEPTICS WHO WILL ASK ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE REPORT. WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT? The Council of Europe is a place of dialogue, that's how it's formatted and it's in our major legal statute to work for unity and peace. The CoE is not a military security organization, but it can work from the point of view of protecting human rights and it can promote dialogue.

MANY IN THIS REGION AND UKRAINE WERE NOT VERY PLEASED WHEN RUSSIA WAS ACCEPTED BACK INTO THE COE. WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL TAKE ON THIS? The Council of Europe has always been very clear in its condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea. There is no doubt about that. But we found ourselves in a very unusual and unprecedented crisis because our two statutory organs, the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) and the Committee of Ministers, had different approaches to dealing with the issue. In PACE, Russian parliamentarians were temporarily sanctioned and suspended from their right to vote. The Committee of Ministers passed several resolutions condemning Russia’s actions, but it did not sanction Russia.

IF THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY KICKED RUSSIA OUT FOR ANNEXING CRIMEA,

WAS IT SO UNTHINKABLE FOR THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS TO DO THE SAME? I cannot speak for each of the 47 countries involved. But it is clear we needed to get back to a situation with “one body - one decision”. The only way to get out of the crisis was to find a political solution. In the end, both the Committee of Ministers and PACE decided it was better to engage with Russia than to risk a complete breakdown of any kind of dialogue. But at the same time, we knew we needed to work on a mechanism which would in the future prevent us from finding ourselves in the same situation.

DID IT IN ANY WAY IMPROVE THINGS? DID GIVING RUSSIA BACK A CHAIR AT THE TABLE HELP YOU GET YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS TO THEM? We should come back to what the CoE can do, which is monitoring of human rights, democracy, rule of law. But I repeat, the CoE did not change an inch its position on the illegal annexation of Crimea, on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

BE THAT AS IT MAY, LOTS OF PEOPLE IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION SPACE SAW WHAT HAPPENED AS A HUGE POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC VICTORY FOR RUSSIA. WHAT WOULD

YOU TELL THOSE PEOPLE? In our statute it's clearly written that all member states have the right, indeed obligation, to participate in all our activities. And the majority of member states believed that in order to continue our work, it would be better to have Russia in than out of our democratic decision-making. We want all member states to comply with the values of the CoE, and this is primarily in the interest of their citizens.

THE COE ACTION PLAN FOR GEORGIA HAS ENDED, AND IN 2020 WE'LL HAVE ANOTHER. HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PREVIOUS PLAN AND WHAT'S IN THE NEW ONE? We are very pleased how the former two Action Plans were implemented. I think we developed an excellent cooperation with different stakeholders in Georgia and we can already see some visible results; we worked on constitutional reform, on child-related issues, we worked on tackling corruption. Georgia is advancing in the field of gender equality, too. We developed the third Action Plan for 2020 to 2023 reflecting the internal needs of Georgia for reforms but also reflecting Georgia's international obligations, and it was prepared in a close cooperation with Georgian authorities. We always want the Action Plan to reflect what Georgia needs. In the last one, we worked quite a lot on gender equality, and we

achieved something that I think Georgia can be very proud of: in this part of Europe, in the South Caucasus, it is the first country to have ratified the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe’s Convention against violence against women and domestic violence.

THIS MONTH THERE WAS A SCREENING OF A GAY LOVE STORY IN CINEMAS IN GEORGIA, AND FARRIGHT MINDED GROUPS OF PEOPLE PROTESTED IT. ANY MESSAGE ON THAT FOR THE PEOPLE OF GEORGIA? Violence is deplorable, especially over such an issue, but I saw that the Georgian authorities reacted quickly and firmly I think this demonstrates [to society] that protecting minorities is still an important issue on which we need to work - not only in Georgia but also in many other parts of the world.

HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT ON THE MASS PROTESTS IN TBILISI THAT TOOK PLACE OVER THIS PAST WEEK? We encourage Georgia to continue reforms, including on electoral reform. The Council of Europe and its body of constitutional experts, the Venice Commission, stand ready to offer Georgia assistance. The debate should continue in a constructive and peaceful manner. And that excludes any kind of violence.


6

POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 22 - 25, 2019

Government vs. Opposition OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

W

hat we have today in Georgia qualifies as the weirdest political situation this country has known in the last thirty years of its post-soviet existence. The nation is faced with an electoral dilemma of content and magnitude it has never known before, due to which the government looks seemingly weakened but strong anyway, and its opposition looks seemingly strong but weakened in any case. Here is the fairest possible overall picture of the national political scenery: the opposition has lost the nerve, cause and confidence it is always bragging about, and conversely, the government has acquired the nerve, cause and confidence it has never been proud of. The opposition has never before presented itself to the public as so angered and depleted of political energy and diplomatic acumen as it currently has, and the government has never before defied so strongly the arguments of its opponents as it is doing presently. The disintegrated but temporarily united oppositional forces of the coun-

try are hopeful that the public has enough ear and tolerance for them, and relying on this dream, they see the collapse of the current government only through hundreds of thousands of grownup citizens taking to the streets, whereas the integrated, but temporarily shrunken government, basing its action on strict

research of public judgment, makes quick and unexpected moves that are totally compatible with the judgment and attitude of the majority of Georgia’s population. The opposition is making forceful steps to lure the crowds into the street to promote its cause of ousting the

current government, but all in vain, because the public is tired of the political faces that have been on the air in the last score of years, leading the public nowhere. They want to stay indoors while the government makes the necessary steps very thoughtfully and gingerly to keep its people safe, and

the hard-obtained national freedom and democracy intact. The people of Georgia no longer desire to waste time in the streets making crucial political decisions. For this, they have joined the healthiest course of democratic development within the parliamentary, governmental and judicial walls of the country, where the principals of representative democracy, checks and balances, self-government and unalienable rights work between the government and the governed, and tend to be the dominant instruments of freedom and democracy. The outraged leaders of the opposition are bending backwards to have the streets of Georgia flooded with socially angry and politically poised electorate, not having the faintest clue of the enigma that moves the masses in the direction of sweeping the government from its ruling position, while the government continues handling the situation in a classic fashion of keeping the country up and running and its citizens on the safest possible side. The opposition blocks access to the building of parliament and locks its gates and the government unblocks the path to parliamentary offices and unlocks the gateway to where the government remains functional to run the country.

On Making Women’s Political Participation Part of the Georgian Culture

U

nder-representation of women in politics is still a big challenge for Georgia on its way to democratic development. GEORGIA TODAY sat down to discuss it with Nino Dolidze, Manager of Women’s Programing of the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan, international organization, working in Georgia since 1999 supporting the development of a multi-party political system in the country.

WHAT STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN IN ORDER TO GUARANTEE THE EQUAL POLITICAL PARTICIPATION OF MEN AND WOMEN IN GEORGIA? Women’s political participation is very low in Georgia. According to the statistics, Georgia possesses one of the lowest places in the world in terms of the women’s political participation. There are several reasons for the underrepresentation of women in political life; however, I would like to underline the three main factors. First of all, Georgian society is strongly masculine in its traditions and culture. Secondly, there is a scarcity of will among political parties to attract and empower women politicians. And lastly, the State still lacks the interest to support and strengthen gender equality by creating gender-sensitive legislation in Georgia. When speaking about solutions, first of all, the government should alter the

legislation and introduce a mandatory gender quota, which, in the short-run, is the most efficient way to solve the problem. In addition to that, the internal democracy of political parties should be promoted. This means that political parties should have gender-sensitive approaches and should establish relevant mechanisms to recruit and promote women within the party. Moreover, conducting a largescale awareness-raising campaign about gender equality issues and women’s rights is essential. Such campaigns can highlight not only the fact that women deserve to be a part of the decision-making process, but also bring to light that the increased political participation of women can result in tangible and positive changes in politics in general.

WHAT IS YOUR ORGANIZATION’S ROLE IN SUPPORTING WOMEN’S POLITICAL PARTICIPATION THROUGH THE PROGRAMS YOU IMPLEMENT? HAVE YOU PLANNED ANY ACTIVITIES DEDICATED TO STRENGTHENING WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION FOR THE 2020 PARLIAMENTARY AND 2021 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS? IRI focuses on advancing the country’s multi-party political system through strengthening political parties in Georgia. We acknowledge that political parties cannot function efficiently unless they increase the role of marginalized

groups in the political process, including women and youth. IRI has been working in several directions in order to advance women’s political participation. We support political parties in the establishment and development of women’s organizations; train women members of political parties on all necessary political and leadership skills; empower already elected women to be more active and responsive, especially on the local levels; and assist political parties to develop more inclusive party platforms, which takes into account the interests of women. In addition to concrete programs and activities, one of the main areas of IRI’s work is to advocate for changes, including legislative changes, by working directly with decision-makers of the country. For the upcoming elections, IRI will continue to equip women with the necessary skills through its Electoral Campaign Schools and Leadership Academies. If constitutional amendments result in the 2020 parliamentary elections being conducted with a proportional system, we will work actively with political parties in order to see women politicians at the top of the lists. As for the 2021 municipal elections, we will continue working to empower women in the regions.

YOU MENTIONED THAT IRI HAS BEEN WORKING WITH WOMEN REPRESENTATIVES OF LOCAL

MUNICIPALITIES. ARE THERE GENDER-SENSITIVE POLICIES AND TO WHAT EXTENT DO THEY REFLECT WOMEN’S INTERESTS? When speaking on women’s political participation, we consider the local level as important as the central government. As of today, only 13.5% of local councilors are women, only one out of 64 City Mayors is a woman and no governor are women. These statistics show to what extent local-level politics might be gender-sensitive. Unfortunately, today, the programs and budgets of local governments are not gender sensitive, but there are attempts at gender mainstreaming in some of the municipalities. As a result

of our programs, we have seen many successful examples of increased solidarity among female politicians, who give up their narrow party interests to solve the problems of their women citizens. However, such cases are still few and far between. To better plan our future activities in this area, we need to analyze qualitatively the policies created by female politicians, to see if women have different accents and if these accents reflect the needs and interests of women voters more. Some say culture does not make people, people make culture. If it is true that women in politics is not our culture, then we must make it our culture.”

Election Protests, ‘Padlock Days’ Continue in Georgia

Continued from page 2 The Tbilisi City Court found Irakli Nadiradze, member of City Council, Giga Makarashvili, one of the organizers of the protest rally, and three other detainees,

Dimitri Bidzinashvili, Davit Mzhavanadze and Irakli Kacharava, guilty of violating the law. Another detainee, Paata Sosanashvili, was given a verbal warning. The judge sentenced Nadiradze to administrative imprisonment of 13 days,

Makarashvili to 12 days, Bidzinashvili to 13 days, and Mzhavanadze and Kacharava to four days each. Those injured in the rally, three demonstrators and two law enforcers, have already been discharged from hospital. The opposition announced that demonstrations will continue until their demands are met. Another mass protest rally is planned for November 25 in Tbilisi and there are plans to block the parliament building on November 26. Gigi Ugulava, a member of the European Georgia party, stated that they will protest and arrange a ‘Padlock Day’ in front of the government administration

each Thursday. “If Parliament is blocked, the government will respond appropriately,” Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze warned in response, noting that the protesters should not go beyond the law. “No one will prevent the rallies. People have the right to express their opinions on any issue, no matter how critical it may be. However, most importantly, they should not go beyond the law. Of course, no-one can prevent these people from coming out and expressing their views, but if the Parliament is blocked, the relevant services will respond appropriately,” he said. The protests in Tbilisi were sparked

after the rejection of an election bill last week, proposed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, offering the transition to a fully proportional electoral system from 2020 instead of 2024. The demonstrators accuse the current state leadership of "breaking its promise and cheating people" as the ruling party agreed to conduct the 2020 parliamentary elections using a fully proportional electoral system, during the internationally renowned June protests in Tbilisi. Protesters demand a second hearing in Parliament regarding the proportional elections, and some are pushing for snap elections.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 22 - 25, 2019

Multi-Screen Collaboration: Mobile Meets PC, for Enhanced Performance On-the-Go

F

rom scribbling during moments of inspiration to snapping quick photos of important documents or recording memorable exchanges during a career-defining meeting, the pocket-sized device that you carry around is jam-packed with life-altering mobile office features. However, coordinating your work through your smartphone has notable downsides. It can be tedious and time-consuming to export photos and files from your phone to a PC. The same goes for messaging apps, data cables, phone assistant, and cloud storage — they work, but only after a significant degree of hassle. Fortunately, Huawei has proposed Multi-Screen Collaboration, a better approach for coordinating work on your smartphone and PC. Multi-Screen Collaboration goes far beyond merely transferring files between phones and PCs. It also leverages the PC's computing power and other system capabilities, to merge the distributed systems of a PC and phone at the bottom layer, in order to facilitate truly seamless cross-system cooperation. By drawing on the phone and PC's pooled hardware capabilities, you are able to utilize the PC's superior office-related functions, to enjoy skyrocketing productivity and unparalleled convenience.

SO, IN WHICH SCENARIOS DOES MULTI-SCREEN COLLABORATION COME INTO PLAY? Perhaps the most functional, everyday feature is interactive file transfers, in which you can send images, office files, and Word documents, between MateBook laptops and Huawei phones, simply by dragging and dropping them. Remarkably, these transfers are nearly instant, and there are no limits on the size of the transferred files. Multi-Screen Collaboration also enables PCs and phones to serve as "peripherals" of each other, thereby furnishing phones with next-level PC hardware capabilities. This means that you can control your phone from the MateBook, and in the process, leverage the laptop's speaker for broader audio coverage, Bluetooth mouse for more precise file and photo management, as well as its more efficient QWERTY keyboard. In a broader sense, Multi-Screen Collaboration eliminates the longstanding user trade-off between mobility and performance. Gone are the days of constantly needing to switch back and forth between your phone and laptop to complete work basic assignments, interrupting your work to do so, which undermines productivity. Instead, you can now enjoy a seamless smartphone experience on your MateBook, spanning video streaming, web browsing, and mobile office functions, and enjoy the best of both worlds. The full range of benefits offered by Multi-Screen

Collaboration does not end there — thanks to an incredible continuity feature, your content syncs automatically, from the point at which you left off. This means that if you have a document in progress, half of a movie to continue watching, or an ongoing chat on your phone, you can pick it up on your PC, without missing a beat. Multi-Screen Collaboration has brought crossdevice functionality to all usage scenarios, enabling both devices to pool resources, and utilize the best hardware feature, as required for each operation. This breakthrough capability forms the core of Huawei's Seamless AI Life strategy. Huawei has long been committed to enriching consumers with smart features that can be applied in every facet of everyday life. Huawei MateBooks that come equipped with Huawei Share OneHop, offer a wireless bridge between the Android and Windows operating systems. To establish a connection, all you need to do is tap the NFC area on your Huawei or Honor phone against the NFC tag on your MateBook. From there, you can transfer files, record screen activity, or share clipboard content between the two devices, with maximum ease. Multi-Screen Collaboration represents an upgrade over this revolutionary approach, facilitating lightning-fast connections via tapping, scanning, or auto-discovery mode. Furthermore, by displaying the phone content in a window on the PC, you can remain focused on your work tasks, while remaining plugged in to important phone operations and notifications. For instance, you can check phone voice or text messages on the MateBook, for integrated communications, and a heightened audiovisual experience. Please bear in mind that to experience the MultiScreen Collaboration function, your MateBook must have PC Manager 10.0 or later, and your phone must run EMUI 10 or later, on a Kirin 980 or higher chipset. Fortunately for you, EMUI 10 has been rolled out on an increasing number of models. Huawei plans for more than 35 models to be updated to EMUI 10, enabling more than 150 million users worldwide to enjoy the system's life-changing smart lifestyle features. P30 series users will be the first to receive a beta EMUI 10 update. Then other flagship models, including the Mate 20, HONOR 20, and HONOR V20, will soon follow, with EMUI 10/Magic UI 3.0 updates to be made available in late 2019. Currently, Multi-Screen Collaboration is available on the Huawei MateBook X Pro, MateBook 13, MateBook 14, MateBook D 2018, MateBook X, HONOR MagicBook, and HONOR MagicBook Pro. Users of these models only need to update PC Manager to 10 or later, and pair it with a compatible phone running EMUI 10 or later, to enjoy breathtaking work-life, cross-device synergy from the future – in 2019!

7


8

SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 22 - 25, 2019

m2 Collective – New Co-working Space with Distinctive Architecture & Design Opens in the Heart of Tbilisi BY ANA DUMBADZE

C

o-working spaces have been rapidly increasing by number over the last few years in Georgia’s capital and throughout the country in general. This innovative way of working is gaining increasing popularity among customers, as they no longer have to choose between working at a corporate office or from the comfort of their own home. Now they can have the perfect mix of both in a co-working space. On November 15, Georgia Real Estate Holding added a new direction to its activities by opening a comfortable and innovative co-working space at #10 Kartozia Street, in the central Saburtalo district of Tbilisi. The opening ceremony was attended by current and potential customers of m2 Collective, representatives of the business sector, creative industry and media. The technically fully equipped space is designed for up to 100 users and is as ideal for productive work as it is for business meetings. m2 Collective boasts a well-equipped working space with 24/7 access, isolated offices as well as common working spaces, meeting rooms, individual lockers, high-speed wireless internet, highquality technical equipment including printing machines, projectors, etc., free coffee/tea, daily cleaning service, and bicycle and car parking. The guests attending the opening ceremony unanimously claimed that it was the perfect place for employees to progress and succeed. m2 Collective is designed to provide users with a sense of maximum comfort, with separate rooms arranged for those wishing to work individually. The modern office equipment available at m2 Collective will enable all processes to be carried out directly on the spot, which, given the rapid pace of modern life, is very convenient. The new co-working space is characterized by attractive architecture and a special design. The minimalistic style generates a cozy and professional environment at the same time. When entering the

offices arranged at m2, one will definitely get the feeling it was created especially for productive work and finding new business opportunities. “m2 Collective is yet another new and successful project of our holding,” said Irakli Burdiladze, CEO of Georgia Real Estate Holding. “We are well aware that in modern times, doing business, cooperating with companies or running your own business is also possible remotely. Therefore, in order to provide maximum comfort to our customers, we saw it necessary to open this kind of space. I believe that Collective will become the basis for many people to come up with new ideas and innovate projects that will further strengthen the country's business and creative sector.” What’s more, Collective offers affordable prices tailored to individual needs of the customers, as well as special offers and discounts. The modern and comfortable multifunctional space represents a unique opportunity for individuals and firms, from various backgrounds and professions, to enhance and improve their skills, knowledge and expertise in order to achieve success in their own fields. “When we started thinking about a common workspace, we had a few factors in mind: first, location because there was no such space with this standard and functions in the Saburtalo district,” noted Nato Bochorishvili, General Director of the Georgia Property Management Group. “The other factor was customer demand. As the desire to work in a common workspace is increasing by the day, considering the interest of our audience, we realized that there is a need for such a space in the market as well. We opened it in one of the m² complexes, in the residential complex Hippodrome2, in order to provide an additional home-like environment and a new exciting experience of a co-working space for our residents.” She added that the company also plans to arrange the same profile space in other complexes of m2, in particular, m3 located on Gelovani street. “The space is suitable and convenient for companies and individuals working in every direction; however, it is most likely to be used by the representatives of the education and IT fields, as well as individuals working on private orders, such as architects and designers. We also have rooms

arranged at the office in which members can take a step back from work and relax, get rid of some stress and come up with new creative ideas in a calm environment,” she added. As for the competition in the local market, despite the fact that many spaces of a similar profile have been opened in Georgia’s capital of late, the head of the Georgia Property Management Group believes that the newly opened m2 Collective can freely compete with them due to its distinctive features and the maximum comfort it provides its residents. “In our space, we aimed to solve all the issues that are not addressed by other such profile facilities. First of all, we focused on the decor quality, as well as heating and cooling systems and ventilation, which is very important for productive work. The offices are arranged in order to receive the maximum amount of daylight in an internal space and create a pleasant atmosphere. In addition, there are many other details we can offer our customers on the spot, including a well-equipped kitchen, different types of relaxation rooms, technical equipment, etc. We wanted to do our best in order to motivate and inspire our customers by giving them an absolutely new experience of co-working space. Given that there is an increasing demand for office space, we are planning to further develop and expand in this direction and integrate other spaces located nearby. As for the prices, at this stage we offer quite favorable discounts to our customers, having one of the most competitive prices on the local market,” she elaborated. m2 Collective already has permanent customers and residents, and the majority of them claim that the space provides perfect conditions for work. The office of Kant's Academy, the leading nonformal education platform for adolescents, is also located at m2 Collective.

As Giorgi Taktakishvili, CEO of the Kant’s Academy, noted, their team is completely satisfied with the service of m2 Collective and they call on other companies to follow their example. “We are very glad that there are many facilities with this kind of profile opening in Tbilisi and in Georgia in general. m2 Collective is distinguished among them with high quality service. We were one of the first companies that chose this space for work, as we appreciate the value and importance of a good co-working space and the positive impact it can have on our professional development. It was totally the right decision. It is the perfect environment for the motivation and self-development of customers. The entire team of m2 Collective is always ready to assist us to solve any challenge. When working at m2 Collective, we have more enthusiasm and can feel that choosing this space for our activities is already an important strategic decision and a step forward for a successful future. The Kant’s Academy, with all its projects and offices, is currently based at m2 Collective and our team highly recommends it for other companies and individuals to share our successful experience. The teams of Kant’s Academy and m2 Collective are ‘competing’ about giving more motivation to each other and it is noteworthy that the m2 Collective is currently winning, however, we promise that we will definitely ‘defeat’ them by having some surprises and moves in terms of motivation and selfdevelopment of our own,” Taktakishvili said. The newly opened space is expected to become home to the most innovative projects and teams and open-minded and creative individuals. The doors of the m2 Collective are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, meaning the facility is always ready to warmly welcome members into a cozy environment with comfortable working conditions.

British Council in Georgia Announces Launch of IELTS on Computer

I

ELTS is one of the world’s most popular high-stakes English language tests, with over three and a half million tests taken in the past year, and is recognized by more than 10,000 universities, schools, employers and immigration bodies. British Council in Georgia has administered more than 45,000 IELTS tests for over 25 years, opening doors for people who aspire to life changing opportunities around the world. It is continually enhancing IELTS to improve the experience for its test takers and stakeholders. As a result, as of 29 November 2019, Computer Delivered IELTS will be launched in Georgia and candidates can take IELTS on computer alongside the paper-based version of the test. IELTS on a computer will not replace the paperbased IELTS but rather offer a choice in delivery and more availability. Test takers can now choose the way and time to take IELTS that best works for them. The test content, timing and structure remain the same in both options and, importantly, the Speaking test remains face-to-face with a certified IELTS Examiner. Whether test takers take IELTS on paper or computer, they can be confident that they are taking the same trusted English language test. “I am delighted to announce the launch of the computer-delivered IELTS in Georgia, which builds on the success of delivering the world’s most popular English language test for over 25 years now," said Zaza Purtseladze, British Council Director South Caucasus and Georgia. "The test’s success has largely been based on our ability to adapt and evolve with changing environments, customer expectations and technological developments. As of 29 November 2019, we will be providing our candidates with a choice depending on their preferences to pursue their academic objectives and career aspirations.’’

IELTS on computer was launched in Australia in December 2017 and is being introduced across the IELTS testing network. The test is the same as paper-based IELTS in content, scoring, level of difficulty, question format and security arrangements. IELTS on computer includes Listening, Reading and Writing. The Speaking test will continue to be face-to-face, as it is a more reliable indicator of communication and it is what our customers tell us feels more natural for them. This new option will not replace paper-based IELTS but rather offer a choice in delivery and more availability. Results from IELTS on computer are available between 5-7 days after taking all four test sections. The IELTS partners are committed to continuous investment in test development in order to enhance the IELTS experience. For more information on computer-delivered IELTS visit https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/ ielts-on-computer For more information, please visit the British Council Georgia website: https://www.britishcouncil.ge/en/exam/ielts


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 22 - 25, 2019

Hot off the Press: Etseri, Svaneti BLOG BY TONY HANMER

L

ooking out the windows facing south at about 9 this morning (Nov. 18), it was clear that the weather was unusual. There were clouds, but these were both not forecast and the wrong color, too yellow. Smoke! We’d been having dry weather for weeks, otherwise a boon to farmers in this late fall season, but the leaves had all fallen and crisped right up. Something across the Enguri River from us could have triggered a flame: the sun’s rays catching on a bit of clear plastic or glass and focusing to a hot point, perhaps. The wind was minimal, which would stop the mass from choking us by moving north, but it was certainly spreading east and west as well as rising. No one lived there on that side of the river, but further east is the village of Tskhumari, right in the smoke’s path. I began taking photos, single shots and three-frame panoramas, on my cell phone; my big camera’s experiencing trouble and currently not usable, but these images at least captured what was unfolding not far away. It might have started with just leaves, but trees too were now burning at midday. A neighbor told me he’d called 112 (emergency services in Georgia) and “brigades will be sent”, but when? I continued documenting the spread. If it did engulf us in smoke (though the fire has little to feed on in our fields now), would the air get bad enough to force us to leave? Having seen recent news of huge fires in Brazil and parts of the USA, one could hardly compare this: far fewer people live in Svaneti, for example. But also a much smaller proportion of them have cars if evacuation would be called for; and I would expect the firefighting personnel to struggle more, given what equipment could be available to work with and the difficult access by anything other than air. There’s just the one road through Svaneti, from Zugdidi up through Mestia and Ushguli, then down again through Lentekhi to Kutaisi. Lots of things to consider when it’s suddenly in your area, visibly growing! WE can evacuate ourselves: what about the livestock, though? Cows (only a few giving milk this late in the year), horses, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry. What happens to them? Turned loose to fend for themselves? They could all actually survive on what nature has if we left them to it; but they’d scatter if abandoned long enough. Uninsured, of course. As I write this mid-afternoon, a new

cloud, thicker and more yellow, occasionally rises up from the spread-out strata of thinner, wind-borne cloud in the original location. There is now thick smoke in bands over about 160 degrees of the landscape. Still no news of anything being done about it. The airspeed where we are is still minimal, but simple displacement is gradually pushing a thinned-out part towards us, slowly degrading visibility. I’ll admit, though, that here what we can see we can’t smell. Someone responds to my Facebook posts in Mestia, 28 km above us, however, that they can smell the smoke: just local people burning leaves or corn stalks, or really this forest fire? Time to call 112 again? The drama unfolds before my eyes. What I can’t see from here, though, is either flame or actual location of the burning. It’s all obscured by the sheer amount of smoke. Evening falls, the sun disappearing over the southern mountain wall before 5 pm as we move towards the year’s shortest day in a month and a bit. We can now see the actual fire glowing by its own light as tonight’s full darkness descends, despite the smoke continuing to veil it so thickly. It’ll likely burn all night. But my cell phone can’t even come close to capturing images in the dim light, to which my eyes need several minutes to adjust. So all I can do is describe them. Tomorrow will bring new sights. It’s the 19th now, and media have been reporting on the fires here and elsewhere and on efforts to fight them on difficult terrain. The smoke remains, but it’s not being carried across to us much; its smell is still not detectable, so our air quality at least here is not much worse. Small

mercies! I would guess that, judging by the difference between yesterday’s smoke and today’s, the fires had not been burning long when we woke up to them yesterday. The smoke clouds then had much sharper edges, not having been diffused much by wind, whereas today the spread is much wider. This evening, as the sun sets at 4:30 pm, the opposite mountain wall is the clearest it’s been for three days, only lightly veiled by smoke now. A single plume rises, lighter against the trees; a good sign that things are winding down. Night’s cold will help too, we hope. Morning of the 20th: now just a light haze, the worst (here) is over, with some local people having joined the firefighters. Snow forecast for tomorrow, which can also only help. I can only imagine what people go through who have actually to flee a forest fire or heavy smoke from it. This is only a light taste of what could be possible. At least much of our main road out of here is not through forest, and is on high, wide, rocky river banks which a fire would be unlikely to jump across. We still hope it all dies out soon, though, with not too much more loss to the beautiful, vital forests of Svaneti and beyond. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with nearly 2000 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti

Young Georgians Stand Up for the Ozone Layer

T

hirty-five schoolchildren from different regions of Georgia took part in the youth contest ‘Protect the Ozone Layer – Protect Life on the Earth,’ initiated by the Environmental Information and Education Centre (EIEC) of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The best essays and video messages made by young environmentalists were awarded in Tbilisi. “It is good to see such passion and determination among Georgia’s youth to save our planet from the many threats it faces,” said UNDP Head Louisa Vinton. “The UNDP hopes this contest will inspire youngsters to serve as ambassadors for a greener lifestyle and more sustainable consumption in their communities.” “Young citizens of our country are expecting us to leave them a greener and

safer world. Our responsibility is to live up to these expectations,” said EIEC Head Tamar Aladashvili. “Georgia has achieved impressive progress in phasing out most harmful substances that deplete the ozone layer. However, more needs to be done to promote a green life-style and environmental education and introduce sustainable production and consumption.” The youth contest was announced as part of an information campaign launched by the Environmental Information and Education Center (EIEC) and UNDP on 16 September, the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. More than 150 schoolchildren attended ozone-related seminars in September and October, which inspired 35 tenthgraders to speak their minds in the contest for the best personal message about the ozone layer. The three best essays written by the participants from Akhalgori, Kakheti and Tbilisi and the best video address made by a school student from Rustavi received

acknowledgment and awards from EIEC and the UNDP. The Montreal Protocol is a global agreement to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Many world countries, including Georgia, have taken strong actions in the past decades to phase out most harmful substances, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). With funds from the Multi-Lateral Fund to the Montreal Protocol, UNDP has been assisting Georgia since 2007 in fulfilling its national obligations under the Montreal Protocol. This support has included establishing and equipping recycling facilities and service centers in refrigeration and air conditioning, training programs for refrigeration and air conditioning technicians and customs officers, and assistance to businesses and organizations in upgrading their equipment and moving to harmless refrigerants.

9


10

CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 22 - 25, 2019

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

RUSTAVELI THEATER 17 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 72 68 68 www.rustavelitheatre.ge November 25 Vakhushhti Kotetishvili`s folklore evening POEM, YOU WON`T BE FORGOTTEN Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-25 GEL OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 25 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. November 24 Eldar Getsadze Star Opening Ceremony and Gala Concert Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-100 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER 14 Shavteli Str. November 22 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL November 23, 24 STALINGRAD Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL November 26 REZO Animated documentary film Directed by Leo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL November 27, 28 THE AUTUMN OF MY SPRINGTIME Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER 37 Rustaveli Ave. November 22 HOST AND GUEST

Based on the work of Vazha Pshavela Language: Non-verbal Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Agmashenebli Ave. November 27 A LO CUBANO NIGHT'S And a masterclass of Cuban dancing Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL November 28 FAUST Based on the work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Music: Sandro Nikoladze Language: Non-verbal Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15 GEL MUSIC & DRAMA STATE THEATER 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. November 26 WELCOME TO GEORGIA The Musical A musical, theatrical play and romantic comedy telling a story about Georgia and its people by combining song, dance, culture, traditions, history, national costumes and local cuisine. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50-80 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM 3 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 80 22, 293 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS Until December 10 An international-scale archaeological exhibition THE COLORS OF ANCIENT ROME.

MOSAICS FROM THE CAPITOLINE MUSEUMS The exhibition features 21 mosaics found in Rome, covering a wide chronological period ranging from 2nd century BC until 4th century AD Until December 15 The first-ever exhibition of a remarkable coin from the time of King David the Builder The coin shows Kind David IV dressed in Byzantine imperial attire, wearing stemma, and holding a Globus cruciger. On the reverse is an invocation in Georgian surrounding a cross and listing the extent of David's kingdom: 'Lord, aid David, king of Abkhazians, Kartvelians, Rans, Kakhs, Armenians.' Until November 30 Exhibition ‘Wisdom Transformed into Gold' Supported by the EU With ancient archaeological finds, the exhibition presents for the first time gold jewelry of Late Antiquity (2nd-4th century AD), goldsmiths' tools from the Museum's ethnographic collection, and items made from gold and precious metals. Until December 9 Exhibition MUSEUM OF CERAMICS Eight artists united around the idea of creating a museum of ceramics to describe the history of ceramics: Malkhaz Shvelidze, Nato Eristavi, Lia Bagrationi, Gigisha Pachkoria, Lali Kutateladze, Otar Vepkhvadze, Merab Gugunashvili, Ilia Biganashvili. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION 4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors, where visitors can see documentaries of various historical events.

of Ilia Chavchavadze, Dimitri Bakradze, Giorgi Chubinashvili, the recently recovered book collections of Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich Romanov and Brothers Zubalashvili, as well as books with the signatures of Ilia Chavchavadze, Ivane Machabeli, Victor Hugo, Dmitri Mendeleev and AntoineAugustin Renouard. MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS 10 Betlemi Str. Discover the Museum of Illusions Be brave and jump into an illusion created by the Vortex, deform the image of yourself in the Mirror Room, free yourself in the Infinity Room, resist the laws of gravity and size, and take selfies in every possible pose. Enjoy the collection of holograms and discover optical illusions. GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00 GRAND MASTERS FROM THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM COLLECTION XIX – XX CENTURY TBILISI DIGITAL SPACE Tbilisi Mall The first museum of digital art in Tbilisi, where you will meet three different spaces: Vazha-Pshavela's "Dried beech", the world of torches, and a digital space decorated with various graphic and visuals effects. In the main hall is decorated with video projections and mirrors, demonstrating there is no boundary between man and nature. Ticket: 10-30 GEL MUSIC

TBILISI CONCERT HALL 1 Melikishvili Ave.

Art director- Sherman Chkuasel, Chief choreographer- Eka Chkuaseli Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-50 GEL REPUBLIC 1st Republic Sq. November 23 The Quintessence, Nini Nutsubidze X Rezi, Sumo b2b Hatsvali The presentation evening of COLOR ROOM Line up: The Quintessence X Nukri Kapanadze Nini Nutsubidze X Rezi Kaladze SUMO B2B HATSVALI Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 50 GEL MOLEKULA Kus Tba November 23 MAX LEONIDAS, FRANCK PERCO Start time: 21:00 DOORS 26 Tsintsadze Str. November 23 LELA TSURTSUMIA Solo program NONSTOP/live Special guest- Maka Zambakhidze Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 30 GEL VINTAGE 70/5 M. Kostava Ae. November 23 Dream Weekend / All in white Bugeeng- Zuka Birkaia Singing, dance, drink, guess song competitions Age and Face control 18+ Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 20 GEL WAREHOUSE 7 / VII PAVILION 30/32 Akhalkalaki Str.

THE BOOK MUSEUM 5 Gudiashvili Str., National Parlamentary Library +995 32 297 16 40

November 24 ALILO Head of the orchestra: Davit Mazniashvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-40 GEL

November 22 DEBORAH DE LUCA Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50 GEL

The Book Museum holds a unique collection of items, including the private libraries

November 28 ERISIONI Grand two-hour show

November 24, 25 FOLIA Contemporary Ballet Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra Georgian Sinfonietta Giorgi Aleksidze Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet (artistic director Mariam Aleksidze) Mikheil Abramishviliccountertenor, Georgia Anna Kurdovanidze– harpsichord & positive organ, Georgia Josep Maria Marti Duran– theorbo & baroque guitar, Spain Daniel Garay Moragues– drums, Spain Music by Antonio Vivaldi, Francesco Geminiani, Andrea Falconieri Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-40 GEL Venue: Royal District Theater

TBILISI BAROQUE FESTIVAL

November 26 Performers: Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra– Georgian Sinfonietta Mikheil Abramishviliccountertenor, Georgia Ketevan Kartvelishvili –alto, Georgia Anna Kurdovanidze – harpsichord & positive organ, Georgia Josep Maria Marti Duran– theorbo & baroque guitar, Spain Programme Music by Baldassare Gallupi, Avison/Scarlatti, Claudio Monteverdi, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Luigi Boccherini, Johann Adolph Hasse, Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Joseph Haydn and Charles Avison Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-40 GEL Venue: Rustaveli Theater


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 22 - 25, 2019

11

Meet the Creative Mind behind the Soundtrack of Tbilisi EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY LORRAINE VANEY

I

n September, GEORGIA TODAY reported on a new record that had been released on the market: The Soundtrack of Tbilisi, compiling 42 minutes of contemporary music from 11 Georgian artists. Each of them brought their own musical universe in a mix that captures the vibe of this fastchanging city, made of both sharp dissonances and subtle harmonies. The record is the basis for a 2020 documentary by the same name, which will also put together the work of different Georgian filmmakers. GEORGIA TODAY met with the director, Magnus Lorenz, from Germany, and the artist behind the vinyl cover Natia Benashvili to learn more about this innovative project.

“It has been almost 10 years that I’m linked to Georgia,” Lorenz tells us. “I first did a volunteering service working as a German language assistant in the 21st Public School and then I kept coming back again and again. I just recently finished my master's degree in documentary filmmaking in Romania. My dissertation project was partly about Tbilisi and the music scene here, so I was just waiting to finish my studies to come back and start filming. The documentary is planned for 2020. At the same time, I will be working with the Youth Association DRONI, mostly doing audio visual public relations and implementing my own projects like for example the Europa Photo Marathon on November 30. DRONI provides non-formal trainings and workshops, human rights education and youth development programs in Georgia, so it is a good combination as it will likely offer me access to

new themes that might also be interesting for the documentary film.

WHERE DID YOUR INTEREST IN THE GEORGIAN MUSIC SCENE INITIALLY COME FROM? It started from the very beginning actually. During my volunteering service here, I was in touch with the AlterVision group, which organized the Tbilisi Open Air. This is how I discovered many local musicians and bands. Then, during my studies in Germany, I was working for a student radio and made several shows, including one especially about the Georgian music scene. At first, I was focused on the techno scene from a distance. Electronic music here is indeed trendy and widespread; many musicians have turned to deejaying or production; it’s a more sustainable job, the demand is high for DJs and it’s cheaper for clubs than hiring a band. This means a lot of bands don’t have enough opportunities to play live, so they sometimes lack practice and experience. But then when traveling here, I realized that there were many more genres flourishing in Tbilisi and I decided to widen the scope of my musical project.

HOW DID THE MUSICIANS WELCOME THE PROJECT? They were all very enthusiastic about having one of their tracks put on a vinyl, as they know that the Georgian music scene is not so popular abroad. Two of the participants, Lua, the winner of the Georgia’s Newcomer Award and the women’s choir Ialoni actually created brand new songs especially for the album.

YOU SAID DURING THE LAUNCH ON AUGUST 29TH THAT THE FILM WILL BE BASED ON THE SOUNDTRACK; CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE MORE? Although we took the production process upside down by starting with the soundtrack, this was a great incentive for people to get on board and trust the project. Both the vinyl and the film have the same conceptual idea; the soundtrack is a music compilation of 11 musicians,

and the documentary will be a collaboration of different filmmakers coming together, making different films about different topics in Tbilisi. I already met with several Georgian filmmakers during my studies in Romania when I organized a visit to Tbilisi for the CineDOC International Documentary Film Festival. The documentary will be fully produced in Georgia; it’s a low- budget production at the moment, but we are planning to apply for grants and funds once we have the collective together.

SPEAKING ABOUT FUNDING, YOUR PROJECT IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN! Well, I wrote my thesis about crowdfunding campaigns for film productions. First, you need to convince your friends, your family, but to make it successful you have to reach people outside of your immediate circle. It was a lot of work and preparation to explain to people the idea of crowdfunding, but we made it! We started in October 2018 and we reached the goal of 5000€ in two months, which is still a pretty low budget when you take into consideration all the costs related to mastering, mixing, art design, shipping, website. Actually, the soviet elevator on the cover represents the idea of crowdfunding itself: if you want to go up to the next floor you have to put in some Tetri, which at the end helps to

pay the electricity bill for the whole building. It’s all about small contributions for a greater goal, exactly like a crowdfunding campaign!

DURING THE RELEASE PARTY, THE BAR WAS LITERALLY PACKED, AND THERE WERE STILL PEOPLE OUTSIDE WAITING TO GET IN. FROM THE LAUNCH TO THE END RESULT, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN, IT SEEMS YOUR PROJECT HAS ATTRACTED LOTS OF INTEREST AND SUPPORT. Lucky us, everything went fine! With all the ups and downs, it is still such an enjoyable experience; I always wanted to produce a vinyl, and a film, and this is finally happening! What makes it even cooler is that I get to do it in Georgia, after 10 years of constant traveling and stays. The goal was to produce something authentic, and of course you can always do more, add more artists and so on, but ultimately I think we made a pretty inclusive selection. The record is released in a very limited edition and only 100 copies are available for free sale. Copies can be purchased in the two branches of Dodo Beach Records in Berlin, and in Vodkast Record Store and Black Dog Shop in Tbilisi. If you want to get more updates about the film you can visit us on our new website www.soundtrack.ge.

Rebranding of Luca Polare – the Georgian Brand Gets Ready to Go International

L

uca Polare has rebranded after operating 11 years, with the help of a German company changing its logo and mission. Its concept and communication standards have also been updated. “It is time for changes in Luca’s life,” says Ani Tsitskishvili, Head of Public Relations and Marketing. “For 11 years, it has been gaining the love of customers. The brand honestly fulfilled its main promise to offer guests the best quality ice cream and many other discoveries. The brand has become more global in its substance and content than just the

best ice cream and exclusive coffee, so the time for change has come. The new logo has become more minimalistic, modern and international, while the brand's main idea is fully based on creating emotions, inspiration and happy moments.” The rebranding process is the initial stage of implementing big plans for the company, as the Georgian brand is planning to enter the international market. “The company is at an important stage and we have begun implementing big plans through the rebranding process,” notes Thea Tabagari, the Director of the Company. “11 years of successful busi-

PUBLISHER & GM

George Sharashidze COMMERCIAL DEPARTMENT

Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Sesili Tikaradze

GEORGIA TODAY

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT:

Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

ness in Georgia are the basis for the brand to gain international brand status. Active work in this area has already begun and you will soon meet Luca in neighboring countries.” Luca Polare is an ice cream parlor network that offers its customers up to 60 varieties of ice cream and exclusive coffee. The brand is currently represented in three cities across Georgia, with 10 branches in Tbilisi, four in Batumi and one in Kobuleti. The company continues to develop throughout Georgia and continiously works on opening new branches throughout.

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Beka Alexishvili, Tea Mariamidze, Ana Dumbadze, Nini Dakhundaridze, Ketevan Kvaratskheliya Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

Website Manager/Editor: Katie Ruth Davies Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

ADDRESS

1 Melikishvili Str. Tbilisi, 0179, Georgia Tel.: +995 32 229 59 19 E: info@georgiatoday.ge F: GeorgiaToday ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION

+995 555 00 14 46 E-mail: marketing@georgiatoday.ge

Reproducing material, photos and advertisements without prior editorial permission is strictly forbidden. The author is responsible for all material. Rights of authors are preserved. The newspaper is registered in Mtatsminda district court. Reg. # 06/4-309


Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1205  

November 22 - 25, 2019

Issue #1205  

November 22 - 25, 2019

Advertisement