Page 1

Issue no: 975

• AUGUST 25 - 28, 2017


FOCUS ON THE BORJOMI BLAZE An overview from first spark to dissipating smoke PAGE



In this week’s issue... Tbilisi Denounces De Facto Abkhazian Delegation’s Visit to Syria NEWS PAGE 2

Russia Closes Off Kerch Strait POLITICS PAGE 4

Akhalgori: Awaiting First Bell as the School Language is Switched POLITICS PAGE 5

Georgian Almond Growers Association Aims for Global Recognition of Georgia’s Potential BUSINESS PAGE 8

Heavy Rain, Wind Hits Ureki & Shekvetili Villages in Guria

Magnum Photos & TBC Bank Present ‘In the Footsteps of Capa & Steinbeck’s Russian Journal’ BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


ack in 1947, acclaimed war photograph Robert Capa, one of the founders of the Magnum Photo Agency, and John Steinbeck, famous American writer and Noble prize winner, traveled to then-USSR to witness and record the lives of people living within the Soviet system. They visited Russia, Ukraine and Georgia, a journey first published in a series of articles in the New York Herald Tribune and Ladies Home Journal. These were later transformed into a book by Steinbeck: A Russian Journal, published in 1948. Continued on page 8


When Classic Meets Jazz, Georgian Trio at Konzerthaus Berlin CULTURE PAGE 13




AUGUST 25 - 28, 2017

Georgia to Host 4th Qvevri Wine International Symposium



n September 1-3, the fourth International Symposium of Qvevri Wine will be held at the Ikalto Qvevri School-Academy, organized by the Georgian Wine Association. The National Wine Agency (NWA) reports that the aim of the event is to familiarize Georgian society and foreign specialists with the unique Qvevri winemaking methodology, its history and culture, and also to provide guests with information about Georgian wines, grape varieties and Georgian cuisine. The first international tournament of Qvevri wine will be held this year within the framework of the Symposium with both Georgian and foreign winemakers participating. The winner of the com-

Tbilisi Denounces De Facto Abkhazian Delegation’s Visit to Syria

petition will be announced on September 3 at the closing ceremony of the event. Scientists, wine experts, sommeliers and journalists from various countries are expected to attend. “Participants will be able to share experiences and views on tendencies and challenges in the fields of wine and culinary,” the NWA reports. The Symposium was first held in Georgia in 2011. As a result of that first symposium, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) put the traditional Georgian method of Qvevri winemaking on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage Monuments. The Symposium organizers and supporters are: the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, the National Wine Agency, the Association of Georgian Wine, and Alaverdi Metropolitan David.

Number of Hybrid & Electric Cars Up in Georgia

“Abkhazian delegation” at the meeting with Imad Khamis, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Syria. Source: De facto Abkhazian Foreign Ministry




eorgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) reports that the number of hybrid and electric cars has significantly increased in Georgia this year. The MIA says that as of August 16, a total of 328 electric cars and 9,870 hybrid cars had been imported to Georgia. The statistics show that in 2016 there were 34 electric and 5,390 hybrid cars

while in 2015, five electric and 1,317 hybrid cars in Georgia. In parallel with the increased number of hybrid and electric cars, Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi has been developing infrastructure to encourage more people to buy and use electric vehicles. Several charging points for electric cars have appeared in the capital, including in Vake district, on Nugzar Endeladze Square, on Europe Square near Rike Park, outside Libre supermarket on the Mtskheta highway and in the car park of the Tbilisi Shota Rustaveli International Airport.

eorgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has released a statement regarding the recent visit of an “Abkhazian delegation” to Syria, saying the visit represents a follow-up to Russia and its occupation regimes’ provocative policy with respect to Georgia. The so-called delegation from Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia concluded its “official visit” in Syria on Wednesday. “By resorting to such actions, Russia makes futile efforts to legitimize the occupation regimes and the violent redrawing of the borders of our sovereign state,” the statement of the MFA reads. The MFA added that diplomatic representatives of Syria, as well as international partners, have been contacted and duly informed about the matter. “Due to our government’s intensive work with the international community,

the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders has not been called into question. “We call on all sovereign states to respect the territorial integrity of Georgia and its sovereign rights and to avoid any involvement in planned provocative activities,” the ministry stated. The de facto MFA of Abkhazia reported that the delegation of the “Republic of Abkhazia,” headed by the “Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia,” Daur Kove, held meetings in Syria on August 16-22. The so-called Abkhazian Ministry stated that Syrian authorities expressed interest in developing trade and economic cooperation with the “Republic”. The Abkhazian side also reported that their “delegation” met with Imad Khamis, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Syrian Arab Republic. The so-called ministry said the Syrian leadership perceives the “Republic of Abkhazia” as a friendly “state” and intends to establish and develop bilateral inter-governmental relations.

“Guided by the directives of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Syrian government intends to build full-scale relations with Syria's strategic partners, including the Republic of Abkhazia,” the statement reads. The de facto MFA added that by order of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Syria, a special government commission will be formed, which, together with Abkhazian colleagues, will create a concept aimed at developing socio-economic and trade relations with the “Republic of Abkhazia”. The so-called ministry also said that the “Abkhazian delegation” was hosted by Najat Anzur, the President of the Syrian National Council, and by Mohammed Samer Khalil, the Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade of Syria. Since the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008, Russia has recognized the independence of Abkhazia and another separatist region, South Ossetia. In total, only four countries recognize Georgia’s breakaway regions as independent republics: Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.




Road Accident in West Georgia Leaves 28 Injured BY THEA MORRISON


wenty-eight passengers were injured in an accident that took place on the Adjara-Guria highway on Tuesday night. Two minibuses going in opposite

directions, one from Tbilisi to Batumi and the other from Batumi to Tbilisi, crashed into each other. All injured passengers were taken to Kobuleti hospitals. The Minister of Health and Social Affairs of Adjara, Zaal Mikeladze, went to the site of the crash and made a statement. “The majority of passengers have only minor injuries. Four people

remain in intensive care, two of them have fractured limbs and two have facial bone fractures”. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has launched an investigation under the first part of Article 276 of the Criminal Code of Georgia for Violation of Traffic Safety or Operation Rules resulting in Harm to Human Health.

Local Government Election Mustafa Emre Çabuk’s Date Announced Pre-Extradition Detention Extended



he President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili announced the local government election date has been set for October

21, 2017. The presidential act has been counter-signed by the Prime Minister of Georgia, meaning the pre-election campaign has now officially started, with all related restrictions coming into force. According to the election code, the restrictions apply to the use of the administrative resources in support of or work against any political party/ candidate participating in the elections.



Furthermore, according to the regulations, media outlets are required to provide fair and balanced coverage,

providing free advertising time to all the candidates no later than 50 days prior to the election date.

ustafa Emre Çabuk, the Demirel College manager, detained since May 24 and accused of being involved with a terrorist organization associated with US-based Fethullah Gülen, is to remain in a pre-extradition detention facility in Georgian prison. The detention period was increased

by another three months by the court this week despite an appeal filed by Çabuk’s advocates which was denied by the judge. The pre-extradition period of three months was to end on Wednesday this week. OnJuly7,MustafaEmreÇabukwasrefused refugee status in Georgia by the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons, Accommodation and Refugees. Çabuk’s advocates appealed the decision on August 2. The status of Demirel College itself is now under question and will be announced next week.



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AUGUST 25 - 28, 2017

Russia Closes Off Kerch Strait


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he Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation announced on August 7 the temporary closure of the international Kerch Strait. According to the official statement, the measure was related to the ongoing construction efforts of a bridge which would link the Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula with the Russian mainland. Following the announcement, on August 9 a decision was made to close the strait to all maritime traffic except for Russian naval vessels. The closure threatens the strategically important Ukrainian ports Mariupol and Berdiansk and would deny the Ukrainians entrance to the Azov Sea. Mariupol and Berdiansk serve as outposts for exporting Ukrainian steel to the West and therefore the Russian move will have an impact on an already fragile Ukrainian economy.

BUILDING THE KERCH BRIDGE The closure of the strait and the construction of the bridge over it are two interrelated developments. The announcement of the construction of the 12-mile-long Kerch Strait Bridge, with an approximate cost of over $3 billion, came after the annexation of Crimea. The road section of the bridge is scheduled to be operative from late 2018, while the rail link is slated for the following year. It has been a long obsession of the Russians to connect the Russian mainland with Crimea, starting in 1870 when the British built a telephone line across the Kerch Strait to link with India. The line

It has been a long obsession of the Russians to connect the Russian mainland with Crimea, starting in 1870 when the British built a telephone line across the Kerch Strait to link with India

worked so well initially that they contemplated adding a railroad bridge over it. However, construction was deemed too expensive. The Russians came back to the idea under Tsar Nicholas II but it moved no further than a simple consideration as World War I approached. Surprisingly, it was the Germans who made the first attempts to connect the peninsula to the Russian mainland. Construction began following the seizure of Crimea by the Wehrmacht. For the Germans, the bridge would play a key role in supporting the Nazi war efforts in southern Russia. As testament to how seriously the Germans were considering the idea is Adolf Hitler's decision to appoint his architect and minister, Albert Speer, as a supervisor for the project. However, soon after construction began, the Soviet counter offensive began, driving the Germans from the occupied part of Ukraine. The Soviets managed to complete a bridge in 1944 and it was even used by the governmental delegation headed by Josef Stalin to return to Moscow from the Yalta Peace Conference. Later, instead of repairing the then-fragile bridge, it was decided to dismantle the construction. In 1954, a special ferry between the Crimean town of Kerch and the town of Taman in southern Russia was initiated.

GEOPOLITICAL REASONS Although the Russian decision to temporarily close the strait was officially related to construction measures and may not indeed be extended, it nevertheless reflects the Russians’ strategic thinking and concerns. The Kerch Strait is an approximately 25-mile-long channel that is no wider than 9 miles. The strait links the Black Sea to the Azov and is important as it allows the control of water routes and energy resources coming in and out of the Azov Sea. Thus, it was inevitable that Russia and Ukraine would fight for the territory. Indeed, there were cases even well before Russia-Ukraine relations plunged. In 2003, Russia and Ukraine nearly went to war over the strait crisis when Russia started construction of a bridge to one of the islands in the Azov Sea. However, following the Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2014, the dispute between Moscow and Kiev has taken a much more serious turn, seeing the two countries now battling for control of the Black and Azov seas’ military and economic communication lines. The Kerch Strait is a continuation of the Northern Caucasus into Crimea, home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet located at Sevastopol. That is why Moscow is concerned that the pro-Western government in Kiev could potentially allow the strait to be used by Western military fleets and even NATO. Russians want to keep direct access to the Don River safe, closed to the military alliance. Moscow also thinks that, theoretically, the strategically important Don River could be used by foreign troops to enter Russian mainland. As such, we need to put the Russian decision to close the strait into a wider geopolitical perspective. Yet, even if the closure turns out to be only a temporary move, Moscow is sending a clear message to Kiev on the pressure tools it has to hand to limit potential Western military encroachment on strategic routes in the Black and Azov seas.




Akhalgori: Awaiting First Bell as the School Language is Switched OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA


ike Gali, teaching in the Georgian language is to be prohibited in eight Georgian schools on the occupied South Ossetian territory of Akhalgori starting this autumn. From September 15, Georgian first graders there will get the Russian “Azbuka” instead of “Dedaena” and Georgian textbooks will gradually be replaced by Russian in the higher classes. The language of instruction will change in Georgian nursery schools, too. Moreover, the school teachers who are unable to get “certification” in Russian will lose their jobs. Principals and teachers from the Georgian schools in Akhalgori have already been invited for certification in Tskhinvali. There were three public schools in Akhalgori before the August 2008 war: two Georgian and one Russia-Ossetian. One of the first is already closed and serves as a place of residence for the Russian military. About 70 pupils living in the area go to the one that remained and which has been divided by the Ossetian administration into Georgian and Russian sectors. The number of nursery schools has also diminished, with only two Georgian-language nurseries with about 30 children left after August 2008. Ten pupils of these two were supposed to start school this year; naturally they know neither Russian nor Ossetian, and therefore it is unclear

Source: c-r.org

how the teachers from Tskhinvali will be able to communicate with them. Akhalgorians say their children will join those who are studying in the Tserovani IDP settlement. This educational “reform” is a debut move by the newly appointed so-called South Ossetian President Anatoliy Bibilov. Like the so-called President of Abkhazia, the other occupied territory, Raul Khajimba, the former is also working hard to “disappear” the Georgian language from the educational scene. In May, when Bibilov visited Akhalgori, he ordered two tasks to be done. One was to lodge Ossetians in those houses in which Georgians had not lived on a permanent basis in the last five years. And another - to replace the Georgian language of instruction with Russian and to leave Georgian as a taught subject. Bibilov said that schools should

become part of the united educational system of the “Republic,” thus making it necessary to stop teaching in Georgian and using Georgian textbooks. The so-called Ministry of Education was quick to act in response to the orders given by the “President”. “The ‘Russification’ of schools in Akhalgori aims at forcing Georgians to leave the territory,” said Mamuka Areshidze, Head of the Caucasus Centre for Strategic Studies. “Earlier, Bibilov said that the ‘system of State Security’ of South Ossetia should be strengthened and that in this sense Georgians residing Akhalgori were a big problem. There’s not much we can do about it, other than have Official Tbilisi talking loudly in the international arena about the fact that people are forbidden to learn in their own mother tongue”. Despite the acute statement of the

leaders of both breakaway regions, the number of youth coming to Georgia to study is rising and the reason is simple: the quality of education is very low there. Over recent years, Abkhazia has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of young drug users, and their parents are doing everything they can to send them away; in this unresolvable situation as they say, “let it be even Georgia, where the quality of education is high...” Moreover, most families from Abkhazia and Ossetia can’t afford to send their children to the qualified Russian educational institutions, or to get adequate medical treatment: they say that the only answer is “Georgia”, where they are able to visit with the help of Georgians living on the “borderline”. The latest decision was made by their “heads” to strengthen mutual trust with

Russia, though Russia is depriving the population of the chance to develop. To everyone’s surprise, Bibilov’s “presidential” decision turned out to be unacceptable to a number of Russian experts. Political analyst Nikolai Silaev believes that the planned novelties will prove a great mistake for the de-facto government of the Tskhinvali region: “If there are enough people used to learning in the Georgian language, and think of themselves as Georgians, and of Georgian language as their mother tongue, it is unclear why they decided to forcibly replace the language of instruction with Russian. This will reflect on the image of South Ossetia and the attitude of the international community towards it. Even considering that the republic is not recognized, they do watch the situation in the region closely, also examining the attitude of these two non-recognized new states towards national minorities. The challenge of Tskhinvalian politicians is to be able to integrate Georgian minorities. Whether the Tskhinvali government will be able to do so is one of the most important criteria for a successful state,” he told an Ekho Kavkaza journalist. Whether the position showed by the Russian expert coincides with that of Official Kremlin is hard to say, and a few weeks are left until the start of the new academic year when everything, including if this educational “reform” was that of Bibilov or of Kremlin, will most likely become clear when the first bell rings.



Thinking & Planning Strategically OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


he world that we are part of is changing rapidly and developing dramatically, and the main trends of that dynamic need to be known well and have to be used to our own benefit. I know that prognostication and strategic planning that reflect key development trends in the fields of economy, ideology, politics, innovation, social sphere and security is what strong and well-organized nations are doing on a regular basis. I only dare to wonder if this country, too, is engaged actively in the same process; putting this a little differently, if we have a vision of Georgia in, say, thirty years from now- of its demographic numbers, gross domestic product, its competitive advantages and disadvantages, its place in the family of nations, its chances to survive in general, the new economic and political challenges and its potential to contribute to the well-being of our flimsy and troubleridden planet. I have a couple of reasons to suspect that we have not completely mastered the challenges of our times that Georgia might experience in this disparate but still very tightly interconnected world. One of these reasons is our nonchalant reaction to the recent ominous forecast by the United Nations about the diminishing of Georgia’s population in the next half century and beyond. Those well-known influential international organizations work mostly as watchdogs and whistle blowers, letting us know in advance what might happen to us, and

listening to them attentively might do a lot of good to those whose future need a better consideration. Considering the future means thinking strategically and making the necessary forecasts and prognostications. Listen to this: if the UN forecast is true about our plummeting demography, then our priorities in every walk of life have to be different, simply different! Understandably, whatever the individual forecast for Georgia, a certain number of goals will always remain common for every nation, like propping up economies, strengthening financial markets, balancing the growth and sustaining the stability of domestic and international security. Even in one of the most pessimistic of our moods, Georgia cannot give up on those goals; they are dictated by the nature of an ever-changing world economy and the incipient new global political order. Certainly, Georgia cannot be a key actor in this international system, but it still needs to play a modest role in the development of the demographic (demographic!), economic, financial and social trends, as well as in the achievements in science and technological change, ideological activities and cultural processes. And to do this, we have to be around as a minimum. Therefore, thorough calculation of investment potential in our economic infrastructure, analysis of strategically significant long-term trends, precise determination of the ways of raising the standard of living, a rational vision for utilizing natural resources, mastering a sense of technological and scientific changes, sharpening the feelers for emerging markets, and certainly, pro-


AUGUST 25 - 28, 2017

Source: on-purpose.com

creation – this is all that needs to be considered and reconsidered until we handle them to our absolute advantage. On top of everything, we are also faced with challenges in the global community, including terrorism, displacement, poverty, hunger and health threats, job creation, climate change, energy security, and the deepening inequality of many different characters. We have lived long enough to see the end of confrontation between capitalism and socialism, but have painfully bumped into the exacerbation of nationalism, the clash between various religious trends and moral val-

ues, and Georgia cannot stand apart from this. Georgia is and will have to be part of the battle, but only if we are still around. All that we’re talking about is happening in the globalized world, but political analysts are telling us that regionalization is also seen as an important trend of global evolution. This is exactly what gives our small country a big place in this rapidly changing world, where the combination of a sense of identity and an understanding of the country's global responsibility have to be kept in mind as a constant datum. With this circumstantial indispensabil-

ity, Georgia cannot but make a strategic forecasting of its economic, social and political existence. “The world has been undergoing a long period of international tension, economic and financial instability, uncertainty and redistribution of forces between traditional and new centers of gravity,” say experts of politics. We have to sit up and pay attention: Georgia cannot avoid those threats and risks because it has become an international player, and no matter how big or small, it has to learn well how to see clearly into its future, having equipped its eyes accordingly.




AUGUST 25 - 28, 2017

Georgian Almond Growers Association Aims for High Interest Shown in Community Meetings for Nenskra Hydropower Global Recognition of Georgia’s Potential Plant Project




he demand for almonds is increasing by the year, worldwide. This leads foreign investors to look for new locations to set up almond orchards. Georgia has an extraordinary opportunity to become a hot point for almond production: the climate and the soil of eastern Georgia provides excellent conditions to commercially grow almonds. In frameworks of the USAID REAP project, Agro Solutions conducted a study on the potential for an almond market in Georgia. According to the research, Georgia has an opportunity to become one of the leading countries in almond production. The study identified that since 2015, around 10 hectares of almond orchards has grown 900 hectares and this figure continues to increase, resulting in Georgia coming under the radars of foreign investors, who are already conducting their own studies on risk factors and opportunities for almond production in Georgia. Several regions of eastern Georgia

An almond grove. Source: herbandroot

have been identified as having excellent climate and soil conditions to grow particular commercial varieties of almonds. Taking into consideration this potential, Agro Solutions founded the Georgian Almond Growers Association (GAGA) with the aim to support Georgia to become a leading almond production country in the world. GAGA aims to create a platform which will involve farmers who already own almond orchards in Georgia and at the same time will facilitate farmers who desire to become involved in almond production. Consultations will be

guided by both Georgian and foreign experts who will share their expertise on modern technologies for setting up almond orchards and production. GAGA, with the support of international partners, will also assist Georgian almond growers to identify and establish business relations with foreign markets and will attend various meetings, conferences, seminars and exhibitions outside of Georgia. All these activities will be aimed at increasing the competence of Georgian farmers and specialists in almond production. GAGA hopes to pin Georgia on the world almond production map.

ocal community members expressed high interest in information provided by JSC Nenskra Hydro, the company developing the Nenskra Hydropower Plant project, during public hearings this week in Chuberi and Nakra of Mestia Municipality, Svaneti region. Experts from each of the project’s technical teams were available to consult with community members from 9AM to 7PM August 22 and 23 in Chuberi and on August 24 in Nakra. The meetings were well attended by all the communities potentially impacted by the Nenskra Hydropower Plant project. Community members asked project specialists about local employment, dam safety, land acquisition and livelihood restoration, community investment program and environmental management. JSC Nenskra Hydro representatives welcomed the level of engagement, and subject matter experts were available to provide comprehensive responses to community concerns and expressed commitment to continue engaging communities on regular basis.

Georgia has yet to obtain energy independence, as the country experiences a deficit in electricity supplies in autumn and winter due to less water being available from rivers and increased internal energy consumption. The average annual energy import during winter reaches 610.00 GWh from Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Once commissioned, Nenskra Hydropower Plant will generate approximately 1,200.00 GWh annually, allowing Georgia to substantially reduce its reliance on imported energy and improve the economy of the country. The supplementary studies of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report were first disclosed in March 2017. The entire package of documents, as well as summaries, are available in Georgian and English in JSC Nenskra Hydro Office in Tbilisi, on the project’s website and in the project information centers in Chuberi and Nakra.


Magnum Photos & TBC Bank Present ‘In the Footsteps of Capa & Steinbeck’s Russian Journal’ Continued from page 1

In 2017, which marks 70 years both since the foundation of Magnum Photos and since Capa and Steinbeck’s visit to the Soviet Union, the Magnum Photos Agency decided to create a contemporary version of the project with journalist Julius Strauss, British Journalist and former Bureau Chief of the Daily Telegraph Moscow Office, who has also worked as a foreign correspondent in

Steinbeck and Capa on their travels in Ukraine, Russia and Georgia in 1947

Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and Thomas Dworzak, President of Magnum Photos, who will follow the route of Capa and Steinbeck while telling the stories of people living in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia from today’s perspective. “The project is inspired by a trip made 70 years ago, resulting in the book called A Russian Journal,” Julius Strauss said at the presentation of the project held at Writer’s House in Tbilisi this week. “More correctly, it should probably be called A Soviet Journal, because of the countries it was about. Obviously, 70 years ago, things were very, very different; it was a time of violent Stalinism, when the Soviet Union appeared that it might last forever,” he said. “Now, all three countries are completely different.” Strauss noted that another big difference between the two projects is that the original project was heavily controlled and restricted, “we always knew that they were heavily controlled regarding what they were allowed to see; their meetings carefully organized”. Julius Strauss said the original state documents about Capa and Steinbeck’s trip were found by a Russian writer, and it turned out that some of the meetings with different people that they called spontaneous were actually planned in advance. “We are very happy that we are now able to move much more freely and talk

more freely to whomsoever we choose,” Strauss said. He also pointed out that, as a writer, he had decided to look to the “echoes”, the similarities and differences between today and 1947. Strauss and Dworzak have already been to Russia and Ukraine and arrived in Georgia a day before their project presentation took place. Unlike Dworzak, who has spent a lot of time in Georgia over the last twenty years, Strauss had only been to Georgia a number of times, mostly in 2003 and 2004. “I’m not trying to copy Capa,” Thomas Dworzak said. “One of the most respected photographs by Capa was made during his trip to Georgia, in the exactly the same place we stand today, the Writer’s House in Tbilisi, on Machabeli Street”. The first photo exhibition from the ‘In the Footsteps of A Russian Journal’ project is to be hosted by TBC Bank on September 18, at 7PM within the frames of the Tbilisi Photo Festival 2017. There will be two exhibitions and an album presentation, with Dworzak’s photos and Strauss’ writings. And while TBC Gallery hosts Dworzak’s photo exhibition and album presentation, TBC Art Gallery will showcase the photographs made by Robert Capa 70 years ago during his visit to Georgia. The photos are kept at TBC Bank. The project is presented by Magnum Photos and TBC Bank. The album is being published with the support of IDS Borjomi Georgia.

10 Galaktion Street

The original book. Source: Amazon.co.uk

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




The Borjomi Fire: An Overview

United Nations Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative in Georgia, Niels Scott, at the Emergency Headquarters for the disaster on Thursday



he large fire which began on August 20 in the Borjomi region near Daba village continued to spread into the evening of Wednesday despite the efforts of more than 1500 Georgian firefighters, forest workers and volunteers, employees of Georgian ministries and the aid of neighboring countries. Firefighters struggled for seven hours on Sunday to contain a blaze which started for unknown reasons in the Tsagveri forest, Borjomi region. Residents of the nearby Daba village posted photos on Facebook asking for help during the early stages of the fire, but help came too late and the fire raged out of control for the next four days, the sharp relief of the area making it difficult for fire crews to reach the burning areas, allowing the fire to spread quickly due to windy conditions. The first area of fire to be extinguished was that near Daba village, but even as helicopters were brought in to dump water from the Tsagveri-Daba section of the Gujarula River, the blaze could be seen breaking out in ever increasing pockets on the ridge opposite the Upper Sadgeri village. The fire also began spreading in the opposite direction towards the Timotesubani monastery. It is the same area of forest that was damaged during the GeorgiaRussia 2008 August War. Help came from many neighboring countries: two Georgian helicopters fought the blaze alongside one Azeri, one Belorussian, two Turkish and one Turkish plane. The helicopters were unable to work by night due to lack of visibility. Each could carry five tons of water at a time to drop on the forest. Diggers deepened one area of the Gujarula River near Daba village to allow the helicopters to lower their waterbags before flying up around the smoke to dump the contents on the burning mountains above. Our journalist Katie Davies was on the ground on Tuesday afternoon and reported that the fire could be clearly seen from Upper Sadgeri on the Plateau behind Borjomi town, moving in the direction of Borjomi. “The situation here is devastating,” Katie said. “A cloud of yellow smoke covers the valley, rising up over Borjomi and towards Bakuriani, casting an eerie glow over the town and villages below. In Borjomi, I saw a light coating of ash on some cars and the air is heavy with the smell of wood smoke. Three helicopters are working- two Georgians and one Azeri. The pilots have been flying since morning. At present, the fire is no threat to inhabited areas," Katie said, adding that “the general consensus with the local population is that the fire started naturally as it started so high above Daba village". On Wednesday, it was reported that canisters full of petrol had allegedly been found in Borjomi forest. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) also began an investigation into glass bottle shards found near the fire that were said to smell of fuel. The Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, went to the site to monitor the fire extinguishing work. He thanked all involved for their efforts. “The Armenian side has offered their help and special crews are on their way to assist us,” he said on Tuesday. The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, also thanked all those involved in extinguishing the fire. At the time of going to press, Prime Minister Kvirikashvili has said that the still-burning areas have been isolated from the remaining healthy section of the forest and six helicopters and 1500 peo-

ple are still working on site. Overall, since the breakout of the blaze on Sunday, 12 kilometers of road have been cut to reach the burning areas. "The authorities have been heard saying they were unprepared for such a spread of fire- access roads and reservoirs are a must in any country with large areas of forest," Katie said. “The situation is under control,” the Prime Minister reported on Thursday, once again thanking the governments of the countries that had expressed readiness to help put out the fire. According to the latest reports, more than 10 hectares of land are said to have been damaged by the fire, although some say that the official estimate is lower than reality. The Borjomi fire was not the only blaze to be reported this week, as on Wednesday some 2ha was burned in Ateni Gorge forest, Central Georgia. Global Forest Watch (GFW) reported a total of 366 fire alerts in the country this past week. GFW is an open-source web application for monitoring global forests in near real-time. It uses cutting-edge technology and science to provide the timeliest and most precise information about the status of forest landscapes worldwide, including near-real-time alerts showing the suspected locations of recent tree cover loss. The organization specifies that from August 16 to August 23, fire alerts from Georgian regions were as follows: Samtskhe-Javakheti – 279, Kakheti – 51, Shida Kartli – 16, Kvemo Kartli – 7, Mtskheta-Mtianeti – 6, Imereti – 5, and Abkhazia – 2. “In 2017, a total of 692 fire alerts have so far been observed in Georgia. Last year, there were 616 alerts and in 2015, 822,” GFW claims. United Nations Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative in Georgia, Niels Scott, was at the Emergency Headquarters for the disaster on Thursday. During the meeting with PM Kvirikashvili, Scott noted that from the very first minutes of the disaster, the Georgian government had kept the UN Geneva and Tbilisi offices informed. “According to the UN, today, important progress has been made,” Scott said. “The Prime Minister provided successful coordination of the large-scale operation which involved 1,500 people. As a result, this serious fire is now under control. The scale of work carried out is really impressive. The presence of these people, the amount of work and hours spent during these days are clearly visible, resulting in the protection of the local population from the fire. The UN is engaged in coordinating and supporting the process. In our opinion, the operation has been very successful. I would like to congratulate every person involved in the process, including the Prime Minister, the government, and the people here, including those countries that took part. Excellent work has been done,” he concluded. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Salome Kukava from Agadgine.ge, a social campaign initiated in April by the Business Information Agency (BIA) and Treepex Startup in order to restore the areas damaged by fire during the August 2008 War which have been unable to rejuvenate independently. Kukava says that 80% of the trees planted in the framework of the campaign were burned in this week’s fire. “The planting season ended on May 20 and we were planning to continue planting in September,” she told us. “32,300 trees had been planted [some 3,000 trees per hectare], but following the fire, unfortunately, only approximately 2,000 are left”. Agadgine.ge says it will replant trees as soon as a study of the area is done, “considering the recommendations from the Ministry of Environment Protection and other institutions,” Kukava told us. “We’ll keep to all the responsibilities taken on with our campaign and of course we’ll be planting trees

Photo by K.R.Davies/GT

to replace those 30,000 that were lost in the fire”. TBC Bank Group, Anaklia Development Consortium, Anaklia City, Coca Cola Georgia and Lisi Development have united with the pledge to restore the 10 ha of forest damaged in this week’s fire. “In these difficult times, we’re joining our efforts, taking the responsibility to fully restore 10 hectares of the forest,” said Mamuka Khazaradze, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of TBC Bank Group. “I would like to appeal to all businessmen to join us in this initiative. Together, I’m sure we can restore the unique nature of Borjomi”. PASHA Bank, which this year dedicated its CSR project to rehabilitating Borjomi forest, working with Agadgine.ge and Tissue Paper, has said it will continue the rehabilitation process of the burned Borjomi forest together with other companies. "We hope that the restoration will be done more effec-

Borjomi today. Source: Georgian Public Broadcaster

tively through our joint efforts," PASHA Bank representatives said. In December 2016, PASHA Bank planted 2017 Georgian Pine Trees on the Daba territory and later funded the planting of an additional 500 trees as part of the Agadgine campaign. Most of those plants were destroyed by the fire. GEORGIA TODAY encourages its dear readers to participate in the rehabilitation of the Borjomi forest via webpage: agadgine.ge/en "Companies can also join the process by donating waste paper for recycling. Tissue Paper will collect waste paper from volunteer companies and recycle it. GEL 0.15 will be transferred to the account of Agadgine for each collected kilogram of paper. The accumulated funds will be applied to planting trees and taking care of them over the next five years," PASHA Bank said.




AUGUST 25 - 28, 2017

Heavy Rain, Wind Hits Ureki & Shekvetili Villages in Guria BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


eavy rain and wind hit the villages of Ureki and Shekvetili in the region of Guria Tuesday night. The wind was strong enough to rip trees from their roots and damage electricity lines and cars. Yards and the ground floors of houses and shops were flooded and the roofs of five houses were destroyed in Ureki. Emergency services were working on site Wednesday to clear the area, alongside local volunteers. Energo Pro Georgia reported that the majority of the local population have had electricity restored, which was cut off on the day of the storm due to damaged electricity lines.

The main street in Ureki. Source: Natia Gabodze

Cameraderie: Becho, Svaneti BLOG BY TONY HANMER


he best camera is the one you have with you, they say. Sometimes you just have to make do. Having lived in Georgia since late 1999, focused mostly on Svaneti, and with almost a decade of living up here, it’s high time to get to know some of the local sights which have eluded one thus far. Life should not become too busy for such pleasures; they should become an essential part of life, indeed. To the Becho waterfalls, then. My school pupils and colleagues of two years had promised to take us there, and the time had come to make good on that. My former co-teacher’s daughter and her husband were the guides this time. Two friends/guests joined us, and I drove us all to the Grand Hotel Ushba, where we parked the car and began hiking at 9AM. In the end, I could have driven us 3 km closer, but this mistake only emerged later. Most of the hike is through forest, so you at least have the benefit of shade on a hot, cloudless day. But I soon found a worse mistake than the car-park one. As my first camera battery died and asked to be replaced with a fresh one, I discovered that the fresh one, too, was completely empty; useless. This after having charged it less than two weeks ago! I ended up abandoning my gear in rage at a nearby café for a few hours’ safekeeping, tripod included; no point in lugging its weight all that way to no purpose. We walked on. I still had my eyes, and my words. Our car-wide road gradually narrowed to a path two-people wide, and well peopled it was; a popular route. Much of the way, we could see our destination- several glacierfed falls streaming through the air to a drop far below. Ushba disap-

peared behind Mt. Mazeri; at least I’d managed several shots of the former before losing it and further photographic possibilities. Now I could concentrate on the trail, the views and my companions. Photography does tend to be a rather antisocial activity, at least my version, but it would not hinder me much today. From our gradually narrowing distance to the falls, I already began formulating a “dream trip”: an overnight tent camp at their base on a sufficiently moonless, cloudless night, to shoot both the water and the stars in the same very wide-angle frame. More on this later. We crossed the raging Dolra River on a bridge wide enough for a horse, and then found the horses, at a permanent

log-cabin camp for Georgian border guards, as we were then very close to the border with Russia. Apparently, an overnight stay would require a pass from a similar station a bit further back; this is free, needing only one’s passport. The way began to climb, and to get more and more rocky, too. We could now hear as well as see the falls. Suddenly, as we rounded a corner, the wind and water spray whipped up, and the temperature plummeted sufficiently that some of our group put on light jackets. There are three sets of falls; the middle one, mid-weight as well, still produces a large enough river that you cannot easily, if at all cross, to reach the largest one. And at this point the ground is so strewn with rocks from half a person to half a house in size that there seems to be no obvious place to pitch even a one-person tent in any comfort. This, plus the spray, made me rethink my “dream trip”, though it might still be possible. In any case, the only camera I had to use was my wife’s cell-phone which, although far from my own camera’s quality, would end up being a lot better than nothing! I took advantage. My wife then asked me and the guide to speed back ahead of us, get the car, and bring it closer to where they would end up at their slower pace. We did this, saved the others three km, burned up various muscles in the process, and ended our first look at Becho’s set of waterfalls. I now feel that I can add them to my own slowly growing repertoire as a guide, and I will see if that starry night idea emerges, too, if there is a secret flat location for my tent nearby. 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 over 1500 members, at www.facebook.com/ groups/SvanetiRenaissance/




AUGUST 25 - 28, 2017

Five Stages of Genuine Love BY MAKA LOMADZE


any seemingly smitten people are brought to ask themselves if they are truly in love or not. GEORGIA TODAY spoke with Nino Kandelaki, psychologist, psychotherapist, specialist of psychosynthesis, art-therapist, a specialist oriented on body, and head of the Psychological Aid Center. Our topic of conversation was the five stages that genuine love passes through, be it between mere sweethearts, or spouses in it for the long-haul. “We're going to talk about the five stages of love which were first classified by ancient Greeks and are now acknowledged by modern psychologists,” Kandelaki tells us. “Before going to those stages in particular, we should explain what love is. Love is made up of the body, in terms of desire/libido; mind, which helps us to respect our partner; and soul, which gives us the chance to be friends and simply love each other as people. There is a saying: fall in love with love in order to find the joy of life. It’s a splendid saying, as the earth breathes through love, as do all healthy human relationships. Love helps people to love life and see themselves in the eyes of his/her lover”.

TELL US ABOUT THE STAGES OF LOVE The first is the erotic stage: libido between the two, which is an absolutely necessary component of love, however, not sufficient in itself as it cannot be developed. Sexual desire either exists or does not between a couple. The second stage is Eros, which implies the emotional connection between souls. It means that you are simply pleased to be with your partner. There is a threat here of becoming obsessed, as endorphins are often born only when one sees one’s object of desire- resembling a drugaddiction, as one becomes dependent on another. By the side of your sweetheart, you are in heaven, whilst without them, one is as if without drugs- nervous and blue. This stage lasts for 1-4 years, after which love ends unless the couple shares common values and interests. The third stage is Stogra, the rubicon of love. This is the stage of good, openhearted friendship between the two. This relationship is based on common interests and values, when the two enjoy talking to each other. It means that they talk not only after physical relations, but can talk even instead of contact. Here, the emotional connection is not dominant, it is about genuine interest in your partner. However, even this is not sufficient… These stages may be in process parallel to one another rather than strictly

Nino Kandelaki, psychologist, psychotherapist, specialist of psychosynthesis, art-therapist, a specialist oriented on body, and head of the Psychological Aid Center

finishing one and starting the next. The fourth is called Pragma, which verifies how effective a couple is together. In Georgian, the word itself ‘yoke goers’ (meughle), which is used for spouses, symbolizes two bulls that are under the same yoke. What matters most is that they should be headed in the same direction in order to be productive and ‘plough the land’. In this case, if there is harmony, 1+1 makes not 2, but 3, 4 and sometimes even 5, i.e. the couple is effective.

WHAT ABOUT THE FIFTH STAGE? This is the ‘funeral repast,’ which already denotes a genuine love. It means that the couple cheerfully make a sacrifice for each other on a daily basis. In this happy case, both say: ‘I am yours’. If any one of the pair says that ‘you are mine,’ it is already a sense of property. Genuine love implies that both try to serve the other, making each other happy without any compulsion. We do not talk at all about merging. In the latter, which is an unhealthy phenomenon, one completely loses one’s individuality, as one loses one’s own desires and interests, telling the partner: ‘as you wish’. In the beginning, you may like such a person, but later on, such people become uninteresting, urging a partner to search for a new love interest. The so-called ‘funeral repast’ implies an unconditional love when both of the pair receives a partner with all his/her shortcomings instead of trying to change him/her, leaving it to love to make better changes. They serve each other, but it is by no means a relationship of a sacrifice and a savior. This stage reveals the main criterion of love: ‘if I feel good through your wellbeing and I do my best for you to feel better, and you do the same, it means that you love me, too’. It is simple but brilliant. This is the way of life, and even without saying it to one another, if they live like that, they genuinely love each other. Love makes a unity from two. Here, a completely new phenomenon- ‘us’ -emerges. One is not dominant at all, and there is no merging either. This is a qualitatively new phenomenon. They respect each other’s dignity, which is the main thing in the relationship.

HOW COULD IT BE COMPARED WITH THE LOVE OF A MOTHER AND CHILD? Love between a mother and a child is also unconditional, but it is instinctive, whereas love between partners is more sublime, as, here, each works on the self. There is quite a number of couples who reach the fifth stage. Such pairs have no sexual problems, as this kind of inner state naturally awakens a real man in a man and a real woman in a woman.




When Classic Meets Jazz, Georgian Trio at Konzerthaus Berlin BY MAKA LOMADZE


n August 29, the concert of the world-acclaimed Georgian musicians Giorgi Mikadze, pianist and composer; Lizi Ramishvili, young and distinguished virtuoso cellist; and Ensemble ‘Basiani’ Trio, will take place at the Konzerthaus Berlin under the aegis of the Georgia-German Year. They will perform the project ‘Georgian Overtones’ exclusively, led by Giorgi Mikadze, at the international Music festival ‘Young Euro Classic,’ a prestigious world occasion. The honorary presenter of the project is Nils Landgren, legendary Swedish trombonist, singer and producer. The project ‘Georgian Overtones’ is being held within the scope of events organized to celebrate the 25th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Germany and Georgia. It is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. The organizer is the Embassy of Georgia to the Federal Republic of Germany. Within the framework of the project, some musical artworks of Georgian folk, as well as some of Giorgi Mikadze’s authorized compositions, will be performed. The joint concert of successful Georgian and German musicians will be transmitted live on famous cultural French-German TV channel ARTE

(concert.arte.tv/young-euro-classic). “It is a great honor for me to be taking part in such an important event as the Georgia-German Year. We have been actively preparing for this concert for the several last months,” Mikadze, Project Musical Director, told GEORGIA TODAY. “For the program, I created my new project ‘Georgian Overtones’ for Berlin especially. We can say that the interpreted form of Georgian music will make the whole soiree of Konzerthaus Berlin. The band is staffed with marvelously talented Georgian and German musicians. First of all, let me mention Nils Landgren, Artistic Director of ‘Classic Meets Jazz’, as well as virtuoso Georgian cellist Lizi Ramishvili and ensemble ‘Basiani’ Trio, with which I’m doing the second project after ‘Voisa’. I hope this project will be as successful as the latter”. “All of us are feeling very positive,” said Ramishvili, (cello). “When Giorgi suggested I participate in his new project, it was a very pleasant surprise for me which I gladly accepted. The project ‘Georgian Overtones’ is very interesting in essence, to represent the name of Georgia at one of the most significant European centers”.

The ensemble ‘Basiani’ will be represented by Sergo Urushadze (Oberstimme), Paata Tsetskhladze (Mittelstimme) and Zurab Tskrialashvili

Photo by: Giorgi Khutsishvili

(Bassstimme), who will perform together with Bjorn Atle Anfinsen, (Trumpet), Ellen Andrea Wang, (double bass) and Eva Klesse (drums). “The musical relationship between Giorgi Mikadze and our ensemble started in 2016, when we jointly realized the project ‘Voisa’ in New York,” said Zurab Tskrialashvili, Director of E n s e m b l e ‘ B a s i a n i ’, remembered. “Our friend-

ship itself counts several years. We used to study together at the Tbilisi State Conservatory- he in the Piano Faculty and I in the Choir Department. It was Giorgi’s idea to unite Georgian folklore with contemporary genres, which he then shared with me and Giorgi Donadze, Head of the Ensemble. Obviously, we immediately took an interest in this thrilling experiment. In this way, the project ‘Voisa’ was created. As for the project ‘Georgian Overtones,’ here we participate just as a trio. It’s a great honor to be taking part in the ‘Young Euro Classics’ festival and we hope that our performance will be a success”.




AUGUST 25 - 28, 2017


AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava Str. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 GEL August 25-31 VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS Directed by Luc Besson Cast: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Ticket: 9-14 GEL WIND RIVER Directed by Taylor Sheridan Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Jon Bernthal, Jeremy Renner Genre: Action, Crime, Mystery Language: Russian Ticket: 9-14 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL August 25-31 THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD Directed by Patrick Hughes Cast: Gary Oldman, Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson Genre: Action, Comedy Language: Russian Ticket: 9-14 GEL DUNKIRK Directed by Christopher Nolan Cast: Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh Genre: Action, Drama, History Language: Russian Start time: 16:45 Ticket: 10-11 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge

PERMANENT EXHIBITION: ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURE Examples of work by early Georgian goldsmiths were discovered during archeological excavations. The exhibition presents three periods development in the history of Georgian goldwork, from the 3rd century BCE to the 4th century CE: KURGAN CULTURE (3-2 BCE) GOLDEN FLEECE COLKHETI (83 BCE) KINGDOM OF KARTLI-IBERIA (3RD CENTURY BCE-4TH CENTURY CE) NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases money circulation on the territory of Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. THE TESTAMENT OF DAVID THE BUILDER AND NEW EXHIBITS OF THE MEDIEVAL TREASURY September 27 (2016) – September 22 (2017) EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA May 18- November 18 EXHIBITION GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF 18TH-20TH CENTURIES MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS Address: 1 Gudiashvili Str. Telephone: 299 99 09 March 6 – August 30 EXHIBITION MASTERPIECES FROM THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS COLLECTION The exhibition includes works by Bernardo Daddi, Lucas Cranach (Elder), Guido Reni, Jan Steen, Jacob Van Ruisdael, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, Vassily Kandinski; Masterpieces by Niko Pirosmanashvili, Lado Gudiashvili and David Kakabadze. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81

July 5 - September 11 EXHIBITION OF DAVID SULAKAURI'S ARTWORKS The exhibition features up to 100 works by David Sulakauri and a catalog of his artworks. This is the first wide-scale exhibition of the author dedicated to his 65th anniversary. EXHIBITION FIELD OF FLOWERS The name "Field of Flowers" came from the eponymous poem Campo di Fiori by Czesław Miłosz, an honorary citizen of Kedainiai. He wrote it in 1943 in Warsaw during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The exhibition showcases artworks by 14 artists from different countries. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Discover the personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Sovietera cultural and political repression in Georgia. The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors, where visitors can watch documentaries of various historical events. The exhibition also includes one of the train carriages in which the participants of the national uprising of 1924 were executed. It is also dedicated to the history of the antioccupational, national-liberation movement of Georgia and to the victims of the Soviet political repression throughout this period. SVANETI MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ETHNOGRAPHY Address: 7 A. Ioseliani Str., Mestia RENEWED SVANETI MUSEUM’S PERMANENT EXHIBITION The museum has six permanent exposition halls. Visitors can travel inside the museum and see exponents discovered during archeological excavations, and numismatic samples. In the special halls of Christian treasure, visitors

have the opportunity to see IXXVIII century masterpieces of world importance such as: the Icon of the Forty Sebastian Martyrs, Embroidered Byzantine Icon, Venetian Cross, jug donated by Queen Tamar, the earliest remaining sample of illustrated manuscript- Adishi Gospels (897) and more. The last exhibition hall in the museum is dedicated to exponents of Georgian Ethnography. July 30 – September 10 Georgian National Museum and Project ArtBeat present HERE A solo exhibition of New York based Georgian artist LEVAN MINDIASHVILI GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge Telephone: 215 73 00 June 8 – September 11 EXHIBITION CONSTELLATION Artworks by Chinese contemporary artists- Ai Weiwei, Hu Xiaoyuan, Li Shurui, Liu Wei, Lu Pingyuan, Lu Shanchuan, Ma Qiusha, Wang Guangle, Wang Sishun, Wang Yuyang, Xie Molin, Xu Qu, Xu Zhen, Yan Xing, Zhang Ding, Zhang Zhenyu, Zhao Yao and Zhao Zhao.

A. Vivaldi– Violin Concerto in e minor, RV. 278 C., Saint-Saens– Introduction and Rondo Capricciozo, op. 28 Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10-45 GEL Venue: The concert hall of Sheraton Batumi Hote August 28 Participants: Alex and Daniel Gurfinkel (Clarinet, Israel), Michael Gurfinkel (Conductor, Israel) Program: I. Pvolotsky– Jewish Soul Fantasy, op. 103a, Saint-Saens- Introduction and Rondo Capricciozo, op. 28, F. Mendelssohn– Konzertstuk 1 in f minor, op. 113, Liana Isakadze (Violin), Jazz Trio: Otar Magradze (Piano), Otar Saganelidze (Double bass), Gia Salagishvili (Drums) and Tamaz Chachava (Vocal) Jazz Session Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10-45 GEL Venue: The concert hall of Sheraton Batumi Hotel August 29 LIANA ISAKADZE AND JUSTUS FRANTZ Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10-45 GEL Venue: The concert hall of Sheraton Batumi Hotel


THE IX INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL NIGHT SERENADES August 26 The IX International Festival of legendary Georgian violinist and conductor LIANA ISAKADZE Participants: Liana Isakadze (Violin / conductor), David Mukeria (Conductor, Georgia), Program: P. Tchaikovsky– Souvenir de Florence, op. 70, Tchaikovsky, Tsintsadze– Melancholy Serenade,

August 31 Program: Liana Isakadze (Violin, Conductor), Justus Frantz (Conductor, Germany) Program: F. Schubert– String Quintet, A. Vivaldi– Violin Concerto in e minor, RV. 278, Tchaikovsky, Tsintsadze– Melancholy Serenade, Melodie, Valse-Scherzo, C. Saint-Saens– Introduction and Rondo Capricciozo, op. 28 Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 7-30 GEL Venue: Tbilisi, Rustaveli Theater BLACK SEA ARENA Address: Tsikhisdziri, Adjara August 26 Black Sea Arena and Check in Georgia presents: THE LEGENDARY GORAN BREGOVI Start time: 20:00 Ticket: From 15 GEL CLUB TAKE FIVE Address: Batumi, Boulevard August 27 GOOFY LAND & SHVIDKACA Concert Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL BATUMI SUMMER THEATER Address: Batumi, Boulevard August 30 THE ROYAL NATIONAL BALLET Renewed concert of the “Fire of Georgian Dance” Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-30 GEL MUSIC FESTIVAL SAIRME 2017 Address: Resort Sairme August 26 ENSEMBLE SHAVNABADA Start time: 17:00 Ticket: From 20 GEL




Liana Isakadze’s ‘Night Serenades’ Back for More



n August 26-31, Batumi seaside city will host the 9th International Classical Music Festival ‘Night Serenades’. On August 22, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia hosted the press conference in which the great violin player, conductor Liana Isakadze, partook. The news is that this time, jazz will also be performed. Legendary Isakadze will appear in a theatrical character within the festival- as a soloist and conductor. As per tradition, the ensemble ‘virtuosos’ will play with her. The International Festival of Classical Music ‘Night Serenades’ was founded in 1982, in Abkhazia. However, due to the war, it was ceased. “I could not continue it, as after the conflict, there was a risk my international guests come to harm,” Isakadze said. In 1988, she was the first artist to hold the festival ‘Musicians Joke’ in the PostSoviet space, which fast gained popularity. Later, in 2009, Night Serenades was reignited in Batumi. Its founder and unchangeable artistic director is Liana Isakadze herself. The great interest towards the festival stipulated its widening and since 2015 it has borne the name of Batumi-Tbilisi International Festival. Liana was born to a family of intellectuals. Her father was Sandro Isakadze, specialist of physics and mathematics, a uniquely honest man, many of whose inventions stood in the vanguard of European thinking. For instance, he turned a razor on a lathe by his own hands back in 1965. He didn't believe it right to think about what people would say, but to better think about what our conscience tells us. Liana’s mother, Galina Kvirikashvili, was as pure a person as her child, denying her vocal talent for the sake of her children’s bright future. She was always by Liana’s side like a shadow, trying to protect her from the temperature as well as from the severe world, remaining invisible herself. This is the world of Liana Isakadze – one of the most sparkling violin players in the world. She leads a ‘cosmic’ orchestra, thus reaching divine levels, maximally free from earthly desires. For her, love reigns and not the mind. She is a real genius, who, at the age of 23, wrote meditations – a kind of credo for artists. In those days, she naturally lacked experience and the literature she read was limited, too. But, still, she possessed this wisdom. Reportedly, while flying to other countries, currents of reflections flooded her in the airplane. She calls it inspiration from God, which she immediately wrote on the flight tickets. Later, these were published in a book. “Carefully entwine your hands around your souls and hold them high in order

to protect them from the dazzling desert of life. Thus, people will adorn you with love, rather than admiring you,” writes the number one violinist of Georgia, “How rude is a word to the eternal, wordless world.” These golden words also belong to Liana Isakadze, a lady with a very characteristic chuckle, full of kindness, as of geniuses and eternal children. “Maybe my feelings cheat on me, but they are prompted by purity and heart”. In 1981, the Georgian State Chamber Orchestra invited Liana to work as its artistic director and, later, as the main conductor. After a triumphal debut in Tbilisi and Moscow under her baton, and subsequently, in Post-Soviet countries and overseas, the orchestra became one of the leading ensembles in the world. Since 1982, the orchestra has guest-appeared in many countries in Europe and Asia, as well as in America and Australia. The orchestra released a lot of records at the famous firm ‘Melody’ in Moscow, as well as at ‘Orfeo’ in Munich. She was one of those eminent musicians who, together with composer Schnittke, recorded the one and only record of ‘Concerto Grosso’, which is a unique case when the aforementioned composer plays on the grand-piano. She conducted the first ever orchestra version of Rossini’s ‘Petite Messe Solennelle,’ orchestrated by Rossini himself. During her years with the Georgian Chamber Orchestra, Kurt Masur, Genadi Rojdestvensky, Yehudi Menuhin, Natalia Gutman and many more sparkling stars guest-appeared in Georgia. In 1990, supported by ‘Audi’ and Bavaria Municipality, Liana founded the Chamber Orchestra of Georgia in Ingolstadt, Germany. Since then, she has conducted numerous European orchestras in Austria, Finland, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Slovakia, Switzerland, France, Spain, as well as the Malmo (Sweden) Symphonic Orchestra and European Youth Chamber Orchestra. On August 26, Liana Isakadze (violin, conductor), will play Tchaikovsky’s ‘Souvenir de Florence’, arranged for string orchestra by Liana herself. op. 70. Later, Tchaikovsky-Tsintsadze will be performed, namely, ‘Melancholy Serenade’, ‘Melody’ and ‘Waltz-Scherzo’. On the same day, under the baton of Davit Mukeria, Vivaldi’s Concert for Violin and String Orchestra, E minor, RV278 will be played. The day will end with SaintSaens’ ‘Introduction and rondo capriccioso’ op.28 (arranged for violin and string orchestra). August 28 will be the day of honorary guests: the world-acclaimed Gurfinkel family- brothers, Alex and Daniel Gurfinkel (clarinet, Israel) and their father Michael Gurfinkel (conductor, Israel). They will play Povolotsky’s ‘Jewish Soul Fantasy,’ op 103a (on traditional and popular tunes) as well as Saint-Saens’ ‘Introduction and rondo capriccioso’ (arranged for two clarinets



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and string orchestra by R. Feigelson and dedicated to Alex and Daniel Gurfinkel). F. Mendelssohn – Konzertstuk 1 in f minor, op. 113 will be their final performance. The day will be culminated in a jazz session in which Liana Isakadze, Otar Maghradze, Gia Salaghishvili, David Saganelidze and Tamaz Chachava will participate. August 29 will be unveiled by the per-

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

formance of Justus Frantz (conductor, Germany), who will play Schubert’s ‘String Quintet’, arranged by him for string orchestra. Under his baton, Liana will play Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story’ on violin. On August 31, the festival will culminate in a concert in Tbilisi where the famous German conductor and pianist Justus Frantz will conduct Schubert’s

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‘String Quintet arranged for string orchestra’. Liana Isakadze will play the violin and conduct Vivaldi’s Concert for Violin and String Orchestra, E minor, RV278. She will also play TchaikovskyTsintsadze’s ‘Melancholy Serenade’, ‘Melody’ and ‘Waltz- Scherzo’. The concert will be capped by Saint-Saens’ ‘Introduction and rondo capriccioso’ op.28 (arranged for violin and string orchestra).


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #975  

August 25 - 28, 2017

Issue #975  

August 25 - 28, 2017