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Sept. 25 - Oct. 1, 2015



Price: GEL 2.50

Georgia Today 24 p., Travel Today 4 p.

ISSUE No.785


Constr aints on R ussian Constraints Russian

Ba tumi In vestment Batumi Inv um 2015: The For orum Results P.11

Media in Georgia? IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE

Az erbaijan Azerbaijan Economy and the Oil Prices: a Blessing in Disguise? P.4 Politics in the Patter ns: tterns: Geor gian Georgian Historical Textile Resur esurrrected

Transparency International alarmed at trend of proRussian media, invites diplomatic corps to discuss its concerns. P.2

Friend or F oe? Foe? It’ s all a Ma tter It’s Matter of P er specti ve Per erspecti spectiv P.6



Giorgi Kalandia discusses the unique working process behind the unique find. P.19



Travel Today



Geor gian Pr esident Georgian President VS Prime Minister

By Steven Jones The argument between the Georgian government and the President continues. The dispute over participation in various high-ranking international events has almost become a tradition between the two institutions over the past two years. It has finally been decided that the two official delegations led separately by the President and Prime Minister will head for the US to take part in international events in New York and Washington DC, this month. On September 25, Irakli Garibashvili will arrive in the US, while President Giorgi Margvelashvili will begin his visit on September 27. According to official sources, the PM

will attend and deliver a speech at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly on October 1. At the same time, some bilateral meetings within the framework of the Assembly are planned with Georgia’s international partners. In the meantime, the President is set to visit New York City and Washington DC, having been invited by Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaite, where he will take part in the discussion – “Future of Eastern Europe: Strengthening the Role of Women”. In addition, he is expected to hold several bilateral meetings and give public speeches in both New York and Washington DC. Notably, the Georgian president will meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko.

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POLITICS Should We Impose Constr aints on Constraints Russian Media in Geor gia? Georgia? By Zviad Adzinbaia On September 21 this year, Transparency International (TI) Georgia at the Hotel Courtyard Marriot in Tbilisi, hosted a meeting between the media, the diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia and representatives of international organizations. The topics discussed during the meeting concerned recent unfavorable trends in the media environment of Georgia. Eka Gigauri, the TI’s Executive Director underlined a number of unfavorable trends have appeared in recent days, which somewhat limits income sources for some media outlets. At the same time, the closure of political talk shows from Imedi TV and the Public Broadcaster were why the TI invited embassies and international organizations to be aware of the current situation. Eka Gigauri the Head of TI - one of the most powerful civic institutions in Georgia - stated that some pro-Russian media sources have emerged within the Georgian media circle and that trend is very alarming. As Gigauri announced, soon her organization will be releasing a survey about pro-Russian media outlets emphasizing, “It is clear that proRussian news agencies have emerged, particularly in the print media and on the internet, which is a very alarming trend.” “It is a very complicated issue to fight against these media sources in an Independent and democratic state, as they cannot be closed directly” – she maintained. According to Gigauri, some alternative means must be employed against them [Russian media in Georgia]. Notably, as Gigauri assessed, some of the pro-Russian media sources get funding from the state and [they] have some information for proving it. Analysis by Georgia Today’s Zviad Adzinbaia Russia’s recent activities and aspirations in Georgia and in Russia’s other neighboring countries lead articulate the Putin’s government’s grave willingness to restore the Soviet sphere of influence. The exemplary specimen for evidencing the Russian strategy is Ukraine, where the Putin’s regime has been waging a hybrid warfare, which broadly en-

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Source:

compasses means of conventional warfare, such as Russian troops on the ground. As it is believed by international experts, Russia has well realized that for [them] contemporary information mechanisms against Sovereign countries have much more power than some of the Soviet tanks. Relatively, Georgia - as one of the key countries for Russia to dominate over the region of the Caucasus – ‘should be reversed from her western course taken’. As Salome Samadashvili, ex-Ambassador of Georgia to the EU assumes, Russia wants to accomplish its plan through the hands of Georgian voters in the foreseeable future. Logically, this is one of the best moments for the Russian government to manipulate social and political processes in Georgia and change the country’s internal political climate. For instance, disseminating fabricated information through Russian media sources throughout Georgian citizens allows Russia to widely seed its propaganda among the financially, socially and psychologically

frustrated people. Likewise, Media sources such as “NTV”, “Mir” or others, have been the effective tools for Russia for implementing its plan in Georgia and beyond. Furthermore, some of the Georgian media sources, [as stated above] such as “Asaval-Dasavali” [printed newspaper] or “Obieqtivi” [objective – media union] as well as others, who get governmental funding seem to be serving against the interests of Georgian citizens. What conclusion can be drawn from this given situation? Even an untrained eye can effectively reason that one of the short-term strategies for Russian government is to make widely pro-Russian parties in Georgia win elections of 2016 and seriously thwart the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration process. How should Georgian people and citizens of Georgia counter these matters which challenge the country’s sovereignty? What is a role of the government in the process? Is not it necessary to impose constraints against Russian media in Georgia?

Russia’ s Hybrid Warf ar e and Thr ea ts ffor or Geor gia ussia’s arfar are hrea eats Georgia By Zviad Adzinbaia


The Economist’s has released an article concerning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine claiming that the developments have given NATO both a new sense of purpose and a new kind of threat: “hybrid” warfare. “The alliance’s military analysts have been working on “detailed, granular” but secret plans for a range of crisis scenarios,” the article says. According to the analysis, the overarching assumption is that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, encouraged by the success of annexing Crimea and prizing away Ukraine’s Donbass region, is moving on to something even more ambitious. “His goal: to undermine NATO and the European Union, by concentrating his well-honed techniques of hybrid warfare on two Baltic states that share a land border with Russia—Latvia and Estonia.” The article also discusses different facets of security including hybrid warfare, which “brings together military and non-military instruments to discombobulate the target state.” “Unlike Ukraine, the Baltic states are members of both the EU and NATO and are covered by the military alliance’s commitment to collective security under Article 5 of the 1949 Washington treaty that deems an attack on one as an attack on all,” states the piece. What if the situation deteriorates one

The caricature shows Vladimir Putin’s Russia, NATO and Eastern Europe fighting on different sides Source:

of the NATO member countries? Optimistically, NATO seems to have drawn up plans to hold the NATO Response Force, which has at its disposal 40,000 well-equipped troops, at a much higher state of readiness. The economist says a “spearhead” force of about 5,000 troops will be deployable at the first sign of trouble, possibly within hours, on the order of the alliance’s supreme commander, General Philip Breedlove, without the usual requirement for consensual political approval. What is the overarching issue for Russia’s Putin? Testing the Article 5 of the alliance? Heinrich Brauss, NATO’s assistant secretary-general for defense policy refuses to define what might trigger Article 5. According to Brauss, some ambiguity is necessary, adding, an adversary “must know that NATO is capable and willing to act”. Georgia Today Analysis:

Unfortunately, Georgia, which was a victim of Russia’s full-scale military aggression back in 2008, still suffers from absence of a security umbrella, which will potentially save her from the next analogous attempt by her northern neighbor. Meanwhile, being aware of the potential threat, Georgian defense minister Tinatin Khidasheli appears proactive continually urging the alliance and the US, Georgia’s strategic partner for adequate assistance. The minister recently at the BBC studio made a daring statement that if the west fails to help Georgia in case of need, and some boundaries are set for freedom, Georgians will die heroically to defend themselves and their independence. What does Georgia need in this case? The Membership Action Plan (MAP) or eventual membership? It is believed that Georgia through her various programs implemented with NATO has no necessity to be granted the MAP, which could equal more of a threat, considering the Russian factor. Unlike Ukraine, which says there is a considerable path to be passed to reach the NATO doors, Georgia in terms of democracy, transparency or military budget is believed to be fully prepared for the membership. What is remaining? Nothing more than political decision, a consensus by the alliance members that the same Article 5 t cover Georgia, therefore democracy and freedom in this region.




The ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI, is an independent think-tank associated with the International School of Economics at TSU (ISET). Our blog carries economic analysis of current events and policies in Georgia and the South Caucasus region ranging from agriculture, to economic growth, energy, labor markets and the nexus of economics, culture and religion. Thought-provoking and fun to read, our blog posts are written by international faculty teaching at ISET and recent graduates representing the new generation of Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian economists.

Azerbaijan Economy and the Oil Prices: a Blessing in Disguise? By Olga Azhgibetseva, Yasya Babych and Levan Pavlenishvili The international crude oil prices, which have hovered at $110 per barrel for the last three and a half years, started a sudden and abrupt downfall in August 2014, reaching a $50 per barrel mark in just five months. More than a year after the event, it looks like the oil price of $50 per barrel is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. BLAME THE TECHNOLOGY The primary reason behind the drop was undoubtedly the technological advances in shale oil and gas extraction in the United States – a boom so big, that the US is now poised to become a net energy exporter. Unlike gas market with its long-term contracts, the crude oil market is very sensitive to supply side changes. In 2014, the U.S. increased its oil production by 15.9%, which accounted for 12.3% of the world’s total crude oil extraction. As a result of the “supply glut” and weaker-than-expected demand from China (the world’s fastest growing emerging market), oil prices started to fall instantaneously, quickly reaching the levels not seen since 2005. Moreover, the world’s largest oil producers, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), decided not to reduce their supply. Undoubtedly, they hope that by maintaining their production at the current level, they will be able retain their collective market share while at the same time driving the shale oil rivals out of the market. This is a reasonable assumption, given that the shale oil extraction method is still quite expensive, requiring high prices to deliver reasonable profit margins to producers, and that OPEC’s key player, Saudi Arabia, has huge reserves of cheap oil to overcome the impact of the price drop. AZERBAIJANI ECONOMY TAKES A HIT Changes in the petroleum market resonated throughout the world, but they especially impacted the oil-exporting

countries. Azerbaijan can be justly proud of its world’s oldest oil wells, however, with a market share of just 1% of global production, it cannot really hope to influence the price. Therefore, when the prices for the “black gold” decreased sharply, Azerbaijan had to go with the flow of events, which had important economic consequences for its economy. The price drop not only decreased exports (see graph below) and government revenues (which declined by 15.4% in the first 6 months of 2015 relative to 2014), but directly impacted Azerbaijan’s national currency, the value of which had been fixed to the US dollar. Lower oil prices lead to the decline of dollar inflows into the Azerbaijani economy. This, coupled with the general trend of USD appreciation against all major currencies, left Azerbaijan with little choice but to devalue the manat in February 2015 by a third of its value. Prior to that, the country’s Central Bank burnt a substantial chunk of its foreign exchange reserves trying, in vain, to sustain the peg. CAN THE OIL SECTOR DECLINE BECOME A BOON FOR OTHER SECTORS? Oil and gas account for about 40% of Azerbaijan’s GDP. The largest nonoil GDP contributor (13.4% in 2015), the construction sector, is almost totally dominated by state infrastructure projects. The large share of construction activities is partially explained by the fact that Azerbaijan had undertaken huge infrastructure projects while preparing for the First European Games in June 2015. It would be quite natural to expect construction spending to shrink as oil and gas revenues decline. Construction is followed in importance by the wholesale and retail trade (9.9% in GDP) and the agricultural sector (6.3%). Agriculture is particularly important as it accounts for about 38% of the country’s total employment. Its competitiveness, however, had suffered for years from the effects of the so-called “Dutch disease”. As long as high oil prices propped the value of the manat

Brent Crude is a trading classification of sweet light crude oil that serves as a major benchmark price for global oil trade. WTI (West Texas Intermediate) is another trading classification of oil.

against other regional currencies, the domestically produced agricultural goods could not compete against the cheaper Turkish and Georgian produce (except with the help of “non-tariff” barriers to trade, which Azerbaijan has used quite extensively in order to “outcompete” more efficient competitors). Now, a weaker manat is very good news for Azerbaijani farmers. Growth in agriculture amounted to 7.4% in the first 6 months of 2015, in contrast to the previous year, when the sector experienced a decline of 3.4%. The effect of oil prices on the wholesale and retail trade sector is more ambiguous. The trade sector may not benefit so much from manat devaluation, as we expect domestic demand to decline for both imported and domestically produced goods.

a very large component). At the same time, Georgia is adversely affected by weaker demand for its products on the Azerbaijani market. First and foremost, the Land of Fire is one of Georgia’s main trade partners: around 12% of Georgian export goes to Azerbaijan. Second, in the last couple of years Azerbaijan has become one of the top suppliers of tourists to Georgia, bringing much needed revenue and opportunities for employment. Thus, the expected decline in Georgian exports to Azerbaijan and the number of Azeri visitors will negatively affect Georgian businesses as well as low-skilled, self-employed workers, and people employed informally in a wide range of sectors: from food and clothes retail to secondhand cars.

OIL PRICE EFFECT ON THE REST OF THE CAUCASUS Low oil prices are of course a boon for oil importing countries, such as Georgia. In fact, Georgia has already seen a significant decline in its transportation costs (in which the cost of fuel is

THE STATE OIL FUND OF AZERBAIJAN AND ITS ROLE Considering that oil and gas are depletable resources, the government of Azerbaijan created a State Oil Fund (SOFAZ) the main goal of which is to accumulate and efficiently manage oil

10 Galaktion Street

revenues. One area in which SOFAZ is supposed to be particularly active is development of the non-oil sectors. Thus, one would expect that declining oil revenues will have an overall negative effect on SOFAZ’s budget and its efforts to stimulate the non-oil sector. Will this forestall the revival of the non-oil sector in Azerbaijan? So far, the data seems to indicate otherwise. Despite the difficulties created by the fall in the world oil price – declining export volumes, budget revenues, and value of the currency – Azerbaijan’s Statistics Office reported positive GDP growth in first six months of 2015. Compared to the same period of the previous year (January-August 2014), GDP as a whole grew by 4.2% (compared to 2.4% last year), while the non-oil sector grew by 7.3% (compared to 6.3% last year). If this trend continues, the fall in the price of “black gold” may indeed prove to be a blessing in disguise for Azerbaijan. This article was produced in collaboration with Meydan TV.

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




Friend or F oe? It’ s all a Ma tter of P er specti ve Foe? It’s Matter Per erspecti spectiv By Dimitri Dolaberidze Nikolai Silaev Senior Researcher at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and Institute of International Studies met with Georgia Today for an exclusive interview. Q: Mr. Silaev, as a person who has a lot of friends in Georgia and speaks the Georgian language, you are familiar with the friendly attitude of Georgians towards Russians and Russian culture. Do you think there is the same attitude with Russians towards Georgians and Georgian culture? A: Actually, I really don’t know Georgian fluently, perhaps because the tradition is preserved in Georgia to learn Russian, read Russian, and speak in Russian. I’ve almost never come across a language barrier. At present, at least three universities in Moscow have specialization in the Georgian language and I hope that in a few years there will be a new generation of diplomats and political analysts who will have the pleasure of knowing this beautiful language. The tragedy of 2008 has left a heavy mark on our history. However, it did not lead to bitterness between Russian and Georgian societies. We have retained the ability to make dialogue with each other; hold mutual respect for each other’s cultures. Russia bows to the Georgian cinema and Georgian painting and not just artistic achievements of the Soviet years. Recently, in the Russian film distribution one of the leaders was the film “Love with an Accent” from Georgian director Rezo Gigineishvili. Many Russian tourists come to Georgia and leave happy. I think that the human and cultural ties between our countries will ensure the restoration of good neighborly relations. Q: How do you assess the state of Georgian-Russian relations after the 2012 elections? A: There are obvious limitations to the development of Russian-Georgian relations: Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, Georgia, in response to this, broke off diplomatic relations with Russia. However, even with these restrictions it re-

mains possible to develop relations in the areas that do not affect the political differences between the two countries. This trade-economic relation is a cultural exchange. As far as we can judge, there’s also security cooperation: Alexander Bortnikov, Russian Federal Security Service Director, named Georgia among the countries to which Russia is grateful for assistance in ensuring the security of the Sochi Olympics. The main thing that has changed since the parliamentary elections in 2012 is that Russia feels the Georgian authorities are not set for confrontation and are ready to carry out pragmatic policy towards its neighbors. This approach has full understanding and support in Moscow. Q: Some politicians speak out in favor of the abolition of the so-called Karasin-Abashidze format*. In your opinion, should there be such a format? A: In Russia, there were disputes over what the relationship with Georgia should be after the departure from power of the United National Movement [Saakashvili’s party]. At the end of 2012 - beginning of 2013, some Russian experts suggested that Georgia remained a hostile country and advised not to take any steps towards normalizing relations with it. This view was not supported at the political level, however. The choice was made in Russia to find ways to improve relations with Georgia in the fields where it is possible. The Karasin Abashidze format often frustrates journalists and political analysts as such meetings rarely produce hot news. But no hot news is good news because the format requires calm, professional diplomatic work. There are many practical issues between Russia and Georgia which are not related to policy, but which should be addressed so the lives of people on both sides of the border become easier. The mode of operation of border crossings, road maintenance, air traffic issues, visa facilitation, trade and economic cooperation, the rights of Georgian citizens in Russia - all this and more was discussed between the representatives of our two countries in Prague. Official Moscow and Tbilisi

simply have no other platform for discussion of practical issues, because diplomatic relations are broken. The Karasin – Abashidze format is not a “concession” by any means. First and foremost, it answers to the practical needs of the two neighboring countries. Q: Could you name the main achievements of Karasin-Abashidze? A: There are a lot! Restored and developing trade relations. Restored regular flights, and - this is important - not at the expense of the Georgian national air carrier, whose interests were taken into account. A de facto facilitated visa regime. Increased mutual trust between the two countries, at least when compared to the levels that existed in 2012. But the main political outcome that has been achieved by the meetings of Karasin and Abashidze, and the political leaders of Russia and Georgia is that Russian- Georgian relations have largely withdrawn from the oppressing context of relations between Russia and the United States, such as they had from

2004 to 2012. Without any exaggeration, it should be called a manifestation of the political wisdom of Russian and Georgian leaders. Q: In your opinion, in which areas of cooperation between Georgia and Russia is it possible to achieve the greatest results? A: The current agenda covers many issues. How to support Georgian exports to Russia as the lead productive investment from Russia to Georgia? Is it possible to harmonize the interaction between the two major integration projects - Association with the European Union and the EAEC - in the Caucasus? What steps can be taken to increase mutual trust in the field of security? What collaboration is necessary and possible to counter terrorism, particularly to counter the influence of the “Islamic State” in the Caucasus? Perhaps measures to improve transport links. The potential for liberalization of the visa regime. Definitely a lot of work remains. Q: We are aware that you put a lot

of effort into restoring inter-university and scientific relations between the two countries. What are your future plans? A: Academic contacts are very important in terms of strengthening mutual understanding between the two countries, and in terms of the joint development of new ideas about Russian-Georgian relations, which may then take advantage of the policy. It would be very important that this cooperation is not confined to the humanities and the social sciences, but also extended to the realm of the natural sciences and medicine. We need to develop the training of Russian students, teachers and researchers in Georgia, and their Georgian counterparts in Russia. *A form of bilateral dialogue between Grigory Karasin (Russian Deputy Foreign Minister) and Zurab Abashidze (Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia), and the political leaders of Russia and Georgia.


Cur rency Crisis? What Cur rency Crisis? By Zaza Jgharkava The Georgian Lari is continuing to lose its value and the situation is becoming severe. The devalued national currency is becoming dangerous for the government as well as regular people who have had to bear the burden of everything that has taken place in Georgia for the last 25 years. But this historical experience of adversity does not allow the Georgian Dream government any respite since hyperinflation can overthrow any government. Supporters of the Georgian Dream themselves admitted that no such currency crisis was experienced in Saakahsvili’s time. If Saakashvili and the late Kakha Bendukidze took economic decisions now, there would be no Universal Healthcare Program, which, as it happens, is funded by loans taken from commercial banks. The budget would be Singaporean, i.e. Libertarian – without any ‘social populism’. The Georgian president or prime minister “Misha” would proudly state that the “Lari has withstood the blow since unlike all other neighboring currencies it devalued only a bit!” And the “television of the winning people” Rustavi 2 would loyally publicize this victory. Generally, the ignorance of PR is clear within the Georgian Dream as well. This is proven by the first steps in pre-elec-

tion activities, which, according to all observers, started positively for the United National Movement. If we put it in the political analyst Soso Tsintsadze’s words, “The Nationals put a countdown to the end of this government”. Against the background of the devaluation of Georgian Lari, the 23-hour release of Ugulava from prison was a big blow to the already shattered ratings of the Georgian Dream. “Attack from the National Movement is frontal; it does not happen only in one direction. They drop

several stories to the media space at once – one of the themes is a priority, others – peripheral. Hands of high-class PR technologists are felt there. It is mosaic PR technology – a very serious technology and it seems that serious people are working on that. Unfortunately, it should be said that the government does not master the art of PR technology at all and the PR groups that they cooperate with, that they pay so much money, do not master that art as well,” political expert Mamuka

Areshidze told newspaper Alia. The 23-hour release of the former mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava served the litmus function to reveal the processes that take place in the cabinet of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and the Georgian Dream as a whole. Let us observe one strange thing in this regard. The Ministry of Justice is for some reason not hurrying to address the President with a request to deprive Mikheil Saakashvili of his citizenship of Georgia. Minister Tsouloukiani is making

vague explanations about it and her structure is confusedly mentioning some bureaucratic shortcomings from Kyiv. Bizarrely, the Constitution of Ukraine states that only a citizen of Ukraine can take a state-political position. Saakashvili has noted his intention to run as a candidate again, which is his right for as long as he is a Georgian citizen and is an MP. Something is taking place in the Georgian Dream, naturally related to the parliamentary elections of 2016. The Georgian Dream is busy with the 2016 elections rush and takes no interest in processes beyond elections, even the worsening devaluation of the national currency. No voice of the ruling coalition will admit that the Lari problem is in fact a problem. They do not state it directly (as it is not favorable for them); instead they mask their words with uncertain phrases about “incorrect expenses” and “wrong decisions”. Who can say directly that the government should have introduced the healthcare program, should not have processed lands for free, and should not limit the sales of Georgian land to foreigners? The fate of the national currency remains critical and there remains a lack of responsibility and any sign of a way out from the powers that be.




The Galt & Taggart Research team comprises Georgian and Azerbaijani finance and economic experts who have broad experience of covering the macro and corporate sectors of the two countries. Our current product offering includes Georgian and Azerbaijan macroeconomic research, Georgian sector research, and fixed income corporate research. For free access to Galt & Taggart Research, please visit or contact us at

Georgian Railway - Linking East with West By David Ninikelashvili Fixed income research is one of the key directions of Galt & Taggart Research. We currently provide coverage of Georgian Railway and Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation, two state-owned entities with Eurobonds listed on the London Stock Exchange in the amount of US$ 500mn and US$ 250mn, respectively. In this article, we provide an overview of Georgian Railway and its key role in the Euro-Asian corridor. Georgian Railway (GR) is a fully state-owned rail monopoly, committed to building on Georgia’s strategic location on the route from Asian land-locked countries to European markets. The concept of a rail link between the two continents originated back in the 1860s and the construction of the railway bridging the Black and the Caspian seas began in 1865. In 1883, the transportation of Azeri oil to global markets commenced. In 1899, the railway connection between Georgia and Armenia was established. The nature of GR’s business is largely dictated by Georgia’s position on the shortest route from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea. Three of GR’s rail lines terminate at the ports of Batumi, Kulevi, and Poti. Hence, GR and Azerbaijan Railway make up a key section of the Transportation Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia (TRACECA), which connects oil-rich Central Asia with Europe, making GR mainly a transit railway (transit

accounts for 57% of all freight transported in 2014). GR has four main business directions: · Freight transportation along the rail network; · Freight handling - delivering freight to and from customer facilities; · Freight car rental - leasing railcars to GR’s customers (foreign railway companies); · Transportation of passengers. Freight transportation is the chief revenue source, accounting for a 74.8% share in 2014. Freight transportation is split almost equally into two categories - liquid and dry cargo. Liquid cargo has always been a major freight category, considering Georgia’s favorable location between oil-rich Asia and Europe. GR transports significant volumes of oil products and crude oil, stemming mainly from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Due to increased competition from pipelines, crude oil volumes have seen a sharp decline in 2014. However, the shortfall has been compensated by significantly increased shipments of moreprofitable oil products. Dry cargo is more diversified, with the largest dry cargo category, ores, accounting for only 7.3% of total cargo in 2014. While liquid cargo volumes depend on global demand for oil and oil products, dry cargo volumes correlate with the general level of economic activity in the region. Given the high regional uncertainty, GR posted strong 2014 results. We be-

lieve GR has upside potential in oil products and dry cargo, in addition to the already fast-growing freight handling business. Moreover, China has emerged as one of GR’s promising directions, as 2015 saw the first freight from China to Georgia. Transportation by rail is five times faster than by sea, which should encourage cargo flows between China and Europe/Turkey. To facilitate freight traffic, GR initiated two major capital projects in 2010, namely Tbilisi Bypass and Modernization. To finance the projects, GR placed a US$ 500mn, 10-year Eurobond on the London Stock Exchange. Notably, the GR Eurobond was Georgia’s first EMBIeligible (J.P. Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Index) benchmark corporate bond. Modernization is a long-term project, spanning through 2019, with the aim of optimising freight and passenger traffic, depots, and supporting infrastructure. The project is primarily focused on increasing train speeds on the mainline railroad that runs from Tbilisi to the Black Sea terminals (315 km), which will result in a surge in annual freight through-

put capacity to 60.0mn tonnes from the current 27.0mn tonnes. Another capital project, Tbilisi Bypass, is designed to relocate the main railway hub from the center of Tbilisi to the suburbs, freeing up 73 ha of land in the center of the city. For the time being, the project is under review. A comparative study of the existing and the bypass line by a third party consultant in early 2015 concluded that the best option was maintaining only the current rail system on the existing mainline and constructing the Tbilisi Bypass line. This option would entail directing cargo from West to East via the Tbilisi mainline and from East to West via the new Tbilisi Bypass line. Currently, GR is discussing the various scenarios with the Tbilisi City Hall. A final decision is expected by end-2015, at which time GR is to present the final project plan to the government of Georgia for approval. Baku-Tbilisi-Kars is a new railway stretching 826 km (182km in Georgia) and connecting Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. The idea of the rail line dates back to the 1980s; part of the railway,

the Marabda-Akhalkalaki section, was completed in 1986. In 2007, the governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey agreed to renovate the existing line and build a new rail line connecting the three countries. The construction of the Georgian section of the Baku-TbilisiKars (BTK) rail line was completed in early 2015. Construction works on the Turkish section are underway, and first freight is expected in 2016. We believe BTK has the potential to attract freight from the Turkey-CIS trade, mainly dry cargo, currently transported by trucks. Additionally, BTK has potential for passenger traffic between Azerbaijan and Turkey. GR’s mid-term outlook looks favorable on the back of a profitable freight transportation business and a growing income stream from supporting activities (i.e. freight handling and freight car rental). We expect GR’s crucial role in the economy to strengthen further at both national and regional levels. For detailed information on Georgian Railway’s operating results, please visit


Georgia Welcomes New American Ambassador By Katie Ruth Davies On September 21st the new Ambassador for the USA to Georgia, Mr Ian C. Kelly, with his wife Francesca, held an elegant closed cocktail party at the American Embassy to introduce himself and his Embassy staff. “I am really humbled to be the new Ambassador here,” Ambassador Kelly said in his welcoming speech. And honoured that so many ministers and distinguished representatives of the Georgian government and civil society are here

tonight. It is a distinct honour to have the President of Georgian and Mrs Margvelashvili here. I was amazed at how quickly I was received by the President- allowing me to get right down to work. Because it is very important work that we are doing here and that all of you are doing to make Georgia a truly sovereign, independent and modern country.” “Some 20 years ago Georgia made the sovereign choice to be independent and to integrate with the European Union and its institutions. My priority and that of our mission here is to support Georgia’s

Ambassador for the USA to Georgia, Mr Ian C. Kelly

choice. I pledge to devote all my energies in my time here to supporting Georgia on this very important path. I look forward to a very productive time- and hopefully have some fun, too.” Later in the evening, Georgia Today got to meet the Ambassador personally to ask him his impressions of Georgia so far. “Actually, this is not my first time here,” Ambassador Kelly said. “I first came in 1976 as student studying Russian in the region and came down to visit for four days. I was back in 1995 with the foreign service for another four days

when Georgia was in very bad shape, and again in 2012 as the OSCE Ambassador. That’s when I said to myself: ‘I wanna come here.’ It is my wife Francesca’s first time, and I told her she would love it. She’s a professional musician, involved in college counselling, helping students filling in their college applications, so she’ll be volunteering in that field here.” Georgia Today would like to extend Ambassador Kelly and his wife Francesca a warm welcome to Georgia and wishes them a pleasant time settling in to their new home.

Casinos Austria International to Bring History of Success to Batumi A new International Company is soon to be welcomed to Georgia. (CAI) owns a unique portfolio of casinos and gaming industry development and management services and has successfully realized the highest number of projects in the field, more than any other operator in Europe. Furthermore, the CAI’s brand is known as the author of numerous innovative concepts. Casino Austria International’s success in the global casino industry is due in great part to the casino’s professional, experienced and dedicated staff whose number totals 3 000 people from around the globe. Local staff members are carefully trained so they integrate into the management team, ensuring that the casino meets the needs and tastes of the local market, but also delivers the high standards of service and hospitality that are synonymous with the CAI brand. CAI places special emphasis on responsible gambling, providing maximum entertainment with minimum risk to guests. Working closely with international experts and national authorities helps CAI implement appropriate measures and procedures in terms of responsible gaming. Casino International Batumi is an investment in the future. Why? Because all the casinos and gaming centers created by the international company are specially tailored to the region where they are opened as well as providing for the needs, tastes and traditions of the local commu-

nity. It is important that all the casinos represent a major purchase for any city where they are opened, in terms of tourism, too. The interior and exteriors of the casinos should be mentioned separately, undoubtedly deserving of the admiration of visitors: the design of a CAI casino is a key element in attracting future guests. CAI owns the largest network of casinos and gambling entertainment centers in the world, with casinos in 11 countries and on all seven seas, including six onboard ships. The CAI casino’s multicultural approach offers a unique combination of tradition and innovation. Under the motto “Think Global, Act Local,” each casino reflects the tastes and traditions of the host community and culture. International company CAI boasts an extensive mix of styles and offers entertainment lovers a total of 400 gaming tables and 4650 gaming machines. CAI really does offer something for everyone. The Casinos Austria Group was first developed in 1934, when the first casino opened in Austria. Since then the company has gone a very long way to gain an international status and become a global leader in the gaming business; success which is attributed to the tradition, innovation, integrity, responsibility to society, security and service excellence that CAI offers its guests. Over the last four decades, CAI has realized more projects in more jurisdictions than any other casino operator worldwide. CAI’s

international reputation is frequently recognized: at the International Gaming Awards in London, CAI was named “Casino Operator of the Year Europe” in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 and “Socially Responsible Operator of the Year” in

2010. Another interesting fact is that, in addition to the casinos, the international brand is active in the lottery, internet games and tote sector. In Georgia, the company is opening its first casino at Batumi Hilton, a casino

set to satisfy all international standards. Apart from the stunning design, guests will be able to enjoy the highest quality service from qualified personnel. The casino doors will open to guests on October 1st.

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Georgian Mangalese: Interview with Representative of Ferroalloy and Manganese Producers Union P.13

Exclusive Interview with IFC’s Regional Manager P.13

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Batumi Investment Forum 2015: The Results

With over 200 participants, the Investment Forum Batumi 2015 was successfully held in Batumi at the Hilton Hotel in the Black Sea Region of Adjara. The event was organized by Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown, together with the Georgian National Investment Agency and the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. The Forum brought together key policy-makers, government officials, investors and businesspeople who discussed different investment opportunities and business prospects across the Adjara region. Georgia Today is proud to share the insights of the event that have significantly changed the investment climate in Georgia. The Investment Forum was opened by Mr. Dimitri Kumsishvili the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, who discussed the current business environment in Georgia and positive trends in this direction. Namely, Georgia was ranked 15th within 189 states in doing business while international rating agency Moody’s Investors Service changed the status of sovereign rating of Georgia from stable to positive. As the Minister stated, despite external challenges, in 2014 the Georgian economy grew by 4.7%. The Georgian Government expects at least 2% growth in this indicator in 2015. Minister Kumsishvili also highlighted the volume of the direct investments. According to the data of the first two quarters of 2015, foreign direct investment amounted to 530 million US dollars, which is 5% higher than the same indicators the previous year. The transportation, communication, finance and the industry sectors have the largest contribution to those indicators. The Minister also pointed out the growing number of international travelers. In particular, according to the past eight months data, almost 4 000 000

visitors visited Georgia in 2015 which is a 6% increase compared to the same period last year. Investors participating in the Forum showed a lot of interest in the government’s initiative aiming to support private entrepreneurs in various ways. The Minister noted a new initiative aimed at assisting hotel development in the regions. The Minister’s speech was followed by the Chairman of the Government of Adjara A.R. Mr. Archil Khabadze, and the Minister of Finance and Economy of Adjara A.R., Mr. David Baladze whose presentations covered dynamics in the Georgian economy and reform initiatives that have improved the country’s business environment. They gave a general overview of the investment opportunities in the region and updated the audience about the projects that are in the pipeline for the year to come. There followed an interactive panel discussion, high-level presentations and interaction between delegates and speakers. It was an unparalleled experience for all attendees in terms of informational update received in regards of the investment climate and opportunities in the Adjara region and throughout Georgia. The Head of the Georgian National Investment Agency made a presentation about the seven main questions investors usually ask when first encountering Georgia and highlighted the key investment opportunities in Georgia and in Adjara in particular. The officials also discussed Georgia’s increasing tourism figures that demonstrate a positive trend over the past 24 months. The event was concluded with individual sessions between guests and leading consulting companies at a networking reception. The day was designed to provide an opportunity for guests to make contact and network with senior figures from the business and financial com-

munities, as well as the public sector and government. “Delegate feedback was highly positive and Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown can announce that several high profile projects in Batumi received investor pre-contacts as a direct result of the conference,” said Tom Day, Regional DirectorHospitality & Investor Services of Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown. The day following the Forum, participants were invited to tour the site, at which time they had the opportunity to get acquainted with the ready investment projects in the region such as Metro City, Atlas Georgia, Babillon Tower, Alphabet Tower, Grand Hotel Batumi Sea, Grand Resort Development, Dreamland Oasis, Porta Tower Batumi, Princess Hotel Batumi, Crown Plaza Batumi, Semiramida Gardens Holiday Complex, and Gogebashvili Str. 18. It is obvious that Georgia has demonstrated its repeated readiness to serve as a positive investment environment with its different investment opportunities and ready projects. In conclusion, Georgia is definitely a competitive country to invest in.

Tom Day, Regional Director- Hospitality & Investor Services of Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown




Foodpanda Facts: the Strange Case of Airplane Food Although smell is a dominant sense in flavor appreciation, taste is without a doubt a synesthetic (amalgamated) experience. It begins with the smell, as it naturally reaches us first. Then comes sight, the way food is presented; besides, it’s not a coincidence chefs are considered artists. Last come the taste and the texture. But all this time we were missing out on a sense, thinking it doesn’t affect the way food tastes: Hearing. If we think about it, there are many occasions we hear someone complain about the loud noises in restaurants, or just bad music. How do you eat when at home? What kind of music do you -subconsciously- choose? Still, the loudest example for advocating this theory is airplanes. Food delivery app foodpanda ( is curious to find out more about this mystery. Everyone whines about how much they hate airplane food, but everyone secretly anticipates the moment the cart will arrive at your row and ultimately, everyone actually ends up eating it (or at least parts of it). So what’s really putting us off when it comes to airplane food? The smell when they heat it up that by the way, is identical regardless of the food or airline? The warm, perfectly round bread that once it cools off you can use it as a tennis ball? The plastic containers that remind us of the

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1960’s ‘TV dinners’? The unidentifiable meat served in a science-fiction-looking-sauce? Well, surely all these play a role; but these are just the obvious reasons. Because it’s not really that airplane food doesn’t taste good; it actually tastes different. As a matter of fact, when your taste buds are way above the clouds, your normal sense of taste has in contrast- stayed on the ground. Taste buds and sense of smell are the first things to go at 30,000 feet as our perception of saltiness and sweetness drop when inside a pressurized cabin, mainly due to lack of humidity, lower air

pressure, and last but not least, the background noise. Many taste experiments have been made and the most surprising finding is that the 85db cabin noise does not affect all 5 tastes equally: Bitter, salty, sour, sweet, and umami react differently when flying. The most striking results were that saltiness and sweetness reduced while umami increased under cabin noise conditions. The experiments suggest that using ingredients or foods with a lot of umami –soy or fish sauce, cheeses, seared or cured meats, tomatoes– can make meals taste bet-

ter in an airline cabin. Haven’t you noticed how many people order tomato juice (or Bloody Mary) in an airplane? That’s because tomatoes are very rich in umami. Tomato juice, having a strong umami taste, could be more appealing at 30,000 feet because your ears tell you so. Yes, it all comes down to loud noise. So better go for the umami option: go for anything with tomatoes, beef, pork, chicken, mushrooms, carrots, and parmesan. Or perhaps there’s another way to address the bad airplane food problem: earplugs.

Nine Reasons Why Beer is Even Better than You Thought It turns out that beer has many uses you may have never heard of before. Did you know that in many places in Europe people use it to improve their skin? Read on for more cool facts. 1. First things first, beer + food = perfect harmony. Burgers and beer: There couldn’t be a more natural pairing. Or the quintessential wings and beer... And it always helps wash down spicy food. 2. Beer might be more nutritious than other alcohols. Wine gets all the credit, but beer has just as many antioxidants, according to CNN. What’s more, beer is higher in protein and vitamin B. While we wouldn’t recommend any alcohol as a health food, if you’re planning on having an alcoholic drink, it may as well be one that contains iron, calcium, phosphates and fiber. 3. You can batter foods in beer. We all know you can batter amazing things like chicken and fish in beer, but Nick Chipman, from, decided to make this masterpiece: beer and bacon battered deep fried Doritos. Take a moment to bask in its glory. 4. Drinking a beer a day could make you age smarter (if you are a woman). A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed

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that women who had one alcoholic drink a day had less cognitive impairment and less decline in their cognitive function compared to women who abstained from any alcoholic beverages. The researchers theorized that alcohol protects the brain by improving blood circulation, reported the Washington Post. And while the subjects of the study benefitted from any alcoholic drink in moderation, why not make it a beer? 5. Beer is good for your heart. It doesn’t matter if you’re a male or a female, drinking beer keeps your heart healthy. According to a study Researchers at Italy’s Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura, moderate beer drinking (a little more than a pint of beer a day) makes you 31 percent less likely than those who don’t drink to suffer from hearts attacks, strokes or heart disease. 6. And it could help prevent kidney stones. Drinking beer could actually

help reduce your risk of developing kidney stones, according to a recent study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. According to that study, men and women who reported drinking a moderate amount of beer reduced their risk of developing a stone by 41 percent. By contrast, drinking soda increased their risk by 23 percent. 7. It could effectively save your bad hair day Make-up artist Shalini Vahera told HuffPost Live that if you girls want to get rid of your frizzy hair and add “a lot of volume” to your hair, you better start putting flat German or Belgian beer in your hair. Others seem to agree. According to Refinery 29, “The malt nourishes and smoothes hair, while yeast strengthens your strands and pumps up the volume.” Even celebrities like Catherine ZetaJones put beer in their hair. We’re

down to give it a try, although we’d be most likely to rinse our hair in beer after downing more than a couple the conventional way. 8. You can bathe in it for better skin. An article in the New York Times reported on the popularity of “beer spas” in Europe. People go to these spas to soak their skin in dark lager due to it’s reputed therapeutic benefits. It’s also apparently good for your face. The article states that customers at these spas indulge in the beer facial, which includes a “gooey mask made from ground hops, malt, honey and cream cheese.” Yum! 9. Last but not least, cooking with beer makes food taste so much better. There’s an amazing blogger out there named Jackie who goes by “The Beeroness.” On her site she explains her inspiration: “Over the years my fascination with beer has evolved into a fixation with creating recipes that highlight and magnify the flavors that Head Brewers spend so much time developing.” She creates amazing recipes like these... Beer Brined Scallops over Smokey Corn Puree and Stout Molasses Sauce Mile High Chocolate Stout Pie Salted Beer Caramel Corn Now, go enjoy your beer as much as this parrot does.

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Inter vie w with Sulkhan Khv edelidz e–R epr esenta ti ve of Intervie view Khvedelidz edelidze Re presenta esentati tiv the F er ys pr oducer s and Mang anese miner s union Fer errro-allo o-alloys producer oducers Manganese miners Q: Georgia hosted the International Business Forum of Ferro-Alloy and Manganese Producers. The forum is an annual conference which gathers producers and consumers of Ferro-Alloy and Manganese from various countries across the world. What was the reason for choosing Georgia as a host of Business Forum? A: For the decades Georgia has been well-known in the global market as ferroalloys producer. The conference gave opportunity to Georgian producers to meet the world’s leading companies operating in this business. Delegates visited local factories and were introduced production process. Within the framework of business forum, parties had face to face meetings, and started business negotiations. Q: The Forum was hosted by all major companies operating in the heavy industry and dozens of guests arrived specially for this occasion. Who were the guests and which companies did they represent? A: The conference was attended by the representatives of the largest companies operating in this field. Among them were: South-32 – part of famous Australian company BHP with actives amounting billions of US Dollars. The Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), whose number of employees counts more than 70 000. Russian Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant, whose share of Russia’s steel production is 21%. Trading companies like Ronly, which has been trading Ferro-alloy products since 1979 was also present at conference. Q: Business Forum- Was this conference a challenge for Georgia? A: This business forum was very important for Georgia, as smaller producers were given an opportunity to hold face to face audiences with the representatives of international companies. We discussed the ongoing processes in this field, exchanged and shared experiences. We hope that this business forum will be held in Georgia in future as well. Q: Most of the population from the regions of Imereti and Rustavi are employed in your factories. What is the number of employees? What is the amount of taxes paid to state budget?

A: Up to 15 000 people are employed in this field in Georgia. Monthly paid taxes amount tens of millions of GEL. Q: As we are aware Ferroalloys are the leading export products of Georgia. What is the share of ferroalloys in total export? A: According to the statistical data, the share of Ferro-alloy products and manganese in total export

Exclusive Interview with IFC’s Regional Manager By Katie Ruth Davies Georgia Today met with Jan van Bilsen, Regional Manager of the South Caucasus of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Georgia, to discuss the past, present and future of the organisation’s work in Georgia and his involvement in that work. Mr van Bilsen took up his post in May 2015, coming from a background covering the former Soviet space. He had visited Georgia prior to his arrival on a number of business trips. “The people here are extremely friendly and welcoming and the country as a whole has a lot to offer both visitors and business-wise.” When asked how Georgia has changed since he first visited, he said: “Improvements have been made and there is clearly a positive momentum.”.In the past year, IFC Georgia has continued to focus on supporting the Georgian financial sector- encouraging stability and using the financial sector to reach Small and Medium Business (SMEs). , “IFC Georgia has set up activities in the hydropower sector as part of our strategy to support infrastructure within the country- part of the electricity output will be exported to Turkey in order to assist Georgia to generate additional income. We’ve also been developing the Real sector, Agri business sector, manufacturing, tourism and real estate sectors to international standard.” IFC Georgia has also continued, this past year, in providing advisory services, and improving the investment climate and transparency, as well as food safety standards, enabling Georgia to bring its export potential up to international levels. “It is the mandate of IFC to work exclusively with the private sector to achieve our ultimate goals- creating jobs, and setting up and expanding businesses,” said Mr van Bilsen. We asked him where he sees Georgia in five years’ time. “The impact of external factors can’t be predicted but I believe the trend of past sven years will continue, more specifically, the way the business environment has been improving will continue.”

Mr van Bilsen recently met with working groups of the Ministry of Economy during which the task forces presented what they do and their planned future steps, which included working with experts from international institutions and dealing with donors. “I was extremely impressed by their clear vision, practical business-like approach and willingness to listen to advice regarding what is needed.” Mr van Bilsen will be staying in Georgia for an additional three or four years. “I look forward to being a part of the process of development,” he said. “The government is willing to improve,” he praised. Mr van Bilsen brings a vast and relevant background to IFC Georgia. 14 years ago he began his career in a large Dutch bank and has since worked in eight different countries in positions within the financial sector, infrastructure, real sector (companies), and best practise implementation. The International Finance Corporation is an international financial institution that offers investment, advisory, and asset management services to encourage private sector development in developing countries.

is 10.7 percent. In terms of export the Ferro-alloys and manganese products hold the second place. The annual export volume is more than 700 mln GEL. Q: Regarding the ferroalloys products, what is the determining factor of supply and demand? A: The supply-demand is regulated by the world market. Steel industry is the major determinant affecting the supply-demand of ferroalloys products. Accordingly the increased demand on steel creates demand of ferroalloys products. Q: This business requires constant investment. Can you explain the process? In which cases are the investments needed?, and why? A: Ferro-alloy producing companies need continuous renewal of existing machineries as they are depreciable, for example, modern gas cleaning systems. Furthermore, supporting factories like foundry and mechanical shops require constant investment. Q: Finally, what perspectives does Georgian production have and what does the increase potential depend on? A: If we analyze general statistics, the companies operating in this field have an increasing growth rate, which indicates that Georgian production is progressing from year to year. In case of support, we have the resources to increase production, employ more people and of course increase our share in export.


Eurofast Offers Free Seminar: “Which Country Better Suits your Business Needs?”

Eurofast, a regional business advisory organization with offices in 21 cities in the SEE and East Mediterranean region, is organizing a seminar titled “Which country better suits your business needs?” in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 7 October 2015. The seminar will focus on investing in the European Market. During the seminar, Eurofast experts and a guest speaker from the international business advisory firm Apex Capital Partners Corp. will inform participants on alternative investment opportunities in Europe, structuring wealth and business with the use of foreign jurisdictions, and investment opportunities in Montenegro, the Adriatic Riviera. Furthermore, participants will be informed about the benefits of obtaining EU citizenship and residency in Dominica, Montenegro, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria. The seminar will bring together individuals seeking opportunities in Europe. Law firms and audit companies are also welcome. For more information and for the registration to the seminar please contact Country Director of Eurofast in Georgia, Anna Pushkaryova, at, or by phone +995 595100517. Date of Seminar: 7 October 2015 Time: 10.00 am to 13.00 pm Venue: Hotel Ambasadori Address: 13 Shavteli Str, 0105 Tbilisi

Invitation to Participate in the Sales Procedures Announced by the Embassy of the Republic of France in Georgia on the Sale of 3933 sq/m Land Plot Located in the Center of Tbilisi The Embassy of the Republic of France in Georgia has announced a Sales Procedures on the sale of land plot located adjacent to the Rustaveli Avenue at 4 Khazina St., Tbilisi, Georgia. The land plot has the following characteristics: cadastral code –; total area of the land plot - 3933 sq/ m. The land plot qualifies as type 2 recreational zone with the following coefficients: K1= [0,2], K2=[undefined] and K3=[Undefined]. Please, take into account that the Sales Procedures n will be conducted in accordance with the Rules for Submission of Offers available on the web-page of the Embassy:, or by e-mail request at The interested Parties shall submit their Expression of Interest in a form and to the addressee(s) envisaged in the Rules for Submission of Offers. In case of additional questions, please, contact [the consul or hes representative] at the following e-mail [] or call at [(00 995 32) 272 14 90] from Monday to Friday from 9:30 AM till 12:30 PM. The Expression of Interest shall be submitted to the Contact Person indicated above no later than 15th of October 2015.




Perfect your body at Body Care

Body Care is a body correction center. Since 2003 the professional and experienced staff of this center has worked to achieve the beauty and perfect body shape for each and every one of our customers, with individually tailored methods. What to expect from Body Care: * Weight loss * Correction of any problematic zone of your body * Individual prescription of procedures * Prescription of a special diet (fol-

lowing analysis of your favorite products, blood group and other factors) * Relaxing massages * Free consultation Complex program of body correction includes a number of special procedures which are prescribed individually (weight loss + correction, afterwards sealing). The duration of each procedure is 1.5 – 2 hours and consists of 2 components – hand massage and treatment with apparatus.

The course of body correction involves various procedures: Vacuum massage, Honey massage, Limph Drainage massage, Anti-Cellulite massage with special cream, Mund and Clay packing, Sauna, Hydro massage, Brazilian massage... During a special course you can lose weight, get rid of cellulite and correct any problematic zone of your body. In Body Care you have the chance to try different kinds of modern appara-

tus, well known in modern esthetical medicine, like Phressotheraphy, Cavitation, Vacuum, Miostimulation, Lifting, Intralipid Therapy, and more. With this apparatus it is possible to improve the proportion of your silhouette and stimulate deep fat destruction. After such basic treatment, our experienced and professional staff at Body Care will “sculpt” your body. The results of a well-selected complex course:

* Weight correction (8-15 kg per course) * Recovery of skin color * Cellulite eradication * Reparation of stretched skin and recovery of its structure * Correction of problematic zones * Swell removal, detox-effect * Removal of pain problems (during course) Z. Paliashvili ave. 41 Tel.: 218 4982, 570 90 29 89




w UN Sustaina ble De velopment New Sustainab Dev Radisson Blu Iv eria Ne Iveria enda to Chang e the Wor ld Agenda Change orld Ag Named WT A Leading WTA Business Hotel By Baia Dzagnize

General Manager of Radisson Blu Iveria, John Lossaso, accepting the award at the 2015 WTA ceremony.

With more than 650,000 votes from travel professionals and consumers, the World Travel Awards awarded Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel Tbilisi the prestigious title of “Georgia’s Leading Business Hotel” while the title of “Georgia’s Leading Hotel” was awarded to Radisson Blu Hotel, Batumi. The awards were presented at the World Travel Awards European Gala ceremony in Sardinia, Italy on September 6th, in the prescence of 250 top tourism and hospitality leaders from around the globe. The General Manager of Radisson Blu Iveria, John Losasso, was granted a special award at the ceremony.

The awards come at an important time when both hotels, Radisson Blu Iveria Tbilisi and Radisson Blu Hotel, Batumi have been increasing competition, and follow a year of overall success for the Georgian tourism sector. The WTA was founded in 1993 and annually invites hotel companies from all over the world to join the competition, giving awards in several different categories. Also invited are airlines, tourist agencies and auto transport companies. Being given an award from the WTA was declared the hospitality industry equivalent of the ‘Oscar,’ according to the Wall Street Journal.

Aiming to formally adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda, more than 150 world leaders are expected to attend the UN Sustainable Development Summit from 25-27 September at the UN Headquarters in New York. This momentous agenda will promote shared prosperity and well-being for all over the next 15 years. “[The agreement] encompasses a universal, transformative and integrated agenda that heralds a historic turning point for our world,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated in a Summit outcome document on August 2. “This is the People’s Agenda, a plan of action for ending poverty in all its dimensions; irreversibly, everywhere, and leaving no one behind,” he continued. Agreed by the 193 Member States of the UN, the proposed Agenda “Trans-

forming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” consists of a Declaration, 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, a section on means of implementation and renewed global partnership, and a framework for review and follow-up. The Agenda calls for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income. And for sustainable development to be achieved, it is crucial to harmonize three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. These elements are interconnected and all are crucial for the well–being of individuals and societies. This document builds on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were adopted in 2000 and produced the most successful anti-poverty movement in history. It is constructed on the successful outcome of the Conference on Financing for De-

Gr ant Thor nton – ffir ir st Grant hornton irst Geor gian cer tif ied PCI certif tified Georgian QSA company Grant Thornton has become the first Georgian company to be certified by the PCI (Payment Card Industry) Security Standards Council as a Qualified Security Assessor. Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) companies are organizations that have been qualified by the Council to assess compliance to the PCI Data Security Standard. This certification comes to supplement the advanced Business Risk Services practice of Grant Thornton that supports clients in Georgia and CEMEA countries in determining their exposure to various risks and managing risk for improving operational efficiency of the business as well as providing compliance with local and industry regulatory requirements. Nelson Petrosyan, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Georgia, provides insight into the new offering: “The PCI Security Standards Council is a professional body, founded by five global payment brands, that sets security standards for all payment card data processing organizations across the world. Data processing organizations are required to comply with the Data Security Standards and undergo an annual quality assessment. Grant Thornton is the only Georgian firm that is certified to perform the quality assessment, and we are happy to assist our fi-

nancial sector clients in Georgia and CEMEA countries in fulfilling their data security obligations and compliance with industry standards”. Grant Thornton is an audit and advisory services firm in Georgia, providing a range of professional services to clients in public and private sectors. The firm’s profoundly developed advisory practice also includes a spectrum of business risk and business consulting services, with specialization in the fields of Technology audit and risk management; Enterprise risk management including operational, process and finance risk; Internal control and Internal audit; Corporate governance advisory, design and compliance; Business process re-engineering; and Information security and data protection. The PCI Security Standards Council is an open global forum, launched in 2006, that is responsible for the development, management, education, and awareness of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards. The Council’s five founding global payment brands - American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard, and Visa Inc. - have agreed to incorporate the PCI DSS as the technical requirements of each of their data security compliance programs.


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The agenda will promote shared prosperity and well-being for all over the next 15 years.

Mar riott Marriott In vites You to Invites Choose the Cheesecak e Cheesecake of the Season Customer demand is what forms the offered assortment of the Café Parnas menu. Cheesecake is one of the most in-demand desserts both for inside serving and outside catering. For this reason Marriott hotel has decided to find out which is the customer favorite of the cheesecake assortment. “Marriott is a customer-oriented company,” says F&B Director Mariam Zakaraia. “The preferences of our visitors form the core values and the work directions for us.” On 3rd October Parnas Café is inviting everyone to a FREE cheese cake tasting in the Tbilisi Marriott Hotel Guestroom. The one-day-only tasting will last from 14:00 – 17:00PM. Everyone will be offered the chance to taste three kinds of cheesecake (Classic, Pistachio and Chocolate), and asked to vote for their favorite. The results will be announced at the end of the day and the winning cheesecake will be included in the seasonal menu. Tbilisi Marriott Hotel General Manager says: “We are inviting anyone who would like to taste our dessert for free and take part in the decision-making process. The customer is the one who has to choose. We expect lots of people and will be glad to see each of you!” For more information, please contact: or call +995 591 107 898

velopment that recently concluded in Ethiopia. It is expected that it will also positively affect the negotiations on a new meaningful and universal climate agreement in Paris this December. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets are global in nature and universally applicable, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. They are not independent from each other—they need to be implemented in an integrated manner. The SDGs are focused on the areas of critical importance: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. Implementation and success of the Goals will rely on countries’ own sustainable development policies, plans and programmes. The SDGs will be a compass for aligning countries’ plans with their global commitments.

CULTURE TELA VI INTERN ATION AL TELAVI INTERNA TIONAL MUSIC FESTIV AL 2015 FESTIVAL Telavi International Music Festival 2015 will be held from 10 to 18 October with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. Founded in the 1980s by renowned pianist of modern times Eliso Virsaladze, the festival was resumed in 2010 since which time it has been held annually with the support of the Ministry of Culture. This year’s Telavi festival will, as per traditional, host worldclass musicians of different generations. The 2015 festival is dedicated to the greatest pianist of the 20 th century, Sviatoslav Richter, marking his 100th anniversary. Seven concerts will be performed from 10 to 18 October, including three concerts with symphony orchestras and two concerts of chamber music. Opera and piano evenings will also be held. The festival offers its listeners a diverse program that includes masterpieces of world classical music as well as modern and Georgian professional music. It is worth noting that two Georgian ensembles – the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra Georgian Sinfonietta - will take part in the 2015 festival. The 2015 festival is to be distinguished for its composition of brilliant soloists: Eliso Virsaladze, Wen-Sinn Yang, Andrey Baranov, Iano Tamar, Vittorio Vitelli, David Oistrakh String Quartet, Eduard Brunner, conductors Zaza Azmaiparashvili and Ariel Zuckermann. It is precisely the performers of this scale that make Telavi Festival an outstanding event and ensures its special place in Georgia’s cultural life. In parallel to the concerts, piano and violin masterclasses will be conducted, thereby providing young musicians and teachers with an opportunity to gain very important experience. Tickets may be purchased at the box offices of the Tbilisi State Conservatoire and Vazha Pshavela Drama Theater in Telavi, or online through the website: The organizer of the festival is the Center for Protection, Development and Popularization of Classical Music. Supporters: Telavi City Hall, Aleksandre Chavchavadze House Museum in Tsinandali, Hotel Zuzumbo, Badagoni Wine Company. TELAVI INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL 2015 PROGRAM 10 October - 18.00 Opening Concert Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra Georgian Sinfonietta Conductor - Ariel Zuckermann Soloists: Andrey Baranov, Eduard Brunner, WenSinn Yang Diana Metreveli, Mariam Makarashvili, Giorgi Giguashvili, Aleksander mishvelashvili Program: Eugen d’Albert - Cello Concerto in C major, Op. 20 Kakha Tsabadze - Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra with drums (premiere) Pyotr Tchaikovsky - Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 11 October - 19.00 Piano Recital Eliso Virsaladze 13 October - 19.00 Opera Evening Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor – Zaza Azmaiparashvili Soloists: Iano Tamar – soprano Vittorio Vitelli – baritone Program: I 1. Richard Wagner – “Die Meistersinger

von Nürnberg” – Overture 2. Giuseppe Verdi - “Macbeth”- aria of Lady Macbeth 3. Giuseppe Verdi - “Macbeth”- aria of Macbeth 4. Giuseppe Verdi – “Aida” - aria of Aida 5. Giuseppe Verdi – “Aida” – duet of Aida and Amonasro 6. Giuseppe Verdi - “Rigoletto” - aria of Rigoletto II 7. Ruggero Leoncavallo - “Pagliacci” Intermezzo 8. Umberto Giordano - “Andrea Chénier” - aria of Gérard 9. Umberto Giordano - “Andrea Chénier” – aria of Maddalena 10. Francesco Cilea – Adriana Lecouvreur – Intermezzo 11. Francesco Cilea - “Adriana Lecouvreur” – aria of Adriana 12. Giuseppe Verdi – “Otello” – aria of Iago 13. Giuseppe Verdi - “Il Trovatore” duet of Leonora and Conte di Luna 14 October - 19.00 Chamber Music Concert David Oistrakh String Quartet (Andrey Baranov, Rodion Petrov, Fedor Belugin, Alexey Zhilin), Giorgi Zagareli, Fedor Amosov Program: Edvard Grieg - String Quartet in G minor, Opus 27 Niccolo Paganini - Caprices 17, 20 and 24 (transcription for a string quartet by Fedor Belugin) Pyotr Tchaikovsky - String Sextet in D minor “Souvenir de Florence”, Op. 70 15 October - 16.00 Chamber Music Concert in Tsinandali Eliso Virsaladze, Eduard Brunner David Oistrakh String Quartet (Andrey Baranov, Rodion Petrov, Fedor Belugin, Alexey Zhilin) Program: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Quartet in G minor K 478 Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet in A major KV 581 17 October - 19.00 Chamber Music Concert Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra Georgian Sinfonietta Eduard Brunner, Khatuna Turmanidze Diana Metreveli, Mariam Makarashvili, Giorgi Giguashvili, Aleksander Mishvelashvili Program: Sulkhan Tsintsadze – Music for a Chamber Orchestra Wojciech Kilar – Orawa Witold Lutos³awski - Concerto for clarinet, harp and string orchestra with drums 18 October - 18.00 Closing Concert Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor - Ariel Zuckermann Soloist: Eliso Virsaladze Program: Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 Maurice Ravel - Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major, Op. 82




CIPDD Inno vati ve Method of Innov tiv Drinking Water ffor or Villa ge Ola ver di illag Olav erdi Caucasus Institute for Peace Democracy and Development introduced an innovative method of drinking water supply in village Olaverdi. The village is located 2,000 meters above sea level, near the mountain Abuli with 100 households. Olaverdi, despite being rich of water resources still lacks of drinking water. A large part of the population (about 80%) is left without drinking water. As a result, the local people and mostly women are forced to take water by hand or transport to their houses. Water has only the residents living in the houses nearby the waters resources individually with pipes put in the water. The problem was water supply system. In 2011-2014 with the help of village program, 45 119 Gel was spent on drinking water rehabilitation. The village purchased electro pump, changed water pipelines. Villagers tried to solve the problem with the working of water pumping electro engine. However, the residents could not pay monthly fee of electricity about 2500 Gel and were forced to switch off the electro pump. CIPDD with a joint initiative of the village community managed to solve the problems of so many years. CIPDD decided to buy Soso Narchemashvili invented water pump Irekson. The device works without electricity and any energy sources. At this moment the pump is working in test mode and according to the power regulation provides tank with 120-180 tons of water for 24 hours. A non-governmental organization Caucasus Institute for Peace Democracy and Development has been implementing “Local initiatives for local develop-

ment” project financed by German Brot für die Welt since 2014. The project included Tbilisi and four Georgian regions Kvemo Kartli, Adjara, SamtskheJavakheti, Shida Kartli. It aims to pro-

mote the development of those regions; to help the population in poverty reduction, community mobilization and carrying out the certain measures to solve the identified problems.

Sta te Ballet en P ointe State Pointe for 164th Season The Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theatre will hold the opening performance of its 164th season at the Tbilisi Concert Hall on Friday, 9th October at 20:00. Prima Ballerina and Artistic Director Nina Ananiashvili will be performing at the event. The Ballet Company will introduce two one-act ballet premieres: “Symphony in C” (by George

Balanchine) and “Le Spectre de la Rose” (by Mikhail Fokin). The program also includes Balanchine’s “Serenade”. The gala will be accompanied by the Orchestra of the Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theatre. Conductor: Davit Mukeria. Tickets are available at the Tbilisi Concert Hall’s box office and on the website

Prima Ballerina Nina Ananiashvili warming up. SOURCE:

Emm ys 2015: Histor y is Made Emmys History By Beqa Kirtava “So many shows! And so little time! I’m just one man; how can I possibly keep up?” complained this year’s Emmy host, SNL alumnus, Andy Samberg in his opening number, before locking himself up for a year to not miss out on a single program. While the array of television series may be too gigantic for a single person to handle, many of us have that special talent of watching 40 hours’ worth of episodes in one night and those people will definitely agree that there’s not a night more important in the world than the Primetime Emmy Awards, where the year’s biggest and boldest small screen masterpieces are celebrated. The 67th Primetime Emmy awards, which was held on September 20, 2015 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, included a truly remarkable historical moment – Viola Davis became the first woman of color to win the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for her portrayal of Annelise Keating in the ABC series – “How to Get Away with Murder”. “The only thing that separates women of color

Viola Davis at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards/© Getty Images

from anyone else is simply opportunity,” said Davis, during her acceptance speech. “So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people — people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.” The list of winners also includes Jon Hamm as the best leading actor in a

drama series, Jeffrey Tambor as the best leading actor in a comedy series and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the best leading actress in a comedy series. As for the shows, the triumphant in the comedy category turned out be HBO’s “Veep”, while the world-famous “Game of Thrones” was named as the Outstanding Drama Series, setting a new record with 11 additional wins. Moving on to the ceremony itself, the 2015 edition of the ceremony didn’t impress with the ratings, as the number of viewers fell by a significant 20% compared to last year’s show. However, Andy Samberg’s hosting received mostly positive reviews from the critics. Robert Bianco of USA Today gave the comedian a thumbs up, saying that he “did just fine”. AP also praised the host, while Entertainment Weekly gave the ceremony a solid B+ with Melissa Maerz writing: “Okay, take a deep breath and say it out loud: That was actually kind of good.” For the full list of winners go to and of course, don’t forget to tell us who YOU wanted to win in the comments section of our Facebook page.


Tbilisi Hosting Inter na tional Interna national Photo F esti val Festi estiv



Politics in the P atter ns: Pa tterns: Geor gian Historical Textile Georgian Resur esurrrected

By Tatia Megeneishvili

By Tatia Megeneishvili

The annual international photo festival will be launched in Tbilisi on September 25. The capital city will be hosting the event for the sixth time. The Organizers estimate the event as the most provocative and divers. World War II was chosen as the main topic of the event to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the conflict. Besides, the exhibitions will also portray a range of other topics and themes such are social issues and women’s influence on photography. Besides the feature exhibitions, during the festival will be held discussion on the images and subjects that focus on ground-breaking ways on telling and perceiving stories. On September 26, Tbilisi Night of Photography will display some images from around the world on large screens in Old Tbilisi streets along the Abanotubani and Gudiashvili Square. A photo report on the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe will be presented by DYSTURB, a group of French photo journalists at Frontline Club Georgia, where also will be held discussion on the Photo journalism. Magnum reporter Alex Majoli will exhibit his works from “both sides of the frontline” of the 2008 Russia-Georgia War. Another Magnum reporter Antoine D’Agata, will present an outdoor exposition of photographs of Tbilisi stripdancers in a project titled Eclipse.

Georgian historical garments and ornaments were brought to life after two years of careful creation by local artists who were recreating fashion history from 11th through 18th centuries. Art Palace director Giorgi Kalandia said that swathes of history can be seen in the garments. “If you take a good look at the way garments change through the centuries, you will see the influence of every era on it. You can see even politics on the patterns. Here there are parts of Byzantine, Mongolia, Turkey, Persia and more. However, the main theme was always national,” stated Kalandia. According to Kalandia, the garments were restored by imitating the colors and patterns of ancient garb and transferring them onto material used in the modern world. According to textile artist Ekaterine

According to organizers, this year the event that has attracted participants and visitors from Asia, the

Middle East and Europe. The 2015 Tbilisi Photo Festival will continue till the October 1.

THEATRE GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93

Premiere Nikolay Gogol Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari

Directed by Roland Rába Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 15, 20 Lari Venue: Kote Marjanishvili State DramaTheatre

Scodelario, Will Poulter Genre: Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 17:20, 22:30 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari

September 25 AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari

TBILISI INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THEATRE Address: 8 Marjanishvili st. Telephone: 5 322955966

September 30 MAXIM GORKY The Lower Depths Directed by Oskaras Koršunovas Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 15, 20 Lari Venue: Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre

EVEREST Directed by Baltasar Kormákur Cast: Jason Clarke, Ang Phula Sherpa, Thomas M. Wright Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 12:15, 17:10, 19:50, 22:30 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari

October 1 ON THE DESPERATE EDGE OF NOW Directed by Kari Hoaas Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 20 Lari Venue: Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre

OOOPS! NOAH IS GONE... Directed by Toby Genkel, Sean McCormack Cast: Dermot Magennis, Callum Maloney, Tara Flynn Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 12:30, 15:00, 17:20 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari

Geguchadze, the working group of artists have researched various archives and taken part in nationwide expeditions to uncover necessary historical material to allow them to recreate the traditional patterns. “The working process was unique and very interesting. We visited almost every single church in the country, studied mostly frescos and only after that started the re-creation process. I had a chance to have close contact with the past and felt it,” said Geguchadze. Acceding to Kalandia, among restored garments are copies of the clothes worn by historical figures including Queen Tamar and King George IV, as well as those worn by members of the Jakeli, Dadiani and Gurieli noble families. According to Kalandia, at the moment approximately 50 items have been completed and over 500 more will be finished soon. The restored garments will be exhibited in the Art Palace, in Tbilisi.


September 26 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari September 27 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 September 25, 26, 27 IGI (HE) Jemal Karchkhadze Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Composer: Sandro Nikoladze Choreographers: Giorgi Gongadze and Lasha Robakidze Scenography: Anuka Murvanidze Dolls: Irakli Khoshtaria Start time: 20:30 Ticket price: From15 Lari

September 25 GILGAMESH Composer: Tomasz Krzyzanowski International Projects Coordinator Dorota Szczepanek Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 10, 20 Lari Venue: Royal District Theatre September 25, 26 THE CITY Amit Ulman, Omer Havron, Omer Mor Directed by Omer Mor Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 25, 35 Lari Venue: Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre September 26 FATHERLESSNESS Anton Chekhov Directed by Vladimir Smirnov Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20, 35 Lari Venue: Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre

GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36

September 28 NUMB Choreographer and Set Designer: Thea Sosani Technical Director: George Sosani Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 5, 10, 20, 35 Lari Venue: Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre



CINEMA AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 299 99 55 THE INTERN Directed by Nancy Meyers Cast: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo Genre: Comedy Language: English Start time: 20:00 Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 14:40, 17:20, 22:40 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari

GALLERY TBILISI PHOTO FESTIVAL September 25 OPENING OF TBILISI PHOTO FESTIVAL 2015 Post War Stories by Claudia Heinermann, Michal Iwanowski and Indre Serpytyte Curated by Ieva Meilute-Svinkuniene Opening: 18:00 Venue: Abanotubani/Bath District

THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED Directed by Camille Delamarre Cast: Ed Skrein, Loan Chabanol, Ray Stevenson Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 15:00 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari

September 26 #DYSTURB-ING TBILISI PHOTO FESTIVAL 2015 By Pierre Terdjman, Benjamin Girette and Capucine Granier-Deferre Public talk/Slideshow Opening: 17:00 Venue: Frontline Club Georgia/ 62 L. Asatiani Street (Sololaki)

MAZE RUNNER: The Scorch Trials Directed by Wes Ball Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya

Visit of #DYSTURB-ed places in Old Tbilisi Opening: 18:30

Band The Jetbird to perform on opening of Night of Photography Concert / Shardin Square Opening: 19:00 Night of Photography (in Old Tbilisi) Screens at Meidan, Shardin Square, Erekle II str, Bambis Rigi, Kote Abkhazi Str. 49 (previously known as Leselidze Str), Gudiashvili Square Opening: 20:00 September 27 BOOK DESIGNER TOM MRAZAUSKAS: PHOTOGRAPHS FOR BOOKS Public talk/slideshow Opening: 17:00 Inauguration Opening: 18:30 Photographs for Documents by Vytautas Stanionis Opening: 19:00 At the Top of My Voice. Georgia. 2008-2009 by Alex Majoli (Magnum Photos) Opening: 19:30 Venue: Writers‘ House Georgia, I. Machabeli Str. 13 September 28 ARE WOMEN CHANGING PHOTOGRAPHY? With Justyna Mielnikiewicz (Getty Reportage), Newsha Tavakolian (Magnum Photos), Anka Gujabidze, Rena Effendi (Institut), Nazik Armenakyan (4 Plus), Anahit Hayrapetyan (4 Plus) Moderator: Natalia Antelava (cofounder of CODA STORY) Round table/ Slideshow Venue: Writers‘ House Georgia / I. Machabeli Str. 13 Start time: 19:00 October 1 ECLIPSE BY ANTOINE D’AGATA Outdoor exhibition Venue: Kote Abkhazi Str. 49 (previously known as Leselidze Street) Start time: 19:00

SOCIETY By Tony Hanmer We found some local guys to work on the next stage of our garage project: getting the roof on. Watching the process, its four walls built by my wife’s father and brother-in-law last year, has got me thinking about the number of things that Svans know how to make or do by hand, here in their splendid but sometimes challenging isolation. They were making four armature sets to go between the tops of the walls and the bottom of the roof, one per wall, square in cross-section. The materials were steel rebar and wire; but first they had to make a couple of little factories to assemble these pieces. One was a set of nails in a thick piece of wood, for bending thick wire into squares the size of the cross-section; eighty of these squares were needed. Then, for each armature, four lengths of rebar, separated by the wire squares and joined to them by thinner wire. This assembly factory they built from... nothing, scraps of wood really, fixed to the back fence. The way these two men worked, quickly and without a fuss, showed me that they knew exactly what they were doing, likely from years or decades of experience. Knowledge as esoteric and foreign to me as magic, really (though I’m sure I know things that they don’t). They also sawed and hammered more scrap wood into some intriguing corner-triangle shapes, the function of which I would never have been able to guess at. These were parts of the scaf-


Made in Svaneti

fold which must surround the garage. Each was held to part of a wall by a diagonal beam which they dug into the ground; beam, triangle and wall were not fixed to each other at all, merely held in place by gravity. They then nailed some planks horizontally into place on which to walk. Rebar armatures hoisted into place, they next had to nail more sets of planks together outside and inside the walls. These functioned as the moulds into which they would pour the concrete. Only then were they ready to mix the stuff, haul it up bucket by bucket, and pour it in, covering the armatures and acting as a “belt” of strength and sup-

port for the coming roof. Now, we wait for two more of the many sunny days with which September has graced us, and then they’ll be back to assemble the roof and haul it into place, section by section. I’m sure that this too will give me its own set of further revelations about how clever Svans are with their hands and eyes. Follows a list of other things made or used up here. The unique Svan hat, a skull cap made of thick sheep’s wool felt which may be black, white, gray or brown. And the wooden mould on which it is shaped. (They’re starting to experiment with ladies’ hats too, these being larger,

brimmed and much more colorful.) Screens for sifting river-sand to a consistency useful in cement-making. The main thing recycled for these is an old steel bed-frame with its diagonal “spring set” which I otherwise find useless in its original purpose. Much better as a sand sieve than as a thing to try to sleep on! Drill bits from nails. Doors and window frames from wood. All of the former, huge and thick, we knocked out of the house and replaced with modern double-glazed ones, as they were starting to get worm-eaten after ten years of abandonment before we bought the house. They have starred in some of the above construction details, however. The latter are marvels of multi-piece joinery, which I’m told would fetch pretty prices as handmade doors in a place like America, languishing in nostalgia and too rich for its own good. Sleds (with or without wheels), from naturally wind-bent logs of the right shape, for oxen to haul wood or hay on year-round. The wheel arrived here late,


it seems, but progress was not delayed by this. The towers themselves, the towers... so tall and straight, with walls so thick and foundations so deep that one can only marvel: A thousand years ago or more? With no electricity or heavy machinery such as cranes to haul those huge stones into place? The mortar too, lasting all this time? The massively heavy slate roofs? Every inch a marvel, every one of them, more so in this harsh, longwintered climate. Beehives, from start to finish, each needing to be a precisely engineered wooden box with many parts, a city for many thousands of bees to live in regardless how hot or cold it gets. Millstones for grinding flour, powered by river water, and the whole mill. Less used nowadays as pre-ground flour is much easier to obtain than it used to be. Door locks and gate latches. How do they get these things to work so easily? I stand amazed and frustrated at my own poor efforts in this department. When the going was tough (most of their history), the Svans rose to meet it, literally carving out a life for themselves before modernity came to make life so much easier. Much of what they accomplished they still can. Kudos to them.

Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1200 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:

Caf e Salon 25th F Cafe Frrame – Her e to Impr ess Impress Here

Cafe Salon 25th Frame

By Beqa Kirtava If you have a thing for flavorful dishes, exquisite paintings, breathtaking movies and wonderful music, then we have fantastic news! The brand new Cafe Salon 25th Frame has opened its doors to anyone who wants to taste healthy, organic meals and spend time in a truly serene environment. Managed by filmmakers, Cafe Salon 25th Frame is set to become the epicenter of many cultural gatherings, including film screenings, musical events, art exhibitions and much more. The interior design was specifically created to give a full vintage feel to the place and enable visitors to look through a dazzling array of paintings and knick-knacks. As for the menu, you’ll be able to taste all the cordon bleu dishes of Georgian cuisine as well as some European favorites, alongside the cafe specials: Kalya, kneaded cheese with mint, sandwiches and tender homemade bread. 25th Frame is open every day from 09:00 to 00:00, serves lunch from 09:00 to 14:00 and offers surprisingly customer friendly

prices, which sets it apart from the competition which usually has only overly expensive products to offer. “Through all our years of managing a hotel, our guests were always extremely satisfied with the food we served, its quality and distinctive taste. This is the reason we decided to open a cafe, to offer our flavorful dishes to a broader audience and make sure that each of our guests feels special,” stated Maia Kakhadze, the Chef and General Manager of the 25th Frame, in an exclusive interview with Georgia Today. Located at the heart of Tbilisi City (address: #10 G. Akhvlediani Str.), Cafe Salon 25th Frame consists of a total of two (one large and one small) halls, making it a perfect place for even significantly large gatherings. In such cases, the management will provide the customers with an exclusive menu specifically tailored to their wishes. So, whether you want to relax in a soothing atmosphere with a couple of friends, or organize a huge event, Cafe Salon 25th Frame is waiting with its doors open.




Frida y Night R ugb y Wor ld Cup F ever to Sw ee p Geor gia riday Rugb ugby orld Fe Swee eep Georgia By Alastair Watt Georgians, young and old, Mingrelian and Kakhetian, rugby-savvy and otherwise, will be glued to their television screens on the night of September 25 as Georgia face Argentina in their second Pool C match at the Rugby World Cup in England. The Lelos go into the match second in Pool C, and knowing that a first ever victory against the Pumas would almost certainly secure a spot in the last 8. Argentina pushed reigning champions New Zealand fairly close in their opener on September 20, losing 26-16 having led by a point at half-time. The bookmakers, along with most international rugby experts, are favoring Argentina quite strongly but it’s the South Americans under the most pressure here, and at a venue where Georgia enjoyed very recent success – Kingsholm, Gloucester. It was here that, in front of a capacity crowd, Georgia registered arguably their best ever result with a 17-10 triumph against Tonga in their opening World Cup Pool C clash on September 19. “The greatest moment of my career” was how outstanding captain Mamuka Gorgodze described Georgia’s victory over the Tongans, ranked five places above the Lelos in the world rankings. And among a wealth of excellent performances it was Gorgodze who spearheaded Georgia’s comeback having gone behind to a Kurt Morath penalty in the 9th minute. The Lelos then spurned a straightforward opportunity to level the scores but the normally dependable Merab Kvirikashvili missed a routine penalty attempt. He soon made amends, striking be-

tween the posts in the 19th minute to level the scores at 3-3. A turning point in a tense contest arrived in the 27th minute as, after a spell of concerted Georgian pressure, Gorgodze powered his way over the line to score under the posts. Referee Nigel Owens required video assistance to award the try but the Georgian players’ celebrations were convincing enough to suggest there was no decision to make. Kvirikashvili then dispatched the simplest of conversions to give Georgia a 10-3 lead. Moments before half-time, Tonga thought they had scored a try of their own as Viliami Ma’afu raced over

to touch down but the celebrations were cut short by referee Owens who correctly spotted a forward pass in the build-up. Shortly after half-time Kvirikashvili, who enjoyed a mixed afternoon, missed another penalty but he was soon making up for it with a marauding run through the Tongan defence to lay the foundations for Georgia’s second try. Working the ball from right to left, flanker Giorgi Tkhilaishvili stormed over the line for an excellent Georgian score in the 57th minute, to send the pockets of Georgian fans into delirium in the sun of southwest England. Typical of the topsy-turvy game

Kvirikashvili was having, he then scored the conversion from a tight angle, by some margin his most difficult kick of the day. With a 17-3 lead and little more than 20 minutes remaining, victory was in sight but Georgia had to endure a nervy finale. First, Tongan wing Fetu’u Vainikolo eventually broke through what seemed an imperious Georgian back line after several minutes of attacking pressure, touching down by the corner flag. By the time Morath converted the try, Georgia had been reduced to 14 men as Kvirikiashvili was sin-binned for a misdemeanour in the build-up to the Tongan score.

With eight minutes remaining, Tonga had an extra man with which to secure a tie with a converted try. But it wasn’t to materialise. First, Georgia ought to have put the game out of sight when they were awarded a penalty with five minutes remaining. However, with first-choice kicker Kvirikiashvili side-lined, Lasha Malughuradze stepped up only to hook his attempt wide of target. Nevertheless, the Lelos stood firm, defending heroically to earn a memorable triumph. The scenes at the final whistle were simply euphoric as the Georgian players celebrated along with the few hundred Georgian fans who had made their voices heard all afternoon with their customarily vociferous support. New Zealander head coach Milton Haig, who had been claiming for months that Georgia’s preparations had been of a very high standard, was understandably joyous. “Today was pretty historic for everyone involved in Georgian rugby, and we are very pleased. “This is the best-prepared side ever to leave Georgia, and today we showed that. Fitness-wise, we were able to sustain our defence over 80 minutes, and that allowed us to come away with the win,” said the victorious Georgian head coach. The victory is Georgia’s third ever at a World Cup and puts them in an excellent position to record two victories at the tournament, which was the mission the Lelos set themselves beforehand. However, Argentina, Georgia’s next opponents on September 25 again in Gloucester, won’t be relishing the prospect of facing a confident and courageous side, which might just be starting to dream of the knockout stage.


Me garita Sho ws Geor gia Thr ough F emale Ey es Me,, Mar Marg Shows Georgia hrough Female Eyes By Joseph Larsen Review of Me, Margarita by Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili, published in English in 2015 by Dalkey Archive. Georgia is a patriarchal society, so we’re told. The Georgian family and community is ruled by Mama (“father” in Georgian, ironic to most foreigners) a man’s man with a bushy moustache, barrel chest and swollen stomach. Mama is tough but fair, and his stewardship is what keeps the household and village safe and calm during the storm. Mama is the backbone of Georgia. So we’re told. Mama is tough, most of the time. But standing behind – and sometimes in front of – Mama is Deda (“mother”) who is just as tough, more resourceful, and probably more instrumental in holding the home, community and country together. There’s Mama with his bold words and sound and fury, then there’s Deda with her calm strength and innate sense of responsibility. Georgia’s story is usually told with male voices. It is written by male writers and features mostly male characters. It’s like stories told in most of the world. But in Me, Margarita, Georgian author Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili has created a different narrative. Her Georgia is a story about women. Me, Margarita is a book of short stories chronicling the experience of being a woman in Georgia. Each of the book’s 22 chapters features a female protagonist (or group of them) enjoying the raptures of love, sex, friendship and motherhood. They also feel the pain of disappointment, loneliness, alcoholism and suicide. This book is bleak. But the tears are softened by black humor, like in this excerpt from An Insignificant Story of a

Failed Suicide: “She ruled out the idea of hanging herself. She couldn’t possibly climb a tree to do it … The truth is she could barely climb the stairs. Never mind hanging herself, she’d never even managed to hang a picture.” Even the book’s most tragic moments occur without these women feeling self pity. In Nina, a story told by the critical voice of the titular character’s only friend, Nina is an ageing former debutante. She’s tired, drunk, and eventually discarded by a lover “who likes young women.” The decision she takes to end her life isn’t a display of strength, but it is carried out with wilful dignity. Me, Margarita is not a linear historical narrative. It tells Georgia’s story in fragments; a series of character studies where time, place and voice are often unclear to the reader. There are direct references to historical periods, however, such as in the first story, Me Margarita. The narrative begins in 1871 and charts the lives of a line of mothers and daughters stretching all the way to the 1990s. Later, we spend time in an apartment which withstood Tsarism and war, and later changed hands during Stalin’s collectivization drive during the early 1930s. Fast forward to 2004, and we’re given the chance to see Georgia through foreign eyes. The protagonist, whose name and country of origin are never provided, has this to say about the country: “In this country, no matter who you ask, everyone says that everything will be alright and wishes will all come true … There are constant wars, or elections, they curse politicians the whole time, beggars are always running in the streets … It’s totally depressing, but still they are always happy.” This excerpt will resonate with anyone who has experienced Georgia as an

outsider. It’s also an example of Kordzaia-Samadashvili’s bittersweet tone. Life is hard, and everyone wants something better than what they have. But in these stories, a stubborn optimism grows out of the gloom. This is a book that breaks many taboos. Lesbian love and sex are treated as natural and acceptable. Drunkenness, lewd language and wanton sexuality are feminine behaviors. The book also contains an essay titled When A Parrot Flies Over You, offering the author’s views on love and sexuality. According to her, Georgia’s main contemporary problem is that the sexual revolution of the 1960s passed it by. Male characters also make an appearance in Me Margarita. And they aren’t villains. But the men usually aren’t present when the story begins, and they certainly aren’t there when it ends. They invariably lack strength. Notably, we rarely read dialogue spoken by a male figure. They often play key roles: father, husband, lover (usually absent or unreliable, in any case). But they rarely speak. They are merely spoken of. The greatest achievement of Me, Margarita may be that it succeeds in being feminist without being snarky or caustic. This is not a polemic. It’s arguably not even social criticism. These women aren’t heroes. They’re people. Plainly. This is a complex collection that not everyone will enjoy. The deadpan writing style won’t appeal to all readers, and the grim subject matter is difficult to stomach at times. But it is powerful, relevant and unique. Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili doesn’t just tell Georgia’s story using female voices. She does so compellingly. If you plan to read a book by a Georgian author this year, Me, Margarita should be near the top of your list.

GENERAL MANAGER - George Sharashidze BUSINESS MANAGER - Iva Merabishvili

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF - Katie Ruth Davies COPY EDITOR - Alastair Watt JOURNALISTS: Alastair Watt, Tony Hanmer, Tamar Svanidze, Joseph Alexander Smith, Zviad Adzinbaia, Joseph Larsen, Beqa Kirtava, Meri Taliashvili, Eka Karsaulidze, Baia Dzagnidze, Zaza Jgharkava, Teona Surmava, Ana Lomtadze, Maka Bibilashvili, Nino Melikishvili, Nina Ioseliani, Tatia Megeneishvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Nino Gegidze, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Nino Japarashvili, Maka Lomadze, George Abashvili PHOTOGRAPHER: Zviad Nikolaishvili TECHNICAL SUPPORT: Misha Mchedlishvili CIRCULATION MANAGERS: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #785  

Sep. 25 - Oct. 1, 2015

Issue #785  

Sep. 25 - Oct. 1, 2015