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Issue no: 1095

• OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Ex-PM: If Marijuana Cultivation Is Dangerous, We Will Not Do It

NEWS PAGE 2

Stay off Trump’s Radar: Lincoln Mitchell on Georgian Politics

FOCUS

ON THE NEXT PRESIDENT This weekend will reveal all

POLITICS PAGE 6

Tbilisi Signs Cooperation Agreement with Yan’an, China

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BUSINESS PAGE 8

Portrait of Georgian King Teimuraz II Comes Home BY THEA MORRISON

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he portrait of Georgian King Teimuraz II, painted by Aleksandr Antropov (1716-1795), one of the most notable of the Imperial Court’s portrait artists, has been returned to Georgia after 257 years and is now being exhibited at the Art Palace museum. Created in 1761 at the Russian Imperial court, the portrait was returned to Georgia with the help of Bidzina Ivanishvili, Chairman of the Georgian Dream party and Cartu Fund. A gravure painting of the Georgian king was created during the same period in Russia, and was considered the King’s earliest artistic representation still preserved to this day, until the discovery of the painting. Experts of the Art Palace led negotiations with the 1Sstibs Gallery for the purchase of the portrait and Cartu Fund bought the portrait at the price of $38,400. The portrait is a part of the Royal Family and Collection of the Bagrationi Dynasty. The painting underwent primary inspection and restoration in Georgia, which fully confirmed all the conclusions conveyed by the foreign experts.

European Gudauri during the Soviet Union: History of the Resort & Marco Polo Hotel Gudauri

BIOGRAPHY OF THE KING Teimuraz II of the Bagrationi Dynasty was the King of Kakheti, eastern Georgia, from 1732 to 1744, then of Kartli from 1744 until his death. Teimuraz was also a lyric poet. He was a son of Erekle I. Together with his mother, Teimuraz ruled as regent for his absent brother David II, from 1709 to 1715. In 1732, the Turks killed the next king and Teimuraz’s other brother, Constantine, and took control of his kingdom. Teimuraz fled to the mountains of Pshavi and fought the occupants from there. After Kakheti fell under the nominal government of Teimuraz's Muslim nephew Ali Mirza in 1735, Teimuraz escaped to the mountains of Kakheti and fomented unrest against the Persian rule, but he was captured in 1736. In 1738, the shah had to release Teimuraz to counter the Georgian rebellious opposition, and made him Governor of Kakheti. For his service against the Ottomans and an anti-Persian revolt, in 1744, Teimuraz was confirmed by the Shah as King of Kartli, and his son Erekle was given a Kakhetian crown. They were recognized as Christian kings for the first time since 1632. Like several previous Georgian rulers, Teimuraz thought that the expanding Russian empire would be the only protector for Christians of the Caucasus against the Ottoman and Persian aggressions. He sent an embassy to St Peters-

SOCIETY PAGE 12

Popular Classic Keto & Kote to Premiere at Tbilisi Opera Theater burg in 1752, but without success. In 1760, he visited the Russian court himself to gain support for his project of a Georgian expedition to Persia, in order to put a Russian candidate on the Shah’s throne. During this period, Antropov painted his portrait. In total, there have been only 15 paintings found by the Russian artist and all of them are considered masterpieces. Teimuraz died suddenly in the Russian capital on January 8, 1762, and was buried next to his father-in-law Vakhtang VI in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Astrakhan.

CULTURE PAGE 15


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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

40 New Public Safety Officers Join the Ranks

Ex-PM: If Marijuana Cultivation Is Dangerous, We Will Not Do It BY THEA MORRISON

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Photo: Ministry of Internal Affairs

BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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orty new public safety officers took their service oaths yesterday at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The swearing ceremony was attended by Deputy Interior Ministers of Georgia, Kakha Sabanadze, and Nino Javakhadze. The Deputy Ministers congratulated the law enforcement officers and wished them success. The newly-appointed officers were selected for examination, testing, interviewing and physical training. They will undergo a special training course at the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the next five months, after which they will be distributed in different areas of Tbilisi and will start their activities. 60 law enforcement officers were selected in the first stage, have already

completed the full course of retraining, and will soon appear in Tbilisi streets. The Public Safety Office is oriented on implementing measures to prevent crime. The Office is a model of modern police activities, primarily community-oriented approaches. The scope of work of the Public Safety Office includes responses to juveniles, domestic violence, neighborhood disputes, illegal migration, and problems and challenges related to vulnerable groups. It is also responsible for planning and implementing crime prevention measures, collecting information, systematization and primary processing, administrative offenses, responses to the offense, etc. The Public Safety Office has been introduced in the Reform and System Renewal Process of the Ministry of Internal Affairs since the goal of the Ministry is to switch from traditional police activities to community-oriented police approaches, and gradually replace a reaction mentality with a proactive mentality.

idzina Ivanishvili, the founder and Chair of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and the Prime Minister of the country in 2012-2013, says the discussion on the bill of production and export of marijuana for cosmetic and medical purposes will continue but if it is proven to be really dangerous, the bill will not be adopted. “The draft bill that was submitted to Parliament includes the production of marijuana for medical and cosmetic purposes and does not envisage the consumption of marijuana. We saw the reaction of society, the reaction of the Patriarchate and we suspended this bill,” he told journalists on Tuesday night. The ex-PM says that the only reason for considering the issue is the huge amount of income it could bring the country. “The charm of production and the reason for drafting it is a very big profit, which is interesting for me - more than 500%- and there are real calculations that a million dollars worth of product can be exported in one, two or three years,” he said. Ivanishvili also said that the United States, England, Israel, Greece and Italy produce marijuana for medicinal and cosmetic purposes and export it. “The discussion will continue, including with the Patriarchate, and if we are

persuaded that this is dangerous, our team has never gone against society and it will not do so in future,” he said. In mid-September, the government announced that they plan to legalize marijuana cultivation only for export purposes for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. The draft was prepared and presented to the cabinet members by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). According to the draft, marijuana production would be announced as a licensed activity. According to the bill, the licensing

conditions would define the geographical area, quantity and other issues related to marijuana production in Georgia. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Giorgi Gakharia, stated a special agency would be set up for licensing marijuana cultivation. After the Church voiced its harsh position and criticized the initiative, Georgia’s Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze, announced that discussions over the issue in the legislative body would be postponed, in order to launch wider consultations.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

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GD-Supported Presidential Candidate Accuses Media of "Stirring Ethnic Hatred" BY THEA MORRISON

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ndependent presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili, who is supported by the ruling party Georgian Dream (GD), accused media of “stirring ethnic hatred” during her debates with the other presidential candidates on Wednesday night. Zurabishvili stated that the media quoted “false statements” regarding her comment on ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s granting Georgian citizenship to Turkish people. “The ones who disseminate false information stir ethnic hatred. This is like playing with fire. Such actions are antiGeorgian,” she stressed. Zurabishvili made a statement of xenophobic content when she was meeting her supporters from Akhaltsikhe, Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda on October 2 and in the negative context mentioned ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s action of granting Georgian citizenship to Turks. "One president whose representative is my opponent granted citizenship to many Turks but not to you,” she addressed the local ethnic Armenian citizens in Ninotsminda. However, now she denies making such statements, adding she only compared procedures of granting citizenship now and in Saakashvili’s times.

“I made such a comparison to underline that now we have different procedures which allow everyone to enjoy the same rights in terms of getting citizenship,” she explained. Zurabishvili says she was brought up in Europe and tolerance is a key priority for her. “All the remarks that were made by me in the densely populated regions or in Tbilisi mentioned this tolerance as one of the values we need to take to Europe because sometimes Europe itself can forget this value,” she added. After Zurabishvili’s comments made on October 2 in Ninotsminda, 15 NGOs released a statement claiming that state officials, election candidates and leaders of various political parties often use hate speech and disseminate intentional xenophobic statements. They added that the statement of the ruling party-supported presidential candidate “proves to be extremely alarming, undermining state interests. The statement also contains the signs of illegal canvassing.” According to the organizations, the Electoral Code of Georgia reads the candidates have the right to present a program for their further activity, however the election program shall not contain propaganda for war or violence, appeal for change or overthrow of the existing state and social order by violence, for violation of the territorial integrity of

Georgia, for national strife and enmity, or for religious or ethnic confrontation. “We consider that the above-mentioned statement of the presidential candidate incites hatred, contradicts the principles

EU & UNDP Release First Findings of Election Media Monitoring

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lection findings were presented at a press conference on 25 October where the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) unveiled the interim reports of the ongoing media monitoring of 2018 Presidential Elections in Georgia. Negative coverage of election candidates is becoming a common trend in the Georgian media. The amount of hate speech has significantly reduced on televisions but remains a challenge for the print press and some of the online editions. Radios are more likely to show signs of political bias in 2018, compared with the election cycles in previous years. "Good and diverse media reporting is critical for voters to make an informed choice during elections. The EU's support to media monitoring reflects our commitment to strengthening democracy in Georgia," said Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia. Munkhtuya Altangerel, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia, stressed the importance of analytical discussion on the electoral programs: “Media monitoring shows that the professional standard of the Georgian media is increasing with

Image source: Getty Images

each election. However, we still look forward to seeing in-depth analysis of the electoral programs that would help Georgian voters in casting their votes,” she said. The 2018 election media monitoring was kicked off on 18 June and will continue until the immediate aftermath of the elections, covering 37 TV, radio, print and online national media outlets. Its interim reports refer to the period of 18 June – 15 October and capture all major trends in election coverage. The final reports will be released in December 2018. Media monitoring is carried out by the three Georgian civil society organizations – Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, Internews – Georgia, and the Civic Development Institute (CDI). The EU and UNDP have been supporting media monitoring in Georgia since 2010, aiming to promote media diversity and build the watchdog functions of civil society, especially at the time of elections. Since the launch of the first media monitoring rounds, this initiative has contributed to media research during the six major elections in Georgia in 2010 – 2017. The media monitoring reports are available online at: www.mediamonitor.ge

of liberal democracy and equality, invokes historic conflict in the modern Georgian political reality and employs all of it against political opponents,” the NGOs claimed.

The non-governmental sector noted that in order to ensure a healthy preelection environment, campaigns should be based on the protection of human rights, equality, and principles of integrity.

The Human Experiment

The Lugar Lab, Tbilisi. Image source: timesofisrael.com

OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA

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he closer the presidential elections are getting to the finish line, the more the Kremlin increases its propaganda attacks on Georgia. First, it decided to use the former Security Head who has long fled Georgia, Igor Giorgadze, the latter accusing Tbilisi and its strategic partner the USA of the production of biological weapons. His statement was followed by a special briefing of the Russian Ministry of Defense, which was completely dedicated to discussions about the Tbilisi-based Lugar Laboratory and the alleged secret experiments conducted there. Moreover, quite recently the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Giorgi Karasin went straight to threats and demanded the restoration of diplomatic relations with Russia, saying that otherwise an economic embargo and other measures could follow. The Kremlin has not explained what the “other measures” could be, but Tbilisi thinks it could even mean a military intervention, which could also be connected with the upcoming presidential elections. Since the Kremlin got into the “Novichok” and “Skripal poisoning” scandal, Russia has been rais-

ing the issue of US-funded biological laboratories in the former Soviet countries and their secret experiments, among these the Lugar Laboratory of Tbilisi. Being a “third level” laboratory, it conducts experiments on humans. As evidence for this Georgian-American conspiracy, the Russians published “secret letters” between the local Ministry of Health and the US Embassy. Although the data did not reveal anything that would indicate any sort of violation of international norms, the fact that the diplomatic correspondence of the two countries was published in foreign media and that it has been used as an argument by the Kremlin to aim its accusations on Georgia, and start executing a strategy of action, is outrageous. The Chairman of the Atlantic Council of Georgia, Vasil Sikharulidze, thinks that the aim of Russia’s latest disinformation campaign is to move the spotlight: “The actions taken by Russia on the territories of other states, like poisoning people, can’t be called anything other than terrorism. Perhaps this is what Russia wants to overshadow. The propaganda based on a the delusional rave about the Lugar Laboratory is part of this and, on the one hand, it is aimed at overshadowing Russia’s crime, and on the other, to trigger doubt in at least a minority of international society,” Sikharulidze told media platform Netgazeti. Continued on page 4


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

An Eye for an Eye OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

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hat we see in the title has been the nitty-gritty of Georgian political life in the last 30 years. Throughout the entire postsocialist period, the Georgian politicians of every generation have sought to eat each other alive. The chewing process continues persistently in the strongest tradition of our new political reality. Politicking in this country is the showground where universal Shakespearian hatred reigns and where human reciprocal aversion reaches mammoth dimensions. Politicians, both in their innate revulsion and outward belligerency, are prepared to literally spill each other’s blood with cinematographic cool, using their ravenous thirst to overpower the opponent. There is nothing, literally nothing, that can curb their longing to see the enemy belly up and then look down at the sprawling body of the defeated nemesis like sated vultures with rolling eyes. Politicians have turned themselves into the inventors of any filthy canard to let their imaginative truth sell for genuine legitimacy. They stride over the dead bodies of the opposite camp with unfeigned indifference to make even wider steps towards the cherished authoritarian coziness and wealth that is expected to fall down on their vertigo-stricken heads like manna from the sky. Politics here is not a positive inspirational matter directed to the elevated goal of improving human lives, but an unbridled passion for reaching the levers that rule the country. The opportunity to grab the governing helm has become an end in itself. Meanwhile, the electorate, on whose choices the fate of the nation presumably depend, has become a confused mass with no clear idea in which direction to send their votes. Take, for, instance the

Image source: gtmosquito.com

presidential elections due this coming weekend: there are about 20 officially registered candidates competing for the job, but only three of them are frontrunners of the race thus far. The most vibrant feature of the dramatic development is that even the administrative powerlessness of the presiden-

tial position is not enough a rationale to mitigate the fierceness of the struggle, in the process of which the parties are using all kinds of acceptable and unacceptable techniques for their political warfare. The eye-for-an-eye and tooth-for-a-tooth law of

retaliation has become so commonplace in the Georgian electoral arena that any logic beyond such methodology has all but vanished. Mutual annihilation seems to be the best blueprint in the course of rendering one another politically ineffective. And still, democracy seems to be flourishing in Georgia with almost all its attributes in place and in action. Not in the slightest way is our society suffering from an abridgement of freedom of speech or of the press; our citizens fully enjoy the right to a peaceable assembly; we are certainly allowed to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, if any; and no law is expected to be made that might prohibit the free exercise of religion. Isn’t this all what the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America is all about, and of which the generations of our American brothers and sisters have been so proud in the last 227 years? Those western observers and scholars with Georgia’s political scenery under modern microscopes, watching our electoral efforts and shuddering in astonishment to see the occasionally occurring electoral excesses, should also be prepared to recognize that in the minimum of time this former socialist autocratic country has achieved almost unimaginable heights in democratic development. My above description of the situation is merely recognition of the fact that we too, not only the foreign experts, are conscious of how matters political are proceeding on our soil, and that we know exactly who we want to be and where we are stuck right now. We simply need time and a few more chances to become a better player of the game and look a little bit more European, if necessary. And every election helps on the way to finally getting where we sincerely want to be. This particular one must also be contributing amply to Georgia’s social and political perfection. The result is almost at hand.

NDI to Field High-Level Observation Mission for Presidential Election BY SHIRIN MAHDAVI

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n October 24, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) announced that the high-level delegation of shortterm observers has arrived to observe the Georgian presidential election on October 28th. This study will build on NDI’s pre-election assessment mission from July of 2018 and the findings of long-term analysts who have been working since September. Those heading the delegation are as follows: Dame Audrey Glover, former director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR); Per Eklund, former EU Ambassador to Georgia; Laurie S. Fulton, former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark; Kenneth Yalowitz, former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia; Marija Babic, independent electoral expert; Melissa Muscio, NDI program director for Georgia, Turkey, and Central

Asia; and Laura Thornton, NDI global associate and senior resident director in Georgia. This NDI observer mission will be carried out professionally and non-biased as well as in accordance with Georgian law and the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. The NDI will remain in contact with Georgian domestic monitoring groups and other international observer delegations during the electoral period. The study is being supported/sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). And findings will be revealed in a preliminary statement at a press conference on October the 29th.

The Human Experiment Continued from page 3

But what does all of this have to do with the presidential elections? The thing is that so far, the elections for Salome Zourabishvili, the presidential candidate supported by Georgian Dream, aren’t as good as they were expected to be. Her candidacy could be regarded as an international “project” planned between Moscow and Paris and, of course, Ivanishvili, who we shouldn’t forget is still a citizen of France. We shouldn’t forget also the fact that before Zurabishvili became the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Saakashvili’s times, she was the Ambassador of France to Georgia and was in close relationships with the Kremlin working on the issues of Pankisi Gorge as the representative of an OSCE country. The situation is almost the same now, the difference being only in the fact that Pankisi has been replaced by the occupied territories of Georgia. The Kremlin would no doubt prefer to have its

former partner working on these issues. It is exactly this project that could be deteriorated by the will of Georgian voters and media cannon Rustavi 2. Propagandistic attacks from the Russian media are all for the support of said “project.” Discrediting the Lugar Laboratory could be connected to the upcoming elections says Nodar Kharshiladze, the founder of Georgian Strategic Analysis Center (GSAC): “Russians always had an opinion about the Lugar Laboratory and periodically bring this theme to the fore, but if we look at the chronology, this is usually done before the elections in order to threaten us. At this stage, it fits completely into the portfolio of the current governing power, suggesting that if they won’t be in government anymore, Russia could attack us (on the grounds of the Lugar Laboratory). Hence, this issue could be used by Russia as a means to support the political power that is more acceptable for them,” he claims.


POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

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Georgian FM Condemns Russian Aggression at Warsaw Security Summit BY THEA MORRISON

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he challenges facing the region and Georgia due to the Russian aggression against Georgia were the key issue highlighted by the Georgian Foreign Minister, Davit Zalkaliani, at the Warsaw Security Forum (WSF), which he attended along with his Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian counterparts on October 24-25. Zalkaliani brought the attention of the forum participants to the Russian aggression against Georgia in 2008 which is still ongoing 10 years later. The Foreign Minister stressed that by recognizing the independence of Georgia’s two occupied regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia tries to impose a so-called new reality on the international community. “Unfortunately, this occupation continues. We are facing a process of the factual annexation of both Abkhazia and Tskinvali regions and the new narrative the Russian Federation is trying to disseminate among the international community that Georgia is experiencing a different reality, is purely their perspective of what is happening in Georgia,” he said. Zalkaliani stressed that this “reality” cannot be accepted, and the international community should raise its voice against this injustice. In addition, he noted that Russia continues to build up its military bases in Georgia’s occupied territories, posing a threat to the security of the entire

Image source: Georgian MFA

South Caucasus, and in particular, of the Black Sea region. However, the FM underlined that Georgia’s response to the occupation is a peaceful policy and peace initiatives aimed at sharing the benefits of Georgia’s European integration with the population living beyond the occupation line as the main vector for the development of the country. He emphasized that Georgia’s aspiration to the EU and NATO is enshrined in the Constitution of Georgia and is one of the five key priorities of the govern-

ment’s program. “The way of European integration is really a very interesting and helpful process for Georgia. We understand that the Association Agreement signed back in 2014 together with the DCFTA, is not a membership agreement…but this process helps us to strengthen our state institutions and build a vibrant democratic society where human rights are protected, where national minority rights are protected in a country which is fighting corruption,” he said. The Minister underlined Georgia’s

significant progress on this path and said that a differentiated approach to the Eastern Partnership countries is essential for the further development of this format. Speaking at the WSF, Zalkaliani highlighted Georgia’s outstanding role in the diversification of energy sources. According to him, the EU needs to put a greater focus on the region and use all the opportunities offered by Georgia, as well as the Central Asian countries. Established in 2014, the Warsaw Security Forum is a leading conference in

Central and Eastern Europe devoted to issues of international security, military affairs, cyber threats, transatlantic cooperation, as well as challenges and opportunities ahead not only for Poland, but the entire region of Central and Eastern Europe. Each year, the WSF gathers key policymakers, industry leaders, as well as military and civilian experts from around the world in order to discuss events, trends, as well as opportunities and challenges ahead for the Transatlantic Community.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

Stay off Trump’s Radar: Lincoln Mitchell on Georgian Politics EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

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hat the West thinks about Zurabishvili, why Georgia shouldn’t be on Trump’s radar, and what he thinks of his erstwhile employers’ current grasp of the ruling reins in the country: this is the definitive Lincoln Mitchell interview.

WE ARE APPROACHING THE 28 OCTOBER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE SITUATION? The most interesting thing about these elections is that so few people are talking about them; I can't remember an election in Georgia that has generated less interest. There's good reason for that: one, it's not a very powerful job, and second these are no inspiring candidates; so that's I think where we are in general with this election. As for the candidates, what strikes me is that since 2012, the Georgian Dream (GD) party has been cruising to victory with or without much enthusiasm from the electorate but this time one doesn't get the sense it’s going to be so simple because GD are trying to thread a very complicated needle here: nominating somebody who if elected would not have a genuine power base independent of Parliament, independent of the Speaker, independent of Bidzina Ivanishvili who is still the most powerful single individual in Georgia even when he doesn't necessarily hold an official government role or title. They couldn't nominate somebody too charismatic who could really energize the Georgian people, but they needed to nominate somebody they believed could win because they want to control the presidency; so they arrived at Salome Zurabishvili. She’s a reasonably controversial figure inside of Georgia; outside of Georgia she's still pretty well respected. Salome is very good with a Western audience, is very good at speaking at everything from UN settings to academic settings in the West, obviously speaks two important Western languages very well. So, externally, she could actually be a very good face for Georgia while not threatening the real power structures in Georgia.

WOULD IT BE FAIR TO SAY GD DID NOT WANT ANOTHER MARGVELASHVILI SCENARIO? Margvelashvili is not the most dynamic and charismatic politician in the world but he sought to use that office for something other than the GD agenda; I always viewed Giorgi as seeing his role as almost an uber-Ombudsman, knowing he had no real legislative power but that he could draw attention to problems, try to push the country towards greater reforms and greater democratic reforms and it's something that certainly ruffles the feathers

of not just GD but Bidzina in particular.

SO WHY DID GD NOT CHOOSE SOMEONE LESS CONTROVERSIAL? I don't know, but anyone nominated by GD is going to be attacked by Rustavi 2, the UNM’s hit machine; so that's not unusual- they're going to find something on anybody. I know this is considered radical and blasphemous in Georgia, but a lot of what Salome has said about the war is the consensus in academic and policy circles outside of Georgia, other than those kind of ultra-hawkish antiRussia circles. There’s a consensus that Russia was the aggressor in 2008, that Saakashvili mishandled the war. Say that in the West and no-one bats an eyelid but say it in Georgia and you get outrage.

WHAT ZURABISHVILI SAID ALLOCATED BLAME TO THE GEORGIAN SIDE AS WELL AS TO SAAKASHVILI, AS REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COUNTRY IN THAT WAR Language is important here: “blame” is a different word to “mishandle,” which is the word I prefer to use with regards to Saakashvili and the war. But there is an appetite among more centrist people in Europe to see Georgia moving away from this position that Saakashvili fought Putin admirably and was not pulled into a trap by Putin and did not overreact and did what he had to do - there's an appetite in Europe to see more rational leadership from Georgia than we had in the 2008 to 2012 period.

SO, YOU DON'T CONSIDER THIS A PRO-RUSSIAN NARRATIVE AS A RESULT OF RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION? It’s certainly possible, in fact likely, that Zurabishvili is less of an ultra hardliner than Grigol Vashadze or any other contemporary political figure, but that doesn't mean she's pro-Russia. I've said this a million times: this Georgian political dynamic of describing anybody you don't like as pro-Russia is very destructive to the Georgian democracy, political culture and image of the country.

WHAT MAKES GEORGIA'S INTERNATIONAL IMAGE? Many Americans, whether it's at the academic or policy-making level, think about Georgia through the perspective of Russia; that it’s a country under threat from Russia, and that if we want to be tough on Russia, Georgia is a country we should support. But Georgia is beginning to break through as a country that is interesting, as a country you want to go visit to check out the vibrant arts, culture, and cuisine, and that helps people in the West see Georgia as a familiar country like our own.

HOW MUCH IS THE CURRENT PERCEPTION OF GEORGIA IN THE US ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE LATE SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN?

McCain was an enormous advocate for Georgia; I don't know that I can think of a bigger, more visible advocate. However, it needs to be said that the John McCain in the United States is very different from the one you hear about in Georgia. McCain voted against making Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday, McCain voted to put Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas in the Supreme Court, McCain voted for every major Ronald Reagan era economic policy, McCain was caught up in one of the biggest corruption scandals here… It is important to remember that he is also viewed by many [in the US] as a very conservative political figure who sought to move the country backwards and it doesn't always help Georgia to be associated with people like that. John was a strong advocate for Georgia, but he stuck with Saakashvili way too long. He was a complex, although decent, political figure.

DID THAT COMPLEXITY AFFECT THE PERCEPTION OF GEORGIA IN THE US? It wasn’t McCain's complexity but this sense that Georgia had cast its lot with the far right in America; when the new PM came to America and went on a television network that is viewed by most Americans as a mouthpiece for the Trump Administration, which is a very unpopular administration, there came this association that the Georgian government has sought to get with the right wing of American politics, which is a minority. The Republican Party is a minority party in the United States empowered because of the quirks of our election law, not because they have majority support, and that’s dangerous.

AND WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE? GO TO CNN INSTEAD? Yes. CNN, MSN, NBC: they'd be happy to have any Georgian leader come on and attack Putin. They’d have any Georgian leader talk about how bad Putin is, how dangerous Putin is.

BUT TRUMP ACCUSES CNN OF BEING A FAKE NEWS OUTLET. IF THE GEORGIAN PM WERE TO SIT THERE AND SNUB FOX NEWS, WHAT IMPRESSION WOULD THAT MAKE ON THE WHITE HOUSE? If you go on CNN and talk about Georgia and what your country's interests are, how grateful your country is for US support, Donald Trump is not going to have a problem with that. I think you overestimate the absorptive capacity of the US President. He can’t even pronounce Bakhtadze’s last name right, so he’s not even going to remember who he was. I don't think President Trump spends a lot of time on Georgia and I think that's a good thing. There's this sense in Georgia that it has to get on the President's radar: no, you don't- you want to stay off the President's radar and let Pence, Pompeo and Mattis make the Georgia

policy in the Congress and Senate. Don't get Trump involved because he has a different relationship with Moscow.

WE'VE SEEN ARTICLES IN US PRESS, LIKE THAT OF EDWARD LUCE, ALLEGING BEHINDTHE-SCENES GOVERNANCE IN GEORGIA. HOW ARE THESE AFFECTING OUR INTERNATIONAL STANDING? There are continued lobbying efforts being carried out by friends of the former president and in the American media, the UNM is still more influential than GD. Saakashvili is often on TV and CNN, Fox, etc. refer to Ivanishvili as a Russian oligarch and you never hear another side of that story. I don't think it’s a secret to anyone who pays attention to Georgia that Ivanishvili is extremely influential and how much so is a legitimate question to ask because it’s on everyone's mind.

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO CHANGE THE PERCEPTION? [Ivanishvili] has got to learn to let go. When someone calls with a question, he's got to say I'm not taking the call: you make the decision. But I’d be very surprised to see that happen. He really seems to believe that there's only one person who really has the answers and he's afraid that other people will take the country in the wrong direction, but that's what democracy means: making some mistakes.

HIS DETRACTORS OFTEN SAY THAT HE TREATS THE COUNTRY LIKE A PRIVATE COMPANY He's a powerful, wealthy businessman; I think it’s a bit wrong to say that’s how he treats the country, he treats the country like he's an absentee manager, an absentee president who checks in every now and then, and that the Prime Minister functions largely as a Chief-of-Staff with varying degrees of influence and power depending on how engaged Ivanishvili is on any given day. What I urged him to do early on was remain as PM and hire a very strong Chief-of-Staff and feel free to go away for the weekend or on foreign trips but at least have the formal role so everyone knows where the bus stops and everyone knows who holds the actual power. That’s not how it is now.

WHERE DOES THAT PUT GEORGIA ON THE SCALE OF

DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES?

Georgia is a semi democratic country. This government has done a good job of increasing freedom compared to the previous one; of allowing more civil liberties and more civil freedoms. I'm not a spokesperson for the Georgian government; I'm an advocate for democracy, for Georgia; I'm trying to be helpful. I hope people in the government will take this as constructive feedback from somebody who wants balance, who would like to see them succeed. I'm not here to destroy GD: I think they've done many good things for Georgia and I think that as long as the UNM is viewed as the major opposition, then GD is the better option and that's why they keep winning these elections.

HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS THEIR OVERALL PERFORMANCE SO FAR AND WHERE ARE THEY GOING? They’re moving uphill but slowly, not as quickly as they'd like. Georgia is a freer country that it was; Georgia is a more pluralist country than it was; Georgia is closer to being integrated into the West than it was: those are all positives- it's not a fully consolidated democracy and there’s more work to be done and it will take some time; there are still real problems in the economy. Nothing is perfect but it's in a better place than it was; the next 2 - 4 years are going to be critical, as support for GD is weakening.

WHAT CAN GD DO TO TURN THINGS AROUND? Should GD do what its predecessors did which is try to consolidate support, or does it allow itself to lose a few elections? Does it allow other voices to get into government? If that happens, it will be an enormous breakthrough for Georgia. The vexing questions of the economy continue but I don't hold the GD responsible for that; this is a very difficult economy for everybody; jobs are disappearing in the industrial and professional sectors because of automation; capital is being concentrated; low-paying jobs are being sent to even poorer countries; Georgia's agricultural wealth is not what it was when it had the captured market of the Soviet Union, it's very different now, and the tourism market is extremely competitive. So, this is the challenge. I think they’re doing the best they can. But could it be done better? Yes.

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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

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Georgian Post Signs Cooperation TBC Bank Signs Agreement with TBC Bank GEL 103 mln Loan

BY ANA DUMBADZE

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eorgian Post Customers will be able to receive TBC Bank’s products and services at all service centers across Georgia. The general directors of both companies discussed the details of the cooperation on 24 October at a press conference held at Tbilisi Marriott. Within the framework of cooperation, Georgian Post users will have the opportunity to send or receive messages in one place and use TBC Bank and TBC Insurance services and products, as well as to carry out financial transactions in the Georgian Post service centers. The goal of cooperation is to save users time and increase access to postal and bank-

ing services. At the first stage, banking services will be available in several service centers of Georgian Post, and in 2019 the novelty will be gradually implemented in all service centers located in Georgia. “Our decision to cooperate with the banking sector is a policy focused on the customer, where the practice of successful postal operators of other countries is taken into account,” said Levan Chikvaidze, General Director of Georgian Post. “I think cooperation will have many directions, not limited to postal and financial products. Sharing the experience of two leaders in the field in the country is useful for more innovation initiatives. TBC Bank’s team is distinguished by its interesting view of new technologies, and the future plans of Georgian Post are directly related to technological innovations.”

“We are pleased to start cooperation with Georgian Post, the national postal leader, which provides customers with services throughout Georgia. Both companies have a lot in common – we are focused on development, creating comfort for customers and offering innovative services and products in accordance with their needs and interests,” said TBC Bank’s CEO, Vakhtang Butskhrikidze. “Therefore, I am confident that this cooperation will be very successful, and Georgian Post and TBC Bank will jointly be able to offer you many interesting initiatives.” Georgian Post is the largest postal organization in the country, distinguished by its choice of both service and large network of service centers. The Georgian Post is represented by 82 service centers across the country. The aim of the company is to provide high quality services to all citizens of the country and ensure their right to receive postal services anywhere. TBC Bank is the first bank in Georgia with all key parameters. As of June 30, 2018, the total bank assets of TBC Bank constituted 37.1%, loan portfolio – 38.3%, and deposit portfolio – 39.5%. TBC Bank serves retail, micro, small, medium and corporate segment and more than 2.3 million customers. TBC Bank has 7,200 employees across Georgia. The number of bank branches is 152 (including TBC credit). TBC Bank shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange since 2014.

Agreement with FMO

BY ANA DUMBADZE

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n 23 October, TBC Bank Group PLC’s subsidiary, JSC TBC Bank ("TBC Bank"), signed a loan agreement to the amount of GEL 103 million with The Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO). The five-year loan facility will be used primarily to finance young entrepreneurs running micro, small and medium-size enterprises in Georgia, as well as young retail customers requiring mortgage loans. The local currency funding will be obtained by the FMO through a public placement of bonds on the Georgian Stock Exchange. The official ceremony of signing the loan agreement was attended by Mamuka Khazaradze, the Chairman of TBC Bank, Badri Japaridze, Deputy Chairman of TBC Bank, other high-level officials from TBC Bank and FMO, and the representatives of the local media. “Today, we signed a very important agreement with the Netherlands Development Finance Company,” noted Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, CEO of TBC Bank. “The loan facility will be used to finance young Georgian entrepreneurs and to develop the country’s economy. From next year, we will use these financial resources for the economic development of Tbilisi and the regions of Georgia.” He went on to say that TBC Bank is proud to have had a fruitful partnership with FMO for several years already. The CEO of TBC Bank also stressed the importance of the loan agreement and elaborated on the benefits it will bring to the economic development of Georgia: “We are proud to have built such a successful relationship with FMO, TBC Bank’s long-standing partner. We started our partnership in 2006 and during these 12 years, FMO has provided more than $350 million in MSME and mortgage loan financing, as well as local currency and subordinated loans. “Local currency funding is of great importance for the Georgian financial sector as it allows us to supply financing for the increasingly high demand in local currency loans and enables us to further strengthen the Bank’s leading position in the MSME segment. In addition, a public placement of bonds will further support local capital market develop-

ment in Georgia. This transaction reflects both institutions’ commitment to continued cooperation and we look forward to more years of productive partnership,” he added. According to the FMO’s Chief Executive Officer, Peter van Mierlo, this new transaction is important for both sides, as it will enable TBC Bank to reduce inequality and support financial inclusion in Georgia, particularly among young entrepreneurs, as now they will have access to financial services. “This is an important contribution to stimulating job creation in Georgia,” van Mierlo told reporters. FMO’s Chief Executive Officer summarized the company’s collaboration with TBC Bank and noted that this is a very strong relationship based on mutual trust and understanding. Van Mierlo also marked the country’s future prospects to become the regional economic leader and stressed the importance of the role Georgia plays in the global economy. “FMO is proud to continue its longstanding and successful relationship with TBC Bank in Georgia. We have been operating in this country for at least 15 years and we have been actively collaborating with TBC Bank during this time. Being in our industry, it is about trust and the things we want to achieve together. This is my first visit to Georgia and I am highly impressed with this country. This country obviously has a role to play as an economy that is growing into the new world. The ambition of Georgia to be the regional leader is quite remarkable. This region needs a leader. I am from Netherlands and we have always been a small country, but we have also tried to lead some other countries, which are bigger, in the right direction. And I think this is the role that Georgia could play. It is about financial inclusiveness, it is about growing into the global economy, which will be different in the future and as a result, the role of Georgia will become more and more important,” he elaborated. FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing and emerging markets, focusing on three sectors that have high development impact: financial institutions, energy, and agribusiness, and food and water. With an investment portfolio of EUR 9.2 billion, FMO is one of the largest European bilateral private sector development banks.


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

Tbilisi Signs Cooperation Agreement with Yan’an, China BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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n Tuesday, Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi Ilia Eloshvili attended the GeorgiaChina (Yan’an) Investment and Cooperation Seminar at The Biltmore hotel in Tbilisi. The seminar’s theme was bilateral relations between Georgia and China and prospects for future cooperation. Eloshvili addressed the seminar participants with a welcome speech that focused on the importance of further developing friendly relations between the two countries. The sides also evaluated the possibility of increasing trade volume and supporting Chinese investments in Georgia. “I am glad that relations between Georgia and China will become more intense and move to a new stage,” said Eloshvili. “It is important that the parties get to know each other better. Despite the 15-century history of our city, we work every day to start a new life as a green city where more investments are made to encourage new economically and culturally active hubs. Only ecologically clean transportation will be developed; subway and municipal transport. I hope that our cooperation will deepen in the future.” Before the start of the event, Eloshvili met with the Governor of the city of

Image source: Tbilisi City Hall

Yan'an, Su Sinrong. The pair talked about municipal projects in Tbilisi and both expressed hope for closer cooperation and joint projects between Tbilisi and Yan’an. The seminar was attended by representatives of a Chinese government delegation, and representatives of Georgian business, trade, tourism and economics circles. Yan’an is a city in north-central China,

approximately 1,000 kilometers southwest of Beijing. It has a population of 2.1 million – small by Chinese standards. Its most notable feature is that, among Chinese communists, Yan'an is considered the birthplace of the communist revolution, as the city was near the endpoint of the Long March. On Wednesday, a letter of intent was signed between Tbilisi and Yan’an. The document was signed by Deputy Mayor

Eloshvili and General Secretary of the Yan’an Municipal Party Committee Chang Tsang. The signing ceremony was held in the State Silk Museum, referencing China’s history of silk production and Georgia’s place on the historic Silk Road. The letter of intent is meant to ensure the establishment of economic cooperation and friendly relations between the two cities and facilitate exchanges of experience in the fields of culture,

tourism, technology, science and education. Eloshvili noted that the letter will give cities the opportunity to share best practices with each other. "The Yan’an province is truly outstanding,” said Eloshvili. “Chinese statehood was born there. It was also the first point on the Silk Road, on which you could also find Georgia and Tbilisi. Today, we brought our guests to the Silk Museum, which we are planning to rehabilitate. This is a unique treasure we have, and also confirms that Georgia was one of the most important countries, not just as a transit point, but as a manufacturer, on the Silk Road. Today, the cooperation agreement has been signed, starting a new stage of relations with this region.” For his part, Tsang expressed hope that relations between the cities will continue to strengthen and grow closer: “I am very glad that I am here and have discovered the traditions of this ancient city, for which I would like to thank Tbilisi City Hall. The signing of this document is an excellent step towards starting a new relationship between our cities. This will contribute to the deepening of inter-cultural relations between towns.” The event was attended by members of the Chinese government delegation, including the governor of the province of Shaanxi. *Names of Chinese representatives transliterated directly from Georgian

Charles Landry on Creative Bureaucracies

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n October 23, within the International Art Festival GIFT, Tbilisi hosted Charles Landry, British author, speaker and international adviser on the future of creative cities at the Amirani Cinema. “The main thing is to create an enabling and facilitating environment to provide possibilities for people to think afresh; to think with some imagination; to focus on what is distinctive about Georgian culture; to think, is there anything we can turn and use to create added value from what is distinctively Georgian?" he told Entrepreneur Magazine Georgia. Here are some takeaways on his views of creative bureaucracies. “Public bureaucracies across the globe face a converging, escalating crisis and

they have fewer resources to respond to growing needs. Our digitizing world and its disruptive technologies is providing both vast opportunities and threats. There is a massive, urgent task ahead for bureaucracies to help create a fairer more equal world. They need to be more imaginative. A city will fail if part of the system is uncreative. “There is a demand to shift from representative democracy to participative citizenship and democracy. The rise of civic movements is a reflection of this. We are in the midst of redesigning the world and all its systems for 21st century conditions. Its principles should be to bend the market to bigger picture purposes. This needs a bureaucracy that can reclaim a distinctive leadership role but framed in a 21st century con-

text. Increasingly complex problems demand new ways of thinking and problem solving. To make this happen is less about technical innovations and more a shift in culture and social innovation. “There is a reservoir of hidden potential and talent locked up in public bureaucracies. The inability to tap this is wasteful. People can do much more if given the chance. This can unleash their discretionary effort - the desire to do more than you need to. But hardwired approaches constrain what is possible. There is a direct link between the creativity of the bureaucracy and the success of a city. “Our overall aim is to shift things from a ‘no, because’ culture to a ‘yes, if’ culture – one that captures possibilities and potential as behind many great

projects there is a creative bureaucrat. Innovative initiatives and experimental bureaucratic cultures are on the rise across the globe and we describe many. We explore these ideas primarily through the lens of the ‘lived experience’ of bureaucrats. Here we find examples of heroic courage but also of misery. “Creative bureaucrats can, as indi-

viduals, shape cities. But a critical mass can reshape the bureaucratic system itself. Our aim is to trigger a movement of bureaucrats who demand more from their work environments. Some already reflect a generosity of spirit. This civic creativity can help communities bridge divides and find ‘the common’ in our quest to build better places to live.”

Multiplex Investment Group Develops Batumi Historical Center BY ANA DUMBADZE

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he company Coreaxes is carrying out the restoration of a building located in the historical center of Batumi, which is included in the Cultural Heritage List. The project is being implemented by funding allocated by the investment company Multiplex. Konstantine Mkheidze, the head of the Coreaxes project in Batumi, spoke to us about the project. "In 2010, in the historic district of Batumi, at the crossing of Gamsakhurdia and Kostava streets, one of the most remarkable and charming historic buildings was announced for sale. The architectural look and historic value of the building was definitely remarkable and needed to be taken into consideration. The decision to take it on was rather an emotional one on behalf of our investment group, as we wanted to keep this

beautiful building for Batumi. This comes as our contribution to the preservation of the history of our country. Multiplex implements logistical and other activities throughout Georgia. We had never implemented a project related to real estate before this. Our interest in this business is not the construction of large residential complexes, like those you can see abundantly in Batumi, and in other parts of Georgia, but rather the implementation of more exclusive and historically valuable projects. Business directions, as a rule, are determined by the owners. In our case, this vision belongs to the founder of Multiplex, Levan Kacharava. Since buying this building, we have bought others. We developed a project which is now ready for submission to the Batumi Historical Council. Hopefully, the Council will review and approve it. At the same time, negotiations are ongoing with Kinor Investment Fund with regards to cooperation within the framework of this project, which is also important."


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

9

Gender Inequality in the Countryside BY AMY JONES

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ayers of dusky mountains with sheep grazing in the meadows; below, villages with ancient traditions, multicolored lakes surrounded by diverse wildlife, and... gender inequality. An EUfunded report published this October clearly underlines the difficulties for women in rural communities and agriculture. Named “Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in Georgia”, the report was undertaken as part of the project “Capacity Development of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia” with financial support from the Austrian Development Agency and the European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development. “The social status of women in rural areas remains low,” states the report. Gender stereotypes lead many to believe that existing inequalities are natural or at least acceptable, which has a negative effect on many areas of women’s economic and development opportunities. Firstly, women have worsened economic opportunities through the rigid division of gender roles. They are expected to take care of the household and be agricultural helpers (not managers). Girls, therefore, do not receive the same educational investment as their

male counterparts, as their economic returns are perceived to be lower, meaning they have less access to well-paid jobs in the future. Women working in agricultural roles are more likely than men to be unpaid workers, fuelling a significant gender pay gap. On average, women are paid 75% less than men in agriculture, hunting and forestry roles, and 35% less in fisheries. Nearly 60% of self-employed women are non-paid, the report claims. Too often, women are seen as ‘wives of farmers’ whilst men are the ‘farmers’. Women working in agriculture are regularly excluded from communication and mobilization channels, with rural advisory services contacting a small number of male farmers who relay information to other men, not women. Although agriculture is predominantly masculine, the 9-25% of female employees miss out on information, knowledge and agricultural innovation which can hinder economic opportunity. Limited access to ownership of land and other property also “diminishes their empowerment possibilities”. This doesn't just lower the status of women in and outside the family, women who own property are also less likely to suffer from domestic abuse, as they have a way out. In addition, poor infrastructure and housing fuel gender inequality, in part due to the expectation of women to perform household chores. A lack of mod-

ern appliances means that simple tasks can take a long time. Transportation is also often difficult and slow. Women then have less time to learn and perform tasks that could earn money. Gender inequality not only negatively affects women living in rural communities. The pressure put on men to be the

breadwinners and providers for the family can lead to increased frustration and mental health problems. They are much more likely to drink alcohol and smoke. This increased frustration may be a reason why, shockingly, 81% of suicides in 2016 were men. Moreover, it can contribute to domestic violence.

Despite progress over the last two decades, there remains a gap between legislation, policies, and implementation to truly tackle the root causes of gender inequalities in rural areas. More research and changes around gender, food security, and agriculture are needed to truly see results.

The Kutaisi Free Zone

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ecently, in October, with the support of the Georgian Embassy in Ukraine, in particular Georgian Ambassador Gela Dumbadze and in partnership with Produce in Georgia (Ministry of Economy of Georgia), a presentation of the renewed Kutaisi Free Zone Holding (GIH) was held in Kiev.

Mikheil Didebulidze, the deputy CEO of GIH, presented the new administrative structure of the holding and spoke about new opportunities, advantages, conditions and packages of services that the Kutaisi Free Zone can provide companies. He explained that the holding is focused on attracting international tenant companies that operate in different

areas of business to carry out their export-oriented business activities in the tax-free zone. Tornike Sulaberidze, the Deputy CEO of Produce in Georgia then talked about the economic situation and the favorable investment climate in Georgia, his speech emphasizing why it is profitable to invest in Georgia. In addition, both speakers discussed the

unique opportunity for investors to use not only Kutaisi Free Zone’s benefits (such as competitive infrastructure and rental conditions) but also the support of the state project Produce in Georgia (in particular, covering up to 10% of the bank loan for the first two years and providing a bank guarantee of up to 50 %). The presentation was attended by

ambassadors from different countries, representatives of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, banking, investment and IT sectors, and law firms. As a result, contact was established with the Ukrainian target group and a return visit for representatives of various companies to the Kutaisi Free Zone (GIH) was planned.


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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

Dream Garden: Apeni, Kakheti BLOG BY TONY HANMER

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ne thing I managed to accomplish during my week in Kakheti was visiting an old friend of mine and my wife’s, widowed a year or so now and moving on. His daughter and her young son live with him, and his other daughter and her family were also visiting from Germany, so it was a great catch-up time with these people I’ve known my entire long time in Georgia. Murtazi, formerly assisted by his wife, has the most orderly garden I’ve seen anywhere in this country, and it’s his main source of income. Here you can find seedlings for so many different kinds of fruit and flowers that you’d be hard pressed to choose. And not only the common varieties found in Georgia, but some which he imports as exotics,

multiplies, and sells. Whether it’s a single specimen you’re after or want to start your own entire orchard, he can accommodate you. He gave us some peach seedlings which we are nursing carefully up in our high, cold mountains, and they’ve come through a winter intact indoors. Little birds-eye chili peppers are another attempt of ours to bring something unusual up here, and these too need coddling through the cold months; but they hang on, and as long as they get enough sunshine (essential for peppers), they can become the base for all sorts of blistering sauces. Persimmons… plums… pears… apples… He doesn’t focus on grapes, letting others do this in the region which has the most varieties of them in Georgia already, many of them ancient. It’s the other fruits and vegetables, rarer and harder to find, in which he specializes. Decorative cabbages with impossibly crinkly fractal edges threatening to spill out from the second or even third dimension onto a higher, three-point-something one, glow with delicate cream and mauve to purple hues. Herbs and spices too, to liven up your cooking. We spent a while hulling fallen walnuts from their softer outer shells, under a massive decades-old tree which beckoned me to climb high into it. And it’s all so organized, neat and tidy, that you can put your finger on anything at a glance, among the rows and rectangles. Irrigation hoses snake their way around too, to make life that much easier when everything needs watering, each by its own

amount and schedule. Murtazi can turn on the water just where he needs it, and hold it back elsewhere, with everything perfectly controlled. The hot Kakheti sun does the rest, along with careful attention against insects which could wreak havoc. Shoppers come from across Georgia to see, sample and take away just what they were looking for or perhaps didn’t even know they lacked. It’s a feast for the eyes, nose and mouth. This is the kind of business to which I can only wish great success, because it deserves it. There are hours and years of hard work in evidence here, and profound knowledge of what it takes to help so many different plants flourish. He has done the work so that we can simply show up, browse, and buy whatever we need for our own gardens or kitchens or tables, wherever. He’ll let you know the specific conditions which are best for whatever you choose, or simply advise you on caring for whatever you might already have. May his labor continue to support himself and his family, and continue also to spread beauty and good taste right across Georgia. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1900 members, at www.facebook. com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

Forbes Magazine: "No Company Can Offer as Much as HUAWEI”

BY ANA DUMBADZE

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orbes Magazine has responded to the release of the HUAWEI Mate 20 smartphones. The English edition of Forbes writes: “We are sure that no company can offer as much as HUAWEI offers through its new smartphones.” Alongside the Forbes’ appraisal, the HUAWEI Mate 20 series has become a topic of discussion among experts and other foreign editions that unanimously recognize the superiority of HUAWEI's innovative devices: “The features of new HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro make me wanna change my Iphone.” (www.businessinsider.com) “HUAWEI has created the best Android device in the world.” (bgr.com) “The HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro - Excellent design and the best innovation among the smartphones.” www.forbes.com) “HUAWEI Mate 20 and HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro, undoubtedly the highest level.” (www.androidheadlines.com) It was unexpected for everyone when HUAWEI beat Apple's sales and occupied the second place, but after the presentation of the new Mate 20 series, experts predict Huawei will make first place and replace Samsung.

WHY THE UNCONDITIONAL LEADERSHIP OF THE HUAWEI

MATE 20 SERIES? • The most refined and attractive design, with unique and innovative colors; • The HUAWEI Mate 20 series is equipped with the most innovative and small 7 nanometer processor - Kirin 980, that works more efficiently by 20% and consumes less time by 40%. • The new Kirin 980 gives customers improved graphics by 46%. Additionally, while playing games, AI can determine the working pressure and find resources for optimal image and quality. In comparison with the previous generation, the Kirin 980 provides the fastest loading of applications. • The old tradition is preserved in the new smartphone, and all three main cameras are created in collaboration with Leica, giving users an opportunity to capture objects at minimum distance and focusing at even 2.5cm from the lens. Unlike the previous models, there is a more enhanced lens with a broader view (16 mm). • The HUAWEI Mate 20 series is equipped with operative system EMUI 9.0 based on Android Pie, through which users can access all the working and entertainment functions of the smartphone with a simple touch to the screen. EMUI 9.0 is followed by the GPU Turbo 2.0 – with more support for game-lovers. • Yet another important function of the system is HiVision, which enables the camera to capture the famous attractions, paintings and deliver the users the

information about them. • The working time of the battery is improved and enhanced in the new models of HUAWEI. Through the 4200 milliampere battery and 40W fastest charging technology, it is now possible to charge 70% of the battery in 30 minutes. • The HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro is the first smartphone in the world to have support relevant to 4.5G LTE Cat. 21 standard, giving the users an opportunity to benefit from 1.4 GB/s download speed. It also has the fastest Wi-Fi connection, allowing for max. 10 seconds downloading. • HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro has the support of 3D Face Unlock. Through this feature, it is possible to identify the user in just 6 seconds. A camera with 3D indepth sensor is installed on the front, which allows the device to see even the smallest details of the subjects with the highest precision. • HUAWEI Mate 20 series is also distinguished by a portrait-colored video regime created on the basis of AI which allows it to isolate the image of a person and divide it into colors in the way that emphasizes their personal characteristics. The lighting system created on AI identifies videos with mutual themes and automatically montages them. • With the fingerprint access installed directly in the screen, 3X optical zoom, 4K support, an innovative processor, unique design, innovative camera technologies and limitless AI possibilities, the HUAWEI Mate 20 series creates perfection in an industry of innovative technologies. HUAWEI products and services are available in over 170 countries and are used by a third of the world's population. 16 research and development centers operate throughout the world, in the USA, Germany, Sweden, Russia, and India and China. HUAWEI Consumer BG is one of HUAWEI's three business units, and their main direction is the production of smartphones, personal computers, tablets, and cloud services. HUAWEI Global Network is based on 20 years’ experience in the telecommunication business and offers innovative technologies for consumers worldwide.

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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

European Gudauri during the Soviet Union: History of the Resort & Marco Polo Hotel Gudauri

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very year, thousands of holidaymakers visit Gudauri, although only a few of them know about the European past of this resort. Today, we will tell you a story which began in 1980 and still continues with the new Gudauri ropeway, hotel Marco Polo and qualified local staff. We will tell you how Gudauri managed to become a European-standard resort in the Soviet era, how the construction and operation of one mountain skiing complex can reflect the sociopolitical, cultural and economic situation of the country, the "benefits" of the Soviet regime and, at the same time, the European character. Unusually for the Soviet Union, an Austrian firm was given the opportunity to build a hotel in Gudauri and then run it. In this period, Gudauri found a new direction in mountain tourism: heliskiing, which was only otherwise available in Canada, and for this and other reasons it became an attractive resort for Europeans. The Soviet system, bureaucracy and high-ranking officials interested in misappropriating the business is just a small list of the obstacles that needed to be overcome in this period. But before we tell you more about the fight to develop Gudauri, we will focus on the 1990s when there was a state of war in the country. “Even during the Civil War, visitors interested in heli-skiing used come from Europe. We had to pick them up at the old Tbilisi airport, illuminated by oil lamps. Armed guards would accompany the buses of guests from the airport to Gudauri. We used to carry coupons to buy food and other products in our backpacks. Although only during winter, hotel Marco Polo and the ropeways worked and survived,” says Vakhtang Mikeladze, director of Georgian-Austrian-Hungarian enterprise ‘Gudauri.’ A contract for the construction of a mountain skiing complex (a hotel with 240 beds, 4 ropeways and equipment for skiing trails) in Gudauri was signed in October 1985 between Austria and the Soviet Union. In March 1980, under the leadership of the initiator of the construction of the factory of Italian automobile company Fiat, Savoreti, a symposium dedicated to the development of winter ski resorts in Georgia was held in Bakuriani. Italian, Austrian, French and German firms participated in it. These were companies with great experience in the construction of hotels and ropeways, snow pressing equipment, skis, holders and skiing equipment. In September of the same year, Savoreti sent two professionals to plan the ski centers, Iling and Kanestrin, in Georgia. Surveys were conducted in Bakuriani, Tsikisjvari, Tabatskuri, Samsari ridge and Gudauri with the participation of Georgian specialists. The Italian specialists' conclusion was that Gudauri was the most promising place for the construction of a commercially profitable ski center. In 1982-1985, management of the Gudauri mountain ski center was handed to Georgia’s “Tsekavshiri” (Central Union of Georgian Consumer Co-operatives) on the initiative of the former climber Soliko Khabeishvili, Secretary of the Communist Party at the time. Tsekavshiri was not ruled by the Union structures. It had built a few small hotels, restaurants and two 2-seater ropeways manufactured in Russia. In the spring of 1985, at the initiative of Tsekavshiri and Khabeishvili, the delegation of the Chamber of Commerce of the Federal Republic of Austria visited Georgia. Alongside other businessmen, the delegation consisted of the owner of the Vienna construction firm ABF, Leopold Bauzbek, and owner of ski lift manufacturing company Doppelmayr, Artur Doppelmayr. It was interesting for the delegation to examine the possibility of participating in the construction projects of Tsekavshiri, as well as the prospects of selling Tsekavshiri products in

Austria. The Austrian delegation visited Gudauri. They saw the place where Tsekavshiri was going to build a large hotel and modern ropeways. As was characteristic for the period of the Soviet Union, this initiative had almost zero perspective. However, in the summer of the same year, an unexpected thing happened: Mr. Bauzbek came to Tsekavshiri and stated that he was ready to lead the construction of a hotel and ropeways in Gudauri and that he had permission to allocate a loan from the Austrian Bank to do so. Consent was needed from the Foreign Trade Ministry in Moscow, which was no easy task. Soliko Khabeishvili took on this responsibility and in the autumn, Moscow agreed. “This was likely due to the favorable credit and the fact that, in Moscow’s opinion, in the end, Gudauri would be owned by the Union ‘Intourist’,” supposes Mikeladze. Work on the contract and signing was managed by Saiuzstroiimport. A tender was announced, in which apart from the Austrian ABF, Italproject also participated. The announcement of the tender was merely a formality, as everyone knew that the Austrian side was the lender. The contract was prepared for signing. Nevertheless, all employees of Saiuzstroiimport were sure that the project, as in most cases, was doomed as Western construction firms had never built anything outside Russia within the Soviet Union. In October, Austrian Chancellor Fred Zinovatsi arrived in the Soviet Union to sign the governmental agreement on economic cooperation. When he rebuked the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Tikonov, that some projects such as Gudauri were not implemented for unclear reasons, Tikonov directly ordered the implementation of the contract. The Foreign Minister, Patolichev, was so against signing the contract that he pretended to be ill, but he was forced to execute Tikonov's order. On the last Sunday of October, Bauzbek hired the office of Finnish company Tomesto in Moscow, where a 600-page contract was printed in one day. On Monday, the "sick" Patolevich signed the contract. The cost of the contract was 320 million Austrian Schilling, approximately $27 million. 5% of this amount, a little more than a million dollars, Tsekavshiri had to pay from its own funds. One million dollars was a huge amount of money for Tsekavshiri and it was decided that it would buy tea in Georgia and sell it abroad to make up the money. But it turned out that in the Soviet Union, no one had the right to sell tea except one Russian firm. Tsekavshiri was thus forced to purchase tea worth 1 million, register it as "tea waste" and sell it to the UK.

THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS The snow had not yet melted in Gudauri when in April 1986, to the surprise of many, foreign trucks with trailers appeared on the construction site carrying heavy construction equipment and a concrete factory. Upon arrival, bulldozers and excavators began preparing the

area and installing the concrete factory. The construction company of Tsekavshiri, whose task it was to prepare the ground, was forced to support this unusual new construction rhythm. The first foreign “invaders” were mainly from Sweden. At the time, Leopold Bauzbek's firm, located in Vienna, was a representative of large Swedish construction firm ABF in Austria. The Swedish firm was a construction giant which, apart from houses, built hydropower plants and sea ports worldwide. Therefore, the heads of the construction, the concrete factory and mechanisms operators were Swedes; the project managers and representatives of sub-lessee firms were Austrians, and the workers employed at the construction were Poles.

OPENING THE HOTEL According to the contract, the construction was to be completed within 18 months. However, due to the 1987 snowfall, the process was interrupted. The constructors were taken from Gudauri to Tbilisi by helicopter. Two months later, construction was resumed and finished in early 1988. The construction of the 4-seater ropeway had been completed one year earlier, in 1987. The hotel complex was officially opened in April 1988. For the preopening period of the hotel (purchasing hotel equipment and furniture, staff training, product supply, marketing research, etc.) and for the first period of work, the Gudauri complex needed working capital and credit in foreign currencies. Vneshekonombank was the only Soviet credit institution capable of allocating such funds. The bank refused. The Government of Georgia was told openly that the Gudauri complex would receive a credit only on the condition that it be subordinated to Moscow, in the hands of Intourist or Sputnik. The hotel was built but could not function. In this difficult period, the solution was found by Leopold Bauzek. After completion of the construction, Buzbek's firm ABF was separated from the Swedish concern and became independent. At this moment, Buzbek's main task was to increase the firm's success, garnering experience in the Soviet Union, and to receive new orders. Therefore, it was important for him to make the first project, Gudauri, work perfectly. This is when Gorbachev became the President of the Soviet Union and Eduard Shevardnadze the Foreign Minister. Perestroika was announced and in cooperation with foreign companies, joint enterprises were created. Despite the Perestroika, hotel management firms, Hilton, Sheraton, Haytt, and others did not rush to open in the Soviet Union. Everyone refused to manage the hotel in Gudauri. Only one company, WinInteneishen, agreed and held a training in the hotel, but they soon also changed their minds. The situation was critical. The summer was passing; the hotel was empty, waiting for guests. The owner of the hotel at this time was Saqkurorti, a state

organization that had no experience in the field other than the Tbilisi balneological resort and several Finnish cottages in Shovi. There was no hope that any foreign bank would allocate credit to such a company. The Georgian-Austrian-Hungarian joint enterprise "Gudauri" was created on Bauzbek’s initiative. The founders were Saqkurorti, Austrian Firm "Austrian Tourism Consultant" and Hungarian Hungharhotel. A lease agreement for 20 years was signed between the joint enterprise and owner company Saqkurorti. The Austrian Bank, with the guarantee of the Austrian participant, allocated credit for purchasing working capital and opening the hotel. Hungarhotel was responsible for providing hotel management know-how. During Gorbachev's rule, the number of enterprises founded jointly with foreigners was growing rapidly, but they were going bankrupt. The joint enterprise "Gudauri" was 70th among the registered entrants. After two years, it ended up being one of the few to survive the test of time. Foreign specialists arrived to work in the hotel. The management was led by the Austrians. Hungarians were working in the restaurant and in housekeeping. The majority of staff were Georgians. These were former employees of Intourist who had come from Tbilisi. But within a year, most of the Tbilisi residents were replaced by local staff. Working with foreigners was not easy, but the know-how they passed to local staff was invaluable. The complex was working, the service level was high, the number of guests was on the up and the joint enterprise could start paying back its debts. The mountain tourism direction which was found by the enterprise’s partner company Austria Tourism Consultant, was heli-skiing: carrying skiers to the top of the mountain and landing them in snow. At that time, such mountain tourism was only available in Canada. Gudauri became competitive in this direction of tourism by being close to Europe, having a limitless number of ski slopes, and offering cheap helicopter flights. In order to launch heli-skiing, the joint enterprise hired a charter airplane with the route Vienna-TbilisiVienna. In the beginning, heli-ski guides were Germans. Then a contract was signed with Swiss firm Alpine-Travel. There were thousands of German, Swiss, Austrian and Italian clients among the customers of this firm, and it provided marketing itself. In addition to Gudauri, by 1990, Leopold Bausbek had already built a hotel in Novgorod and purchased a renovated hotel in Moscow. New hotels were built in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Alma-Ata. A chain of hotels was made, partly owned by ABF. It became necessary to find a managerial firm for the management of these hotels but none of the famous managerial firms expressed the desire to do so and the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse. This circumstance forced Bausback to take care of the hotel management himself. He decided to

purchase any firm experienced in hotel management and found such a firm in the Austrian city of Salzburg. The firm was called Marco Polo. It was well-known in the tourism industry and owned or managed several hotels in Antalya, Tunisia and the Austrian Alps. The firm’s specialization was recreational tourism, which completely satisfied ABF’s requirements. Buzbek knew that the owner of Marco Polo, Harrer, was drowning in debt, but the reality was harder than he expected. As the Austrian press of that time reported, “Bausback suddenly discovered several skeletons in the Marco Polo closet.” This resulted in some court disputes. As a result, Bausback maintained part of Harrer’s hotels and the brand name Marco Polo, after which time his hotels operated under the name of Marco Polo. Gerd Labner, the representative and manager of Marco Polo, came to Gudauri. In December 1991, the agreement of the independent states was signed in Belarus. The collapse of the Soviet Union became a reality. Georgia had adopted its independence and the Russian Federation became the successor of the Soviet Union. Accordingly, it had to pay the Austrian debt taken for construction of the Gudauri complex. The state organization Saqkurorti became the absolute owner of the Gudauri complex. The 20-year lease agreement signed with the joint enterprise "Gudauri" in 1988 was still active. At this time, Hungarhotel was purchased by private individuals. The new owner did not have any interest in the Gudauri enterprise and so its share was purchased by ABF. The Gudauri complex was officially registered as ‘Ltd. Georgian-Austrian joint enterprise Gudauri,’ and officially the hotel maintained the name Marco-Polo, although for the local population it was known by the old name “Austrians.” Thanks to the hotel management, even during the civil war in Tbilisi, the Gudauri ropeway and hotel Marco Polo still functioned. Georgia’s Military Road crossing Gudauri was the main artery of the criminal economy, used to import and export diesel, alcohol, weapons or drugs. The control of the road was a great source of income and a lot of corrupt civil servants and criminal gangs fought to own it. They did not have time for ropeways and a hotel facing bankruptcy. Perhaps thanks to this factor, Gudauri survived the civil war and the dark 90s. According to Vakhtang Mikeladze, at this time, the government officials were using everything for their own benefit. They noticed Gudauri and started trying to bankrupt the complex. Tax inspection was carried out every year, and every year the joint enterprise had to pay the tax fines. The goal was clear: to abolish the lease agreement, sell the hotel complex to a private individual and then confiscate it. According to Mikeladze, in 2008, after the expiration of the 20-year term of contract, the state ceased the lease agreement and sold the hotel and ropeways. Later, the government took back the ropeways and the hotel owner and staff changed. However, the know-how which was brought to Gudauri by Austrian and Hungarian specialists was not lost. The hotel's former, local staff went on to successfully launch their own businesses (family hotels, restaurants, ski renting, etc.) or continued working in other hotels. The personnel serving in Gudauri are among the most qualified in Georgia. Today, Marco Polo is a 4-star hotel in the center of Gudauri resort which hosts about 40,000 guests annually. It is currently owned by Georgian businessman Ilia Kokaia. This year, after renovation works, the old, historical look will be returned to Marco Polo. As for the staff, according to the current administration of the hotel, Marco Polo still has more than 20 employees of the first generations, with decades of work experience in hospitality under their belts.


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

13

Tbilisi Baroque Festival BY ANA DUMBADZE

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n 2015, with the support of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Georgia, Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra - "Georgian Sinfonietta" founded the annual Tbilisi Baroque Festival. It has since been visited by the best performers of Baroque Music, including Jordi Savall, Sergio Azzolini, Christine Busch, Jean Rondeau, Davide Amadio, Orchestra "Akademie für Alte Music Berlin" and others. The 4th festival will be held from November 9 to December 3. On November 9, it will opened by a concert dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Georgian Sinfonietta. The documentary film ‘Georgian Sinfonietta 10,’ directed by Nino Akhvlediani, will be screened in the first half of the concert. The Early Dances will be performed in the second half of the concert, transporting attendees to a royal ball of the Baroque period. On November 16, attendees will be able to attend a concert of German music. On November 19 and 22, before the beginning of the concert, David Gigineishvili will conduct a thematic introductory lecture in the Theater Hall. On November 19, German conductor and violinist Christoph Mayer will hold a concert of baroque music titled ‘Italy meets England.’ On November 22, the festival will host Italian Ensemble Zefiro founded by Alfredo Bernardini. Ensemble F.Krommer, with works by Mozart and Beethoven, will present a concert called ‘An Evening with Harmony in Vienna.’ On November 25, for the first time in Georgia, Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ will be performed with original period instruments, including a positive organ, on loan to Tbilisi from famous mentor Claus Hipp. The performers are: the Tbilisi Baroque Choir, the ‘Georgian Sinfonietta’ and the musicians of Ensemble Zefiro and the soloists are: Mariam Kublashvili (soprano), Nutsa Zakaidzemezzo (soprano), Giorgi Davitadze (tenor), and Givi Gigineishvili (bass). On December 1, 2 and 3, for the first time in Georgia, at the closing ceremony of Tbilisi Baroque Festival, ‘Georgian Sinfonietta’ and Giorgi Alek-

sidze Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet (Artistic Director Mariam Aleksidze) will present Contemporary Ballet ‘La Folia’ at the Royal District Theater. Scientific and educational lectures and workshops will be held within the frames of the Festival. The participants of the festival also include: Tbilisi Baroque Choir, Mikheil Abramishvili (countertenor), Anna Kurdovanidze (harpsichord /

positive organ), Alexander Vasadze (harpsichord / positive organ), Étienne Galletier (theorbo / baroque guitar, France), Francesco Olivero (theorbo / Baroque Guitar, Italy), George Kobulashvili (oboe), Kakhi Chargeishvili (Salamuri), and Merab Sanodze (drums). Partners of the festival are: the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Georgia, Tbilisi City Hall, Georgian National Tourism Administration,

Embassy of Germany and Italy in Georgia. Supporter: ‘Check in Georgia.’ Tbilisi Baroque Festival concerts will be held on November 9, 16, 19 and 25 at Rustaveli Theater Small Stage; The Final Evenings will be held on December 1, 2, and 3 December at the Royal District Theater; at 19:30. Tickets are available at host theater box offices and online at www.biletebi. ge.


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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

GIFT - GEORGIAN INT’L FESTIVAL OF ARTS IN TBILISI October 27, 28 WITHOUT A DOWRY An Al. Ostrovsky play Dimitry Krymov Laboratory, Russia Language: Russian Georgian Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-100 GEL Venue: Rustaveli Theater October 29 KEELY AND DU Batumi State Drama Theater A play by Jane Martin Directed by Keti Dolidze Language: Georgian English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Venue: Atoneli Theater TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56 October 27, 28, 31 KETO AND KOTE Premiere Victor Dolidze's opera Music Director of the ProductionRevaz Takidze Director- Ioane Khutsishvili Set, Costume and Lighting Designer- Giorgi Alexi-Meskhishvili Choreographer- Iliko Sukhishvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-120 GEL MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATER Address: 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 234 80 90 October 31 WELCOME TO GEORGIA A musical, theatrical play and romantic comedy telling a story about Georgia and its people by combining song, dance, culture, traditions, history, national costumes and local cuisine. Musical Language: English, some Georgian (with English subtitles) Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50-80 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER Address: 27 Rustaveli Ave

October 26 SHAKESPEARE SONNETS Based on William Shakespeare sonnets Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 14 Shavteli Str. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 October 26 MARSHAL DE FANTE’S DIAMOND Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL October 27 STALINGRAD Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL October 28 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL October 30, 31 Animated documentary film REZO Directed by Leo Gabriadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 598 19 29 36 October 26 ASTIGMATISTS Directed by Ioseb Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL

November 1 IGGI Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL TBILISI CIRCUS Address: 1 Heroes’ Sq. October 27, 28 AUTUMN SHOW Start time: October 27- 17:00, October 28- 13:00, 17:00 Ticket: 10-25 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL October 26- November 1 VENOM Directed by Ruben Fleischer Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 19:45 Ticket: 13-14 GEL CLIMAX Directed by Gaspar Noé Cast: Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub Genre: Drama, Horror, Musical Language: Russian Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 15 GEL FIRST MAN Directed by Damien Chazelle Genre: Biography, Drama, History Language: Russian Start time: 13:45 Ticket: 12 GEL

October 27 SILENT, REHEARSAL! Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL

A STAR IS BORN Directed by Bradley Cooper Cast: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott Genre: Drama, Musical Language: Russian Start time: 16:45 Ticket: 13-19 GEL

October 28 INTRO Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL

CAVEA GALLERY Address: 2/4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 200 70 07 Every Wednesday ticket: 8 GEL October 26- November 1

SMALLFOOT Directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, Jason Reisig Cast: Zendaya, Channing Tatum, Gina Rodriguez Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Language: English Start time: 17:30 Language: Russian Start time: 13:45, 15:00, 22:00 Ticket: 13-19 GEL HALLOWEEN Directed by David Gordon Green Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak Genre: Horror, Thriller Language: English Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 16-19 GEL REPLICAS Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff Cast: Alice Eve, Keanu Reeves, Emily Alyn Lind Genre: Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 16:15, 22:00 Ticket: 13-19 GEL VENOM (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 20:00 Language: Russian Start time: 17:30, 22:30 Ticket: 10-19 GEL

500 artworks - paintings, sculptures and samples of applied art, the chronological range of which is wide. GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 215 73 00 September 11 – November 25 EXHIBITION BERNINI'S SCHOOL AND THE ROMAN BAROQUE After the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Titian and other great Italian artists, the Georgian National Museum and the Embassy of Italy in Georgia present the exhibition October 9 – January 17 (2019) NIKO PIROSMANI’S RENEWED EXHIBITION October 10 – October 5 (2019) THE EXHIBITION MASTERS OF GEORGIAN ART Displaying paintings of Kirill Zdanevich, Shalva Kikodze, Ketevan Magalashvili and Elene Akhvlediani together with Lado Gudiashvili's and David Kakabadze's artworks, showing the comprehensive picture of diversity and aesthetics of Georgian Art. MUSIC

MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 3 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS UNKNOWN COLLECTIONS OF THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM– INDIA, CHINA, JAPAN The exhibition showcases up to

TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE Address: 8 Griboedov St. Telephone: 2 93 46 24 October 30 TBILISI URBAN FOLKLORE Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5 GEL DOORS Address: 26 S. Tsintsadze Str. October 26 MAX THE SAX @ Doors Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 50-500 GEL KELLER BAR Address: 36 M. Kostava Ave. October 26 KRAUMUR DJ SENDNUDES Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 10 GEL October 27 BERO OIMACTTA Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 10 GEL IN THE DENSE FOREST Address: Tskneti, the last stop October 27 KOTE JAPARIDZE- NIKA VASHAKIDZE B2B TORNIKE GOGORISHVILI SSEQ Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 15 GEL GEORGIAN FILM STUDIO 5TH PAVILION Address: 10a Akhmeteli Str. October 27 R.O X KONOBA Full Line UP: LOUDspeakers, Killages, R.O x Konoba, Daniell, Endorphins, Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 30-35 GEL REPUBLIC Address: 1st Republic Sq. October 26 GUS GUS LIVE @ REPUBLIC Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 60 GEL


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 26 - 29, 2018

15

Popular Classic Keto & Kote to Premiere at Tbilisi Opera Theater actors, as well as dancers of the Georgian National Ballet Sukhishvili Keto and Kote is a comic opera comprising of three acts. Georgian composer Victor Dolidze went down in the history of Georgian music as the composer of the first comical opera. He composed the opera at the age of 27, which ultimately earned him fame and success. First staged in Tbilisi on December 11, 1919, it became an instant success and has since formed part of the repertoire of the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater. Dolidze, who wrote the libretto himself, adopted the plot from Khanuma, a popular comedy by 19th century Georgian Playwright Avksenty Tsagareli. Libretto was edited by famous Georgian poet Ioseb Grishashvili. The opera represents a synthesis of Tbilisi city folklore and traditions of Italian opera. An immediate success at its premier, Dolidze's opera remains a popular classic in Georgia and was made into a film in 1948, with additional music composed by Archil Kereselidze. The film features splendid music, choreography and humor. In terms of music, casting, acting and scenery, Keto da Kote is a masterpiece. The musical feature film Keto and Kote was directed by Vakhtang Tabliashvili and Shalva Gedevanishvili.

BY LIKA CHIGLADZE

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bilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater is set to premier its 167th season. Opera lovers will be able to enjoy one of the most famous operas, Keto and Kote, by renowned Georgian Composer, Victor Dolidze. Keto and Kote will premier October 27, 28, 31 and November 3, 4, 6, 7, giving everyone a chance to attend the performance. The production, which has already stood the test

Victor Dolidze (1890–1933) was born to a peasant family in Western Georgia, and first became known to society when, as a young man, he won first prize at a Mandolin contest. Although he did write several other pieces, Dolidze will be remembered for his classic comic opera Keto da Kote. The story revolves around young lovers Keto, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, and Kote, nephew of the impoverished Prince Levan Palavandishvili. The elderly Prince Levan has at long last decided to marry, with experienced matchmaker Barbale arranging for him to marry the daughter of a wealthy merchant named Keto. Coincidentally, Kote happens to be Prince Levan’s nephew, and even though as noble, is a lot poorer than even his bankrupt uncle. Ultimately, the story ends well and true love triumphs. Victor Dolidze ‘s opera has a long history. It was staged at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater during different periods. It’s first successful premier abroad was in Moscow and Leningrad in 1937. During soviet times, it was staged at 20 different opera houses, including in Poland, Czech, Hungary, Bulgaria. In the 1990s, the opera was staged by Giga Lortkifanidze at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre.

of time, is truly amazing and promises an unforgettable experience to spectators. The audience will enjoy every minute of the show from the very beginning until the end. The famous classic has been adapted for theater, opera and even onto screen, enabling it to remain poignant to this very day. The team behind the popular opera includes: Conductor: Revaz Takidze; Director: Ioane (Vano) Khutsishvili; Set, Costume and Lighting Designer: Georgi Alexi-Meskhishvili; Chief Choreographer: Iliko Sukhishvili. The cast of the opera consists of Tbilisi Opera soloists, the orchestra of the Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theater, intern

Anzor Erkomashvili Dedicates Special Book to 50th Anniversary of Ensemble Rustavi BY ANA DUMBADZE

R

ustavi 50 is a unique book dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Ensemble Rustavi and written by the Founder and Artistic Director of the Ensemble, Anzor Erkomaishvili. The audio recordings of 400 Georgian songs and chants performed by Ensemble Rustavi and 16 compact discs are attached to the book. In the book, Erkomaishvili presents the words dedicated to the Ensemble, written by excited local and foreign renowned public figures, including the musicians, politicians and the representatives of various fields of art, as well as the reviews of world press and valuable photo materials. The book perfectly and retrospectively reflects the successful and creative path of the Ensemble in its last 50 years. "You have defeated time because you are serving a true art,” said Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II, of the 50 years of the ensemble's existence. “The content of this book is extremely important and interesting,” Giorgi Gabunia, the Executive Director of Ensemble Rustavi, said. “The author has collected the results of hard work done over half a century, dedicated to the country and its culture. ‘Rustavi 50’ is the thank-you speech of Anzor Erkomaishvili to those who contributed to

the promotion and popularization of the Ensemble in Georgia and throughout the world, as real friends and supporters.” The Georgian State Folk Song and Dance Academic Ensemble was founded in 1968 by Anzor Erkomaishvili and his friends. At first, the ensemble consisted only of singers. That same year, they were joined by a group of dancers and have been working together ever since. Since its establishment, the ensemble has held more than 7000 concerts in over 80 countries around the world. The repertoire of the ensemble includes dances and songs originating from almost every corner of Georgia. The style of the singers as well as the dancers is traditional and preserves a historical color. Ensemble Rustavi was awarded the Zakaria Paliashvili (1980), Albert Schweitzer (1986) and Georgian State (1999) prizes for special contribution to the popularization of Georgian folk songs.

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1095  

October 26 - 29, 2018

Issue #1095  

October 26 - 29, 2018

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