Page 1 georgiatoday

Issue no: 847

• MAY 27 - 30, 2016



In this week’s issue... The Fantastic Invisible Conservative: Right-Wing Professors in the American Academy POLITICS PAGE 4

Clinton, Trump Supporters Express Wildly Divergent Views on Foreign Policy POLITICS PAGE 5

Terabank – the new player in the banking sector



ON NATO-GEORGIA RELATIONS Georgia’s future prospects in the alliance


US Congressman Ted Poe of Texas

4 Suspected ISIS Militants Captured in Ingushetia FSB operators in the field Source: Kazbek Basayev AFP/Getty Images



The Success Story of a Georgian Who Invested in SelfEducation in HEC BUSINESS PAGE 8

NCDC: There is no Risk of Zika Virus infection in Georgia SOCIETY PAGE 10

AZRAN, Russia – A counterterrorism unit operating in Russia’s restive North Caucasus region has captured four local militants suspected of having close ties to radical Islamist group ISIS, Moscow’s National Anti-Terror Committee said in a prepared statement.

Book lovers celebrate Independence Day

Continued on page 2





MAY 27 - 30, 2016

We are pushing it as fast as we can with the house resolution on Georgia BY IA MEURMISHVILI, VOICE OF AMERICA GEORGIAN SERVICE

pen before this session is over.



Georgia is a very important ally of the United States. We need to make sure that our allies know where we stand in a public way, legislative way. However, we also need every other country in the world to know the relationship between Georgia and the United States – especially Russia. They need to know where America stands…and America stands with Georgia.

It is still pending. It is my hope to get a quick vote on it on the House floor. It is a very important piece of legislation to let everyone know – not just Georgia, but all countries in the world, including the United States – where the United States Congress stands on Georgia. We are pushing it as fast as we can. We do not know when it is going to come to the House floor, but we certainly hope it will hap-


n their weekly analytical, the Voice of America Georgian Service reporter Ia Meurmishvili spoke with Congressman Ted Poe (Republican, Texas), who is a co-chair of the Congressional Georgia Caucus.


Hopefully sooner rather than later, Georgia will join NATO

Well, I share their frustration. I am a U.S. representative on the NATO Parliamentary Council. I have met with other parliamentarians of NATO. Things move too slowly for me. You have to get every member of NATO to agree on this issue. The progress is slow, but there is progress. I think at the end of the day, hopefully sooner rather than later, Georgia will join NATO. I share the frustration, but I believe it is important for Georgia to be

Congressman Poe: Everyone should know that America stands with Georgia a part of NATO, as it is important for NATO to take Georgia as an ally. Things move slowly and people may be looking back to Russia. All I can say is that it is very important that Georgia be a part of NATO.

WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT FOR NATO TO HAVE GEORGIA AS A MEMBER? Because we share the same goals and values regarding democracy. It also needs to be a place where

Russia needs to understand that now you are dealing with Georgia, which is a NATO country and it is not just out there on its own

Russia needs to understand that Georgia is a NATO country and it is not just out there on its own. Maybe [then] Russia will slow down its aggressive tendencies not only in Georgia, but also in the region.

GEORGIA HAS PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS COMING UP IN OCTOBER. BY ALL ACCOUNTS, IT SEEMS THAT IT MAY TURN OUT TO BE ONE OF THE MOST CONTESTED ELECTIONS IN THE COUNTRY. WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES, EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ELECTIONS? I think contentious elections – if we can use that word – are a good thing. Look at our elections! The people are interested, and that is the bottom line. The people in Georgia are interested in what happens to their country. What if they were not interested? What if they were not paying attention to the elections? That would be very sad. Democracy is only as good as the people who get involved in it. I think the Georgian government has done a good job in making sure that the elections are fair and they are free by inviting the international organizations to come to Georgia and monitor those elections. I hope I get to go to Georgia in October and watch what takes place. I look at it as something positive - democracy in action, the people being involved in the future of their country. It is a good thing no matter how the elections turnout.

4 Suspected ISIS Militants Captured in Ingushetia Continued from page 1

The counterterrorism committee said they apprehended the suspects during a raid by an FSB special forces unit operating in the republic of Ingushetia. “The FSB and special interior ministry units foiled the criminal activity of an illegal underground cell associated with the international terrorist organization ISIS,” the counterterrorism body’s statement said. Russian officials said the four suspects would be charged with planning terrorist attacks against local government officials, interior ministry troops, and other Muslims in the region who reject ISIS’ extremist version of Islam. The counterterrorism committee also reportedly found three weapons caches hidden by the suspects that included small arms, several kilograms of high explosives and Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) launchers. The capture of the cell came only days before the FSB discovered seven weapons caches in a village near Ingushetia’s largest city Nazran. The security services reportedly raided a house in the village of Yekazhevo where they discovered a ready-to-use improvised explosive device, more than 40 kilos of high explosives, four RPGs, RPK machine guns and a large quantity of ammunition

and grenades, according to regional news site Kavkazsky Uzel. Ingushetia, along with neighboring Chechnya and Dagestan, has suffered from a low-level, but bloody, insurgency carried out by Islamic militants for more than a decade. Immediately following the end of the Second Chechen War in 2001, former rebel fighters fled to neighboring republics on Chechnya’s flanks. As the Kremlin brutally reasserted its control over the highly volatile region in the mid-2000s, insurgent fighters continued to carry out regular attacks on Russian troops and local pro-Moscow government officials from isolated mountain positions in Ingushetia. Though initially a part of a secular post-Soviet national liberation movement against Russian rule, many of the Chechen and Ingush fighters have in recent years embraced an extreme form of Salafism and sworn allegiance to ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, the North Caucasus has become one of the prime sources of highly skilled and battled-hardened fighters volunteering for the Islamic State. Western intelligence agencies estimate that more than 2,700 Russian citizens are serving in the ranks of ISIS - the third largest national contingent in the terrorist organization - the overwhelming majority of which are thought to be from Russia’s Muslim North Caucasus republics.




MAY 27 - 30, 2016

The Fantastic Invisible Conservative: RightWing Professors in the American Academy BY JOSEPH LARSEN

(Review of Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University by John A. Shields and Joshua M. Dunn Sr.)


his short book surveys the experiences of right-wing social science and humanities professors in the US university system. Conservative scorn for the American academy and its leftward biases has been a fixture of American politics at least since the 1950s. Currently, it’s as relevant as ever. Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio earlier this year referred to liberal arts colleges as left-wing “indoctrination camps.” That is not a fringe viewpoint. The political Right’s anti-intellectualism has invited an understandable backlash from liberal academics, providing reliable fodder for the Left’s self-identification as a truth seeking movement fighting against “brain dead Conservativism.” This feedback loop leads to polarization: conservatives are excluded from academic discourse, and in turn become more exasperated with the leftward culture of the university system. John A. Shields, a professor at Claremont McKenna College, and Joshua M. Dunn Sr., a professor at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, engage with this debate in two important ways. First, they document the experiences of 153 right-leaning professors in the social sciences and humanities (spoiler: they

find conservatives getting less than a fair shake). Second, rather than rail against the academy from the outside—the preferred response of GOP politicians and one that reinforces stigma against conservative academics—they propose a strategy of engagement. Shields and Dunn focus on three ways right-leaning academics are marginalized. The first is the process of awarding tenure. Over the course of their interviews, they find a heavy degree of perceived discrimination. Many academics were afraid to “come out” as conservatives lest they be denied tenure. One interviewee hid his political views for years: “I started feeling like a whore, which is what you feel like when you’re lying to people all the time. I do try to avoid the conversations, I do try to change the subject ... it is dangerous even to think a conservative thought when I’m on campus, because it might come out of my mouth.” In fact, a full 46 percent of political science professors interviewed for this book claimed to have concealed their political views prior to receiving tenure. The same perceived bias works against conservatives during the publishing process. (The reader should keep in mind, however, that Shields and Dunn managed to get this book published with Oxford University Press.) Even if a work expressing conservative or right-wing ideas does get published, it is likely to be cited less often than its quality would indicate. Most academics are on the Left and thus less likely to cite right-wing publications. What do the authors find to be the most significant explanation for this dearth of right-wing voices? Self exclusion. Few conservative undergraduate students

are interested in pursuing professorships. Of course, some liberals attribute that to the “conservative mind” and its inherent mental deficiencies or moral failings. Academics get paid to think objectively and rigorously. Conservatives pursue careers elsewhere because they’re incapable of doing either. The authors rightly raise issue with that caricature, pointing to the fact that a large number of academic positions in STEM fields are held by conservatives. Plus, anyone who has followed Russell Kirk, Niall Ferguson, Sam Huntington, Yuval Levin, or any other conservative scholar from the past century (Limbaugh and Beck don’t count) would have a hard time categorizing them as “mentally deficient.” As the authors point out, the liberal assumption that conservatives

lack brain power stems largely from their relative absence from the academy. Much space is devoted to accounting for nuance in the experiences of rightleaning academics. For example, libertarians report feeling much more comfortable in academic life than do cultural conservatives and neoconservatives. Moreover, the economics field is commonly viewed as a bastion of right-wing thought. And it is, at least relative to the other social sciences. The authors cite a 2008 study which found professors of economics to be equally split between supporting Republican, Democrat, and Independent positions. By contrast, the same study found 72 sociology professors identifying as Democrat, compared to only three identifying as Republican. The consequence of this anti-conservative bias is a university system that is cloistered and intellectually homogenous. Professors tend to bounce liberal assumptions off each other rather than engage with diverse and contradictory ideas. We are often left with narratives that are too simple and lack rigor. In the words of Shields and Dunn: “Many disciplines neglect topics or provide suspect answers to questions that complicate the progressive narrative. Sometimes academics do so by telling the story of the left in either a triumphant way or in a way that leaves no room for conservative contributions to human progress.” The authors’ arguments are well-laid and lucidly expressed. Some of the personal accounts make for excellent reading. There are shortcomings, too. The sample size is small. And because the data measures conservative professors’ perceptions

about the academy, rather than objective conditions, it must be taken with a grain of salt. Shields and Dunn deliver a trenchant study that raises important questions about bias and homogeneity in the university system. The quantitative foundations are lacking, however. This book also received a lot of criticism from conservatives who believe that Shields and Dunn downplay the extent of discrimination, even to the point of apologizing for it. These critics are mistaken. However, their claims aren’t entirely groundless. The authors place too much emphasis on the intellectual freedom that right-leaning professors enjoy after attaining tenure, while devoting relatively little to the negative experiences of assistant professors and graduate students. Moreover, the book’s promotion raised ire among the authors’ fellow conservatives, as it appeared they were taking pains to present their findings in a manner that liberals would find palatable. This is due largely to an op-ed Shields and Dunn published in the Washington Post titled “Forget what the right says: Academia isn’t so bad for conservative professors.” The article (and the title in particular, which the authors claim was written not by themselves but by their editor) provoked a furious rebuttal from National Review writer Frederick Hess. Hess accused them of having “Stockholm Syndrome” toward their liberal colleagues. The controversy surrounding Passing on the Right proves that outcome was worth the endeavor of its authors. Whether readers love or hate it, Shields and Dunn have succeeded in drawing attention to the lack of intellectual diversity in the American university system.


GEORGIA TODAY MAY 27 - 30, 2016


Clinton, Trump Supporters Express Wildly Divergent Views on Foreign Policy BY JOSEPH LARSEN


anhattan billionaire Donald Trump has been the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee since May 3, 2016, when Ted Cruz dropped out of the race. His likely opponent in November’s presidential showdown will be Democrat Hillary Clinton, a former senator, first lady, and secretary of state. On matters of foreign policy, the two candidates couldn’t be more different. Clinton has spent more than a decade making foreign policy. Her record includes lobbying for the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya and helping build support for international sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. She is often referred to as a “hawk”, which roughly means being unafraid of using American military might to further national interests. Trump has no experience in foreign policy, and scarcely more in the way of coherent views. He is apparently a stern opponent of free trade, has expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin, and believes that NATO membership has become burdensome for the United States. While pledging to focus on “rebuilding the US”, he has also promised to strengthen American military capabilities and make the so-called Islamic State disappear “very, very quickly.” It is impossible to predict what Trump will do tomorrow, let alone how he

would behave once in the White House. Clinton’s policies are also difficult to project, given that pressure from her primary opponent, left-wing populist Bernie Sanders, has recently pushed her to the left on some issues. A survey published on May 5, 2016 by the Pew Research Center paints a vivid picture of the voters behind the two candidates, and may be helpful in predicting what a Clinton or Trump presidency would look like. The Pew survey was conducted in April, with field researchers conducting telephone calls with 2,008 adults across the United States. Clinton and Trump supporters see the world through different eyes. For example, the survey found that 85 percent of self-professed Trump supporters consider large numbers of refugees from Syria to be a “major threat” to the United States. By contrast, 40 percent of Clinton supporters gave the same answer. Seventy-seven percent of Trump supporters favor the use of “overwhelming force” to defeat international terrorist organizations, compared to only 30 percent of Clinton supporters. The latter group are more than twice as likely to believe that overwhelming force exacerbates the problem by fueling antiAmerican sentiment. Predictably, Trump backers are less enthusiastic about NATO. Sixty-four percent of them report viewing the alliance as “good for the US.” That is compared to 83 percent of Clinton supporters. Overall, 77 percent of Americans believe the alliance is good for their country, although most also believe that

Image courtesy of Joseph Sohm/

the NATO allies benefit at America’s expense. Whereas Trump supporters are lukewarm about NATO, 66 percent of them want to see increased US military spending. Only 21 percent of Clinton supporters feel the same. These numbers show the disparities between the views of the candidates and those of their respective constituencies. Clinton envisions a US that is more engaged with the wider world, whereas Trump promises to be more inward looking (although he has verbally appealed to militarism throughout his campaign). One question on which the two camps

agree concerns the use of force against ISIS. Sixty-nine percent of Clinton supporters and 66 percent of Trump supporters favor the current US military campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. (A nearly-identical 66 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats favor the military action, making it one of the few issues that Americans agree on). The two camps have widely divergent views on global economic policy as well. Sixty-five percent of Trump supporters view US involvement in the global economy in a negative way, responding that it “lowers wages” and “costs jobs”

in the domestic economy. Only 36 percent of Clinton supporters gave the same answer. Republican voters in general were more likely to have a poor view of America’s role in the global economy. This indicates a reversal of orthodoxy, where the Republicans are viewed as the party of free trade and open markets and the Democrats being seen as more likely to favor protectionist measures. The Pew survey can be read in full here: http://www.people-press. org/2016/05/05/public-uncertaindivided-over-americas-place-in-the-world/




MAY 27 - 30, 2016



here is that cherished rule of law? The other day, I heard a question on my local radio station ‘Should the President pardon the Cable Case convicts?’. The question was meant for us, the listeners, to answer in one of those interactive talkshows. The ‘Cable Case’ refers to five officials of the Ministry of Defence of Georgia who were arrested due to misspending government funds in negotiating a contract with the Silknet company. The deal was valued at a significantly higher amount than its true worth, the MoD employees then allegedly pocketing the difference for themselves. The case grew into a real cause célèbre, and finally resulted in the sentencing of the culprits to seven years of imprisonment. When I heard the question while at the wheel, I wanted to pull the car over to dial the station and provide the animated host of the show with my own answer. Then, on second thoughts, it crossed my mind that I had no way of answering the question. No listeners would. Nobody could, besides those who were directly involved in the case, such as the judges, lawyers, prosecutors, state officials and the condemned defense personnel themselves – and even then there would be no guarantee that the answers would be fair and unbiased. In fact, the question sounded totally unfair if it was addressed to us the lis-

teners, because we the people are not versed enough in the matter to have the answer to this tricky and inconvenient question. How could we give a fair answer? Are we familiar with the bulky documentation of it? Have we listened to every session of the trial? On the other hand, why should I know things like this in general? Why am I expected to have knowledge of a court case’s contents unless I am personally interested in the developments? And if these questions of mine are fair enough to pose, then the question asked on the radio was utterly unfair and irrelevant, cajoling us, the unsuspecting folksy listeners, into providing society and the President, if you will, with answers that might cause an expected blunder. Some of the answers I heard were radically cruel towards the victims; some of them sounded simply off the limits of sanity; some wanted heavier sentences for the convicts, while some of them demanded that the President should not hesitate to declare the immediate freedom of the convicted. How can a question like this and the answers like those help our society to mature and be better? Or is it all just for entertainment’s sake? There are so many other subjects out there for amusement to take up and go ahead with if a journalist is in that kind of mood and business. A bigger and more important problem for discussion is the case itself. As I said, I will never know the truth of this despondently celebrated event. Even if Lady Justice triumphs and the case happily becomes part of history, the feeling of uncertainty will always be present whether the indictment and verdict were fair or not. And this is

happening to us only because the logic of reasonable doubt towards court rulings as such has been perpetuated in our judicial culture and our minds, which could be rendered as a dominant predicament on the way of this nation’s democratic future. It is said that the courts have become fairer and more independent, but it is also recognized that the court system in Georgia still leaves a lot to desire in terms of its autonomous functionality and self-governance. No t w i t h s t a n d i n g t h e change, our citizens’ uncertainty towards court decisions persists, which could practically be equaled to the malfunction of our judicial system. We the people are losing the feeling that our court system is a bastion of fairness and morality which warrants absolute trust and reliance. In reality, the system is on the verge of collapse. Just imagine a Europe and America where people have no confidence in the rulings made by judges. They will never be able to continue functioning if people in the West stop believing in the courts. In today’s Georgia, people tend to disagree with court rulings, or with prosecutors’ decisions, or with governmental decrees and amendments to the constitution. We have found ourselves perpetually objecting to everything. If this is not true, why have we grown into the witnesses of discussions of the topic on an everyday basis? Both the media and private conversations are full of opinions on how our court system needs to become fair and independent. This cannot be the smoke without fire.

Why am I expected to have knowledge of a court case’s contents unless I am personally interested in the developments?

Photo courtesy of


GEORGIA TODAY MAY 27 - 30, 2016


Terabank – the new player in the banking sector


fter seventeen years in the banking business, Kor Standard Bank (rebranded as Terabank) is offering banking services in a unique way, in what Tea Lortkipanidze, the bank’s General Director, describes as a “friendly and cozy atmosphere”. The Avlabari branch of Terabank (with its new name, colors and interior) was opened by the shareholders, General Director and the Minister of Economics and Sustainable Development of Georgia. “The process of rebranding Kor Standard Bank has ended, and today we have the opportunity to host guests in our new financial home,” said Tea Lortkipanidze, the General Director of Terabank. “This is the only bank which offers cozy and warm decor resembling our homes. Everything is aimed at offering the highest quality service in a comfortable environment. We are waiting for clients and are confident we will receive positive feedback.” At this stage, revamped banks on Pekini Street and Avlabari will begin to serve clients. The interiors of the banks are decorated with a fireplace, soft furniture

and pictures on the walls. Terabank has been rebranded in order to provide banking services in a comfortable and familiar atmosphere. “We saw the highest quality design, which convinces us that clients will be able to receive the highest quality service, which will be reflected positively on the banking sector as a whole,” said Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili. The main reason for rebranding was precisely taking into consideration the interests of clients. The business strategy of the bank changed completely and the main target audience was defined as the small and medium business. Therefore, in order to provide quality service, it was necessary to make changes in the styles of both communication and the interior design. The founder and supervising company, the Dabi Group, supported the bank’s rebrand. The major shareholder of Terabank is a sheikh from the United Arab Emirates, Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, who has already invested USD 250 million in Georgia and plans on financing further projects in the country.

We welcome you to “Sanjha Chulha“, the only authentic Indian restaurant in Georgia. We specialize in Indian cuisine and have a fantastic selection of dishes for your enjoyment. You will find our cuisine versatile, ranging from extremely mild to the very spicy: we offer a richly varied menu of fresh natural ingredients, wholesome sauces and flavorful spices from India. We cate to the tastes of every customer. We hope you will soon join us to enjoy the memorable dining experience of “Sanjha Chulha”. Mobile: +995-596-03-1313,+995-596-56-1313 Phone: +995-322-95-96-14 Skype: sanjha.chulha Facebook: sanjha chulha Website: Mail:, Address: Agmashenebeli Avenue,130




MAY 27 - 30, 2016

The Success Story of a Georgian Who Invested in Self-Education in HEC BY MAKA LOMADZE


rina Kvakhadze moved to Paris to study on an MBA program at Europe’s best business school, HEC Paris. The course encouraged her to re-evaluate her life, and without her hEC experience she believes she would not have been able to get her job as the deputy director of the Business Association of Georgia, a post she has held since 2011.

HOW WAS THE MOVE FROM GEORGIA TO PARIS AND WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU MADE/DISCOVERED? Moving from Georgia to Paris was the start of an adventure that would forever influence my life. When I arrived in the city, it was the beginning of September, and Paris was breathtakingly beautiful in those mild autumn days. In every aspect the move was overwhelming; it was inspiring and exciting, but stressful at the same time. I had to cope with the challenges of adapting to a completely new environment, leaving the cosy capsule of home, coping with changes in every area of life, and finding new things about myself over and over again. The most valuable discovery – however difficult it was to digest - was how limited and narrow our understanding of the world is: this discovery is so sharp when you meet people with different backgrounds, stories and lifestyles from all over the world; the student body in HEC is extremely diverse.


FROM GEORGIA? In my leisure time, I enjoy walking in the streets of the cities I live in, but a walk in the streets of Tbilisi is a bit of a lonely walk; the sidewalks are mainly empty, just a few people here and there, with roads full of cars heading to different destinations. A walk in Paris, on the other hand, sometimes feels like participating in a parade march; you are lost in the current of people rushing to various places. So I would say that the major and most noticeable difference between Georgia and France is the scale. And this difference is reflected in every aspect, starting from the routine of everyday life to broader areas as business, arts, and culture, or the mentality of society.

WHAT WAS LEARNING AT HEC PARIS BUSINESS SCHOOL LIKE? Doing my MBA in HEC Paris was indeed a turning point in my professional and personal development. I spent 18 months surrounded by outstanding students and the best professors from all over the world, with the beauty of Paris to get relief from late-night studies for exams or early morning classes. I worked on individual academic projects as well as team assignments, with different teams for each class – you arrive at the end of the course with an exceptional experience of working with a diverse set of people. I was also given the opportunity to do internships, one at a consulting service delivered by a team of HEC students to a French company, and at the conferences organized by HEC we met outstanding executives and industry professionals and had the chance to learn from their experiences. Along with another student, I even set up a café in

the lobby of the student residence, making it a lovely spot for breaks and socializing. And then we had the famous MBA Tournament, a sports competition which hosts all the leading European Business schools on the HEC campus for three days! This is something to definitely experience as a student.

WHAT WAS THE BEST PART OF YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE? It is a bit hard to talk about the best part of my educational experience as each part of it had its own impact and importance. However, I think that the best part of the MBA experience is that we get significant time in our adult years to devote to studies, reflection and rethinking. As we grow older and engage in different pursuits, we hardly find time for uninterrupted learning or analysis of our personal and professional paths. The MBA program offers this opportunity, and unsurprisingly, most of the time it serves as a turning point in students’ lives.

HOW DID THIS LEAD TO YOUR JOB TODAY? Since 2011 I have been the deputy director at the Business Association of Georgia. Our organization unites large comp a n i e s o p e ra t i n g i n G e o r g i a , representing almost 70% of Georgia’s economy. The main function of the organization is to advocate private sector needs in front of Georgia’s executive and legislative government. I would not exaggerate to say that the Business Association of Georgia is one of the leading business unions in the country, enjoying a solid reputation among all economic policy actors. The organization gives me

the opportunity to be engaged in the creation of important policies affecting the private sector in Georgia. At the same time, I have the chance to work with leading representatives of the private sector. Undoubtedly, my studies at HEC have greatly contributed to me gaining this opportunity and afterwards succeeding in this role.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR OTHER GEORGIAN PEOPLE THINKING OF FOLLOWING THE SAME PATH? My advice to those considering this path would be twofold: before making a final decision to continue studying, determine your professional and personal targets and post-graduation expectations, and consider how the program will help you

achieve these goals. An MBA program brings even more value to those who have at least some level of professional experience; the context of the studies becomes more relevant and can then be associated with some personal professional experiences. However, joining an MBA program is a demanding step: it requires a significant investment of time, money and energy. As for when someone is already in school, be engaged in as many activities as possible, especially recreational pursuits. What makes the MBA experience so unique and valuable is not one particular activity but a bundle of everything, starting from 8am classes to late nights out in Paris. So be present and be engaged. Oh, and learning some French in advance makes life so much easier.



MAY 27 - 30, 2016

Contact: Phone: 599 461908





MAY 27 - 30, 2016

NCDC: There is no Risk of Zika Virus infection in Georgia

Photo courtesy of NBC News



he World Health Organization (WHO) published a list of countries at risk from a Zika virus outbreak last week. Georgia - and in particular its Black Sea coast - were on the 15th place. Experts of Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) argue that this is due to the presence of the mosquito which transmits the virus in the region, although the risk of the virus’ spread is almost impossible. “The existence of Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus which spread the Zika Virus, does not mean the presence of the virus in the region,” said Paata Imnadze, Deputy General Director of Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. According to him, the spread of the disease is a complex process, but the only way for the virus to spread is if the Aedes mosquito bites a person who already has Zika, and then the same mosquito bites someone else. “In other words, to make the Zika virus spread in Georgia, we need a special mosquito species, which, unfortunately, we have, and at least one already infected patient, who has not registered yet,” explained Imnadze. He added that the Lugar Laboratory in Tbilisi owned modern medical equipment to test for pos-

Zika has common symptoms such as a headache or rash

The Ministry of Health is carrying out major disinfection works on Georgia’s coast sible victims and expose the virus. However, Zika has quite common symptoms such as a headache or a rash, so people usually do not get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. This virus is especially dangerous for pregnant women, because Zika may spread to the baby. This may result in microcephaly, Guillain-Barre syndrome and several brain problems. Russia and the Black Sea coast were on the WHO’s warning list, but nobody infected with Zika has been identified. According to Imnadze, this underlines the rather low possibility of the virus spreading. Despite the small chance of an epidemic, the Ministry of Health and other agencies are carrying out major disinfection works in Georgia’s Black Sea coast, including at top touristic destinations like Batumi and other resort cities. The NCDC argue that the disinfection will take place in MayJune and August-September. The substances are safe for humans and strong enough to kill all kinds of mosquitoes. The Center claims that their effects will last until the end of November. The Zika virus became relevant due to the upcoming Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio 2016, as Brazil has suffered from a Zika epidemic. The WHO states that it is cooperating with Rio to reduce Zika’s spread.



MAY 27 - 30, 2016


Murderer is Victim have you done to me, to us! How could you! How could I not see this coming! And somewhere, if you believe it, devils are laughing their heads off. If you don’t, the universe goes on its merry way, uncaring in the slightest. Let’s talk, young people and older. Let’s bare our souls a bit, which Georgians aren’t shy about doing anyway. Admit it when these feelings come, and seek out help. It need not even be professional, just a listening ear who will seek more help if overwhelmed. Because one possibility arising from the despair of the abandoned is more of the same, a repeat performance, a little



e heard the screams from across the little river which separates our land, but the house they were coming from is not close to ours. It’s just that these were really loud wails. And my wife and I knew that someone related to the screamer had died. The real shock was that her relative, also a woman, in her forties, had killed herself. Suicide: murder of the self. My nephew did the same thing, hanging himself at age twenty-one after battling manic depression, unbeknownst to all of us but his parents, for years. They were the ones who found him. Two days ago in Becho, Svaneti I found out that another such death, of a twentyyear-old man, had happened. Is there a worse death? The huge jagged hole it tears through a family never seems to heal fully. There are so many

questions about what I could have done, we could have done, if only. The guilt, the darkness, despair. They also call it the ultimate act of selfishness, but usually the depths to which the dead one has sunk must close out such thoughts and leave only the need to end it all. I suggested to my colleagues at Becho school that suicide might become a topic of guided discussion among the higher grades. Thankfully, there has been none

The jagged hole suicide tears through a family never seems to heal fully

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of it among school-age children in this province at all that I know of. But for the survivors, who have to deal with the aftermath in their own lives and those around them, some kind of dialogue might be very helpful. There’s also the topic of prevention, what possible signs to look for in another, what to do if you are in or moving towards that kind of fatal despair with life. TALK, for God’s sake! I know that Georgia went, post-Soviet, from richest republic per capita to poorest, along with civil wars, losses of territory, numberless refugees, general breakdown of infrastructure. The trauma this little country has been through, the despair resulting from it, are real. And too many individuals have chosen to kill themselves with this as a background. What have I got left to live for? Talk we must, find a way out together, realize that suicide’s dreadful echo doesn’t soon fade in the lives of the relatives; it might swell to a deafening crescendo first. Calling it a sin and banishing the dead one to hell for it isn’t helpful, even though I, too, rage against that one. What

epidemic. After my nephew’s death, I decided to call suicide the only murder in which perpetrator and victim are the same person. You are murdering someone, but it’s you. God, why should we need such awful philosophical wonderings? Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1300 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:




MAY 27 - 30, 2016

The Berlin Premiere of Jewels by Choreographer George Balanchine BY LILY FÜRSTENOW

Photo by Carlos Quezada


n May 21, Staatballett Berlin celebrated the premiere of Jewels by George Balanchine. Jewels is a threeact ballet created originally for the New York City Ballet by co-founder and founding choreographer George Balanchine. It premièred on Thursday, 13 April 1967, at the New York State Theater. Jewels has been called the first fulllength abstract ballet. It has three related movements: Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds. It can also be seen as three separate ballets, linked by their jewel-colored costumes. Balanchine commented: “The ballet had nothing to do with jewels. The dancers are just dressed like jewels.” Each of the three acts features the music of a different composer: Emeralds is set to the music of Gabriel Fauré, Rubies to the music of Igor Stravinsky and Diamonds to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. For the original performance, the costumes were created by Balanchine’s long-time collaborator Barbara Karinska, who created a distinct look for each different act: romantic, calf-length tulle skirts for Emeralds, fabric that flared at the hips of both men and women in

Rubies, and the flat, classical tutu of the Imperial Russian Ballet for Diamonds. The costumes were such finely crafted pieces of art in their own right that some of them have been exhibited in museums and in theatre lobbies. Even Claude Arpels of Van Cleef & Arpels - who suggested the idea of a ballet based on gems to the choreographer - was impressed with her attention to finding the finest trim that would accurately represent the true glitter of genuine gemstones. Additionally, Karinska’s painstaking work was

credited with making the costumes last despite the sweat and strain of dancing in them. Her designs, needlework and choice in fabrics made them both durable and danceable, illustrating that the bodies inside the costumes were deserving of her utmost respect. When questioned about her attention to her almost extravagant detail she replied, “I sew for girls and boys who make my costumes dance; their bodies deserve my clothes.” At the Berlin premiere, the wonderful costumes continued the tradition of

10 Galaktion Street

Barbara Karinska, created by famous Spanish designer Lorenzo Caprile. The settings by Pepe Leal were equally impressive and inspiring, while the dancers in the leading roles were critically acclaimed. Choreographer Giorgi Melitonovitch Balanchivadze was born in 1904 in Saint Petersburg, into the family of noted Georgian opera singer and composer Meliton Balanchivadze, who was one of the founders of the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater, and later served as the culture minister of the Democratic Republic of Georgia which became independent in 1918, but was later forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union. On a 1924 visit to Germany with the Soviet State Dancers, Balanchine, his wife, Tamara Geva, and dancers Alexandra Danilova and Nicholas Efimov fled to Paris, where there was a large Russian community. At this time, the Impresario Sergei Diaghilev invited Balanchine to join the Ballets Russes as a choreographer. Diaghilev soon promoted Balanchine to ballet master of the company and encouraged his choreography. Balanchine insisted that his first project would be to establish a ballet school because he wanted to develop dancers who had the strong technique and style he wanted. With the assistance of Lincoln Kirstein and Edward Warburg the School of American Ballet opened to students on January 2, 1934, less than 3 months after

Balanchine arrived in the U.S. Later that year, Balanchine had his students perform in a recital, where they premiered his new work Serenade to music by Tchaikovsky at the Warburg summer estate. Between his ballet activities in the 1930s and 1940s, Balanchine choreographed for musical theater with such notables as Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Vernon Duke. Soon Balanchine formed a new dance company, Ballet Society. He continued to work with contemporary composers such as Paul Hindermith, from whom he commissioned a score in 1940 for The Four Temperaments. First performed on November 20 1946, this modernist work was one of his early abstract and spare ballets, angular and very different in movement. After several successful performances, the most notable featuring the ballet Orpheus created in collaboration with Stravinsky and sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi, the City of New York offered the company residency at the NY City Center. With his School of American Ballet, New York City Ballet, and 400 choreographed works, Balanchine transformed American dance and advanced modern ballet, developing a unique style with his dancers highlighted by brilliant exhibitions of speed and attack.

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


GEORGIA TODAY MAY 27 - 30, 2016


More Letters to Debbie Lee: Etseri, Svaneti Photo by Tony Hanmer

s E, EBBIE LE napping a bride, a DEAR D eti (or ring kid

ide in Svan I’m cons up here She’s rly done la u tlawed). p u o o p y ll is ia c ffi y do know l it was o times the e was unti m so pe; re nawa rm of elo entirely u it, as a fo g, h in it d w d e g lon ensive w p x and go a e n e, a Of cours to avoid se times. ment or o th o f n o ’s e n’t on er, she but this is self on h y l a m ri d te e a forc able m once I’ve marriage u d s U re . e d id le s n te is sea fa longer co r e r h e o h der to e else, s ’ll surren by anyon e l h ’l s e t w in is po prison, ally, at th nd up in . e e ’t rs n o o w d if I er or fate and, for bett r e th e g to remain ? Thoughts , ly re e Sinc us o m y n o An

FOR SALE: BMW – 321 model Date of issue 1936

PRICE 10.000 USD DEAR DEBBIE LEE, I’ve was bitten recently by a dog here, on my own property to boot! Quite badly, too: I needed stitches. Although I’m not naturally afraid of dogs, it has made me much more cautious. He was off his chain, far from home, and could’ve killed me if he’d knocked me down, being quite aggressive and weighing more than I do. How should I take this up with his owner, being that I’ve made a 100% positive ID? Signed, Twice Shy


Here’s what I would reco mmend. 1) T the owner ell that you w ant him to dog (after th kill the e 10-day ra bies observ period is ov ation er, of course) , or you’ll ca police. 2) Sa ll the y that if th e dog gets again before loose he can do th is, and you it again on yo see ur property , you’ll strike this time. 3) first Arm yours elf at home pepper spra with y to render it harmless event you in the do see it on your land ag and, having ain, issued the warning, ca through if rry it need be. I’ve heard too m such horror any stories up in your neck of woods, and the something has to chan People nee ge! d to realize that dog bite not only be s can fatal, but also traumatizin life. g for Best of luck , DL (not D og Lover, or Dog Loa either...) ther

DEAR DEBBIE LEE, Is Svan a language or a dialect, in your opinion? Yours, Linguistically Confused

DEAR ANONYMOUS, Just as well I don’t know who you are. And they call me Debbie Lee! Get a life, and stop contemplating ruining someone else’s for the sake of your own lusts! You don’t even mention that you love her, or she you—or does this not enter into it at all? Furiously, DL


rrgians unde n-Svan Geo or , en Well, can no ok it’s sp Svan when n stand much uch more ca m ow (H ad it? the of e, when they re pl am tand, for ex they unders ) I understand t of Georgian? ec al di but ur vs he K are related, n and Svan ple, am ex that Georgia r fo an, h and Germ lanic an so are Englis m er G ing called a the former be ow that Svan experts. I kn e oguage by th that some pe written, and ge ua ng la isn’t normally a t be means it can’ ean m ey ple say that th If t. erely a dialec e at all but m n” alphabet lik t have its “ow n’ n, ai ag l, el that it does ... w proudly does Georgian so s own alphait ve ha h is gl En es t do r neithe e, as did mos d the Latin on he nc pi I’m e t? w t: ha be . So w ges of Europe of the langua ur dialects of fo e ar e at ther also aware th lsters its case ch further bo hi w lf, lly, se it Svan ge... And fina lled a langua ca d g ol in an be r is fo bate vs. dialect de l al s nd ki the language s hes of variou is m ir sk h ti it one, w t times un l from ancien ld or t w e th over litics, so don’ endas, and po ag d n ca an u y, yo da to ything solved by an expect it to be contribute. Signed, worth DL’s 2 cents’

Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1300 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:

CONTACT PERSON 557 12 38 90




MAY 27 - 30, 2016


TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATRE Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56 June 1 THE FIRST GARMENT Zaza Marjanishvili’s MusicalChoreographical Drama Based on the novel of Guram Dochanashvili Directed by Lasha Oniani Conductor: Davit Kintsurashvili Set design: Levan Salukvadze and Gela Iordanishvili Costume design: Ana Kalatozishvili Choreographer: Lali Kandelaki Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 20-150 Lari GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 May 26 THE AUTUMN OF MY SPRINGTIME Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10-30 Lari May 27 RAMONA Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10-30 Lari May 28 STALINGRAD Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10-30 Lari May 29 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Directed by Revaz Gabriadze With English subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10-30 Lari GRIBOEDOVI THEATER Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36

May 28 YELLOW ANGEL Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 May 27, 28 IGI Jemal Karchkhadze Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Ticket price: 15 Lari

May 28 3 SISTERS Directed by Konstantin Purtseladze Language: Georgian Musical Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: From 8 Lari May 29 DIVORCE Giorgi Eristavi Directed by Davit Doiashvili Language: Georgian Musical Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: From 8 Lari CINEMA

May 29 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Free Entry GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATER Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 May 27 LUARSAB Directed by Luka Chkhaidze Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari May 28 LULLABY Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari May 31 STOP AIDS Directed by Davit Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATER Address: 182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90 May 27 MEDEA Directed by Mikheil Charkviani Language: Georgian Musical Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 8, 10 Lari

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari May 25- June 2

WARCRAFT (Info Above) Start time: 22:35 Ticket price: 15-16 Lari ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (Info Above) Start time: 22:35 Ticket price: 15-16 Lari X-MEN: APOCALYPSE Directed by Bryan Singer Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence Language: Russian Start time: 22:35 Ticket price: 15-16 Lari OUR KIND OF TRAITOR Directed by Susanna White Genre: Thriller Cast: Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis, Stellan Skarsgård Language: Russian Start time: 12:15, 19:30 Ticket price: 8-16 Lari MUSEUM

WARCRAFT Directed by Duncan Jones Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Cast: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Callan Mulvey Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 11:15, 13:45, 22:15 Ticket price: 8-16 Lari ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Directed by James Bobin Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy Cast: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter Language: Russian Start time: 19:45, 22:15 Ticket price: 15-16 Lari RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari May 25- June 2


PERMANENT EXHIBITION Here, visitors can enjoy the State’s personal files of “subversive” Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Soviet-era cultural and political repression in Georgia. The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors where visitors can watch documentaries of various historical events. SHALVA AMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF ART Address: 1 Lado Gudiashvili St. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 May 18 – July 18 AVANT-GARDE 1900-1937 The exhibition is opened within the Georgian National Museum week dedicated to International Museum Day. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 May 21 NIGHT OF THE MUSEUMS TRAVELLING IN THE TBILISIAN HISTORIES AND EAST Pariticipants: Giorgi Lobjanidze, Manana Dumbadze, Nomad Bartaia, Zezva Medulashvili, Maia Tsetskhladze, Mamuka Tsetskhladze, Lia Shvelidze, Oleg Timchenko, Vakho Bugadze and others. Start time: 21:00 Free Entry GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze May 17 – June 22 KETEVAN MAGALASHVILI – 120 Exhibition is dedicated to the 120th anniversary of Ketevan Magalashvili - remarkable representative of Georgian art. MUSIC

MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 May 26, 31 JAM SESSION WITH RESO KIKNADZE QUINTET Start time: 21:00 Free entry May 25 TANGO MILONGA Start time: 20:00 Tango Lesson: 5 Lari DINAMO ARENA Address: 2 Tsereteli Ave. May 27 ROBBIE WILLIAMS Start time: 17:00 Ticket price: 20-130 Lari TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 May 26 SOU FESTIVAL TEHO TEARDO AND BLIXA BARGELD Start time: 21:00 Ticket price: 15-50 Lari


GEORGIA TODAY MAY 27 - 30, 2016


Book lovers celebrate Independence Day BY EKA KARSAULIDZE


he 18th Tbilisi International Book Fair will be ‘extensive and interesting’, according to its organizers. An unprecedented number of participants, including 80 representatives of publishing houses, international organizations, embassies, as well as authors, will present new books and conduct a discussion with the audience. The even starts on Georgia’s Independence Day on May 26, and will last until May 29. The organizers stated that in the framework of the Fair, they will hold about 60 different literature-related events, such as professional workshops, public readings and the presentation of new books, along with meetings with authors and discussions. “Our presentational stage will be occupied with different interesting public figures,” said Gvantsa Jobava, the organizer of World Read Aloud Day in Georgia and the head of the Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association and organizer of the Book Fair. The Book Fair will also install a reading corner for young readers as well. In addition to the presentation of children’s books, developmental and intellectual games will be hosted.



Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Mako Burduli


Photos from Tbilisi International Book Fair 2015

Many international guests will also attend the Fair. Moreover, the traditional guest of honor will be Dmitry Glukhovsky, the popular Russian writer and author of science fiction dystopian novel Metro 2033. His meeting with Georgian fans is scheduled for May 28. Naturally, the most prominent part of the event will be the book sales. The 11th pavilion of Expo Georgia, which hosts the Fair, will present the stands of various publishing houses and bookstores. One of the stalls will showcase modern and classic literature in English, by authors such as Haruki Murakami, Somerset Maugham, Ernest Hemingway, Umberto Eco, Harper Lee and many others. In addition, the organizers also plan to celebrate Penguin English Library’s 80th birthday and put their books on sale with reasonable prices. At the same time, Tbilisi International Book Fair in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, will provide a great opportunity to 66 regional libraries to purchase books free of charge via special vouchers. “This action will help to replenish the assortment of regional libraries,” stated the organizers. The annual Tbilisi International Book Fair - carried out within the framework of the Check in Georgia state program – has no entrance or participation fee.


Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Tamar Svanidze, Zviad Adzinbaia, Beqa Kirtava, Meri Taliashvili, Eka Karsaulidze, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Tim Ogden, Ana Akhalaia, Robert Isaf, Joseph Larsen, Will Cathcart, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze

Photographer: Zviad Nikolaishvili Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #847  

May 27 - 30, 2016

Issue #847  

May 27 - 30, 2016