Page 1 georgiatoday

Issue no: 797

• NOVEMBER 27 - 30, 2015



In this week’s issue... Georgian Defense Minister on Provoking Russia



Georgian Borders, ISIS videos and Ethnic Azerbaijani villages


Avoiding the Marching Orders: Ogden on Visas


UNDP Holds Climate Change Conference


The Rose Revolution: Then and Now OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA


xactly 12 years has passed since the evening of November 23rd, when, at 8.00 pm, President Eduard Shevardnadze announced his decision to “go home” in front of journalists and demonstrators at the Krtsanisi Governmental Residence. His resignation was preceded by the invasion of the Session Hall of Parliament by demonstrators ‘armed’ with roses, protesting rigged elections. This is how the tempestuous epoch of the former Secretary of the Central Committee and one of the architects of Perestroika ended in Georgia and how the no-less tempestuous and tense epoch of Mikheil Saakashvili began. Today, the events associated with the Rose

Revolution have more opponents than anyone could have imagined. Even the active participants of the Revolution believe that the decision, made 12 years ago on the cold evening of the St. George Holiday, was incorrect. Film director Eldar Shengelaia, officially regarded as one of the godfathers of the title - Rose Revolution - thinks that invading the Parliament building was a mistake and that it would have been better if everything had been done through elections rather than revolution. Saakashvili’s government corrected this ‘mistake’ 9 years later when the government left after losing the elections, which once again highlights the existence of progress. Hopefully, the government under the Georgian Dream will reveal not only the necessary ‘intellect’ but also the political will and responsibility to build a continuous mechanism for changes of government, in order to bring the country out of the vicious cyclical ‘from revolution to revolution’.

As for other results of the Rose Revolution, as they love saying in the former governmental party, President Saakashvili took over an Africantype of Georgia and turned it into a Western-like political unit. But, did he? The main argument of his opponents is that the Western-type government should be democratic and that Georgia did not fulfill this criterion. Furthermore, the fact that the power concentrated in the hands of Saakashvili and those surrounding him was even greater than that of his predecessor Shevardnadze, which means that in terms of democracy, the Rose Revolution turned out to be a step backwards. This is what Georgian opponents from the government and also what some Western scholars say. Although Saakashvili’s Georgia was surely far from the ideals of democracy, we use relative measurements while measuring the progress and not absolute ones. Continued on page 6


Interview with Author of Memory of Water CULTURE PAGE 13

Tbilisi to Host World Youth Weightlifting Competition SPORTS PAGE 15


Kazakhstan Today Publication of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Georgia




NOVEMBER 27 - 30, 2015

Terrorism Threat in Georgia is Not High


he Deputy Head of the Administration of the State Security Service of Georgia, Nino Giorgobiani, has stated that the terrorism threat level in Georgia is not high. According to Giorgobiani, in light of current developments in the world, it is obvious that risks are increased everywhere. She highlighted that the State Security Service of Georgia is taking relevant measures regarding terrorism threats.

“Therefore, safety measures are being reinforced. According to the existing information, at this stage, the threat of terrorism in Georgia is not high. But, in the worldwide and regional context, risks, of course, cannot be excluded. The State Security Service has launched investigation into every particular case which may be connected to the security of Georgia. In order to prevent any possible threat, every department of the service is mobilized,” she said.

Armenia and Georgia Introduce European Standards in Border Management

ProCredit Bank Hosts Charity Exhibition and Sale



he Bagratashen-Sadakhlo border crossing point between Armenia and Georgia has seen one of the most important projects within the last two years. In the framework of the Integrated Border Management (IBM) project, both countries made changes at the legislative level, improved the skills of border officials, built new infrastructure and purchased new equipment. The IBM project aimed to reduce barriers for trade, transit and movement of people across the Bagratashen-Sadakhlo border crossing point and was funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The summary conference was held in Tbilisi on November 25. “Every day we talk about border security, migration flow and borders being open for economic development,” said Shombi Sharp, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Georgia. “In this case, it is important to develop strong border management and especially integrated border management. Our project was extremely successful and I am pleased to say that today Georgia’s borders and borders in the South Caucasus region are safer, more secure, but remain open

roCredit Bank is hosting a charity exhibition and sale at its Head Office on 21 Al. Kazbegi Avenue from 24 November to 27 November, where 80 works by Rashid Tordia, Keti Matabeli, Nino Chakvetadze and other famous Georgian artists, painters and photographers are presented. The exhibition, organized by the charity foundation “Gvtisshvilebi”, is being held on the ProCredit Bank Georgia premises for the second year. As in the previous year, all the money raised will be transferred to the charity foundation and will be used to assist children with limited capabilities and their families. The exhibition opened on 24 November and can be visited daily from 12:00pm

to 5:00pm until 27 November. The event is open to the public and the works exhibited are also up for sale. Interested parties may view the works of art on the ProCredit Bank Facebook page. Nato Bochorishvili, Head of Marketing at ProCredit Bank: “We are very pleased to support the charity initiative of “Gvtisshvilebi”. In addition to giving art lovers the opportunity to purchase fine works of art at special prices, people with limited capabilities will benefit from these sales. These individuals are the brightest and most deserving members of our society and they have time and time again proven that their capabilities are actually unlimited. It is our duty to stand with these people.”


Giorgi Tabuashvili, First Deputy Minister of Finance of Georgia and Head of Revenue Service and Shombi Sharp, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Georgia, at the summary conference regarding border management. Photos by Vladimer Valishvili/ UNDP Georgia

in this challenging time. We have already reached certain achievements and are looking forward to continuing this important work.” With a budget of 4.3 million Euros, the project helped the governments of Armenia and Georgia to tackle smuggling and trafficking, ease people’s movement at the Bagratashen-Sadakhlo border crossing point, equip and train border guards, and promote professional cooperation between the border management agencies of the two countries. The EU and UNDP also assisted the Government of Georgia to prepare and endorse the Border Management Strategy of Georgia for 2014-2018. In addition, in the framework of the IBM project, both countries adopted and drafted Standard Operating Procedures for border crossing points (BCPs) as well as other important documents. Sadakhlo BCP was equipped with a stationary x-ray truck scanner, incinerators and borescope cameras, fifteen passport readers, and eighteen automatic number plate recognition systems were purchased and installed at all GeorgianArmenian BCPs. The Armenian side also purchased x-ray imaging inspection sets, ten passport readers and other office equipment. First Deputy Minister of Finance of Georgia and Head of Revenue Service, Giorgi Tabuashvili noted that the Bagratashen-Sadakhlo border crossing

point is a very important economic object, especially now, when Armenian became a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, and it is expected to increase the number of goods passing from Russia to Armenia through the territory of Georgia. “The IBM improvement will also support economic development between Georgia and Armenia,” Tabuashvili highlighted. “Neighbor countries are our main regional partners- that is why we pay special attention to BCP development with Armenia, as well as with Azerbaijan and Turkey. In this case, we have advanced a little further with Turkey – implementing a system through which cargo documented in the Turkish Customs is automatically displayed at our customs, and vice versa. This greatly simplifies and speeds up the process, which is vital for numerous businesses. We are interested in doing the same at Armenian and Azerbaijan BCPs,” Tabuashvili added. The initiative at the Bagratashen-Sadakhlo border crossing point is a part of the European Union assistance to the South Caucasus countries to introduce integrated Border Management, recognized as one of the most effective tools to maintain open but secure and controlled borders. A similar project is to be implemented at the land border between Azerbaijan and Georgia in the near future.



Georgian Annual National Program Assessed Positively at NATO-Georgia Commission


t a NATO-Georgia Commission session held in Brussels this week, Georgian Minister for Europe and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Davit Bakradze, and Deputy Foreign Minister, Davit Dondua, discussed the issue of the 2015 Annual National Program (ANP) which Georgia has been working to fulfil since the NATO Bucharest Summit in 2008. The Euro Integration Ministry stated that the permanent representatives of the Alliance member countries have positively assessed the reforms conducted within the framework of the Annual National Program (ANP). According to the Ministry, regional security, as well as Georgia’s occupied regions, were discussed during the session. “The permanent representatives confirmed NATO’s support towards Georgia’s territorial integrity and sov-

NOVEMBER 27 - 30, 2015

Georgia Austere in Fight against IS

Davit Bakradze, Georgian Minister for Europe and Euro-Atlantic Integration, and Davit Dondua, Deputy Foreign Minister



ereignty as well as its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.” Georgia was thanked for her participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Resolute Support Missions in Afghanistan.

The permanent representatives confirmed NATO’s support towards Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty as well as its Euro-Atlantic aspirations



he Counterterrorist Center of the Georgian State Security Service held a Georgian citizen, Davit Borchashvili, 29, on terrorism charges following his return to Georgia this week. It says that Borchashvili was charged according to Article 238 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, pertaining to affiliation with a foreign terrorist organization or assisting a terrorist organization. As Borchashvili’s lawyer Gela Nikolaishvili claimed, the young man had been in Syria, however, he rules out any ties with the Islamic State (IS). Nikolaishvili told Rustavi 2 that his client has been connected to fighters against [Syrian President] Assad’s regime and the Islamic State. “This is a free army of Syria, which is supported by democratic western states,” said Nikolaishvili. On Tuesday, Tbilisi City Court ordered the pre-trial detention of Davit Borchashvili on the basis of a reasonable doubt that the defendant may go into hiding and/or hinder the process of obtaining evidence. If found guilty, Davit Borchashvili will face imprisonment from 12 to 15 years. Following the arrest of Borchashvili,

Clip of the video released following the arrest of Borchashvili. The video showed ISIS fighters speaking in Georgian and addressing the Muslim population of Georgia

alleged representatives of the so-called Islamic State (IS) released a video which showed fighters speaking in Georgian and addressing the Muslim population of Georgia. The fighters urged them to support the ‘Islamic Caliphate’. The fighters threatened to establish a ‘Caliphate’ in Georgia. One of the extremists stated, “I would like to address the faithless people living in Georgia that have been fighting Islam for a long time. Everybody who has acted against Islam, no matter in Iraq or Afghanistan, will be judged by God’s law.” The address, published on sendvid. com, emphasized that “God is very strict,” and called on people to stop persecuting Muslims. “Your actions against the Muslim will not remain unanswered. Everybody will be accountable for it.” Another group of fighters threatened Muslim Khoja and Muftis living in Adjara (Georgia), accusing them of misleading people. “You will pay for what you have done. Be afraid of Allah,” the group stated. Ilia Gobadze, a father of one of the fighters shown in the video, claimed that the video is aimed only at spreading panic and intimidating people. He boldly declared, “no one will come and blow us up.” The head of the Press and Public Relations Department of the State Security Service, Nino Giorgobiani,

posted an update on her Facebook page telling the Georgian media not to contribute to the spreading of the video footage via the internet. “I ask the media not to contribute to spreading the threatening video footage via the internet for the sake of public security. The State Security Service is working on the issue. An investigation has already been launched,” Giorgobiani’s post read.

ANALYSIS: What threat could IS and those Georgian citizens contributing to the radical Islamist group pose to the country? Syria has become a battlefield for both power projection, fighting against terrorism, championing economic interests and speculating on the lives of hundreds of thousands of the dead since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. The tension has solidified further since the Paris terrorist attack of November 13. It seems that IS recruiters have found leverage among Georgia’s Muslim population. Since the Paris attack, the Government of Georgia has increased border control, and has prevented over 400 foreigners from entering the country during the last ten days. The government has announced that [they] will continue cooperation with Georgia’s international partners, including in the exchange of information.




A Threat Ignored? Ethnic Azerbaijanis Increasingly Inclined to Radicalism BY TURAL GURBANLI


oung ethnic Azerbaijani writer, Joshgun Jafar, thinks poor education of ethnic Azerbaijani people living in Georgia is the reason for many problems, including the fact that missionaries of Sunni and Shiite directions of Islam get easy access to the young uneducated Muslim population here. He wants to see progressive, educated, tolerant and capable peers who respect others’ opinions and freedom. “I became the target of many threats, even death threats, because of my critical articles about the recent increasing inclination of ethnic Azerbaijanis living in Georgia towards religious fanaticism, Sharia laws, and life with outdated stereotypes. This further proves that ethnic Azerbaijani people are more and more inclined to radicalism,” said Joshgun Jafar, who lives in Muganli village of the Gardabani municipality. Joshgun is the only one among his brothers and sisters who has received higher education. “Our family tried hard to provide high education at least for me. I received a diploma of philosophy in Iran. I am very concerned about my friends not being able to get a normal education. I tried not to remain indifferent to this problem. I think through my poetry and articles I can reveal many issues from a different perspective.”

“Missionaries from Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia spend a lot of money on religious propaganda in the regions of Georgia predominantly inhabited by Muslims. In response to that, the Government of Georgia does nothing. It is a very important issue – religious radicalization might become a reason for controversy and provocation in society. They have already started convicting people under the Sharia Law in Azerbaijani populated villages [here].” A resident of Karajala village in Telavi district was convicted under the Sharia Law and had his finger cut off. Karajala village attorney of Telavi District Administration, Alasgar Sardarov, has spoken openly of the threat of Wahhabism throughout the past five years: “Several years ago, youth from Turkey began a program of propaganda on radical religious ideas. Nobody doubted that they had other plans, too. A short time later they grew beards and began dressing in short trousers. Cutting off a finger is nothing to a Wahhabi. One man had this done to him because he stole a cow, and this was supported as the punishment for thievery according to their religion.” Telavi district is located close to the Kist inhabited Pankisi Gorge. Telavi Municipal Board Deputy Chairman Ruslan Ashurov said, unlike most ethnic Azerbaijani inhabited villages, Karajala village has good social infrastructure and the population is more educated, with the majority of locals having knowl-

Elza Ashurova, Karajala village school director: “Children who are close to radicals or are members of such families do not come to class during the fasting period.”

edge of the Georgian language. However, the ‘missionaries’ are still attracting more and more into their group. Near the butcher’s where the man had his finger cut off, a young man, who calls himself a member of the ‘Sunni promotion society’ and a ‘believer,’ claims he has over 350 friends. “According to our religion, every Muslim should live and die for Jihad. Death is also a mission. If you are Muslim, you must not be afraid of death at all and you must always be ready for it.” Karajala village school director Elza Ashurova said the influence of Salafists has been increasing over the past years and more and more children are skipping lessons. “Children who are close to radicals or are members of such families do not come to class during the fasting period. I tried several times to persuade the Akhund of the mosque to let the children go to the mosque after lessons. But he refused, telling me there is a fixed time for praying to Allah and it is of utmost importance to do so.” Ashurova said that teachers have found

religious materials in the computers of the first-grade pupils. Interviews with pupils revealed that parents recorded these programs in their computers and requested children to learn the materials by heart. Some parents do not allow their children to participate in certain school events because of their religion. According to Zaza Vashakmadze, Head of the State Committee of Georgia on religious issues, they are aware of the increasing inclination of people towards radical religious movements not only in Telavi but also in other regions. “There are people among the Muslims, mostly ethnic Azerbaijanis, that have connections with radical religious groups,” Vashakmadze said. “We know about it but cannot interfere unless we receive complaints from those regions and so far nobody has reported any interference in their private lives. Therefore, from a legal point of view, it is impossible for us to do anything.” Sheikh of the Georgian Muslim Department Ramin Igidov said attention is not being paid to the increased radical reli-

gious teachings in villages in the Kvemo Kartli region. “Recently, the number of ethnic Azerbaijani people going to fight in Syria has increased. Apparently, the government has faced some problems in the fight against this problem. It is difficult because all their efforts are evaluated as restriction of the freedom of religion.” Georgian Parliamentarian Mahir Derziev said the radical direction of religion became strong in Georgia during Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency. “Wahhabis arrived in Georgia from other countries and settled in Pankisi Gorge with the permission of the previous government. Since local radicals are against the Assad regime, Saakashvili’s government supported them in everything. Saakashvili has left and this problem is still unresolved.” Leader of the Public Movement ‘Dignity in Georgia,’ Alibala Asgarov, said the government is not interested in the problems of religious radicalism. “Apparently, the Government of Georgia does not perceive it as threat to their people and does not hurry to interfere.”



Georgian Defense Minister on Provoking Russia BY ZVIAD ADZINBAIA


eorgia Defense Minister Tinatin Khidasheli attended the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada last week, participating in the plenary session “Cooperate, Contain, or Conquer: Prioritizing Strategy 70 Years On.” According to the Defense Ministry (MOD), the session covered the global challenges that have emerged during the last 70 years since World War II. The Minister talked about the last two decades and discussed how the West was ready for the challenges resulting from the fall of the Berlin War and the Soviet Union and what should be done to cope with future threats.

The MOD says one of the important topics of discussion at the Forum, along with Syria and related threats, was Russia, with the question: Russia – partner or threat? “Georgia has many friends and partners. Our main challenge was to talk about more guarantees against a background of any type of relationship and dialogue with Russia and to get assurance that this won’t damage the interests of partner countries,” Khidasheli said. Delivering a speech to the conference panel, Khidasheli appealed to the international community to take resolute and determined steps. “I disagree with the idea that the US or any other European ally is abandoning a small nation, be it Georgia or any other country. This has become a very popular question since the publication of the photo showing Obama and Putin


NOVEMBER 27 - 30, 2015

Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue Meeting in Tbilisi Underway

Georgian Defense Minister Tinatin Khidasheli participating in the panel of the Halifax Conference

at a table talking like the best of friends. I don’t think this is abandonment but what is missing from this picture is the realization that we can talk and cut whatever deals with Russia we want but it needs to be accompanied with a positive agenda towards those countries who have been partners over the years, throughout the history of independence!” the Georgian minister declared. Khidasheli went on to explain that there are countries who want to be a part of the world, as Georgia does. “Then we see competition on the side of Washington, on the side of civilization, human rights, democracy, and rule of law. Have [such countries] on board – this is the answer.” Responding to the Forum moderator, who said provoking Moscow deliberately could be one of the reasons for the Rus-

sian aggression of 2008, Khidasheli said that “provoking Russia” are two words which should not be spoken to a Georgian. “It will be the end of the discussion for you,” she added. As the Defense Minister said, anything sovereign Georgia does tomorrow might be considered a provocation, another provocation that will serve as a good reason for Russia to act again. She expressed disappointment that, after Ukraine and Georgia, this discussion about somebody doing something provocative towards Russia still occurs. Before the Halifax Conference, Tinatin Khidasheli participated in a multilateral format organized by the United States Department of Defense involving defense ministers of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Latvia, Albania, former Republic of Yugoslavia-Macedonia and the Chief of Defense of General Staff of Poland.

The Rose Revolution: Then and Now Continued from page 1

Progress in this case has a clear and measurable indicator: the difference between the Rose Revolution of 2003 and October Elections of 2012- that is the difference between the revolutionary and constitutional replacement of the government. The question of whether present reality is much better than the one we had in

2003 can be answered simply by closing our eyes for a minute and imagining a country in which public institutions are managed by governmental representatives alongside thieves-in-law, and where corruption is flourishing to such extent that giving bribes is the only solution for an average citizen; where the economy and society is in constant crisis and there is no trustworthy supplier of electricity and gas and where power shortages last

for weeks in some regions. The roads are full of potholes. And the streets and prisons are controlled by criminal gangs. Mugging, burglary, car theft and kidnapping for ransom are commonplace. Businesses operate in the shadows, illegally and under the umbrella of crime. Where more than 200 000 IDPs from the occupied territories are scattered across the country, the majority lacking shelter and all dependent practically only on financial

support from the government. And where the most popular product for export is scrap-metal. This was Georgia in 2003. So, instead of talking about the past, I think everyone should now be talking about the future. While many of the objectives of the Rose Revolution are still unattained, we can freely say that moving towards them has become irrevocable – the genie is out and nobody can force him back into the bottle.



bilisi is hosting the 6th Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue. The Georgian Foreign Ministry states that the focus of the event, which brings together Foreign Ministers of the partner countries, will be foreign policy issues as well as health issues. Foreign and Health Ministers of the Eastern Partnership countries have been invited to participate in the meeting. According to the MFA, EU Commissioner for the European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, and Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, Helga Schmid, have come to Tbilisi to participate in the Dialogue. The meeting will focus on the progress made with the cooperation agreed upon at the Riga Summit, and on prospects for the enhancement of cooperation, given the results of the reviewed European Neighborhood Policy.

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NOVEMBER 27 - 30, 2015

Russian Visa-facilitation and Wrestling with the EU BY ZVIAD ADZINBAIA


ast week, the Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Russia, Zurab Abashidze, and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, met in Prague to discuss tradeeconomic, transport and humanitarian issues, including matters related to the occupation. The Georgian government says that Zurab Abashidze raised issues of the systematic arrests of Georgian citizens in the Tskhinvali region, restriction of the Georgian language in educational institutions of the Gali district (Abkhazia) and the erection of wire fences in Georgia-controlled territories. “It was underlined that Russia’s steps violate international law, as well as the territorial integrity and the principle of sovereignty of Georgia.” The government added that trade revenue between the two countries has decreased by 8.9% during the last nine months, however, the trend in transfer of cargo and passengers from

Trade revenue between [Russia and Georgia] has decreased by 8.9% during the last nine months [but] the transfer of cargo and passengers from Georgia to Russia has been increasing

Caricature of Russian president Vladimir Putin on a tank invading Georgia. Source:

Georgia to Russia has been increasing. In addition, the information released by the Russian Foreign Ministry concerning visa-facilitation for Georgian citizens has been confi rmed. The Georgian government cited the Russian side is working on the topic. Meanwhile, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, talking with EurActiv regarding the country’s European future early this month, called the possible EU-visa liberalization “a logical next step.” “Georgia’s path towards EU integration is irreversible. Some 80 percent of Georgians want closer relations with the EU. It

was acknowledged that the benefits for the EU are obvious. Georgia is a success story for the Eastern Partnership and for EU soft power,” Garibashvili underlined. He emphasized that the logical next step on our European journey is visa liberalization. “This is fundamental to the implementation of our Association Agreement with the EU. Without visa-free travel across Europe for Georgians, we cannot make further progress on the people-to-people exchanges that will really cement EU values in our country and region.”

ANALYSIS: The rhetoric of Georgian civil society, opposition and openly pro-western parties is dissimilar from the one of the government, which claims a facilitated visaregime will benefit Georgia, while the two countries have tough diplomatic relations over the Russian occupation. Moreover, the Russian side threw a subtle hint for the Georgian government to consider possible refurbishment of diplomatic relations, which were tarnished when Russia invaded Georgia back in 2008. On the other hand, even a nascent eye can conclude that Russia’s efforts to drag Georgia into its sphere of influence is nontrivial.

In fact, Russia has widely incorporated its ‘fifth column’ and soft power elements under the umbrella of its Orthodox church and “shared past”, notwithstanding the informational propaganda throughout the country largely disseminating anti-western ideals among citizens of Georgia. Has the Karasin-Abashidze format become a quasi diplomatic channel for the two countries? Will the Georgian people and citizens of Georgia fall prey to Russia’s tempting visa-facilitation? Will the EU, instead, make a real step in December to liberalize the visa-regime for Georgia?



Internet sources are contradictory, and even Georgian border officers seem to be at something of a loss. The true victims are people like my friend from South Africa, who, having already had his permanent residency rejected (due to him being designated ‘dangerous’; difficult to believe, seeing as a strong wind looks as though it would knock him over and he teaches English for a living, which is not famously a profession which grants people access to high explosives) was then forced to pay a visa penalty when travelling to Turkey. According to the new law, he was still within his original leave to remain. This, of course, could be put down to the confusion or incompetence of the officers in question, but another case of my Iranian friend having her refugee

Avoiding the Marching Orders: Ogden on Visas OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN


took Georgian citizenship three years ago during the Saakashvili era, mostly due to the misguided notion that I should buy a rifle and pistol in case the Russians came back. Not that I had any intent to recreate Custer’s Last Stand on Mtatsminda Mountain, nor am I like those Americans one reads about who stockpile guns, dry food and water in cellars (which they usually refer to as their ‘bunker’, or worse yet, ‘command center’); the kind of people to whom a combined Russian, Chinese and North Korean invasion of the United States would fulfil a martial fantasy. I’m not like that at all; I just felt that I’d rather be armed than not, undoubtedly a result of my own military service. Not, of course, that I could do much alone; I left the Army as tough as a buttered muffin, and during my service frequently

lic). Besides which, I’m fairly confident that in the event of a Russian invasion, I would find myself travelling at high speed to the British Embassy to bash my passport against the window and bawl for consular assistance. Yet despite my selfish and eccentric reasons for wanting to become a Georgian citizen (which I took care not to put on my application, you may be sure; it almost feels a shame to tell the truth now), it ended up being rather a good idea. There are certain hazards, of course – for one thing, I am now eligible to be called up to the Georgian Army (though if the Ministry of Defense think they can get me in a uniform, they can think again. My soldiering days ended in 2010, and it can damn well stay that way. Besides which, between ourselves, I think that my Georgian language skills, which don’t go much beyond going to shops or barking at taxi drivers, would be rather detrimental to the Georgian war effort), and as far as I know, I could also be

After a few months of listening to my foreign friends complaining about the visa regulations and smugly contemplating my Georgian citizenship (and looking over my shoulder to see if any Georgian sergeant-major was preparing to drag me off to the Army), the visa laws were reversed – and apparently then reversed again relied on the skill of better men to keep me safe (from outraged platoon sergeants rather than the enemy), and these days I’m sure I couldn’t even defend my home against a determined group of Girl Scouts, but back then I still wanted to own a rifle. It is, then, perhaps rather ironic that I did indeed become a Georgian citizen (in those days they were giving them out like Mars bars, providing you were from the right sort of place, by which I mean any country west of Poland), but never actually bothered to buy any guns. The risk of renewed warfare died down considerably after the Russians decided that shooting Georgians was, really, a fashion of 2008, and slaughtering Ukrainians became ‘the thing’, so I was spared from having to do my best Rambo impression (and probably getting shot by the police for endangering the pub-

ordered to do jury duty. God help The System, I say. The biggest bonus has been the fact that I no longer need any sort of visa stamp or permanent residency card. This never seemed to be of much importance until last year; I usually travel back to Europe a few times a year, and whenever I came back to Tbilisi my passport would be stamped once again, granting me another 365 days in Georgia with no negative consequences apart from the raised eyebrow of the border control officer. Indeed, I’ve always had more trouble from the British border police – when travelling back to Tbilisi one day and confronted by a police officer with the enquiry ‘Whut you doin’ aht there, then?’, I was rather at a loss for words. It was only after fifteen minutes of explaining my turbulent love life - which was anchored in Tbilisi -

that the officer sighed and told me ‘Gawan, then. Bugger off’. The problems began last year, when the new government changed the visa laws, apparently due to some mad notion that if they made their border regulations tighter they would be closer to achieving ‘European standards’. What exactly European standards are still seems to be something of a mystery, and getting them could well be described as being as easy as finding the Holy Grail (incidentally, I imagine that Georgians, being impetuous and passionate, would probably break the Holy Grail in their hurry to get at it; there’s a nice analogy there, somewhere). It was doubly ironic that European and American citizens, who do not need visas to visit each other’s countries, were then required by law to return to their homelands at the end of their visa term and reapply at the Georgian embassy in their country. If these mythical ‘European standards’ are supposed to be the same ones that are applied in the European Union, then neither Americans nor EU citizens should need visas (European visa standards, presumably, include European citizens). I wasn’t aware of the tighter visa laws until I went home in December, and the border police officer then informed me that I had outstayed my visa term. Since he told all of this to me in Georgian (I wasn’t sure what it was about my appearance or my British passport which suggested I was fluent in Georgian), I did what English people usually do when confronted with an angry-looking foreigner speaking his foreign language, which was to nod and smile placidly. This caused me to be led to another kiosk, wherein a penalty fee was demanded from me for outstaying my welcome; comprehension then took hold, and I proudly produced my Georgian citizenship ID card, hoping that we’d all be friends now and have a chorus of For Eg Aris Erti Jolly Good Fellow. Not so – I gathered that I should have mentioned my citizenship earlier, but I did at least save the police officer from having to fill in the penalty forms, which caused him to wish me a good flight in a tone of voice which suggested he hoped my aircraft would be hit by a wayward Russian missile. After a few months of listening to my foreign friends complaining about the visa regulations and smugly contemplating my Georgian citizenship (and looking over my shoulder to see if any Georgian sergeant-major was preparing to drag me off to the Army), the visa laws were reversed – and apparently then reversed again, and once more – so that in theory Europeans once again have the right to stay for a year without any additional visa. I was baffled, then, on returning home again in July to have to reproduce my Georgian ID since I had once again apparently outstayed my visa term. The


status rescinded for no good reason is rather more alarming. Though there is still hope since her court hearing is scheduled in six months’ time (she’s another one who’s been labelled as being ‘dangerous’, you’ll be charmed to know), one might have thought since she had already been granted leave to remain, the government might stick by its word. Besides annoying police officers with my lack of understanding as to when exactly I should show my Georgian ID at the airport, I personally have little to fear (except perhaps being blown up in another Russo-Georgian war, but that’s another story), but it is frustrating, infuriating, and above all rather tragic to see good people who really do want to live in Georgia are denied the chance to do so.




NOVEMBER 27 - 30, 2015

21st Century and Healthcare Bernard Kouchner: Challenges: Tbilisi Hosts Generics International Health Need to Conference Be Offered to Public at Affordable Prices


he Ministry of Health, together with international consulting company Global Alliance, hosted the conference- Healthcare Challenges in the 21st Century. Georgian authorities as well Georgian doctors attended the conference. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili opened the conference and stressed the importance of the implemented programs in healthcare and the overall welfare of society. The Minister of Health, David Sergeenko, noted that Georgia has overcome the main challenges and implemented reforms successfully. The main directions and challenges of Georgia’s healthcare reforms were then discussed. Ex-French Foreign and Health Minister

who visited Georgia under his mandate as Chairman of Supervisory Board of Global Alliance, the international consulting firm that advises Georgia’s Ministry of Healthcare on Universal Healthcare Reform, assessed Hepatitis C elimination, universal and primary healthcare programs and talked about other future prospects. “You are already working to make progress in medicine; Georgia is the first country in the world on the way to eradication of Hepatitis C and it not only started but more than 5000 patients are already receiving drugs and are clear from the virus. That said, I would like to mention that uniting public and private sector efforts is important for achieving better investment opportunities. For this, Georgia needs more regulations.”


oard chairperson of the Global Alliance and former French Foreign and Health Minister Bernard Kouchner attended an international health conference in Tbilisi and made a few remarks regarding Generic drugs, noting that it is a must to offer public generics at affordable, low prices. “When a citizen feels he/she is able to buy Generic drugs which are produced in India, it is important for them to be

Bernard Kouchner Meets Georgia’s Medical Students


ormer Foreign and Health Minister of France Bernard Kouchner held a meeting at the Tbilisi State Medical University with students during which he talked about current and future prospects of the Georgian healthcare system. “Georgia needs to resist that great pressure which comes from its soviet heritage. Changing this is difficult and expensive, but Mr.Sergeenko has the desire to change and fully adjust the

healthcare system. The first obstacle is conservatism in doctors,” Kouchner said. “Georgia is on the right path to change.” Kouchner, who is the Board chairperson of the Global Alliance Health Organization and co-founder of the union Doctors without Borders, arrived in Georgia at the invitation of Health Minister David Sergeenko. Minister Sergeenko noted Bernard Kouchner’s involvement in health care

reforms will provide Georgia with access to world health care experience and international support. “I think that this visit will be the basis for a new step in strategic planning for the Georgian healthcare system. This is the beginning of a new cooperation, which I am sure will be successful,” the Minister stated. Kouchner was awarded the title of Honored Professor by the Rector of TSMU, Zurab Vadachkoria.

Board chairperson of the Global Alliance and former French Foreign and Health Minister Bernard Kouchner attended an international health conference in Tbilisi

offered at low prices, however, this system needs to be constantly controlled,” Bernard Kouchner said. “I remember the time when we were starting reforms in my country- providing affordability on Generics was tough because people didn’t trust new medicines. This is why Georgia has to work hard with citizens and groups of doctors to boost trust. The doctor should explain to his/her patient what generic drugs are and, of

course, the involvement of the Ministry of Health is also vital. You need to make a choice between a country’s budget and its healthcare,” he said. “France offered healthcare insurance but the process to create that whole system was long and hard. Now we have a united healthcare system but it is costly. We offer the option of a system which answers to general affordability and medicine progress issues.


9,8 ha non-agricultural, privately owned parcel for industrial use (cadaster code # located next to Tbilisi Airport Address: Airport settlement, Samgori district, Tbilisi Tel: +995 599 529 529




New 6-in-1 Vaccine Now Available for Georgians BY EKA KARSAULIDZE

Teimuraz Murgulia, Deputy Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia with Shombi Sharp, Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia at a Georgian pre-Paris Climate Change Conference

UNDP Holds Climate Change Conference BY MERI TALIASHVILI


rior to the Paris Climate Change Conference to be held from November 30 to December 1 in France, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia organized a conference with the assistance of the United Nations Development Program in Georgia (UNDP) to discuss Georgia’s plans and how it will respond to climate change challenges.

The Conference was opened by the Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia, Shombi Sharp, and the Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, Teimuraz Murgulia, and was attended by representatives of government, civil societies and international organizations. “Climate change is one of the core development challenges the world is facing in terms of sustainable development,” said Shombi Sharp. “Georgia is a very exceptional country in many ways but unfortunately not exceptional to the threats and impacts of climate change. According to the available data,

the impacts of climate change are already quite severe and growing within the Southern Caucasus region. So we must come together to take action.” Georgia, as a responsible member of the international community, is going to take part in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December 2015 and contribute to this process. A high-level delegation from Georgia will be led by the Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. The Convention aims to achieve the universal agreement on climate for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations.

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


eorgia has entered a new phase of immunization with vaccination for Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (acellular, component), Hepatitis B (rDNA), Poliomyelitis (inactivated) and Haemophilus Influenzae Type B now available in just one injection. Representatives of Sanofi Pasteur introduced the innovative Hexaxim (DTPa-hepB-IPV-Hib) vaccine, which will simplify the process of vaccination of newborn children and totally meet government standards. According to recent changes in the State Vaccination Schedule of Georgia, this vaccine will be available free of charge for all the country’s beneficiaries from December 1. The State immunization budget must increase by approximately 80% for the purchase of Hexaxim. Despite the fact that this is seriously damaging to the State budget, representatives of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) of Georgia said that it is well worth it. “Vaccination saves 2-3 million children’s lives every year,” said Dr. Lia Chabidze, Head of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia. “With this new Hexaxim vaccine, you will be able to get just one injection instead of two, as it was in the past, and protect your child against six infectious diseases. Hexaxim can be given to children from six weeks of age as a part of State Vaccination Schedule.”

“As in all developed countries, children in Georgia take their doze of vaccination against DTPa-hepB-IPV-Hib. It is clear that injecting this number of monovalent vaccines is irrational. Therefore, we will now use a modern combination of vaccines, which is endorsed by the World Health Organization,” she added. Sanofi Pasteur representatives offered six advantages to the Hexaxim vaccine: it guarantees a high level of protection, it is safe, children undergo less stress due to fewer injections, it is easy to use and can be taken along with other vaccinations, and, most importantly, you can absolutely trust Sanofi Pasteur’s products. Hexaxim has been available since 2013

Photo of the Hexaxim vaccine from www.

and is used in leading European countries including Germany, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Croatia, and Poland. Georgia is now the first country in the region to include it as a part of the State program. The vaccine received a positive scientific evaluation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in June 2012 as part of a procedure designed to evaluate medicinal products intended for markets outside the European Union.




NOVEMBER 27 - 30, 2015

Diversions: Becho, Svaneti BY TONY HANMER


s a relative newcomer to the scene in Becho, 10 km closer to Mestia than my “home” village of Etseri, I am slowly learning the ropes as I spend a couple of days a week here teaching English in the main school. The two villages are similar in size but, as I mentioned previously, Becho seems to be considerably more popular with the tourists, mostly because of the huge presence of Mt Ushba at the top end. Here the straight-on Etseri view of the south peak is slightly rotated, so you can just see the north peak peering at you over its shoulder. You’ll have to go all the way to Mestia, though, to see the two, differing in height by a mere meter, side by side, having moved around about ninety degrees from the “start” position of my village. The main river in Becho is called the Dolra; there are also a few different mineral springs, no surprise as Georgia has around 2000 of these, all unique in content, a few even hot. The river has been the focus of furious discussion in the teachers’ room in Becho for my past few visits. And last week we even had an

impromptu schoolyard meeting about it with some visitors from Tbilisi. They were from the Ombudsman’s, or Public Defender’s, Office, and had come based on news of the great dissatisfaction of my colleagues and others over what has been proposed, and begun, as a project without their consent or even knowledge until seemingly too late. Outsiders were being seen around the village, not connected with its road improvement scheme which has recently been retired until the spring. They were measuring and surveying here and there, and eventually it was discovered that they represent plans to move the Dolra entirely from its current position. The plans are actually to pipe the river underground, on the other side of the houses which run alongside it now, and then to use the force of its new course to power the turbine for a new small hydroelectric plant. The amount of forest needing to be cleared for this? Apparently 40 hectares, useful land which is being used for firewood harvesting by the whole village; not to mention functioning naturally as an anti-erosion measure, holding the soil in place. The digging and piping will also, the villagers believe, affect detrimentally the

sources of a number of those precious mineral springs, likely cutting them off and destroying them. And, further, they don’t believe that there will be any economic benefit for the village’s population, that their location and resources will simply be exploited, the workers to come in from elsewhere, the electricity to go far away to much bigger concentrations of people, perhaps even abroad, to Turkey, for example. My colleagues had begun the laborious process of collecting signatures for a petition to halt investigation or work until their curiosity as to the overall benefits to them of all this has been satisfied. I was mostly an observer at the brief meeting, at which the above griev-

ances were aired. But I did quietly urge one of my colleagues to request an answer and some action from the Ombudsman’s Office, which apparently exists for just such purposes, and to let them know that something nebulous and non-committal would not suffice. Do you have their contact details? I asked. Then use them, and phone or email until you are indeed satisfied. These people are getting a salary to serve you, if you don’t know! It’s their job! Quite a few new hydroelectric projects on different scales have been begun in Svaneti in recent times, only the most infamous of which is the long-delayed and restarted huge main Enguri dam. The growing need for electricity in Geor-

gia does seem to be real. I just hope that greed and outside interests will not rule the proceedings at the expense of the people and ecology of magnificent Svaneti. These people have lived here for thousands of years and stuck it out in their isolation. They deserve to be an integral part of their province’s doings on all levels and in all spheres. Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1250 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:




Georgian Studies Forum Brings Together Leading Global Researchers, Linguists and Ethnologists BY SOPHO TALIASHVILI


n November 11-13, 2015 the first international forum dedicated to the problems and prospects of Georgian Studies was held in Tbilisi, with the help of Georgian National Academy of Sciences (GNAS), the Patriarchate of Georgia and the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU). All major areas of Georgian Studies (language, literature, history, archeology, ethnology, history of art) were presented at the Forum, which aimed to demonstrate that Georgian Studies are still developing successfully in leading scientific and educational centers around the globe. As a mark of this, present at the Forum were representatives of leading scientific institutions of France (Paris), the UK (London), Germany (Berlin), Romania (Bucharest), Russia (Moscow, Rostov, Chachneti, Ingushetia), Japan (Tokyo), Turkey (Ankara, Istanbul, Rize, Pamukale), Israel (Jerusalem), Azerbaijan (Baku), and Armenia (Yerevan). The foreign and Georgian participants met Honorary Chairman of the Congress Organizing Committee, CatholicosPatriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II on the territories of both GNAS and TSU. Academician Roin Metreveli, Chairman of the Organizing Committee and Vice-

President of GNAS welcomed the participants alongside G. Kvesitadze, Academican of GNAS; M. Giorgadze, Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia; Prof. B. Meskhi, Rector of Rostov Technical University; Sh. Gapurov, President of the Chechen Academy; Academician V. Papava, Rector of TSU; and Academician Matishov, Head of the South Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The focus was divided into three sections- linguistics, history of religion, and literature and art. 15 meetings were held and 115 reports were heard, amongst them the report of French Professor of Georgian Studies, Bernard Outtier, about the unknown Georgian manuscript that was found in Matenadaran and its importance for the history of Old Georgian. A report by German linguist Professor V. Boeder on the morphological and syntactic peculiarities of the Georgian language was discussed and Swedish linguist and ethnologist, Karena Walming introduced the diary of a Finnish Officer about travelling in Georgia in 1838-1839 which offered extremely valuable data about ethnographic life in Eastern Georgia of the time. Japanese researcher and Tokyo University Professor, Hirotake Maeda, discussed new Iranian material about G. Saakadze while Romanian researcher Professor Nicolae Duran presented the results of a long-term study of Anthimos the Iberian (17th century). The participation of for-

The recent Georgian Studies Forum focused on linguistics, history of religion, and literature and art

eign researchers of Georgian Studies gave the Forum international resonance. Their invaluable works for the study and popularization of Georgian language, history and culture, still continue. The majority of the reports will be published in the ‘Scientific Almanac of Black Sea Countries’ of the Don State Technical University, as well as in the next edition of the ‘Herald’ of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences. “It’s incredibly valuable to hear [from the international scientific community] such objective information about the historic past and contemporaneity, very

controversial issues of Georgian literature and art history,” said Roin Metreveli. “It’s a well-known fact that some issues of Georgian history and culture are sometimes biased or covered inaccurately by the media. So it’s very important when foreign researchers respond to such discussions.” During their stay, participants visited the Georgian National Museum, viewed the results of current archaeological excavations on Grakliani Hill (Kaspi Municipality) and saw the newly discovered ancient inscription (7tch century BC). They also visited Uplistsikhe, and

had the chance to tour the Stalin Museum in Gori. As well as discussing recent problems in the field of Georgian Studies, Forum participants made recommendations for the future. “Their recommendations are vital for the dynamic growth of Georgian Studies as much in Georgia as outside the country. New ideas were born, among them the need to compile a history of Caucasus. It was decided that an international forum will be held every three years on the subject of Georgian Studies,” said Metreveli.




NOVEMBER 27 - 30, 2015

Artist of the Month: William Kentridge, the Invention of Africa BY LILY KHOSITASHVILI


isual perception depends on the eye of the beholder. In his stereoscopic and anamorphic pieces, artist William Kentridge makes the central perspective recognisable as a Western hypothesis, and its conditions and its consequences perceptible. Kentridge’s silhouette collages inspire the viewer to reconsider how large a part the observer plays when making sense of something. In some of his works, Kentridge makes use of visuals and motives created by German Renaissance artists and adapts them into his own metaphorical language. The artist analyses the medium of black and white imagery, so reflecting the political and social upheavals of his time. The political content and unique techniques of Kentridge’s work have pro-

pelled him into the realm of South Africa’s top artists. Working with what is in essence a very restrictive media, using only charcoal and a touch of blue or red pastel, he has created animations of astounding depth. A theme running through all of his work is his peculiar way of representing his birthplace. While he does not portray it as the militant or oppressive place that it was for black people, he does not emphasize the picturesque state of living that white people enjoyed during apartheid either; he presents instead a city in which the duality of man is exposed. In a series of nine short films, he introduces two characters - Soho Eckstein and Felix Teitlebaum. These characters depict an emotional and political struggle that ultimately reflects the lives of many South Africans in the pre-democracy era. For the series, he used a technique that would become a feature of his work successive charcoal drawings, always on

the same sheet of paper, contrary to the traditional animation technique in which each movement is drawn on a separate sheet. In this way, Kentridge’s videos and films keep the traces of the previous drawings. His animations deal with political and social themes from a personal and, at times, autobiographical point of view, since the author includes his self-portrait in many of his works. In all of his animated works, the concepts of time and change make up a major theme. He conveys this through his erasure technique, the seamlessness of which de-emphasizes the fact that it is actually a succession of hand-drawn images. This he implements by drawing a key frame, erasing certain areas of it, re-drawing and thus creating the next

frame. He is able in this way to create as many frames as he wants based on the original key frame simply by erasing small sections. Traces of what has been erased are still visible to the viewer; as the films unfold, a sense of fading memory or the passing of time and the traces it leaves behind are portrayed. Kentridge’s technique grapples with what is not said; what remains suppressed or forgotten but can easily be felt. In the nine films that follow Soho Eckstein’s life, an increasing vehemence is placed on the health of the individual and on contemporary South African society. Conflicts between anarchic and bourgeois individualistic beliefs, again a reference to the duality of man, indicate the idea of social revolution by

poetically disfiguring surrounding buildings and landscapes. Kentridge states that, although his work does not focus on apartheid in a direct and overt manner, but rather on the contemporary state of Johannesburg, his drawings and films are certainly spawned by, and feed off of, the brutalized society that it left in its wake. As for more direct political issues, Kentridge says his art presents ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted movements and uncertain endings, all of which seem like insignificant subtleties but can be attributed to most of the calamity presented in his work. William Kentridge was born on 28 April 1955. He is one of the most prominent and influential South African artists, whose work reflects global concerns.

MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 Directed by Francis Lawrence Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 17:15, 20:00, 22:35 Ticket price: 11.50 – 13.50 Lari


November 26 - 30 BOOK FAIR


Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 November 27 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari November 28 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari November 29 AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari MARJANISHVILI THEATRE Address: 5 Marjanishvli Str. Telephone: 2 95 59 66 November 27 BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE Leonard Gershe Directed by Ani Khidesheli The Basement English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket Price: 8 Lari GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36

November 28 GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR N. Gogol Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Small Stage Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: From 5 Lari November 29 THE SCARLET FLOWER S. Aksakov Directed Vakhtang Nikolava Fairy Tale Small Stage Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 14:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 November 27, 29 SHAKESPEARE NELLA LIRICA Irina Ratiani’s Opera Art Association “Balcanto” Conductor: Gianluca Marciano Directed by Ketevan-Khatuna Bedeladze Choreography: Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 CIRCUS

Address: 1 The Heroes Sq. Telephone: 2 98 58 61 November 28, 29 CLOWN ASSEMBLY Start time: 15:00 Ticket price: From 10 Lari CINEMA AMIRANI CINEMA

SPECTRE Directed by Sam Mendes Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 14:00 Ticket price: 9.50 – 10.50 Lari MACBETH Directed by Justin Kurzel Cast: Michael Fassbender, Elizabeth Debicki, Marion Cotillard Genre: Drama, War Language: Russian Start time: 15:20 Ticket price: 10.50 – 11.50 Lari VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN Directed by Paul McGuigan Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 15:20 Ticket price: 10.50 – 11.50 Lari MUSEUM

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

Address: 36 Kostava Str. Telephone: 2 99 99 55


November 27 - 30 THE HUNGER GAMES:


November 20 – December 4 PAPER INNOVATION The works are presented from different countries of Europe, Asia, Latin and North America. ZURAB TSERETELI MUSEUM OF MODERN ART Address: 27 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 14 84 11, 2 98 60 04 November 26 DUCHAMP IS DEAD RODOLFO VILLAPLANA GALLERY

BAIA GALLERY Address: 10 Chardin Str Telephone: 2 75 45 10 November 21 – 30 Baia Gallery presents Dato Archil Sulakauri’s exhibition SPACE. ENCAUSTIC THE NATIONAL GALLERY

Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. November 7 – December 6 THE EXHIBITION OF SCENOGRAPHY by three Georgian artists – Oleg Kochakidze, Alexander Slovinsky, Yuri Chikvaidze. TBILISI BOOK DAYS Address: 116 Tsereteli Str., ExpoGeorgia Exhibition Center

November 26 - 30 EXHIBITIONS: Roger Mello (Brazil) Willy Puchner (Austria) Tom Schamp (Belgium) Christopher Myers (Usa) Linda Wolfsgruber (Austria) Picture Book Idea Contest/ Exhibition Of Submitted Work Hall 3 Virgam Virtual Publishers Scarecrows Ukrainian Illustrators Club Pictoric Prominent Ukrainians Hall 5 International Picture Book Exhibition Hall 11 Motto Distribution - Exhibition & Sale Peter Bankov: Posters Georgian Art Book Exhibition Niice Publishing Julie Hascoet And Romeo Julien Exhibition Spine Hall 6 RED SQUARE Address: 88 Paliashvili Str. Tel.: 577 74 77 45 November 25 – December 6 RED SQUARE gallery presents ELENE AKHVLEDIANI personal exhibition MUSIC

TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 November 27 ERISIONI 130 YEAR ANNIVERSARY Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 30, 40, 50 Lari



Georgian Woman Named Champion in World Senior Chess Championship


Georgia Today Interviews Emmi Iteranta, Author of Memory of Water


eorgia’s Nona Gaprindashvili became World Champion in the Women’s +65 category in the 25th World Senior Chess Championship 2015. She was the women’s World Champion from 1962 until 1978, and this is her 4th time as Senior World Champion. The tournament was split into four age groups and took place in Acqui Terme, Italy. Gaprindashvili gained 7.0 points in 9 rounds and won by 0.5 points against Georgia’s Tamar Khmiadashvili. As a result, the European and World Cup winner, Khmiadashvili, won silver in the senior category. Georgia didn’t have a player in this years +65 men’s category. Frenchman Vladimir Okhotnik took the gold medal with 9.5 points.



n the framework of The Tbilisi Book Days, Finnish writer Emmi Iteranta visited Georgia to talk about her bestselling book Memory of Water which was published in 2012 and acclaimed by the world. She currently resides in the UK and is a full time bilingual writer, writes in both Finnish and English and feels lucky to be in that position. She travels a lot and, while in Tbilisi, she expressed her pleasure at the love Georgians have of books. She considers books as a source of knowledge and the cheapest way of travelling in different worlds at different times. Georgia Today met up with her to talk about her bestselling book.


Tbilisi to Host World Youth Weightlifting Competition in 2016 city of Houston. The competition will be held in July. The exact date is yet to be announced. Tbilisi was represented in Houston by President of the National Federation of Youth Weightlifting in Georgia, Kakhi Kakhiashvili, Vice-President Zurab Bokholishvili and Deputy of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs in Georgia, Shalva Gogoladze.



bilisi will host the 2016 World Youth Weightlifting Competition. The decision was accepted by a commission from the International Federation in Youth Weightlifting, in the

Every step of the journey has been a surprise.

I was born in Tampere, Finland. In my early twenties I decided to study Drama and Film studies in the United Kingdom. Then I returned to Finland and finished my degree and started doing lots of odd jobs. I worked as a press officer, as a journalist, a theatre critic. I was interested in writing but didn’t know to get there. After some years in Finland doing these jobs, I decided to go to back the UK and get a creative writing degree. I challenged myself to do something a little bit different. So I went to the University of Kent for one year and started writing Memory of Water as part of my creative writing degree. Then my teachers encouraged me to continue writing.

WHAT GENRE IS THE BOOK AND WHAT IS IT ABOUT? Memory of Water is a fiction novel and tells the story of a young woman in a future world where there is shortage of fresh drinking water. She is studying to be a team master and when she comes of age, she has to take responsibility for protecting the secret fresh water source that the family has been guarding for several generations. This is a very dangerous responsibility because within the society she lives, there is a military government in power which is trying to gets its hands on all remaining water resources. So keeping this secret is a very dangerous task.

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS? ARE YOU GOING TO WRITE SOMETHING ELSE? I have just finished another novel called The City of Woven Streets, which was published in Finland last month. It is coming out in English next year. The translation right has already been sold in Georgia as well, so the county’s market will see it within the next two years. It differs from Memory of Water in that

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I never expected the kind of success the book has achieved it does not continue the same story. But it is again about a young woman- this one keeping some secret dreams. In her society, dreaming is forbidden but she is a natural dreamer and so she has to hide it from everyone because if someone finds out she might end up in prison for the rest of her life.



I never expected the kind of success the book has achieved. It won a couple of awards in Finland and has been nominated for several awards for English Translation, which I did myself. It has been translated into 19 languages to date. When I was writing it, my only hope was that someone would publish it and I only expected it to find a handful readers. I never expected anything beyond that.

Yes. The characters have something in common with me. I am much more inclined to be absorbed in my thoughts rather than taking lots of drastic action. I think that’s what we have in common. They are quite introverted and reflective. They want to take risks in what they believe and don’t want to compromise what they hold dear. They are ready to fight for what they think is right.



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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #797  

Nov. 27 - 30, 2015

Issue #797  

Nov. 27 - 30, 2015