Page 1 georgiatoday

Issue no: 1002/106

• NOVEMBER 28 - 30, 2017


FOCUS ON BP IN GEORGIA Ahead of the Belt & Road Forum, we look at Georgia-BP relations



In this week’s issue... Fire at Batumi Hotel Kills 11, Injures over 20 NEWS PAGE 2

Does Georgia Need Highly Educated Workers? ISET PAGE 4

IWA Acting President on the IWA Winter Fair BUSINESS PAGE 7

New Recycling Spots in Tbilisi

Gary Jones, BP Regional President


Galleria Tbilisi Grand Opening Planned This Week BY NINO GUGUINISHVILI


he Grand opening of Galleria Tbilisi is planned for 8PM on November 30. The new multifunctional shopping mall will have up to 100 international and local brand names, a Cavea Movie Theater, bowling center, entertainment center for children, cafés, Goodwill supermarket and more. Griboedov Theater, Liberty Theater and metro station Freedom Square are to be integrated into the shopping center. Galleria Tbilisi will also have an underground car park for almost 300 cars. Continued on page 2

Former Reader’s Editor at The Guardian Advises Media on Best Practice SOCIETY PAGE 12

A Deeper Look at TurkeyRussia Relations POLITICS PAGE 13

Work of Legendary Lithuanian Photographer at Georgian National Museum CULTURE PAGE 15 Prepared for Georgia Today Business by

Markets Asof24ͲNovͲ2017


COMMODITIES CrudeOil,Brent(US$/bbl) GoldSpot(US$/OZ)

































































































































































NOVEMBER 28 - 30, 2017

Fire at Batumi Hotel Kills 11, Injures over 20 BY THE GEORGIA TODAY TEAM

Galleria Tbilisi Grand Opening Planned This Week Continued from page 1 In concept, Galleria Tbilisi is said to be not only a place for shopping, but also an area where customers will have a chance to dine out, have fun and enjoy various services. “Galleria Tbilisi will bring back ‘the heart of the city’ status to this area, in the center of Tbilisi,” Nika Tsintsadze, Galleria Tbilisi CEO told GEORGIA TODAY. At Galleria Tbilisi, brands like H&M, Calvin Klein Jeans, Armani Exchange, Lagerfeld, Lacoste, Guess, Trussardi, United Colors of Benetton, IKKS, BNG, Delfy, Roman, and NYX are among the names set to be represented, some of them opening their stores for the first time in Tbilisi and Georgia. Of special note is an Apple official premium reseller. Cavea Movie Theater at Galleria Tbilisi is to be the first Dolby Atmos movie theater in Georgia, equipped with a 360-degree high-quality sound system and comfortable chairs for movie lovers to fully enjoy the experience. Alongside Cavea Movie Theater, the Griboedov and Liberty theaters will be integrated into the new shopping space, together

with a children’s entertainment center and an entire floor of Galleria Tbilisi dedicated as a Food Court, with McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Tashir Pizza, Mado, Sakhachapure N1, one of the Delifrance Bakery chain sub-brands, and more. “As Freedom Square is integrated into Galleria Tbilisi, visitors can reach the shopping mall directly from the metro, hugely convenient for our customers,” Tsintsadze told us. “And because of its excellent location, for people who live and work in the city center, Galleria Tbilisi will be within easy reach, comfortable to shop for anything they might need,” he adds. “We consider tourists to be just as important a part of our target audience, and we’ll be sure to attract them through our location and services,” Tsintsadze notes. Galleria Tbilisi will have both commercial and higher-segment brands, so offering “something for everyone”. On November 30th a number of stores and other amenities will be functioning. Galleria Tbilisi is a project of the Co-Investment Fund, under the real estate and tourism mandate.


round 150 fire-fighters and 200 Police officers were mobilized at the Leo Grand hotel in Georgia’s Black Sea coastal city Batumi on Friday, where an extensive fire killed 11 people, amongst whom 10 are said to be Georgians. 21 others were seriously injured. Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) reported that the emergency services were notified of the blaze at 20:01 on Friday. Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia told reporters that firefighters had to use rescue cranes to evacuate guests from the building and added that an investigation had been launched under Article 243 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, entailing a breach of fire and safety norms. “The main stairs of the hotel were blocked due to the fire and the hotel guests were stuck on the 7th floor. I would like to thank the fire-fighters, who managed to save around 100 people,” Gakharia said. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who was returning to Georgia from Brussels, re-directed to Batumi to visit the scene. He stressed that the investigation will reveal the cause of the fire, and all those responsible will be brought to justice in accordance with the law. “We all stand by the families of the deceased. This is a huge tragedy for us,” he added. The Government of Georgia declared November 27 as a Day of Mourning for

the victims of the November 24 tragedy. National flags were lowered throughout the country. After the tragic fire, Public Defender of Georgia, Ucha Nanuashvili, called for an inspection of all the hotels throughout the country in terms of fire and security norms. Nanuashvili offered his condolences to the families of the deceased, saying that not only are hotel personnel to be held responsible, but the state also. “This case should serve as grounds for the implementation of relevant regulations by authorities in order to check the safety of all hotels and guesthouses,” Nanuashvili said, adding that it is important to quickly and effectively investigate the cause of the blaze. The Chair of the Adjara Government, Zurab Pataridze, told media that the Leo Grand hotel had earlier been fined by the corresponding agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs due to poor fire safety norms, adding the Tourism Department had also issued recommendations last year. Kakha Tsereteli, the lawyer of Leo Grand hotel, stated the company is not

avoiding responsibility and is ready to cooperate with the investigation. He said law enforcers had been provided with all requested documents by the company. The owner of Leo Grand, Erol Avegoren, claimed the hotel has not been fined for neglecting safety guidelines and that safety measures were in line with legal standards. "The security measures at the hotel meet national standards. The hotel has never been fined for non-observance of the safety rules," Avgoren told reporters. Despite Avgoren’s comment of a clean safety record, their lawyer stated that the hotel had been fined 100 GEL on June 20. "The hotel was fined on June 20 with regard to fire-extinguishers. The hotel corrected the deficiency, but, unfortunately, this tragedy occurred. The company will support the families," Tsereteli said. 11 people were killed in the fire, including 10 Georgians and 1 citizen of the Republic of Iran. 21 people were injured, including a firefighter, 4 Turkish citizens and 1 Israeli.




Parliament of Georgia to Tbilisi Budget to be Fully Accessible for Increase in 2018 People with Disabilities BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES


n November 28, the Parliament of Georgia is to present a concept note “Accessible Parliament for All” which will kick off the re-arrangement of the Parliament premises in Tbilisi to ensure easy access for people with mobility and vision impairments. The event will be attended by Members of Parliament, representatives of the Georgian Government, civil society, international organizations and associations of people with disability. Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia; Irina Pruidze, Chair of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance; Dorota Dlouchy-Suliga, Head of Political, Press and Information Section of the Delegation of the European Union in Georgia; Shombi Sharp, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia; and Giorgi Kldiashvili, IDFI Director, will address participants with welcome remarks. The concept note “Accessible Parliament for All” was developed by the Parliament of Georgia in partnership with the Georgian non-governmental organization “Mariani”. The initiative was


supported by the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in cooperation with the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI). By endorsing the Accessible Parlia-

ment plan, the Parliament of Georgia joins the ongoing Global Legislative Openness Week (GLOW) on November 20-30, which promotes advocacy and initiatives aiming to increase legislative openness.


bilisi's Budget will be increased by 60 million GEL in 2018, Kakha Kaladze, Tbilisi Mayor announced after a meeting with Minister of Finance Mamuka Bakhtadze on Monday. As Georgian media sources report, additional financing via transfer from the central budget will be used for

the Tbilisi Metro and the restoration of the historic part of the city. “2018 will be a significant year for our city, as we will start to realize projects that we promised prior to the elections,” Kaladze noted. According to the media source, technical details were discussed and agreed on during the meeting of the Tbilisi Mayor and Minister of Finance of Georgia. The Tbilisi city budget will amount to 875 million GEL overall, the Georgian Public Broadcaster states.




NOVEMBER 28 - 30, 2017


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

Does Georgia Need Highly Educated Workers? BY TAMTA MARIDASHVILI


pleasant surprise awaited me on my first day as a student of Tbilisi State University’s Business and Economics Faculty. Thanks to my performance in the national admission exam (ერთიანი ეროვნული გამოცდები), I was inducted to the socalled “Elite Group”, piloted by TSU in an effort to attract Georgia’s best and brightest. There were 50 of us in the group, mostly from working class families, and none feeling like they belong with any kind of “elite”. In the end, I really enjoyed my “elitist” status. Not because I could assert dominance over “mere mortals”, but because it was fun to be surrounded by likeminded guys, learning together, and having a positive impact on each other’s motivation. The education we received was only marginally better than the rather pedestrian TSU business and economics standard, but the majority of us looked beyond TSU, taking part in student exchange programs, seeking out (and finding) opportunities for further education abroad. Being part of the “elite” was not exactly a rose garden. Often, students from other groups would make sarcastic comments. Some of the TSU faculty not selected to teach us would try to teach us a lesson in modesty by attempting to lower our self-esteem. Soon enough, a “class conflict” evolved, and within just a few years, the elite group concept was ditched in favor of a more egalitarian approach to education.

ABILITY-GROUPING: PROS AND CONS TSU’s attempt at merit-based selection of students into an “elite group” represents something known in the literature as “ability grouping,” one of the most controversial topics in general education over more than 70 years. Its effects on student achievement have been extensively studied over that time period, suggesting that it primarily benefits the group of high achievers. Meta-analysis conducted by Adam Gamoran in 1992 concluded that ability grouping typically leads to more inequitable outcomes: high-track students are gaining, and lowtrack students are falling farther behind. In the end, overall achievement at the

school level may not improve. The pros and cons of ability grouping were summarized by Slavin (1990) as follows:

cultural products and commodities, competing primarily on price. Maintaining competitiveness at this stage hinges primarily on the availability of an inex-

Of course, ability grouping is just one possible response to excessive standardization in the traditional model of mass education. Alternative pedagogical approaches, such as the Montessori method, completely obviate the need for segregation into ability (or age) groups by doing away with standardization. If every child or student is offered a choice of activities and is allowed to develop according to her motivations, innate talents and abilities, the whole idea of segregation into rigid ability groups goes by the wayside. Still, given that there is only one Montessori school in Georgia and what the vast majority of Georgian students are offered is standard mass education, the question of ability grouping loses none of its relevance. How much importance should Georgia attach to promoting academic excellence at the top? Is it socially optimal to invest in a small number of high achievers or should the entire thrust of Georgia’s education policy be on closing social and cultural gaps?

pensive, healthy and basic-skilled workforce. When a country exhausts its cheap labor reserves, wages start rising, forcing companies to invest in more capitalintensive technologies, substituting machines and highly skilled machine operators for low-skilled labor. At this intermediate stage of development, economies progress depending on how successful they are in making more efficient use of available factors and, in particular, upgrading the skill endowment of their workers. Companies now focus on adding value, processing raw materials, assembling garments, vehicles and electronic equipment. With quality and efficiency becoming the name of the game, competitiveness increasingly depends on the availability more productive, middle-skilled workforce. Finally, as a country’s income per capita continues to increase relatively to the rest of the world, its labor becomes too expensive to be competitively engaged in the mass production of standard goods (that can be produced in cheaper jurisdictions). At this stage, any routine operation that can be outsourced overseas gets outsourced. Companies are forced to focus their domestic operations on high-end services (e.g. financial), highly automated manufacturing, R&D and product innovation, posing very high qualification requirements for their workers and offering higher compensation in return. Importantly, countries at any stage of development need workers of all three qualification levels. However, they don’t need them to the same extent.

IT DEPENDS… How much academic excellence a country needs (and can afford) may depend on its level of economic development. This is a key insight from Michael Porter’s theory of stages of development, as practiced, for example, by the World Economic Forum in its Global Competitiveness report. According to this theory, at low levels of economic development (as measured, for example, by income per capita), a country’s progress mainly depends on its factor endowment, such as unskilled labor, land and natural resources. Companies sell basic products e.g. raw agri-


10 Galaktion Street

CAN GEORGIA TRAIN AND PRODUCTIVELY EMPLOY? Having been recently upgraded by WEF to the group of efficiency-driven economies (the second, intermediate category on Porter’s list above), Georgia does not stand out when it comes to the performance of its education system. Far from it. Judging by Georgia’s performance in the internationally comparable PISA tests in math, science and reading (most recently available data are from 2015), Georgia’s schools produce about the “right” number of high achievers, slightly less than 1% of total student population. This is, of course, far below top performing countries, such as Singapore, but ok for our level of development. Likewise, with slightly more than 50% of Georgian students qualified as “low achievers” in PISA, our performance in this regard is also roughly in line with that of other members of our club. Yes, Russia and Bulgaria are doing much better, but they also have much higher levels of income per capita and lesser shares of rural population.

PISA RESULTS FOR GEORGIA AND A GROUP OF EFFICIENCY-DRIVEN ECONOMIES WHAT IS PISA? PISA is an international study which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics and science. Georgia participated in two PISA waves (2009 and 2015) involving almost 4,000 students from about 200 schools. The 2015 results indicate considerable progress over time. That said, Georgia remains far behind most countries that chose to participate in PISA, ranking 60th in mathematics, 63rd in science, and 65th in reading out of 72 participating countries. A comparison of PISA results for 2009 and 2015 suggests that Georgia has been relatively more successful in addressing the equity challenge by improving performance at the bottom, and relatively less successful in promoting academic excellence at the top of the performance distribution. As Georgia ponders its future education strategy, it faces a stark choice. First, it could try to do more to promote excellence at the top by encouraging private investment in schools, universi-

ties and colleges, creating “elite” ability groups within its public schools and universities, and removing bureaucratic hurdles for those willing to create the new and different in education. The alternative is to continue enforcing certain minimum standards of education as a means of closing social gaps and cultivating a cadre of middle-skilled workers: steady, responsible and hardworking, able to speak a foreign language and operate computers or machines. The first strategy, while appealing to the proud Georgian ego, is wrought with risks. First, it may not be feasible given the dearth of high quality instructors and institutional capacity to innovate and nurture talent. Second, it may not be affordable from the purely financial point of view – high quality instruction comes with significant costs, including faculty compensation and infrastructure. Third, even if Georgia were to educate hundreds of world class IT engineers, it may not be in a position to retain its top talent. When it comes to wages, availability of venture capital for startups and career prospects in established companies, Georgia is simply no match for more development competitors in Western Europe, North America or Russia. Thus, overinvestment in high-end education may result in brain drain, rather than faster development.

*countries belong to the group of efficiency driven economies in 2017, according to the WEF classification **Students who are able to creatively and autonomously apply their knowledge and skills to a wide variety of situations (PISA test, 2015)

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




NOVEMBER 28 - 30, 2017

BP President in Georgia for the Belt & Road Forum BY MATE FOLDI


t is just over two decades now since oil giant BP began its operations in Georgia. In that time, a mutually beneficial relationship has blossomed which has seen the company invest more than $4bn in Georgia’s energy infrastructure, introducing international standards of safe and reliable operations, and helping support local communities in business start-ups, agriculture, education and Paralympic sports. Moreover, BP’s

three major energy projects that operate in Georgia have significantly changed the energy map of both Georgia and the Caspian region, with the new Southern Gas Corridor expected to bring profound changes to the energy map of Europe. Both in operation since 2006, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline (BTC) and South Caucasus gas pipeline (SCP), run by BP on behalf of two international consortia of energy companies and investors, run side by side for 248 kilometers within the territory of Georgia. Gas off-take pressure reduction and metering facilities on the SCP,

along with two BTC pump stations can also be found within Georgian territory. There is also the Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP) and Supsa terminal, which BP operate on the behalf of an international consortium of energy companies, transporting oil from the Caspian Sea oil fields via Azerbaijan’s Sangchal terminal to Georgia’s Supsa terminal on the Black Sea. Ahead of the Tbilisi Belt & Road Forum, BP held a special event at the Georgian National Museum auditorium dedicated to the official presentation of the documentary “Vagif, as I knew him”. recognition of Azerbaijan’s and

Gary Jones, BP Regional President

one of the world’s grandmasters of jazz, Vagif Mustafazade founder of jazzmugam, a unique musical genre. The screening was opened by Georgian Minister of Culture, Mikheil Giorgadze, and attended by many of the late pianist’s Georgian friends, in addition to Country Manager for BP in Georgia, Chris Schlueter, and BP’s Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, Gary Jones. Gary Jones is BP’s Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, accountable for all of BP’s upstream activities in the region. Starting his career with BP in 1981, Gary has held many leadership positions in drilling, operations and projects. Key leadership positions have included, heading BP’s operations in Iraq as General Manager Rumaila / Vice President Operations, serving as a key leader in Russia as the Project Director/Performance Unit Leader: Verkhnechonskoye, and holding multiple senior leadership positions across BP’s North Sea asset base. Ahead of the Tbilisi Belt & Road Forum, GEORGIA TODAY sat down with Gary for an exclusive interview on the significance of BP’s presence in Georgia, and what plans are in place to continue their over two decade-long partnership. The full interview will be printed in Friday’s issue of GEORGIA TODAY. Don’t miss it! Photo:

A clip of the documentary “Vagif, as I knew him,” presented by BP in recognition of Azerbaijan’s grandmaster of jazz, Vagif Mustafazade

Tbilisi Belt & Road Forum Kicks Off BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


n November 29, the Tbilisi Belt and Road Forum is to be opened under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili. It is jointly organized by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. The International Belt and Road, or as it is also called, the Silk Road Forum, brings together high-profile delegates from 34 countries worldwide, with Prime Minister of Moldova Pavel Filip, Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman, and Vice Prime Minister of Slovenia, Karl Erjavec, among the numerous public and private sector representatives attending the event. As the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia states, quoting Genadi Arveladze, Deputy Minister, “Georgia is to become a platform

for international dialogue, with the possibility to discuss the links and connections countries have [in order] to develop and increase trade, enhance infrastructure and attract investments”.

“On November 28, high level discussions will begin on both business and political levels, about the issues related to increasing our country’s transit potential,” Arveladze said, noting that Tbilisi Belt and Road Forum

is aimed at boosting Georgia’s potential, as a country connecting Europe and Asia. As a biennial platform for fostering high level private and public-sector dialogue, the Forum, which is to host more

than 1000 participants, political figures, diplomats, experts, international organizations and business sector representatives, is seen as a platform for strengthening the economic, political and cultural links between European and Asian countries. The two-day event is to focus on the topics of transport infrastructure development, regional and global trade, e-commerce, regional cooperation opportunities in the energy sector, communication technologies, digital connectivity through panel discussions, B2B meetings; with thematic sessions to be held also. The Tbilisi Belt and Road Forum started on November 28 at Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater. The Prime Minister of Georgia opened the event, addressing the forum participants. On November 29, the Forum is to continue at The Biltmore Hotel, Tbilisi. Tbilisi Silk Road Forum was initiated and held in 2015, with 34 official delegations and business representatives from 50 countries participating.




IWA Acting President on the IWA Winter Fair BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


n December 2, the International Women’s Association of Georgia (IWA) is to hold its annual Winter Fair at Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel Tbilisi, from 10AM to 6PM. What started as a project to introduce Georgian artisans and craftsmen to a wider audience has become one of the major charity events in Tbilisi, gathering international organizations, embassies, diplomatic missions, Georgian and international sponsors, Georgian artisans and NGOs. In 2016 alone, the Fair saw 4,000 visitors, and 22 diplomatic missions, 2 international organizations, 5 NGOs and 150 Georgian artisans selling their products and works, from food to Christmas gifts. The goal of each event is to raise funds for IWA Georgia charity projects and activities in Georgia, focused on supporting those in need, be it the elderly, children or women. In 2016-2017, the International Women’s Association of Georgia supported the Anti Violence Network Georgia with about 50% of last year’s winter fair income, helping them to purchase infrastructure, industrial kitchen equipment and utensils, alongside providing funds to furnish their new shelter. IWA Georgia also supported eight other projects carried out by NGOs, and helped provide medical aid to seven individuals from socially deprived and disadvantaged families. In 2017-2018, IWA plans to have “Empowering Women” as a motto, focusing on assisting women both in Tbilisi and in the regions of the country. GEORGIA TODAY met with Barbara Kohler Beglinger, Acting President and Fundraising Chair of the International Women’s Association Georgia, to talk about the organization, their projects, and the upcoming Winter Fair.

LET’S START WITH YOUR INVOLVEMENT AND WORK AT THE IWA GEORGIA. HOW DO YOU FIND IT? I’ve been a fundraising chair for two years now, and I was also the Vice President of the organization, so that’s why I’m its acting- president currently… Of course, if you’re the wife of an ambassador [Mrs. Kohler Beglinger is the spouse of Ambassador of Swiss to Georgia, Lukas Beglinger] it’s customary to be a member of international associations of this kind. Sometimes those are exclusive to spouses, but IWA-Georgia offers a platform for international women to work alongside

Georgian women. It really is an active charity organization; it’s not a club to just socialize. For me, being a member of IWA was a challenge to a certain point, because I also work as the ambassador’s wife and manager of a Swiss artist.

IWA HAS BEEN ACTIVE IN CHARITY WORK SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN 1996. WHICH OF THE PROJECTS WOULD YOU UNDERLINE? I’m very happy and proud about the Focus Project we implemented this year, with the funds we raised at the 2016 Winter Fair going to support the Anti Violence Network Georgia. Their shelter is now up and working, and when you see what they do, how they help these people to find jobs, get an education, find housing, this is truly an inspiration. This charity aspect and, indeed, the existence of the IWA, is really needed in Georgia. All of us work voluntarily. Most significant was getting Charity NGO status, meaning that the IWA is not subject to taxation and our sponsors can donate without paying taxes.


that money is being used.

WHERE DO YOU SEE MOST ASSISTANCE BEING NEEDED IN GEORGIA? Basically, help is needed everywhere. However, while working with the Anti Violence Network Georgia, we saw that it’s vitally important to support women in this country. This is not a gender question per se; we’ve observed that the pillar to really holding a family together is very often the wife. It may sometimes be hidden, but it’s a reality. That’s why for 2018, we decided to focus on projects that empower women and support women in need. Last year, through our Winter Fair, we managed to raise GEL 153,000, and 50% went to one focus project, which is the highest amount we’ve ever spent on any one project. In 2018, we aim to support women in the regions, in shelters, and women living in IDP settlements. For the rural women, it’s often not easy to find employment, as they have children and need to stay at home. We saw that there are potential spaces for kindergartens and one of our ideas is to get kindergartens up and running so that these women can leave their children and work for a few hours a day. We also have a project to support women

product stalls, about 200 vendors and 40 sponsors, and all of it to be located within 2000 sq.m. of Radisson Blu Hotel, in the Lobby-Lounge area, the Ballroom, the conference rooms, in the Filini restaurant, and on Filini terrace. It’s a huge event, and there’ll be a lot of food! The preparatory process is not at all easy, because of the diversity of participants and the challenges of product procurement, sometimes from abroad, which takes time. What makes us proud is that the annual IWA Fair is an event not to miss, both for people from Georgia and from the international side. At the Winter Fair, you can find very nice gifts that you wouldn’t find anywhere else, and for all the vendors and sponsors, it’s a good place to be because they know they’ll reach Georgian and international public.

WHAT CAN YOU SAY TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO COME TO THE WINTER FAIR? IWA adopted this year new stringent guidelines for project selection and management. With our Focus projects, the main projects we do, we work with NGOs. When we receive a request of support, our CPC (Community Project Committee) visits and then we discuss it at the CPC meetings. Once funding is agreed, we consistently monitor progress. It’s hard work and it’s important for people to know that we will monitor everything and that we will take money back if we are not satisfied with the way

with cancer, and their rehabilitation, with the same goal to enable them to take care of their children, to work and so on. Our goal is to support women in need and their families, which will ultimately result in supporting society at large.

TELL US ABOUT THE UPCOMING WINTER FAIR This year, we have 26 embassies participating, two international organizations, 35 different food stalls, 19 international

Well, you’ll find things you won’t be able to find elsewhere, as well as an impressive diversity of food and other products from all over the world. It is really an attractive fair with a nice ambiance, not to be found in ordinary shopping malls - good for smart shoppers and families. At the opening – at 10am - we’ll have a choir singing, and we’ll have Jako Radio interviewing different people. But more importantly, the Winter Fair serves a good and important purpose. Just by coming, you’ll be doing good, because

with every Lari you spend there, you’ll be helping someone Georgian who is in need, bringing the true meaning of Christmas to life.

WHAT IS THE SECRET OF SUCCESS BEHIND THE IWA WINTER FAIR? I think the secret is the collective commitment and engagement of innumerable people; , if you count the people who are helping, it can be in the thousands, all doing it together. What is also unique about the Fair is that it links the Georgians with the international community; you feel it in the entire ambiance.




NOVEMBER 28 - 30, 2017

Outlook on Georgia Conference Held in London

10th Anniversary of German Business Association (DWV) in Georgia ADVERTORIAL


he German Business Association (Deutsche Wirtschaftsvereinigung/ DWV), the second largest bilateral business agglomeration in Georgia, is to celebrate its 10th anniversary on December 1 at the Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater. DWV is also representing the world´s third biggest trade fair company, Messe Frankfurt, and Senior Expert Service, an internationally highly respected provider of distinguished experts to companies and institutions in Georgia. During the last 10 years, it has brought various major German investments into Georgia and works to promote GeorgianGerman business relations in a European context. Due to its close liaison with the German Embassy and German development cooperation, as well as

with the worldwide network of chambers abroad and its strong web presence, it serves thousands of addressees all over the world with information about business opportunities in Georgia each year. The Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater stands exemplary for Georgian-German relations since it is based on a German architectural design and uses German stagecraft. The Georgian State Ballet will perform a masterpiece with music from German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. The exclusive event, part of the German-Georgian Year, is invitation only. Gold sponsors of the anniversary are Hansa-Flex Georgia, Insta, Knauf and HeidelbergCement Caucasus. Sponsors also include Arvato Bertelsmann, Barth_Co. Spedition, Caparol Georgia, Ivermedi, Lufthansa, Messe Frankfurt, Orient-Logic and Unimedi. Media partner of the event is GEORGIA TODAY. WHERE: Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater WHEN: 1 December, 18:30



FIRST BRAND HOTEL IN KUTAISI UNDER BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL Within the framework of the Georgian Hotels’ Regional Network Development Project “12 hotels in 12 regionsâ€? by GHYHORSPHQWFRPSDQ\Âł6LPHWULD´WKHÂżUVWEUDQGKRWHOKDV been opened in Kutaisi under the Best Western International brand. The hotel accommodates 45 guest rooms, including 40 standard rooms and 5 suites. The hotel was designed taking into consideration special conditions and safety for guests with disabilities.

Address: 11 Grishashvili Str., 4600, Kutaisi, Georgia TEL 219 71 00

Three mobile conference halls are available with a total capacity of about 100 persons. (XURSHDQFXLVLQHFDQEHHQMR\HGLQWKHJURXQGĂ€RRUFDIp and a grill-bar menu in the roof top restaurant with panoramic views over the city. The International Hotels Management Company “T3 Hospitality Management,â€? providing the hotel management, has 20 years’ experience in hotel management in different countries globally.

n 20 November, the think-tank Emerging Europe co-hosted ‘Outlook on Georgia’, an investment conference, with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) at the EBRD’s headquarters in London. What struck this Londoner from the outset is just how pro-business the Georgian government is: whilst there is a growing backlash against capitalism in the UK, with our nominally Conservative government doing little to buck the trend for excessive legal and economic regulation, in a desperate attempt to banish the looming spectre of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government, hearing politicians actively boast about their low-tax economy as a means of courting investment, was refreshing indeed. Mattia Romani from the EBRD was the first to speak and gave an overview of Georgia’s economy as it appears today. Describing it as an example for the region with a “clear Western orientation,� he listed the key recent economic developments as being the focus on competition; social change; women and youth in the workplace; and investment in renewable energy. Giorgi Cherkezishvili extolled the virtues of a small economy reaping the benefits of recent reforms. Corruption is minimal, and Georgia is breathing down the UK’s neck in the Economic Freedom Index, coming 13th place just behind the UK’s 12th (Georgia notably increased by 3.4 points on last year whilst the UK remained the same), crime is low, and Moody’s recently upgraded Georgia’s credit rating from BA3 to BA2. Both individual speakers have a vested interest in presenting Georgia in the best possible light, and it wasn’t until Maximilien Lambertson, from the Economist Intelligence Unit, spoke, that we heard a slightly more sober view. Georgia’s GDP is down from 2015-16 due to a downturn in global energy prices, but exports are up and the projected GDP for this year is regularly being revised upwards. The main problem cited in Lambertson’s talk was uncertainty: both on a global scale, with political risk being a factor in Turkey, Russia, the USA, and Europe; and domestically, with reference being made to the recent prohibition on foreigners buying agricultural land which was enshrined in the constitution this year. Theoretically, the government can grant exemptions to this rule, but uncertainty remains. Nevertheless, transport links such as the recently opened Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, and the great potential for hydro-electric investment, as well as the booming tourism industry,

ensured that the content of the talk remained overwhelmingly positive. The panel discussion on finance shined a light on improvements which have to be made in that sector: Koba Gvenetadze, governor of the National Bank of Georgia, explained that the financial sector in Georgia is 90% composed of commercial banks, but there is very little in terms of microfinance, and the capital market size is comparatively negligible. The solutions presented by Gventadze were the coming introduction of a corporate bonds market, harmonizing local regulation with EU and IOSCO regulation, and ensuring that proper market supervision is in place. Georgia can probably never become a huge capital market, but there is certainly plenty of room for it to grow, and the financial sector in general has become more open; Otari Sharikadze from Galt and Taggart made the point that there has been a tangible shift towards meritocracy and away from nepotism. Most striking, however, was the discussion on the Anaklia Deep Sea Port, which aims to be operational by 2021. It’s a vast and ambitious project which aims to link Europe with the East by utilizing the above mentioned transport links with Georgia’s neighbors in order to transport cargo across the Black Sea. It also aims to become a focal-point for goods coming from Russia and eventually from India up through Iran. Keti Bochorishvili (CEO, Anaklia City) made the enticing point that through their position as a crossroads between North, South, East, and West, Georgia has the potential to act as a gateway to a market of around 2 billion people. I suppose the Georgian government is building on its past successes with big international companies (Emily Olson from BP praised the “ease of doing businessâ€? there) by making the country as amenable as possible to business opportunities. Anaklia’s literature lists the Georgian government as “concessionaireâ€? which shows shrewdness on the government’s part; they attract investors to help develop the infrastructure, charging them very little in tax until dividends start being paid, but they reap the end-benefits in terms of increased imports / exports. It’s a risk, of course; if it doesn’t work then they’ll have given away concessions for nothing, but if it does then it will be yet another example of trust and stability which business needs in order to function. ÂŹÂŹÂŹKarl Marx opined that history repeats itself “the first time as tragedy, the second as farceâ€?. Thankfully, it would appear that the Georgians have had rather enough of Karl Marx and are taking a more optimistic view as they attempt to reposition themselves as a trade bridge between the Silk Road and the West.



La Boheme: All about the Good Life



ew restaurant “La Boheme,” at 34/36 Abashidze Str., Tbilisi, stands out for its unique North African interior and cozy atmosphere. Abashidze is famous for various restaurants and cafes, but La Boheme is the first of its kind there to offer such a rich menu, making it the perfect dining place for lovers of Mediterranean food. Italian chef, Enzo Neri, who is very experienced in this sphere and has worked in different countries including Italy, England and the UAE, is ready to offer you the autumn favorite, a tender and mouthwatering beef short rib, velvety pumpkin and ginger puree. Enzo is specialized in classic cuisine with a modern twist. La Boheme also offers exquisite Lebanese chicken,

and prosciutto pizza that will melt your heart, our personal favorite from the menu. Enzo has worked in Georgia before, so he is familiar with Georgian culture and food: he says he believes that Georgian people won’t be disappointed with what he has to offer. As the restaurant is multicultural, it varies in taste, with Enzo evaluating ingredients so that people can actually feel what they eat: “I make the ingredients express themselves,” the chef says. He also differs from other chefs in the fact he doesn’t use a lot of cream, fat or flour and focuses a lot on the use of extra virgin olive oil. Another huge plus about the locale is the hospitable atmosphere, not only from the staff but the owner himself, who is very keen on what he does, having successfully created a perfect combination of high class restaurant with affordable prices and a fancy lounge where you can listen to relaxing music and enjoy a variety of cocktails.





NOVEMBER 28 - 30, 2017

Retail FPI | ISET’s Retal Food Price Index Is Three Years Old


n the last two weeks of November, ISET’s Retail Food Price Index showed a significant, 10.8% y/y increase (compared to November 2016). On a monthly basis (compared to October 2017), food prices in Tbilisi’s major supermarkets increased slightly by 0.9%. We recorded the biggest bi-weekly price increases for eggplant (41.2%), cucumbers (20.5%), and onions (16.3%). Prices dropped the most for tangerines (-8%), garlic (-3.2%), and carrots (2%).

prices decreased from January 2016 to November 2017. From that point forward, food prices have been increasing. In November 2017, Retail FPI is the highest compared to the same month in previous years (November 2016, November 2015, November 2014). This might be a signal of further price increases, especially with New Year coming soon. Looked at from an annual perspective (November 2017 vs. November 2016), on average, Tbilisi’s retail markets experienced significant annual price increases in the five food categories comprising the Retail FPI: fruits (3%), grocery (3%), non-alcoholic beverages (6%), meat (9%), and dairy products (16%). However, vegetables are 18% cheaper on average compared to the previous year. Given the upcoming skiing season and the fact that Georgia is rich with skiing resorts, the number of tourists might increase; this in turn might put additional upward pressure on food prices.

RETAIL FPI THROUGH THE YEARS In the last three years, food prices in Tbilisi’s retail markets have been stable. Monthly inflation was minimal in July 2016 (-4%), and hit its maximum in January 2017 (6%). In the remaining months, food prices have been fluctuating at around 3%. Taking November 2014 - October 2015 as a base year, it is noticeable that food

‘New Skills for Agriculture’ Conference Promotes Vocational Education BY MATE FOLDI


n November 22, the “New Skills for Agriculture” co n fe re n ce b ro u g h t together representatives of the Georgian government, businesses, civil society, farmers associations and educational institutions, to discuss the new trends in vocational education and training, including Workbased Learning and university minor programs for vocational trainers, while also focusing on the prospects and challenges of vocational education and training in agriculture. The conference was a part of the EU Vocational Skills Week 2017 which was held between November 20 and 24 across different European and EU neighborhood countries under the slogan “Raising VET attractiveness & excellence”.

Ketevan Natriashvili, First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, and Shombi Sharp, Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia opened the event. “I’d like to thank involved all partners for making this program a possibility,” Natriashvili said. “I think it’s extremely relevant and pertinent that we are having this discussion today as part of the broader EU Vocational Skills Week 2017. The EU is of course also a very important player in promoting and modernizing vocational training here in Georgia, and I think that this fits very well with Georgia’s broader European path. Georgia is already a well-known leader in the region for many reforms, in governance, public services, anti-corruption, so now strong reform in the education and agriculture sector, centered around vocational training, is perfectly within that already developed identity,” she concluded. “The challenges are clear and very

significant: Georgia is facing a 12% national unemployment average, 30% unemployment among youth, and hidden unemployment in agriculture,” Sharp added. “Vocational education and training is one of the most effective ways to address these issues and create more jobs and learning opportunities, in rural areas especially. Indeed, we are fortunate to be able to learn from the European and Swiss experiences on how to best address these challenges. This begins with making the profession of being a vocational trainer an exciting and fulfilling prospect, and bringing the most modern and exciting curriculums and technologies into the process and creating vocational training as an exciting first choice for young students as a career path. At the end of the day, it’s all about getting a job and creating employment, so bringing employers, the private sector, businesses, into the fold is crucial, while new approaches

to work-based learning and life-long learning are also very exciting developments. As an example from the latest private project from the Georgian Farmers Association, we have 40 students who have been placed across four different regions in Georgia getting reallife experience as part of their vocational training. So, if anyone asks, ‘how can we make vocational training more attractive?’ I always tell them to go and speak and speak to those 40 students. Nobody

has to tell them that they have made the right choice,” the UNDP Deputy Head concluded. The event was organized by the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Agriculture, with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), in partnership with the National Center of Education Quality Development, Georgian Farmers’ Association and other partners.



Czech Republic Supports the Implementation of Nord Stream-2 BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE


he Czech Republic supports the implementation of the project for the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, stated Czech President Milos Zeman while in Russia on a five-day official visit. "Based on the materials, and based on the position of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, I can express the support of the Czech Republic for the Nord Stream 2 project," Zeman was quoted as saying by TV Barrandov. The Czech president is also said to have noted that, "some countries criticize the project," but "the Czech Republic has its own position and defends its own interests”. In the past, the Russian authorities have repeatedly stated that a number of European countries, despite the obvious benefit of implementing the project for Europe as a whole, are trying to exert pressure on Russia and its European partners participating in the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. Today, the construction of Nord Stream-2 is provoking even greater resonance in the EU, as a number of countries, mainly Eastern Europe, have come out strongly opposed to the project, claiming it a political rather than economic project that allegedly “violates

the EU's ‘energy unity’” and encourages “dependence on Russian energy supplies”. The fate of the project largely depends not on the economic, but on the geopolitical component. Several strong players, especially Germany, still insist that the gas pipeline should be built for economic reasons. Severely opposed to Nord Stream-2 are the US, who are trying to lobby in Europe for the supply of their own liquefied natural gas (LNG). The benefit for Berlin is obvious: Germany will become the main gas hub through which the distribution of "blue fuel" to other EU countries will pass. Poland and Slovakia actively oppose the gas pipeline: if it is to be built, these countries are likely to lose their cash receipts for the transit of Russian gas. Further, Poland has an interest in preventing the construction of the Nord

Stream-2, with Warsaw trying to impose its own role on Europe in promoting American LNG gas, hoping in return to become a major gas hub for the supply of this type of fuel. Italy, in principle, is annoyed by the position of Brussels and opposes the project because the European officials actually blocked another Russian project - South Stream, which is very beneficial for the Italian side. Italy says it fails to understand why Russian gas should go to Europe, not through the Black Sea, as previously thought, but through the Baltic, through which another Russian gas pipeline, the Nord Stream-1, is already passing to Germany. The Nord Stream-2 project envisages the construction of two branches of the gas main through the Baltic Sea, the total volume of which will amount to 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year.


New Recycling Spots in Tbilisi ADVERTORIAL


bilisi is becoming more and more environmentally friendly and it’s now possible to sort and take waste to several recycling points across the city. Most modern cities face consumerism and waste management issues, but not everyone is willing to make the necessary changes to their lifestyles and habits to deal with these modern challenges. In order to reduce waste and follow a city’s sustainable waste management plan, sorting waste and placing it in recycling bins should become part of a person’s everyday routine. Therefore, the WMTR II program has put waste separation corners at the following locations in Tbilisi: Goodwill Hypermarket (Parnavaz Mepe Ave); the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia (6 Dimitry Gulia Str.); Old Meidan Hotel (9/11 Samghebro Str.); East Point Mall (2 Aleksandre Tvalchrelidze Str.); and Fabrika Hostel Tbilisi (8 Egnate Ninoshvili Street).

WHAT CAN BE RECYCLED AND HOW? You can take the following sorted paper, glass, plastic and aluminium. waste to the

abovementioned spots. Before placing waste into the bins, be sure to pay attention to where you dispose of each specific type of waste. The waste bins have labels stating what type of waste they are for. Remember that separated waste must always be clean. Dirty waste cannot be disposed of in the bins, as this will make the whole contents of the bin unsuitable for recycling. Make sure that plastic or glass bottles or aluminium cans have no liquid inside. Place the waste in the correct bin. Paper containers are for: books, journals and newspapers, notebooks, envelops, and other clean waste paper. Glass containers are for: glass bottles and jars Plastic containers are for: plastic bottles and vessels Aluminium containers are for: aluminium cans More waste separation corners are planned, so start sorting your waste today! Separated waste pa rtially goes to local recycling companies and partially to export. Check out our map with all the locations and directions here: environment. For daily updates and tips on recycling, visit our Facebook page: WMTR II program The WMTR II program is supported by USAID and implemented by CENN.




NOVEMBER 28 - 30, 2017

Former Reader’s Editor at The Guardian Advises Media on Best Practice INTERVIEW BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE


ith the “Terror Raid” of Tbilisi on November 22 making international headlines around the globe, there was one crucial aspect that wasn’t touched upon by international outlets, yet seemed to be a subject of much vexation in Georgian society: how Georgian media opted to report on Special Forces operations broadcasting detailed live coverage from the areas they shouldn’t have been allowed to enter, thus inadvertently assisting the sieged combatants and potentially even providing them with important logistical information. Where is the fine line that separates competitive professionalism and ethics? That was the question GEORGIA TODAY and Panorama Talk Show asked Chriss Elliott, former Reader’s Editor at The Guardian, who kindly agreed to share with us the Western know-how on the matter.

DESPITE THE POTENTIAL LOGISTICAL RISKS [MENTIONED ABOVE], THE MEDIA SAYS IT’S THEIR DUTY TO INFORM THE PEOPLE. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE? HOW SHOULD MEDIA BEHAVE IN SUCH SITUATIONS? The first thing is to borrow from the Google code of conduct: do no evil, do no harm. I remember there was quite a lot of criticism two years ago, when, two days after the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris, there was an attack on a supermarket during which some people hid from the gunmen in a refrigerator. There was huge criticism, I think even a civil law case, against the 24/7 live TV station which was broadcasting, in real time, telling their viewers and the terrorists in that supermarket, that there were people hiding in the fridge. That could have led to the deaths of those people. Clearly, that is not responsible media! Of course, it’s our duty to give viewers and readers the clearest picture on what’s going on, but do no harm! Do not reveal information that may allow terrorists to kill more people. Responsible media would see that as a first guideline on

covering any terror attack or counterterrorism operation.

MEDIA OUTLETS WERE TRYING TO COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER TO SHOW THE MOST SHOCKING LIVE MATERIAL. JOURNALISTS WERE GOING INTO A RESTRICTED AREA TO FILM We had a conference yesterday where we talked about media ethics in the modern age. Christina Nikolitis Squires, the head of content at Sky News UK, made an unequivocal point: we want to be right, not first. So, you do not release info that you are unsure about and you definitely don’t’ release anything if it could lead to someone being killed. One could almost call it slow journalism, because you have to wait until you are certain with your reports. I don’t know everything about the raid in Tbilisi but I think if competitive media organizations are more concerned about competition than people’s lives, then something is quite clearly not right. You have to make a judgment. This is where news organization professionalism comes in. On the one hand, if we tell the public that there are people hiding in the fridge, knowing that terrorists are monitoring live broadcasts and that it could lead to their deaths, that’s clearly wrong. If, on the other hand, state authorities restrict reporting without clear reasons, then that’s more problematical. It comes down to the professional judgment, but the interests of saving people’s lives should come first. Competition should come second.

THE GOV’T CAME UNDER HEAVY CRITICISM FOR NOT HAVING A MEDIA STRATEGY FOR SUCH A SCENARIO All big public authorities in the UK have incident plans. Of course, media should accept its responsibilities, but it would be a lot easier for media to be responsible if there was a thoughtful, guided process run by the authorities, be it police, army or special forces. Journalists around the world need to learn that to be credible, we should do our best to verify info and put it into context. One of the major ways we can do that is to have nominated spokespersons from the public authorities dealing with the incident. Therefore, they have to have plan,

Photo source:

do rehearsals and so on. Actually, it would be sensible if authorities talked with journalists and the journalists pushed for such a system themselves.

THE COMMENTS SECTIONS OF SOME OUTLETS WERE SWARMED WITH HATE SPEECH AGAINST THE ETHNIC GROUP THAT THE TERROR SUSPECTS WERE THOUGHT TO BELONG TO. WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES OF THE BRITISH MEDIA ON REPORTING THE SEMANTICS OF TERROR ATTACKS? Hate speech is a serious problem. I suppose you mean the language of describing the terrorists in a way which suggested that everyone from that community is a terrorist. You’ve got to be really careful about the language you use in these incidents. One of the other problems in social media. Last week, we had an incident in London’s Oxford station: reports of gunshots right in the heart of London at the busiest time of

the year. 16 people were injured in the crush. At least two British newspapers were ramping up twitter reports that it was actually a terrorist attack. And in one of the tweets last night they used an image used two weeks ago from some other terror attack.

SO IT’S NOT JUST A PROBLEM IN GEORGI Far from it. We live in more fearful age. When you look at the coverage of migration, and we are in the biggest period of migration since the end of WWII, millions of people are leaving their homes seeking better lives. Newspapers, especially mainstream media, which is losing ground in terms of advertising, are edgier than ever and eager to increase clicks on their website. I think that’s a real danger. It really borders inciting violence. I think hate speech is a real danger these days and we should aim to avoid it.


IS BEING TURNED INTO A BLACK SPOT BECAUSE SOME OF ITS INHABITANTS WENT TO FIGHT FOR ISIS That is foolishly discriminatory because it won’t solve the problem and you’re actually playing the terrorists’ game. They want you to do that because it creates further pain and suffering and is therefore, likely to draw more people into terrorism. News organizations have a responsibility to avoid that- not just a moral responsibility; it is sensible commercially, too. If we want to build a commercial model for journalism in the future, journalists have to be credible and people have to trust them. While it is actually a moral imperative (in saving lives and having happier communities) it is also really important if you want people to pay for journalism, be it broadcast, print, web, whatever: you have to show you can be trusted. And that’s why you should be really careful what you say, when you say it and the images you use.

2017 Statistics for Georgia: 22 Cases of Femicide BY THEA MORRISON


he President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili stated that the official statistics of 22 femicide cases in 2017 is a “tragic” set of

data. The President added that further efforts are necessary in this direction for future prevention. However, Margvelashvili pointed out that women’s awareness in terms of domestic violence has increased in the country. “Nowadays, the state and society are reacting better to facts of violence and oppression against women. More than 10,000 cases of violence have been reported,” he added. Margvelashvili also expressed satisfaction over the ratification of Council of Europe Convention on violence against women and domestic violence adopted in 2011 that further aids Georgia in elimination of violence against women. He said that in terms of preventing femicide, Georgia does not have an ideal standing, nor even close to ideal. "We should realize that femicide is an issue for our entire society. Many problems can be prevented by adopting legislative amendments or carrying out new policies; however, today I would like to address Georgian society: you play a crucial role in preventing violence against women,” Margvelashvili told participants

of the international conference ‘Femicide Cases Monitoring Tools and Mechanisms,’ held last Thursday. The Deputy Public Defender, Eka Skhirtladze, said that this year the number of attempted murders is also high, with 11

cases having been observed, eight of which were identified as domestic violence. The law enforcement agencies claim that addressing domestic violence victims has increased, and not the cases themselves. According to Deputy Interior

Minister Nino Javakhadze, in 2017, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) issued 3,137 restrictive orders on domestic violence. Last year, 2,910 orders were issued. The data of restrictive orders since 2013 is as follows: 2013 – 227 orders, 2014

Photo source: Tabula

– 817, 2015 – 2.598, 2016 – 2.877 and 2017 [as of October] – 3.137. Moreover, the Chief Prosecutor's Office of Georgia reports that according to data of 11 months, the proceedings for domestic violence cases began against 1,180 people. Last year, the proceedings started against 1,356, in 2015 - 1,066 and in 2014 - 550. The Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili, believes that it is necessary for femicide to be defined in the Criminal Ccode of Georgia. “This will be recognition of the importance of the offense and in case of qualification it will be possible to consider the offenses as crimes committed in aggravating circumstances,” Nanuashvili stated. Vice-Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Tamar Chugoshvili, also supports the introduction of the definition of femicide in the Criminal Code of Georgia. As Chugoshvili says, the existing legal framework in the country is not enough to eradicate the problem. The draft law on defining femicide as a separate crime failed twice in Parliament last year. It was supported only by 48 MPs during the voting, while a minimum 50 votes was necessary for adoption. In January 2017, the Republicans applied to Parliament with the legislative initiative of defining femicide. The amendments also included recognition of gender crimes as an aggravating circumstance, but the Parliament’s Committee on Legal Issues discussed and did not support it.




A Deeper Look at Turkey-Russia Relations conflict resolution. In fact, Moscow would prefer to keep the existing status quo as long as possible, but constant fighting with occasional radical spikes in clashes leaves little room for keeping the existing formula. That is why Russia would always want Turkey (as Azerbaijan’s ally) be as much distanced from the conflict as possible. Further east in Central Asia, Ankara deems itself a natural ally of all Central Asian states as there are strong ethnic ties between Turkey and Turkic peoples of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (Tajiks have always been more influenced by Iranian culture). As Russian economic influence in the region decreases, so is Russian cultural influence. For instance, Kazakhstan announced this year that the country will be transitioning from a Cyrillic to a Latin version of alphabet. The move is widely seen as the slow process of Central Asian states slowly rejoining the Turkic cultural world which they have historically belonged to. Thus, overall, when we talk about Russia-Turkey relations, we should always discuss them in the wider context of the Black Sea and the Middle East. Emil Avdaliani teaches history and international relations at Tbilisi State University and Ilia State University. He has worked for various international consulting companies and currently publishes articles focused on military and political developments across the former Soviet space and the Middle East. In Central Asia, Ankara deems itself a natural ally of all Central Asian states. As Russian economic influence in the region decreases, so is Russian cultural influence



espite the fact that, historically, Moscow and Ankara have been geopolitical rivals, there are now a number of common interests driving both countries to work more closely. The first arena of cooperation is the Syrian battlefield. Although the two powers have different views on the future of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Moscow and Ankara cooperate not to allow the Kurdish issue to get out of hand. Russia has been closely working with Iran since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011 and, quite naturally, this must have alienated the Turkish side. However, there are hints from time to time that Russia and Iran have disagreements over the future of Syria. For instance, the Iranian formula of support for the Syrian government does not include any compromises regarding the Assad family, whereas Russia has been always willing to make some concessions on the diplomatic front as long as its core interests in Syria, military bases and political influence, are retained. And here, too, Ankara and Moscow could at times share similar views on constraining Iranian ambitions. Both share somewhat ambiguous relations with the US. Although Turkey is a NATO member and quite naturally should have been closely aligned with the western powers in Syria, Ankara nevertheless has its own clear goals based on its geographical needs and interests in the broader Middle East. Ankara was wary of the US military aid to the Kurds in Syria and other issues on the future of Assad’s regime. Russia is also concerned with the US actions in Syria and within the wider former Soviet space. Beyond the Middle East conundrum, Turkey and Russia also share difficult relations with the EU. Ankara has been strongly criticized by Brussels of late, while Russia has been in a standoff with Europe over Ukraine since 2014. Moreover, the two countries have extensive economic and military projects, such as the selling of Russian S-400 to Turkey; Russian participation in the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear plant in Turkey and the progress on the massive Turkish Stream gas project which will enable Russia to bolster its gas exports to south Europe by circumventing Ukraine.

THEY ALSO SHARE DIFFERENCES Despite some concrete steps in furthering bilateral relations, Turkey and Russia still remain geopolitical rivals with overlapping interests in several strategically vital regions. One such theater is the Black Sea region. Turkey’s geographic position gives it the longest shore on the Black Sea and natural control over the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, making the country capable of projecting its military and economic power across the entire Black Sea. The area has historically been a battle ground between the Russian and Ottoman empire since the 18th century, followed by the Cold War military dispositions. Thus, Turkey, like Russia, has a natural interest in extending its zone of influence in the Black Sea, leaving little room for the two countries to find a foundational compromise in the longer run. To this should be added Russian military moves in the region since 2014, when Moscow incorporated the Crimean Peninsula which, due to its geographic position, gives the Russians the upper hand in terms of military infrastructure and the ability to cover all the shores of the Black Sea. To the east of the Black Sea in the South Caucasus, Turkey and Russia share somewhat different views on the region. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Turkey has actively worked on reconnecting the South Caucasus region to its growing energy consumption market by initiating/facilitating various east-west energy and infrastructure projects. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Supsa pipelines, as well as the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, are only some of those major projects Ankara is currently supporting. (At the same time, as I wrote several weeks ago for GT, Turkish-Georgian relations will not be sacrificed because of progress in Russo-Turkish relations). It is in Turkey’s vital interests to keep Russia away from the Georgian transit corridor. Indeed, there are reasons for Turkey to worry, as Russia recently moved makeshift border signs of the South Ossetia demarcation line further south, threatening the vital East-West highway connecting the Caspian and the Black Seas. Although it is very unlikely at the moment that Turkey will militarily confront Russia in the region, Ankara nevertheless is thinking about increasing Georgia and Azerbaijan’s military capabilities. The Trilateral Format of cooperation between the three countries has boomed since its inception in 2012. Another area of different worldviews between Russia and Turkey is the simmering NagornoKarabakh conflict. Russia has its own agenda for




NOVEMBER 28 - 30, 2017

Georgia, Ukraine to Increase Trade & Tourism Cooperation BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


rime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, held a meeting with Volodymyr Groysman, Prime Minister of Ukraine on Monday. “Georgia firmly supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, and strongly condemns the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the occupation and annexation of the city of Sevastopol, as well as illegal actions and aggression of the Russian Federation in the Eastern regions of Ukraine,” the Georgian PM said. Kvirikashvili also underlined the strategic partnership of the two countries, and the intensified, active cooperation between Georgia and Ukraine this year particularly, with numerous high-level visits held, and the two country dynamic interactions on sectoral and parliamentary levels. As the PM of Georgia emphasized, Ukraine remains a major trade partner to Georgia, with an increased trade turnover between the two countries increased by 19% this year. Kvirikashvili said that within the Prime Minister of Ukraine’s visit to Georgia,

two memorandums will be signed; one on land registration and cadaster system development, and the second on developing cooperation in the sector of medical drugs quality control. Kvirikashvili thanked the PM Groysman for his unconditional support of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, noting that Georgia and Ukraine share the same aspirations to become valuable members of the European and Euro-Atlantic area, and pointing out that Georgia is ready to conduct active steps; with a complex, ambitious plan to achieve that goal. “Further deepening our relations has huge potential, and with joint effort we will be able to overcome the challenges Georgia and Ukraine are facing, and ensure the peaceful development and prosperity of the two nations”. Prime Minister of Georgia said. Groysman thanked Georgia’s PM for inviting him to Georgia and for the continuous effort in supporting Ukraine. He talked about the positive trends in trade relations of the two countries, pointing out the potential of growing annual the $500 million turnover to 1 billion. “We can increase cooperation in various sectors such as agrarian and economy. and we’ll be delighted to increase business relations in Georgia,” he said.

At the Belt & Road Forum this week, a plan will be agreed upon to build a road for the transportation of goods to ensure high quality logistics together with other partners, in order to offer the best service for the transportation of

goods from Europe to Asia. Travel between Ukraine and Georgia is to become easier, and the parties decided to start dialogue towards recognizing ID cards to ease travel between the countries for Georgian and Ukrain-

ian citizens. “Our government team is ready to take concrete actions that will support the development of the relations of our countries,” the Prime Minister of Ukraine said.

Georgia Getting it Right: Overview of the PM’s Meetings at the 5th EaP Summit BY THE GT TEAM


ithin the framework of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) 5th Summit, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili held a meeting with President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. Both parties discussed the achievements of Georgia, the positive development of dynamics in Georgia-EU relations, and the bilateral relations agenda. It was pointed out during the meeting that Georgia is ready to take even more active steps to further draw closer to the EU. The President of the European Commission commended Georgia's reforms and congratulated the Prime Minister on the successful October 21 local elections. Kvirikashvili also held a meeting with his French counterpart, Édouard Philippe. The main topics of discussion were bilateral cooperation, the progress achieved by Georgia in European and Euro-Atlantic integration, and the further strengthening of the Eastern Partnership format. Attention was paid to the ongoing and implemented reforms in Georgia. The positive dynamics of cooperation between France and Georgia in various sectors was also acknowledged. The sides also talked about the Open Government Partnership, which Georgia has recently taken over following the French Presidency. The Georgian PM also met his Swed-

ish college, Stefan Löfven. They positively assessed the boosted economic cooperation between Georgia and Sweden. It was noted that in the first 9 months of 2017, trade turnover with Sweden increased by 38.5%. Particular attention was also paid to the current situation in Georgia's occupied territories. The Prime Minister of Sweden expressed his firm support for Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders.

Prospects of the intensification of economic relations and growing dynamics of trade turnover, which exceeded 41% in 2017, were the main topics discussed by Kvirikashvili and the PM of Finland, Juha Sipila. The Prime Minister of Georgia informed his Finnish counterpart on the progress achieved by Georgia on the path of European and Euro-Atlantic integration, implemented reforms and the leading positions of the country in various international ratings.

Kvirikashvili, then met Theresa May, British PM, in Brussels on November 24. As Georgian Public Broacaster (GPB) reports, the Prime Ministers of Georgia and the UK discussed the high level of political dialogue between the two countries and the active economic relations; discussing further potential for expanding their economic partnership. The Wardrop Strategic Dialogue 4th plenary session held in London in October also indicated a great potential for the further

strengthening of political and economic diplomacy between the two countries. During his meeting with the UK Prime Minister, Kvirikashvili also talked about the importance of cooperation with UK in the process of Georgia’s NATO and Euro-Atlantic integration. Kvirikashvili also spoke about the ongoing reforms in Georgia, and thanked Prime Minister May for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and for supporting Georgia in its European and Euro-Atlantic integration. “The Eastern Partnership Summit has ended, with everyone in agreement on how Georgia has managed to realize a very ambitious reform plan, and at the same time consolidate democracy,” Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated at the end of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels. “This is a great achievement for our country, for which there was a full consensus. It is very important that this format appeared to be an instrumental role for Georgia, enabling us to make the steps that we made to date; such as the Association Agreement signing, trade agreement and visa liberalization,” he said, further noting that the Georgian government’s ambitious reform plan is to continue “bringing [Georgia] a possibility to move even further towards Europe”. “We have full readiness from our partners to support Georgia in this process, as Georgia has achieved great success. When a window of opportunity opens to Georgia, our country needs to be ready. This is our task and we’re fulfilling it,” Kvirikashvili said.




1500-Year-Old Georgian Church Mosaic Discovered in Israel the Georgian calendar goes back to 539 CE, making it the earliest appearance of the use of the Georgian calendar in Israel. “This was many years before it was used in Georgia itself,” Segni, who deciphered the inscription, is quoted as saying. Ashkelon district archeologist Sa’ar Ganor noted that Ashdod is believed to be home to the largest community of Jews of Georgian origin in the world. “Testimony to the presence of actual Georgians in the Land of Israel as far back as the Byzantine period has been found dozens of kilometers from Ashdod, [as well as in] Jerusalem and its surroundings,” said Ganor. “But this is the first time that a Georgian church or monastery has been discovered on the Israeli coast,” the recently published piece says, further noting that according to information from the archeologists, and according to historical sources, Peter the Iberian, was believed to have lived in Ashdod–Yam before his death. “This public structure, which has only now begun to come to light, is part of an extensive archeological complex in the southern part of modern Ashdod. We are now hard at work to raise additional funds to continue the archeological excavation of Ashdod-Yam.” Sa’ar Ganor said.



stunning 1500-year-old Georgian Church Moisaic Discovered in Israeli Port City- the Jerusalem Post article by Daniel K. Eisenbud reads. “The well-preserved remains of a 1,500-year-old colored mosaic floor from a Georgian church or monastery was unearthed during an excavation in the coastal city of Ashdod, the Antiquities Authority announced this week”. It appears the mosiac was found in August, under the direction of Dr. Alexander Fantalkin of Tel Aviv University’s Archeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations Department, and Prof. Angelika Berlejung of Leipzig University. The mosaic includes “a four-line Greek commemorative inscription dedicated to the structure’s builder, Bishop Procopius, as well as the year of its construction, based on the Georgian calendar, saying: “[By the grace of God (or Jesus)], this work was done from the foundation under Procopius, our most saintly and most holy bishop, in the month Dios of the 3rd induction, year 292”. As the article states, according to Dr. Leah Di Segni of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the date following

Work of Legendary Lithuanian Photographer at Georgian National Museum BY TOM DAY


hotographs of one of the most influential photographers of our time, the late Vitas Luckus, are on display in the newly opened exhibition at the Georgian National Museum. Jointly organized by the Siauliai Ausros Museum and the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to Georgia, the exhibition displays Luckus’s travel photography from his travels in the Caucuses. To call Luckus a mere photographer is like calling Mount Elbrus a hill, or Tbilisi a small village. The Lithuanian Legend’s images go beyond the limits of even today’s traditional photojournalism. He was unique in the way he worked, behaving unlike the average traveler. Although his lenses captured plenty of ordinary material, his shots are much more than mere reflections of reality. His unique talent as a communicator allowed him to establish a personal and trusting relationship with the people he encountered. Choosing not to remain an observer but to fully participate in the events, the photographer found an organic way to enter the daily life of his subjects and managed to convey them in their purest, uncensored form. He became a character in

the narrative, and although he is not visible in any of the pieces, his presence can certainly be felt. Although he was famous for his art and his personality, both in Lithuania and throughout the former Soviet Union, only a few of his personal exhibitions were held during his lifetime, and no substantial publications were produced. He did not conform to the Soviet regime that would brutally edit the pieces of work to be shown. He wouldn’t accept this and kept true to himself and his ideas. Usually artists were silenced during these times, but he was too big. He was well-known everywhere he went and was a strong public figure. This exhibition is one of many projects created to further enrich relationships between Georgia and Lithuania. The Minister of Culture for Lithuania, Liana Ruokyt-Jonsson, spoke at the opening night. “We hope that this exhibition will further build cultural connections between our countries. This is not the first exhibition of this kind. We have so many names to show in Georgia. I see that Georgian appreciate good art. We hope to continue this cultural exchange into the future.” The Minister of Culture for Georgia, Guram Odisharia, added that “this is one of many cultural exchanges between Lithuania and Georgia. We have Georgian artists’ work being shown in Lithu-



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Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

ania, and vice versa. The cultural dialogue is very important, and we are trying to encourage it as much as we can. When you know each other’s culture, their val-

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

ues, this builds trust.” The exhibition is on show until December 14, 2017, and is open Tuesday - Sunday 10am – 6pm, closed on Monday.

Website Manager/Editor: Tamzin Whitewood Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

Entrance Fees to the museum itself: Adults 3 GEL, Students 1 GEL, School Children 0,5 GEL. Children under 6 are Free.


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1002 Business  

November 28 - 30, 2017

Issue #1002 Business  

November 28 - 30, 2017