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Issue no: 1052/131

FOCUS

ON WEEKEND MESSAGES

The world joined Georgia in celebrating its 100th Anniversary celebration on May 26

• MAY 29 - 31, 2018

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... "Georgia would have been among the founding fathers of the EU, had Soviet occupation not occurred"

EU to Allocate Extra €40m for Georgia NEWS PAGE 2

Real Estate Market Highlights ISET PAGE 4

The Krynica Economic Forum Gathers VIPs to Discuss Georgia’s Future

BUSINESS PAGE 5

US Congressmen Initiate Resolution on Georgia

Tbilisi Taxi Drivers on the Upcoming Regulations

BY THEA MORRISON

BUSINESS PAGE 12

Photo Source: coinvedi.com

Georgia’s Territorial Integrity Supported By Turkey

U

nited States Senators David Perdue, Ben Cardin and Johnny Isakson initiated and submitted a resolution on Georgia to the Senate, congratulating the people of Georgia on the 100th anniversary of its declaration of independence as a democratic republic and reaffirming the strength of the relationship between the United States and Georgia. The document once again confirms the strong bipartisan support of the US Congress for Georgia. The resolution reads that the Russian Federation’s invasion of Georgia in August 2008 resulted in civilian and military causalities, the occupation of two Georgian regions - Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Continued on page 2

POLITICS PAGE 14

Estonia Will Continue to Support Georgia

SOCIETY PAGE 15 Prepared for Georgia Today Business by

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2

NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 29 - 31, 2018

EU to Allocate Extra €40m for Georgia BY THEA MORRISON

T

he European Union has said it will allocate an extra €40 million to Georgia this year for the development of their mutual relations. The statement was made by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, at the joint press-conference with the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili during his visit to Tbilisi on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the First Democratic Republic on May 26. “I am pleased to announce that we are to allocate an additional €40 million for 2018 bilateral relations. Overall, we have allocated €597 million in support to Georgia from 2014 to 2018. In addition to this, we have an opportunity to give €45 million towards financially supporting the country,” the President of the

European Commission stated. Juncker added that since March 28, 2017, when the visa-free regime with Georgia was activated, more than 353,000 Georgians have traveled into the Schengen Area. “I promised the Prime Minister a year ago that Europe will always stand beside Georgia. The more reforms it implements, the more support it will see from us,” he added, going on to note that that Georgia has achieved a lot in a very short period. “Georgia is close to my heart, close to the hearts of Europeans, because we are historically and geographically friends and partners,” he stated while congratulating Georgians on their Independence Day. “Georgia and the European Union always stand up for each other… I also want to thank you for Georgia's valuable role in EU peacekeeping operations, serving noble causes,” Juncker added. The Georgian PM thanked the European Commission President for his special role in assisting Georgia.

“It is important to underline the EU's most important role in maintaining peace and stability. Georgia is very grateful for the consistent position of the EU in

respect of the protection and recognition of Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said. After joint statements, Giorgi Kviri-

kashvili and the President of the European Commission made memorable inscriptions on the EU special banner and took photos with the EU volunteers.

PM Recalls Avramopoulos: Georgia Could Have Been EU Founder if Not for Soviet Occupation

G

eorgian Prime Minister, G i o rg i Kv i r i ka s hv i l i recalled the words of EU Commissioner Avramopoulos: “Georgia would have been among the founding fathers of the European Union by all means, had soviet occupation not occurred”. The EU Commissioner was cited by the Prime Minister of Georgia while addressing the participants of the Forum – Strong Diaspora for United Georgia, dedicated to Diaspora Day in Tbilisi. According to the Head of Government, the statement voiced by the EU Com-

missioner is a very important message. Kvirikashvili said that when Georgia achieved visa liberalization with the European Union and when the first visit was made initially to the cultural capital of Europe – Athens, and then to the political capital – Brussels, together with Georgian students and youth, Avramopoulos stated that Soviet occupation had hindered Georgia, otherwise it would have been "one of the founders of the EU." “The event celebrated on May 26 once again presented the importance of European, democratic traditions and the history of Georgia to the entire world. We

need to talk more about it. We need to talk more than we did previously about the titanic work performed from 1918 to 1921. I think it is very important for Georgia. If you wish, it is an acknowledgement from my side that greater significance should be given to this very important three-year span of our history. I want to once again congratulate you on this most prominent date – the 100th Anniversary - and wish Georgia to become a fullyfledged member of the European family as dreamt of by the founding fathers of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia on 26th May 1918,” stated Kvirikashvili.

US Congressmen Initiate Resolution on Georgia Continued from page 1 “Hundreds of thousands of internally displaced civilians were forcefully expelled from the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia in the 1990s, and again in 2008, and continue to be deprived of the right to return in a safe and dignified manner,” the text reads. The document says that the Government of the Russian Federation has intensified steps to separate the breakaway regions from the rest of Georgia

by continuing its fortification of the occupation lines and constructing barbed wire fences to further divide the population. “The US Government supports Georgia’s sovereignty and right to choose its own alliances, and recognizes the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/ South Ossetia as Russian Federationoccupied territories within the internationally recognized borders of Georgia,” the resolution reads. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (MFA) says the resolution

emphasizes the US-Georgia strategic partnership and supports further strengthening of the partnership between the US and Georgia in the field of defense and security, as well as the development of trade and commercial relations between the two countries. "It is noteworthy that the US Senate reiterates strong support for Georgia's NATO membership and emphasizes Georgia's great contribution to EuroAtlantic security. Georgia is described as a leader in the democratic development of the region and in strengthening

of the parliament's role…The resolution supports an independent, united, peaceful Georgia and the safe future of the region.” - notes the Georgian MFA. Georgia’s Vice-Premier and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikheil Janelidze welcomed the registration of the resolution on Georgia, saying it is a bipartisan resolution that clearly emphasizes the US attitude towards Georgia, Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration. “I want to thank the Congressmen and Congress for this support. This is a draft

that I am sure will be approved by other congressmen and will be another expression of US Congressional support for Georgia," said Janelidze. State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili says such support from Georgia’s main strategic partner is of utmost importance for the peaceful resolution of the conflict. “Georgia will achieve the main aim – its unification - with the help of such efforts and peacekeeping policies,” she added.


4

BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 29 - 31, 2018

Real Estate Market Highlights while prices in USD became more volatile, reflecting exchange rate fluctuations. In Q1 2018, the most expensive and cheapest districts of TBS were, by ASP: Mtatsminda (USD 1,078) and Gldani (USD 551); by ARP: Mtatsminda (USD 8.71) and Gldani (USD 4.40)

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY PRICES

T

he Georgian (GEO) real property market grew by 0.1% in Q1 2018, in comparison with Q4 2017. While an annual increase was more pronounced by 27.2% annually (YoY) in comparison with Q1 2017. Tbilisi (TBS), with a 41.6% share in total sales in Q1 2018, dominated the GEO real property market. The TBS market was followed by Kakheti, with 11.1%, and Adjara, with 9.9% shares in GEO sales. The highest annual increase (YoY) in sales number was observed in Racha-Lechkhumi&Kvemo Svaneti (105.0%), Guria (66.9%) and Kakheti (31.7%) regions. In Q1 2018, TBS real property sales grew annually by 37.1%, and overall the market outside TBS caught up and grew by 31.3%. More than half of GEO sales were registered in the two largest cities: Tbilisi and Batumi.

After a stable decrease of SPI for three consequent quarters, in Q1 2018, SPI for commercial properties increased by 12.2% (QoQ) reaching 0.868 index points. While RPI continued its decline, dropping by -10.9% (QoQ) to 0.856 index points. During Q1 2018, ASP varied between USD 1 099 and 1 182 per sq.m, and ARP between USD 8.7 and USD 9.6 per sq.m. Average ASP for commercial properties in Q1 2018 increased by 8.9% YoY), and reached 1 142 USD per sq.m. ARP declined by -8.2% (YoY), and dropped to an historical minimum of 9.32 USD per sq.m in Q1 2018. 148 new buildings with a total area of 200.2 thousand sq.m were completed in TBS during Q1 2018. The real property supply in TBS slowed down with respect to number of buildings (-23.7 % YoY), and with respect to total area of buildings (-33.5% YoY). Slowdown in total supply has been driven by a -56.3 % decrease (YoY) in the supply of commercial buildings (21 units with total area of 60 k sq.m). 127 (-13.0%) units with a total area of 140.2 K sq.m (-27.5%) have also been added to the residential property supply in TBS.

RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY PRICES HLIGHTS

For Q1 2018, the TOP 3 regions by sales in GEO were: TBS (11 450 units, 41.6%) Kakheti (3 060 units, 11.1%) Ajara (2 802 units, 10.2%) For Q1 2018, the TOP 3 districts by sales in TBS were: Saburtalo (2 924 units, 25.5%) Vake (1 978) units, 17.3%) Samgori (1 286 units, 11.2%)

REAL PROPERTY SUPPLY

In Q1 2018, Sale Price Index (SPI) and Rent Price Index (RPI) for residential properties experienced an increase of 5.1% quarterly (QoQ) and 1.4% (QoQ), respectively. During Q1 2018, Average Sale Price (ASP) varied between USD 860 and USD 906 per sq.m (monthly average), and Average Rent Price (ARP) was between USD 6.7 and USD 7.7 per sq.m (monthly average). Quarterly average are USD 883 for ASP and USD 7.34 for ARP. Due to the new law requiring pricing of real estate in GEL, prices in local currency stabilized starting in Q3 2017,

10 Galaktion Street

Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail: info@peoplescafe.ge


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 29 - 31, 2018

5

The Krynica Economic Forum Gathers VIPs to Discuss Georgia’s Future BY THEA MORRISON

G

eorgia’s capital Tbilisi hosted Poland’s Krynica Economic Forum, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia, on May 26. The Krynica Economic Forum, which is one of the most famous economic forums in Eastern Europe, was opened by the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, Presidents of Poland and Slovakia - Andrzej Duda and Andrej Kiska, and the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili. In his speech, Margvelashvili thanked the Polish and Slovak presidents for participating in the forum, noting that their engagement as friends and partners of Georgia highlights their firm support for the country. “It is very timely to hold this gathering in Georgia, because our country has great economic potential. In fact, Georgia plays an increasingly important role in East-West economic relations, in terms of energy supplies, especially through projects that will end next year in Europe and become part of its energy security. This also concerns trade routes through which Georgia connects the European and Asian markets. The Black Sea is becoming the center for Eastern economies from which they will export their products,” he stated.

Krynica Economic Forum took place in Tbilisi on May 26

The Georgian President then underlined that in terms of the Ease of Doing Business Index, Georgia is one of the frontrunners, a result of “implementing the right economic policy.” “Thanks to Georgia’s open and liberal

At The Biltmore Hotel 29 Rustaveli Ave, 0108 Tbilisi, Georgia

policy and as a result of free trade agreements, investment in Georgia means investing not in a small market of three million, but in huge, strong markets of two billion, including the European Union, China, Turkey and the former Soviet

Union countries,” Margvelashvili added. In his address, PM Kvirikashvili thanked all guests who had come to Georgia to join the country in its celebration of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia in 1918.

Kvirikashvili stated that Georgia’s goal is to become the regional hub as its geographical location and maritime, railway, air and logistic potential all give the country a chance to achieve this goal. “We already have free trade agreements with the European Union, China, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey and the CIS countries. Currently, we are negotiating with India, Hong Kong and Israel to establish a free trade regime”, the PM said. The event was held under the patronage of the President of Georgia. The organizers were the Institute for Eastern Studies and the Georgian Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The forum gathered up to 250 important guests representing the economic sector, executive, legislative and local governments, experts and journalists from the European Union, the South Caucasus, Iran and Central Asia. Discussions were conducted in two directions – political and economic. The most important topics of the forum were: the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union, opportunities and challenges of the DCFTA, challenges for regional security and the Euro-Atlantic goals of Georgia, running a business in Georgia: pros and cons, energy security challenges in the countries of the EU and Eastern Partnership, Georgia and the South Caucasus with a prospective transit area; and Poland and Georgia in the international arena 100 years after regaining independence.


6

BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 29 - 31, 2018

Hairline International

ism contributes just as much to our success. Hairline’s team is staffed by doctors with many years’ experience, who have worked with us since the establishment of the clinic, with thousands of satisfied patients, including numerous celebrities.

Tmis gadanergvis klinika HAIR TRANSPLANTATION CENTRE

THE CLINIC OFFERS UNIQUE METHODS TO CUSTOMERS. TELL US ABOUT THEM AND THE DEMAND FOR THEM

H

air (or lack of it) is a concern for many in this day-and-age. We decided to find out more about it from the renowned clinic Hairline International, and spoke to its co-founder Irakli Bebiashvili. As well as being Head of the Medicinal-Scientific center of hair restoration “Hairline International,” Bebiashvili is a member of the Georgian Hair Transplantology and Trichology Association and Eurasian Trichology Association, member of the American Association AHLA, and a professional surgeon with 25 years’ experience.

HOW DID THE CLINIC BECOME A MARKET LEADER? HOW DID THE INDUSTRY DEVELOP TOGETHER WITH THE CLINIC? Hairline International aims to keep up with recent developments and implementations in the sphere, supported by Tamaz Tamazishvili, the clinic’s founder in Georgia, who is at this moment working in New York in an organ transplant center. He is always actively involved in the clinic’s development.

HAIRLINE INT’L BECAME THE NUMBER ONE GOLDEN BRAND HAIR IMPLANTATION CLINIC, NAMED A WINNER BY BOTH EXPERTS AND CUSTOMERS. WHY DID THEY NAME YOU A LEADING BRAND? Years of experience, professionalism, and a team of doctors oriented on results. This is seen and appreciated by the customers and is exactly why they choose Hairline. We have accreditations from a lot of European countries, as high-quality specialists in this industry, but it’s more important when you are accredited in your own country as a number one brand.

HAIRLINE INT’L IS IN THE TOP TEN OF LEADING HAIR IMPLANTATION BRANDS WORLDWIDE. HOW DID YOU ACHIEVE THIS RESULT? Being in the global top ten of the leading clinics in the industry is attributed to the fact that Hairline constantly implements innovative methods and utilizes the latest technologies, giving a more natural effect. Without doubt, the team’s professional-

Hairline International is the only clinic in the Caucasus region and Georgia where successful hair transplantation is carried out with the most progressive and modern method, without scarring. The most recent method is long-term hair transplantation using the FUE method - this is an impressive step towards perfection in the evolution of hair transplant surgery and minimizes discomfort after surgery. The clinic has successfully performed hair transplantation in scarred regions, as well as in the area of eyebrows and beard. Hair transplantation is carried out from different parts of the body. Although long-term follicular societal transplantation is a very interesting and progressive direction, nowadays only one clinic in the world is able to do it as the method requires special technical equipment, extremely experienced surgeons and staff. And since the Hairline team meets all these standards, we had the opportunity to take innovative steps. There are no stitches and therefore no scars.

WHICH SERVICE OFFERED BY THE CLINIC IS MOST POPULAR AND HOW IS BUSINESS GROWING? Hair transplantation with no scarring is the most in-demand procedure and every month, 70-75% of patients choose it. Women demand forehead correction and eyebrow transplantation (the latter is especially in demand due to the latest fashion trends). It’s a great opportunity for women and has a natural and permanent effect. For men, one of the most popular procedures is beard transplantation. The number of patients increases annually, as their previously skeptical approach towards hair

transplantation disappears. In the last few years, the tendency to take care of themselves and their appearance has increased in men, a fact reflected on the growth in the number of patients. Professional detmatologist-trichologists use conservative treatments and innovative methods for hair loss, including mezzo, plasma and laserotherapy procedures, which stops the process of hair loss, strengthens the transplanted hair and improves quality.

HOW AFFORDABLE IS THE TREATMENT? DO YOU RUN SPECIAL PROMOTIONS? We offer a lot of gifts and promotions to our Hairline patients, as new technologies promote price reductions. Our procedures are affordable; even more so during the promotion period. Consultation is always free.

DO YOU HAVE FOREIGN PATIENTS? Foreign patients are very eager to come to our clinic for transplantation surgeries. 30% of total patients are made up of foreigners. This shows that our quality is high, and results guaranteed. Consultation can be carried out remotely, without their being physically present, which is convenient for them.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE FUTURE? In the short-term, the clinic plans to expand its services beyond the aesthetic field. Additionally, we are planning to open branch offices in Batumi and Kutaisi.

Poroshenko, Erdogan Discuss Free Trade Agreement BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

P

resident of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a telephone conversation last week, discussed an agreement on free trade (FTA) between Ukraine and Turkey, the press service of the Ukrainian leader announced. The leaders of the two countries exchanged views on topical issues on the bilateral and international agenda, stressing the importance of speeding up the negotiation process for concluding an FTA between Ukraine and Turkey. They also discussed ways to expand mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy, aviation and

defense spheres. Poroshenko thanked Erdogan for his unchanged position on supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine and protecting the rights of the Crimean Tatars. On March 28, Ukraine and Israel concluded talks on their own FTA, and approved an action plan for signing the agreement. In particular, it was planned to conduct a detailed legal check by the relevant authorities of both countries. Earlier, the trade representative of Ukraine, Natalia Mikolskaya, specified that the FTA between Ukraine and Israel may contain a number of exceptions for some agricultural production groups. According to the Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavel Klimkin, the potential of trade between Ukraine and Israel is worth $5 billion, with an annual growth of 20%.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 29 - 31, 2018

7

The EU-Armenia Nuclear Power Plant Discussion BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

A

rmenia is preparing for a major modernization of the country's only nuclear power plant (NPP). The work will begin on June 1 and will last two months. The Ministry of Energy of the Republic said that despite the suspension of the work of the NPP, there will not be a deficit of electricity in the country. Armenian specialists are engaged in technical re-equipment of the station together with their Russian counterparts. "The nuclear power plant will be completely restarted in December. The modernization program is financed by a Russian loan of $ 300 million and is aimed at extending the life of the nuclear power plant for another ten years. After that, according to the results of expert studies, it will be decided whether it is possible to prolong the operation or not," said Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources of Armenia, Artur Grigoryan. “Armenia coordinated with the European Union the issue of extending the operation of the nuclear power plant for 10 years within the framework of the signed Agreement on Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership,” Grigoryan, told journalists on Friday. The Head of the Union for the Protection of Consumer Rights Armen Poghosyan said on May 22 that the EU had

several times put forward an ultimatum requirement on the timing of the closure of the Armenian NPP, the latest arriving early last week. "We have agreed with the EU on the extension of the life of the Armenian NPP," Grigoryan told reporters on Friday. On November 24, 2017, at the fifth summit of the EU program ‘Eastern Partnership’ in Brussels, Armenia signed an Agreement on Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership with the EU. The document will come into force after all 28 EU member states and Armenia ratify it. On April 12, 2018, the Armenian National Assembly deputies ratified the Agreement between the Republic of Armenia, the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community. Head of the Union for the Protection of Consumer Rights Armen Poghosyan last week advised caution with regards the NPP closure and the EU ultimatum. “The Armenian government must adopt a program on energy saving and energy efficiency, but not in such a way as to damage national interests or without taking into account nuclear power plants or an alternative source of electricity,” he said. On April 12, the Armenian government approved the technical regulation of energy saving and energy efficiency in new buildings, as well as in facilities built, reconstructed and repaired at the expense of public funds. "The issue of energy saving is undoubtedly relevant, and the government's

[April 12] decision is welcome. In any developed country, steps are being taken to reduce electricity costs, but this decision becomes inadequate and dangerous when it indicates the prospects for the closure of the nuclear power plant. If the issue of NPPs or alternative sources of electricity is not resolved, then one day Armenia may face the threat of

energy collapse," Pogosyan said last week. The Armenian NPP, the only one in the region, is located 30 kilometers south of Yerevan. It was commissioned in 1980 and stopped in March 1989, after the December 1988 earthquake in Spitak that killed 25,000 people. The plant was reintroduced in November 1995 in connec-

tion with the most acute energy crisis in the Republic. Currently, only the second unit, with a capacity of 407.5 MW, is functioning. Armenia intends to build a new nuclear power unit with a capacity of 600 MW. Construction is scheduled to start in 2018-2019. The total cost of the project is to be around $5 billion.


8

BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 29 - 31, 2018

Construction Project Management: from Architecture & Engineering to Public Works & City Planning Now we are executing the project, taking the plan and implementing it, along with all the changes and issues that can arise during such a process. Whatever deliverables we promised must come through in the timeframe we noted. Now we must deal with stakeholders, customers, and teams. Later tasks must be completed, which means workload management and resource allocation. We will be setting up meetings and reporting frequently throughout this stage. This is where your project management tool will really be tested, but more on that later. This is the stage we will be working with purchase orders, which are used as an agreement between the buyer and the seller.

BY BIZHAN HESHMATIAZAR, PROJECT MANAGER

C

onstruction project management is the process of managing construction projects. However, when we are talking about managing a construction project in comparison to other types of projects, the distinction is mostly that construction is mission-based. That means that the project’s organization ends with the end of the project build. While generally, project management is defined as managing resources over the life cycle of a project through various tools and methodologies to control scope, cost, time, quality, etc., when working in the construction industry, our outlook must be broader. It usually includes a wider variety of constraints to consider, specific to design, build and construction projects, and can interact with a variety of different disciplines in the lifetime of a project, from architecture and engineering to public works to city planning. There is a variety of different types of construction projects, depending on the different construction sectors. There are two sectors in construction: residential and commercial. Depending on the sector, there can be up to four different types of projects: • Residential home building and renovation • Heavy industrial construction • Commercial and institutional construction • Engineering construction That means there is a wide variety of types of construction projects that require construction management in order to be successful. Construction management might be required for a simple home to a large bridge, from engineering a dam build to an airport seismic retrofit project. Our construction project managers then, manage the beginning and end of a project build, often managing on-site to ensure the safe, successful construction.

KEY PRINCIPLES

CONSTRUCTION Construction project management requires a broad variety of skills and the ability to interface with a diverse range of agencies and people in order to lead the project from concept to build. During the management of a construction job, there are certain objectives that should be considered. Just like in any project, it is accomplished by breaking it down in stages. It is important that construction project managers follow the principles of project management during every phase of the project.

CONCEIVING AND INITIATING THE PROJECT We cannot start a project unless we know we will be able to finish it. First comes the due diligence to determine if the project is even feasible. In which we look at the goals, cost and timeline to see if we have resources to reach a successful project end within those constraints. We also want to define the reasoning behind the project and make sure its sounds logical. If so, then we create our project charter to help initiate the project. Even at this stage, we will be identifying potential issues and risks.

DEFINE AND PLAN THE PROJECT We outline the tasks within the timeline,

noting project milestones, and the resources needed to do those tasks within the budget allotted. Being transparent is in our plan, so everyone is on the same page and understands what needs to be done over the life cycle of the project. That includes detailing the cost, scope, duration, quality and communications used in the project. During this phase, the design of the construction project is formulated, which consists of four parts. It is the responsibility of the project manager to make sure that the design meets with building codes and other regulations. The first step is the concept. Decisions will be based on the size of the project, the site allocated for the build and the actual design of what is going to be built. This is comprised of a list for each room or space under consideration, including all critical data. Next comes the schematic design, which is a sketch that identifies all the various parts, materials, sizes, colors, textures, etc. It includes the floorplan, elevations, etc., even a site plan. Following step is to make a research on the specific materials and equipment to be used. The final stage for design is to get the contract documents together, which are the final drawing and construction specs.

These will be used by outside contractors to bid on the job.

PRECONSTRUCTION Before ground is broken, we will have these four steps to work on. The first being the assignment of a project manager, if it has not already been determined. Sometimes a project manager is on board early and participates in the first stages of a project, while other times they are not hired until the design is complete. Next, we need to determine who the contract administrator will be. This is the person who will help the project manager. A superintendent is needed now, as well, who keeps everything on schedule in terms of the materials, deliveries and equipment. They are also on site to deal with construction activities. Finally, we want to have a field engineer, which is more an entry-level position to deal with paperwork. Besides these personnel appointments, there is also the need to investigate the site to see if anything needed. The site must be ready for the construction, which might mean dealing with environmental issues, such as the suitability of the soil for construction

LAUNCH THE PROJECT

Finally, we are ready for the build. But first, we have a preconstruction meeting to deal with work hours, the storage of materials, quality control and site access. Then get everyone on site and set up. We will need to create a schedule of payment and a process to deliver them on whatever schedule you determine is necessary. This information needs to be transparent, not only to meet financial obligations, but also to maintain a happy and productive workforce and environment. The last part of the project starts after the construction completion and the occupants settle or take ownership of the site. We must make sure all their requirements have been met, and usually provide a warranty period to make that arrangement official and binding.

TRACK PROJECT PERFORMANCE We cannot know the progress of our project if we do not have a way to monitor it. We will be doing this during every stage of the project, but it is important enough to demand its own separate stage in our management. We will want to have a way to note the progress, which is why we need to set up key performance indicators for cost, time and quality and see how they measure up in real-time as compared to what we had planned for. If we can stay on top of these figures, it is less likely you will manage a failing project.

German City to Ban Diesel Cars BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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amburg is to ban old diesel cars and trucks from entering the city from May 31, writes German media outlet Spiegel. According to the publication, the restriction of the passage of such cars will operate on two sections of the road in the Altona-Nord area where the relevant

prohibitory signs are already in place. One 580m street will be forbidden to diesel cars that do not meet Euro-6 emission standards. The Federal Administrative Court of Germany earlier recognized as lawful local authority prohibition of the admission of diesel cars on the territories of large cities, the aim of which is to combat air pollution. Following the German court, the Swedish government allowed its own municipalities to decide on a ban on the entry

of diesel cars into city centers. "Softened" rules are expected to take effect in Sweden in less than two years, becoming more stringent by 2022. In addition, because of "dieselgate," the EU has tightened environmental tests for cars. One hopes that Tbilisi City Hall might look to the same with its own “yellow” buses. The increasing trend of citizens posting videos of city buses spewing out black fumes is on the risedemonstrating the people’s demand for a cleaner capital in Georgia.


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 29 - 31, 2018

Agri Review May 2018: The Sector at a Glance A

ccording to the data for the first quarter of 2018, the number of livestock has increased in Georgia. The biggest increase was observed for the number of sheep and goats, which increased by 35.9%. Such a sharp rise might be explained by the increased demand from East Asian countries. As to the other livestock categories, the number of bovine animals increased by 9.3%, while number of pigs and poultry increased by 7.7% and 4.1%, respectively. The higher number of livestock has translated into increased animal production for most animal products, except milk, which decreased by 1.4% in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017. As to remaining

categories of animal production, the amount of meat and eggs produced increased by 9.5% and 10.2%, respectively, for the same period.

PRICE HIGHLIGHTS In April 2018, prices for sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionary decreased by 1.4%, compared to March 2018. On an annual basis, prices in this category were lower by 3.7%. According to Geostat data, the biggest price drop was mostly for sugar (-21.5%). This sharp price decrease was balanced out by a hike in prices for chocolate bars (5.2%), honey (4.3%), chewing gum (2.4%), ice-cream (0.9%), and caramel (0.2%). Given that Georgia is a net importer of these commodities, prices for sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and

confectionary are driven by international prices. According to the International Sugar Organization, sugar prices decreased by 26.8%, compared to April 2017. The declining trend in the price of sugar is the result of an excess supply in the sugar market from India and Thailand, the world’s second and fourth largest sugar producing countries. In addition, Brazilian currency depreciated with respect to the US dollar, which might be putting additional pressure on sugar prices as Brazilian exports became cheaper (note that Brazil is the world’s largest producer of sugar). If international trends continue into the future, Georgian consumers may expect further price decreases, not only in sugar prices, but in sugar-sweetened beverages as well.

TRADE HIGHLIGHTS In April 2018, Georgia’s agricultural exports (including food) amounted to 52 mln USD, which is around 30% of total Georgian export value. While comparing this indicator to April 2017, it is 4% higher. As to imports, in April 2018, Georgia’s agro import stood at 101 mln USD, which constitutes 16% of total Georgian imports. Year over year (compared to April 2017), agricultural imports increased by 22%. As to the Georgia’s export diversification, the first four export product groups for 2018 are the same as in previous year. Wine has the leading position in both years and is followed by ethyl alcohol and nuts. While the product groups did not change a lot, the export value increased quite significantly. The

Source: MoF, 2018

only exception is nuts (due to the wellknown stink bug infestation last year). Similarly, as to exports, there is no big difference on an annual basis in the import product groups in April 2018, compared to April 2017. The top import groups were wheat and meslin, tobacco products and domestic bird meat for both years. As to export destinations, Russia remained the biggest export market for Georgia in April. In April 2017, Georgia traded mostly with neighbors, while in April 2018, China and Kazakhstan appeared at the top of the list of trading partners. The top import countries for both April 2017 and 2018 were Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. Interestingly, in April 2018, Azerbaijan was replaced by Brazil.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 29 - 31, 2018

My Way Airline Lays Groundwork to Launch in Georgia

Photo: My Way Airlines

BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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ajor Chinese company Hualing Group is laying the groundwork for a new airline in the Georgian market. Under the name My Way, the company ran its first charter flight in March from Tbilisi to Tehran, and plans to start regular routes next month from Tbilisi and Batumi international airports to European destinations. The first routes are expected to be to Tehran, Kiev, Minsk, Tel Aviv and Dubai, adding Urumqi, China, in August. Later in the year, flights are planned to Russian destinations Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Samara. Regular flights were originally planned to begin from April, but have been postponed to a June start date, although tickets are not yet on sale and detailed route information is still not available. The company currently has two Boeing 737-800s and will purchase two additional aircraft by the end of 2018. Chief Commercial Director of My Way Airlines, Igor Aptsiauri, previously served as First Deputy Director of the Georgian Civil Aviation Agency. He will be responsible for the commercial strategy and development of the company. According to Aptsiauri, over $50 million has been invested in the company so far. Aptsiauri pitches My Way as a much-needed addition to the Georgian market. Currently, international transit accounts for only 5-6% of Tbilisi International Airport’s traffic, and My Way aims to eventually raise that number up to 40% through increased volume and new destinations. “What we see from Georgian Airways is they have their own niche market, they have their historical routes,” said Aptsiauri in an interview with Forbes, “If you look at their development over the last ten years, it’s the same routes, it’s the same frequencies, the same fleet. They are more or less concentrating on their niche market … I guess [until now] they were pretty much happy with the situation that they were in... but, in the future, we [at My Way] will also concentrate on connecting and transit passengers. I think in this way we will … be at some point bigger than Georgian Airways.” Georgian Airways is the country’s flag-carrier but

makes up less than one-sixth of the passenger traffic at Tbilisi International Airport with its fleet of eight aircraft. As My Way introduces more competition to the Georgian market, Georgian Airways stepped up its own game. In March, just days after My Way released its plans, Executive Director of Georgian Airways Givi Davitashvili held a press conference at which he announced 11 new European and Russian routes, bringing the number of direct flights the company offers up to 21. Davitashvili tried to differentiate his airline from the competition, saying, “Georgian Airways is...generally oriented on day-time flights to make our customers feel safer during the flight. Additional comfort and flight safety are two major priorities that we want to fully accomplish to create satisfaction among our passengers.” In three years, My Way plans to add a Boeing 777 to its fleet, a wide-body aircraft capable of longhaul flights, allowing for routes such as the United States, Beijing, and India. Aptsiauri says such a plane “will be a ‘novelty’ for the Georgian market,” and that there is customer demand. My Way has an ambitious five-year business plan to turn Tbilisi into a regional transit hub between Europe and Asia. Currently, the largest intercontinental transit airports are Dubai and Istanbul, offering fierce competition. Dubai has set records for passenger numbers, and in 2016 was the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic. It currently ranks number three for total passengers behind Atlanta and Beijing, but projections say Dubai could overtake Atlanta to reach the number one spot in the next three years. Istanbul’s new mega-airport is due to open on October 29 with the long-term goal of becoming the world’s busiest airport with six runways and the capacity for 200 million passengers. In its first phase, it plans to serve 90 million passengers. Although Chinese owned, My Way brands itself as a distinctly Georgian company. For Georgian Independence Day on May 26, My Way flight crews paraded down Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi, in crisp blue and white uniforms, carrying bouquets of balloons for children. If My Way manages to fulfill its business plan, the Georgian airline market may be looking at a serious shift, and the increased competition is likely to lead to more satisfied passengers – both local and in transit.

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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 29 - 31, 2018

Tbilisi Taxi Drivers on the Upcoming Regulations BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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n January 2018, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze made the announcement many Tbilisians have long been waiting for: the beginning of the regulation of the taxi market. The first step in the process, of course, is understanding the market. By November, all taxi drivers will be required to register with City Hall by paying a fee of 50 GEL (25 GEL for a hybrid vehicle, free for electric cars), and presenting their driver’s license and personal identification documents. By January 2019, additional regulations will be in place – most importantly, mandatory annual inspections for all vehicles in the city. City Hall is considering other measures for taxis as well, including “the coloring of taxis, introduction of unified standards, and additional security norms,” according to Deputy Mayor Maia Bitadze. Currently, the industry has no regulation, and the city’s streets are crowded with taxis idling on sidewalks or circling residential blocks, belching exhaust and congesting traffic flows. Driving also offers a source of income with very low barriers to entry for people who struggle to find formal, consistent employment. On a sunny May morning, I hit the streets and spoke with 10 taxi drivers in the Technical University area to see what they thought about the policy change. All 10 had heard about the regulations, but only four knew when and how to register. Registration will be open from August 1 – November 1, after which nonregistered drivers will be fined. Most drivers told me they did plan on registering, although two said they were not sure if they would register. It appears that most drivers take the regulations seriously and expect them to be enforced. One driver told me “Of course I will

register. If I don’t, I will become unemployed.” When asked how the new regulations are likely to affect the taxi business, most drivers hadn’t given it much thought. One driver said, unconcerned, “I’ve worked up until the regulations, I will work after.” I came upon two drivers sitting in their cars who were discussing the regulations as I walked up. They invited me into the shade and we chatted about the regulations. Davit is a strong proponent of the new regulations, saying, “It’ll be a very good thing. There will be fewer drivers here, and that is good because if you are from a village, and come here to drive, your potatoes will spoil!” Jokes aside, there is real resentment towards economic migrants on the part of local Tbilisi drivers. Many hope the regulations will cut down the competition. Davit’s friend Merab was less enthusiastic about the new rules. He drives an older car, and perhaps was worried about passing inspection. He did say, though, that passenger safety is important: “Some of these cars, you’re driving down the road and the door just flies open! It’s not safe.” Davit also told me that yes, compliance may be difficult, but recognizes it as necessary. Over the last 10 years, taxi companies have increasingly swallowed up independent drivers. In 2010, Tabula magazine reported that over 80% of drivers were independent. While we do not know exact numbers, today, some drivers estimate that 1 in 3 taxis work for a company. Apps like Taxify and Yandex Taxi also allow drivers to simultaneously work independently and with the support of a company, with however much flexibility they desire. One driver I spoke with said it is easy for new drivers to find a job driving with a company, but that company drivers keep very little of their fares. The Tbilisi taxi industry represents a significant market failure. Drivers flood

Image source: jimholroyd365.wordpress.com

the system, not limited by car quality, safety, or comfort due to the lack of regulation. One driver complained, saying most of the trips he takes in a given day are for 2-3 GEL, but he drives so much that by the end of a year, the only part that doesn’t need to be repaired is the steering wheel. Perhaps a slight exaggeration, it is true that due to the high supply of taxis, prices are extremely low. According to economic theory, the low prices should force drivers out of the market who are unable to make a profit or maintain their vehicles, lowering supply and thus raising prices, but there are other factors at play in the real world.

Many of the drivers come from villages outside Tbilisi where there are even fewer options for employment. If one driver fails to stay afloat in the industry and returns to his village, a new hopeful is likely to take his place within the day. Additionally, many drive taxis only part time, using their personal vehicle to make a little pocket change in their spare time, particularly at night or on the weekends. Costs of living are also quite low, especially for young unmarried men living with their parents – no rent to pay, no groceries to buy, no children to support. If the regulations work as designed, the barriers to entry will lower taxi sup-

ply, increase prices, and lower demand on taxis, moving closer to market equilibrium and passengers will be more likely to opt for public transportation. While the new designated bus and marshrutka (minibus) lanes do make above-ground transport a bit faster, Tbilisi’s public transportation infrastructure must continue to be upgraded, adding more new, low-emission buses and proportionally eliminating or limiting the marshrutka system. If the new taxi regulations are too successful, we could see even more overcrowding of public transport that is both uncomfortable and dangerous.

GD Alco Awards Glenfiddich “26 Years” on 100th Anniversary of Georgia’s Independence

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he 100th anniversary of the Independence on May 26 was celebrated by the company GD Alco by the presenting of the famous single malt whisky Glenfiddich from a 26-year-old barrel. Bottles were decorated with a label baring the Georgian flag, a precedent in the history of Scottish whisky for the colors of another country to be “worn” by the brand. 20 bottles of Glenfiddich were awarded to Georgians who have contributed to the development and popularization of the country, in celebration of the Independence Day, namely: Aka Morchiladze, Nino Ananiashvili, Marika Lortkipanidze's family,Guram Dochanashvili, Nona Gaprindashvili, Zaza Pachulia, David Coma, Giorgi Kekelidze, Nana Ekvtimishvili, Gela Charkviani, Elisso Bolkvadze, Rusudan Petviashvili, Giorgi Kalandia, Bishop Isaiah, Suliko Kadagidze, Zaal Kokaia, Katie Melua, and the Sukhishvilebi Ensemble. The awarding ceremony was held in the main hall of the Parliamentary Library and was attended by almost all of those special Georgian people who were awarded with this wonderful whisky. Speeches were made, seeing all speakers mentioning the importance of such symbolic events. "When I began discussing the 100th anniversary of independence with our partners, from the very beginning I knew I had to do something special,” said Gocha Darchiashvili, founder of GD Alco. “We decided on something combining both history and emotion in a gift. Considering this concept, we had to choose a product that had a long life. Accordingly, whisky was the most logical idea as whisky is somewhat representative of an epoch - stored in a barrel, it is old, "wise" and becomes very special.” “Today, many guests are coming to Georgia and we want to give them something that will make them remember the country,” he went on. “Glenfiddich is the world's most famous brand: when a person receives 26-yearold whisky, specially created for the 100th anniversary of Georgia’s independence, he will be grateful and eager to try. They will never forget Georgia because of this gift.”


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 29 - 31, 2018

Ukraine International Airport "Zaporozhye" Closed for a Month

BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

O

n May 26, the international airport "Zaporizhzhya" closed to the reception and departure of flights in connection with the repair of the runway. As reported by the airport administration, the repair will last until the end of June. Reconstruction of the runway will cost 20 million UAH.

The tender for the reconstruction of the strip was won by Altis-Kanstrakshn, the same company that won a tender for the construction of a passenger terminal worth 500 million UAH. The Zaporozhye airport is included in the state program of airport development, where it is in second place after Odessa. Earlier, Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman promised to monitor the quality of repairs at the airport, and, if necessary, conduct a financial audit of expenses.

POLITICS

"A Fraternity of Freedom" - Toomas Hendrik Ilves

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stonia's former president Toomas Hendrik Ilves sent a letter to Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili to congratulate him on the 100th anniversary of Georgia's declaration of independ-

ence. In his letter, President Ilves congratulates the Georgian President, and points out how deep the connection between Estonia and Georgia is and how it will remain. "Oddly enough it was Joseph Stalin himself, in a letter to Lenin during the debate as to how far the Soviet Union could expand, who said the USSR can never include states that had their own flags and embassies abroad. The letter was later suppressed, of course, as the USSR turned into an imperialist predator state. Yet Stalin was right: once a people have tasted independence, they do not forget it, and the memory of what it was like is passed on from generation to generation, until it is realized again," Ilves wrote. "This is why our hopes and struggles to regain our independence could never be quashed. This is why we both do not date our independence to 1991, but to 1918. We established it, we had it, it was taken away from us, and our forefathers suffered for it. So we

have remained true to their ideals and remembered their sacrifices, and vowed to restore it. To take back what was stolen from us, because it is ours." "More importantly, it is thanks to our forefathers that we realize we today are the custodians of the state they created. It is our duty to defend it, to remember always what they did. We all are stakeholders in our countries, because it belongs to us. But it belongs even more to our children and future generations as well. Thence our duty, as Ronald Reagan once said: 'Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream; it must be fought for, protected, and handed over for them to do the same.'" "Understanding this fundamental truth is what lies at the heart of the deep friendship between Estonians and Georgians. Not some silly friendship of nations shoved down our throats by an imperial overlord, but a fraternity of freedom that unites us, as people, as individuals. A fraternity that brought out one hundred thousand Estonians to the Song Festival Grounds in August 2008, to sing for your freedom. A fraternity of freedom that for all these years has been the basis of our bond." -Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 29 - 31, 2018

Russian Dilemmas Over Syria ANALYSIS BY EMIL AVDALIANI

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ver the past several months, one of the major concerns in the Kremlin has been to understand to what extent Israel will continue to carry out preventive strikes on Syrian soil. On February 10, an armed Iranian drone was shot down over Israeli airspace, prompting a swift and devastating Israeli response. Two months later, on April 9, Israeli jets struck again, bombing a T-4 and killing 14 personnel - including at least seven IRGC troops. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called this a "very dangerous development." These incidents suggested that an Israeli-Syrian (by extension Iranian) military engagement could evolve into a serious situation that might spin out of Russian control. This is worrisome to the Russians, as they are keen to keep the balance in Syria. Therefore, as tensions escalate between Iran and Israel and the risk of a major confrontation between the two in Syria increases, how Russia might respond is an important factor to evaluate. For Russia, alienating Israel around the Syrian battlefield would be an unfortunate development. One of the major reasons for this is the geopolitical setting where, on a broader level, Russia tries to maintain a dominant position in Syria after gaining important victories. Despite successes, the Russians are worried about the Syrian battlefield becoming more crowded. With the US unlikely to withdraw its military forces, the Turkish operation in Afrin, in the north of the country, powerful Iranian proxy forces currently close to the Israeli border, and

little success in at the recent peace conferences, Russia is least interested in having Israel being drawn in the conflict militarily. This could explain why Russia conceded on some crucial points regarding the security of Israel. For instance, after the US and its allies shot a cruise missile against Syria on April 14, Moscow propounded ideas on supplying S-300 airdefense missiles to Damascus, which was suspended by the Russians in 2013 because of Israeli opposition. After the western allies’ strikes, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the strikes had removed any moral obligation Russia had not to transfer the missiles. At the same time, Russia's prominent Kommersant daily quoted unnamed military sources as saying deliveries might begin imminently. However, following the Israeli PM’s visit to Russia in early May for Victory Day festivities, another prominent Russia daily Izvestia cited a top Kremlin aide, Vladimir Kozhin, who said that Moscow was not in talks with the Syrian government about supplying advanced S-300 ground-to-air missiles. This means an apparent U-turn by the Russian government. Yet another reason might be those occasional hints in the Russian media from defense and political sources that if Iran attacks Israel from Syria, either itself or through its proxy Hezbollah, Israel will not hold back and will respond forcefully, targeting Iranian soil. This in fact shows the limits beyond which Russia-Israel cooperation might be strained. On a more global level, there is a hypothetical possibility that Russia could be a potential mediator in alleviating security grievances between Iran and Israel. This will be a fine diplomatic move by the Russians to show to the

Georgia’s Territorial Integrity Supported By Turkey

BY SHAWN WAYNE

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urkish National Defense Minister said on Saturday May 26 that his country believes Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia disputes can be resolved on the basis of the country’s internationally recognized borders. Canikli was in the Georgian capital Tbilisi to attend events on the country's 100th foundation anniversary. During this visit to Georgia, Canikli attended a meeting at the Georgian Parliament, where he said Turkey supports Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. In a statement, the Turkish Defense Minister said Turkey strongly supports Georgia's territorial integrity and doesn't recognize the independence of the Abk-

hazia and South Ossetia regions. "In Turkey, we believe the Abkhazia and South Ossetia disputes will be solved within Georgia's internationally recognized borders and on the basis of the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty," Canikli said. He noted that Turkey is still supporting Georgia's NATO membership and integration to other Europe Atlantic organizations. Georgia has long lobbied for membership in the EU and NATO, aspirations that were exacerbated by Russia’s 2008 invasion that resulted in the separation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Tbilisi’s control. Tbilisi fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008 over the territories but lost control of both. Russia later recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

Image source: nationalreview.com

world that relative peace between the two arch-rivals would hinge upon Moscow. This thinking might indeed be truthful as indicated in numerous hints from the Russian media over the recent period. Moreover, since Vladimir Putin is essentially left out of potentially historic developments around the Korean Peninsula and Donald Trump’s diplomatic triumph, the Kremlin may be seeking to play as a power broker in the Middle East. Despite some concessions made to Israeli interests in Syria, these do not show that the Iran-Russia partnership would not be further strengthened. In fact, there are many new sticking points for both countries. The US’ withdrawal

from the famous Nuclear Agreement made Russia and European countries unite against the possible breakdown of the agreement. Joint opposition against the US pressure makes Moscow and Tehran more than just allies of convenience. It is this what makes Russia’s position trickier in the nascent Iran-Israel confrontation in Syria as, for the Russians, both countries are important in seeking to balance the unstable geopolitical situation around Syria. As geopolitical conditions in the Middle East are still railing from the Syrian conflict, it is for the moment extremely difficult to forecast a scenario even for a short period. A couple of things are clear though. The Russians also understand that con-

sidering Israel’s security imperatives, intermittent Israeli intervention is taking place. They also know that it is likely that Israel will have to respond again, even if the Golan Heights are not directly threatened. The Iranians on the other hand, due to their geopolitical imperatives based on geography and military interests, are unlikely to make concessions in Syria. Suffice to say that these different perspectives are bound to clash from time to time. It is this difficult balancing act that Russia wants to cleverly play between the two countries to try to position itself as a primary player in mitigating conflict possibilities between the two geopolitical enemies.

NGO White Noise Stops Negotiations with Gov't over Drug Policy BY THEA MORRISON

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on-Governmental Organization White Noise Movement, which supports a liberal drug policy in the country, says they have stopped negotiations with the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs and the Interior Ministry. The NGO says the reason they did so is that the authorities had not kept their promise to agree on a new drug policy with the participation of the non-governmental sector. The Head of the NGO, Beka Tsikarishvili, says they authorities had until May 27 to hold another meeting with the NGOs but no-one contacted them. "We are not going to sit at the negotiating table again with rulers who do not keep their word,” he stated. Tsikarishvili once again slammed the authorities for carrying out raids in

nightclubs Bassiani and Gallery on May 12, adding it was an attack on youth. “We do not have any concrete plans yet but we want to create a stronger antidrug policy unity along with our population,” he added. The May 12 raids in clubs resulted in large-scale protest rallies in Tbilisi, which were followed by counter-demonstrations of nationalist, far-right and fascist groups.

In order to defuse the situation, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia apologized and asked protesters to suspend rallies in order to avoid any confrontation. The minister promised the protesters that along with the NGOs, the government would adopt a humane and more liberal drug policy in the near future. Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze said the new policy would be adopted in late June.

“No Animal Sacrifice” Rally to Be Held in Tbilisi BY THEA MORRISON

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rally was held on Monday evening at the old building of Parliament in Tbilisi to protest animal sacrifice and ritual killings which are common in Georgia, especially during the Lomisoba celebration, this year to be marked on May 30. “On this day, animal sacrifice happens. It is antichristian, and a cruel and horrible ritual," the rally organizers claim. "This bloody ritual has a negative effect on people. It makes them more aggres-

sive and violent. The civilized world doesn't need ritual killings." The organizers add they have sent a petition with thousands of signatures to the government with the request legislation be put into effect to ban animal sacrifice in Georgia. “We demand Parliament ban animal sacrifice at the legislative level and we demand the Patriarchate of Georgia to use their authority to stop this cruelty,’ the statement reads. Every year, on the first Wednesday after Pentecost, Christians from almost every corner of Georgia gather near Mleta village, East Georgia, to pay respect to Lomisi Saint George in a church that was

built in the 13th century. On this day, numerous people walk up the mountain wearing an 8kg chain around their necks to pray to St. George. Georgian feasts are then held in the vicinity of the church and include the medieval pagan tradition of sheep slaughtering. Such acts of slaughter are actually disapproved of by the Georgian Orthodox Church, but people still practice the ritual, believing that St. George will help their families after they have made a sacrifice. Along with barbequed lamb, the festival participants also consume a lot of wine. The event is attended by entire families, including small children.


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 29 - 31, 2018

15

Roman Pipia: I Believe We Will Continue to Live in a Stronger & United Georgia Estonia Will Continue to Support Georgia

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usinessman Roman Pipia congratulated every citizen and all Georgians living abroad on the 100th anniversary of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia. “Compatriots! Today marks the 100th anniversary of our state independence anniversary. For centuries, freedom and independence of the homeland was the main idea and the pillar on which the Georgian nation stood - because there is no more valuable thing than freedom in this world! “I congratulate you on our main national event, on May 26, all over Georgia, every citizen and all our compatriots living abroad! “I believe that we will live in a united and strong Georgia and all together, we will be able to help and care for our common homeland!” Pipia said.

BY SHAWN WAYNE

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resident of the Riigikogu, Eiki Nestor attended events celebrating the centennial of Georgia on Saturday whereby he stressed Estonia's support for the country, its territorial integrity, and its close ties with the European Union. "We appreciate the achievements of Georgia highly, and wish the 100-yearold state prosperity and success on its way to the European Union,” he said. “We support our good friend Georgia in its reforms by sharing our experience of open elections and developing of

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e-government.” Nestor added that he believes Georgia's visa freedom with the EU is an important landmark in the country's political and economic integration with the EU. He noted that it is also important to continue to work to achieve Georgian NATO membership. "Estonia supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and continues to do everything in its power to ensure that the problems of the occupied territories of Georgia are not forgotten by the international community when other crises emerge," Nestor said. Nestor participated in a roundtable discussion at the Georgian Parliament and attended celebratory events in the afternoon and evening.

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Issue #1052 Business  

May 29 - 31, 2018

Issue #1052 Business  

May 29 - 31, 2018

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