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Issue no: 1061

• JUNE 29 - JULY 2, 2018



In this week’s issue... Parliament Speaker: Russia the Biggest Challenge for Georgia's Independence NEWS PAGE 2

Wess Mitchell: US Increases Military Aid for Georgia & Ukraine



Breakaway Tskhinvali Prepares "Sanakoev List" in Response to Tbilisi


A study proves Georgians drink less than Eastern Europeans PAGE




Focus on Merger of Education & Culture Ministries BY THEA MORRISON


eorgia’s newly elected Prime Minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze, 36, announced last week that he is carrying out structural changes in the Government of Georgia, which envisages the abolition of one and the merger of several ministries, including the unification of the Ministry of Culture and Sports with the

Ministry of Education and Science. The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Sports were separate bodies until the former PM, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, carried out a government reshuffle last year and reduced the number of ministries from 18 to 14. After Kvirikashvili stepped down on May 13, 2018, a new PM was elected who decided to further cut the number of ministries from 14 to 11. Bakhtadze’s statement about the unification of the Culture and Education bodies has been most criticized. Continued on page 2

Future Journalist Finalist on Georgia & the EU


Alcohol Consumption in Georgia More Like Italy than Eastern Europe SOCIETY PAGE 10

British Council Launches ‘Creative Spark’

Continued on page 2


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Exhibition of 2 Families of Architects from Georgia & Germany in Tbilisi CULTURE PAGE 15




JUNE 29 - JULY 2, 2018

Parliament Speaker: Russia the Biggest Challenge for Georgia's Independence BY THEA MORRISON


eorgian Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze stated that Russia still remains the biggest challenge for Georgia’s national inde-

pendence. The speaker made the statement while delivering a speech at an event organized by the US Foreign Policy Council in Washington DC. Irakli Kobakhidze, together with the chairmen of the Ukrainian, Moldovan, Lithuanian and Polish parliaments, spoke at the discussion ‘Russian Revanchism & Nord Stream II: A Candid Conversation with Five European Parliamentary

Speakers’ on June 27. "I am glad to see that Georgia, also free and democratic has so many friends… In order to become a valuable member of the international community, Georgia contributes to international stability and security,” he stated. The Parliament Speaker talked about the recent developments in Georgia’s Russianoccupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, saying that despite the constructive and pragmatic approach of Georgia, Russia has never tried to take retaliatory steps in order to reduce security problems in Georgia's occupied territories. “The human rights and security situation is worsening by the day in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Every day people are kidnapped. We also see innocent people dying in these two occupied

regions,” he said, bringing the example of the Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili, who was tortured and killed in occupied South Ossetia on February 23. “The death of Tatunashvli clarified that the conflict in Georgia’s breakaway regions is not frozen and that it brings death to Georgians,” he added. Kobakhidze underlined that Georgia has a strong and continuous resistance to Russian aggression with the help of regional and western partners. He also talked about the upcoming NATO Summit, saying that Georgia is expecting positive outcomes from it. “We look forward to the NATO Summit, which, in our deepest belief, will recognize Georgia's progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration and will accelerate the full membership of Georgia

Photo: Georgian Parliament

into NATO,” said Kobakhidze. He also noted that Georgia is eager to further intensify close ties with both the European Union and the US. “Our relationship with the US has moved to a new level. This relationship reached an unprecedented level last year. The United States and Georgia share common strategic goals that are based on the values of democratic transformation and stability in the region,” he stated. During his June 26-28 visit to the US,

Kobakhidze met with congressmen Poe and Connolly and thanked them for introducing the bipartisan resolution in the House of Representatives on June 26, reasserting the US’ support for Georgia’s sovereignty and condemning “the forceful and illegal Russian invasion of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” He also met Senator Cory Gardner and the co-Chairs of the US Congress Democratic Partnership, Peter Roskam and David Price.

Tech Park & Regional Innovations Hub Under Construction in Telavi BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE


tech park is being built in Telavi, the largest city in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region. The park will be constructed within the framework of the “National Innovations Ecosystem Project” (GENIE), funded by the World Bank and the Georgian Innovations and Technologies Agency. The Head of the Innovations and Technology Agency, Avtandil Kasradze, visited the site of the planned center along with Telavi Mayor Shota Nareklishvili. Construction has already begun on a site located in the historic center of the city, between King Erekle II’s Palace and the Giant Plane Tree estimated to be 900 years old.

Telavi Tech Park is envisioned as a future regional hub of innovation and technological creativity. It is currently on track to open in September of this year. A tech park promotes the creation and development of innovative technologies and connects creators from different backgrounds and with different skillsets. It encourages start-up companies and ideas by offering technological infra-

structure that people can use without investing in it themselves. The Innovations and Technologies Agency hopes that the tech park concept will encourage Georgian entrepreneurs to build innovative companies that are competitive on the global market. The Telavi park will offer the Kakheti region the services and opportunities already available at the Tbilisi Tech Park. Located near Mtatsminda Park in the Okrokana district, Tbilisi Tech Park opened at the beginning of 2016, and offers a variety of services, including a business incubator with training centers, a conference hall, and a co-working space. For companies who want to operate from within the tech park, there is office space, laboratories, showrooms, and recreational space available. At its opening, then-Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said, “This is a space

for unique possibilities, as well as the formation of future professions and platforms for expanding the innovation market. It will play a special role in terms of business development, the creation of new business and companies as well as new jobs.” The Innovations and Technologies Agency wants the tech parks to be used principally for the development of small and medium-sized businesses, but they also provide opportunities for international companies to open offices in Georgia. There are tech parks all over the world, including in South Korea, England, Morocco, Tunisia, Switzerland, India, South Africa, Russia, Canada, and the United States. Developing tech parks is a major component of the Innovation and Technology Agency, which works to develop an innovative ecosystem in the country. The tech park concept brings

together people with different ideas and initiatives and encourages them to develop new technologies based on technological infrastructure. The Governor of Kakheti, Irakli Kadagishvili, welcomes the Telavi Tech Park to his region, saying there are plans to open smaller tech parts in other towns in Kakheti in early 2019, including the Akhmeta Innovations Center, which will also open this September. The Akhmeta Innovations Center will work closely with the Telavi Tech Park/Innovation Hub, which will serve as the Kakheti Regional Center. He emphasized the importance of Kakheti’s involvement in modern technological education and creation, and the value of spaces that foster cooperation and sharing. He anticipates that the tech park will encourage positive economic outcomes in Telavi and all of Kakheti.

Yandex Taxi Introduces Kids’ Service in Tbilisi tor of Yandex.Taxi in Georgia said, “Georgia being part of Europe must establish European transport safety standards, especially when it comes to the safety of children. People often take a taxi for the whole family. Sometimes, parents send their children by taxi to a kindergarten or school. For the 'Kids' tariff we have equipped the cars with comfortable child safety seats so that little passengers get reliable protection.” The minimum ride cost for Yandex taxi kids’ will be GEL 2.60 (USD 1.06), which is the equivalent of 2 km and 5 minutes. If the ride is shorter than that, the price is rounded up to the minimum. For the regular service, the minimum price is GEL 2 (USD 0.81). Yandex Taxi is a service of Yandex, a multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products based in Russia, similar to Google. Yan-



andex Taxi, an on-demand taxi app, has introduced a special kids’ service. When ordering a taxi through the app, customers will have the opportunity to select a “kids” option, which will call a driver in a Toyota Prius equipped with a Moni brand car seat. The car seats comply with European safety standards and are appropriate for children 1-7 years old. Drivers whose cars are available for the kids’ service have undergone special training to install and adjust the car seats and provide customer service to families.

YANDEX TAXI APP Teimuraz Khmelidze, the Regional Direc-

Photos: Yandex Taxi

dex Taxi’s primary competitor in the on-demand taxi app market in Georgia is Taxify, an Estonian-based company that operates on the same model, but has a minimum price for its standard service of GEL 4 (USD 1.63) and has higher standards for its cars and drivers that Yandex. Taxify does not offer a service with car seats for children. Both app-based companies compete with local independent taxi drivers and other companies such as Taxi Maxim. When Yandex Taxi first entered the Georgian market in 2016, many Georgians called for boycotts of the service owing to the fact that Yandex maps show the Georgian occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent of Georgia. In Georgia, Yandex Taxi operates in Tbilisi, Batumi, and Rustavi, but the kids’ service is so far available only in Tbilisi.

Focus on Merger of Education & Culture Ministries Continued from page 1

Member of the Republican Party of Georgia and former Deputy Minister of Education Davit Zurabishvili, stated he finds no logic in the unification of the ministries of Education and Culture. The ex-official believes that these structural changes are a mistake which will lead to serious problems in the next few years. Zurabishvili says the PM did not provide sufficient explanation why these two ministries should be merged, aside from the claim that the country “needs a smaller and more effective government.” “A small government does not mean that ministries should be united. The main thing here is to reduce administrative expenses and spending… No one

knows what functions the merged ministries will have or how they will be managed. In short, they will be unified, but nobody yet knows how this will be done,” Zurabishvili said. The politician believes that there are many problems in both the educational and culture fields, adding the merger cannot solve these challenges but will serve to “make them even worse.” “This is a mechanical unification of two different bodies… In fact, education and culture should be the top priority, because today we need both of them equally…The government has no idea what the real functions of education and culture are in the country,” Zurabishvili claimed. Dr. Marine Mizandari, who was Deputy Minister of Culture from 2012 to 2014,

believes that the Georgian government is not well enough aware of the role of culture. She believes the merger of the Culture Ministry with the Education Ministry underlines the attitude of the government that culture is not a priority in Georgia. Mizandari said instead of abolishing the ministry, it should have been developed, which would promote the country's cultural potential. "Culture not only brings economic benefits but also serves for social development too…We need more cultural departments in the regions but instead, this body is being abolished and merged with the Ministry of Education,” she noted. Several days ago, famous Georgian artist Gia Bughadze slammed the PM and

the government for the decision to merge the Ministry of Culture and Sports with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. Bughadze is sure the unification “will bring bad results.” “This is yet more proof that the current government does not care about education and culture but on the contrary. How can these two essential and precious fields be merged? It is impossible. Both are independent and should function separately," he said. While meeting locals in the Samegrelo region, western Georgia on June 27, the new Georgian PM talked about the merger of the two ministries, emphasizing that structural changes in government will benefit the country.

“We are planning to unify the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture and Sports. These three directions complete each other. They all need each other to develop,” he stated. Bakhtadze noted that correlation between these three fields can help Georgian society be educated, culturally more aware and healthy. “From kindergartens to universities and vocational education, society will not be able to receive education or culture and the important values that our ancestors left them, or establish a healthy lifestyle, if these three directions are not unified under one umbrella,” he explained. The draft on structural changes has already been submitted to Parliament for approval.




Georgia Bars Syrian Bakhtadze Draws Attention Reuters: Airlines from Crossing Its Airspace to Rural Poverty BY THEA MORRISON



n Wednesday, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze met with students at the Botanical Garden of Zugdidi, in the Samegrelo region of central Georgia. He took questions from the audience, and one student asked the Prime Minister about rural poverty, to which he responded, “Today almost half of our population is engaged in agriculture, but the share of agriculture in our economy is below 10%. The main source of poverty is this disproportion.” Bakhtadze advocates taking a new approach to agriculture, saying, “Our economic model is totally oriented to imports and this is a very bad model. Not because free trade is not good, but because it is related to unfair rules of the game, which led to the decline of agriculture.” US-based non-governmental organization The Borgen Project reports that there are two major causes of rural poverty in Georgia: agricultural stagnation and limited access to and low quality of social services. While Bakhtadze blames Georgia’s high rate of poverty on the low productivity of the agricultural sector, The Borgen Project points to “fragmentation of land, poor connectivity to markets, weak support services and degraded rural infrastructure” as the cause of the sector’s low productivity. According to the World Bank in 2016, at a poverty line of $2.50/day, 32% of Georgians live below the poverty line. 43% of rural Georgians live in poverty, while only 21% of urban Georgians live


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in poverty. The National Statistics Office of Georgia reported in 2015 that 7.1% of the Georgian population lives below 40% of median consumption, thus experiencing extreme relative poverty. 4.5% of urban Georgians and 9.6% of rural Georgians consume less than 40% of the median consumption rate. “The economic growth that Georgia has recorded is largely unrelated to agricultural development;” says the Borgen Project, “rather, it is due to a foreign investment focus on real estate and banking, and... the downward trend in agrarian production has been accompanied by a growing incidence of rural poverty.” In rural areas, access to education is a severe problem, particularly for ethnic minorities who often do not speak the state language. There are few opportunities for high quality vocational or technical education outside Tbilisi, and even fewer universities. In 2002, the government announced poverty as a priority sector for growth, and government spending on poverty reduction has increased from 1%to 3% since then. Despite increases in government spending, support from international aid organizations and private donors and consultants, the Georgian agricultural sector experienced low growth 20142016, and in fact decreased in 2017. Since 2012, the drivers of Georgia’s economic growth have been construction (11.2%), hotels and restaurants (11.2%) and the financial sector (9.2%). In 2017, agriculture lost some of its place in economic contributions to the country, at -2.7%. While, overall, Georgia’s agricultural sector has consistently low growth or

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decreases, one crop does consistently well – wine grapes. In 2017, $170 million of wine was exported from Georgia, surpassing hazelnuts as Georgia’s most valuable agricultural export. As The Financial reports, “2017 was the year when the government started [moving away] from direct subsidies for grape prices; only 19 million GEL [$7.7 mil] was expended, compared to 36 million [$14.6 mil] in 2016.” The government plans to continue offering a reduced subsidy for grapes, encouraging the sector’s independent growth and sustainability. In its most recent Welfare Monitoring Survey in Georgia, UNICEF reported that the average household income in Georgia was GEL 771.9 ($314) a month in 2017, and 608.9 ($248) in 2015. While non-monetary indicators of child poverty have improved, consumption poverty is increasing. Survey findings show that children have more durable goods in their households and there are fewer children living in poor housing conditions than in 2015, but monetary poverty indicators are on the rise. Almost 9.3% of urban children and 32.9% of rural children live in households with unimproved sanitation facilities. UNICEF Georgia attributes increased poverty rates primarily to a lack of strong and inclusive economic growth, unemployment, and higher consumer prices.

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euters reports that Georgia has denied two Syrian airlines access to its airspace after Damascus recognized two Georgian breakaway regions as independent states last month. “One of the airlines, Cham Wings, was revealed by a Reuters investigation in April to have transported Russian private military contractors to take part in the fighting in Syria,” the article reads. Reuters says that Gocha Mezvrishvili, Head of Georgia’s Air Navigation Service confirmed that the country’s airspace is closed to two Syrian airlines: Syrian Air and Cham Wings. Mezvrishvili said he had sent a letter to the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, which coordinates air traffic control in Europe and of which Georgia is a member, with a request

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not to route Cham Wings and Syrian Air flights through Georgia’s airspace. “Flight-tracking website flightradata24. com showed that Cham Wings and Syrian AirflightsbetweenSyriaandRussiastopped using Georgian airspace in June. They diverted instead to Georgia’s eastern neighbor Azerbaijan, adding about 30 minutes to the flight time,” Reuters says. The two are the only airlines operating direct flights between Syria and Russia. Civilian flights between the two countries had been passing through Georgia because Turkey, the most direct route, denies Syrian aircraft overflight rights. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Syria released an official statement saying they recognized Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) as independent countries on May 29. Syria’s step was denounced by the entire international community except Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru.

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JUNE 29 - JULY 2, 2018

Trans-Caspian Pipeline Might Become a Viable Project OP-ED BY EMIL AVDALIANI


n June 21, the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a decree which approved the Draft Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. The Caspian basin, beyond the fact that it possesses large amounts of unexplored oil and gas, is important for the South Caucasus as the region itself adjoins the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan. Therefore, any progress on the legal status might further open new avenues for energy corridors through the South Caucasus to Europe. The five Caspian littoral states, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran, have been debating the issue of the sea’s legal status for the last 16 years. One of the main bones of contention between the five states has been the issue as to whether the Caspian is a sea or a lake. If the Caspian is designated a lake, the so called "condominium" approach would divide the Caspian wealth equally (20% each) among the five littoral states. However, such a designation and division of the Caspian waters would be detrimental to Kazakhstan which has the largest sector of the Caspian Sea and, so far, the largest amount of oil and natural gas. Iran, with the smallest section on the Caspian, would reap the largest benefits from a "condominium" division of the Caspian Sea. The country has about 13-14% of the Caspian and as yet it appears Iran's section has the least amount of oil and gas. The "Iranian section" also has the highest salt content in the water. This creates additional problems as the extrication of oil and gas would require more expensive technology. Against this background come the recent reports from major Russian news agencies such as Interfax

and TASS, which give details of major provisions in the document. The draft Convention lays out the obligations of the five states as to the use of waters, bottom, subsoil, natural resources and air-

space over the sea. This draft Convention is important as it clarifies the right of the five littoral states to lay underwater pipelines. Article 14 allows the countries to lay

underwater cables and pipelines along the bottom of the Caspian Sea, subject only to the agreement of those states whose sectors the pipelines or cables will pass through. This is of geopolitical importance for the entire region as well as potentially for the energy market of the European continent. Up until that moment, Moscow and Teheran have been against various underwater pipeline projects in the Caspian Sea. Among them the Trans-Caspian Pipeline (TCP) stand out as it would potentially be able to deliver natural gas from Turkmenistan (the world’s fourth largest producer) to Europe. Georgia would benefit from the TCP as the country would serve as a transit territory. Revenues and the strengthening of the transit potential would enhance Tbilisi’s standing. More importantly, the TCP could challenge Russia’s domination of Europe’s gas market. However, there are crucial challenges to such a large project. First, comes the finances as the project would require at least tens of billions of US dollars. Second, although the draft Convention states that no third states would interfere with the proposed pipelines, still Russia and Iran, which have largest naval capabilities in the Caspian, are unlikely not to undermine the TCP militarily if necessary in the future. Another important term in the proposed Convention is Article 3, which says that the Caspian Sea is closed to the armed forces of all countries except those of the five littoral states. Here are clearly visible Russia and Iran’s military interests as both fear western encroachment could reach the Caspian region too. Overall, the Convention is a definite step forward in the security architecture of the Caspian Sea. The document aims at further regulating existing differences between the littoral states on various oil and gas fields in the middle of the sea and claimed simultaneously by two or more countries.

Wess Mitchell - US Increases Military Aid for Georgia & Ukraine



he Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs of the United States, Wess Mitchell, says the US is increasing military assistance for Georgia and Ukraine. He made the statement while delivering a speech at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday. According to him, the US is assisting Georgia and Ukraine in order to help them resist Russia. "We are helping Georgia and Ukraine, threatened by Russia with force recently. We are giving military supplies to these countries that are necessary for their defense. We have removed the restriction imposed on the supply of weapons to these coun-

tries by the previous US government and we are helping to increase the defense capability of both states," Mitchell stated. He also spoke about the assistance provided by Trump's administration to Europe. He said that President Trump made a promise to defend safety in Europe, in 2017 during his visit to Warsaw. “The US has repeatedly demonstrated that it is an ally of Europe…We also provide real resources for strengthening European defense. We provide military assistance to Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, the Baltic States and other European states too. By 2018-2019, the Trump Administration requested $11 billion, which will be spent on strengthening European security,” he added. Wess Mitchell visited Georgia in late April 2018. He praised Georgian government and its reforms and participated in the Public Diplomacy Forum.




JUNE 29 - JULY 2, 2018

Breakaway Tskhinvali Georgia’s Public Figures Prepares "Sanakoev Selection Methodology: The List" in Response “Zidanes y Pavones” Policy to Tbilisi ANALYSIS BY ARCHIL SIKHARULIDZE


Photo source: Netgazeti



he de facto leadership of Georgia’s Russian-occupied South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) claims they are working on a so called Sanakoev List, where they will include “people guilty for the genocide of South Ossetians.” Breakaway Tskhinvali made the decision to do so in response to Official Tbilisi's setting up the "Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili List," containing 33 persons convicted or charged with grave crimes committed against the citizens of Georgia in the breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions since the 1990s. The information was provided to Sputnik Ossetia by so called Parliament Speaker of breakaway Tskhinvali, Peter Gassiev. Gassiev says that their "parliament" has elaborated a draft on "the list of South Ossetia which is named the Gregory Sanakoev list agter a man who was brutally assassinated by Georgians in 1992".

The de facto speaker added that the list will be approved by the end of the current year. “The list will include citizens of Georgia, the US, Ukraine and other countries involved in the genocide of South Ossetia, at least in August 2008,” Gassiev said, adding the list implies imposition of sanctions and a search through Interpol. De facto authorities of Georgia’s other Russian-backed, occupied region, Abkhazia, have also released a statement which slams Tbilisi for setting up the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili List. The so called foreign ministry of breakaway Abkhazia says the action of Tbilisi and the Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze are of a “destructive nature” and may pose a threat to the Geneva International Discussions, which works on regulating conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation. On June 26, Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze stated that the Government has determined all the measures to be taken against the people included on the list in order to impose all restrictions by the international community.

Deportation of Georgians Increased in 2017 BY THEA MORRISON


on-Governmental Organization Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) has released a report, according to which 11,428 Georgians were deported from foreign states in 2015-2017. A total of 3688 Georgian citizens were deported in 2015. This number decreased to 3601 but in 2017, it increased to 4126

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deportations. Georgians in 2017 were deported from: Turkey– 1868, Germany – 457, Israel – 440, Russia – 281, France – 167, Sweden – 127, Switzerland – 83, Italy – 82, Belgium – 70 and Greece – 67. The NGO says that in the last three years, the deportation of Georgians from Turkey, Israel and Greece has decreased. However, the cases of deportation from Germany doubled. The number of cases of deportation from Russia, France, Switzerland, Italy and Belgium has also increased.

n June 13, Georgia’s PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili resigned from his position citing a disagreement with the leader of ruling party Georgian Dream, Bidzina Ivanishvili. On June 20, Georgian parliament held a confidence vote and appointed Mamuka Bakhtadze, 36, former minister of finance of Georgia, as the new PM. Earlier, Bakhtadze’s nomination was highly criticized by the political opposition and some members of local civil society as a step backward. They argued that even though Kvirikashvili had serious political and economic flaws, he was comparatively more independent from Georgia’s “kingmaker” Ivanishvili than his predecessor Irakli Garibashvili (Nov. 2013 – Dec. 2015). The government’s critics believe that an inexperienced, little-known and young Bakhtadze has been chosen by Ivanishvili as a replacement for Kvirikashvili to strengthen/ restore his informal grasp on power in the country. We can debate whether these allegations are right or wrong, but it is undoubted reality that there is a pretty questionable selection methodology in Georgia. Apart from nepotism and other painful reflections of the 90s, there is still something puzzling in this “human resources” approach, which we can define as the “Zidanes y Pavones” policy.

“ZIDANES Y PAVONES” In the early 2000s, Florentino Perez, current President of Real Madrid C.F. (a professional football club based in Madrid, Spain) announced a policy of club management that was formulated as “Zidanes y Pavones”. In theory, it meant the aspiration of the club to purchase world-leading football players from all around the globe and use “homegrown wonder kids” to make the team totally unbeatable on the field as well as a financially successful market brand. To achieve the goals, Real Madrid bought such prominent football players as Luis Figo (2000-2005), Zinedine Zidane (2001-2006), Ronaldo (20022007), and David Beckham (2003-2007) while wholeheartedly supporting very talented “homegrown” wonder boy, Francisco Pavon. Unfortunately, in practice, this approach appeared to be flawed. Though Perez managed to build a wellknown and well-bought brand, he failed to secure this success on the field. The club went four years without success in the Spanish Football League between 2003 and 2007 and would fail to qualify beyond the last 16 of the Champions

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League for seven consecutive seasons after 2004. Perez was forced to leave his post in February 2006. Analysts outline three main reasons as to why this policy failed. The first was divisions in the team. Real Madrid was split into “superstars” and “ordinary” players that complicated interaction between members and factually made it impossible to build a strong united and consolidated team. The second reason was the tremendous pressure that all players faced. In the wake of continuous demands from club management to show the highest possible results, both “superstars” and “homegrowns” had no actual time to adjust, settle, develop and, most importantly, grow professionally. And finally, the accent was put more on the financial part of the policy rather than football itself. There was no sense investing so much money into expensive football players when Real Madrid could have pursued a more pragmatic and game-oriented policy. “Superstars” and “homegrown wonder kids” are attractive concepts but, at the end of the day, a team needs hard-working and gameoriented players who will create a core, rather than market-oriented stars and inexperienced youth. All in all, the “stars” attracted and “wonder kids” tried, but without the backbone of honored and experienced players who passed through fire water and copper pipes, Real Madrid failed to be an effective and efficient football team.

SAAKASHVILI’S “PAVONES” From the beginning of his governance, Saakashvili expressed willingness to engage youth in policy and decisionmaking processes. This approach was probably highly welcomed by all sides. But unfortunately, Saakashvili pursued a very strict “Pavones” policy, meaning that in his statements the Georgian President called citizens above the age 35 as “flashy” and unnecessary. He believed that the only way to get rid of the so-called “soviet mentality” was to make a bet on “Zidanes” (Georgian emigrants) and, mostly, “homegrown wonder kids” (local human resources) to lead the country to a better future. Probably the most prominent “Zidane” in Saakashvili’s cabinet was a Georgian emigrant from Paris, Salome Zurabishvili. Zurabishvili, who had been a French career diplomat since 1974, was appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia in March 20, 2004. This decision was a marketing step to make Tbilisi more recognizable and attractive for the Western world. On the other hand, Georgia has witnessed the rise of “homegrown wonder kids” such as Kakha Lomaia, Giga Bokeria, Gigi Ugulava, Irakli Okruashvili, Vano Merabishili, Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, of course, Vera Kobalia. Saakashvili’s team, like Real Madrid, had initial positive success, especially in handling corruption and reforming the education system. But, very soon, the Georgian “Zidane” rose against Saakashvili and finished her public servant career without significant results. Kakha Lomaia’s “breakthrough” in the education sphere was pretty soon continued by a poor and blank chain of questionable and, we may argue, ineffective decisions that still effect the education system of Georgia today. Saakashvili’s beloved “son,” Irakli Okruashvili, was too arrogant, selfish and self-confident- leading to his exile and political downfall. Generally speaking, Saakashvili’s “Pavones” were highly motivated for change, but frequently had no idea how to go about it effectively and efficiently; they had no respective experience and, simply, no time to grow professionally. The pressure that Saakashvili unleashed

on them was too oppressive and Georgia’s “Pavones” started making serious mistakes that resulted in criminal punishments for Gigi Ugulava, Vano Merabishvili and some other “homegrown wonder kids” later on. By the end of Saakashvili’s term, Georgian society had no understanding of the merits that Saakashvili had applied in his selection methodology; the best examples are the appointments of Khatuna Kalmakhelidze (Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance, Dec. 2009-Sept. 2012) and Vera Kobalia (Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Jul. 2010-Oct. 2012).

THE SAME OLD STORY WITH GEORGIAN DREAM There were hopes that Saakashvili’s policy that put forward “Pavones” and totally overlooked experienced and honored local human resources would be re-thought by PM Bidzina Ivanishvili. Unfortunately, these expectations were misleading. Ivanishvili shared his predecessor’s policy and, as an example, appointed Archil Kbilashvili as Prosecutor General. Kbilashvili’s (Oct. 2012-Nov. 2013) approach to a few very sensitive criminal cases lead to his early resignation and total disappearance from the public eye. During an open-door debate with political opposition and other members of Georgian civil society, Ivanishvili was asked by Aleko Elisashvili (Georgian politician, civil activist) whether Kbilashvili had the respective experience and/or expertise handling not only criminal cases but, generally speaking, to occupy the position of Prosecutor General. The Georgian PM noted that Archil was a “good” guy but “a little bit inexperienced.: Another example of the “Pavones” policy was the appointment of Irakli Garibashvili as a Prime Minister of Georgia. Garibashvili (Nov. 2013-Dec. 2015), who was in his early 30s at that time and had no idea of politics at all, was highly criticized by all actors. His approach to state-management and political rhetoric was full of inconsistencies and showed a clear lack of understanding of political processes; by and large, he was unaware of the rules of the game. At the same time, Georgian Dream had its own “Zidane”; not an immigrant but, as Kvirikashvili argued, a person with tremendous managerial skills and knowledge of “how to-do” and “how to-fix” things – Aleksandre Jejelava. Jejelava (Minister of Education and Science, Jun. 2016-Nov. 2017), who, in accordance with existing traditions, had no serious experience in public service, was “Zidane” due to his status of a certified international level trainer and for the “catchy” phrases he liked to throw around. These were his only achievements in the position and we may definitely assess Jejelava’s progress by the formula – he came, he said and he left to continue his studies. Bakhtadze’s appointment as a PM was probably irritating for many Georgians due to a fact that people are sick and tired of this “Zidanes y Pavones” policy that brings useless “stars” and arrogant, selfish and self-confident “homegrown wonder kids” to power. Georgian society has already experienced the outcomes of such a policy – partial success with significant flaws. There is no doubt that Georgia needs “Zidanes” to be attractive and “Pavones” to have gifted youth, but Tbilisi needs more a system where the backbone of state institutions will be experienced and honored resources. Until that time, Georgia, like Real Madrid, will face challenges with effectiveness and efficiency. Currently, this is expressed by poor and blank state institutions with no clear vision; and, of course, continuous reshuffling of cabinet ministers every two-three years.




Future Journalist Finalist on Georgia & the EU



he Future Journalist competition gives Georgian youth throughout the country the chance to showcase their journalistic skills in three stages, with the ultimate prize a two-week English and Journalism course in the UK this summer. Organized by Georgia Today Education and supported by UK Bridge, the competition aims to discover the best future journalists in Georgia. This year’s winner was 15-yearold Mariam Makhviladze from Gori (central Georgia), who interviewed UK Ambassador Justin McKenzie Smith before winning the final round with the article below. Georgia is a country in the region of the South Caucasus which has aimed

to establish and maintain friendly relations with European countries since the 18th century, if not before. This year is the 100th anniversary since this small, European country gained independence and became a Democratic Republic. During this time, and especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia has developed relations with European countries in many areas, including education, politics, economics, culture, and military. One of the first supportive countries was Germany, which in 1918 gave important support, including military forces, to Georgia when it became a Democratic Republic. Further, the first Georgian national anthem was based on that of Germany. Other supporting countries were the United Kingdom and France. These two countries helped Georgia to maintain its independence until 1921 when, sadly, the situation changed with the

occupation of the country by Soviet troops. Today, Georgia has a lot of goals which are connected to its Euro-integration. This means that Georgia tries to develop economically and be a sustainably attractive and developed country. Georgia has not only signed agreements with the EU, the most important economical and political union in Europe, but also at the end of the 20th century, Georgia became a member of the European Council. Vital for the country’s Euro-integration is the Association Agreement which aims to provide Georgia with the opportunity to send highquality, Euro-standard produce to European markets. Ongoing exchange programs for students also make it possible for Georgian youth to experience the European ways. Implemented by the European Council, the Erasmus program (for students) and Erasmus+ (for school pupils) is one example. Since Georgia became a member of the European Council, it has based its Constitution on European values which are fundamental to the rights of each individual: tolerance, freedom of expression, pluralism in democracy and so on. Finally, it must be noted that Georgia engages in ongoing educational programs and business, cultural and tourism activities to establish and expand relations with European countries. Many of these activities are a precondition of sustainable social development, without which there can be no friendly relations between the citizens of Europe and Georgia- a vital link essential for Georgia’s approximation with the European Union.

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine May Take Russia to Court BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE


n the near future, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia may file a joint suit against Russia, - said Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, Adrian Candu. “But before that it will be necessary for the international community to assess the losses of the above-mentioned countries from the occupation of territories and form a judicial case against the Kremlin.” “The withdrawal of Russian troops has yet to be discussed between us and Transnistria; it should be discussed at a higher level,” he added. “We need to demand more decisive actions from the US, the EU, and the OSCE.”

The Moldovan politician did not specify to which international court they plan to send said documents on the Kremlin's aggression, but he did claim that Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine stood to get “billions” if the case is won. “We continue to demand more action from the international community,” Candu added. “In the following months, we want to achieve a UN decision on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria. Of course, Russia will not do it tomorrow, but this is another legal instrument to that effect,” Candu stated. Earlier, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak stated that Ukraine would help Moldova in restoring its territorial integrity, in particular, for the return of the self-proclaimed “Transnistria.”




JUNE 29 - JULY 2, 2018

US – Georgia Free Trade Agreement Paramount BY SHAWN WAYNE


S congressmen, Peter Roskam and David Price are urging US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to start negotiations with Georgia on a free trade regime. "As strong supporters of our bilateral relationship between the United States and the Republic of Georgia, we write this letter to you to strongly consider initiating bilateral trade agreement negotiations with Georgia,” reads the letter the congressmen sent to Lighthizer on June 26. The letter emphasizes Georgia’s key position between Iran, Turkey and Russia and its position as a gateway to the countries of Central Asia. "Georgia's critical location between Iran, Turkey, and Russia makes it an attractive partner for a mutually beneficial free trade agreement. Georgia is a gateway to eight landlocked Central Asian countries, with a combined market size of 120 million people and a combined economy of $300 billion. It is also serves as an alternative energy supply route from Asia to Europe. Increased trade with Georgia may also provide unique opportunities for the US to increase its economic presence and influence in the South Caucasus and Central Asia,” the congressmen wrote. In this letter, the congressmen highlight the recent economic reforms that Georgia has implemented in order to create

a better environment for investors. In their words, deepening economic integration between the US and Georgia would further increase peace, stability and economic development in the region. "At a time of negative regional economic pressures caused by an increase in Russian aggression through disruptive economic and trade practices, a trade deal between the United States and Georgia has never been more important... Given the economic and geostrategic importance of the American-Georgian relationship, we once again strongly encourage you to launch negotiations fora bilateral trade agreement.” A study carried out by international consultancy company PWC at the request of the Georgian government, notes that a free trade agreement between Georgia and the US would significantly increase the export value of both parties, promoting investments and facilitating the creation of new jobs. Georgia’s former Economy Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili introduced the study results to the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Louis Ross back in May and raised the issue of establishing a free trade regime between Georgia and the US. The Speaker of Georgian Parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze, met with the Co-Chairs of the US Congress Democratic Partnership, Peter Roskam and David Price. The parties discussed the bipartisan letter initiated by Roskam and Price addressing the US trade representative to sign a free trade agreement with Georgia. The Speaker thanked the Congressmen for supporting Georgia and initiating

US Congress

free trade agreement. As Mr. Kobakhidze commented to media, free trade agreement with USA will serve the important message that US is the strong supporter and partner for Georgia. “We had an interesting meeting with the Congressmen Peter Roskam and David Price. We expressed our gratitude to the congressmen for supporting Geor-

gia and for the initiative related to signing a free trade agreement with Georgia. They issued the respective letter addressed to the US Trade Representative. A free trade agreement with the US is paramount for Georgia in both economic and political terms. It will serve as a strong message to Georgia and to the global community that the US is a

strong supporter and partner for Georgia,” said Kobakhidze. According to Congressman Price, Congress will further cooperate with and support Georgia. “We want to continue our relations… Trade is the pillar of this policy. We have to work to overcome the barriers and we hope to be effective,” he said.


Georgian Wine & Alcohol Company Presents New Premium, Cultic Wines ADVERTORIAL


ardisubani, Akura and Artana were the new premium wines presented by Georgian Wine and Spirits company GWS on June 23. The company presented a collection of premium wines at "Colors of Georgia," a baroque-style grandiose event which was held in the yard of one of the oldest wine factories in Telavi. “Cultic is attributed to wines that are of higher quality than premium wine,” explained Keti Kenkishvili, GWS Ambassador. “Baroque, in general, is a Portuguese word meaning ‘pearl.’ That is why we decided the main theme of the event had to be Baroque. These wines are truly special and need to be drank at special occasions.” The event was attended by representatives of GWS, foreign partners, diplomatic corps and trade chambers. One invited guest included the French Ambassador Pascual Meunier. Members of the National Wine Association, the Telavi Mayor, local municipality, government and business sector representatives, media and other officials also attended the event. Wine business representatives from France, China, Ukraine and Russia were also

invited to attend. GWS Executive Director Philippe Lespi hosted the guests. "I think people are aware of the potential of Georgia in terms of wine production, and we wanted this line of wine to be totally unique,” Lespi said. “Today, we achieved everything. This line is a collection of best wines. We present GWS’

genuine treasure, three varieties of wine ‘Akura,’ ‘Ardana’ and ‘Vardisubani.’” "I really like the atmosphere of the event and the new collection of wine and I'm always glad to come here and taste such delicious wine," said actress Eka Chkheidze. In the open air, the guests gathered in The Garden of Sweets for

the third consecutive year to get acquainted with GWS’ new wines. "The wine is delicious, I’m glad that Georgian production is expanding, and I'm always supportive of any company in this field," said photographer Goga Chanadir. Georgian traditional dancing group ‘Mariko Ebralidze and Levan Maspin-

dzelashvili’ added a theatrical and colorful atmosphere to the mood of the event with music while guests enjoyed the new wine line of the company. The event closed with fireworks. In 2016, the company marked the 40th anniversary of the factory, where the brand ‘Vismino’ was presented. The event also included a tour and product tasting. Last year, guests visited the ‘Bakhus Celebration’ and tasted ‘Tamada's Great Reserve and Kvevri.’ The purpose of the event was to restore the tradition of making timber wine, rejuvenating it and remembering how they celebrated Bakhus centuries ago and how they celebrate it in the 21st century. GWS is one of the oldest and best-known wine factories in Georgia, established in 1993 in Telavi and created on “Telavi 2” base, the oldest wine factory dating to 1976. Today, GWS owns 350 hectares of vineyards, most of which are 15-25 years old. Of these, 280 are red grapes and the remaining 120 belong to white varieties. 70% of Georgian traditional grape varieties are produced, and 30% are international varieties. The company produces wine, sparkling wine and high alcoholic products, known as Tamada, Old Tbilisi, Admanti, Vismino and Elibo. Soon, customers will be able to enjoy wine produced using biotechnology methods from the company’s vineyards.




The HUAWEI P20 Pro Named Best Smartphone 2018 by European Hardware Association ADVERTORIAL


y the first half of 2018, we observed many smartphones from top mobile technology producers. We are looking forward to the second wave of autumn, but before that we will present the flagship smartphone from HUAWEI, the world's largest telecommunications provider. In spring, March 27, in Paris, the Chinese magnate HUAWEI presented two new flagship smartphones P20 and P20 Pro, which differ radically different from predecessors and are innovative. Compared to the P10 series, the design has been completely updated. The back side of the smartphone is made with trendy glass, and the sides are made of glossy aluminum that makes the smartphone more premium. That's why HUAWEI P20 Pro has been named the best smartphone by 2018 by The European Hardware Association. The association comprises 9 of the largest independent technology news and review sites across the continent, with a combined audience of more than 22 million technology enthusiasts and readers. In evaluating the last product, over 100 of the top editors of the European market have voted HUAWEI P20

Pro as the best. In the highly competitive category this is a huge achievement for HUAWEI. What is HUAWEI's Innovation? The front side also has small-sized screens that have a small "pencil" on the upper side of the screen. Both of them work on the innovative Kirin 970 processor with an artificial intelligence engine that enhances smartphone cameras. The camera is still designed by Leica, and P20 Pro has a 40MP sensor with a completely new technology that has an interesting intellectual processor. On the back side of the P20 Pro there are three main cameras with 20-megapixel monochrome F1.6 diaphragm lenses, a 40-megapixel RGB giant 1/1.7 diameter sensor (which is the best among the smartphones in the market), with gigantic 1 micron size pixels (although you can take a 10 megapixel photo with 2 micron pixels during the night), sensor F1.8 diagram lens and 8 megapixel telephoto camera with F2.4 diaphragm. It can also capture 4K and super slowmotion video with 960 shots per second, carry out electronic and optical stabilization and has 3X optical zoom (5X hybrid zoom) and IR-RGB sensor. The maximum indicator of the sensitivity of revolutionary light is ISO102,400. The 24-megapixel front camera 2.0 diaphragm smartphone screen is distinguished with the ability to show the brightness and

colors. The smartphone can almost completely take pictures in the nighttime without using a flashlight or extra lighting and for this, it is enough to activate night mode. After taking photos, "artificial intelligence" processes it and changes the color, which makes the image more clear and vivid. It is important that HUAWEI's prod-

ucts and services are available in more than 170 countries and is already used by a third of the world's population. Its centers are located in the United States, Germany, Russia, India, China and Sweden. “HUAWEI P20 is the best smartphone available to those, who are looking for multifunctional cameras. The taken pho-

tos are unique with its vivid colors, high detailing and quality. Huawei P20 and its impressive indicators is predominant for the company. The smartphone is very popular among customers, which makes us enthusiastic and proud�, said Bruce Lee, Mobile Technology Department Vice-President of HUAWEI customer business group.




JUNE 29 - JULY 2, 2018

Alcohol Consumption in Georgia More Like Italy than Eastern Europe holism. Georgia lost an estimated 75% of its total vineyard area. Additionally, the Soviet era meddled with Georgia’s age-old tradition of winemaking by separating the estates of vineyards and reorganizing the production of wine into collective farms. Research suggests that alcohol consumption in eastern Europe decreased by 7% in the first decade after the fall of the Soviet Union. Another blow to the Georgian wine market was suffered in March of 2006 when Russian officials announced an immediate ban on all Georgian wine imports. Over 80 percent of Georgia’s explort market was reduced, with up to 90 percent typically imported by Russia. Mikhail Saakavshivili, Georgia's president at the time, considered Russia's ban on Georgian wine to be economic blackmail: "Russia is trying to strangle our economy," Saakashvili countered. The drinking patterns vary throughout eastern or central Europe; while Russia’s national drink is vodka, the drinking culture of Georgia resembles that of Italy, with wine as the favored drink. The threatening nature of the trade embargo was seen largely as an opportunity in Georgia to advance a competitive market and reduce dependency on Russia. Georgia has now expanded the export of wine to new, more lucrative markets; during 2016, a record number of Georgian wine was exported to the U.K, and exports to the U.S. rose drastically by 43%.



ccording to a report by the World Advertising Center on World Drink Trends compiled in 2005, drinkingage people are consuming alcohol in Georgia drastically less than in Poland, Estonia, Hungary, or Russia-to name a few. Furthermore, a study by the World Health Organization provides statistical results on men and women above the age of 15 in 200 countries, showing that the average person consumes the largest amount of alcohol in Belarus (17.5 liters a year). The second highest rate is found in Moldova at 16.8 liters, while Lithuania takes third place at 15.4 liters, and Russia is fourth at 15.1. Lastly, Romania is fifth, consuming on average 14.1 liters per person. These numbers also take into account homemade alcohol. Despite the cultural significance of wine and its origination in the country, Georgia ranks 67th. Alcohol has a deep political history along with its cultural history in Georgia. In 1985, Communist Party leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced reforms to the laws governing the distribution and production of alcohol in the Soviet Union. Gorbachev uprooted vineyards throughout the nation due to lowering birth rates, increased mortality and levels of alco-

Japanese Companies Eager The National to Invest in Kazakhstan Trust of Georgia Hosts Lord Hankey from London BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES


ord Hankey, former head of ICOMOS UK and architect, veteran of numerous, prestigious heritage projects around the world, is coming to Georgia where he and structural engineer Kevin Hallaway are volunteering their time to help the new National Trust of Georgia restore its first building. Located at 33, Solomon Brjenis Street in Tbilisi’s Isani district, this unique mid-19th century house will undergo extensive investigation and restoration. Already, two unique Persian fireplaces have been discovered hiding behind the walls. They will remain in Tbilisi for 10 days and are happy for any Georgian architectural professionals interested in historical preservation, to come and see how they are working, so they can replicate the same techniques in local buildings. For more information see Or contact ICOMOS Georgia, (32) 298 4527.



n Astana, with the assistance of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Japan and Kazakh Invest, the Kazakh-Japanese business forum, the 7th meeting of the Joint Commission for Government and Private Sector on Economic Cooperation was held. Within the framework of the forum, cooperation agreements were signed with a number of large Japanese companies. At the opening of the forum, Deputy Minister for Investment and Development Arystan Kabikenov stressed that Japan is one of Kazakhstan's key strategic partners in East Asia. An Agreement on the Promotion and Mutual Protection of Investments has been in force since 2015. “Since the first years of independence, Kazakhstan has relied on ensuring economic growth through the creation of favorable conditions for foreign investors. Japan is one of the largest investors in Kazakhstan. From 2005 to 2017, gross inflow of direct investments from Japan to Kazakhstan amounted to more than $5 billion,” Kabikenov said. In turn, Vice-Minister for International Affairs of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Tadao Yanase stressed that Japanese companies are interested in investing in Kazakhstan. Deputy Chairman of the Japan-Kazakhstan Economic Commission, adviser to ITOCHU Corporation, Toshiyuki Kosugi, said that their company has been importing industrial equipment, oilfield chemicals and fibers into Kazakhstan, but noted that the investment environment in Kazakhstan is

undergoing significant changes. “Now is the time to implement new initiatives in line with our development strategy,” he said. “Last year, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan adopted the program ‘Digital Kazakhstan,’ and I would like us to manage to form concrete bilateral relations in many directions in the near future.” A number of agreements on cooperation were signed at the forum. Chairman of the Kazakh Invest Board Saparbek Tuyakbaev and the Vice-Chairman of the Marubani Corporation, the fifth-largest Japanese trading company with leading market shares in cereal and

paper pulp trading as well as a strong electrical and industrial plant business, Yamadzoe Shigeru, signed a Memorandum of Understanding and common cooperation on the development of urban transport in Almaty. "At present, in Almaty, within the framework of the PPP scheme [publicprivate partnership], we are working on the implementation of a project to build a light rail system. In addition to solving the problems related to construction, operation, maintenance and financing, we are working to create a digital infrastructure, considering LRT as an integral part of urban planning, and thus striving

to provide comfortable living conditions for our citizens,” Shigeru said. In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation was signed for the implementation of a pilot project in heat and water supply systems between JSC KazCenter HUS, Mitsui & Co, and Japan system Planing. A Memorandum on Cooperation was also signed in nuclear energy between Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants and the Japan Atomic Power Company, Marubeni Utility Services. As of May 1, 77 legal entities, branches and representative offices with Japanese participation were registered in Kazakhstan.



British Council Launches ‘Creative Spark’ across Central Asia, South Caucasus ADVERTORIAL


he British Council is pleased to announce the launch of ‘Creative Spark’, a five year program to help develop the creative economy across Central Asia and the South Caucasus, with an inward visit to the UK. The program will be run from seven countries: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. In order to support higher education reform and to respond to unemployment rates in the region, the British Council will use the UK’s experience in entrepreneurship education to design and deliver the program which aims to support over 10,000 students in its first year. To kick off the program, a delegation of deputy minsters, university leaders and creative enterprise experts from these countries are on a visit to the United Kingdom during the week of 25 June. The Georgian delegation is being represented by three members: Levan Kharatishvili, Deputy Minister of Culture and Sport; Ana Riaboshenko, Director Creative Georgia and Tamta Shavgulidze, Main Specialist Quality Control Department, Tbilisi State Arts Academy. The program includes visits to UK universities (University of Goldsmith, Norwich University of Arts, University of East Anglia, Cambridge University, Coventry University, University of Leices-

ter, Loughborough University) and creative institutions. The Prime Minister's Trade Envoy, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne (Emma Harriet Nicholson) will also meet the delegation. The Creative Spark program has three main aims: • To establish enterprise centers in 20 universities across the seven partner countries in partnership with UK universities; • To deliver enterprise skills training to students and creative entrepreneurs, ranging from pitching ideas to starting a business and protecting intellectual property;

• To deliver a range of new online English courses and new MOOC courses focused on the language of entrepreneurship. Guidelines for university partnerships will be available in July 2018 with a call for applications to be formally launched in September at the UK’s national Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education Conference in Leeds. The British Council strongly believes that this initiative will significantly support Georgia in developing a creative economy and the young generation to acquire new skills to become competitive for the labor market in country and globally.

Bullying Hits Georgia: Georgia Needs to Hit Back!



lobalization is, above all, reflected in tongue. For instance, the word ‘bullying’ has recently taken root in the Georgian language too. The word is not translatable into Georgian by one equivalent word, hence the neologism. It feels good to recognize that we did not have this word in our national lexicon before and that it has only just entered our language and life, very aggressively I might add, to become a household term. As oft happens, most users do not even know where the word comes from, but nonetheless use it successfully in public and media discussions. Whatever the linguistic or social effect, bullying is a form of violence. Believe it or not, this is exactly what is happening among our youth, mostly teenagers, especially on school grounds. Kids have become brazenly aggressive, and they habitually want to abuse and

dominate each other, using for this any grownup technique including threats, force and coercion, applying to this behavioral pattern repeatedly. Bullying in Georgia is becoming a national tragedy. Based on our temperament, bullying between the kids tends to grow into a vicious conflict, often climaxing in a lethal finale, sometimes even multiple deaths. I understand that there is nothing new about violence in general. We humans have been trying to defeat violence for the last 5000 years but it is still here as if we have not gone through any change or development through the bygone millennia. We are as thirsty for blood as we have ever been. As a consequence, our youth is growing and maturing in such a spirit and style. The violent environment seems to be more powerful at school, which gives a propitious ground to frequent bickering between boys and girls. The recent tragedy of the Saralidze family which played out right in the heart of downtown Tbilisi in broad daylight would probably suffice as an example of the persisting tendency of violence between our kids. It all started with regular bullying, leaving two wonderful young men dead and others wounded or bruised. The case became a real cause célèbre with the entire nation watching the roll-out in the last half a year on television: massive manifestations in the street and finally culminating in a special parliamentary commission to establish the truth. In a word, the nation got involved in something that depletes our energy and kills time, time which is meant for productive work to create

progress. And it all started with a simple case of bullying between cocky boys looking for trouble. A huge question mark has thus appeared over our heads: what are we going to do about it? Sit and watch how pointless bullying takes the lives of our children? Well, no place in the world is free from violent human attitudes, but we need to take care of ourselves first of all. Why can’t we consider seriously the problem of involvement of our youth in better things than school-level bullying? What about more sports in schools, more cultural measures, more coaches, more shrinks, more connectivity between parents and faculty, more education and proximity between kids and their elders? When youthful romanticism heads in the wrong direction, like bullying, we the grownups of society should probably start focusing on ideas and projects that take our children to a world where violence is a bad thing and is substituted by things that are better. Take the example of last Sunday, when the Turtle Lake territory was turned into a sports ground, carrying the name of the Olympic Forum. I have not seen such an invigorating and joyous event in this town in a long time. The Georgian National Olympic Committee gave a wonderful gift to our young men and women to help them work on their desire for a healthy life, one without bullying. That day, thousands of youth, their parents and grandparents, their teachers and coaches, just all of them had a broad and happy smile on their beautiful faces and knew for sure that not even one bully was around at that moment of universal bliss.





JUNE 29 - JULY 2, 2018

Petrol Protest: Etseri, Svaneti source, and I can’t stop that, but at least my conscience will be clean. Not to mention that we’ll be free of the demands and threats, which can get pretty wild. We also have never sold any alcohol in the shop, for similar reasons. There, decision made: once it’s gone we’ll not get any more and leave it at that. The new young village mayor also heard from Lali about our situation, and apparently a town meeting is to be heard as the first one since his inauguration, with a few different items on the agenda. Although I have been at a few of these and come away in despair at the kindergarten-level shouting matches into which they descended, I intend to be at this one too. Partly to see if anything has changed, and partly to say my piece, about which I am still thinking and praying for wisdom. I know what is needed, though the details are unpopular. First, recognition that there IS a problem at all, viz. the uncontrolled drinking among young men, too frequently matched with driving and consequences. (Have I mentioned yet that almost none of the drivers in the village have… licenses?) Second, the determination to make a complete about-face, a permanent 180-degree turn from this destructive pattern, which likely can only be done with help. The word which is needed here is metanoia in Greek; monanieba in Georgian; and in English: repentance.



while ago, my wife and I added vehicle fuels to the list of things our shop would sell, out of the garage: petrol (benzini in Georgian) and diesel (solyarka in Russian). These I usually bought from the closest proper outlet, in Mestia, filling the 4x4 with 20L and 5L bottles totaling about 250L each run. The additions were very popular, and most people didn’t mind paying our marked-up price for the convenience of having it so close at hand. We tried, and mostly succeeded, to make this a cashonly thing, not extending credit for it. So far so good, although we also talked about a long-term storage solution particularly for the petrol, which is so volatile. A large metal tank? All this abruptly changed last week, however, when I was away shopping for supplies in Zugdidi, 110 km away and Lali was thus home alone. A pair of drunk young locals drove up and asked for some petrol. Lali, seeing their condition, refused to sell. They got abusive; one of them threatened that he was quite happy to go to prison for what he’d do to her if she didn’t meet his demand. (Hmm, needed to complete his Svan “thief in law” education?) She countered by offering to call the police, and eventually they drove off, imprecations flying back in the wind. She did call the sister of one of them, who came down and got involved. Once I returned that evening and heard the whole story, I put my foot down and said that we would simply stop selling these two fuels. For several reasons, the main one being that I’ve seen acquaintances up here dead from drinking and driving, been to their funerals, experi-

enced the mess they leave behind in bereaved young families whose mothers are forbidden by custom from remarrying. Why should I be the one selling the petrol or diesel to any young man (they are legion) who seems bent on selfdestruction if not worse? Let his death be caused elsewhere. He might still be able to buy what he needs from another

Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with nearly 1900 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:




10 Wines to Try before You Die ADVERTORIAL


he project "10 Wines to Try before You Die" is being run by Palitra Media Holding with the goal of popularizing Georgian wine and making the selected Georgian wines more accessible, especially to foreigners- giving them the opportunity to taste and understand that Georgia is truly the homeland of wine. The project was launched on October 15, 2017, at the Georgian Wine Festival where the first “blind�

degustation was held. The voting process lasted for four months. The project was divided into two stages. At the first stage, the voting process was attended by 250,000 people and 23 wines were selected. Votes were held both online and in print media as well as during the blind tasting at the festival and at various public gatherings. During the second stage, Georgian wine companies presented their own wine for degustation. Interest was high and led to a massive two-day blind tasting event. Wine experts (four Georgian and one French) chose the 10 best wine companies during the blind tasting, one part of which includes five bottles in one package and

another five bottles in the second package. The aim of the project is to reveal the 10 best Georgian wines and popularize them both in the country and internationally. As a result of the activities carried out, recognition and availability of the chosen Georgian wine will increase significantly. The 10 Georgian wine winners will become a business card for Georgia and will stand as the best gift for foreign visitors. Below is the list of companies that participated in the large-scale competition and received the best wine status for their products, and the wines which won them that title:

Akhalsheni 2005 - Saperavi Teliani Valley - Tvishi Meghvineoba Besini - Tsinandali Maranuli - Akhasheni Batono - Kindzmarauli Giuaani - Rkatsiteli Tbilvino - Khvanchkara Château Nekresi - Mukuzani Concho and Company - Kisi Corporation Kindzmarauli - Green Wine gifts/collections/tourist packages were made with 5-5 bottles from the list of winners, which will soon be launched for sale.




JUNE 29 - JULY 2, 2018


TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56 June 29 NEDERLANDS DANS THEATER II TOUR Sad Case Choreography by Sol León & Paul Lightfoot, Wir sagen uns Dunkles Choreography by Marco Goecke, Subtle Dust Choreography by Sol León & Paul Lightfoot. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-100 GEL July 1 Closing of the FestivalGala performance THE SLEEPING BEAUTY Pyotr Tchaikovsky World Ballet Stars: Amandine Albisson and Jérémy-Loup Quer (Paris Opera Ballet), Marcelo Gomes (USA). Soloists of the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater: Nutsa Chekurashvili, Nino Samadashvili, Ekaterine Surmava and Ruika Yokoyama. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-100 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 598 19 29 36 July 30 THE STORY OF A MURDERER Directed by Ioseb Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15 GEL July 1 DON JUAN Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 595 50 02 03 June 29, 30 SHAKESPEARE SONNETS Performance of William Shakespeare's sonnets Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 15 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 June 29 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL

June 30 STALINGRAD Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL July 1, 4, 5 An animated documentary film REZO Directed by Leo Gabriadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATER Address: 182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90 June 29 WELCOME TO GEORGIA A musical, theatrical play and romantic comedy telling a story about Georgia and its people by combining song, dance, culture, traditions, history, national costumes and local cuisine. Musical Language: English, some Georgian (with English subtitles) Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50-80 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL June 29- July 5 SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO Directed by Stefano Sollima Cast: Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Isabela Moner Genre: Action, Crime, Drama Language: English Start time: 22:10 Language: Russian Start time: 19:30, 22:10 Ticket: 13-15 GEL OCEAN’S 8 Directed by Gary Ross Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 19:30, 22:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM Directed by J.A. Bayona Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 21:55 Ticket: 15 GEL

LOVING PABLO Directed by Fernando León de Aranoa Cast: Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Peter Sarsgaard Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 19:45 Ticket: 15 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL June 29- July 5 SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 13-14 GEL INCREDIBLES 2 Directed by Brad Bird Cast: Sophia Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 17:15, 19:45 Ticket: 8-14 GEL

Jon Hamm Genre: Comedy Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 11:50, 14:30, 22:00 Ticket: 10-19 GEL LOVING PABLO (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 16-19 GEL JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 14:15 Ticket: 11-15 GEL MUSEUM

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

CAVEA GALLERY Address: 2/4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 200 70 07 Every Wednesday ticket: 8 GEL June 29- July 5 SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 19:40 Language: Russian Start time: 14:10, 17:00, 19:15, 22:30 Ticket: 13-19 GEL OCEAN’S 8 (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 22:15 Language: Russian Start time: 16:45, 19:30 Ticket: 13-19 GEL INCREDIBLES 2 (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 12:00, 14:00 Language: Russian Start time: 11:45, 22:15 Ticket: 10-19 GEL TAG Directed by Jeff Tomsic Stars: Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis,

May 19 – August 19 The Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography hosts an exhibition "MAGNUM PHOTO 70 - GEORGIAN JOURNAL: ROBERT CAPA 1947, THOMAS DWORZAK 2017". SIGHNAGHI MUSEUM Address: 8 Sh. Rustaveli Blind-alley The exhibition PORTRAITS OF KAKHETIAN NOBLES – FROM THE BEGINNING OF GEORGIAN EASEL PAINTING UP TO 20TH CENTURY The exposition comprises portraits of Kakhetian historical figures, such as: King Erekle II, Queen Darejan, Prince Vakhtang Dimitris-dze Janbakur-Orbeliani, Princess Tekla and David Guramishvili, as well as Qajar paintings of representatives of the Andronikashvili family. GALLERY


OCEAN’S 8 (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 13-15 GEL

SVANETI MUSEUM Address: Mestia, Svaneti

EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS April 26 – September 1 UNKNOWN COLLECTIONS OF GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM– INDIA, CHINA, JAPAN May 26 – September 30 THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA - 100 YEARS The Georgian National Museum and Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, National Parliamentary Library of Georgia, Korneli Kekelidze Georgian National Center of Manuscripts and National Archives of Georgia, presents the exhibition June 12 – August 31 Georgian National Museum presents the exhibition CAUCASUS BIODIVERSITY The exhibition is dedicated to the 100the anniversary of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 June 27 – September 10 Georgian National Museum and The Goethe Institute, in connection with 200 years of relations between Germany and Georgia, presents a project THE DYNASTIES - PARALLEL PERSPECTIVE The exhibition features the historic-cultural and, in particular, architectural legacy that has been created and developed in parallel in Germany and Georgia, representing two different architectural family dynasties- the Böhms and the Kurdianis in Germany and Georgia, respectively. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 PERMANENT EXHIBITION Discover the State's personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Sovietera cultural and political repression in Georgia.

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. May 15 – August 5 Exhibition TITIAN - MASTER OF COLOR: THE VIRGIN AND CHILD May 25-August 26 The Georgian National Museum and the Embassy of Italy to Georgia, within the Museum Fest, present the exhibition EVIDENCE. A NEW STATE OF ART The National Gallery is hosting the exhibition of Garuzzo Institute for Visual Arts- presenting contemporary Italian artists' artworks created since the 1950s. May 25-August 26 GENIUSES OF RENAISSANCE MUSIC

BLACK SEA ARENA Address: Village Natanebi (Shekvetili), Ozurgeti, Guria June 30, July 1 ELTON JOHN Solo and Eastern Promotions present Concert of British pop and rock musician, singer and composer, the legendary Elton John and his band, in Georgia for the first time within the WONDERFUL CRAZY NIGHT TOUR Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 120-700 GEL THE BILTMORE HOTEL TBILISI Address: 29 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 272 72 72 June 29 SALIO Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 35 GEL BLUES FEST Venue: Lagodekhi June 30 The second blues festival Organized by the company BluesfestGe is opening By the legendary blueswoman SHARON LEWIS Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 20-70 GEL REPUBLIC Address: 2 The First Republic Sq. Telephone: 240 22 00 June 30 EKA MAMALADZE AND NATALIA KUTATELADZE CONCERT With the Paata Andriadze band Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 40 GEL




Exhibition of 2 Families of Architects from Georgia & Germany in Tbilisi French Group Les Ogres de Barback to Play in Tbilisi BY LIKA CHIGLADZE


n June 27, in relation to the 200th anniversary of Georgian-German relations, an architectural exhibition called “Dynasties, Parallel Perspectives” opened in Tbilisi’s historic Karvasla Museum, located on Sioni Str. The exhibition showcases two families of architects- the Kurdiani family from Georgia and the Böhms from Germany. The display features architectural works by Georgian architects Grigol Kurdiani (1873-1957), Archil Kurdiani (1903-1988), Ketevan Sokolova-Porakishvili (1905-1988), Gia Kurdiani (1931-2014), and celebrated German architects Domenikus Böhm (18801955), Gottfried Böhm, Elizabeth Böhm (1921-2012), Stephan Böhm, Peter Böhm and Paul Böhm. The exhibition showcasing 40 buildings constructed by the renowned architects from both countries was organized by Goethe Institut in cooperation with the National Museum of Georgia. Mikheil Tsereteli, Deputy Director of the Georgian National Museum, welcomed guests and highlighted the significance of the project. Barbara Von Münchhausen, Director of the Goethe Institut, and Irina Kurtishvili, the curator of the exhibition, also welcomed attendees. “Irina Kurtishvili, the art curator, came up with the idea of doing a parallel exhibition of two very important families, Georgia’s Kurdiani and the Böhms from Germany. Six architects from the Kurdiani family were present at the exhibition as well as the architects from the Böhm dynasty. We chose to showcase 40 different buildings as a comprehensive show incorporating generations of architects,” Von Münchhausen told GEORGIA TODAY. Distinguished architects from Germany and the sons of Gottfried Böhm, renowned for having built numerous churches throughout Germany, Stephan Böhm, Peter Böhm and Paul Böhm, paid a visit to Georgia together with their families to see the exhibition. 98-year-old Gottfried Böhm is the only German architect to have been awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. One of his sons, Peter, a celebrated German architect himself, whose works were also exposed at the venue, praised the exhibition. “I am very glad and proud to be invited to Georgia for this exhibition,” he told us. “It is my first time in Georgia and I have heard a lot of fantastic things about this country. The display of two dynasties of architects demonstrates the development of architecture in different countries from the 20th century to date. This event is very exciting and I think people should definitely come and see it. It was extremely interesting to see the development of Georgian architecture through this exposition. Architecture is always relevant to the development of society, and both the Georgian and German peo-

ple have undergone different stages and have had different experiences that are reflected in their buildings, yet they still have one main similarity: both families were doing architecture for people and individuals. Their core aim was to create space for people and suit their needs.” The buildings documented and displayed at Karvasla still function in both countries and represent an integral part of their culture, appearance and identity. The images depict 40 monuments reflecting the epochs the two countries and two dynasties went through. Curator Kurtishvili worked for around three years gathering all the materials and conducting research in order to present the architectural masterpieces of two countries in Tbilisi. “I have been based in Cologne, Germany, for around 24 years,” she told GEORGIA TODAY. “Over the past 12 years, I have been working on organizing exhibitions with a primary focus on architecture. I have organized several exhibitions already, including an exhibition on the House of the Artist in Tbilisi, and exhibitions in the Museum of Literature and Museum of Cinema. This particular display is my sixth. Dynasties is about two families of architects from Georgia and Germany marking the 200th anniversary of relations between the countries.” The author of the exhibition thanked National Archive of Georgia as well as Architecture Museum of Germany for providing the valuable photo material for organizing the exhibition as well as Georgian photographer Sandro Sulaberidze for capturing the important buildings constructed by the Kurdiani family in Tbilisi. “In 2014, I organized a large-scale exhibition ‘The House of the Artist’ in Georgia that fell victim to civil war and was later was demolished,” Kurtishvili told us. “I looked into how the historic building was destroyed and why and at that point discovered a new construction by famous architect Archil Kurdiani. I decided to organize an exhibition telling the story of generations of architects. The city of Cologne is famous for the Böhm family of architects, who designed a number of bold buildings. So I got in touch with both the Georgian and German dynasties and told them my intentions. When I started searching for materials, I discovered many images in the Architecture Museum of Frankfurt that are included in this display in Tbilisi. As for my favorite monuments, I would single out the bridge connecting Didube and Dighomi districts in Tbilisi, designed by the Kurdianis: it does not have the elements characteristic to the Stalin era, it is quite a small bridge with two arches and a refined design. I also like the residential houses by Ketevan Sokolova-Kurdiani – the first Georgian female architect and the wife of Archil Kurdiani.” The exhibition program, aside from a photo display, includes a series of events, meetings with the architects, discussions and film screenings. The exposition at Karvasla Museum will last until September 10, 2018.



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Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

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


he French Institute, French School of the Caucasus and Air Theater invite guests to enjoy famous French musical group "LES OGRES DE BARBACK" and "LE BAL BROTTO LOPEZ" - NIAZ DIASAMIDZE. On Friday, 29 June 2018, at 20:00 at Club 33A, Vake Park. "LES OGRES DE BARBACK" Alice Burguiere: Viloncello, Contrabass, Trombone, Guitar, Bass, Musical Saw, Vocals. Matilde Burguiere: piano, pipe, flute, accordion, vocals.

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

Fred Burguiere: Vocals, Guitar, Accordion. Sam Burguiere: Guitar, Horn, Mandolina, Banjo, Programming. Find out more here: www.lesogres. com "LE BAL BROTTO LOPEZ" Cyril Broto: diatonic accordion, tusatophon, violin, drums, electric Gio Lopez: Vocals, Flute. Find out more here: Attendance is FREE Date and Time: Friday, 29 June 2018 - 8 PM


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1061  

June 29 - July 2, 2018

Issue #1061  

June 29 - July 2, 2018