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Issue no: 865

• JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Scientist Study Confirms Georgian Writing Dates Back nearly 3,000 Years NEWS PAGE 2

Letting Off an Old (Alleged) Terrorist POLITICS PAGE 5

Lavrov Says Georgia Must Make First Move to Re-establish Relations with Russia

FOCUS ON PROGRESS

Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary and Mikheil Janelidze, Georgian Foreign Affairs Minister

Ministers meet ambassadors and businessmen to exchange experience and achievements PAGE 3

Poll Shows Georgia’s Decided Voters Satisfied with Country’s Current Direction

POLITICS PAGE 8

Georgian Citizens Slam Road Quality in Highland Areas SOCIETY PAGE 10

First Georgian Artist Signs Contract with Yamaha

BY EKA KARSAULIDZE

T

he National Democratic Institute (NDI) published a report on Wednesday that showed the public’s attitude towards the ruling Georgian Dream coalition’s policies has improved in recent months. Georgians are more positive about their personal situation, with 17 percent saying that their households are better off, up from 10 percent in the March poll, while 19 percent reported that the living conditions in their community have improved, up 10 points from August 2015. Continued on page 2

CULTURE PAGE 16

Rio 2016: It’s all in the Muscle, Not the Dress ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE / EPA

SPORTS PAGE 19


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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

Scientist Study Confirms Georgian Writing Dates Back nearly 3,000 Years

Ministry of Culture

U

S Based radiocarbon dating laboratory Beta Analytic has confirmed that a fragment of unidentified Georgian writing found at Grakliani Hill, near the main highway, in 2015, in fact dates back 2700 years. This new unique discovery suggests that an alphabet was used on the territory of Georgia 2700 years ago, far earlier than previously thought. Scientists claim that this is the oldest script to be discovered in the whole Caucasus region. Last year, an archaeological expedition from the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) discovered a one line inscription of as yet unknown Georgian writing on the altar pedestal of a 7th century BC temple dedicated to a fertility goddess at Grakliani Hill, in the eastern Kaspi region. Head of the Institute of Archaeology of Georgia’s State University, Vakhtang Licheli, said with this "significant discovery”, Georgia steps up among the elite civilizations that used written languages thousands of years ago. “We sent the three samples to Beta Analytic laboratory in Miami and a few days ago received a sensational result. They confirmed that those findings date back to the 11th or 10th century BC,” he said.

"The writings on the two altars of the temple are really well preserved. On the one altar several letters are carved in clay while the second altar’s pedestal is wholly covered with writings,” Licheli said. The TSU professor believes that the inscription is so important it goes beyond the limits of Georgian science and will be the subject of an international study. "The new discovery will change the particular stage of the history of the world’s manuscripts,” he said. Glakliani Hill is believed to be the only monument to reveal almost all layers of human development, a non–stop 300,000 year chain from the Stone Age onward. Until now, the Bolnisi inscriptions were believed to be the oldest Georgian language inscriptions, written in the Georgian Asomtavruli script on the Bolnisi Sioni Cathedral, a basilica located in Bolnisi Municipality, Georgia. The inscriptions were dated 494 AD. This meant among the world’s 14 writing systems, Georgian was ranked as the fifth oldest script. The new discovery should change the world ranking, as the Grakliani writing is now the third oldest writing system following on from the 3,500-yearold Chinese hieroglyphs and Cuneiform script.

Poll Shows Georgia’s Decided Voters Satisfied with Country’s Current Direction Continued from page 1

Georgians’ also had a more favorable opinion of the government’s handling of foreign, economic and media freedom policy, with 42 percent of respondents saying they had a positive view of each, which represents a 5 percent increase from March. The numbers continue to show, however, that a majority of Georgians (66 percent) believe the country is experiencing little change or is moving in the wrong direction. The survey found that only 25 percent of respondents believe the country is going in the right direction. The NDI noted that this continues the trend of a steady decline since 2012, but said the most recent numbers are a slight improvement over their last poll in March. The NDI’s poll went on to show that a large number of voters remain politically undecided over who they will vote for in the upcoming October parliamentary elections. Laura Thornton, a senior NDI director, said the views of those who have already decided are on average 10 percent more positive than those who remain undecided. “Those who are decided about how they will vote in October are more likely to believe that the country is going in the right direction. They believe the government is making decisions that matter to

them and that the living conditions in their community have improved. This is in sharp contrast to those who are undecided. They rank the Georgian Dream’s performance on jobs, poverty, prices, governance reforms and crime far less favorably than the decided voters,” stated the NDI. The research also showed that Georgia’s ethnic minorities and rural populations held decidedly differing opinions compared to the rest of Georgian society. While the majority of the country’s population support European Union and Euro-Atlantic integration (72 percent) and NATO membership (64 percent), Georgia’s ethnic minorities and rural population largely rejected the nation’s stated foreign policy platforms and, instead, called for close and more comprehensive ties with Russia over the West. Thornton said they found a link between those who support pro-Russian policies with those residents who receive their news from Russian media sources. “It is important that those who advocate closer ties with the EU target the more sceptical rural and ethnic populations using the Russian language as a tool. For those who wish to counter pro-Russian messages, particular attention must be directed towards the remaining undecided voters,” said Thornton.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

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Georgia’s Ambassadors Meet to Discuss Foreign Policy Challenges BY EKA KARSAULIDZE

T

he heads of Georgia’s Diplomatic Missions abroad gathered in Tbilisi for an annual meeting running from Wednesday to July 29 to discuss the foreign policy developments of the past year. In his opening statements at the forum, Foreign Affairs Minister Mikheil Janelidze said Georgia’s main diplomacy aims are maintaining the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Euro-Atlantic integration and strengthening regional ties, as well as supporting and protecting Georgian citizens abroad. He added that guaranteeing the safety of Georgian citizens has come to the forefront of Tbilisi’s diplomatic mission tasks as the number of deadly terrorist attacks around the world has grown significantly in the last year. “Georgia’s diplomatic missions will try to find ways of dealing with the current global challenges,” said Janelidze. Georgian Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, said the Association Agreement with the European Union, which came into force on July 1, was the country’s single-most important foreign policy development in 2015. Kvirikashvili said, however, that the process of European integration could

not be completed without visa liberalization that would allow Georgian passport holders to travel to the EU visa-free for up to 90 days. “We hope that a final decision on the visa-free travel regime to the EU for Georgian citizens is just a matter of time and that a decision will be made soon,” he said. With regards to relations with Russia, Kvirikashvili said, “When 20 percent of our country remains occupied, of course

it is impossible to talk about any progress and achievements regarding relations with them (Moscow). However, as a result of our pragmatic policy towards Russia, we have been able to establish the type of dialogue that avoids war and armed confrontations.” The PM took the time to thank Georgia’s ambassadors and diplomats, highlighting that they play a major role in the country’s ability to develop its economy peacefully and to implement impor-

tant democratic and economic reforms. The first days of the Ambassadorial were marked by meetings of Georgia’s ministers with ambassadors to discuss refugees, conflict regions, protection of human rights, recent reforms and the country's course of development. “It is for the ambassadors to choose which information they will spread abroad but we have a lot of innovations and achievements that should be made known to the wider public,” said Minister of Cor-

rections, Kakha Kakhishvili. One of the working sessions was devoted to cultural diplomacy, which was named one of the priorities of the Georgian government. Economic diplomacy and the external image of the country were also discussed. For the first time ambassadors had the opportunity to meet with representatives of about 20 business associations and unions where they learned about current reforms and plans of the ministries, support of the business and private sector, and about lobbying business abroad. “We believe that contact between our diplomats and businessmen is very important, and in the framework of our forum, they were given the opportunity to talk face-to-face about attracting investment, business development, privileges for Georgian business, and more,” said Minister Janelidze. The guests of honor of the ambassadorial side were the representatives of the ministries of foreign affairs of India and Hungary, who spoke about the foreign policy of their countries, cooperation with Georgia and experiences. The first annual meeting of Georgia’s diplomatic corps was held in 1995 and presided over by then-Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili, who brought Georgian and foreign diplomats together at the State Chancellery in Tbilisi to discuss plans for developing the country, regional relations and future prospects.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

Turkey Expert: No Good Way Out Source www.mirror.co.uk / Getty

BY NANA SAJAIA, VOICE OF AMERICA GEORGIAN SERVICE

States, needs NATO; it needs a Western anchor more now than ever due to the nature of the threats that Turkey is facing with its own internal problems.

T

he President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has declared a State of Emergency for three months and suspended the European Convention on Human Rights in the wake of the recent coup. To discuss the implications of Turkey’s foreign policy dynamics, we spoke to Sinan Ciddi, Director of the Institute for Turkish Studies at Georgetown University.

300 PEOPLE KILLED, MORE THAN 1,400 INJURED AND 6,000 ARRESTED. WHAT HAPPENED? What happened in Turkey is very disconcerting. From the standpoint of an actual coup d'etat, it was a failure; we did not see an immediate collapse of the Turkish State or the Turkish government. But now that the plotters have been arrested, alleged conspirators been taken into custody or fired from their positions of employment, what we are seeing is a large crackdown in society- what I am starting to call the “civilian coup.”

THE TURKISH PRESIDENT BLAMES HIS FORMER ALLY, PENNSYLVANIA-BASED FETHULLAH GULEN, AND HIS HIZMET MOVEMENT. HOW SERIOUS IS ERDOGAN’S

FOLLOWING THE ERDOGAN GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO THE FAILED COUP, BOTH THE US AND THE EU WARNED AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE. HOW DO YOU THINK THIS WILL EFFECT ERDOGAN’S NEXT MOVES? Sinan Ciddi, Director of the Institute for Turkish Studies at Georgetown University

EXTRADITION REQUEST? Erdogan is blaming Gulen for being singularly responsible for spearheading this coup. He would like the United States to extradite Gulen to Turkish custody. But the onus is on Turkey to prove to the Justice Department here in Washington that Gulen was behind the plot; something the Turks have not been able to do in any meaningful way that the Justice Department would consider evidence, and until that happens, the US is highly unlikely to expedite him.

CALLING ON THE US, PRESIDENT ERDOGAN ALSO SAID, “IF WE ARE STRATEGIC PARTNERS OR MODEL PARTNERS, DO WHAT IS NECESSARY." IS TURKEY CONFRONTING THE US AND, IF SO, WHAT ARE THE PROSPECTS OF FUTURE PARTNERSHIP? Turkish-US relations have been getting

increasingly more difficult since the Gezzi protest of 2013. I do not think relations will ease when Turkish authorities realize that just because they want the extradition, the US will be disinclined to comply.

TURKEY BLOCKED US ACCESS TO THE INCIRLIK MILITARY BASE. SHOULD WE EXPECT THE LEVERAGE BATTLE TO GO ON? The relationship between Turkey and the US seems to be evolving to the notion of quid pro quo, a very transactional relationship. For American policymakers and military officials prosecuting the war against the Islamic State, there is a big question mark – is Turkey still considered a reliable partner? Turkey is not in a position to say “if you don’t hand over Gulen, we will keep you out of Incirlik.” Once Turkey does that, there might be a point of no return. Turkey needs the United

US Secretary John Kerry said Turkey has to maintain its democratic standards to remain in NATO although there is no mechanism for forcing countries to leave. There is no easy answer on how Turkey will continue to behave within the NATO structure. The leverage the EU and US has has never been lower vis-a-vis Turkey. The possibility of reinstating the death penalty right now is a real possibility. The country has not entertained this idea for a long time. A pro-Erdogan vigilante mob really wants the execution of wouldbe coup makers. I cannot see anything that the EU or the US can do because EU prospects have never been lower for Turkey. If Erdogan wants to reinstate the death penalty, it will happen.

WHAT KIND OF TURKEY COMES OUT OF ALL THIS? I find it increasingly difficult to find a positive outcome from this. The failed coup attempt was positive to the extent

that the democratically elected government of the country was not overthrown. But now the same government is utilizing this for vetting out all suspected and actual dissidents. If you’re asking what the next project for Turkey is, it’s the promulgation of Erdogan as unquestioned leader of Turkey. No transparency, no accountability: his word becomes a law. That’s what I’m afraid of.

SOME SAY THIS IS TURKEY’S “ISLAMIC REVOLUTION.”DO YOU AGREE? IS SECULARISM AT RISK? Removing secularism is likely to be a very divisive move. Yes, there are people who do not appreciate or welcome any notion of secularity in Turkey, but there are also large groups of people who count on that, who believe that it is a founding cornerstone of Turkey. The removal of secularism will pit very different camps of people against each other; it will exuberate tensions among different sects; it will also pit religious people against secular people. We already started to see vigilante squads picking out people drinking in bars and pubs. The question is if law enforcement is going to prevent vigilantism against different ways of life. I don’t have a clear answer. Only a good sense of secularism has been able to prevent that in the past. For the Georgian version of this interview, go to: http://www.amerikiskhma.com/a/ interview-with-sinan-ciddi/3430504.html

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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

5

Letting Off an Old (Alleged) Terrorist OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA

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wo months left until the elections on October 8, and the political temperature is already approaching its climax. The main oppositional power, the United National Movement (UNM) has made new compromising materials public, putting pressure on the judges of the Constitutional Court, the Minister of Defense, the family members of the President... Georgian Dream is also getting ready to make its vital shot and has announced the release of a partly fictional-partly documentary 24 episode series about the nine years of the UNM in power. Despite this war of compromising materials, the main preelectoral events are still taking place outside the country. Last week Russian media revealed that former chief of the Georgian National Security, Igor Giorgadze, was no longer in the Wanted List of Interpol and that charges against him had been dropped (for organizing a terroristic attack against President Eduard Shevardnadze 20 years ago, after which he fled from Tbilisi to find shelter in Moscow). In order to check the veracity of this announcement, Georgian media organized a live studio interview with Giorgadze, who not only confirmed it, but also announced his

return to Tbilisi in the near future. “I am waiting for a positive decision from the Court, after which I will arrive the same day in Tbilisi,” said the ex-Security Chief. On July 7th, the process of Igor Giorgadze was quietly resumed in the Court with a discussion of withdrawing Giorgadze’s guilty sentence for organizing a terroristic attack. Such synchronization of events and the efficiency of the Georgian Court is truly amazing, considering

the case of Rustavi 2 was dragged on for so long by the Supreme Court and that the very same court is now working so quickly on a law suit filed by a fugitive alleged terrorist. Notably, Giorgadze is backed by a political organization: Justice in Georgia, which was banned during Saakashvili’s presidency but renewed work in the period of Georgian Dream’s government. The information about the consolidation

of pro-Russian powers around this political organization has been spread and the MPs who left the GD are among them. The Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament, Tamaz Mechiauri, recently visited Russia and talked publicly about the renewal of diplomatic relations with the country. Mechiauri does not hide the establishment of a pro-Russian political organization and his wish to cooperate with

all organizations of that direction. Although the return of Igor Giorgadze to Georgia is not excluded by Georgian political analysts, they cannot see his place in Georgian politics. As a political figure, Giorgadze is regarded as a used card by Zaal Anjaparidze, “Even in the event of the court acquitting him, I do not think he will be able to gain any significant political or public support given today’s environment. If there is any kind of interest towards him, it is only due to the train of his past that follows him. By 2020 I guess even this small interest won’t exist anymore.” About the same idea was voiced by the political expert Gia Khukhashvili, who does not exclude Giorgadze’s return to Georgia. Despite such forecasts, the process is proceeding in the City Court and the next session is already scheduled. Moscow does not hide that it is time Georgia took counter steps for Georgian-Russian relations to return to the former riverbed. Last week’s announcement from Minister of Interior of Russia Sergey Lavrov confirms this further. Both this announcement and the activities of Giorgadze clearly show that Georgia will once again have to respond to the old issue of “Russia or the West?” But before that, Georgia remains the one place in the world where Igor Giorgadze is charged of terrorism and threatened with conviction. The only question is – for how long?


"Panjikidze’s Reform" - a Step Backwards in Georgian Diplomacy? BY DAVIT ABASHIDZE

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ollowing the elections the Georgian Dream party is going to rectify the case that was “messed up” by Maia Panjikidze, confirmed when one of the leaders of the ruling party, Gia Volsky, said that the topic remained on the agenda and the discrimination of a number of diplomats will end after October 8. We refer to more than 20 of our friends working in Georgia, including the Honorary Consul from an EU member country who, since 2014, have been unsuccessfully trying to protect their dignity and rights. Let’s look at who they are and what mission the honorary consuls have. The Honorary Consul is not in the Government Service but performs certain consular functions at the decision of the sending State. An Honorary Consul may be appointed whether a citizen of the sending or receiving State. Clause 96 of the Georgian Law says of Georgian consular offices: “A person can take on the role of Honorary Consul if he/she: a) Has the social status and personal qualities necessary to fulfill consular functions; b) Has merit before Georgia for his work; c) Is willing and able to work for national interests.” The Vienna Convention was adopted in 1963, in which clauses 58 and 67, with a few exceptions, granted the same privileges and immunities to Honorary Consuls and Consuls in Government Service. Also adopted in the Vienna Convention on April 24, 1963, Honorary Consuls are equalled with Career Diplomats. Georgia acceded to the Vienna Convention in 1993. As such, the country’s resident businessmen are appointed as Honorary Consuls because they regulate the business relationship between two countries, aiming to attract investment and improve the business environment. Honorary Consuls do not receive salaries from the receiving State budget, nor from the sending

Georgian Honorary Consuls continue to enjoy diplomatic privileges in other countries

State, carrying out diplomatic activities at their own expense. In return, they enjoy diplomatic privileges, such as, for example, diplomatic immunity. The institution of Honorary Consul is recognized globally, but Georgia being the distinct country it is, tends to taint even diplomacy with personal attitudes. When Maia Panjikidze headed the main embassy of Georgia, she is said to have completely ignored international regulations and, due to a personal confrontation with one of the foreign Honorary Consuls, made a “reform" related to the Honorary Consuls on August 20, 2014. Consequently, about 20 friends of Georgia, among them the Honorary Consul from an EU member country, were unilaterally deprived of diplomatic privileges with-

out any consultation or explanation, something akin to a diplomatic scandal which would never have been allowed elsewhere. As such, all Honorary Consuls acting in Georgia have been paralyzed the last two years, meaning they can no longer establish communication with state agencies, the Diplomatic Corps, and international organizations; they can't enjoy diplomatic mail, they can't help their fellow citizens, and are restricted in the information they can receive and provide. This situation is incomprehensible for sending States, because, after all, the principle of proportionality has been violated as Georgian Honorary Consuls continue to enjoy diplomatic privileges in other countries despite the fact that Maia Panjikidze claimed they do not. While looking into the situation, we spoke with several diplomats. They were unable to explain Panjikidze’s decision, but noted that even Mikhail Saakashvili would not have made such a “stupid move” before the elections, even when he was fighting against Bidzina Ivanishvili and deprived him of his citizenship. At the time Ivanishvili was the San Marino Honorary Consul and Saakashvili could have then limited the authority of the Honorary Consuls but chose not to incite such international scandal. Yet Panjikidze, it seems, was more “daring” in this respect. Certain people in diplomatic circles think that nobody in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cares about the decision of the ex-Minister and that they are doing nothing to improve at least the subsequent diplomatic embarrassment, seeing her resignation as sufficient. The Foreign Relations Committee intervened and sent a letter to the Foreign Ministry to try and clarify why Honorary Consuls are deprived of their authority, but the legislative body receive a senseless reply, with the Deputy Foreign Minister, Khatuna Tortladze, explaining vaguely the reasons for Panjikidze's decision. Despite this, the Honorary Consuls made no unnecessary noise and asked their sending States to simply clarify the situation, not wanting problems on the Georgian international arena, especially with the country waiting for a visa-liberalization.

However, as foreign diplomats say, “the reform of Panjikidze” is truly incomprehensible in its essence. Honorary Consuls and their sending countries are still waiting patiently for the restoration of their rights, watching carefully the development of the situation and only limiting themselves to diplomatic comments on the topic. “Honorary Consuls did nothing to aggravate the situation in our sending States even if Panjikidze deserved it. We respect the diplomatic image of Georgia and prefer to wait. Fortunately, the authorities in the Ministry are changed and I hope, after the Honorary Consuls next appeal, the new minister, who is an experienced diplomat, will take an adequate decision regarding the Honorary Consuls,” said Consuls Associations President, Elene Lezhava. When Mikhail Janelidze was appointed as the Minister, the parliamentary majority leader, Zviad Kvachantiradze, appealed him from the public podium and advised him to at the very least review Panjikidze’s policy. “As a result of a very rigid policy that our government's first Minister of Foreign Affairs introduced, the Honorary Consuls were restricted. Such an attitude was absolutely unacceptable to our Committee. Our attitude was expressed to those involved but we held back from turning it into a full blown conflict, not wanting to exacerbate the issue. I would urge you, Minister Janelidze, to take particular interest in this issue and should you require our consultation, we stand ready to help you,” Kvachantiradze said. As mentioned above, Georgian Dreamer, Gia Volsky said that this issue has not been removed from the agenda and that it will be more actively focused upon after the up-coming elections. We hope that “Panjikidze’s reform” will be corrected in the autumn and the Honorary Consuls will again be able to use their rights and obligations properly. Otherwise, our country, which is waiting for visa-liberalization in autumn, will be unable to avoid an international diplomatic scandal, sure to negatively affect our European image.


POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

7

Initiative Group ‘Together’ Launches Active Network for the ‘Scattered Generation’ of Abkhazians BY STEVEN JONES

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n July 15, more than 100 people assembled at the National Library of Georgia to form a network focused on solving the issues related to occupied Abkhazia. The idea, created by initiative group 'Together' aims at bringing motivated, successful and future-oriented people together to push issues connected to Abkhazia and its occupation more broadly within Georgia and abroad. The gathering, entitled ‘Abkhazia Unites Us,’ involved a wide variety of people from different fields including Arts, Academia, Business and NGOs. The event organizers declared that despite a myriad of setbacks and lifelong obstacles, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Abkhazia, especially the youth, have achieved remarkable successes in Georgia and beyond. “At the same time, full-fledged integration in many environments has shown a reverse effect, with the issue of Abkhazia becoming unintentionally overshadowed,” they stated. Nino Akhalaia, one organizer of the event and coming from Abkhazia’s Gali

district, told GEORGIA TODAY that she hopes the majority of IDPs will be keen to contribute to raising the Abkhazia topic more at any level. “What we see is that these tremendously valuable people have been scattered throughout Georgia and the world and we need to unite them to create real power

at the grassroots level,” she said. Zviad Adzinbaia, a young researcher who was a co-host of the gathering, told us that it is of utmost importance to have the existing intellectual power united for the benefit of Abkhazia and to work towards the final restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity. “People frequently say that the majority has forgotten our beautiful region [Abkhazia] and there are no real prospects of its reintegration,” he said. “But that’s wrong- each of us needs

to take a share in the work at hand.” Adzinbaia was a two-year old when he and his family were forced out of their home in Mukhuri, a village in Abkhazia. ‘Abkhazia Unites Us’ invited guests who believe that Abkhazia is not a lost territory and, regardless of the current frozen state of the conflict, are optimistic toward Georgia’s eventual territorial unity. The assembly plans to contribute to creating a network of people in the ‘scattered generation’ who can each play an existential role in developing novel approaches and searching for alternative ways to solving the current problems. The event’s official part was concluded by the signing of a 12-point Symbolic Convention by all the attendees who agreed on doing their own part for Abkhazia in the future. The initiative group ‘Together’ is to be transformed into an association and plans to expand in terms of its members and activities. Immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian-backed rebels in Abkhazia broke away from Georgia. Moscow occupied and effectively annexed the area, as it did Georgia’s other breakaway region South Ossetia, later, in 2008. Moscow recognized both regions as independent states following the 2008 war, yet international law and the United Nations continue to state that the regions remain part of Georgia.


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POLITICS

Lavrov Says Georgia Must Make First Move to Re-establish Relations with Russia

BY TAMAR SVANIDZE

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ussia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week said Georgia should be the first to make a move towards reestablishing diplomatic ties between the two countries as Georgia was first responsible for cutting formal relations between Moscow and Tbilisi. During a speech at an annual youth forum on the Klyazma River in Russia’s central Vladimir Region, 200 kilometers from Moscow, Lavrov said bilateral relations between Russia and Georgia had improved considerably since the ruling Georgian Dream coalition came to power in 2012 after defeating former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s stridently proWestern government. "The Georgian leadership (unilaterally) severed diplomatic ties with Russia under

Saakashvili’s presidency. This situation can only be improved by a restoration of diplomatic relations initiated by the Georgian side,” Lavrov said. "I am confident that we will resolve all problems. Even now, there is a lot more common sense in their approach to our relations," he said. Georgian officials have long said that formal relations would remain frozen as long as Russia continues to recognize the separatist governments of Georgia’s two breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Relations between the two countries plummeted to an all-time low in August 2008 when Russian tanks rolled into the heart of Georgia after Saakashvili ordered a disastrous attack on the South Ossetian separatist capital Tskhinvali. The ensuing five-day killed hundreds and left thousands driven from their homes as Russia’s invasion force came within an hour’s drive of Tbilisi.

GEORGIA TODAY

JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

BUSINESS

The First Impressions of Green Budapest Residents

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onstruction company MAQRO Construction has begun the process of handing over apartments in the 11,700 sq. meter Green Budapest residential complex to their new owners in preparation for the final handover in September. The European standard apartments are fully renovated, complete with bathrooms and kitchen furniture and stand in buildings constructed using ecologically clean materials. The first phase of checking flats began in May within the framework of which the residents visited and assessed their apartments, clearly expressing their satisfaction in how MAQRO Construction had fulfilled its obligations. “What I saw was far more than I expected. I’m very satisfied with the implemented works and I would like to thank each member of the company,” resident Nino Bendeliani said. “I’m very grateful to your company for such high-quality construction. I’m very satisfied with all personnel for their warm and attentive attitude. You

What I saw was far more than I expected- Green Budapest Resident

have really qualified staff. I’d like to thank you again and wish you every success for the future of this project,” resident Maia Kelbakiani said. The second phase of Green Budapest will begin in August. Company representatives say the residents will be allowed to bring furniture into their flats and choose the design to their own taste, while in September, they will be able to move into the complex and start living there. “I joined the Customer Service Department several months ago from the sales team,” Green Budapest Customer Service Manager, Giorgi Zghenti, told us. “I’m happy to hear the consumers’ assessments. MAQRO Construction’s

aim is for each of the consumers to be satisfied with the quality of the apartments and to see our pledge fulfilled. We can say we have achieved this goal.” As well as apartments of European standard renovation, Green Budapest offers high-profile infrastructure, a green zone, basketball area, external and internal fitness, childcare center and parking lots to its consumers. MAQRO Construction continues conducting distinguished projects and making its consumers happy, meeting their expectations for over and over again. https://greenbudapest.ge/ka/testimonials ADVERTISING


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

Natural Gas Consumption up by 19%, Georgia Looking for Supplies Further South BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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he Iran-Armenia gas pipeline was inaugurated in 2007 with a capacity of 2.3 billion cubic meters per year. The latest agreement provides that within 20 years, Iran will supply Armenia with 36 billion cubic meters with a possible increase of the contract period by five years and the total volume of deliveries to 47 billion. Georgian Energy Minister, Kakha Kaladze, at the beginning of the year stated that Georgia is experiencing a shortage of gas and plans to increase purchases of natural gas. He said the Georgian authorities are considering new energy sources, and have therefore been negotiating with the gas companies of other countries. Negotiations on additional gas volumes were carried out with both the Russian giant Gazprom and with Azerbaijan. “Georgia does not exclude the beginning of purchases of natural gas from Iran, if Tehran offers a competitive price,” stated Kaladze. Iranian Ambassador to Georgia, Abbas Talebi-Far, mid-February confirmed that the technical capability to supply natural gas from Iran “needs some work.” The Ambassador noted that in May 2015, Tehran held a meeting of the

Georgian-Iranian intergovernmental commission, in which Iranian and Georgian companies signed an agreement to develop a project on the feasibility of transporting Iranian gas to Europe through Georgia. “After sanctions against Iran were lifted, there was a good prospect for bilateral cooperation,” the Ambassador said. Currently, the main importer of gas to Georgia is Azerbaijan, which in early March agreed to increase the volume of deliveries. Kaladze declared that given the increase in gas consumption in Georgia, the Ministry of Energy is still actively negotiating with both Azerbaijan and Iran but that the proposal of the Azerbaijani state company SOCAR had proved profitable. The sides have already signed amendments to the 2011 memorandum, according to which gas deliveries to Georgia will increase, and prices will fall. Georgia has not bought Russian gas since 2007, though Georgia receives 10 percent of the total volume of supplies of Russian gas to Armenia as a transit fee. The growth of gas consumption in Georgia in the past two years may result in a shortage of natural gas. From 2012 to date the gas demand has increased by almost 38 percent. Compared to 2014, consumption of natural gas increased by 19 percent.

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ADAMI Media Prize Calls Journalists from Eastern Europe to Apply Source: internationaljournalism280.com

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ilmmakers and Journalists from the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries are currently in the process of applying for the ADAMI Media Prize, a prestigious award that promotes minorities, migration and cultural diversity in Eastern Europe. Filmmakers, journalists, TV stations, and residents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine are welcome to apply for the award. ADAMI will hand out prizes in six different categories including NonFiction & Documentaries; Fiction & Entertainment; News & Short non-fiction; Young ADAMI; Websites; and Online Videos. The organizers were quick to stress that the ADAMI prize builds bridges between different media players in the

international market and promotes wellcrafted works of journalists and filmmakers. “ADAMI increases media interest as it promotes cultural diversity and encourages networking between managers and filmmakers in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus,” the organizers said. The ADAMI Media Prize made its debut last year and was awarded to journalists and filmmakers in five categories. Georgia’s Giorgi Tskhvediani’s documentary Niko’s Way won the ADAMI Media Prize in the non-fiction category. Chai Khana and Jumpstart Georgia also won the ADAMI Online Prize for Web Pages. A Georgian-Azeri stand-up comedian was also honored with a special mention. Submissions are due on October 10.


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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

Georgian Citizens Slam Road Quality in Highland Areas Rafal Nycz/REX Shutterstock

BY TAMAR SVANIDZE

G

eorgian research company ACT has carried out a survey through which it found that a majority of Georgia’s heavily criticize the poor quality of roads and infrastructure in the country’s high-altitude mountainous regions. The finding were released Wednesday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Swiss Cooperation Office (SCO) for the South Caucasus and Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and carried out by the Georgian research company ACT in late 2015.

According the survey, the vast majority of Georgia’s highland population (up to 83 percent) said local roads are in an unusable condition. Respondents pointed to the lack of traffic lights, street illumination and numbering on houses and dwellings as major contributors to the overall situation. Rural residents say roads go unrepaired for years or are repaved by unskilled laborers using such low quality materials that problems reappear almost immediately. “The roads are damaged. You can drive fine on the road during the day, and find it completely destroyed by evening. They take too much time to fix them. Why are they digging, if they can’t fix it?” a resident of Georgia’s western city Zugdidi

said without disclosing their identity. “If you call a taxi, it might not show up. That’s how bad the roads are here. They avoid coming to us,” an unnamed Gori resident told researchers. The report’s findings, however, showed that since 2013 access roads to mountainous settlements, as well as connections to the nearest highways, have improved significantly in remote areas. The frequency of public transport and its affordability was also given a passing mark by more highland inhabitants, who added that the situation had marginally improved since 2013. According to the results of the survey, the condition of local roads is the worst in Georgia’s Samtskhe-Javakheti region, which is mostly inhabited by ethnic minorities, including Armenians and Azeris. 87 per cent of respondents from that region said the condition was “bad” in 2013, while 71 per cent of local respondents said the situation was poor or remained unchanged in 2015. The situation in terms of traffic signs, house numbers, traffic lights and street illumination was the best in Tbilisi. To carry our the survey, researchers interviewed 3,800 citizens over the age of 18 from across Georgia in November 2015. The research is part of a wider program supported by the UNDP, Swiss Cooperation Office (SCO) for the South Caucasus and Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) to assist self-governance reform in Georgia.

Infographic: UNDP


GEORGIA TODAY

SOCIETY

JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

Year of Rustaveli: Meet One Man behind the Re-Publishing of the Chechen Translation of Rustaveli Epic Poem

TBILISI-BATUMI BATUMI-TBILISI

KUTAISI AIRPORT TBILISI CENTRAL

BATUMI CENTRAL

09:00, 12:00, 20:00, 01:00 09:00, 12:00, 19:00, 01:00 2 Station Square

TAMAR MEPE AVE.

595 99 00 00

Chechen Abdullah Haji Kindarov (Center) in the house of the Russian Union of Writers in Grozny

his year is the UNESCO-declared Year of Rustaveli and many exciting events are on-going throughout the year to celebrate the fact, and not only in Georgia. The re-publishing of the translation of Shota Rustaveli’s epic poem ‘The Knight in the Panther’s Skin’ into Chechen was made possible by, amongst others, Chechen Abdullah Haji Kindarov, Member of the Russian Union of Writers. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to him about it.

"Arsen," "Dragonfly," and others, memorizing the dialogues of heroes and singing their songs. We read the Russian translation the great poem of Shota Rustaveli 'The Knight in the Panther's Skin', memorized large chunks of it and recited them to our peers. We learned the names of many Georgian writers and poets, especially A. Kazbegi, V. Pshavela and other classics, who even mentioned the word ‘Chechen’ in their works. In conditions of severe regime, when for us "special settlers" our Chechen song and music could not be heard on the radio or stage, to read in the press at least the word ‘Chechen,’ warmed our souls, keeping our hearts in touch with their native land.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR CONNECTION TO GEORGIA

WHAT ARE THE LINKS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES?

I occupy a very modest place in this life. But I can say I have dedicated myself in deep respect and reverence, to Georgia and the Georgian people. Why? The rich history of the land, dating from the depths of centuries; the unique, ancient but always up-to-the times culture; the freedom-loving, proud and wise people who gave the world many outstanding public figures. Moreover, we are close neighbors with ancient strong ties, similar historical destinies. Without our people, majestic Caucasus could not be imagined. I belong to the generation of Chechens who were, with cruel perfidy, deprived a childhood, deprived a statehood, and were expelled from their native land. We were doomed to a hungry and powerless existence for 13 years, but people survived thanks to a deep hope for the mercy of the God, and thanks, too, to their steadfastness and cohesion - qualities inherent in Caucasians. I will say without pathos: for us, while away from home, almost the only bright beam warming the soul and heart was the Georgian culture, occasionally coming to us in the form of songs on the radio, movies, and books. When we were students we reviewed many times the films "Giorgi Saakadze,"

We have a lot of similarities in culture and communication in everyday life. For one, the great contribution of the Georgian creative intelligentsia, especially in our choreography and theater. From the very first days of the birth of the ChechenIngush Drama in 1934, it was actively helped by the Georgian Theater of Shota Rustaveli, headed by S. Akhmeteli. Young director Archil Ckhartishvili was sent to the same theater in Grozny, where he staged performances of plays by Georgian and Chechen playwrights. In the 1930s, composer G.H. Mepurnov worked very productively in the country – he was Georgian by nationality. In 1936, he created the first ChechenIngush professional orchestra of folk instruments, composing and recording original local national music. For a long time, and with great dedication, Otar Mundzhishvili, a lecturer at the School of Culture and Education, worked as director in various ensembles. And the translation and publishing of Rustaveli’s poem "The Knight in the Panther's Skin" into the Chechen language.

BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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UNESCO DECLARED 2016 THE YEAR OF RUSTAVELI. TELL US ABOUT THAT TRANSLATION INTO CHECHEN Let's start with the fact that the poem is an outstanding work of world literature for all times and nations. It is fabulously rich in content and presentation, and is original in its artistic image of motives and actions of characters that move the most beautiful impulses- doing good, serving faithful friendship and love. The hero triumphs over evil, hostility and greed in humans. We wanted our modern youth to be acquainted with Eastern wisdom in the Chechen languageconvinced that this would help to enrich their

www.eurobus.ge

horizons, literary and artistic taste, in-depth knowledge of the native language, and would strengthen friendship with the Georgian people. The author of the translation, Nurdin Dzhamaldinovich Muzaev, was the son of rural mullahs and graduated the Moscow Institute of Journalism. In 1941 he went to the War, fighting at Stalingrad, where he was wounded and sent to the reserves in Kirgistan. There, he learned to teach and after returning home, he enrolled at the Chechen State University, graduating with a PhD in philology. Author of more than 30 books, he translated works of A. Pushkin, M. Lermontov, and V. Mayakovsky from Russian into Chechen. He was a member of the Writers' Union from 1934. N.D. Muzaev began translating "The Knight in the Panther's Skin" in the 1920s, when he was very young. In 1969, a complete translation was published in Grozny. Luckily, his daughter found copies of the magazine in which had been issued, in small editions, the full text of the translation. We republished and distributed it to all 700 libraries of the Republic, in the first place to every school in Chechnya. Presently, every library holds three copies of the book of the poem of the great Georgian writer! We are very proud that it happened in this anniversary year.

WILL YOU BE VISITING GEORGIA SOON? At my age, I think it would be imprudent and arrogant to build any big plans for the future. However, if circumstances allow, a visit to Georgia would make me extremely happy.


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GEORGIA TODAY

JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

P4RT1C1P8!: Svaneti is this typical of the people here, whose couple of hundred ancient stone watchtowers are often close enough to spit at or stone one another from? Anyway, Etseri, the only Etseri in Georgia using the non-aspirated "ts", is a translation, not of anything in Georgian or Svan, or at least not only, but (also) of the Hebrew word for "help". It's even in the Old Testament of the Bible. This was an exciting discovery, one which I repeat to anyone who will listen. We do need each other, especially when we are neighbors, family, friends, living in one community, including the odd foreigner like me. My wife and I have been welcomed with open arms, a good deal of settling-in help, and not a little surprise that we would choose to live here, when Svans dream of Tbilisi or even Toronto. I dream, on the other hand, of my fellow villagers rolling up their sleeves, banishing cynicism, and taking the chance which is actually offered them: to have and use a say in how a good chunk of their local budget is spent. To monitor it from start to finish, then re-iterate, noting past mistakes and improving the process each time, not giving up in disgust but using the little failures to build successes. This is my challenge to YOU. Are you up to it?

BY TONY HANMER

I

have now been to several village meetings in Etseri, Upper Svaneti, my home since mid-2012, and am getting a feel for how these things work at this smallest level of local government. The gatherings have all been about politics before elections, or about local planning and budgeting to the tune of some tens of thousands of Georgian Lari (at a rate of USD 1 = 1.3 to 2.3 GEL in the period noted). I was just an observing resident, and although my grasp of Svan is rather basic, my Georgian is much better. And in any case, with both languages being used, the general tone of each meeting, the body language, facial expressions and vocal expressions, spoke volumes. We have a long way to go to reach agreement on anything. Recently, I have been investigating this thing called participatory democracy, specifically the budgeting side of it, because this has been an important part of some of the village meetings. We have this much money allotted to us for the year for infrastructure improvement, broken down to X amount for this hamlet, Y for that, and so on. Ideas, people? Once, half-present, they could be distracted and persuaded to look up from their cell phones or stop their innumerable extraneous conversations, the "debates" began. But these almost instantly degenerated into an airing of past grievances carefully nurtured, and petty squabbles about the topic. There was no politeness shown to whoever

was speaking, and it all had to be said at the same time, over the top of one another. Volume, rather than logic or sense, won out; but the hearts were lost in any case. Nothing was resolved, except that I expected to stay away in future, which for me was really an expression of hopelessness. What might I miss? Only this? Not much, then, and save myself the 1 km walk down and back up, and the

frustration. I hated to think like this, but my inner optimist was facing severe challenge from the reality corner of the ring. Participatory budgeting is being done all over the world, most successfully in Brazil, where it originated in the 1980s, in Canada, India, parts of Europe, and America. On scales huge to tiny, people are being enabled to get involved in how

some of their municipal funds are spent, sometimes to the tune of tens of millions of US dollars or Euros. Why not us, too? The rich and the poor are doing it. We don't lack the technological knowhow or infrastructure; more the mutual trust, the conception that we need to put away those old hurts and move on for the greater good. Must we be so public with our inter-family grievances, anyway? Or

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 over 1300 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti


Georgia welcomes European standard two-floor Stadler Kiss train

Mamuka Bakhtadze General Director Georgian Railway

For the summer season JS Georgian Railway prepared a special surprise for its passengers with two-floor European standard Stadler Kiss model electro trains beginning to run in the direction of the Black Sea resort cities from the end of July. The four new trains from the Swiss company Stadler Bussnang AG are equipped with ultra-modern security systems that comply with international standards. The 400-seat trains fully fit the current sizes of the Georgian railway, with the width of the railway 1520 mm. Each electric train is 101.7 m long, 3400 mm wide, and 5240 mm high. Georgian Railway worked together with Deutsche Bahn experts and German specialists on the technical parameters. The Stadler Kiss model train takes into consideration the needs of people with limited abilities who will have lifts in the train and easyaccess toilets. Bathrooms onboard also offer changing tables for parents with babies. Train crews serving onboard have been through special re-training courses abroad. The first new train entered Georgia at the beginning of July and successfully ran its first trip to Batumi. It will run to and from the Black Sea cities non-stop and will stop only at seaside resorts Batumi, Kobuleti and Ureki. The Stadler Kiss train meets the requirements of Europe’s highest standards. The same model of train operates in Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Austria and other countries throughout Europe.


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GEORGIA TODAY

JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

Self-Esteem from a Scalpel: Ogden on the Georgian McNose

Source: www.animalpicturesociety.com

OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN

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s anyone familiar with Georgia will know, Georgians are a proud folk, and their pride in the beauty of their homeland is closely followed by pride of the beauty of the Georgian people

themselves. On the whole, it is easier to make a case for this for Georgian women, since many of them could grace the cover of Vogue, but the number of photoshoot-calibre men seems to be far fewer (not, of course, that I am any great judge, since I am neither a female nor gay, but I've noticed that Brad Pitt and Tom Hiddleston don't have bellies like boulders). They make up for this by claiming to be amongst the greatest lovers in the world, though how they came to that conclusion when most of them lose their virginity to prostitutes, and sex before marriage is still prevalent in the social circles that these sorts of low-brow boasts originate from, is still beyond me. However, that's beside the point. I wholeheartedly agree that a high percentage of Georgian females are stunning, but of these a vast majority also seem to be clever, driven and have a sense of humour; I'm lucky enough to be married to such a one. Yet over the last few years, I have noticed a worrying trend gradually emerging. Georgians can be sensitive about the size of their noses, especially when it draws comparisons to Armenians. I have seen some Georgians who have noses like battleships, but the three young women I know who have had plastic surgery to reduce the size of their honkers had absolutely no need of it whatsoever. All three were very attractive before they felt the need to replace their nose with a snout. Ethics of vanity and plastic surgery aside (though I for one believe that breast reduction should be made illegal as an inhumane act), what I find utterly ridiculous is that all three girls now have noses that look exactly the same. Surely the point of plastic surgery is to improve one's appearance and make something unique, but instead these girls are just drawing attention to the fact that they have been under the knife because they had a big nose...which in their case was not even true. My wife is a doctor, and claims that plastic sur-

gery is still in its infancy in Georgia, which is why the McNoses all come out looking the same, and so I'd like to see more efforts to dissuade young women from having such a pointless operation in the future. After all, these three girls are surely not alone in having a McNose when there was no real need for one; one of the three told me she was having her nose done due to respiratory issues, but seeing as she posts ten thousand selfies a day on Instagram and seemed to breathe through her nose just fine before the operation, I take leave to doubt it. Yet I suppose it's also a form of rebellion, especially given the social taboos that still exist around sex and all things fun. 'Improving' the nose is a rather clever way of trying to go against domineering families; after all, what parent will deny their child the right to happiness? Besides which, seeing as parents and children always seem to be arguing about something or other, if a good, virtuous Georgian girl does decide to revolt, I'm sure mama and deda would rather it took the form of an elective operation than a one-night stand. Self-esteem from a scalpel is a Hollywood phenomenon, and it is understandable (if not excusable) why ageing starlets bankrupt themselves to look ten years younger and secure another lead role in order to repeat the process. This is hardly the same situation in Georgia, with young women seemingly getting McNoses due to social pressures. Despite the fact that the three girls I know are so vain they would cause a peacock to roll its eyes, and undoubtedly had their operations due to their own conceit, I'm sure there are many young women who would succumb to peer pressure and waste money on an operation to rearrange their own face without need. I personally believe that more social freedom could go some way to solving this issue. It is surely a problem that women are pushed to aim for an ideal which is only attainable under a knife (and which will leave them looking the same as everyone else)...but even worse, they do not seem to have even realised that this is no ideal at all. Perhaps a more liberal mind set will persuade young Georgians to learn to better appreciate what they were born with; I say this as someone who is no Adonis, but whose wife is beautiful enough (but much too clever) for the catwalk. A curious new trend, wouldn't you say? I could go on, but the word count has guillotined my insight.


GEORGIA TODAY

SOCIETY

JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

The agreement was signed between Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Szijjarto, and Ryan Arner, Director of the School of Tomorrow

Hungary to Help Renovate Flood-Affected ‘School of Tomorrow’ BY MAKA LOMADZE

O

n July 27, at Radisson Blu Iveria, an agreement of financial assistance was signed between the Hungarian government and ‘School of Tomorrow,’ whose building was totally destroyed by the flood in June 2015. The school is currently functioning in a temporary building. To mark the occasion, His Excellency Mr. Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, paid a special visit to Tbilisi. “Today is an important day,” Davit Narmania, Tbilisi Mayor stated. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, the Ambassador of Hungary and all the personnel who have taken part in this rehabilitation agreement in which Tbilisi City Hall is also taking part. We thank the Georgian Ministry of Education, our Embassy in Hungary, the Red Cross, and all those who have contributed.” Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Giorgi Sharvashidze, also thanked the Hungarian side for its commitment to the contribution. “For two years, we have been running exchange programs with universities in Hungary. This will intensify not only educational but also economical connections within the years to come. Scientific contacts will also grow as, in April, Georgia joined the European mega-project ‘Horizon 2020.’” Minister Szijjarto spoke of the deep shock of the Hungarian people when they witnessed the devastation of the flood, which received wide coverage in foreign media. “We hope that the School of Tomorrow, which saw the destruction of its building last year, thankfully with no lives lost, will be

able to resume function in a renovated building by the end of next year. We decided to provide Tbilisi with the modest financial support of 50,000 Euros out of which 2/3 went to the International Red Cross and 1/3 went to the reconstruction of School of Tomorrow.” The first diplomat of Hungary added that the school’s mission is to train the best citizens for Georgia. “It is in the interest of Georgia to be able to keep the best brains in order to make a contribution to the development of the country. How is Hungary supporting this process? Fifty Georgian university students have been provided with full state scholarships in Hungary for one year. We hope that soon the students of School of Tomorrow will get the same opportunity and after a year, will return from Hungary and use their knowledge for Georgia’s development. We consider Georgia a strategic partner in the Caucasian region, a guarantor of stability. You can count on our continued support in this respect.” The agreement was signed between Minister Szijjarto and Ryan Arner, Director of the School of Tomorrow. Reportedly, the school will have a renovated building by the end of 2017, which will be located near Lisi Lake. Established in 1992, the School of Tomorrow has been eagerly involved in boosting the general education level in Georgia. The school’s main aim is to tailor learning processes to each of their student’s needs and help them to develop and thrive individually. The institution’s learning agenda is specifically adjusted so that the involvement of the teacher is minimal and the students’ creative juices are allowed to flow to the maximum possible. Following years of continuously educating highly successful graduates, the School of Tomorrow received international accreditation just a month before the June 13 disaster struck.

The remains of the original school building following the June 2015 flood

Contact: www.edelbrand.ge Phone: 599 461908

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GEORGIA TODAY

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A Look Back: Ms. Lauryn Hill at the Black Sea Jazz Festival BY MAKHO JIGHAURISHVILI

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he 10th and so far the biggest Black Sea Jazz Festival held this year within the Check in Georgia project has come to a close. On July 17th the Batumi Tennis Club hosted Ms. Lauryn Hill’s concert, with audiences seeing the singer and her 17 member band performing new and famous old hits from various albums.

ROUTING

TBILISI - ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT - TBILISI TBILISI - ISTANBUL SABIHA GOKCEN AIRPORT ISTANBUL SABIHA GOKCEN AIRPORT - TBILISI BATUMI - ISTANBUL ISTANBUL - BATUMI

Born on May 26th, 1976 the American singer, composer, rapper, producer and actress is more famous for being the member of the Fugees band. She had a significant impact on the development of modern music. Her first solo album Miseducation was released in 1998, won five Grammys and sold in the millions. Songs Doo Wop and To Zion are especially popular globally. The most large-scale Black Sea Jazz Festival opened in Batumi on July 15th with the project QUINCY JONES & THE GLOBAL GUMBO ALL STARS

FLIGHT NUMBER

TK 379 TK 387 TK 383 TK 386 TK 382 TK 378 TK 381 TK 381 TK 380 TK 391 TK 393 TK 390 TK 392

WEEK DAYS

EVERYDAY

EVERYDAY 1/2/4/5/6/7 3 EVERYDAY 1/2/4/6/7 1/3/4/5/7 1/2/4/6/7 1/3/4/5/7

DEPARTURE

ARRIVAL

02:35 06:35 22:55 01:40 18:10 21:15 04:25 05:05 19:40 10:35 20:15 06:25 16:20

04:05 08:05 00:30+1 04:55 21:30 00:30+1 05:50 06:30 22:55 11:40 21:20 09:20 19:20

The 10th Black Sea Jazz Festival was the biggest so far

10 Galaktion Street

(feat. Richard Bona, Alfredo Rodriguez, Jacob Collier) created by one of the most influential Jazz musicians of the 20th century, Quincy Jones, who has received 27 Grammys. The film Miles Ahead was premiered on July 16th, followed by the Miles Electric Band concert. The festival closed on July 24th. The tenth edition of the festival hosted world renowned artists and lasted for ten days. Performing artists were QUINCY JONES & THE GLOBAL GUMBO ALL STARS, JAMIE CULLUM,

MACY GREY, THE PRODIGY, Ms. Lauryn Hill, MILES ELECTRIC BAND, NIK WEST and Chris Brown. Within the festival guests could also attend the MACY GRAY DJ SET at Club Take Five, as well as concerts by NIK WEST, DJ LOGIC & Friends, Georgian singer SALIO and others. Locals and tourists also had the opportunity to attend the BRASS BAND concerts, which were held for free on the Batumi Boulevard and international and Georgian Jazz bands which performed near the Batumi Colonnades.

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


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

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First Georgian Artist Signs Contract with Yamaha

FOR SALE: BMW – 321 model Date of issue 1936

BY EKA KARSAULIDZE

G

iorgi Mikadze Jazz pianist has become the first Georgian artist to sign a cont ra c t w i t h g l o b a l ly renowned musical instrument company Yamaha and is now one of 40 Yamaha artists, a list which includes Alicia Keys, Chick Corea, Jamie Cullum, Keiko Matsui, and Danilo Perez. Music critics and professional musicians named Giorgi Mikadze a universal artist who is unafraid to experiment in every genre and style, deeply explore and create something new. The pianist is constantly seeking new and innovative projects, in which jazz, classical music, hip-hop and other genres meet Georgian folklore. After earning Bachelor degrees in Classical Music, Composition and Performance from the Tbilisi State Conservatoire in Georgia, Mikadze is continuing his education at the Berkley College of Music in Boston. Moreover, earlier this year he became first Georgian artist to get a Master's Degree in

Jazz Arts from New York's prestigious Manhattan School of Music. Mikadze impressed music professionals in the United States with his collaborative projects with the School- two works featuring a fusion of Georgian folk music with African and classical music genres, as well as a combination of rap performance with classical symphony instruments. “I realize that now is not the best time commercially speaking for jazz or classical music. The most popular genre worldwide today is Hip-Hop. Pure jazz is outdated now, and if you’re a contemporary musician, you have to accept the reality that jazz is developing and is often expressed in different genres,” Mikadze told GEORGIA TODAY in an exclusive interview earlier this year. “Musical information is what counts most for a musician to grow. I listen and listen endlessly. You have to know all the latest achievements in all genres. If you ask me how many hours I practice a day, I would say not many. In the past, I would practice the piano 10 hours a day, but nowadays I listen more than I play.” His work- whether listening and learn-

ing or creating, is endless. Over the past two years, the pianist has performed with his band, the Giorgi Mikadze Group, at concerts in New York and Los Angeles and at the Black Sea Jazz Festival in Batumi, Georgia. The young artist has also performed with symphony orchestras in Berkley and in his hometown Tbilisi, while he also served as Musical Director for Berkley’s tribute to famous American composer and producer, Quincy Jones. Mikadze told reporters he was already working with Yamaha on a number of projects within the cooperation agreement, however now he was also honored to be one of its artists. The contract with the company was signed last week and negotiations about future joint projects have already begun. Yamaha Corporation is a Japanese multinational corporation with a wide range of products and services, established in 1887 as a piano and reed organ manufacturer which is, to date, still one of the company’s main areas. Yamaha is also famous for its cooperation with dozens of well-known international musicians all around the world.

PRICE 10.000 USD

CONTACT PERSON 557 12 38 90


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GEORGIA TODAY

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WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 July 29 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Free Entry July 30, 31 PERFORMANCE "SILENCE, REHEARSAL" Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: From 15 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari July 29 – August 6 CAFÉ SOCIETY Directed by Woody Allen Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell Language: English Start time: 20:00 Language: Russian Start time: 19:45, 22:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL STAR TREK BEYOND Directed by Justin Lin Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Anton Yelchin, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba Language: Russian Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 10-11 GEL ME BEFORE YOU Directed by Thea Sharrock Genre: Drama, Romance Cast: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer Language: Russian Start time: 14:30 Ticket: 9-10 GEL GHOSTBUSTERS Directed by Paul Feig

Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 17:15, 22:00 Ticket: 8-14 GEL THE NEON DEMON Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn Genre: Horror, Thriller Cast: Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves Language: Russian Start time: 19:30, 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL July 29 – August 6 EQUALS Directed by Drake Doremus Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Vernetta Lopez, Scott Lawrence Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 8-14 GEL SADAKO VS KAYAKO Directed by Kôji Shiraishi Genre: Horror Cast: Mizuki Yamamoto, Tina Tamashiro, Aimi Satsukawa Language: Russian Start time: 15:00 Ticket: 9-10 GEL THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR Directed by James DeMonaco Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi Cast: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson Language: Russian Start time: 17:40, 20:00, 22:35 Ticket: 8-14 GEL GHOSTBUSTERS (Info Above) Start time: 14:30, 17:15, 20:00, 22:30 Ticket: 9-14 GEL STAR TREK BEYOND (Info Above) Start time: 17:30 Ticket: 11-12 GEL

MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO 4TH CENTURY A.D THE CAUCASUS NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM COLLECTION RENEWED EXHIBITION EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases a long history of money circulation on the territory of modern Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. June 11 – March 11 (2017) Georgian National Museum and Korneli Kekelidze National Center of Manuscripts present THE EXHIBITION “MEDIEVAL TREASURY” June 16 – December 16 THE EXHIBITION “NEW DISCOVERIES - GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY” MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 July 6 – August 30 EXHIBITION “QUARTER OF THE DAY” BY TAMAR MELIKISHVILI The exhibition showcases 70 paintings depicting people united by emotions: passion, melancholy, alienation, and mystery.

SHALVA AMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF ART Address: 1 Lado Gudiashvili St. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 www.museum.ge May 18 – September 11 AVANT-GARDE 1900-1937 July 16-30 THE EXHIBITION "UNROLLING THE UNIVERSE" BY GEORGIAN ARTIST IRINA GABIANI SHALVA AMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF ART Address: 1 Lado Gudiashvili St. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 www.museum.ge July 16-30 EXHIBITION "UNROLLING THE UNIVERSE" BY IRINA GABIANI GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze June 24, 2016 – June 24, 2017 NIKO PIROSMANASHVILI’S WORKS “YARD CLEANER” AND “EAGLE SEIZING A HARE” August 5-25 TEMO JAVAKHI'S RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION GENERATOR 9.8 Address: 29 Atoneli Str. Telephone: 557 22 99 98 July 25 – August 1 Akaki Gachechiladze’s Personal Exhibition GARDEN HALL Address: 73 Agmashenebeli Ave. July 30 JAPANESE SUMMER FESTIVAL "NATSU MATSURI" Hall Events: Cosplay Contest Japanese dance performance

Japanese Calligraphy - Shodo Origami Art Corners: Kvachi, Ülker Samxalova Handmade Pillows by Tamta Japanese Visual Kei performer: Sana Live concert Educational Program corners: Japanese Language and Culture Center Exchange program - Chikyujin Garden Events, Food Stalls: Yakitori, Taiyaki, Takoyaki, Matcha - Green tea ice cream, Cold drinks Start time: 12:00 – 20:00 Ticket price: 15 GEL MUSIC

TBILISI OPEN AIR Address: Tbilisi Hippodrome Ticket: Single Day Ticket – 50 GEL, 3-day pass - 120 GEL Open: July 29 at 15:00 to July 31 at 23:59 July 29 MAIN STAGE: AIR / Skye and Ross from Morcheeba / Motorama Kung Fu Junkie / Dihaj / Bedford Falls NIGHT STAGE: Adriatique / Nikakoi / Vako K Lasha Craft / Saphileaum PIRATE BAY STAGE PSart / Dj Fog / Aardvarkk / Pogo Amrit Pavan / Katana / Marcuss Saba / Meno Project Pheodal July 30 MAIN STAGE: UNKLE / Steve Vai / Young Georgian Lolitaz Backwarmer / Scarlet. / Lelocity LTFR Stage: Rejjie Snow / @Luna 999 / Cutkill & Shining Sabanadze / Tareshi / Exit NIGHT STAGE: Moodymann / Betoko Henning Baer / Vako T / TU JI PIRATE BAY STAGE Clarity / Subex / Bero / Vinda Folio Dima Dadiani / Ciga / Mangiphera July 31 MAIN STAGE: Damien Rice / Tricky presents Skilled Mechanics Blue Foundation / Erekle Deisadze & Vinda Folio Robi Kukhianidze & Ketato / Quartet Diminished LTFR Stag: MAO / Friendly Mosquito / Kordz MAMM / Eko NIGHT STAGE: Dense & Pika / The Forest / Natalie Tba Beridze PIRATE BAY STAGE: Vazhmarr / Beveluke / Black Dub Odyssey Cobert / Teko / Liza Rivs & Breloka / Uru BATUMI

BATUMI TENNIS CLUB Address: Batumi Boulevard August 2 BAND PIZZA CONCERT Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 35-70 GEL August 2 BRAZILIAN NIGHT To support Georgian Sportsmen Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 20-50 GEL August 6 ELECTRONIC BAND THE QEMISTS CONCERT Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-40 GEL


SPORTS

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 29 - AUGUST 1, 2016

19

Rio 2016: It’s all in the Muscle, Not the Dress

Source: www.contentdope.com

BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

T

he Olympic countdown is nearing opening day and the world’s excitement is slipping into the highest gear. Rio-2016 will soon be flashing its rings and banners all over the planet, and the Olympic Fire will once again light up the globe. The Rio Olympic Village has already been inaugurated, in whch 18 thousand athletes will be residing, served by a 13 thousandstrong team of personnel and with a giant eatery capable of accommodating five thousand at a time. The Georgian national team is ready

to take off and join the best, the strongest and the healthiest on earth. This time, Georgia will have 39 athletes in 13 different sports to compete in the Games between August 5 and 21, and nine among them are women. It is said that these figures set a record in Georgia’s history of Olympic endeavors. To cover the games, 17 Georgian journalists were accredited in Rio. The Georgian national Olympic Committee hosted a special press conference, led by its President, who highlighted the “complicated and important mission of winning as many medals as possible in Rio” ahead for the Georgian Olympic team. The launching ceremony took place in the Olympic Park in Tbilisi, attended by President and Premier of the country, where the

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athletes were sworn in and applauded by the attending crowd. The solemn oath-taking was followed by the melody of Georgia’s national anthem. Georgia’s Olympic basket already contains 37 gold, 28 silver and 52 bronze medals which is quite a harvest for a small nation like Georgia. Our niche in the world Olympic movement has clearly become conspicuous, and the opportunities are growing with every new Olympic Games. Suffice to say that our capital city hosted the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival and coped with the mission perfectly well. Rio’s famous Maracanã Stadium will soon see the fruits of the joint four-year sporting efforts of Georgia’s athletes and coaches, supported by numerous organ-

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

izations. Putting it straight, I don’t exactly believe in a famous Olympic adage which says that it is the fact of participation in the games that counts rather than victory. I personally believe that “participation is good but winning is better,” as Leri Khabelov, the GNOC President and himself

Photographer: Giorgi Pridonishvili Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

many-time World and the Olympic Champion, once noted. I couldn’t agree more. And did you hear the talk about the Georgian athletes’ ceremonial Olympic costumes? Some liked the design of the uniforms and some simply hate it. Well, tastes differ and I am afraid it would be utterly impossible to live up to everybody’s expectations. One might say that the costumes could have been in better taste, but right now, I would not make a big deal out of it, and would not have our ladies and gentlemen of sports getting nervous and frustrated because of varied public opinion. After all, the dress will not compete in the games to win a medal- it is the athletic talent and degree of training that does the job. Right now, I would rather go for courage and muscle than the ceremonial apparel. We can try better next time, can’t we? Let us now focus on the glitter of gold which we need so much to decorate our sportive Georgian chests with. The design of clothing will soon be forgotten, but the tune of the anthem played to the fact of another Olympic triumph will stay in the global remembrance forever. This way or that, our boys and girls are ready and poised, and they have all received the blessing of Georgia’s Patriarch. Anything to help, even a costume in controversial taste, because the desire to compensate for the failed attire with a medal might also be a strong incentive for winning a contest.

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Issue #865  

July 29 - August 1, 2016

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