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Issue no: 1181



In this week’s issue... Ambulatory Clinic Rehabilitated by JSC Nenskra Hydro Opens in Chuberi NEWS PAGE 2

VP of Int’l Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Visits Georgia



Khazaradze’s Dignified Georgia

ON GEOARTMOOD A look at another entrepreneur trying to inspire visitors to come to Georgia



Russia to Help Breakaway Abkhazia Modernize Its Armed Forces BY THEA MORRISON

General Manager of Hilton Batumi: Georgia is among the Fastest Growing Tourism Destinations BUSINESS PAGE 6

HUAWEI P30 Pro Users First to Experience the EMUI 10 BUSINESS PAGE 7


he Russian Federation is to financially assist Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia to modernize its armed forces. The relevant agreement was signed a few days ago during a meeting between de facto minister of defense of the “Republic of Abkhazia,” Mirab Kishmaria and Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, Army General Sergey Shoigu, in Moscow. Russian and Abkhazian media report that the agreement envisages further development of their military-technical cooperation and the modernization of the armed forces of Russianoccupied Abkhazia. Shoigu said that Russia and Abkhazia enjoy a common defense and security space. “We were the first to recognize the republic’s independence and we continue to offer it comprehensive help. The documents and agreements signed in 2014 and 2015 and, naturally, our military base, which we are strengthening and which is a guarantor of stability thanks to our joint efforts, are

Deputy Minister: Georgian Model of Fighting the Stink Bug is an Example to the World SOCIETY PAGE 8

Party Time: Etseri, Svaneti Image source: Russian Defense Ministry Press Office

of great importance,” he noted. Kishmaria expressed gratitude for Russia’s contribution to the security of the (occupied) region. “The fact that the seventh base and the joint group are providing security is worthy of special

gratitude. This is first of all your merit, the merit of your officers and generals who are providing security jointly with our officers and generals and the defense ministry. I reiterate my gratitude for the statehood that our armies are providing,” he said. Continued on page 2






Ambulatory Clinic Rehabilitated by JSC Nenskra Hydro Opens in Chuberi


n August 23, a fully rehabilitated ambulatory clinic re-opened in Chuberi administrative unit in Mestia Municipality. The rehabilitation was funded by JSC Nenskra Hydro, the Nenskra Hydropower Plant (HPP) project company, and Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water), the HPP investor company. Prior to opening the clinic, on August 21-23, Georgian and Korean doctors provided pro bono medical services to the residents of Chuberi and Nakra villages. Up to 200 locals had medical check-ups. The opening ceremony of the ambulatory clinic was attended by the Governor of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region Alexander Motserelia, the Vice Governor Nino Vibliani, the Mayor of Mestia Municipality Kapiton Jzhorzholiani, the Vice CEO of JSC Nenskra Hydro Sunick Lee, and Chairman of the Labor Union of K-water Cholmin Noh. “Our company is distinguished for its high social responsibility. We are implementing a number of social projects in Chuberi and Nakra villages," Lee said. "Infrastructure is also being improved.

We are funding vocational training programs. In addition, the company supports the development of small and mediumsized local enterprises. We are pleased to have an opportunity to contribute not only to enhancing the energy independence of Georgia, but also to the region's economic development." Since 2015, Nenskra Hydro has spent up to GEL 1,200.000 on social projects. JSC “Nenskra Hydro” was founded in

2015 as an outcome of cooperation between K-Water, Korea Water Resource Corporation, and JSC Partnership fund. The company will construct a high-dam HPP in Mestia Municipality, in the valleys of the Nenskra and Nakra rivers. The HPP with 280 MW of installed capacity will annually provide Georgia with total energy generation of 1'200.00 GWh which will be fully consumed by the local energy market.

Russia to Help Breakaway Abkhazia Modernize Its Armed Forces Continued from page 1 The sides also discussed a plan of cooperation between the Republic of Abkhazia and the Russian Federation in the field of strengthening the interaction of the armed forces. “The document was signed under the Treaty of Alliance and Strategic Partnership between the Republic of Abkhazia and the Russian Federation and is its logical continuation,” Abkhazian media outlet Apsnypress reports. Russia recognized breakaway Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s ‘independence’ on August 26, 2008, in the wake of the five-day August war, which left 20% of Georgia occupied by its northern neighbor. After this, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Vanuatu also recognized these regions as countries, however, the latter with-

drew its recognition in 2013. Last year, Syria also expressed its support to these de facto regions. The rrest of international society says Abkhazia and South Ossetia are parts of Georgia and calls on Russia to withdraw its forces from these territories. Some days ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the process of international recognition of Abkhazia is irreversible. Lavrov noted that ‘the process of recognition’ started under Sergey Bagapsh’s leadership, the second “president” of Georgia’s breakaway region. "I am confident that this process is irreversible. Abkhazia has shown itself as a democratic state, the foundations of which were laid by Bagapsh," the Russian politician said. Russia and Abkhazia established “diplomatic relations” at embassy level on 9

September 2008, when Lavrov and de facto Abkhaz Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Shamba exchanged letters of note at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow. On 25 September 2008, then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign a decree appointing the first Russian Ambassador to Abkhazia, Semyon Grigoriyev, who presented his Letters of Credence to Sergey Bagapsh on 16 December 2008. In return, Igor Akhba, the de facto Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia to Russia was appointed by Bagapsh as Abkhazia's “first ambassador” to Russia on 14 November 2008. Further, then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin issued a directive to set up a Russian embassy in Abkhazia in 2009 which was opened in occupied Sokhumi in May, 2009.





Vice President of Int’l Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies Visits Georgia



n August 29, Kerem Kinik, Vice President of Int’l Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies Visits Georgia Red Cross Society. With the President of the Red Cross Society of

Georgia, Natia Loladze, he held an official meeting with the representatives of the Government of Georgia to discuss the issue of construction of a regional disaster preparedness and response facility in Rustavi, that will assist the countries of the Caucasus region (and not only) in emergencies. During the visit, a Memorandum of Cooperation on this topic was signed at the Kvemo Kartli Regional Administration.







Georgian Chechnya-Russia War Veteran Murdered in Berlin BY AMY JONES


Georgian man from Pankisi Gorge was shot dead in a park in the center of Berlin, Germany, on 23 August. The suspect, a Russian national, was arrested shortly after the attack. As the victim, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, had fought against Russian forces during the second Chechnya-Russia war (1999 to 2009), many are questioning if there are political motives behind the murder. The shooting happened in broad daylight in Kleiner Tiergarten Park in Moabit. Witnesses reported seeing a man on a bicycle fatally shooting a man in the head. Police officers later arrested a 49-year old Russian man, who was in Berlin as a tourist, near the scene. A pistol and bicy-

cle were recovered by police divers from the river Spree. The German government has yet to speculate a motive for the attack, although German and Georgian news channels have claimed that the attack was politically motivated due to Khangoshvili’s involvement in the Russian-Chechnya war. Indeed, the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC) believes Khangoshvili has been wanted by Russian authorities since he fought in the war from 2001 to 2005. In 2015, he was the victim of an attempted assassination when he was shot several times in Tbilisi by a man who fled the scene. Police failed to identify the perpetrators and the investigation is still ongoing. ‘Russian secret service had a high interest in him, which is proven by Khangoshvili’s and his fellow militants’ demon-

strative murders [...] [After the 2015 attack] his family was forced to leave Georgia and seek safety in other countries,’ reads a statement from the EMC. Khangoshvili’s relatives also believe his murder was political: “He fought for his people’s independence in the Chechen War, he was an active warrior. Russian secret service might have been interested in him. Who else? I know for a fact that he was dissatisfied by the [Georgian] investigation and that’s why he decided to leave Georgia,’ they told TV Pirveli. Investigators believe the murder is more likely to be a contracted murder than a personal attack, reported the Berliner Morganpost. No relationship between the victim and perpetrator has been found so far. Der Tagesspiegel claims that a large sum of money was found in the suspect's apartment. However, the Kremlin has claimed that

Image source - Deutsche Welle

there is no link between the murder and Russia, stating that there is no confirmation that the suspect is Russian. “Of course, this case has nothing to do with the Russian state and its authorities,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday, reported the Berliner Morgen Post. Spokeswoman Maria Sakharova accused German media of spreading disinformation regarding the case, saying that the Russian Embassy in Berlin is in contact with German investigators. The Berlin judiciary is currently handling the case rather than the Federal Prosecutor’s Office. “We have an eye on

the matter and are in close contact with the Berlin judiciary,” said a spokesperson for Germany’s highest criminal prosecution authority on Monday. Khangoshvili was known in Georgia for his help during the special operation in Lapankuri in 2012 when he aided Georgian police in their negotiations with armed militants. The German public broadcaster WDR reported that Khangoshvili was listed as a potential militant Islamist. However, he was removed from the list in 2018 after German authorities decided he did not pose an acute threat.

Switzerland to Add Khazaradze’s Dignified Georgia Georgia to List of Safe Countries OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA




rom October 1, Switzerland is to add Georgia to the list of safe countries, thus representing the 15th country in the EU/Schengen zone to make such a decision with regards to Georgia, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. Adding Georgia to the ‘safe country’ list is recognition of the political stability of the country, its economic development as well as the respect and protection of human rights.

Following the decision, an accelerated procedure will be used in the consideration of asylum applications filed by Georgian citizens. The Swiss Federal Council reports that the number of Georgian citizens seeking asylum in Switzerland has augmented since 2017, relating the issue with the lifting of the visa regime with the countries of the Schengen zone. Aside from Switzerland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, France, Lichtenstein, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Iceland, Luxembourg, Ireland, Estonia, Denmark, Slovenia and the Czech Republic have recognized Georgia as a safe country.

amuka Khazaradze is going into politics. If anybody thought that the founder of TBC Bank would not take this step, now there’s no more room for doubt. We will be seeing a new political party, under the name “Dignified Georgia” joining the big Georgian political family. The movement, the formation of which was announced by Khazaradze to be set for this September, will become a new addition to our political environment. What matters is that it survives until then, especially with the government being so unfair to not only the new players, but also the old, whose leaders it is sending to prison. Khazaradze has already had his bank account seized and had to pay 700,000 bail. As soon as Khazaradze announced his political plans, the internet trolls began working. There was nothing that they failed to dig up about the first local banker – everything from Comparty (communist party) membership to the impoverishment of citizens. The “real” people where as quick as the virtual “accounts” to blame him for the dispersal of the National Liberation Movement demonstration. Prisoner rights defender Nana Kakabadze accused him directly of being part of the events that took place nearly 30 years ago: “I know that on February 18, 1989, Mamuka Khazaradze participated in breaking up the anti-occupation demonstration. The protest organized by the ‘Ilia Chavchavadze Society’ was held in front of the first building of the Polytechnic Institute, which was raided by Khazaradze and other members of the Communist Union. He should remember how he opposed the movement and what he did against the nationalist heroes who were confront-

ing the Soviet regime. It is shameful that a person with such a history shows himself as a supporter of the anti-occupation movement and a pro-European businessman,” Kakabadze proclaimed. Khazaradze’s political plans were perceived as harshly by another public “figure” that is close to governmental circles: Irma Chkadua. The lawyer, known for defending so-called thieves in law, reminded Khazaradze about the fate of the depositors who were unable to pay back loans to TBC and whose real estate was sold by the bank. “Before you start talking about restoring dignity, you should look into the eyes of those impoverished people who lost their homes because of the draconic interest rates of your bank, those who were left without basic food and dignity. When you talk about the immigrants, aren’t these the people who left their homeland to pay off the enormous interests rates imposed by your bank?” wrote Chkadua. This informational storm is further proof of the fact that Georgian politics is still only a space for specific interests and that there is no room for friendship. Otherwise, who would have imagined that these people would “revolt” against the first banker of the country, when in the recent past, the same people saw him as a man capable of saving the country and begged him to enter local politics. In 2007 and 2009, protesters and rally organizers paid several visits to Khazaradze. These were and are the people who represent the

electorate of the Georgian Dream and the political “dagger.” Apparently, they no longer see in him a chance for survival, nor do they believe in his political future. But what realistic chances does Khazaradze have in the upcoming political disaster that is going to hit the country in 2020. Political expert Ramaz Sakvarelidze told For.ge that Khazaradze’s new movement will have difficulties winning a great victory. "Our society," he said, "remembers how Paata Burchuladze entered politics, at first getting high ratings and support as a world-renowned operatic bass, but who lost the support quite quickly once his dirty financial matters were revealed." Sakvarelidze thinks that with Khazaradze, we are dealing with a financially strong public figure, and so everyone will feel he has gained his wealth through their own, ordinary people’s, money. “It won’t be so easy to convince our society to support Khazaradze,” the expert predicts. Political analyst Vakhtang Dzabiradze disputed this point, wondering how Ivanishvili became leader if the majority of people perceive wealthy people negatively? He went on to argue that while it seems that the majority of our society doesn’t welcome bankers, the same society supports them. “The attitude towards bankers is quite negative, yet I believe Khazaradze has the potential to create something. Yet even with all his millions, Khazaradze alone will not be enough. The most important thing will be his political team. If he bets on Kvirikashvili, I would have nothing against it: Kvirikashvili is a figure who will affect Khazaradze’s movement neither negatively nor positivity,” Dzabiradze said. We can see that Khazaradze has yet to take to his full start position, and yet he is already being confronted, which is in fact a good sign, as it means that they are afraid of him and if you are a source of fear then that means you are recognized as having power.


10 Galaktion Street

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

 any@where.ge

 +995 32 229 59 19





General Manager of Hilton Batumi: Georgia is among the Fastest Growing Tourism Destinations BY ANA DUMBADZE


he tourism and hotel industry have always been crucial fields for Georgia’s economy, however, the progress achieved in these directions has become even more important in recent times, following the now-notorious June 20 and the travel embargo imposed by President Vladimir Putin which significantly decreased the number of Russian tourists visiting Georgia and resulted in financial damage to the country’s economy. Luckily, despite the difficult situation, the well-known brands operating in the Georgian tourism and hotel industry are attracting more and more international visitors, considering the hospitable and quality service they offer their guests. An obvious example of the rapid development achieved in the Georgian tourism sector is Hotel Hilton Batumi, located in the center of the charming seaside city of Batumi, the capital of Georgia’s Ajara region. The hotel, like all others of its brand, is distinguished by its diverse service and innovative features oriented on maximum customer satisfaction- all thanks to the hard work and professionalism of its employees. GEORGIA TODAY went to meet Torsten Weller, the General Manager of Hilton Batumi to talk about the challenges existing in the Georgian tourism sector, his career in Georgia and the main reasons behind the brand’s unchanged popularity and reputation.

TELL US HOW YOU CAME TO BE IN GEORGIA. First of all, thank you for this opportunity; it is an honor to have an interview in GT. I started in January 2017, a little more than 2.5 years ago, and I love it. I was Hotel Manager at Hilton Innsbruck for four years and got a phone call from our Regional Director of Human Resources asking me to check out the city of Batumi. Honestly speaking, I didn’t know much about Batumi or Georgia. I called my wife Christina, who was visiting her family in the United States, and told her about Hilton Batumi. She googled the city and immediately called me back saying: “Wow, it looks fantastic, Batumi is right on the Black Sea, let’s move.” Then we did a little more research online and I happily accepted the promotion to General Manager at Hilton Batumi. What grabbed me most was all the fantastic comments about the Georgian people: heartfelt, helpful and generous. Then, of course, we were attracted by the amazing culture, food and wines, the beautiful traditions and of course by the hustling and bustling Batumi, which is uniquely located on the beautiful Black Sea coast between the sea and the stunning Ajaran Mountains. Christina and I do not regret our move to Georgia.

HOW DO YOU SEE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IN GEORGIA NOW AND IN FUTURE? The growth of tourism is very fast, Batumi and Tbilisi and many other regions are seeing more and more diverse tourists from all over the globe. That is great news, and to see that Georgia is one of the fastest growing tourism destinations is very exciting. I know the government and the Georgian National Tourism Administration are working hard to increase the popularity of the country in new markets, and with great success. The new tendency can be felt in the

market, e.g. direct flights from Saudi Arabia to Batumi is only one success story of the recent changes. Infrastructure such as highways, better and faster train connections between the east and west of the country connecting Kakheti, Tbilisi with Kutaisi/Airport and Batumi, as well as direct flights to and from Batumi throughout the year, are key strategic pillars for a faster and organically growing tourism industry.

DID THE RUSSIAN TRAVEL BAN NEGATIVELY AFFECT HILTON BATUMI AS IT HAS AFFECTED OTHER PARTS OF THE SECTOR? Generally, I believe that every challenge presents a new opportunity. And the travel ban is a great example of this. Yes, we are seeing fewer travelers from Russia versus last year. But we also see a big increase from travelers from Saudi Arabia, from Kuwait, Israel, and many more Georgian guests. The airplane slots were most likely filled with planes from other destinations and that is great as there are many new ambassadors for tourism in Georgia. At Hilton Batumi, we always try to see any business affecting change as a positive: we do not get affected by any kind of hype and patiently work on strategies to not be reliant on only one or two markets. In July, and now in August, we are seeing visitor numbers that are better than the same period last year.

TELL US ABOUT HILTON IN GEORGIA. We have been operating in Georgia since 2015 and are very proud be the first Hilton branded hotel in Batumi. Hilton and its brand power is a strong name to pull tourists from all over the globe. We are Hilton, we are hospitality. Our founder Conrad Hilton set out to fill the world with the light and warmth of hospitality 100 years ago.

TELL US ABOUT THE LOCATION AND SERVICES YOU OFFER. My first impression when I entered the hotel was simply WOW, what a GREAT PLACE. A high ceiling and modern architecture combined with traditional and local elements, create an open and inviting atmosphere. I still remember that first day, but much more than this, I remember the extremely warm welcome from the team, who made the effort to come in on a grey Sunday afternoon to give me such a heartfelt welcome. On that day, I felt special vibes from our Team Members: they made me feel a part of something very special. And getting to know the hotel better after the tour inside and outside, I was just overwhelmed by the comfort and design combining modern elements such as lots of glass and daylight with a very warm ambiance. It felt right away like a home away from home. All our rooms are very spacious. Mountain and sea-views, sometimes both, and 70% of our rooms have furnished balconies. Our eforea Spa is top of its class, a salt-water indoor pool, Himalayan salt sauna and Vichy shower treatment. You can really indulge in treating yourself well. The same applies for our Nephele Skybar & Restaurant with stunning views, food and drinks and service. There is an outlet for every customer, Georgian and international cuisine, home baked treats and much more.


ing a team which puts people first. To leave an impact and to make a difference comes first to all of our Team Members. No matter if we have a great sales force on the road selling, our team is catering to our guests needs. It is all about trust and loyalty. Trust and loyalty are ingredients for healthy relationships, internally and externally. Our great team comes everyday with such passion, such willingness to learn, such a drive to serve our customers and they all show love and care in what they do. That is the huge driver for quality and satisfied guests. For me, being a colleague, I can only say that I am very lucky to be part of something big, something special; something which is hard to describe, but something our guests, friends, partners and colleagues feel when they step through our doors.

WHICH ARE HILTON BATUMI’S MOST POPULAR SERVICES AND FACILITIES? First of all, I’m very proud to have Georgian chefs and Georgian Team Members, who came up with our story called Georgia on Your Table. We bring traditional Georgian dishes to the table, which are liked not only by most of our international guests, but also by Ajarans themselves, and other guests from different regions in Georgia. Our dishes in the Pelion restaurant are deeply rooted in Georgian culture and paired with fabulous Georgian wines. In our sky bar on the 20th floor we serve well-known

international dishes like steak, fish, pizza, pasta, etc., as well as local dishes. Actually, we are very famous and proud of our Sushi for which many of our guests come to visit the Nephele Skybar & Restaurant. And our amazing pastries and cakes, all delicious and homemade by our bakery and pastry team and served in our Tandila Lobby Café. We bring “Georgia on Your Table.”

Members and more than half of our leaders are female. To see the young and brilliant talent grow is as satisfying as seeing happy customers. Besides that, we are partners with a children’s home, have opened a training room in the Black Sea College to improve vocational training, and we buy wine from Temi Winery, which also employs disabled team members.



We are proud to welcome increasing numbers of Israeli friends and guests, also our Azerbaijanian, Armenian and Ukrainian neighbors show increasing interest year-on-year. Lots of guests come from Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries, especially during the summer months, to get away from the heat. We are extremely proud that the second strongest guest segment is actually from Georgia: it is fantastic to see the economy grow and to see locals traveling on business and pleasure. Over the past two years, there has been big interest coming from western European countries and the United States.

We are constantly working on ways to exceed our customers’ expectations. This year, we started a change workshop under the title of “Change for a winning team and winning customer environment”, where we invited all Team Members to share ideas on how to improve the customer experience. We call this the “bottom-top approach” because who knows better than our customer-facing Team Members what our guests want? We are currently working on building a high-profile mini market in the lobby, as we see a trend that many customers are going to supermarkets to buy drinks and snacks. Why not have this amenity in the hotel and use the minibar for private storage? This is an opportunity to set a future trend in Batumi. Also, we will integrate a full food and beverage concept into our eforea Spa to offer healthy snacks and drinks to enhance the spa experience. Personally, my dream would be an open “show kitchen” in our Nephele Skybar & Restaurant.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR TEAM. At Hilton Batumi, we have built a diverse team and are proud of our commitment to driving inclusion and diversity. We currently employ 11 disabled Team Members and are committed to supporting them and helping them to build a career with us. What’s more, 80% of our Team





HUAWEI P30 Pro Users First to Experience the EMUI 10 BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI


UAWEI's 600 technical experts, 6,000 developers and hundreds of companies from around the world participated in the three-day developer conference. The goal of the event was to explore a futureoriented smart ecosystem that uses artificial intelligence tailored to all situations and at the same time promises the best experience for all customers. In all the innovative technologies presented by the company, the idea of customer care was at the center of investment. In 2010, when HUAWEI was a new player on the phone market, it was able to sell 3 million mobile phones. After eight years, that number has increased 68 times. In the first half of 2019, HUAWEI sold 118 million smartphones, exceeding the previous year's rate by 24%. To prove the strength of its software, HUAWEI has introduced a new microkernel-based HarmonyOS- an operating system for all scenarios. The HarmonyOS provides developers with effective technology development tools that facilitate one-time content creation and use on multiple devices. Its success will depend on a dynamic ecosystem of applications and the developers themselves. To encourage its use, HUAWEI will launch HarmonyOS as an open, accessible platform worldwide. For even more promotion,

the company plans to create a special fund and stakeholder group. At the conference, HUAWEI also introduced the Android-based EMUI 10 that is designed for HUAWEI’s smartphones and iPads. EMUI 10's innovative technology gives users the opportunity to get the same experience at any point in their lives. In addition, app developers no longer have to deal with hardware diversification and complexity - they just

need to create one app that will fit into other devices as well. HUAWEI P30 Pro users will be the first to experience EMUI10 directly. In addition, the company's goal is to support developers in the practical implementation of their own ideas, to offer a variety of technology innovations and to share the platform’s endless capabilities. “We will build an ecosystem and attract partners,” noted Richard Yu, CEO of

HUAWEI's Customer Business Team. “What we have announced and demonstrated at this year's developer conference will lay a solid foundation for a strategy for developing artificial intelligence relevant to all our scenarios over the next 5-10 years.” HUAWEI products and services are available in more than 170 countries and are used by a third of the world's population. There are 16 research and devel-

opment centers operating worldwide in the USA, Germany, Sweden, Russia, India and China. HUAWEI Consumer BG is one of HUAWEI's three business units, mainly focusing on Smartphones, personal computers, tablets and cloud services. HUAWEI Global Network is based on 20 years’ experience in the telecommunications business and serves to provide innovative technologies to customers around the world.





Deputy Minister: Georgian Model of Fighting the Stink Bug is an Example to the World



he methods of fighting the Stink Bug and Georgia's experience in this field is being discussed at the international conference ‘Stink Bug - a Global Challenge,’ being held in Tbilisi. The conference is attended by the world’s leading entomologists, Georgian scientists and those of other countries of the Black Sea region, as well as farmers and representatives of the private sector. The event was opened by Giorgi Khanishvili, the First Deputy Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture. “We are proud that the Georgian model of fighting the Stink Bug gained international recognition and brought significant results. Our farmers see that important moves were made in this direction, and the quantity of Stink Bug and the damage the pest could bring to nut trees was significantly reduced. Scientists worldwide state that the Georgian practice is unique in its results. I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the fight against the pest. Today, we can proudly say that we – the Georgian government, the Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture and the population, managed to deal with a problem that for many states which are more developed than us still remains unresolved after decades,” Khanishvili said. Within the framework of the conference, the participants are discussing the experiences of various countries in fighting the Stink Bug. As scientists noted at the event, Georgia has developed a unique, integrated system of fighting the pest based on the experience of other countries, and has achieved a significant result in a very short period of time. Such successful experience and practice will be included in the history of entomology as a guide to the fight against the pest. “Within the framework of the scientific mission, prominent entomologists of the world who work on the Stink Bug issue gathered in Georgia,” stated Head of the Mission of Entomologists, Bil Lindgren. “We will create an information database which will give us the possibility to share this program, which was developed jointly by the United States Agency for International Development and the National Food Agency. Through the partnership and active collaboration of these organizations, significant results have been achieved in the fight against the Stink Bug. This program is amazing, one of the best, and it will enter the history of entomology as a guide to the fight against the pest. Thanks to this program, all sectors: state agencies, the local authorities, farmers and beekeepers, are involved in fight against the Stink Bug. I saw the damage brought by the Stink Bug in 2017-2018, when the nut harvest was almost destroyed. I’m glad that this year, the quality of nuts has returned to its original level, the quantity of harvest has also increased, and the price of nuts is up again to benefit the farmers and the country’s economy.”, It was noted at the conference that such joint events bring many benefits to Georgian farmers in protecting their crops and income, while assisting scientists to conduct studies which will benefit both business and society. As part of the conference, Georgian scientists will

make reports on the biology of the pests and methods to fight it and American scientists will share knowledge on monitoring and control of the Stink Bug. With the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), prominent scientists of three universities of the US and the Agricultural Research Service of the Department of Agriculture, Europe and Australia, are paying a special working visit to get acquainted with Georgia's experience and achievements in the fight against the Stink Bug. The visit provides a unique opportunity to gather additional information and to share the latest information and knowledge with all the scientists involved in studies on the Stink Bug, which will help achieve the common goal of gaining control over the spread of the pest. Within the framework of the visit, the scientists learned about the pest control activities in western Georgia and the situation on the ground. Along with the Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia Levan Davitashvili, they visited the Coordination Management Center for the Fight against Stink Bug in Abasha Municipality and discovered the specialized equipment there. The Minister briefed the foreign scientists on the measures taken by the state in order to combat the pest. “Georgia has achieved positive results and made significant progress in the fight against the Stink Bug. The country now has a lot of experience fighting the pest. Leading scientists worldwide are interested in this experience, with whom we actively collaborated from the very first day of the fight, a fight which will continue until the end of the year. It is important that farmers continue to be actively involved in the ongoing process to minimize pest populations before winter hibernation,”Davitashvili said. During their visit to Georgia, the representatives of the Scientific Mission met with local farmers in Guria and Samegrelo and visited nut trees planted on their lands. Scientists were also introduced to the distribution methods. “The result that Georgia has achieved in 18 months is incredible. Since 2017, since the launch of events, the Georgian side has been able to mobilize incredibly quickly,” Lingren said. “All the tools and methods are well used and today the results are already visible. We can boldly say that Georgia's experience in this regard is an example for the world.” During the visit, the world's leading entomologists also visited the Botanical Garden in Ajara region and met with their Georgian colleagues. Within the frames of the mission, scientists from the US assessed the invasion of the Stink Bug in Georgia and assisted both the government and the population of the Black Sea region by sharing their knowledge and information about the most effective measures to reduce the population of the pest to an economically acceptable level. The US-Georgia partnership, within the frames of the scientific mission, began in 2018, during the first mission of the American side, organized by USAID, Georgia's Agricultural Efficiency Restoration Program (REAP), the international organization CNFA and the leading Insect Monitoring Systems and Pheromones manufacturer American company, Trécé Inc.

Innova In Vitro Clinic The clinic, launched in partnership with IVI, the world’s largest network of assisted reproduction clinics

Highly-trained and experienced professionals, led by Ketevan Osidze, and with Spanish embryologist Garcia Jordan as IVF Lab Director

Z. Anjafaridze Str. 1 turn #6 Tel: 2-232-232 / 596-232-232 Mail: osidze_k@yahoo.com FB: Innova Invitro/ინოვა ინოვა ინვიტრო

Complete diagnostics of all infertility abnormalities, highquality services, transparent procedures and individual approach to the clientele






GABRIADZE THEATER 13 Shavtelis St. TEL (+995 32) 2 98 65 93

Art Gallery" presents VAKHO BUGADZE'S EXHIBITION: ‘THREE, FOUR" Together with Vakho Bughadze are artists Gogi Okropiridze and Katrin Bolt.

September 3 REZO Directed by Leo Gabriadze Script: Rezo Gabriadze Producer: Timur Bekmambetov Genre: Animation, Biography Language: Georgian English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL

MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION 4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge

September 4 THE AUTUMN OF MY SPRINGTIME Playwrite, director, and Art director: Rezo Gabriadze Language: Georgian English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30, 40 GEL



GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM 3 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 80 22, 293 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS Until September 10 Under the joint initiative of Georgian National Museum and Georgian Post, Exhibition: STORY TOLD BY POSTAGE STAMPS Dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the first Georgian stamp. Until September 8 The Georgian National Museum and the Embassy of Japan in Georgia present Japanese CALLIGRAPHY MASTER KOSHU'S (AKEMI LUCAS) EXHIBITION "ECHO" IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA 8 Sioni St. TEL (+995 32) 2 98 22 81 Until September 10 The Georgian National Museum within the project "Contemporary

The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors, where visitors can see documentaries of various historical events.

Discover the Museum of Illusions Be brave enough to jump into an illusion created by the Vortex, deform the image of yourself in a Mirror Room, be free in the Infinity room, resist the laws of gravity and size ratio, and take selfies in every possible pose. Enjoy the collection of holograms, and discover optical illusions. GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00 Until February 26 (2020) GRAND MASTERS FROM THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM COLLECTION XIX – XX CENTURY ARTTENT Mtatsminda Hill, Top of the Funicular

Start time: 14:00 Temo Machavriani’s Exhibiiton September 2 Screening of Portuguese movies Start time: 11:00 Movies of Annecy Animated Film Festival Start time: 13:00 PIANO MUSIC CONCERT TAMAR ZHVANIA- Piano Start time: 17:00 September 3 SPECIAL MOVIE PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN Start time: 13:00 Movies of Filmfest Dresden Start time: 14:30 FOLK MUSIC CONCERT Ensemble ‘Didgori’ Start time: 18:30 Croatian movies Movie collection of Annecy Animated Film Festival for children Movie collection of Suzdal Animated Film Festival for children Start time: 19:30 September 4 Shadow Theater presents: ‘THE PASSION OF MATTHEW THE APOSTLE’ After Johann Sebastian Bach Start time: 12:00 September 5 Short films of Cinedoc Tbilisi ANIMATED FILMS OF GEORGIAN STUDENTS Start time: 11:00 Baden Württemberg festival movies Film University Babelsberg movies Start time: 13:00 MUSIC

August 25-31 ANATOMY OF EXISTENCE: GROUP EXHIBITION OF MORE THAN THIRTY GEORGIAN ARTISTS. ARTTENT is a space for art presentations and sales, fully dedicated to the most interesting concepts and ideas in Georgian contemporary art. ARTTENT Tbilisi unites selected Georgian galleries, artists and the best conceptual spaces. Entry: 8 GEL CINEMA


TBILISI PIANO FESTIVAL Venue: Georgian National Youth Palace September 1 Open air concert Start time: 14:00 Venue: Orbeliani Sq. WAGNER AND CONTEMPORARIES Jeffrey Swann Nina Adlon Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-30 GEL September 2 JEFFREY SWANN MASTERCLASS Start time: 15:00 MASSIMILIANO FERRATI Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-30 GEL September 3 MASSIMILIANO FERRATI MASTERCALSS Start time: 15:00

ALEXEI VOLODIN Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-30 GEL September 4 MASTERCLASSES Start time: 12:00, 15:00 MARTINA FILJAK Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-30 GEL September 5 MASTERCLASSES Start time: 15:00 GABRIELE LEPORATTI Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-30 GEL UDABNO FESTIVAL 2019 Sagaredjo, near David Gareji Monastery Campsite: 5 GEL per person per night The second edition of Udabno Fest in the middle of a Georgian semidessert, surrounded by hundreds of kilometers of steppe. Polish, Georgian and French alternative music, photo screenings, painting exhibitions and art installations August 30 10:00- Vavamuffin August 31 5:00- Aine Merme 6:00- Casletila 8:00- Zywiołak 10:00- Pablopavo i Ludziki September 1 6:00- Slavic Jazz Underground 8:00- Mathieu Boogaerts 10:00- Soft Eject Start time: 15:00 Ticket: 60 GEL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL NIGHT SERENADES September 2 ‘The Night Serenades’ in Tbilisi Edward Elgar– Serenade for Strings Bedrich Smetana- Trio for Piano and Strings in G minor ‘Forte Trio’– State Trio of Kazakhstan: Yerlan Serkebayev– Piano Badgat Abilkhanov– Violin Kurvanzhan Akhatov– Cello Interval Anton Von Webern– Langsamer Satz Dmitri Shostakovich- Piano Concerto No.1 Sandro Nebieridze– Piano David Shamanauri– Trumpet Vakhtang Matchavariani– Conductor Edward Elgar– Serenade for Strings Bedrich Smetana– Trio for Piano and Strings in G minor Anton Webern– Langsamer Satz Dmitri Shostakovich– Piano Concerto No.1 Venue: 8/10 Griboedi Str., Tbilisi Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-40 GEL September 4 Manuel De Falla’s ‘El Amor Brujo’– Nino Surguladze Ludwig Van Beethoven– Symphony No. 8 Interval Manuel De Falla– The Three Cornered Hat Manuel De Falla– El Amor Brujo Nino Surguladze- Vocals Vakhtang Machavariani- Conductor Ludwig Van Beethoven– Symphony No. 8 Manuel De Falla– The Three Cornered Hat Manuel De Falla– El amor brujo Venue: 8/10 Griboedi Str., Tbilisi Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-40 GEL AJARA


musical by Alexander Basilaia and Jemal Baghashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-50 GEL PALMA LAGUNA Batumi Boulevard August 31 MASTERI + LIVE BAND Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 20 GEL SOHO BATUMI Seafront Promenade, Batumi August 31 LEX-SENI Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 30 GEL BATUMI BLACK SEA MUSIC AND ART FESTIVAL September 1 Festival Orchestra Conductor- David Mukeria Claudio Piastra- Guitar Elisso Bolkvadze- piano Beethoven- Creatures of the Promethe Rodrigo- Concerto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra Saint-SaensPiano concerto N2 Op.22 Venue: Batumi Drama Theater Start time: 19:00 September 2 Festival Orchestra Conductor- David Mukeria Alexander Gadjiev- Piano Luisa Sello- flute Gari Antonian- trumpet Azarashvili- Nocturne for String Orchestra Vivaldi- Flute Concerto in F Major, Op. 10; No.5 RV434 Philipp Emanuel Bach- Flute Concerto in D minor, Wq 22 Shostakovich- Concerto No 1 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings Venue: Batumi Drama Theater Start time: 19:00 September 3 Festival Orchestra Conductor- Giuseppe Lanzetta Claudio Mansutti- Clarinet David Aladashvili/piano Beethoven ‘Egmont’ Overture Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622 Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 Op.73 ‘Emperor’ Venue: Batumi Drama Theater Start time: 19:00 September 4 Piano Master Classes Elisso Bolkvadze Venue: Batumi Drama Theater Start time: 14:00 September 5 METHOD MICHEL SOGNY SOS TALENT Foundation Michel Sogny Start time: 14:00 Alexandra Massaleva- Recital Sogny- ‘Derives’ Edition Durand Liszt- Piano Sonata in B Minor Liszt- Rigoletto Paraphrase Start time: 19:00 Venue: Batumi Drama Theater SECTOR 26 Seafront Promenade August 30 SALIO Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 25 GEL UP2YOU Seafront Promenade August 30 NEW ONE Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 20 GEL August 31 WILLY WILLIAM Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 30-50 GEL





Party Time: Etseri, Svaneti BLOG BY TONY HANMER


i, we’d like to come for a few days soon. 18 of us, in our own minivan. OK? Gulp. My wife began negotiating a price for the group, all coming from the village next to hers in Kakheti and several of them acquaintances of hers for many years. They would bring and cook their own food; we would just host them, help with serving, and of course deal with the aftermath of laundry etc. once they’d gone. So that kept the price down, along with the Hometown Element and the size of the group, which would fill our guest house completely during its stay. They left Kakheti at about midnight and travelled through the night: hardly my preferred time, but it was up to them, apparently to save time. They ranged in age from about 4 to 60-something, mostly women with a few men sprinkled in. One of the latter so resembled my Svan blood brother that I found myself trying not to glance his way, and had to take his picture to show his lookalike. The spent a day in Mestia, looking around, going up the Hatsvali ski lift for the spectacular views of Ushba and the Caucasus. The next morning, most of them took a local minivan to Ushguli, which rightly impressed them with its “towers-with-a-village” feel as opposed

to Mestia’s “town-with-towers”. The residents of Ushguli recently closed their road for a day of protest at the lack of attention the government is giving to their 33-odd towers, at least one of which has come down during my last 10 years in Svaneti, having stood for more than a millennium. Shame! Old roofing leading to leaks, freezes and stone cracking is to blame. How they got those original heavy slate tiles on top of such tall structures in the first place 1000 years ago is quite beyond me, but they did. Now, without roof repairs, many of those ancient structures are severely threatened. The government did then show up, and on TV promised to help. We’ll see! Our group seemed to have no lack of energy, staying up late and getting up early to make the most of each day. I was called to participate in all their main meals as host, joining in with the toasts and once being tamada (toastmaster) as well, an art in which I have been taught well by locals. I brought out my 2700-yearold Kakhetian wine vessel, but this didn’t make much of a splash: “Ours is about 3500,” they responded, so I put it away. But the pair of meter-long kudu horns from Zimbebwe? THOSE were a thing they had not seen before, and promptly had to try out, dry, for photos. (No one dared fill them, I think.) The final day saw most of the group get driven to neighboring Becho to tackle the hike to its wonderful waterfall, which took nearly the whole day and left them again impressed, though quite tired. They

left that evening at about 7, which again meant another through-the-night drive, but again this was their choice, so who was I to argue? Now we’re washing all the bedding, readying for the next group before which we at least have a pause, and consider buying a dryer for days

when the outdoor clotheslines fail in rain. Sometimes it pours, both in weather and in guests. 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 2000 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

GeoArtMood Creator: Art is my way to tell you about Georgia BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE


nspired by the incredible "Georgian culture meets Western art" images doing the rounds on social media, GEORGIA TODAY went to meet their creator, Tsiko Shamrelashvili to find out more. “I started the photo project ‘Geoartmood’ in the summer of 2018 on Instagram,” she tells us. “While working, I knew the content was very creative and would inarguably grab people’s interest. But I had no idea how massive it could become. I aimed to popularize Georgia, and uploaded information in English about the particular historical places, dishes and other elements of Georgian culture used in the artworks. Each piece raised the number of foreign followers and saw me receiving ever more emotional messages. It motivated me to keep going.” Within a few months, media had picked up on her photo project and started to create a buzz in society. “The next thing I knew, representatives of foreign media were showing an interest in Geoartmood – from Russia to France.”

WHAT IS YOUR INSPIRATION? I’ve been interested in graphic design and photography since I can remember. Even in school, I tried capturing iconic

images of Georgia, creating collages and putting them on different photographic websites. I chose Public Management as my major in college and didn’t have time to pursue my hobby further, though I still tried to hone my skills, watching lessons on mastering graphic design on Youtube. In summer 2018, I visited Svaneti for the first time. I was astonished by the beauty of the region. The pictures I took in Svaneti became my inspiration for the project and I put them in the style of Geoartmood, soon deciding to expand and create similar artworks showing all known and unknown parts of our beautiful country. I came up with the slogan “Art is my way to tell you about Georgia” and that’s when I started uploading the content.

tina's World, a painting by Andrew Wyeth. They fit together perfectly, despite the differences between actual backgrounds. Another example would be the photo version of ‘Samaia,’ a national Georgian dance. At first glance it’s hard to figure out what Frida Kahlo is doing performing a Georgian dance, but if you look closely and think about it, it makes sense. Kahlo was fascinated by the cult of empowered women; her works emphasize the beauty and grace of female nature, so connecting her to Samaia made sense, as the dance manifests these qualities of a woman. What’s more, the costumes of Samaia were inspired by Queen (‘King’) Tamar, who in Georgia is a real example of female strength and fierceness.



At first, the project focus was to promote the country, then I came to prioritize the visual side of the artwork so as many people as possible could get into it. I started connecting the art and the parts of Georgia piece by piece. Finding or building bridges between the imaginary world of an artist and real places or things is the most interesting part. Sometimes, the combination adds up so well that, in the end, even I am amazed by how well they go together. For example, the artwork on Abkhazia combining the region and Chris-



Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Sesili Tikaradze



Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

I just finished Geolab’s course in graphic design. That’s the field I see myself working in, so I’ve decided to continue my studies in commercialization and graphic design. I have plans concerning Geoartmood, too. I want to offer consumers a variety of products and start my own print company. Right now, I’m busy with organizational issues of ‘Europe’s Georgia.’ I’m the leader of the digital group, also overseeing graphic design for the company. I’m an intern at ‘GLOW Georgia’ in the direction of social media, and am involved in many different, important activities that

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Amy Jones, Thea Morrison, Ana Dumbadze, Nini Dakhundaridze, Ketevan Kvaratskheliya Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

prioritize female leadership and women’s rights.

HOW CAN ART SERVE THE COUNTRY’S INTERESTS? This field has no age limit. It does not categorize society into different races, religions, genders… It gives each person the chance to form an individual thought, then create new context out of it and for the final trick, enjoy what the person’s vision has created. That is why I think that art is one of our biggest resources to develop tourism. It would certainly serve us well if Georgia used that resource: innovative museums would be opened, exhibitions would be arranged, not only in the capital but in the regions, too; people would become more aware of our local artists… And finally, Georgia would

Website Manager/Editor: Katie Ruth Davies Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

become one of the leading countries in Eastern Europe. Different studies show that 70% of tourists choose their route according to the cultural festivities, not sites or attractions. Trusting this data, it becomes very clear that art can serve the economic development of Georgia. As Robert Lynch of ‘Americans for the Arts’ put it: ‘Art has the power to transform society. After this transformation, we get better children, better cities, better nations, and a better world.’

IS THERE ANOTHER INTERESTING PROJECT IN THE WORKS? As I’m a graphic designer, projects have become an integral part of my daily life. I have a lot of interesting ideas. I can’t share them just yet – but soon I’ll be publishing the final version of a new project!


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1181  

August 30 - September 2, 2019

Issue #1181  

August 30 - September 2, 2019