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Na gor no-K ar abakh: Nag orno-K no-Kar ara Peace e x Mac hina? ex Machina?
The Wolf of Wall Str eet to Ad vise Street Advise Geor gians Ho w to Georgians How P.13 Do it Better Vaping in Geor gia Georgia The (breathe) ins-and-outs of the e-cig. P.10
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OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
Bidzina Ivanishvili Opens Up on Imedi TV By Steven Jones Last week, ex-Georgian Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, made an appearance on Imedi TV’s talk show Kronika to discuss the dissimilar internal political issues of the country. Ivanishvili called the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) research, ‘the National Movement’s dream.’ “The NDI is a respected organization for me,
and assumes Garibashvili’s emotional reactions are due to his youth. “There are strong leaders in the team. There are parties in the coalition which perform their functions. I think Irakli is a very good leader and in the future he will be even more effective,” said Ivanishvili. According to Ivanishvili, Georgia does not need leaders from the past. “We do not need that kind of team. Of course,
"We do not need leaders from the past. Of course, lack of order can be seen in the [current] team, but this is much better than the order of the UNM, when the party followed and repeated one man’s stupidity. This does not happen anymore. We have a government that serves the people.” as well as the International Republican Institute (IRI). However, the NDI’s surveys are conducted by Turmanidze’s organization founded by the United National Movement (UNM), while IRI’s surveys are carried out by Tskitishvili, a member of the UNM,” Ivanishvili said. After assessing the work of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Ivanishvili described him as a good Prime Minister
lack of order can be seen in the team, but this is much better than the order of the UNM, when the rest of the team followed and repeated one man’s stupidity. This does not happen anymore. We have a government that serves the people,” Ivanishvili said. The former PM also discussed the issue of TV Company, Rustavi 2, stating that he was surprised by such a stir
solely around Rustavi 2, “while there is a dispute among the shareholders of Maestro TV as well.” According to Ivanishvili, there are no TV channels controlled by the government today. “Of course, there was criticism of Rustavi 2, as well as of other channels, because we did not have our own TV channel,” Ivanishvili said. The ex-PM, who is accused of controlling the overall political processes in the country and especially the Rustavi 2 case, said that the TV Company is not independent. “It is the UNM’s propaganda machine. However, they do have a right to this,” Ivanishvili said. Analysis by Steven Jones While the former PM disappeared from the official scene of Georgian politics on his first anniversary as a governmental leader, Ivanishvili was strongly believed to be ruling from the backstage for the entire period of his official absence from the governmental circle. Moreover, some strategic issues for the country, such as relations with Russia, the Abkhazia Railway, as well as the recent Gazprom issue and Russia’s possible entrance into the Georgian energy market, were broadly considered to be orchestrated by Ivanishvili as an unofficial person. Likewise, as the case regarding the possible closure of Rustavi 2, Georgia’s largest TV station, was directly attributed to Ivanishvili and his team’s desire to mute free word in the country prior to the elections of 2016, the former PM seems to be attempting to revitalize his political positions in the country. Despite
Bidzina Ivanishvili, ex-Georgian Prime Minister.
Ivanishvili’s continuous claim that ‘he enjoys an excess of trust” from society, the NDI’s recent polls speak differently. According to the last opinion poll, only 13 percent of the citizens questioned throughout the study support Georgian Dream, whereas the UNM is supported
by 14 percent. Will Georgian society - which has seen a dramatically devalued Lari, increased crime and a weakened international position– vote for the same party again? Does the Ivanishvili factor still matter?
3rd South Caucasus Security F or um Held For orum By Steven Jones On 26-26 October, Tbilisi hosted the South Caucasus Security Forum 2015, organized by the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, the Georgian Defense Ministry and Center for European and North Atlantic Affairs. The event was opened by the Georgian Defense Minister and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili involving more than 300 participants from around the globe, including high-ranking experts and ambassadors as well as government representatives. James Appathurai, Special Representative of the NATO Security General, addressed the gathering: “Georgia has all the necessary instruments to join the NATO Member countries.” According to Appathurai, Georgia should follow the path to NATO. He stated that the yearly program has already been established and instruments that are beneficial for Georgia have already been created adding: “We need to help Georgia prepare.” He continued that the Alliance is do-
ing its best to support Georgia, “Including by means of their physical presence in Georgia.” Some high-caliber security experts and analysts, including Michael Cecire from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Lincoln Mitchell of Columbia University, as well as Ariel Cohen from the Atlantic Council, were present as panelists. Most of the experts and government officials, including ones from Moldova, Ukraine and other European countries loudly stated that Georgia deserves NATO membership and the country can meet all the membership criteria of the Alliance. What remains for Georgia on the Euro-Atlantic path is a political decision by the 28 member countries of NATO, which as yet seems far from achievable. Considering information warfare and threats to Georgia from the Russian side, the panelists stated that the current hybrid warfare in Ukraine is the very continuation of what happened in Georgia in 2008 when Russia waged a 5-day war against the sovereign country on its own
territory. Lincoln Mitchel, who serves as a scholar at the Arnold Saltzman Institute of War and Peace, stated that Russia’s President Putin is not likely to keep the existing status quo in either Georgia or Ukraine. Moreover, as Mitchell believes, the Russia-Georgian war of 2008 was the result of “bad US analysis” and non-strategic approach. As a summary, the South Caucasus Security Forum 2015 was assessed as highly positive by all parties involved. The format provided a unique opportunity for the international experts and decision-makers to exchange both their scientific and professional perspectives and work on some common approaches in terms of securing peace and stability in the Caucasus and in the wider Black Sea region, as well as in Eastern Europe. The Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University Prague and the Czech Republic partnered the Security Forum along with the Antall József Knowledge Center of Political and Social Sciences (Hungary) and the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM.)
HA VE YOUR HAIR CUT AT OUR SAL ON HAVE SALON AND GET HAIR DIA GNOSTIC AS A GIFT! DIAGNOSTIC MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR: On behalf of Georgia Today I would like to apologise for a mistake made on Page 2 of the October 23-29 issue whereby it was stated that the UN had rewarded the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia with 8mln Euro. In fact, the European Union (EU) was the donor of the financial aid. This was amended on our online version of the story, available here: http://georgiatoday.ge/news/1638/EURewards-Ministry-of-Agriculture-of-Georgia-with-8mln-Euro.
Panelists at the 3rd South Caucasus Security Forum. Source: Defense Ministry of Georgia, FB page.
OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
www .iset-pi.g e/b lo g www.iset-pi.g .iset-pi.ge/b e/blo log The ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI, www.iset-pi.ge) is an independent think-tank associated with the International School of Economics at TSU (ISET). Our blog carries economic analysis of current events and policies in Georgia and the South Caucasus region ranging from agriculture, to economic growth, energy, labor markets and the nexus of economics, culture and religion. Thought-provoking and fun to read, our blog posts are written by international faculty teaching at ISET and recent graduates representing the new generation of Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian economists.
Nagor no-Karabakh: Peace ex Machina? Florian Biermann and Aram Grigoryan Negotiation support systems (NSS) let computers be brokers in multidimensional and highly complex negotiation problems. In the last 20 years, platforms like Smartsettle and Inspire were used in thousands of serious negotiation cases around the world, many of which were successfully resolved. Some years ago, the first author of this article was involved in an attempt to use NSS for settling a dispute between the Israeli government, which wanted to shut down one of its departments, and a labor union, which represented the employees who were affected. The main parameters were the number of workers that were to be dismissed and the compensation packages they would receive. In the beginning of such a process, both parties must convey their preferences to the computer program, which is often operated by a trusted mediator. For instance, the labor union could have stated that in order to give approval, for the first 10 employees that were dismissed it would be necessary to pay 150,000 shekels per head into some social-compensation plan, while for every additional dismissal a payment of 300,000 shekels would be necessary. Also the Israeli government could state complex preferences, for example its indifference between firing one worker or having two workers transferred to other workplaces. The complexity of admissible preferences in NSS is virtually unrestricted, as these are “explained” to the computer in a special programming language. The negotiation will begin with the computer proposing a solution. If the initial proposal is rejected and changed by one or both of the negotiators, this feedback will be used to generate a new proposal. This leads to a sequence of suggestions in which the computer gradually fathoms the set of feasible outcomes, so that, if things go well, there is convergence to an agreement. Once a solution is reached which is accepted by both parties, the negotiation will not necessarily stop but rather enter the so-called post-settlement stage. Here, the computer will propose further changes of the outcome which are Pareto improvements (i.e. better for both sides), if there are any. Interestingly, in practice these post-settlement changes are often rejected
nomic, political, and diplomatic parameters that could slowly but steadily be moved in a direction that is good for both sides. Finally, at the end of a long journey, after trust was built and economic ties were established, one might even talk about land; again in a piecemeal fashion, maybe through a sequence of land swaps, village by village, square kilometer by square kilometer. A comprehensive solution to the conflict, however, requires that both parties want their conflict to come to an end. While this seems unrealistic at the moment, during the long process of small changes also the attitudes of the negotiators towards each other may change.
Azeri tanks in Nagorno-Karabakh, cannibalized by citizens who are struck by poverty and lack of perspectives. The tanks witness a conflict that does not lead anywhere and causes hardship and economic decline. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Nicholas Babaian.
by the negotiators (cf. Gettinger et al. (2010): “Do they agree once more? An analysis of the factors that influence agreement in the post-settlement phase”, Proceedings of GDN 2010). NSS has been considered and applied most frequently for labor contracts and in business-to-business negotiations, but sometimes also in international disputes, for example relating to water distribution (Thiessen et al. (1999): “Computer-Assisted Negotiations of Water Resources Conflicts”, Group Decision and Negotiation 7, and several follow-up publications). Recently, an NSS algorithm was devised for sharing the resources of the Caspian Sea among the adjacent countries (cf. Madani et al. (2014): “A negotiation support system for resolving an international trans-boundary natural resource conflict”, Environmental Modeling & Software 51). The distinctive feature of NSS, which makes it so successful, is its piecemeal approach: instead of immediately striking a perfect deal which makes everybody happy, it generates a trajectory of changes, often starting with the status quo, and the parties only have to agree to make small steps one by one. Could this approach be applied to one of the most deadly and notorious conflicts in the South Caucasus? BREAKING UP A COSTLY DEADLOCK The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict be-
tween Armenia and Azerbaijan emerged in the last years of the Soviet Union and has been a major obstacle for development and prosperity for both countries ever since. Besides the huge human losses on both sides, the economies of the whole region are severely affected, as the unresolved conflict yields high opportunity costs through unrealized trade and investment as well as through the inefficient use of transport and communication lines (cf. Terterov and Niculescu (2012): “A Pragmatic Review of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Resolution: Can Economic Incentives Help Break the Current Stalemate?” European Geopolitical Forum). Everybody knows that except for fierce venture capitalists, investors shy away from turmoil, and having a latent conflict in the neighborhood is a liability for the whole region. Moreover, excessive defense spending is a burden for both countries. In the 2014 Global Militarization Index of the Bonn International Center for Conversion, which measures the significance of the military sector compared to the whole economy, Armenia and Azerbaijan have Places 3 and 10, respectively. As the status quo is so unpleasant for both sides, it becomes more likely that – in line with the NSS approach – one can find a different but similar state which is slightly better for both. One possible starting point is military spending. When both countries would simultaneously decrease their levels of mili-
10 Galaktion Street
tary expenditure, the ratio of military power would remain the same and the probability of winning the war, if it would break out, would not change for either side. This would be a Pareto improvement. Yet, as always, “the devil is in the implementation”: if one country does not reduce military expenses by the same proportion as the other, the balance of power will be changed, which is undesirable for the one who reduced more. Hence, the change must be truly simultaneous and transparent. While this is difficult, it is much easier in a piecemeal approach than if one aims for a comprehensive solution. One could, for example, begin with a reduction of soldiers on both sides by, say, 2000 troops. Third parties trusted by both Armenia and Azerbaijan could play an important role – both countries have excellent diplomatic relations for example with Israel. The trusted party would ensure that the agreement is kept, i.e. that the number of soldiers is really reduced by 2000 on both sides; while Armenia would not want to reveal its military strength to Azerbaijan and vice versa, both sides might be willing to give the necessary information to the third party. This is similar to NSS, where all negotiators inform the arbitrator about their preferences. The third party could also provide military expertise to ensure that the measures taken do not change the balance of power. Subsequent steps might go beyond military spending. There are lots of eco-
PIECEMEAL PEACE SAVES FACE The approach featured by NSS has the advantage that small steps can be made without an immediate change of the overall rhetoric and official stances. Big changes will be avoided by wise rulers, as they might be seen as a loss of face. Far from losing faces, Armenia and Azerbaijan could gain international influence and prestige if only they manage to gradually sort out their dispute in a civilized way. In the eyes of the world, this would be much more impressive than the kind of futile saber-rattling in which both governments are currently engaged. Armenia would reduce its unhealthy dependence on Russia. Azerbaijan would be able to devote a larger share of its much reduced (or dwindling) oil and gas revenues to develop the economy and create jobs in the periphery. In the short run, less of the scarce resources of both countries would go into the military sector, and more could be used for schools, universities, pensions, civil infrastructure, and many other things that make a country attractive. At times, the conflict may be useful for the governments in both countries to draw attention away from internal deficiencies, but the improvements in life quality would compensate for the dismantling of this habitual enmity. Hence, peace would not necessarily destabilize either government. While a comprehensive settlement may be out of reach for the next decade, the piecemeal approach of NSS can bring about small improvements quickly, even if both parties hardly trust each other and do not intend to resolve the conflict altogether. It is high time to get started, be it public or behind closed doors!
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OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
Mone yR olling into the Geor gian Banking Sector Money Rolling Georgian By Dimitri Dolaberidze In just one month, the net profit of commercial banks increased by 85.3 million, in addition to increased interest income. Specialists believe that the banking sector profits directly relate to the devaluation of the Georgian Lari (GEL). 2015 January-September net profit of the banking sector amounted to 377 million GEL. Overall, bank income grew to 2,643 billion GEL. In only one month, 283-million Gel profit could be observed. According to official data from the National Bank, commercial banks had a successful quarter. Compared with the same period last year, their revenue and profits grew. Naturally, the largest share of income for banks are loans. Nine months income from loans equaled 1,452 million GEL, or 276 million more than the same period last year. Bank interest in a month equaled 190 million more GEL than usual. 97.3 million GEL income increased from loans to individuals and from legal entities, 73 million GEL. In addition, a 40 million GEL increase in income was received from commission fees. Overall, the volume of lending by commercial banks (including loans to non-residents) reached 15.7 billion GEL. In September, 90 million in national currency in loans was issued, however, the share of loans in GEL again sharply lowered and presents only 36% (5.5 billion GEL), with 64% of loans issued in US Dollars (USD). In Septem-
ber this year, 238 million USD in foreign currency credit was issued. Therefore, a major challenge for the country is the loan dollarization, local and foreign experts say. Economists point out that the National Bank should have, as one of its main objectives, the reduction of the dollarization of the national currency devaluation, while, as a result of not doing so, the current social life of the population is so heavily affected. It is noteworthy that at the end of September 24.8 billion in assets of the banking sector’s own funds amounting to 3.3 billion GEL, 13.4% of total assets. Despite the fact that 19 commercial banks operate in the country, the share of the five largest banks of the banking sector assets is 79%, and two of the Banks (the Bank of Georgia and TBC) share equals 62%. A former member of the Board, Michael Tokmazishvili, notes that the price of money changes over time. Banks and financial institutions are well aware that they do not have to disclose the amount of money for a certain amount of time after a currency depreciates. In addition, commercial banks are providing loans in GEL, but getting back in dollars. “Banks have been getting paid in dollars according to the exchange rate issued by a loan and, accordingly, they have been able to make quite a large profit from the devaluation of the Georgian Lari,” says Michael Tokmazishvili. Banking expert Lia Eliava, says that, compared to other sectors, the banking
In just one month, the net profit of commercial banks increased by 85.3 million
sector is one of the least cost effective and it is a natural process. The financial sector involves a relatively small expenditure and revenues are growing rapidly. “Naturally, as assets and credit amounts increase, commercial bank income also increases. This process contributes to a preference for the banking sector. In addition, higher interest rates would lead to an increase in the profits of commercial banks, “ Eliava said, noting that the banking system in Georgia
is quite well-built. In addition, the country is not in the risk zone that banks must lend at high percentages. “To justify a bank by its insurance and high risk of interest rates is a little bit exaggerated. I think talking about the risk happens with the justification of existing interest rates. The National Bank can influence the commercial banks on interest rates from both administrative and economic means, but does not do so. However, commercial banks’
interest rates are an indicator of the financial sector and other participants,” says Eliava. According to the National Bank of Georgia, the national currency loans continue to grow. The average annual interest rate of loans increased by 1.8 percentage points and annually became 20.6%. For individuals the rate is 2.1% (monthly) and 24.5% annually while USD loans have a rate of 0.1% (monthly) reached 10.9% yearly.
POLITICS / OP-ED
Pulling Teeth and Pushing Presidents By Zaza Jgharkava The Abkhaz are growing restless with their President, Raul Khajimba. There is still unrest in the occupied region of Abkhazia. One year after the “Tangerine Revolution,” people have rioted against the revolutionary hero and current president, Raul Khajimba. The Abkhazian elite in Sokhumi is demanding the removal of Khajimba from the government or else they are threatening a mass protest and the assembly of the Council of the Elders, which practically means that drawing a verdict and the fulfillment of that verdict is obligatory for any Abkhazian. After the presidential post of the former governor of occupied Abkhazia, Alexander Ankvab, was lost to the socalled “Tangerine Revolution,” President Putin’s favorite Raul Khajimba came to power in Sokhumi. Not much changed with his coming, just like in any corrupted governmental verticals: old ones replaced with new and life continues as it did but with one different ‘figurehead’. In the local church conflict, Raul Khajimba chose to stand on the pro-Russian side. “Taking a position in the Abkhazian church conflict? Even Khajimba’s predecessor Alexander Ankvab did not make such a mistake,” people say in Sokhumi. Khajimba made a crucial mistake when in spring, the Orthodox world celebrated the Day of Prophet Svimon Kananeli. Despite the fact that St. Svimon Kananeli’s Day is the main holiday of the New Athoni Monastery, representatives of the government, led by Khajimba, attended the service, which was led by Father Besarion (representative of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church), a person close to the Russian Patriarch Kirill and who did not go to the New Athoni Monastery. Bishops of the New Athoni Monstery Complex attribute themselves to the Abkhazian Mitropolity and Constantinoples Patriarchy. Abkhazia’s Holy Mitropolity
Raul Khajimba, current president of the occupied region of Abkhazia. Source: www.paginaderusia.ro.
unites many people, and the majority of the Abkhazian intelligentsia supports it, regardless of their affiliation – whether they are Khajimbists or Ankvabists. Against a background of strategic partnership with Russia, Abkhazia’s Holy Mitropolity is one of the brightest symbols of at least spiritual independence from Russia. Recently, Khajimba has showed many signs of supporting the priests who are under the guidance of Priest Besarion. At all Mass events, the priest stands beside the President. Confrontation with the local elite, which does not accept the “provincial” guy from Tkvarcheli, adds to Khajimba’s strategic mistakes. In Abkhazia, Abkhaz from Gudautha (next to Sokhumi) are considered to be the elite. All predecessors of Khajimba came from Gudautha. In Tbilisi, people are certain that Khajimba will not manage to stop the
development of events in Sokhumi. Paata Davitaia, Head of the Georgian European Democrats, is certain that Khajimba will have to resign. Davitaia told Prime Time News that in occupied Abkhazia, former president Alexander Ankvab stands behind the rallies of the so-called opposition. “Ankvab stands behind these rallies. This is a process that Khajimba will not be able to stop because the process is initiated by the force that is called ‘Amtsakhara’. Warriors are part of this force and they enjoy high respect. Behind the process stands the Council of Elders whose words have always been decisive in Abkhazia. Recently, Khajimba is in practical terms not obeying that Council. An example of that is the signing the so-called Association Agreement with Russia, which they opposed. Thus, the process of government replacement has started,”
Davitaia says. No one knows how the events will play out in Abkhazia. However, one thing is clear – local political experts were saying back in spring that by autumn the situation would be so grave that the situation might lead to a change of authori-
ties… So far, it has only been recognized that Abkhazians have to visit Zugdidi and Tbilisi more often. What they used to categorically deny in previous years, they do not hide now. Speakers at rallies held in Sokhumi often mentioned this fact and laid accusations against Khajimba. For example, according to leader of the oppositional grouping ‘Amatskhara,’ Merab Jopua, people run to Georgia even to have their teeth pulled out. “We are moving towards a worse situation every day. The country is governed by criminals; local population run to Georgia to have their teeth pulled out; drug abuse has almost become the rule of life for young people here. Demand for education was lost; there is no such thing as law. And after all that why do we need such a government that can do nothing?… This is why it has to resign – we have nothing to lose, Khajimba’s flat statements that we hinder the country’s development are words said for saving ourselves,” Jopua said. However, it does not seem that Khajimba intends to resign from the government just yet. As he says, his socalled presidential term expires in 2019 and he will resign only after that. Whether Khajimba’s prognoses will prove right is hard to say. Everything will depend on the 205 million USD which Putin promised to Khajimba and which is still only on paper, and not yet in the actual budget of occupied Abkhazia.
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OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
Ariel Cohen: Georgia Could Become an Energy Exporter been heard to say that the country needs to diversify its gas resources through Russian supplier Gazprom, the negotiations with whom were followed by public outcry. Do you see any correlation between the two events, the Gazprom deal and the finding of Frontera? A: First, I think that as Georgia has a conflict with Russia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Tskhinvali region) and relations are difficult, I do not understand why Georgia needs to diversify
could be part of a common geologic complex. As a result, ongoing exploration studies have confirmed an extensive integrated gas resource potential that is much larger than previously identified. On October 8, Frontera Resources Corporation, an independent oil and gas exploration and production company, released the groundbreaking announcement of a significant upgrade to gas resources associated with its ongoing exploration and production efforts in Georgia. The Company says that it had con-
...even if [only] 50 percent of [the] 3.8 trillion [is extractable], it would be the size of Azerbaijan’s Shahdeniz 2 field; if it is a little bit less, still it is...very significant.
Dr. Ariel Cohen, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and Director of the Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. Source: Facebook Page of Ariel Cohen.
By Zviad Adzinbaia Georgia Today, like many of our Readers, was interested in the groundbreaking announcement by a US independent oil and gas exploration and production company Frontera Resources over discovery of an estimated 3.8 trillion cubic meters of gas in the Georgian region of Kakheti early this month. To give a qualified analysis around the topic, Georgia Today exclusively interviewed Dr. Ariel Cohen, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and Director of the Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics at the Institute
pendent process of confirmation of these reserves. If this is proven, the questions we need to ask are: First, how much of these reserves is extractable? Because if it is a combination of both conventional and unconventional reservoirs, not all of the 3.8 cubic meters will be extractable, but even if it is 50 percent of 3.8 trillion, it would be the size of Azerbaijan’s Shahdeniz 2 field; if it is a little bit less, still it is huge and very significant. The other question is what will be the costs of production, because we are today facing a low price and a low cost environment. Compared to what we had 5 years ago, gas prices are currently nearly three times
If the Georgian gas is economical, then it is a real game-changer; it will transform Georgia from an importer to an exporter, and this would fundamentally change the economics of the country. Moreover, Georgia, which is currently a mid-income country, would become a high midincome country in terms of GDP per capita comparable with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. for the Analysis of Global Security. Q: What is your opinion about the validity of the Frontera discovery? A: The main issue is the confirmation of the reserves. I know the people in Frontera personally, including the CEO and the President, and they are reliable people with a lot of experience; these people have been involved in the business for the long time. At the same time, as they say, they are in the inde-
cheaper. Therefore, the Georgian gas should be economically competitive with the gas from Azerbaijan, Russia or Qatar. If this gas is economical, then it is a real game-changer; it will transform Georgia from an importer to an exporter, and this would fundamentally change the economics of the country. Moreover, Georgia, which is currently a midincome country, would become a high mid-income country in terms of GDP
per capita comparable with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Q: What steps need to be made by Frontera and approximately how long will the process of confirmation take? A: Clearly, the Georgian government and the Georgian people have an interest in having Georgia as a gas producing country because it will at least cover the internal need for gas. Even though Georgia is blessed with massive hydro resources in terms of wind and solar energy - which is more expensive than gas nobody disputes the economic benefits of being a gas exporter. Thus, as the independent Frontera Company is dealing with the confirmation, they themselves will go and confirm it with an independent reputable firm. Once it is confirmed, the second step is developing the field and building a pipeline. There would be two ways of exporting this gas. The first is using the existing pipeline and putting it in the TANAP (Trans Anatolia Pipeline) and second, exporting the gas in a liquefied form (liquefied natural gas - LNG) probably to Romania across the Black Sea. Another possibility would be to use the Odessa port and supply Ukraine with gas. At the same time, Turkey, Central Europe and the overall European market are other options, so the opportunities are numerous. It could be very lucrative for both Georgia and Frontera. As for the period needed, it will probably take a year to confirm and three, five or seven years for development, which greatly depends on politics and the Georgian government to create this revenue stream quickly. Clearly, Georgia has an opportunity to benefit from that. Q: The Georgian government has
its gas sector away from friendly Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan was a real friend, it supplied gas to Georgia at a low price and now Georgia has the potential to develop its own resources and it may have an additional source of gas. Meanwhile, Russia, looking for additional markets for export to Europe, is down by approximately 20 percent and it may slip further as Russia, including Gazprom, is under sanctions from the west. Thus, as they say in Russian,’ you cannot occupy the Georgian territory and become again a major gas exporter.’ However, the question of why Georgia is pursuing such directions should be asked to the decision makers. To remind Georgia Today readers, a US independent oil and gas exploration and production company early this month revealed that extensive geologic and geophysical studies within and between the Mtsare Khevi Gas Complex and the Taribani Field Complex areas
tinued to advance its natural gas focus within its eastern Georgia holdings by combining the technical focus of its Mtsare Khevi Gas Complex and Taribani Field Complex into one integrated 2,000 square kilometer geologic unit named the0South Kakheti Gas Complex.0 It is surprising that, in addition to gas resources previously identified for subsets of this combined area, Frontera’s ongoing work recently concluded a new estimation of as much as 135 trillion cubic feet (3.8 trillion cubic meters) of gas in place of reservoir targets found between 300 metres and 5,000 metres in depth.0 Zviad Adzinbaia0is an Analyst at newspaper0Georgia Today0covering regional politics, security, Russia-Georgia affairs and issues of Georgia’s EuroAtlantic integration. He is also a fellow of a number of high-caliber programs at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS).
US company Frontera Resources.
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OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
Crime and the Legal System in Ger many Classif ied rre epor man P olice Classified portt of the Ger German Police Germany is preparing for another influx of refugees at the end of this year, according to Bild. In the fourth quarter, 920 thousand people are expected, meaning that, by the end of the year, the total number of migrants could reach 1.5 million. For comparison, last year the number of refugees amounted to 202 thousand. But if you take into account the facts of family reunification, and those refugees whose applications are satisfied and discharged to an additional 4 to 8 people, the number of migrants may exceed 7 million. In addition, German authorities believe that at least 290 thousand workers are on German territory without registration, that is, illegally. In a secret report of the German police, given to journalists of the newspaper “Die Welt”, it is written that among the refugees are young people whose behavior towards the police can be described as “aggressive, disrespectful and contemptuous.” During arrest, they tend to resist the order of the ministers. Exactly the same attitude, the report said, is seen towards all other government institutions of Germany. Add to this something that most Germans are afraid of - the increase in crime across the country. The threat of terrorist attacks is still high. Nevertheless, the authorities, in order not to provoke a further deterioration of the treatment of migrants, prefer to gloss over all the data. For crimes committed last year in Germany, a record 38 thousand migrants were charged. Experts believe that this figure is only the tip of the iceberg and that at least the same number of crimes remains either undisclosed, or does not get reported. According to experts, many migrants will never be able to integrate into German society, and will count on life at By George Surguladze I bought my first pack of cigarettes in April, 2007, and have been abusing my lungs since. As years passed and the days added up, so did the amount of cigarettes I lit up, smoked, and flicked away. At the peak of my habit, I was smoking three packs a day. Cheap smokes and being able to light up anywhere I wanted did not help with my addiction. I’ve spent many nights playing video games and smoking like a chimney. At one point I realized something had to change, and I decided to try electronic cigarettes. An electronic cigarette, or e-cig, is a battery powered device which heats and vaporizes a liquid mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavorings, and an optional dosage of nicotine. In simpler terms, it’s basically a nicotine delivery system minus the other 3,999 chemicals a traditional cigarette contains, 43 of which are known carcinogens. Yes, that cancer causing agent you have been reading about in the news recently. The modern e-cig was created in 2004 by Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist and inventor. Lik’s invention came into existence after his father, a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer. Lik patented his design in 2003, and it’s been copied and reproduced illegally by US and Chinese companies. Georgia saw its first e-cig commercial in 2007, marketed as an alternative to conventional smoking. Initial versions of the electronic cigarette resembled their analog counterpart, the cigarette. Today, vaping devices come in all shapes and sizes, from small and discrete, to large and flashy. Larger devices offer more advanced features, such as digital displays, longer battery life, temperature control, variable wattage, and puff counters.
In a secret German police report it is written that among the refugees are youth whose behavior towards police is “aggressive, disrespectful and contemptuous.”
the expense of benefits, i.e. living on taxpayers’ money. And for a large part of migrants, stealing will become the only way to survive. An indication of what may lay ahead is an incident that occurred on September 11 in the Saxon town of Freiberg. Two Libyans tried to steal at the grocery store Netto-Markt. Once caught red-handed by a security guard, they staged a fight and fled. But the story doesn’t end there: the Libyans quickly returned, this time armed with machetes and pepper gas, and began to threaten the sales assistants. When police arrived, the perpetrators pounced on the police who were forced to shoot into the air to calm the unruly attackers. One, a 27year-old man, was detained while the other managed to escape.
The detainee was released after a few hours without charge. The next morning, he returned to the crime scene with his co-attacker. They took knives and threatened to cut off the heads of the store employees, the report said. Local journalists wrote that the prosecutor’s office ordered the police to release the detainee on the grounds that no aggressive act took place during the attempted theft. However, the Mayor of Freiberg, Sven Krueger, publicly condemned the inaction of the judicial system. Local newspapers, meanwhile, wrote that such thefts occur in Freiberg daily and perpetrators are getting away with it. The criminal world in Berlin runs the local show with a dozen gangs of Arabic origin. They rob banks and shops and
sell drugs. When they have problems with the law, they bribe or intimidate witnesses. According to the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, 80% of violent crimes in Berlin are committed by foreigners. It is interesting that now thousands of the capital’s police are coming on duty without guns, forced to abandon them due to funding problems and now resulting in a police force with a lower level of training in shooting, and many lacking the skills to wield a firearm. Police in Hamburg, Germany’s second city, are known to be unable to cope with the rapidly growing number of crimes committed by young immigrants from North Africa, and in fact have surrendered to the offenders. In Hamburg over a thousand young people from Af-
Vaping in Georgia Georgia, a country where 30%, according to a 2012 study, of the population smokes, is seeing an increase in its vaping market. In the last two years online stores, shopping mall boutiques and shops have opened all dedicated to selling and distributing e-cigarettes, eliquids and other accessories. I went to one of these stores, Corsair World Georgia (CWG) - a vape shop located on Ilia Chavchavadze Avenue in Tbilisi - and spoke with its owner, Paata Tsivadze. “Corsair World Georgia strives to provide a healthier alternative to smoking,” Tsivadze told me. “A British customer bought five personal vaporizers (PV) to take back to his buddies, because they were cheaper here than back in the UK,” Tsivadze said. People don’t just start vaping because they are done with smoking, like I was. A CWG employee told me that customers purchase zero nicotine liquids for the experience, not to satisfy an addiction. “Non-nicotine, fruity e-liquids are becoming more popular, but Parliament and Golden Virginia are still our bestsellers,” the employee said. CWG offers quite a range of e-liquids: More than 150 varieties of e-liquids can be seen on display, ranging from traditional tobacco flavors, to Rum, Chocolate, and Barberry. Devices from popular brands such as KangerTech, Joytech, Innokin, Smoktech, and others, are also available. Not everyone is a fan of e-cigarettes. Some argue that it serves as a gateway to cigarettes for kids, due to the attractive flavors and appeal of blowing vapor clouds, similar to hookahs.
A study conducted by researchers from Portland State University tested a brand of e-liquid and found formaldehyde gas was produced when vaping the liquid. Propylene glycol, when heated, is known to release formaldehyde gas. The higher the vaping voltage the more formaldehyde was detected. Formaldehyde is a suspected cancer-causing agent. Although any harmful chemical is cause for concern, critics argue that real world scenarios of e-cig operation don’t
reach the voltages that were used in the study. The long-term effects of vaping are still being studied. However, it is still considered to be a healthier alternative to smoking, and despite the controversy, advocates continue to support e-cigarettes. The devices can be purchased around town at Cig-Ara on Ingorokva Street, Inotech Georgia in Karvasla Shopping Center, and at shopping centers and supermarket boutiques. You can also buy them online at smoking.ge while e-liq-
rica arrived without their parents and now live on the streets, vigorously raising the level of crime in the city. Dealing with them is particularly difficult due to their status as minors. Stuttgart police, too, are obviously unable to cope with migrants, especially with people from Gambia who openly sell drugs on the streets. In Dresden, workers from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia took control of the area’s famous Wiener Platz, located in front of the main railway station. They sell drugs and rob passers-by. And, just as in other German cities, in the majority of cases they get away with it. In the industrial center of Duisburg there are areas that the authors of the secret police report say are generally called “areas of lawlessness.” The police are afraid to stop there, because they know that they will most likely be instantly surrounded by 40-50 hostile natives from the Middle East or Balkans. The drafters of the report referred to such refugee conduct as a “deliberate challenge to the state.” Violators openly show their contempt for German society. Writer, Franz Solms-Laubach, specializing in criminal issues, says that the German police are becoming increasingly demoralized before the rapidly growing crime. According to SolmsLaubach, foreigners living in Germany number about 10%, and the crimes they commit more than 25%. He believes that the way out of this situation is only one - migrants must understand that if they commit a crime in Germany, they will be deported to their homeland. Perhaps the authors of the police report and journalists have exaggerated the situation, but the report is based on police reports. In any case, the forecast of increased in crime in Germany remains undoubtedly unfavorable. uids can be purchased at 24 hour drivethru tobacco stores, Drive Tobacco and Nicotine, found around the city. Unlike some of the small boutiques, Corsair World offers high quality vaping devices, ranging from 25 GEL to 500 GEL, and e-liquids at a fraction of the price of its competitors. CWG, with its friendly and knowledgeable staff, hip interior, and unbeatable prices, is doing it right, if you ask me. The future of e-cigs in Georgia looks bright. The CWG owner believes it’s a growing market. “Soon, our e-liquids will be available at all Socar fuel stations, and we have plans to expand into other regions of Georgia as well,” Tsivadze told me.
Paata Tsivadze, owner of vape shop Corsair World Georgia (CWG) located on Ilia Chavchavadze Avenue in Tbilisi.
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The Wolf of Wall Street to Advise Georgians How to Do it Better P.13
PASHA Bank Sponsors Master Class by the Time Lord P.12
FINCA Bank Georgia Launches Personal Banking Business Line FINCA Bank Georgia has opened a personal banking Service Center in Tbilisi, on Chavchavadze Avenue, offering new, personal banking services to customers. The clients of FINCA Bank Georgia new personal banking line will have access to personal financial advisors and will join their over 80,000 fellow citizens who access financial services throughout the country. At the official opening ceremony in Tbilisi, Vusal Verdiyev, the CEO of FINCA Bank Georgia said: “The opening of the personal banking branch represents an important step for FINCA Bank Georgia as it sustains and expands the services we provide for our clients while staying true to the FINCA mission. The deposits we offer are used for financing micro and small enterprises, helping small entrepreneurs to increase incomes and create jobs.”
As a driving force for financial inclusion in the country, FINCA Bank Georgia JSC has over 17 years’ experience in the country and has contributed to the development of small businesses, improving many lives. FINCA Bank Georgia encourages development of a savings culture, as savings contribute to the creation of a stable social and economic environment for future generations. FINCA Bank Georgia is a Joint
Stock Company providing full financial services to more than 80,000 clients through 41 branches nationwide. With a loan portfolio of more than US$70 million at the end of 2014, FINCA Bank Georgia is part of the global FINCA microfinance network, serving nearly 2 million clients in 23 countries, with a double bottom line of financial sustainability and social performance. For more information visit www.FINCA.ge
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Austrian Company May Take Over Management of Three Georgian Hospitals An Austrian company may become manager of three major Georgian hospitals located in Tbilisi. This company showed the most interest and has presented documentation on time for an announced tender concerning management and operation of Tbilisi Republican Hospital, the Cancer Center and Children’s Infectious Diseases Hospital management. On tender, three companies from Georgia, Canada and Austria were presented. According to the head of the Partnership Fund David Saganelidze, the deadline of tender, which was organized by the Ministry of Health, has finished. “The tender was announced by a foreign company which was invited by the Ministry. That company created tender conditions and implemented monitoring. Now we are considering the company’s proposal. I think that this is the one of the best ways to improve Georgia’s hospital sector,” Saganelidze said.
The winner of tender will be responsible for the reestablishment and rehabilitation of the hospitals and the training of staff.
The Republican Hospital, seeking a new manager and operator.
OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
PASHA Bank Sponsors Master Class by the Time Lord PASHA Bank has the pleasure of sponsoring a longawaited master class on time management, which to be held on October 31st at Hotels and Preference Tbilisi. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the time management methodologies of wellknown writer and business consultant David Allen, also known as the Time Lord. This is one of several important projects that PASHA Bank has sponsored during its three years of operation in Georgia - being a financial institution that offers corporate and investment banking services to large and medium enterprises, PASHA Bank acknowledges its responsibility to contribute to the professional and organizational development in the country, thus it has been sponsoring various business conferences and seminars since its inception. David Allen is best known for his bestseller ‘Getting Things Done’ which sold 2 million copies and brought its author worldwide recognition. David Allen possesses his own time management tool – GTD - and now he will be sharing this with Georgian professionals. The master class will be at-
David Allen, also known as the Time Lord.
tended by representatives of different sectors who will get acquainted with the up-to-date principles of time management. “Consultancy company Prospect aims to bring successful and top-rated speakers to Georgia. Inviting David Allen to hold a master class in Tbilisi serves this very purpose and has raised pos-
itive feedback and interest among Georgian professionals from the day of the announcement of this event,” said organizer, Guga Kobakhidze. “I am certain that this master class will provide specific knowledge and techniques for managing tasks without stress, which practically means being more productive
too. We strongly believe that all the expectations of the attendees will be met.” “We believe that the development of the country’s business and economy significantly depends on the professional growth of experienced people who are involved in making important decisions for their companies on a daily basis, as well as the young professionals who are just beginning to contribute to various business sectors,” says Anano Korkia, Head of PR and Marketing Department at PASHA Bank Georgia. “The master class by the Time Lord will definitely be useful and interesting to all attendees and we are more than happy to support this event.” Among the latest PASHA Bank sponsorships are the following events aimed at professional and organizational growth: - Business Café – A mutual project of PASHA Bank and Insource - Spotlight 2015 – The country’s main marketing event - Seminar “A New Management Paradigm for a New Age of Managers” and “4D Brand
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Grant Thornton Named ‘Employer of the Year’ For the second consecutive year, Grant Thornton has been named global ‘Employer of the Year’ by the International Accounting Bulletin. Nelson Petrosyan, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton, said: “It’s a great honour to be recognised once more for our commitment to our employees. Grant Thornton’s top priority is growing together with them, and we will continue to look for innovative ways to create a workplace where our staff can unlock their potential for growth.” In presenting the award, the International Accounting
Bulletin said that Grant Thornton “once again impressed the judges by demonstrating its strong commitment to employees with the belief that experience created for staff is directly linked to the experience offered to clients.” The judges went on to say: “an example of the various initiatives launched in 2014 is the Global Jam, a three day online event where Grant Thornton invited all of its 40,000 employees from 130 countries to share ideas and opinions that shape the organisation’s future. 14,000 people registered and 34% of those logged a comment, producing a total of 13,000 posts. From there Grant Thornton developed a series of actions and initiatives, such as the global flexible working practices toolkit, to help with all stages and levels of offering and implementing flexible working practices at a local level.” Grant Thornton also created
the recognition practices toolkit to allow member firms to acknowledge outstanding workplace contributions, the ‘Expression of Interest’ site to alert Grant Thornton people to workplace opportunities in other countries, and the ‘Illuminations for Growth’ program to build coaching skills and create a coaching culture. About Grant Thornton Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organizations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms. Grant Thornton firms help dynamic organizations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful, forward-looking advice. Proactive teams led by approachable partners in these firms use insights, experience and instinct to understand complex issues for privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and help them to find solutions. More than 40,000 Grant Thornton member firm employees, across more
than 130 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work. ‘Grant Thornton’ refers to the brand under which the Grant Thornton member firms provide assurance, tax and advisory services to their clients and/or refers to one or more member firms, as the context requires. ‘GTIL’ refers to Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL).GTIL and each member firm of GTIL is a separate legal entity. GTIL is a non-practicing, international umbrella entity organised as a private company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales. GTIL does not deliver services in its own name or at all. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions.
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The Wolf of Wall Street to Advise Georgians How to Do it Better By Meri Taliashvili with the contribution of Beqa Kirtava “No matter what happened to you in your past, you are not your past, you are the resources and the capabilities you glean from it. And that is the basis for all change.” – Jordan Belfort. Jordan Belfort has already proved the verity of his words by his life work and will prove them again to Georgians here, in their homeland, on November 28th. For the first time Georgia will host the worlds’ one of the most successful motivational speakers, entrepreneur, author Jordan Belfort aka The Wolf of Wall Street. In the 1990s, Belfort built one of the most dynamic sales organizations in Wall Street history. Accordingly, he soared financially and reached the highest points. He would earn over $50 million a year, a feat that coined him the name “The Wolf of Wall Street.” As the owner of Stratton Oakmont, Belfort employed over 1,000 stockbrokers, earnt over $1.5 billion and started more than 30 million-dollar companies from scratch. He’s served as a consultant in more than fifty public companies. Every major newspaper and magazine in the world, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The London Times, The Herald Tribune, Le Monde, Corriere della Serra, Forbes, Business Week, Paris Match and Rolling Stone have written about him. During that time, he succumbed to some of the traps of the highflying Wall Street lifestyle, going through a spectacular—and well-publicized—fall from grace. Taking invaluable lessons from the mistakes he made and the prices he paid, he has re-emerged as a globally recognized powerful force behind extraordinary business success. Today, his proprietary Straight Line System enables him to take virtually any company or individual, regardless of age, race, sex, educational background or social status, and empower them to create massive wealth, abundance, and entrepreneurial success, without sacrificing integrity or ethics. Jordan’s two international bestselling memoirs, The Wolf of Wall Street and Catching the Wolf of Wall Street, have been published in over forty countries and translated into eighteen languages. His life story was made into a motion picture by Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Georgia Today met Salome Kukava, Project Manager of the master class and Corporate Communications Manager of Alliance Group Holding, the company which is organizing the Jordan Belfort master class in Tbilisi and talked to her about the event. Q: How did the idea to bring Jordan Belfort to Georgia come about? A: We are devoted to raising the literacy of people involved in business, as well as ordinary citizens. Any citizen
should realise that saving capital is crucial. It should be diversified. The most common way to save is through banking deposits. There are also other alternative sources though, like bonds, company’s stocks, etc. In this regard we regularly organize various trainings and master classes in Georgia. As we are witnessing some progressive steps towards the development of the capital market, we decided to invite the “Wolf” of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, to Tbilisi. He will be sharing his extensive experience with the audience. Incidentally, due to the high level of interest in Belfort, we have decided to hold his master class in Tbilisi’s Philharmonic Hall. The project is being implemented in line with the CSR activities of AGH. Taking care of future generations and contributing to economic and social development forms the groundwork of all our activities. Bringing up a new generation in line with ethical business standards is one of our main goals. In this regard we have been actively cooperating with leading universities for years. The price of admission to the Wolf of Wall Street’s master-class was determined with these circumstances in mind. Therefore, the cost is unprecedentedly low. A total of 677 students will be attending the seminar for the competitive price of just USD 29. We are glad to see such hugh interest from students. By the time the deadline for registration had passed, more than 850 students had already signed up for it. The cost of tickets for business representatives range from USD 109 to USD 279. Jordan Belfort is one of the most exclusive trainers in the world. If we look at the prices of tickets from Belfort’s previous world tours we see that the cost stated in Tbilisi is really very reasonable. Therefore, we call upon everyone to take advantage of this unique chance and not to miss the highest rated masterclass of the year being held in Tbilisi. The topic of the master class itself is of utmost importance – the Straight-line persuasion and sales techniques is essential nowadays for everyone raging from students to businesses. This 5-hour training will give our Georgian fellows the best possible assets. The business sector is very keen on attending and we hope that Belfort’s master class will help Georgian business to move forward. Q: How difficult was it to persuade Belfort to come to Georgia? A: It was very, very difficult. He knew almost nothing about our country. It took several months to get him to agree to come, but we did not give up and made him say a final YES! Jordan Belfort is one of the highest rated speakers in the world. He holds 5-6 master classes annually in different cities around the globe. Sales managers, marketing leaders, branding experts, business development managers, and management specialists are welcomed to such master classes. Using his signature direct, humorous and passionate style, Jordan will train up to 2300 attendees in Tbili-
Salome Kukava, Project Manager of the master class and Corporate Communications Manager of Alliance Group Holding.
The ‘Wolf of Wall Street,’ Jordan Belfort will be holding a master class for a 2300-strong audience in Tbilisi Concert Hall, November 28th.
si Concert Hall on how to use the most powerful business system ever devised. The results speak for themselves. On November 28th, Belfort will be delivering his master class on: 1) The FOUR core elements of the inner game of sales. (These four elements are absolutely essential to your success. If you lack even one of them, you will end up sabotaging your own success!) 2) How to achieve instant rapport with your prospects and how to use that rapport to gain massive intelligence. (Your prospects will be predisposed to trusting you, so they’ll tell you what their highest values are and where their pain lies.) 3) The art and science of Straight Line prospecting. (You’ll learn how to develop a multimillion-dollar sales pipeline free of tire-kickers, so never waste time again.) 4) The four key elements to creating ethical presentations that actually close the deal. (To be blunt, most sales presentations are totally misguided and actually stop you from closing the deal.) 5) How to instantly squash objections and limiting buying beliefs, turning skeptics into buyers. (This proprietary beliefbusting technique is the secret sauce of the Straight Line System, and will empower your clients to make positive buying decisions). 6) The secret to closing calmly and consistently every single time without even the slightest bit of high pressure. (It’s elegant, it’s classy, and it’s ridiculously effective.) 7) The ten-step formula for building a never-ending stream of customer referrals and creating customers for life. (You’ll make your life a thousand times easier with this proven, paint-by-numbers formula) 8) How to raise money through Venture Capital and Angel Investors, so you can start using Other People’s Money to fund your ideas and grow your business. 9) The step-by-step process of Straight Line Negotiating, including the seven magic words that allow you to get the lowest price every time) 10) And, again, this is just the beginning. Once you’ve been through Jordan’s Straight Line Persuasion training, you will be literally unstoppable! Alliance Group Holding (AGH) is an independent, performance driven investment and consulting company. Founded, owned and operated by a team with extensive backgrounds in financial servic-
es, we understand that diligence and experience matter in all aspects of investment management and consulting. AGH was established in 2005 by Georgian, American and European shareholders. The company manages seven subsidiary companies with diversified core businesses in various financial and consulting sectors – Microfinance, Leasing, Investments, Real Estate, Energy, IT, Business Information and Credit Ratings. In a relatively short time, Alliance Group Holding has developed into a fast-growing and reliable partner in the financial sector in Georgia. Through our diversified services, we of-
fer a comprehensive approach designed to meet specific client needs. Through a combination of experience and creativity with exceptional service and quality, we pride ourselves in offering a consultative approach and low-cost solutions. Alliance Group Holding invests in the most sound and prospective projects that create value for its customers, shareholders, the local economy and its employees. Projects implemented by the company to date have played an important role in the development of the financial sector in Georgia. For further information about the event visit: http://wallstreet.ge/
Generics Function the Same Way as Brand Drugs Do
Increasing demand on generic drugs in Georgia is expected to make the existing pharma companies decrease prices on their brand medicines.
The Ministry of Health recently announced its intentions to introduce generic drugs on the Georgian market. According to the Ministry, this step will regulate the existing prices of drugs in the country. In pharmacology, the original brand drug is an innovative synthesized formula, the creation of which requires at least 10-12 years of research and studying of the markets. After their creation, such drugs are protected by copyright. Their owners, as a rule, enjoy a 20-year exclusive right to produce and sell the drug. This often leads to high prices once it reaches the market. Once the copyright expires, other manufacturers are given the right to also produce this drug. That is precisely how the first major generic drugs are produced. Creation of generics no longer requires expensive studies to be conducted. After the biological equivalence to the reference drug is proven, second, third, etc., generations of generics can be cre-
ated. Attaining this level of advancement would be a revolutionary step for Georgian pharmacology. Doctor Tinatin Gigauri: “Given Georgia’s social conditions, our patients often demand lower cost drugs because they cannot afford the brand medicine. When we offer generic drugs to our patients as an optimal way-out, we often have to convince them that the generics are as effective as the brand medicines and are not harmful. This is because the Georgian pharmacological market is not developed enough to have a wide variety of generics. People are not familiar with such drugs, hence they feel uneasy about them.” Generics range from low, average, to high quality, depending on the producing country, production process and the appropriate certification. Increasing demand on generics in Georgia is expected to make the existing pharma companies decrease prices on their brand medicines.
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A Social Enter prise that Should Not Be Closed
The ‘Matsne’ Center’s children. Source: the Matsne Center’s official Facebook page.
By Eka Karsaulidze Three Social Enterprises was created in the Pankisi Gorge this year whose aim is to improve living conditions in the region and develop vital services. Yet despite the good work of all three projects, unfortunately, two of them look as if they’ll be closing within the next few months. One of them is the Matsne children’s daycare center. “Our children spent all their time on the streets or in the mosque; they had no capacity to identify and develop their abilities. We do not even have a normal entertainment infrastructure – no sports fields or playgrounds or even libraries,” said Gulnazi Gunashashvili, founder of the Matsne center whose idea in opening the center came from the desire to raise a better generation and show children prospects in life. In the framework of the ArbeiterSamariter-Bund’s project, which promotes the development of Social Enterprises in Georgia’s regions, the Matsne center was founded in the village of Dumasturi, Pankisi Gorge, Georgia, at the begging of 2015. The center works on weekends and helps school-age children not only to cope with different Why should a girl get an education? Is it possible to see ethnic Azerbaijani women living in Georgia in business, cultural and public life? Are the stories we hear about early marriages of young girls aged 13-15 just one side of the coin? How much attention is paid to the education of young ethnic Azerbaijani girls living in the capital city Tbilisi and to the regions densely populated by the Azerbaijani ethnic group. Do the girls who want to get a higher education, build a career and establish themselves in life get support from their families and relatives, or do they face challenges? We talked with three women to find answers to these questions. These women, who have been able to get a higher education and build a career, were born into the families of ethnic Azerbaijani. Turaj Ibrahimova is 29 years old. She is a historian and journalist and producer of an Azerbaijani language news program on local television. She is the head specialist of the department connected with PR, information and community in Marneuli. Turaj comments on education and the problems related t having a career: “ In our region girls from the majority of families do not want to get an education. Girls are prepared from childhood to be ready to make a family at the age of 13. Families think that if a girl is already able to do washing-up, prepare a meal
school tasks, but also to develop their other abilities. “We help children to do their homework, for example, in foreign languages, because not all parents know them, or in the villages we have a lot of multichildren families, and parents do not have time to deal with all of their offspring. In addition, we watch movies; children themselves are connected to the film selection process. We also tried to pay attention to their physical activity – children swim in the pool or in the river, in good weather we always play in the yard: football, volleyball, dominoes and so on,” said Gunashashvili. It is worth noting that the Pankisi Gorge has always been in the media spotlight. More than 90% of the population are from an ethnic group called Kists, of Chechenya, who are descendants of immigrants who came during the Chechen war. According to various sources, the unstable situation in the region leads to the fact that a large number of residents are sent out to fight as part of the Islamic State (IS). And one of the leaders of IS, Tarkhan Batirashvili, also known as Abu Omar al-Shishani, a native of Pankisi Gorge, still has an influence in the region.
Locals often say that they are totally against IS, but cannot do anything about the outflow of people. The existence of this issue in the region underlines the importance of such a projects as ‘Matsne’, which help children’s development and rejection of IS. Gulnazi Gunashashvili argues that in particular during her work she had to face many challenges posed by religious and ethnic features. “According to our religion, we cannot sing and draw. In my opinion, this is wrong as such capabilities help the child develop and interact with the outside world, and we are very pleased that we were able to overcome this problem; now all our children sing, dance and draw,” noted Gunashashvili. “Some of children found their ability to draw in our center, simply because at home they had never been engaged in it,” she added. ASB’s project coordinator Giorgi Arsenidze said that one of the main objectives of the Social Enterprises Support project is to involve public authorities in helping solve the problems of the population. Through this program, the first year is fully funded by the European Union, and from the following year, local governments must take on their guardianship. Despite the fact that ASB have successful examples when local governments fully took on funding of Social Enterprises in regions such as Kvemo Kartli and Samegrelo, the situation in Pankisi Gorge is a little more complicated. At the moment, local authorities have agreed to support only the Medina center, which is dealing with the problems of people with disabilities. That means that ‘Matsne’ is likely to be closed next year. “It is impossible to continue to work without financial assistance: we have to pay salaries to the cook, the teachers; we have to buy children’s exercise books, drawing supplies, etc. Most parents are not able to provide even minimal financial assistance. It will be a pity if we have to close the center. We really don’t want the children to be forced back out onto the street, it is extremely important to give them an opportunity to grow and nurture the right values,” said Gunashashvili.
OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
Books ffor or Ev er y Villa ge a Ever ery illag att Wend y’ s Geor gia Georgia endy’ y’s
By Nina Ioseliani Fast food restaurant Wendy’s Georgia, together with publishers Palitra L, Diogene and Bakur Sulakauri, proudly present a fun and charitable new event. The charity event, titled Books for Every Village, will give book lovers an opportunity to purchase their favorite books discounted by 20% to 90%. If you haven’t planned your weekend yet, head
decided to support me in my ambitions. After a few months I appeared on screen presenting the news program. My father was really proud of me. It’s important to have the support of your family. It’s impossible without it. My father supported me a lot. I came home late, I took interviews in the streets, I sat with men in teahouses, prepared reportages, visited ohter countries. All these things didn’t worry him. But there are so many girls who didn’t have such an opportunity. We are growing up in a community where parents decide their child’s future- be it bright or dark. 24 year-old Gulferi Mahmudova is a dentist by profession. At the same time she co-operates with different organizations aiming to improve the educational and cultural level of young people. Her path was not without challenges. “ I am the first girl to come from the province and get a higher education. In our village everybody was surprised. They were asking my parents how they could let a young girl live in a strange nation. They didn’t like these questions and ignored them because they wanted me to get an education. When I meet my relatives and acquaintances they only want to know if I’m married when I’m planning to tie the knot: no-one asks about my education or work. For them,
over to Wendy’s at 36 Tsintsadze Street, formerly Saburtalo Street, where you’ll find animators and illustrators and plenty of fun for all your family and friends. Not only can you choose from a selection of discounted books, you can buy some books for those who can’t afford them. Visit Wendy’s from 2pm on October 31st to 8pm on the 1st of November.
EU Week of Cultur e Kic ks of gia Culture Kicks offf in Geor Georgia By Nina Ioseliani The EU Week of Culture offers a plethora of cultural activities and events across Georgia from October 31st. More than 30 artists will participate in 20 events in seven cities throughout the country. Visitors will have free access to a variety of performances, from classical music, contemporary DJ sets, and modern visual arts. Theatrical performances with Georgian and European troupes will also be held.
Women Fighting ffor or Higher Educa tion Education and tidy the house then she is ready for marriage. For years girls are inspired so they only dream about marriage. Getting an education is boys’ business. In our region they think that a man should protect the family. According to the average statistics, families prepare girls for marriage and boys for shopping and trade. If a boy wants to get an education, he can, but it is not considered necessary for girls. The only things meant for girls are marriage and giving birth to a healthy baby. They think that if a girl is educated she may get used to an independent lifestyle, making it difficult to marry. In my family neitherr my father nor my mother were able to get a higher education. They made it their purpose to give us something which they could not get from their parents and as a result of their support I was enrolled in the faculty of history. After two years I understood that I wanted to get into television . One day I saw an advertisement seeking someone to work on the computer. I decide to apply and was chosen. The next day I began training, which was lasted until late at night. Neighbors started to gossip. They complained to my father, asking how a young girl could come back so late at night, telling him not to let me go there. I told my father that I wanted to work in TV with tears streaming down my cheeks and he
educating a daughter is a waste of time. I also know families of teachers who have a worse attitude regarding a girl getting an education, especially if she has to go to the city to do it- they think she has a higher change of becoming immoral. Higher education means independence and the ability to think. Educated women ask questions, which is not appreciated by father, brother, or by her future husband. Boys look for a girl without any education. Parents know this that is why they try to give their daughters away in marriage at an early age to prevent it. I was lucky that my family wasn’t against it but I have lots of friends who could not finish their education because of pressure from their families. Aida Tagieva is Azerbaijani from Tbilisi. She graduated in TV journalism. Right now she works in her specialization and as Chief of the Marketing Department for one of the mobile operating companies. Aida remembers her experience: “I studied by believing in myself and insisting! In my family nobody made an effort towards education. They understood that I was motivated so they were forced to support me. I was lucky to live in the city already. It’s more difficult to come from the province as the mentality there prevents them from sending their daughters to the city to live alone for the
Culture is something that we all share and enjoy – in this spirit the European Union is proud to present this year’s EU Week of Culture in Georgia. Events will be held in the following cities: Tbilisi - Oct. 31 - Nov. 7 Telavi - Nov. 1 - Nov. 2 Rustavi - Nov. 7 Sighnaghi - Nov. 4 - Nov. 8 Kutaisi - Nov. 3 - Nov. 4 Poti - Nov. 6 Akhaltsikhe - Nov. 6
sake of education. There is a religious factor, too. People who live in the province think that people living in big cities are mostly Christians and feel that their girls will be surrounded by different values. They also think that if a girl stays alone she could begin to live an immoral life. They understand education as a freedom and freedom is understood as immoral life. In rare situations, rich families want to give their daughters an education. The reason is not that they want their daughters to have a specialty, but they want it only for prestige and for a diploma. There are families that don’t even know which faculty their daughter is studying at- they are only interested in the final diploma. In such conditions a girl has only one way – being maximally stubborn and hard-working. Only you can achieve everything by yourself. You must withstand a thousand complications. My parents weren’t against my education but they didn’t support me. This was something second-qualitative. A daughter is like burden, money spent on her is an expense. Tomorrow she will get married and the money spent on her will have been for nothing. A boy is a different issue: if he gets an education, he’ll earn money and look after his parents. I’m grateful to my parents that they weren’t against my education. It is distressing to study hard when there is no need for your education neither in your family nor for the person who wants to marry you.
OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
Roma P eople teless Comm unity in Geor gia People eople,, a Sta Stateless Community Georgia By Tamar Svanidze Even in the 21st century there exist people who do not have an Identity and are not recognized by the legal institutions of the country. The Roma minority group which has been living in Georgia since the beginning of the 20th century has problems unlike those of other ethnic minorities living in collective conditions in various districts of Georgia. Once Georgia was formed as an independent state, the Roma found themselves in an extremely difficult situation. Following the 1990s civil war, most of the Georgian population was left unemployed and the majority of the Roma turned to fortune-telling to earn a living. However, those working in governmental structures were dismissed because they did not know the Georgian language. Official data has revealed that 1,500 Roma are registered in Georgia, most of whom live on the outskirts of Georgia’s capital city Tbilisi. A second large group of this ethnic minority has settled in Gachiani village of the Gardabani municipality, Kakheti region. Roma people are considered one of the most impoverished ethnic groups in Georgia, having a common problem: the majority of them have no access to education, jobs and healthcare services, because most of them do not have ID cards. Director of organization ‘Disarmament and Non-violence’ Rima Gelevana said that it is worrying that groups of national minorities still exist in Georgia who are illiterate and without access to primary education. “The Roma community is facing many difficulties in Georgia. These
complex problems are limited access to education, human rights, social integration, access to health and social assistance, unemployment and so on. They need special support from the Government and non-governmental organizations to improve their life conditions,” Gelevana said. “Without ID cards they cannot get the benefits of social services under state programs. Many elderly Roma people cannot get a pension because of a lack of documentation,” she added. Gelevana emphasized that no single project to support the Roma people’s integration into Georgian society has been carried out by state organizations in Georgia. “Some non-governmental organizations are implementing various projects to improve Roma people’s rights, but it is not enough. The Roma community is an ethnic group facing difficulties and challenges in Georgia and they require a special approach,” Gelevana said. The Human Rights House in Tbilisi (HRHT) has provided free legal aid to the Roma people living in compact settlements to assist them in obtaining ID cards. According to HRHT Lawyer Eka Kobesashvili, these people do not officially exist anywhere in the country and so they cannot benefit from state social services. The HRHT has already provided the birth details of two citizens from the Navtlugi settlement while the process is on-going with six more cases. According to the lawyer, a person has to carry out a number of procedures to obtain an ID card – among them an estimation of birth details, something which can involve a long and challenging process.
The Roma minority group has been living in Georgia since the beginning of the 20th century.
“We invite witnesses who confirm that the applicant was really born in Georgia and his/her birth details. Afterwards, the status of the person is estimated. For example, if an applicant has lived in the territory of Georgia since March 31, 1993, he/she will get Georgian citizenship, but if it is not confirmed, that an applicant gets the status of a stateless person. In this case, the
person will receive rights and social benefits equal to a person with Georgian citizenship,” Kobesashvili said. The HRHT lawyer went on to speak about the difficulties of the procedures. She said applicants need several visits to the House of Justice to estimate birth details. Roma people are eager to take documents but are unwilling to visit the House of Justice.
“We met the head of the House of Justice and his deputy but they could not change the procedures so that applicant Roma did not need visits to the House of Justice. Roma people do not want to go to the House of Justice because they do not have time. They want to take IDs but do not want to make the necessary effort to get them,” Kobesashvili said.
Matisse and the Fauves
OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
Romantic Soir ee to Soiree y-Explosion, Ultr amoder n Lad Ultramoder amodern Lady-Explosion, Roc k&R oll and Smooth J azz ock&R k&Roll Jazz Revie w of Tbilisi J azz F esti val 2015 view Jazz Festi estiv By Maka Lomadze
Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life) by Henri Matisse, 1906.
By Lily Fürstenow-Khositashvili October can hardly be imagined without the Salon d’Automne – the Autumn Salon founded in Paris in the basement of the Petit Palais, initially organised by artists Georges Rouault, Andre Derain, Henri Matisse and Albert Marquet as a reaction to the conservative policies of the official Paris Salon. The exhibition almost immediately became the showpiece of developments and innovations in 20th century painting and sculpture. The Salon d’Automne shaped modern and contemporary art in the 20th century. At the expense of the riotous scandals, the Salon established its reputation and avantgarde movements: Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism, Dadaism, the School of Paris, Abstraction, Op Art, and so on. In this article we would like to focus on one of the founders of Salon d’Automne, artist Henri Matisse. On seeing the work of Matisse in Room VII at the Salon d’Automne in Paris in 1905, the critic Louis Vauxcelles named it “un Donatello parmi les fauves, ‘Donatello among the wild animals’ which gave the name “Fauves” to the group of artists that painted in a style similar to Matisse. The wildness lay in the lurid colours and aggressive execution of the paintings. Matisse’s portrait of his wife, ‘Woman in a Hat’, for instance, showed her with a face blotched
with green, pink and yellow under a hairdo in brick red and cobalt blue, as well as a giant purple hat with multicoloured feathers. In spite of severe critique and discouragement, Matisse’s Woman with a Hat, was bought by Gertrude and Leo Stein. Matisse was recognised as a leader of the Fauves, along with André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck; the two were friendly rivals, each with his own followers. Other members of the Fauvist movement were Georges Braque and Raoul Dufy. The Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau was the movement’s inspirational teacher. Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life) is another world famous masterpiece by Henri Matisse. It is regarded as one of the pillars of early modernism. The monumental canvas was first exhibited at the Salon des Independants in 1906. In the picture are shown a number of nude women and men in a landscape drenched with vivid color. Its cadmium colors and spatial distortions initially caused public protest and outrage. The decline of the Fauvist movement after 1906 did not affect the career of Matisse. Many of his finest works were created between 1906 and 1917, when he was an active part of the great gathering of artistic talent in Montparnasse. Matisse had a long association with Russian art collector Sergei Shchukin. He created one of his major works ‘La Danse’ especially for Shchukin as part
of a two painting commission, the other painting being ‘Music’ in 1910. An earlier version of ‘La Danse’ (1909) is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The painting shows five dancing figures, painted in a strong red, set against a very simplified green landscape and deep blue sky. It reflects Matisse’s incipient fascination with primitive art, and uses a classic Fauvist color palette: the intense warm colors against the cool blue-green background and the rhythmical succession of dancing nudes convey the feelings of emotional liberation and hedonism. Later, when painting and sculpture became physical challenges for the artist due to illness, Matisse turned to a new type of medium. With the help of his assistants, he began creating cut paper collages, or decoupage whereby he would cut sheets of paper, pre-painted with gouache by his assistants, into shapes of varying colours and sizes, and arrange them to form lively compositions. Initially, these pieces were modest in size, but eventually transformed into murals or room-sized works. The Henri Matisse Museum in Nice features a wonderful collection of his early works, sculptures and cutouts. Situated on a picturecue hill overlooking Nice, it offers insights into the artist’s career, various stages of his work, as well as a wonderful collection of vases that Matisse created in his house.
Dur uji Awar d Winner sR evealed Duruji ard inners Re
Otar Katamadze and Paata Tsikolia at Tbilisi Event Hall. Source: Redix facebook.
Tbilisi Event Hall hosted the 8 th Duruji Theatre Award ceremony on October 24th. The winners were named in five nominations following a two-month evaluation by the five member jury of the nominated plays. This year’s awards were granted in the following nominations:
Best Modern Georgian Playwright – Paata Tsikolia and Otar Katamadze; Best Actress – Marina Kakhiani; Best Actor – Vano Iantbelidze; Best Production Work – Levan Tsuladze; Best Young Director – Nikoloz Sabashvili. The latter was given a spe-
cial prize of GEL 10,000 from the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia to stage a play for the 2016-2017 season. Best Modern Georgian Playwright – Paata Tsikolia, who told Georgia Today: “I honestly didn’t expect to win. In total, three plays were presented. One of them I hadn’t even read so I could only guess how the competition would be. Unlike Otar, this was a debut for me and one of the reasons I had low expectations. But as you see, we won!” “Duruji is the appreciation and recognition of labor and energy invested during the seasons and knitted in the work of art by the artists,” – said Lasha Papashvili, the Prize founder and General Director of Redix Group. Duruji Prize Award has been held annually since 2008 on the initiative of charity organization “Tsiskari” and “Redix Group” to encourage Georgian directors, actors, playwrights and set designers and to promote and advance Georgian theatre.
The 18th Tbilisi Jazz Festival has come to an end, having been highly attended and having satisfied the tastes of every gender, age and ethnicity. Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, Mikheil Giorgadze, congratulated the Georgian audience at the launch of the Tbilisi Jazz Festival and promised that all would find their own favorites, most likely as the event was as colorful as ever in genre and musical dimension. Diana Krall, the initial star of the grandiose occasion, did not fail to meet the expectations of her fans. As sparkling as ever, she offered a particularly romantic soiree with a lot of new songs and very popular tracks, including “Fly Me to the Moon”, “Just the Way You Are”, “Look of Love”, “Temptation”… Her unique smoothly velvet voice was on for almost two hours, with three songs at encore, bringing the most tender melodies to reverberate around the Tbilisi Concert Hall, with a total sell out. The aristocrat-looking lady, with the most humble introduction, was undoubtedly the most charming of the festival, together with her artistic manner and mild style. The next performer, 31-year-old Esperanza Spalding, was a total contrast to Krall – a lady-explosion, an ultra-modern star representing all the technique and technology that modernity can offer, together with her non-exhaustible energy and extravagant look. Esperanza gave the audience a treat of 1 hour and 15 minutes non-stop, shifting from guitar to keyboard without even taking a seat. She was enjoying her own performance so much that it easily infected the audience. It seems that she is a strong jazz-addict. “It was an absolutely natural concert. I have heard her in Paris before,” said Oliko Babluani, actress, TV-presenter, former expat, daughter of famous Georgian film director Temur Babluani, exclusively told Georgia Today. “The only difference is between our and the French audience is interactivity: if we prefer to have a pose of just-observers, they are much more interactive and involved with the stage.” The third concert was on the Event Hall stage, which offers a club-like atmosphere and is meant to resemble the national jazz environment of the US. On the 26th October, the Jeff Ballard trio performed a fusion of jazz, blues and rock& roll. The critics declared it quite a rare case when musicians are on a tour with drum, sax and guitar, without bass guitar. But the experiment worked and left no real music-lover or professional indifferent. The American drummer Jeff Ballard has played with Ray Charles, Pat Metheny, and Reid Anderson. His first fascination with jazz began by listening to the joint performance of Ella Fitzgerand and Louis Armstrong. The fourth jazz evening belonged to Avishai Cohen on the same stage on trumpet, with a duo of Yoni Zelnik on bass. And then for the surprise! Jezz Ballard appeared and made a trio with them, which gave a wonderful chance to this evening’s guests to listen to both musicians on one
and the same day. Trumpeter Cohen — voted a Rising Star three years running in the DownBeat Critics Poll — has earned renown as a musician with an individual sound and a questing spirit, an ever-creative player-composer open to multiple strains of jazz and active internationally as a leader, co-leader and sideman. The New York Times described him as “an assertive, accomplished trumpeter with a taste for modernism,” while The Chicago Reader has deemed him as “arguably the most exciting Israeli Jazz musician in the world.” Triveni, the trumpeter’s current primary touring project, has been praised far and wide for its sonic telepathy, with NPR saying: “The essence of Triveni’s airy sound is how, aware of one another, each player creates interesting, flowing lines and lets the space participate. Think of artists sketching and drawing together.” Anzic Records releases Dark Nights, the trio’s third album — and Avishai’s seventh recording as a leader — in autumn 2014. The trumpeter also records and tours the world as part of the prestigious SFJAZZ Collective, the Mark Turner Quartet, and with the 3 Cohens Sextet — the hit family band with his sister, clarinetist-saxophonist Anat, and brother, saxophonist Yuval. With the 3 Cohens, Avishai has twice headlined the hallowed Village Vanguard, as well as appeared on the cover of the January 2012 issue of DownBeat. The Festival’s culmination Fourplay in fact turned out the last but one participant, as Edmar CasTaneda Trio’s performance was postponed and took place on Thursday, following the veteran band’s evening. Fourplay on their tour dedicated to their 25th anniversary on stage, featuring the veteran Bob James on piano, Nathan East on Bass and Vocal, Harvey Mason on Drums, another veteran, and Chuck Loeb on Guitar, is the one and only band that was rewarded by the US Congress. The main sensation of the festival – quite a young jazzman from Colombia, Edmar Castaneda playing on the Latin harp, finalized the chief jazz event of Georgia. “Mr. CastanÞeda strummed, plucked, rubbed, jabbed and pounded on his cobalt blue Llanera harp as he conjured different shaped notes, harmonic textures and steady bass rhythms from the instrument’s 34 strings. About the only thing he didn’t do was light it on fire.” – reads Wall St Journal. “A master of beautifully complex timing, lush colors and dynamic spirit, Edmar has been called “almost a world unto himself” The New York Times writes. As always, Eastern Promotion holds the high class quality and this is why they have acquired a respectable international reputation. Diana Krall, who was hesitating as her favorite FourSeasons hotel was not in Georgia, finally accepted the invitation, and that happened thanks to the great musicians who had played before, since 1996, in Tbilisi. The list comprises Ray Charles, James Brown, Tanya Maria, Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin, Joe Cocker, Jamiroquai, Chris Botti and many others. Good bye with the hope to see other interesting old and rising stars next year!
Diana Krall in Tbilisi. Photo by Beka Javakhishvili.
OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
Sasha Waltz and Guests Perfor m in Tbilisi for GIFT festival By Ana Akhalaia German choreographer Sasha Waltz and her dance company performed ‘Travelogue 1- Twenty to Eight’ on the Rustaveli Theatre stage for the Georgian International Festival of Arts (GIFT) 2015. The GIFT festival was opened October 17th and will last until November 17th. Georgian art lovers have the opportunity to see some of the world’s finest art masterpieces including: Sasha Waltz, Dmitry Krimov, Dada Masilo, Rimas Tuminas and many more. Waltz is a German choreographer, dancer and leader of the dance company ‘Sasha Waltz and Guests’, which works with a constantly developing international network of production partners and guest performers. It shows approximately 70 performances worldwide every year, currently consisting of 20 productions. The company was named an official ‘Cultural Ambassador of the European Union’ during its anniversary in 2013. One of Waltz’s earlier works- ‘Travelogue – Twenty to Eight’ was performed on the Rustaveli Theatre stage on October 27th and 28th. “Passionate and rough, painful and bizarre, aggressive and ironic, loaded with sex and full of the absurd,” Badische Zeitung, a German newspaper, wrote on the piece.
“This is a wonder in the history of modern dance,” Art Director of the GIFT Festival Keti Dolidze commented. “Sasha Waltz is the same as Ostermeier or Peter Brook in the theatre today. And this kind of high-level person is visiting Tbilisi and the GIFT festival! It truly is an outstanding event.” Sasha Waltz studied dance in Amsterdam and furthered her education in New York. She went on to collaborate with various choreographers, musicians, artists and dancers and created her first independent choreographies. The humour, aggression and sensuality of her choreographic work captures the attention of the audience. She uses concrete objects, sets, film editing techniques and the grotesque movements of the silent movies in her work. “I try to understand the world. I observe a lot how people are with each other. I try to solve problems. I see what I don’t understand. So we work with these ideas on stage,” said Sasha Waltz. Life in ‘Travelogue 1- Twenty to Eight’ is symbolized by the kitchen where five residents meet. Their lives, like their dances, are sometimes synchronized and sometimes chaotic. The movement vocabulary is expressive and emotional. The music is an important driving force in the story. ‘Travelogue’ has an original composition by Tristan Honsinger.
Sasha Waltz and her dance company perform ‘Travelogue 1- Twenty to Eight’ on the Rustaveli Theatre stage for the Georgian International Festival of Arts (GIFT) 2015.
“It’s the question of how we live together; with different love scenes featured. And it’s also about a conflict of living in the communal apartment and sharing one kitchen,” Waltz said. “We have performed this piece in a variety of countries and I think it’s something universal that we are talking about. It’s very
human. I have the feeling it will be understood by the Georgian people. I have the feeling from the people I’ve met that there is an incredible curiosity and openness.” As a room, the kitchen can be a mirror of their lives where their rituals, habits, behaviours and manners are observed
and their negative sides revealed. This reflection forms the relationship between the characters. Often nervous and lonely, they can’t find a way out from becoming the prisoners of a social structure. “It’s our first time and I would love to come again. I’m open to any sort of adventure,” Waltz enthused.
Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari
Language: Georgian English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari
November 1 AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari
CIRCUS Address: 1 The Heroes Sq. Telephone: 2 98 58 61 www.krakatuk.eu
Cast: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Language: Russian Start time: 17:15, 20:10, 22:30 Ticket price: 9.50 – 12.50 Lari
WHAT'S ON IN TBILISI THEATRE GEORGIAN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS ‘GIFT’ IN TBILISI Address: 164 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 235 0203, 551 17 68 18 www.giftfestival.ge October 30 MADAGASCAR Marius Ivashkevich Directed by Rimas Tuminas Executive stage director: Vilma Dabkiene A play in two acts Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: From 30 Lari Venue: Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre October 31 UNCLES AND AUNTS Small State Theatre of Vilnius presents The premiere of Gabriele Tuminas’ production Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: From 25 Lari Venue: Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre November 3 EUGENE ONEGIN Al. Pushkin Stage director, author of the idea and scenic version: Rimas Tuminas Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: From 20 Lari Venue: Griboedov Theatre GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 298 65 93 October 30 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari October 31 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze
MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 October 30 - November 1 FAN DO’S MAGORY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: From 10 Lari October 30 ADDAMS FAMILY Fantasy Start time: 19:45 Ticket price: 25 Lari Venue: Tbilisi Concert Hall ALEXANDER GRIBOEDOV STATE RUSSIAN DRAMA THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 293 11 06 www.griboedovtheatre.ge October 31 A GENTLE CREATURE Fyodor Dostoevsky Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Small Stage Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari ROYAL DISTRICT THEATRE Address: 10 Abesadze Str. Telephone: 299 61 71 October 30 WOMEN OF TROY Directed by Data Tavadze Documentary
October 31 - November 1 CLOWN ASSEMBLY Start time: October 31 – 17:00, November 1 – 13:00, 17:00 Ticket price: From 10 Lari CINEMA AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 299 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge October 30 – November 5 BLACK MASS Directed by Scott Cooper Cast: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama Language: English Start time: 19:45 Language: Russian Start time: 17:30, 20:05, 22:45 Ticket price: 10.50 – 12.50 Lari PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION 3D Directed by Gregory Plotkin Cast: Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw, Ivy George Genre: Horror Language: Russian Start time: 22:30 Ticket price: 11.50 – 12.50 Lari THE MARTIAN 3D Directed by Ridley Scott Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 14:30 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari THE LAST WITCH HUNTER Directed by Breck Eisner
MOMA TBILISI ZURAB TSERETELI Address: 27 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 298 60 30
RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 255 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge
October 9 – November 15 OLEG TIMCHENKO’S EXHIBITION
BLACK MASS (Info Above) Start time: 22:15 Ticket price: 10.50 – 12.50 Lari
THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge
THE LAST WITCH HUNTER (Info Above) Start time: 17:45, 19:45, 22:30 Ticket price: 9.50 – 12.50 Lari THE WALK Directed by Robert Zemeckis Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Guillaume Baillargeon Genre: Adventure, Biography, Drama Language: Russian Start time: 12:30 Ticket price: 7.50 – 8.50 Lari CRIMSON PEAK Directed by Guillermo del Toro Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror Language: Russian Start time: 20:00, 22:30 Ticket price: 11.50 – 12.50 Lari PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION 3D (Info Above) Start time: 20:25, 22:45 Ticket price: 11.50 – 12.50 Lari THE MARTIAN 3 D (Info Above) Start time: 11:45, 14:34, 22:25 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM OF GEORGIA Address: 3 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22
October 16-31 THE PERSONAL EXHIBITION BY TURKISH PHOTO JOURNALIST ARA GÜLER Widely recognized as the “Eye of Istanbul,” Ara Güler is an ArmenianTurkish Photo journalist from Istanbul. He was awarded a number of times for his contribution to the development of culture. EUROPE HOUSE GEORGIA Address: 1 Freedom Sq. Telephone: 2 47 03 11 October 30 – November 1 MARIAM SITCHINAVA’S FIRST SOLO SHOW IN TBILISI Opening: 19:00 MUSIC MTKVARZE October 30 JULIAN BOMM (rheinrhythmik / DE) • BACHO • COBERT • LUNA989 • MANGIPHERA @ MTKVARZE Start time: 23:00 Entry price: 15 Lari October 31 HALLOWEEN @ MTKVARZE with SHXCXCHCXSH (Live) • BOYD SCHIDT • NEWA • ZURKIN • GIO SHENGELIA • GIORGI MOZGOVOI Start time: 23:00 Entry price: 20 Lari
SOCIETY By Tony Hanmer I had been casting about for another school to volunteer in as an English teacher, because suddenly the TLG contract by which I do this job requires three co-teachers, one more than Etseri offers me. The village of Pari, conveniently a half-hour walk away, failed to call back expressing interest. Becho? I also considered Ushguli, seat of the beginning of all this, even predating TLG’s existence as a program. But it’s 75 km away, and I’d have to overnight it there or more: no longer so easy for my wife otherwise alone to run house, shop and farm. Becho, then? They do have English too, and they’re 10 km away. I could get there via Etseri’s twice-weekly minivan run to Mestia, and back the same way. A call to the school director revealed that they were keen for a visit to talk it over. The school is only a few minutes’ walk from the Becho bus stop, and my transport gets me there in time for the second lesson each time. I take a pack lunch with me. There are actually two co-teachers there for me, as well, covering all grades, and I’m now working out a schedule to accommodate them both as much as possible. They seem grateful for the partnership. The school, built with two floors for over 300 pupils, now has to settle for 72, a similar predicament to Etseri’s. Many rooms have murals painted onto them, and the place has a happy feel. The level of English is up and down, like our village’s, with the usual bright stars
OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
Back to Becho
and apathetic ones contrasting. I immediately feel comfortable, having seen this situation in three other places in Svaneti now, and find myself fitting in easily with staff and children alike. I’ve done so much of the learning already, much of it is transferrable to here. A bonus, far from the main reason why I’m there but always a plus, is the
views of magnificently shy Mt. Ushba, perhaps the one thing that draws almost all foreign tourists to this village. The other teachers expressed regret that my wife and I, when house-hunting in Svaneti, hadn’t even considered Becho. The reason was simply that I had visited it once or twice by then, knew no-one there, was known by hardly anyone, and
thus had few relational ties to it. Well, we’re quite settled where we are in Etseri, no changing that now, and no regrets from me either. I have, however, an hour or two to kill after every day’s lessons, before my minivan returns from Mestia; so I prowl about photographically. But Ushba... the thing is, when it’s there, glowering at you fantastically huge from the top of the village, there’s really nothing else to notice; the mountain totally crowds out all other competition for your attention, to the point that other sights simply don’t exist. Ah, but when it’s not there... either partly or completely obscured by cloud? You might wait, hoping for a glimpse, the veil to slip to one side for a few seconds of view of anything. You might also be rewarded in this, or you might merely be frustrated. It might be days or longer before you see it. It’s at those “Ushba-less” times that you are forced to notice other things, humbler but no less worthy of your attention. The people, for goodness’ sake! The fall colors on the trees at the moment, forests on fire with autumn! The
mineral springs! The few towers... and all the details which make any village worth getting to know, whatever your particular interest might be. And you shouldn’t feel cheated, especially if you live only 10 km away and can come here often. So... when I know I’ll get at least that short look at The Mountain, I let it dominate, and plan my after-school outing accordingly. I still have a great amount of exploring to do here off-road, with a view to seeing Ushba from here or there. When I know that there’s almost a zero chance, I ignore it (only checking it out from the corner of my eye occasionally) and concentrate on other things. Sort of like Mt. Fuji in Japan. Ushba gives one a completely different view from Becho to Latali (45 degrees of turn) to Mestia (90 degrees), and then is similar to other places from Etseri or Mulakhi or K’ala or high above Ushguli. I suppose I’m building up a whole album, a whole book, of views, seasons, lightings, moods of this creature over the years it is my privilege to see it. And I try to see it not only through the camera viewfinder, as well, but to really see it. But as huge and powerful as Ushba is, it isn’t and shouldn’t be my only reason for coming to Becho. I’m here to teach English, after all, and the rest is cake icing. But what icing!
Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1250 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
Tric ks n Trea ts in ricks eats Tbilisi this Hallo ween Hallow By Nina Ioseliani Not up for carving out your own pumpkin and handing out candies this year? You’re in luck- Halloween is growing in popularity in Tbilisi and this year there is a monstrous feast of events to entertain all the family. So grab a costume and head out into the city- and let someone else clear up the cobwebs and ghoul slime the next day! Here are some of our suggestions for Halloween 2015: 1. Cafe 1940 opens its doors at 8pm and is inviting you to come along with your friends to enjoy a night of spooktacular entertainment. There will be a prize for the scariest costume! Address: 10 Ingorokva Str. 2. Fly over to the creepy Halloween party at Latino Bar “If you’re tired and haven’t a clue what to do, then visit Latino Bar to find your inner peace...and meet some of the spookiest people ever!” Address: 14 G.Akvlediani Str Doors open at 8:00PM 3. “Grab your masks and fly your broom, come to a party under the moon!” Canudos Ethic Bar invites you to enjoy delicious food and drinks with a sprinkling of magical music! Address: 31 Javakhishvili Str. 4. Famous Restaurant and Music Salon is wishing you a Happy Halloween and invites you to enjoy the scariest Halloween in Tbilisi with them. Address: 1 Abo Tbileli Str Doors open at 9PM 5. One for the kids: the annual Trick or Treat at the Ethnographic Museum. 1 Lari entrance, costumes and a bag of candies a must! Saturday, October 31, 4:00-5:30p.m. Costumes can be rented at the following locations: Children’s Theatre, 8 Kievi St. 295 41 83 Centre Barbare, 67 Vazha Phshavela St. 232 43 25 Centre Babulia, 2 Laghidze St. 555576730 Centre Alica, Tetelashvili St. 296 61 43 Opera House, 25 Rustaveli Ave. *Costumes can be purchased at Pepela, 22 Kostava St.247 9891 Keep an eye on georgiatoday.ge for updates on more ‘scaretakular’ events this Halloween weekend! Happy Halloween from all the Team at Georgia Today!
OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 5
Peter Nasm yth: F ooftops to Glacier s Nasmyth: Frrom R Rooftops Glaciers By Katie Ruth Davies ‘I have a genuine affection for Georgia. I am not cynical about the country and this I think helps the understanding. Georgia is not like us (the West) with a desire to be all neat and regulated. Neither is it a shining example of political stability. It is a country proud of its emotional originality and contrariness.’ [Interview with Peter Nasmyth, Tbilisi, October 2008] Georgia Today met up with Peter Nasmyth- writer, publisher and a founder member of the British-Georgian Society and the Tbilisi Heritage Group - on one of his frequent visits to Georgia. Warding off the autumn chill with a warm mug of Blue Lady tea in Prospero’s café on Rustaveli Avenue, I got to know the Englishman beneath the flat cap who has been enamoured with Georgia since 1987. Q: How did your love affair with Georgia begin? A: I came as a tourist, although at the time I was also a journalist specialising in perestroika, writing mainly features from and about the former Soviet Union for various British newspapers and magazines (Observer/Guardian/Independent/Times etc.). Q: What kept you coming back? A: I was asked to write a book about the country in 1990– but it didn’t come out until just as the civil war began: ‘Rebel in the Caucasus’ (Cassell ‘92), whereupon I became a pundit by accident rather than design (‘Can you predict which way the civil war will go?’ etc. Luckily for me, although not Georgia, I got that one right: “Considerably worse!”). The book was republished in 2006 as ‘Georgia in the Mountains of Poetry’ with a new, post-Communist section. But at the time Tbilisi had absolutely nowhere to sell it. This was an impetus towards starting a bookshop, which I did with two excellent Americans, Steve Johnson and his brother Eric.
up Propsero’s bookshop&cafe? What is your vision for Prospero’s in future? A: The idea of Prospero’s actually came about via my friend Irakli Topuria who created and still runs International House. I’d helped him set up his school bookshop and as we were toasting its opening, I jokingly lifted my glass saying: ‘Here’s to our next bookshop on Rustaveli Avenue.’ It was Irakli who then found the site at 34 Rustaveli [the soon-to-be bookshop was empty and the café section was purchased later and converted from a failed clothing store] and sent me a video saying: ‘Were you serious?’ I realised that we probably were - at this time Tbilisi had no proper coffee, almost no English language books or a foreigner-friendly meeting place with a notice board - so we bought the property between us. I then ran out of money and couldn’t find any co-investors, until Steve and Eric came along and did a fantastic job at creating the Prospero’s you see today, aided and sustained by Steve’s wife Tamara. Having spent a large amount of his time in Georgia rambling about the Caucasus Mountains and discovering and documenting numerous walking routes (to be included in his guide: ‘Walking in the Caucasus’), Peter seems to have found his favourite destination in Svaneti (the northernmost region of Georgia bordering Russia to the north and Abkhazia to the West). Q: You visit Svaneti almost every trip here. What is your attraction to the region? A: I first visited Svaneti in the Communist times. Illegally as it turned out – so I borrowed a typewriter and typed the word ‘MESTIA’ onto my Soviet visa. It worked a charm. Mestia at the time was a dump-like Soviet town surrounded by the most extraordinary paradise of a landscape. My trip is described in ‘Georgia in the Mountains of Poetry.’ Since
then I have watched it evolve, first to a virtual no-go region due to banditry, thence to its nadir today. I just came back from Mestia and can, hand on heart, say that it’s now becoming the place I dreamed it might all those years ago with a fully functioning tourist economy. This has been a relatively recent development but has always seemed about as inevitable as the steady shrinkage of the Chalati glacier (about 40 metres this year). I have been recording both. Q: You are a founder member of the Tbilisi Heritage Group. Where does your love of architecture come from and how do you view the current architecture scene in Tbilisi? A: I’ve watched Georgia transform in the most extraordinary way, from Soviet paradise resort to civil war-zone with no water and electricity, then to a super right-wing free-market in the early 2000s. Throughout the entire period people didn’t really trust money, preferring, if they could, to put their savings into property. This received a massive boost in the Saakashvili era with the President’s love of what he believed was modern architecture and a massive and furious construction boom. This led to the partial destruction and rebuilding of the Kala region of the old town. Heartbreaking to those of us who treasured the unique historic ambience of Tbilisi, but supported by many of the inhabitants who had their houses done up for free. However, there was a catch: the methods used for renovation were the quickest and simplest, usually requiring the house to be knocked down and rebuilt as a pastiche of itself (still happening today). A kind of epic reconstruction that transformed the old town into a new town. The slower, more culturally sensitive methods were not used as in other post-Soviet capitals like Budapest of Prague - because instant, dramatic results were required. Those of us leaving and coming back to the city every few months noticed the transfor-
He is referring to the well-known and well-loved Prospero’s Bookshop and Cafe on Rustaveli. Nestled in a tiny courtyard behind number 34, the twopart bookshop is said to most likely have the widest selection of English language books in the Caucasus. Prospero’s Books took its name from the 1991 movie by the same name, which bears the name of a character from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. The bookstore has a large selection of books in English (and a few in Georgian!), specializing in history and geography of the region, travel guides, as well as a selection of fiction and nonfiction, reference books and children’s books. The cozy café has an indoor-outdoor section to suit all weather. Q: What made you decide to set
The old Lermontov house prior to its demolition.
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Peter Nasmyth. Source: www.budlitfest.org.uk.
mation more vividly than the local inhabitants. It was like a nightmare manifesting before our eyes - the nation’s leaders making all the mistakes we had made in the West during the 1970s. Tourists were, and still are, blinking and asking themselves ‘what happened here?’ when walking round Kala. Q: If you could say a few influential words to the Tbilisi city planners, what would you say? A: The most important action for the nation’s planners and investors is to realise that redevelopment can be done less quickly, and more cheaply and sensitively. Also, for the inhabitants to be told this and not be bamboozled by the building propaganda. To restore a house properly can be done far more cheaply than demolishing and reconstructing it. However, this prevents the building of additional floors and therefore a quick profit in extra square metres. But the developers also don’t realise that profit drops when the historic ambience is lost. This was fortunately learned by the city authorities in Budapest when they discovered that historic properties were fetching much higher prices than the larger-square-metred rebuilds. Ironically, this process is also happening in Tbilisi’s historic properties (some ridiculous prices are being paid for undemolished hovels), but still the message isn’t getting through - which is why so many of the new builds in Kala are
standing empty, unsold, because nobody likes them. Their charm has been killed. And historic charm is an increasingly rare and significantly bankable commodity. With every old house that is removed and replaced by a new, taller pastiche, the whole region loses a few more dollars per square metre - and the city its historic ambience and attraction to tourists (its most genuine, sustainable, long-term industry). This will happen in the bath region if the Mirza Shaffi development goes ahead. I feel that those of us belonging to nations who have made these mistakes of our own should try and tell the authorities not to repeat what we have done, but engage in some truly modern development - which is to keep the historic ambience while creating clean, efficient, functioning, 21st century interiors. The international funding authorities should also be reminded of this - like the World Bank - who need to police their beneficence more carefully in Georgia. If this is done, then Georgia stands in very good stead for the future as a tourist destination. Peter Nasmyth continues writing both books and articles, heading up his own publishing house in London- MTA Publications – and discovering trails around Georgia. You may see this charming Devon-born gentleman on your next visit to Prospero’s- keep an eye open for the flat cap and blue-eyed smile.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF - Katie Ruth Davies
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