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July 31 - Aug. 6, 2015



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Georgia Today 24 p., Travel Today 4 p.

Who to Choose ffor or the Ne xt Next Minister of Inter nal Af s? Internal Afffair airs?


Reha bilita tion of ehabilita bilitation Tourist Infr astr uctur e Infrastr astructur ucture to Star Startt in Bakuriani

ISSUE No.777


Geor gia’ s Ef ts Georgia’ gia’s Efffor orts Examined in the U.S 2015 Traf king in afffic icking Per sons (TIP) ersons Repor portt Georgia remains in Tier 2, where it has been since six straight years at Tier 1 prior to 2012. P.4


Ten days and still no Minister of Internal Affairs: speculation abound whose favorite will be chosen Ivanishvili’s or Garibashvili’s. P.8

Eur opean P ar liament AFET Dele gation European Par arliament Deleg Reaf ms EU’ s Suppor gia Supportt to Geor Georgia eafffir irms EU’s

Cultur e is Culture Ev er yw her e, Ev en Even Ever eryw ywher here in the Geor gian Georgian High Mountains Svaneti Museum in Mestia opens a modern interactive and educational facility for the whole family to enjoy. P.15

Blac k Sea J azz Black Jazz Festi val 2015: the estiv Best Yet! Georgia Today takes a look at the before, during and after of the BSJF 2015. P.17

“Democratic developments and strengthening of democratic institutions is the best defense.” P.6 FLIGHT SCHEDULE


Travel Today




Mar gv elashvili Criticiz ed ffor or P ar doning K ak o Bobokhidz e’ s Br other Margv gvelashvili Criticized Par ardoning Kak ako Bobokhidze’ e’s Brother By Steven Jones The Pardon Commission led by the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, pardoned Levan Bobokhidze, brother of National Movement’s MP Akaki Bobokhidze, after drawing a positive recommendation from the prison system. “Any application that the Commission considers has a convict character profile from the prison system with it. If the profile is negative, we don’t review the case at all. We considered Levan Bobokhidze’s application and other defendants of the same case because they came with a positive profile assessment,” – explained Zviad Koridze, Chairman of the Commission. Prime Minister Garibashvili as well as different representatives of the Georgian government harshly criticized the president for his decision. The Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance, Giorgi Mghebrishvilis assessed that Margvelashvili made a “hastened decision on pardoning National Movement MP Akaki Bobokhidze’s brother” underlining he fully shares the PM’s position on the issue. “Our President is truly a national President” – commented PM Gharibashvili on the issue implying the president’s ‘support’ to the UNM. Moreover, Garibashvili told reporters that he hopes

that the president “will pardon Saakashvili, Bacho Akhalaia, Vano Merabishvili and other kinds of people too”. In response to the PM’s statement, Kakha Kozhoridze, Advisor of the President for Human Rights Issues commented that “Margvelashvili is indeed a national President and does not make pardon-related decisions on political grounds.“ “We ask high political officials to use caution and have a sense of responsibility when making similar statements, as they may lead to a perception that justice in Georgia serves political goals, which could damage our country’s strategic interests,”- Kozhoridze maintained. Supporting Garibashvili’s approach toward Margvelashvili, First Deputy PM Kakha Kaladze remarked “The President talks as if he is not a member of this own team. He owes his presidency to a team called Georgian Dream and personally to Bidzina Ivanishvili who carried him like a child during the entire election process.” “Every promise is being fulfilled; it is necessary that they be met. There is no problem in this regard. As for the electoral system change, you know that a suit was filed in the Constitutional Court and the Parliament also works on these issues. Changes will be carried out to satisfy the suit,”- said Kaladze. Following the president’s decision,

Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia.

some government-affiliated ‘non-governmental’ organizations, such as Human Rights Union, Young Human Rights Defenders Association and others held a protest in front of the Presidential Administration building. They said that they protested against the president pardoning National Movement MP Akaki Bobokhidze’s brother calling on the president to ‘break free of the National Movement’s influence’. The above statements clearly reveal the incoordination between the government and the presidential institutions that started months after Margvelashvili was elected as president in the 2013 elections. Saakashvili’s successor has been playing an aberration game with Bidzina Ivanishvili, on whose behalf the former university rector became the highest commander of the country. Margvelashvili has appeared a strong defender of Georgia’s Western course, a path the Georgian Dream does not fully share. There have been a number of cases, when the president vetoed the parliament or law proposals from the government, which have infuriated Ivanishvili. Opposition started when the president neglected Ivanishvili’s position upon entering the Avlabari Presidential Palace around a year ago. As opposition among the governing structures continues, few are aware of what will come next.

Has GD Isola ted Geor gia with its Obscur eF or eign P olitics? Isolated Georgia Obscure For oreign Politics? By Zviad Adzinbaia Georgian Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Usupashvili on his assessment of NATO’s meeting in Brussels this month, said that if Georgia drops the AbashidzeKarasin format, things for us will get more difficult in terms of getting MAP. “One of the main questions asked of me was if the government of Georgia was going to drop the AbashidzeKarasin format. They hear such state-

ments from Georgian politicians and believe that if this happens, if the government abolishes this very small, not so effective, but essential line in relations with Russia, then our situation will worsen in terms of relations with NATO,” he declared to the Public Broadcaster, adding “NATO member states do not want to grant the Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia if it leads to a new conflict with Russia. NATO is not looking for a new pretext

for a conflict with Russia.” Usupashvili went on to say that the government is managing to move towards strategic goals in an effort to avoid problems for the country and if others do so, efforts will be made to solve such problems with the help of the international community. At the same time, Tina Khidasheli, Georgian Defense Minister, says that there is not a single country in NATO that would oppose granting MAP to Georgia. “I can tell you with full responsibility that not a single NATO member country exists that is either skeptical or against granting MAP to Georgia; meaning Georgia deserves the Membership Action Plan. They count that 11 months are ahead [before the Warsaw summit] and they just find it difficult to give a direct answer at this point in time.’ The newly appointed Republican Minister assesses that Ukrainian events as a window of opportunity in the sense that Russia is not ready to open a 2nd, 3rd or 17th front; if it did, it would already have done so. Minister Khidasheli also remarked on Russia’s new naval doctrine released last week on the Kremlin website that aims at boosting the strategic positions of Russia’s navy on the Black Sea and aspires to maintain an Atlantic and Mediterranean presence to prvent NATO expansion eastward. “For me, as the Minister of Defense, it is more interesting

NATO and Georgian flags.

what kind of document will be adopted at the NATO Ministerial in December than the Russian military doctrine.” ANALYSIS: It is not hard to find some positional differences between Usupashvili and Khidasheli, who not merely represent their family, but the whole Republican Party; the single force which is considered most western-oriented among the other coalition members of Georgian Dream. Usupashvili’s statement can be assessed as part of the long-failed GD rhetoric that Georgia would be able to normalize relations with Russia - the very purpose the Abashidze-Karasin format was established for. At the same time, the first female Defense Minister, following her appointment, has continually stated that Georgia should get MAP

at the Warsaw Summit. Surprisingly, believing in ‘western agreement’ to grant Georgia MAP in several months, Khidasheli seems to be forgetting the NATO Budapest Summit of 2008, in which Germany was one of the European countries that specifically blocked granting MAP to Georgia. In addition, analyzing Georgia’s current domestic and international political life, it can be assessed that Georgian Dream has prepared a non-traditional cocktail blending Georgia’s western integration, Russian normalization and the country’s security issues so strongly with one another that it is hardly possible to find any clear ways to make Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic course stronger and irreversible. Will Georgia get MAP at the NATO Warsaw Summit? Has GD isolated Georgia with its obscure foreign politics.

Pr esident Mar gv elashvili to Veto Contr over sial Bill President Margv gvelashvili Contro ersial on Na tional Bank of Geor gia (NBG) Georgia National By Nino Japarashvili


Giorgi Abashishvili, President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s Economic Advisor said the Georgian President is expected to veto the controversial bill on the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) in the coming days. The bill, which was proposed on May 21 by two MPs, envisages setting up a Financial Supervisory Agency which would be in charge of monitoring and supervising the banking sector and other financial institutions, the functions which are currently carried out by departments of the NBG. This proposal has become a matter of political accusation and concern for

various stakeholders. One of the main reasons for criticism is that the proposal is motivated by political rather than economic reasons, initiated amid attacks from the Georgian Dream (GD), current ruling party, and senior politicians against NBG president Giorgi Kadagidze. Chairman of Parliament Davit Usupashvili, on July 10, announced that the legislative body would not finalize its work on the proposed bill until all issues of concern are agreed with the parties. Georgian Parliament passed the bill with its third and final reading on July 17. Head of the NBG, Giorgi Kadagidze, welcomed President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s intention, saying that it “will be

Giorgi Abashishvili, President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s Economic Advisor.

an opportunity for parliament members to revise their decision.” He added that the NGB had consultation with the President’s Office in drafting its objections.




Georgia’s Effor ts Examined in the U.S 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Repor t By Nino Japarashvili Since the adoption of the Palermo Protocol and the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000, efforts to combat human trafficking around the world have intensified. Yet, it is an illicit $150 billion industry, with an estimated 20 million people believed to be victims of human trafficking in virtually every country in the world. The U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, published annually, is the U.S government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments to combat human trafficking. The document rates 188 countries on their efforts to stamp out trafficking in persons and is the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts. This year’s TIP report, published on July 27, places a special emphasis on human trafficking in the global marketplace and highlights the hidden risks that workers may encounter when seeking employment. The document, covering U.S government efforts undertaken from April 2014 through March 31, 2015, also underlines the importance of the steps that governments and businesses can take to prevent trafficking. “In the year 2015 we have a modern version of slavery... it is vital for us to push back against this… this report is important because it really is one of the best means that we have as individuals to speak up for adults and children who lack any effective platform whatsoever through which they are able to speak for themselves,” John Kerry, Secretary of State said in his remarks at an event releasing the 2015 TIP Report, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Looking closely at Georgia’s performance, the report states that the country “is a source, transit, and destination country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking, and men, women, and children subjected to forced labor. Women and girls from Georgia are subject to sex trafficking within the coun-

try, in Turkey, and, to a lesser extent, in China, Egypt, Greece, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia. Women from Azerbaijan and Central Asian countries are subject to forced prostitution in Georgia’s commercial sex trade in the tourist areas of Batumi and Gonio in the Adjara province.” The document informs that experts report women are subject to sex trafficking in saunas, strip clubs, casinos, and hotels. “The majority of identified trafficking victims are young, foreign women seeking employment. Georgian men and women are subject to forced labor within Georgia and in Turkey, Iraq, Russia, Azerbaijan and other countries. Georgian migrants pursuing employment in agriculture and other low-skilled jobs contact employers or agents directly, only later becoming victims in their destination country. In recent years, foreign nationals have been exploited in agriculture, construction, and domestic service within Geor-

10 Galaktion Street

gia” – the report reads. TIP also stresses that Georgian, Romani, and Kurdish children are subject to forced begging or are coerced into criminality. No information is provided about the presence of human trafficking in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Taking these shortcomings into consideration, the document underlines that the Government of Georgia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. TIP claims that investigations, prosecutions, and convictions increased during the reporting period. The fact that the Prime Minister signed a decree establishing a labor inspectorate with authority to enforce preventative measures related to labor trafficking, and that the government increased the number of anti-trafficking mobile units from three to four, providing law enforcement more resources and

personnel to conduct trafficking investigations is positively evaluated. However the report claims that law enforcement’s limited investigative capabilities hampered trafficking investigations. Experts reported investigators focused on interrogating victims for evidence gathering, rather than interviewing them to determine whether or not they were potential victims. “The government did not outline a strategy to systematically combat street begging; experts reported the police refused to investigate several cases of forced begging, claiming street begging is not a violation of child’s rights under current legislation” – 2015 TIP report stresses. The Department of State places each country onto one of four tiers: Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch list, and Tier 3. This placement is based on the extent of governments’ efforts to reach compliance with the TVPA minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking

which are generally consistent with the Palermo Protocol. While Tier 1 is the highest ranking, indicating that a government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking, made efforts to address the problem, and complies with the TVPA minimum standards, Tier 3 is the lowest ranking assigned to countries whose governments do not fully comply with minimum standards to eliminate trafficking and are not making significant efforts to do so. This year, in this year’s report, some 18 countries moved up in the tier rankings while around 18 countries moved down in the tier rankings. Overall the distribution of tier rankings is as followed: 31 countries are on Tier 1; 89 countries are on Tier 2; the Tier 2 Watch List contains 44 countries; and Tier 3 is comprised of 23 countries. Georgia remains in Tier 2, where it was relegated for the 2012 reporting period, after six straight years in Tier 1.

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Eur opean P ar liament AFET European Par arliament Dele gation R eaf ms EU’ s EU’s Deleg Reaf eafffir irms Suppor gia Supportt to Geor Georgia

European Parliament AFET delegation with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

By Nino Japarashvili An ad hoc delegation of the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) of the European Parliament came to Georgia for a two-day visit during which time they Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia, the Speaker of the Parliament, Davit Usupashvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, as well as other Members of Government, Members of Parliament, Members of the Parliamentary Opposition, and representatives of civil society. Delegation members also visited prisons to meet Ivane Merabishvili, Giorgi Ugulava and Bacho Akhalaia, former government officials who were arrested under the new government. During their visit, the delegation Members traveled to the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) at Didi Khurvaleti, where Russian forces placed border signposts marking the so called “state border”, deep inside Georgian territory, earlier this month. Visiting the ABL, the delegation members saw the impact of such actions on the everyday life of local people. They reaffirmed their support for the territorial integrity of Georgia and reiterated that “the international community will not recognize the recent so-called treaties on alliance and integration signed between

Russia and the two occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are a de facto annexation of these occupied territories.” The AFET Members reminded the Georgian government that democratic developments and strengthening of democratic institutions is the best defense. In that regard, they expressed concern on the ongoing amendments to the legislation regarding the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) and its financial supervision powers, and reminded that “independence of the monetary policy from political influence should be safeguarded.” The AFET Members also underlined the continued importance of implementing a thorough reform of the judiciary system. In particular, they called on the authorities to follow the recommendation of the Venice Commission on the Law on the Office of the Prosecutor, in order to ensure its full independence and de-politicization. After the visit to the prison to see former government officials, the MEPs stressed that the justice system should be free of political motivation. Thereby, they welcomed the recent presidential pardon. During the two-day visit, the AFET Members also touched upon the issue of the Association Agreement (AA), spe-

cifically the Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP). “The Parliament fully supports Georgia in this process, convinced that visa free travel is the tangible short-term example of what the EU can offer to the population…considers that the visa free regime should be granted in 2016, once the relevant criteria are fulfilled“– reads the final statement of the delegation. The Members expressed condolences for the victims and families of the recent flooding in Tbilisi, stressing that the EU assistance provided is a sign of the friendship to Georgian people. The AFET delegation visit to Georgia comes after a visit to Ukraine, where they conducted similar meetings with top government officials, civil society organizations and representatives of different international organizations and missions operating in the country. The eight-Member delegation was led by Elmar BROK (EPP, Germany), the Chair of the Committee, and saw the representation of most political groups in the European Parliament, including Sandra Kalniete (EPP, Latvia), Andrej Plenkovic (EPP, Croatia), Gabrielius Landsbergis (EPP, Lithaunia), Richard Howitt (S&D, UK), Andrejs Mamikins (S&D, Latvia), Marek Jurek (ECR, Poland), and Paavo Vayrynen (ALDE, Finland).

MIA Pub lishes La test Crime Sta tistics in Geor gia Publishes Latest Statistics Georgia By Nino Japarashvili The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) published crime statistics for the January-June period for 2015 on July 27th. The statistics are comprised of the data provided by the Ministry as well as information collected from all investigative agencies throughout Georgia, who conduct investigations of the criminal cases according to their jurisdiction. In particular the Ministry of Internal Affairs, General Prosecutor’s Office, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Corrections. According to the agencies, in June of 2015, 3089 criminal cases have been registered and from that 1386 cases were solved. The case-solving index is 44.87%. Compared to the same period of last year the number of crimes has decreased by -0.87%. During the January-June period all investigative agencies registered 1734 crimes, with 9772 cases solved. The case solving index is 56.05%. Criminal cases have decreased by -4.93% compared to the same period of the previous year. In accordance with the MIA territorial units, in June 2015, 2016 crime cases were registered according to their investigation jurisdiction. Of these 1203 cases

MIA headquarters, Tbilisi.

were solved with a case-solving index of 59.67%. In comparison with the results from the same period last year the number of criminal cases have increased by +0.70%. As the MIA explains, the increase in criminal cases comes from an increase in registered crimes for domestic violence and weapons charges (Article 126 prima domestic violence +87.23% and article 236 (Illicit Purchase, Keeping, Carrying, Production, Shipment, Trans-

fer or Sale of Fire-Arms, Ammunition, Explosive Material or Explosive Devise) (+171.43%). During the January-June 2015 period MIA territorial units registered 12’205 criminal cases and, according to their investigation jurisdictions, 8137 cases had been solved. The index of the solve cases is 66.67% and shows criminal cases decreased by -5.25% in comparison with the same period in the previous year.

Russian ‘Cr ee ping ‘Cree eeping Occupa tion gian Occupation tion’’ Testing Geor Georgian ‘Str ate gic’ P atience ‘Stra tegic’ Pa By Zviad Adzinbaia “The Russian Federation is testing Georgia’s patience every single day, trying to involve us in a conflict,”said Georgia’s Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli, commenting on the events developing at the boundary line (ABL) of the Tskhinvali region, where Russian so-called peacekeepers have been set on splitting up families on the ground as they push the demarcation lines and grab more Georgian land. While speculating that the government will not rise to Russian provocations, Russian troops have appeared only several hundred meters away from the central highway connecting Georgia to Turkey. “The tragedy that has been taking place along the artificially-drawn border over the past seven years is a matter of equal concern for everyone. However, our main aim is prevent our country from becoming the victim of constant Russian provocations,” said the Defense Minister, notwithstanding the fact that the Georgian government has been in a state of ‘strategic’ patience, despite many of its citizens regarding this as rather ‘strategic irrationality’.

the occupation of your territories by any other country. We want to demonstrate our support to Georgia and protest against Russia’s occupational policy by visiting the borderline,” said the European politician. In response to the aforementioned occupational policy, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili stated on the Public Broadcaster that Georgia will not accept occupation. “We will not accept or tolerate occupation. All Georgians have the same position about this issue. This is a painful topic for everyone. This is a topic that is fundamental to any Georgian.” “Let’s look at the situation: there exist occupied territories; occupation is committed by our neighboring state; it is a crime that violates international law and humanitarian principles; it is a shameful act,” Margvelashvili maintained, adding that Georgia has the full support of the international community. As the main legislative organ of the country, Georgian Parliament is expected to adopt a resolution on the current situation happening along the ABL. The draft resolution by the Georgian Dream coalition has already been submitted along with one from the National

“Russia is making a huge mistake with its provocative actions, because it further escalates the already tense relations with the civilized world. However, it is their choice and Georgian statehood gains only more friends and supporters,” the Minister concluded. As proof of Georgia’s international support on its sovereignty and territorial integrity, the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Elmar Brok, said that [they] support Georgia.“We want to demonstrate our support to Georgia and protest against Russia’s occupation policy by visiting the borderline. He added that Georgia has made [positive] progress regarding EU integration. “The progress that Georgia showed in terms of EU integration is very positive. As for the territorial integrity and sovereignty issue, we do not recognize

Movement who have their own version. Analysis by Georgia Today’s Zviad Adzinbaia: The situation in Georgian occupied territories [territory] is very much part of Russia’s geopolitical game to [re]gain its influence in the regions of the South Caucasus and the Black Sea as it tries its best to ‘beat’ the West. The ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine is a clear demonstration of Russia’s strategic vision to control the former Soviet bloc and finally, to restore the USSR with its new [but archaic] idea of the Eurasian Union. What will Georgia get from the situation? To fish in troubled waters and raise international support or play an appeasement and obscurantism game, which leads the country toward unending confusion? Georgia must, in these times, rely upon on a rational, pragmatic and clear foreign policy.





Eeny Meeny Miny Moe - Who to Choose for the Next MIA? By Zaza Jgarkhava The country has now been without a Minister of Interior Affairs for ten days. The former, Vakhtang Gomelauri, had been approved by parliament to hold the position of head of the newlyopened Security Agency; his successor however, is yet to be announced by the premier. For now, the “sequestrated” ministry is getting by with an acting minister, although both the government and the highest legislative body have as of yet refrained from naming him. It seems as though Soviet traditions are still working well in the Georgian Dream government – the person who becomes acting minister gets the portfolio of the minister as well. On 1st of August, Prime Minister Garibashvili will reveal who the leader of the once powerful ministry will be, but before that, as some analysts say, there will be a significant conflict from within the government. Anzor Chubinidze, Gigla Agulashvili, Archil Talakvadze, Ioseb Gogashvili, Giorgi Mgebrishvili – this is the list of people, who are being considered for the position of the Minister of Interior Affairs. However, Vice Prime Minister Kakhi Kaladze has now also been added to the list of potential ministers. Reportedly, after Anzor Chubinidze, the second candidate being actively discussed for the stated position is Kaladze. The active Minister of Environmental Protection Gigla Agulashvili has been lobbied by the Republican party, but after one of the leaders of the party, Levan Berdzenishvili, announced that the “party was not fighting for posts” it became clear that the Minister of the Environmental Protection would not continue in the race and would not be designated to the position of Georgia’s No.1 Police Officer. Unlike Agulashvili, Anzor Chubinidze does not have a political background and is the Head of the Special State Protection Service of Georgia to

Next Georgian MIA? (Left) Anzor Chubinidze, Head of the Special State Protection Service of Georgia and (right) Kakhi Kaladze, Georgian Vice Prime Minister.

this day. However, he is supported by none other than the ex-Prime Minister and billionaire, Bidzina Ivanishvili. Although, as today almost everything depends on the wishes of the ex-premier, the designation of yet another of Ivanishvili’s appointments could become a watershed moment, which might turn out to be a regrettable act for Georgian Dream. According to political analyst Soso Tsintsadze: “The designation of Chubinidze will once again prove that ministers in our government are chosen by Ivanishvili. The post of the Minister of Defense is of no interest to Ivanishvili, as the backbone of the state in less developed countries is the Ministry of Interior Affairs. Ivanishvili does not trust strangers, therefore these two ministers, Gomelauri and Chubinidze, or anybody else for that matter, will be someone from his inner circle.

Nor does Archil Talakvadze have any political background, but he is from the so-called NGO sector, which is considered a big disadvantage for the ruling political group and especially for Ivanishvili, for whom this segment of society will always be associated with the National Movement. The remaining two candidates, Ioseb Gogashvili and Giorgi Mgebrishvili, are Garibashvili’s nominees and are considered as members of the so-called Kakhetian Clan, therefore the chances of their designation are almost equal to zero. The Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Energy is yet another topic. Although Ivanishvili likes Kaladze, the main issue is that he belongs to a party that does not get along with the government’s “depoliticization” policy. Moreover, consecration of Kaladze by Ivanishvili for the post of the Minis-

ter of Internal Affairs would mean that a new prince is born at the billionaire’s court. This would equal to an open declaration of distrust towards the active Prime Minister. The fact that the billionaire Ivanishvili has “trust” issues with his own political firstborn can be seen from the fact that the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili is almost declared as a political enemy. There were times when, as Davit Saganelidze, the leader of Georgian Dream once said: “he was taken from doorstep to doorstep by hand during the Presidential elections.” Yet another political enemy is the former Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania and his political team. Former member of the parliamentary majority Murman Dumbadze is confident that the mistrust between Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream MPs is close to the verge and that 90% of its

current members won’t make it to the parliamentary list of the coalition in 2016. In his interview with the newspaper New Generation, Murman Dumbadze says: “He openly declared that nobody from the current membership will get into the future parliament, 90% of MPs will not be nominated as Majoritarians nor will they get into the party lists... I repeat, Ivanishvili will bring those people to future election whom he has turned into unconditional performers of his own political will.” There is fact and then there is interpretation. As they say, the “fact is stubborn” and the interpretation is subjective. It is a fact that today’s political processes are controlled by billionaire Ivanishvili; however, the interpretation is that the country has a government and that its head is the one who designates the ministers.

Putin Signs Decree of Sanctions on Product Destruction By Eka Karsaulidze Exactly one year after the Russian sanctions were imposed against Europe, President of Russia Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to destroy all products that fall under the food embargo. This decree will come into force on August 6. The idea to destroy sanctioned products right on the border came from Minister of Agriculture of Russia, Alexander Tkachev. Minister Tkachev proposed to de-

stroy those products which are imported in circumvention of the embargo, but currently returned to the sender. The decree states that these provisions do not apply to goods imported by individuals for personal use. “I would take this opportunity and ask you and the Russian government to do everything possible to destroy on the spot all consignments of products that come illegally across the border into the Russian Federation,” Tkachev said in an

President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev (from

address to President Putin on July 26. The minister explained that, according to current regulation, illegal goods that pass through the border must be sent back. Putin agreed with the new idea and lawyers are working on the document. On August 7, 2014, the Russian government published a list of products that are prohibited to import into Russia from the United States, European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway. The measures were taken as a response to

the sanctions of the West in reaction to the situation in Ukraine. The black list includes cattle meat, pork, poultry, salted meat, fish and seafood. Restrictions also touched milk and dairy products: cheese, cottage cheese, sausages and similar products of meat, vegetables, roots, fruits and nuts. In June this year the injunction was extended for a year, until August 2016. Later it became known that seven European countries – Montenegro, Al-

bania, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Ukraine and Georgia had joined the list on the sanction extension. Six of these countries also joined the EU decision to extend the EU economic sanctions against Russia before January 31, 2016. Georgia was not one of those six. This news comes from the statement of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy published on the EU Council’s website on July 28 reported by the TassNews Agency.





Who Would Ascend on Georgia’s Olympus (Will a new generation come to rule a nation) By Andro Barnovi Cronus never handed his power to heirs, just as his father Uranus never did. Transition happened, however, thanks to an asylum on a faraway island, and to someone who dared to resist incumbent autocrats. Zeus did not win alone. Great Mother Earth opened her gates to free the titans and help the new generation shine and prosper. The principal difference with older gods became clear: new divine forces organized the universe and shared spaces to reign; dark forces got darker, waters were taken to waters, forces of light got skies and brought daylight. Myriads of other goddesses and gods, nymphs and daemons shared the universe to rule. The era of humanity and civilization hence commenced, myth died, and it became literature, architecture, philosophy and science, laws and states, education and organization. Unlike post-Cronus Ancient Greece, the “age of mythology” would still describe Post-Soviet Georgia’s reality better than any political theory could. You have forces of darkness, and forces of light – cultural forces, not of civilization. Heroic leaders prevail; whoever wins does so with cultural domination. Hierarchic ethos does not tolerate difference; earth is as plain as a leader’s sight; wisdom – absent; Civilization – simply not there.

Meanwhile, a new divine kid is being raised by a new Amalthea – the West. He is not a hero, but the light itself. He is growing, expanding and occupying hills and plains, streets and houses of a new nation, living in social networks and in highland villages, schools and universities, and expanding without any preplanned schedule and without a ruler. A light, stemming from its main source – the West, comes through Western universities, internships, business contacts, and various traditional and social media. Georgia’s new reality includes new young leaders, – something never seen before in this particular environment. These are young people who do not just obey the bosses in the capital, but act with shared beliefs and their own agendas – in the spheres of politics, social affairs, business and education. They have visions and energy, and are better professionals than their seniors, and their daily struggle is based on vision and leadership and horizontal ties and responsibilities that have nothing to do with the old-style “nomenklatura” politics, evil or kind-hearted demiurges, or even with a brilliant visionary manager. A nation is commencing, a new kid is about to take on the country’s political Olympus. Yet, what they still lack is a clear new message, new ideas, a logo, an established trend, a wide-functioning consensus that the future belongs to a new generation. They still need a leader among equals

Andro Barnovi, Chair of the Saakashvili Presidential Library and Founder of the Movement for Independence and EU Integration.

who would breakthrough, make titans move waters and pave roads for their own futures. This is not going to be simply “new faces” on an old canvas. This is going to be a new force, a new canvas, a new reality that will make Georgia dis-

Young Georgian Leaders Participate at the Visegrad School of Political Studies

Georgian participants of the 2015 Visegrad School of Political Studies program.

By Steven Jones Georgian young leaders from different state and non-profit sectors participated in the Visegrad School of Political Studies (VSPS) held in Warsaw, Poland from 20-24 July this year. The program was organized by the European Academy of Diplomacy (EAD), the first nongovernmental, non- profit diplomatic academy in Europe, and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the Visegrad Fund. The EAD, with the mission of shaping, sharpening and inspiring a new generation of enlightened international leaders, brought together 30 youth representatives from 10 countries of the EU and its neighborhood, including Georgia. The seminars and workshops of the Visegrad School of Political Studies were designed to help increase involvement in the democratic processes, foster exchange of know-how and strengthen regional cooperation among a new genera-

tion of Central and Eastern European leaders. The VSPS currently operates the following programs: The VSPS Annual Program and the V4 (Visegrad 4) meets EaP (Eastern Partnership) seminar. The Annual Program is an open platform for young professionals from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia with 3+ years of experience in politics, civil society, public administration and journalism. Selected participants meet five times over the course of a year in each of the Visegrad capitals, plus Strasbourg for the World Forum for Democracy held annually in November. During the program, participants discuss the main challenges to the democratic process in the Visegrad Group, how to strengthen the democratic process in the Visegrad countries and the Visegrad Group and the future of the European Union. The VSPS Annual Program is organized in cooperation with the Council of Europe and the International Visegrad Fund. The VSPS has a growing network of alumna who are expected to be the ‘lead-

ers of tomorrow’ in their countries. The lectures and seminars during the program were delivered by high-ranking experts and professionals from across the European Union, including heads of different European think tanks and senior EU lobbyists. It is not the first time for the Georgian delegation to participate in the project, as the VSPS - in its efforts to train Georgian public servants – contributes to Georgia’s reformation process and the country’s aspiration toward the European integration. At the same time, Ukraine and Moldova, who along with Georgia have opted for a Euro-Atlantic path, were widely present at the school as the countries are in vital need of educated, young innovators in the public sphere. The V4 meets EaP program is an extension of the Visegrad School of Political Studies Annual Program that aims to promote the collective and individual V4 democratic transition experience to young political, social and governmental leaders from Eastern Partnership countries. The V4 meets EaP brings together 30 participants from V4 and EaP countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine) for week-long seminars that focus on EU integration, civil society development and general transitional experience. The V4 meets EaP program is organized in cooperation with the Council of Europe, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the International Visegrad Fund. The participants are expected to build strong networks and to develop their relationships from their diverse positions in the future. At the graduation ceremony of the course, the participants were awarded certificates of successful completion.

cover new miracles in its future, and follow some new religion, leading to literature, architecture, philosophy and science, law and a state, and education and organization. But little happens without the help

of titans. They, forces of light themselves, who have once been thrown into Tartarus by the evil god Cronus, must listen to their mother Earth, come together and overthrow an ugly tyrant who is barring the way to light, which is coming. Light will emanate anyway. Let only the source live long. The next inhabitants of Georgian Olympus will be a new generation who grew up in freedom and were exposed to Western values not in the singles, but in the masses. This is going to be a team of likeminded civilized leaders, not a mix with darkness in their minds. Georgia has a very bright future and it is coming now. Based on its internal forces, and while energetically returning to its civilizational home, Georgia is building a bridge to civilization, and preparing to shed light around the region – just as it was once named a beacon of freedom and democracy…. This was not an erroneous alias, it is holding truth, and continues to further evolve… ———— Andro Barnovi is the Chair of the Saakashvili Presidential Library and Founder of the Movement for Independence and EU Integration. He is also the former Head of the Administration of the President of Georgia; Governor of Shida Kartli Region; Dean of Social and Political Sciences; Deputy Defense Minister; and Rector of National Defense Academy.


2015 Primetime Emmy Nominations: HBO, ABC Lead the Pack By Beqa Kirtava The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has announced the nominees for the 67th edition of late TV’s most prestigious award – the Primetime Emmys. Georgia Today is here to tell you all the most interesting facts about this year’s nominations. Starting off with the programs, Louie, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Silicon Valley, Transparent, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Veep all managed to grab a seat in the Outstanding Comedy Series category, while Better Call Saul, Downtown Abbey, Game of Thrones (which received the most – 24 nominations, followed by American Horror Story: Freak Show with 20), Homeland, House of Cards, Mad Men and Orange is the New Black are now running head to head for the title of an Outstanding Drama Series. Surprisingly, Orange is the New Black was put in the drama category this year, meaning that the show has now been nominated as both Outstanding Comedy and Drama series. As for the number of nominations by networks, the unstoppable HBO shattered all its competitors with an astonishing 126 nominations. ABC Television Network came second with exactly 1/3 of the aforementioned figure, 42 total nods. Moving on to the snubs, Emmys

overlooked many of this year’s Golden Globe honorees. “The Affair”, which took home 2 Golden Globes this year, was completely ignored by the Television Academy. Another winner, Gina Rodriguez was also left without a nomination, while “Jane the Virgin” received only 1 nod. “Sons of Anarchy” and “Parenthood” also ended up on the unlucky list, while the absence of “Empire” from the Outstanding Drama Series category also raised numerous eyebrows. The ceremony of the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be held on September 20, 2015 at the Microsoft Theater in Downtown Los Angeles, California. Georgia Today promises to offer you a summary of all the buzzworthy moments. To see the full list of nominations go to


FRIXX - New Georgian Chips Enter the Market P.12


Rehabilitation of Tourist Infrastructure to Start in Bakuriani

By Dimitri Dolaberidze Development of tourist infrastructure has begun in Bakuriani with a memorandum of understanding signed between the state and private sector in hotel Radisson Blu. The Government of Georgia is to finance construction of the Kokhta and Mitarbi ropeways with 48 million Lari. The Reconstruction and Development Company of Georgia will make an investment of 70m Lari in the real estate area of the project, which will be one of the largest investments in the revival of mountain tourism. The Memorandum was signed by the Ministry of Economy, the National Agency for State Property Management, the Mountain Resort Development Company, and the representatives of Akhali Mitarbi, a part of the Reconstruction and Development Company of Georgia. Minister of Economy, Giorgi Kvirikashvili: “It is important that the project is implemented through Public-Private Partnership, a model just recently introduced in Georgia and one which is necessary for the development of the market economy.” Founder of TBC Group, Mamuka Khazaradze, estimated it as an unprecedented case to have a

partnership between the state and private sectors. “This is a new step in the development of Georgian tourism. After the project is finished, we will have a skiing resort of the highest standard, such as we see in Austria, France or Switzerland. It is important to note that each of the buildings and constructions will be built according to a very strict and detailed general plan with the highest quality material to be used. What is most noteworthy is that the resort will have an exquisite architectural design. This project will act as an example for others, and will encourage further development of tourism infrastructure and the creation of an attractive investment environment. As a result of this development, additional jobs will be created and local entrepreneurship will be encouraged,” Khazaradze said. The general plan has been designed by a famous Canadian company, which was invited onto this project by the Reconstruction and Development Company of Europe, while the project itself belongs to Georgian company Construction of ropeways will be implemented by Austrian company Doppelmayr, the world’s leading company in skiing and mountain infrastructure development.

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Train Tested In Turkey By Tamar Svanidze A trial of the train of the $600 million railway project which directly connects Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan has been launched on Turkish territory today. According to Trend news agency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is attending the Chinese-Turkish business forum in Beijing, announced that the first test train is being launched via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway on the territory of Turkey on July 30. The BTK railway line is a regional railway link that will directly connect Kars in Turkey, Tbilisi in Georgia and Baku in Azerbaijan. The total estimated cost of the project is around $600 million. The Turkish segment will be 76km long while the Georgian railway line will be 29km long. President Erdogan also stressed the importance of the BTK project in the field of cargo transportation. It is hoped that the railway line will improve the trade and economic relations between Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran, when connecting with Europe.

Photo from the ENPI Info Center.

The construction of the new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad was inaugurated by the presidents of the three regions at Marabda, South Georgia on 21 November 2007. However, on 8 August 2009, construction activities of the BTK railway line were suspended due to the Georgian-Ossetian conflict and environmental problems. In February 2014, Azerbaijan’s Transportation Minister, Ziya Mammadov, stated that the project would not be completed before the second half of 2015 and new sleeping coaches would not enter service until 2016-17. The presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey signed the declaration on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway connection on 25 May 2005. The key reason for the agreement was the rejection of assistance by the EU and the US as the link bypassed Armenia. It is believed that the BTK railway line will transport a million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo in its initial stage. By 2030, it is expected to carry an estimated 17 million tons of cargo and approximately three million passengers.


Constant Monitoring in Accordance with Environmental and Economic Interests By Rusudan Abashidze

Mamuka Khazaradze, Founder of TBC Group.

ADB: Tbilisi Metro to be Extended

Considering the environmental recommendations of the National Program, the company “Georgian Manganese” has installed ambient air monitoring systems in residential areas near to its ferroalloy plant in Zestafoni. In order for an Air Quality Monitoring Station to be set up in the Plant, first of all, all the pre-conditions had to be created which would reduce industrial waste dispersal. Once the air filtration systems were completely upgraded in the main production areas of the Plant, and measures had been successfully taken to eliminate environmental pollution, management officially set a course towards introducing the latest technological advances in order to study atmospheric air quality. The ferroalloy plant of Georgian Manganese set itself the aim to protect these norms and standards within a permanent monitoring framework and by implementing a special laboratory to study air pollution. Aside from the company’s representatives, the presentation of the new Air Quality Monitoring Station was attended by the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection, Gigla Agulashvili, the Governor of Imereti region, Givi Chichinadze, parliamentarians, members of NGOs, and local government representatives. That day, the presentation of the Air Quality Monitoring Station in Zestafoni was not the only novelty from the company to establish a clean and healthy local environment, as Georgian Manganese presented to the town an 11-tonne motorized street cleaner. Gigla Agulashvili, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection: “This is a sig-

nificant achievement in terms of environmental measures not only for the Ferroalloy Plant but for the Zestafoni population as a whole. This initiative of the Plant management, I think, is an example to those enterprises which disperse industrial waste into the environment. Velvel Lozynsky of Georgian Manganese: “We went through the most difficult years of technical and technological transformation in order to achieve a stable production mode at Georgian Manganese and to improve the social background and solve the key problematic issues of environmental protection, the lack of which in the past harmed the company’s image. Today we can say we have chosen the right course. We are establishing one of the most important confirmations of this process- the new Air Quality Monitoring Station in Zestafoni. We will start the realization of the next stage of alignment to European standards when the factory’s gas cleaning economy will be equipped with the latest modulation filters. Further, we plan to install the same systems of monitoring in our Plant in Chiatura.”




TBC Bank Wins Multiple Awards for Corporate and Consumer Digital Banking TBC Bank has been recognized by Global Finance Magazine with the fourth consecutive Best Consumer and Corporate Digital Bank in Georgia awards in 2015. The Bank’s consumer digital banking has also been recognized for the Best SMS/Text Banking 2015 in the Central & Eastern European (CEE) region. According to the publication’s press release, winners were chosen based on the “strength of strategy for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings,

evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives, and web/mobile site design and functionality.” Award winners were evaluated by Infosys, a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing, with the

final selections for the first round of winners made by the Global Finance editors. Commenting on the news, Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, TBC Bank’s Chief Executive Officer said: “We are proud to receive

this recognition for our consistent commitment to provide our customers with the world-class digital banking services. This win solidifies TBC Bank’s as a leader in consumer and corporate digital banking in Georgia and in the region.” This is the 16th year Global Finance has named the World’s Best Digital Banks and details on all First Round winners will be published in our September issue. The overall Regional and Global winners, and Global Sub-Category winners, will be revealed on 27th October at Global Finance’s Best Digital Bank Awards dinner in London.

Hotel Sympatia

4, V. Daraselia Str. Tbilisi, Georgia

ADB: Tbilisi Metro to be Extended Representatives from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, the Municipal Development Fund of Georgia and the Mayor of Tbilisi held an inauguration ceremony today to mark the start of construction on the next phase of the capital’s metro rail expansion. The new phase will involve rehabilitating tunnel between Vazha Pshavela and University stations and the opening of a new station. The project is being financed under ADB’s Sustainable Urban Transport Investment Program. “The project will improve the efficiency and reliability of the urban transport network, create economic and job opportunities, and pave the way for a more sustainable environment in Tbilisi,” said Kathie Julian, Country Di-

rector in ADB’s Georgia Resident Mission. The establishment of an efficient, sustainable transport network is considered a key component of further urban development in Georgia, and the government is working with its development partners to provide a transport system that meets the needs of all citizens and improves their quality of life. “The works will signal the completion of the metro Line 2 extension, resulting in increased and improved mobility, as well as relieving pressure on the road network,” said Bertrand Goalou, Senior Urban Development Specialist at ADB. “This will also have clear real estate and sustainable urban development-related benefits.” ADB has supported Georgia since 2007. As of end 2014,

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from 35 euro ADB-approved cumulative assistance to Georgia totaled more than $1.6 billion, including $259 million in approved loans and technical assistance grants in 2014 alone. ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, envi-

ronmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion. From the Press Release of ADB.

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Bank of Georgia Provides Factoring Services to Badagoni

Bank of Georgia headquarters, Tbilisi.

Bank of Georgia and wine company Badagoni have signed a factoring agreement in association with the Factors Chain International (FCI) which will enable the enterprise to significantly increase its export capacity. According to well-known American publication, Entrepreneur, factoring is a financing method in which a business owner sells accounts receivable at a discount to a third-party funding source to raise capital. “Bank of Georgia, as the only

Georgian member of Factors Chain International (FCI), was one of the very first financial institutions to offer its clients local and international factoring services. It must also be noted that Bank of Georgia has signed an agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development regarding the financing of international factoring. Bank of Georgia is able to provide factoring services to any European country,” stated the Head of Corporate Banking Activities, Vasil Khodeli.

FRIXX - New Georgian Chips Enter the Market By Baia Dzagnidze FRIXX, a new potato chips pruct made from Georgian vegetables has entered the market with three flavors: Classic, BBQ and Adjika (Georgian chili sauce). The FRIXX chips were created by European experts with European and American technologies and its factory is located in the Lilo industrial zone. “This is yet another Georgian enterprise to add to the list,” stated Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, at the factory opening ceremony on July 29. “The statement ‘Made in Georgia with Pride’ means a lot to

PM Irakli Garibashvili tastes new Georgian FRIXX chips. Taken from the PM Garibashvili Facebook page.

me,” he added. The total cost of the factory is estimated at 4 million GEL and was invested in by European investor Jan-Frederik Paulsen. The company has its own potato fields in Bolnisi and Dmanisi. “Jan-Frederik Paulsen has moved to Georgian from Germany and is a good example to local and international investors,” continued Garibashvili. Currently, around 25 employees are working at the company; however, they plan to expand their staff number. Company representatives state that in the near future, a new flavor will be introduced to the market.

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Book ffor or Ev er y Villa ge Pr oject Gear s Up ffor or Futur e Endea vor s Ever ery illag Project Gears Future Endeav ors By Beqa Kirtava

donate some of their old books for this great cause. Special boxes have been placed in Wissol Petroleum Georgia’s stations, Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts’, Smart supermarkets and also in numerous churches including the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kashveti St. George’s Cathedral, Virgin Mary Church in Didube, Lomisi St. George’s Cathedral in Gldani and St. George’s Cathedral in Varketili. “Book for Every Village” officially began on July 25, 2015. The donated books will be brought to chosen destinations by a special “Moving Library” (a special book-filled bus), which will also stop in many large Georgian cities to encourage the locals to donate and free up the way to better education for children in Georgia’s remote regions.

Organization “Students Unity”, the Ministry of Sports, Wissol Group, Palitra L and many more governmental and non-governmental institutions have joined forces to push forward with the very successful “Book for Every Village” project. On July 22, 2015 a special event was held in the National Library of the Parliament, where past achievements and future plans of the project were presented to attendees. “Book for Every Village” is a charity project which provides books to the central and school libraries of villages in Kvemo Kartli, Racha-Lechkhumi, Pshav-Khevsureti and Imereti. The organizers wish to encourage people do

Ts’utisopeli: Preser ving Georgia’s Heritage By Joseph Larsen Georgia is still a fiercely rural country. Roughly two-thirds of the country’s 4.5 million residents live in provincial towns and villages. Visitors to this Caucasian kingdom-turned-republic are regaled with folk fare such as supras, lengthy toasts, traditional music and long gulps of wine from the khantsi (wine horn). Tbilisi may be the country’s political center, but if Georgia’s head is there, it’s heart is certainly in the countryside. Things are changing, however. Thousands of people leave the village behind each year, leading to fears that the country’s rural roots are beginning to fray. “There is hardly any work for people in the villages today, so it is no surprise that youth continue to head either towards the capital or abroad to seek better opportunity,” says Aurelia Shrenker, an enthnomusicologist working in rural Georgia. “With each wave of urbanization, folk songs (and folk traditions in general) are largely removed from their original functions and assume different purposes.” The need for cultural preservation is why Shrenker launched Ts’utisopeli, a project aimed at keeping Georgia’s heart in the village by documenting, recording and sharing folk music. (Ts’utisopeli means “minute village” in the Georgian language, a reference to a proverb about the short-term nature of earthly life). Shrenker began recording Georgian music in 2010 and has spent the past five years traveling through eastern Georgia and collecting folk songs along the way. Her work recently came to full fruition with the launch of the organization’s website, The site features a library of more

than 400 songs recorded by 70 artists from dozens of villages across eastern Georgia. Visitors can access audio files as well as lyrics and artist biographies in both English and Georgian. Shrenker first became captivated by Georgian music at age 13 as a member of Village Harmony, a choral organization that teaches and performs polyphonic (multi-voiced) sounds from all over the world. “I was fortunate to be taught first by Nato Zumbadze, an ethnomusicologist from the Tbilisi Conservatoire,” she recalls. Her first trip to Georgia came three years later, in 2003. The country was undergoing a rapid transformation following the Rose Revolution, and Shrenker arrived to attend a workshop with the Zedashe Ensemble in Signaghi. She was enthralled by Kakhetian vocal and instrumental styles. The ikmpression left by Georgia extended far beyond music, however. “I was profoundly touched by my experiences in Georgia - the people, the song and dance, the cuisine and supra tradition, the mountains,” she says. Shrenker settled in the country in 2010 after studing ethnomusicology at the University of California and New York University. That year she began documenting and recording traditional village music, and the Ts’utisopeli project was born. She and fellow ethnographer Richard Berkeley spent five years traveling across three regions in eastern Georgia, Kakheti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti and Lower Kartli, engaging with local people and recording music along the way. They chose eastern Georgia as the project’s focus because of the unique quality of its music. While most Geor-

gian music relies on an unaccompanied, three-part polyphony structure, the songs of eastern Georgia are often accompanied by the panduri, a threestringed lute. Ts’utisopeli provided an opportunity to work with local artists, some of whom have been playing Georgian folk music for more than 50 years and have witnessed the country’s transformation first hand. One artist of note is Mariam Gorelashvili from the tiny village of Kvemo Art’ani. In the 1960s the village was bustling, by her account. Today, it is nearly empty. Music is Shenker’s chosen medium, but Ts’utisopeli represents a broader project. Its purpose is to help Georgia retain its rich canon of traditions, of which music is only a part. In her view, this is what makes Georgia wonderful. “I was enthralled by the connectedness of the people to their roots,” she tells me. “The country is so small, but each region is truly distinct.” The project’s library is already extensive, but Shrenker isn’t finished. By conserving what remains of the nation’s folk music and making it accessible to listeners in Georgia and elsewhere, her mission is to help Georgians reconnect with their heritage while helping share it with others. For that, she plans to travel to other regions in Georgia, documenting and recording more music. For Shrenker, preserving Georgia’s cultural heritage many not be easy, but it is necessary: “We all need to consider what is important to each of us, what is worth conserving and sharing — Because it does take work, and without this intention and effort, things that are still alive today will certainly disappear.”

Geor gian Youth F ocus Georgian Focus on Wor ld P eace orld Peace

Georgian youth having a heated debate about peace.

By Baia Dzagnidze ‘The pieces of peace come together to form a masterpiece’ was the theme of a Peace Debate organized by Georgian youth organizations on July 24th at University of Georgia. International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), a youth organization of South Korea, and its Georgian allies, the Young Progressive Leaders of Georgia, League of Young Diplomats, Georgian Youth Development Association and Droni, participated at the event. “We need to discuss realistic ways how to make difference in this world, and as active peace advocates who are to influence and empower the community, we should work as united youth to promote peace,” stated the host, Gvantsa Kokoshvili. “Our ultimate goal is to achieve peace: cessation of wars and prevention of the loss of innocent lives,” she added. The debate itself took the form of Karl Popper, a style that has become more prevalent in Georgia recently. Throughout the debated various teams carried out debates in the form of a tournament and finally a winning team was selected. The debate included sessions on identifying the right way of recovering a lost territory – war or diplomacy - and in what ways youth can express their abstinence to wars and help

to bring them to an end. After this, the youth signed peace agreements for the enactment of international laws which marked the end to the day’s event, while the attendees signed the Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light’s (HWPL) peace agreements for the enactment of international laws which is a practical device that will help achieve the ultimate cessation of wars. “I do agree with HWPL and Mr. Lee’s peace initiatives,” stated Lasha Mamulashvili, the winner of the July 24th Peace Debate. “Youth participation in the issue is rather important, as this new generation is the future of our country,” he explained. According to Akaki Jamburia, an attendee, peace has no alternative in Georgia, in the region and in the whole world. “Wars and conflicts have had devastating results on Georgian society and especially on Georgian youth who suffered a lot during recent decades. New generations should acknowledge the importance of peace for progressive development,” he said. International Peace Youth Group, together with International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), is working towards the enactment of international laws for the cessation of wars as affiliated bodies of HWPL.

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Laugh and Pay Half An Unbelie vable and Cheerful Weekl y Of om Star tup Caf e Unbeliev eekly Offfer fr from Startup Cafe By Maka Lomadze The Laughter Festival took place at the beginning of May this year to mark the International Day of Laughter. It is a unique event globally, and while celebrated annually around the globe, this year was a first for Georgia. In any event, it turned into a huge occasion. Some of those involved during the day have since helped create the Monday Laughter Menu at the newly-opened Startup Cafe on Kiacheli Street. Read below to find out more about the unprecedented notion of paying half your bill with laughter. It is hard not to be happy when you realize that there are people who care about your disposition. Magno Shavdia is a former mathematician who switched to laughter therapy years ago. Now he works for the Osho Meditation Center together with his spouse. “I used to play Rugby too, but when I got acquainted with yoga I did not want anything else. Soon, Osho [an Indian mystic guru and spiritual teacher] became my guru too. The meditation center named after him was opened in Tbilisi in 1980. Soon, we all, members of this center, sold our houses and went to live in India. We got acquainted with lots of people who were fond of laughing and having fun. This center, located in Pune, is the best mix of oriental meditation and Western psy-

chotherapy. It makes sure that a person gets spiritually and materially enriched. I had this idea of having a laughter menu day but only now have I been able to realize this as the café has only recently opened.” Madita Dickhut, Mr. Shavdia’s wife, is a hypnosis specialist and a very skilled NLP [Neuro-linguistic programming] trainer. “It is all about the programs of the mind, how to learn to think in a certain way that is helpful for a better, and more intelligent and peaceful life. I think that Georgian people have discovered individual education. They come and make great insights. They are wonderful students. They are very enthusiastic. It’s beautiful to work with them. I have worked in Brazil, Russia, Italy, India, and I have been almost all over the world…” Rati Gorgiashvili is a budding law student who has NLP training. “This programming focuses on a person’s selfknowledge. It works on a sub-conscious level. You have to dig deeper inside and change yourself. It shows you that there are no problems at all in reality; rather we create them ourselves. NLP helps people to reach their goals. Many of us often hesitate, and cannot make decisions. NLP tells you: feel the present state, as the problems come from either the past or the future; it encourages you to realize the given moment. At the end

of the training day, we have trances. Every person’s life changes after these trainings, as their attitudes towards the universe change. Before that, they might well have some negative attitudes towards particular events, but NPL makes you feel positive and teaches you how to seize this positive feeling from the outside world. There are plenty of positive things that we sometimes simply don’t see, and which might stay out of our sight; but once you pass NLP training, you don’t miss them. It also helps you change attitudes towards yourself and modify self-perception for the better. One of the main elements of NLP is to never repent, as any decision you make is a result of your consideration right at that moment, and even if you could return to that moment, you would have done the same. Therefore, to re-

pent is absurd.” Georgia Today went to the Startup cafe on Monday to see what all the noise was about. We were sat at a table, given a menu to order from and then encouraged to laugh. At first the feeling is forced, unnatural, strange. But then, seeing the genuine joy on the faces around you, memories of your care-free childhood surface and real laughter breaks free. But the secret to joy, the cafe owners say, is not to think about the past or future but to live in the moment. We spoke to fellow diner and laugher, journalist Dea Tavberidze. “I like the situation here in the cafe very much. It has an incredibly happy atmospheresomething that our people and country often lack. Everyone should come here. They’ll be sent back to their carefree childhoods at least for a few hours. It’s

enough even to see so many smiling faces to become happy at once. The main thing is for each of us to realize our presence at the cafe and to enjoy every minute of it! At first, it might look a little bit weird, as we’ve grown out of the habit of laughing as adults, or have even quit altogether; but gradually, people will come in greater numbers and try to make their time here more beautiful.” I myself had a chance to ‘pay’ for a pepperoni pizza (usually costing 4 Gel), with only 1.50 Gel, as the rest was paid with my own laughter, recorded on the spot. The weekly event is highly original and such cafes, as the organizers claim, cannot be found anywhere else in the world. After ordering, a stream of laughter follows, as each and every client is encouraged to laugh along with the positivity that is in the air: “Oh my god, I remember how much I used to laugh in my past…” Then, it’s suddenly time to dance. The organizers promise to make the process even more refined in future, in order to make the whole thing feel more natural. No need, I say - it was joyful hysteria. Why not, after all? After so many negative emotions, tiredness and stresses, why not eat and laugh at the same time? And more importantly, why not forget all your problems and be happy? As Bobby McFerrin sang: “When you worry, you make it double!”


Cultur e is Ev er yw her e, Ev en in the Geor gian High Mountains Culture Ever eryw ywher here Even Georgian Media Libr ar y, Educa tional Center and Ey e-Ca tc hing Photo-Displa y Open in Sv aneti Librar ary Educational Eye-Ca e-Catc tching Photo-Display Svaneti By Maka Lomadze On July 29, in Mestia, the capital of the mountainous Svaneti region of Georgia, an education center, media library and photo exhibition by Guram Tikanadze was opened by the Georgian National Museum and the Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography. This was an event to promote the cultural, educational and scientific life in the mountainous region and show that Tbilisi is not the only center of culture in Georgia, but as it is in the West, culture and development is scattered across the entire country. The grand opening was hosted by the General Director of the Georgian National Museum, Davit Lordkipanidze. Among the distinguished guests were the Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, Mikheil Giorgadze, and the leader of Mestia Municipality, Kapiton Jorjoliani. The Svaneti Museum is a 21st century cultural and educational center, equipped with the latest standards and aiming to support scientific and research activities. Davit Lordkipanidze, General Director of the Georgian National Museum, an umbrella of many museums and galleries scattered all around Georgia, commented shortly before the opening: “Svaneti Museum surpasses the mere conception of a museum. It has always been a cultural, educational and scientific center. Now it will also offer a number of programs to children, as well as an exhibition hall for temporary events. This is how we see the concept of the modern Georgian museum. Moreover, it shows that we do not believe that they should all be concentrated in Tbilisi. Svaneti Museum is a very important venue for the whole cultural heritage and history of the country. In August, a festival is planned to be held here as well as a lot of public lectures.” The Museum Educational Center aims to promote Georgian culture, heritage, art and science among local and

international visitors. Educational programs provided by the newly-opened center will include excursions, games, public lectures, meetings with scientists and researchers, movie screenings, performances and many other activities. Georgia Today spoke to Mikheil Giorgadze, Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia: “We are directly engaged in this event, as the Georgian National Museum is part of our structural unit. I’m glad that the museum staff and leadership do not restrict themselves to only the preservation of exhibits and that they have added additional significance. Thanks to them, science becomes much more familiar, comprehensible, interesting and popular. It is of the utmost importance that children be involved throughout. Our ministry is doing its best to turn Svaneti into an extremely attractive place for locals, Georgians and foreign tourists alike.” The museum provides a wide range of programs that are designed for the whole family, including educational programs for children and teenagers under the age of 17, with activities also for students of different sporting disciplines, and with the support of Mestia Municipality students from different schools throughout the mountainous region will have the chance to participate in such programs. Excursions and field trips will also take place with the aim of introducing participants to local history, traditions, ecology, flora, fauna and cultural heritage. Besides deepening general knowledge, the informal environment provided by the museum’s educational programs will help participants develop skills with regards to imagination, concentration, independent thinking, critical analyzing and communication. At the Georgian National Museum they aim to turn museums into a space that provides inspiration and positive emotions, to deepen interest and creativity, to support a greater perception of the world and to reinforce consciousness. The Media Library is a modern in-

Discover the glory of Georgian Mountains in the works of Guram Tikanadze, outstanding photographer and alpinist.

teractive space where visitors are introduced to the latest literature and will have an opportunity to use free Wi-Fi. For local residents and tourists the Georgian National Book Center supplied Svaneti Museum’s reading space with more than 200 books. The books published by research institutes and Georgian publishers are intended to appeal to various interests and age groups. The Media Library will thus help the population of the mountainous region to access the latest literature. The Georgian National Book Center and The Georgian National Museum have expressed gratitude to the G. Leonidze Museum of Georgian Literature, G. Chubinashvili National Research Center for Georgian Art History and Heritage Preservation, the National Center of Manuscripts, the National Par-

liamentary Library of Georgia and several publishing houses. The exhibition hall is now housing the first of many temporary exhibitions: the 1932-1963 works of famous Georgian photographer Guram Tikanadze. Mountain scenes take on a special role in his creations. Tikanadze showed great interest in mountaineering during his youth, while more towards photography during his student years. For some time he explored caves throughout Georgia; however it was photography and mountaineering that brought him international recognition. The photo heritage by Guram Tikanadze consists of more than 15,000 negatives. Meanwhile, 40 photo works from his family’s archives, describing the mountains and Svaneti will also be showcased at the exhibition. The con-

tribution of Guram Tikanadze to the development of Georgian color photography and photojournalism has been invaluable. He was a photo correspondent in the sociopolitical and literary-artistic Georgian magazine “Flag” and collaborated with publishing houses in Poland, Czech Republic, Italy and the German Democratic Republic. Guram Tikanadze had participated in exhibitions and competitions in Italy, USA, Japan, Belgium, Hungary and Hong Kong. So, dear friends, foreigners living in Georgia, and tourists, if you wish to avoid the heat of Tbilisi throughout these summer months, beautiful Svaneti is waiting, offering now not only indelible wild natural beauty and fresh air, but also an extremely interesting cultural, educational and scientific center at the Svaneti Museum.




Geor gian Li ve Georgian Liv Black Sea Jazz Festival Jazz Le gend is 70 Leg 2015: the Best Yet!

Snoop Dogg at the BSJF 2015.

By Meri Taliashvili The loudest event in Batumi, the 9th Black Sea Jazz Festival (BSJF), has now come to an end but the emotion received from it will remain for a long time to come. Georgia Today took a look at the before, during and after of the BSJF 2015. The Black Sea Jazz Festival is considered one of the leading festivals in Europe, attracting visitors from all over

“I am delighted with the audience. I had an amazing time here and I will definitely be back,” Clinton announced. George Clinton is famous American funk musician who began his career with band The Parliament and is considered as one of the founders of Funk music together with James Brown and Sly Stone. He has received a Grammy, a Dove (gospel), an MTV music video award, and has been recognized by BMI, the NAACP Image Awards, and

Liv Warfield at the BSJF 2015.

the world annually. Preparation for it began several months in advance but intensified after the line-up was revealed, with Georgians eagerly anticipating being able to listen to and witness mega stars with their own eyes, in their homeland. George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Liv Warfield & NPG HORNZ, Lisa Stansfield and Snoop Dogg gave unforgettable concerts to both Georgians and international visitors who had come especially for the four non-stop days of festivities. A further honor to Georgia was that Snoop Dogg took it as the first venue in Eastern Europe in the framework of his planned summer tour. Expectations high, a large and boisterous crowd gathered nightly at the Batumi Tennis Club from July 23rd to July 26th to attend the festival. The first day was kicked off with George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic in a concert that went over the expected time, exceeding an hour and half and delighting both the audience and the artists themselves. For George Clinton it was a double celebration as the concert coincided with his 75th birthday, which he celebrated in Batumi with cake, wine and Georgian cuisine.

Lisa Stansfield at the BSJF 2015.

Motown Alumni Association for lifetime achievement. Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. On February 16ththis year, Clinton was awarded Honorary Doctorate of Music from the renowned Berklee College of Music. Strong voiced 34 year-old musician Liv Warfield gave an amazing perfor-

mance with her band NPG HORNZ when she took to the stage on the second day. George Kerselidze, Director of festival organizers Eastern Promotion, said they had been planning to bring Liv to Georgia for some years and were extremely glad to host her. Liv, like Clinton, expressed a desire to return, begging the organizers to invite her back to Georgia again. “I am so excited about being here tonight,” Warfield told her enthralled audience. “Everyone has been treating me fantastically; superbly. I am so thankful to be here. I want to come back. I hope I will come back, please invite me again,” she said. The culmination of two-hour concert was when Liv came down from the stage to mingle with fans. The end was no less surprising when she invited members of the audience to join her on stage and band members gave away their drumsticks. Warfield, influenced by Etta James, Sade, Mary J. Blige and Tina Turner released her first album “Embrace Me” in 2006. Later, she joined Prince’s band “New Power Generation”. In 2014 Prince became Liv’s second album producer. As the festival reached its mid-point, coming to its end the waiting grew unbearable as audiences held their breaths for the two main artists Lisa Stansfield and Snoop Dogg who were yet to perform. Needless to say, the last two concerts were the most crowded and saw the most government officials attending. Lisa Stansfield sang for nearly two hours, performing as many old hits as new. Unfortunately, she was the only performer of the Black Sea Jazz Festival 2015 who refused to make a comment. She is known for her pleasant and rhythmic songs and the fact that, despite her immense popularity she has never been able to get along with the latest trends, sticking to her own preferred style. The most anticipated day of the festival, 26th of July, finally arrived and people made sure to come and claim their spots ready for 42 year-old American hip-hop star Snoop Dogg. Everyone was thrilled, energized and dying to see their favorite artist. Snoop kept listeners waiting for a while but for the eager audience it was worth the wait. As soon as he appeared on stage, the audience gave him a thunderous applause. The reaction and emotion of the audience did not go unnoticed by the artist. “I love the energy coming from people. To see that they like my music and know my songs by heart gives me incentive to do my best on stage. Today, the audience was very active. From the moment I came out on the stage I felt it and realized at once we would have a great evening. I hope that I brought my mood and energy closer to the listeners,” the rapper said. Besides the mega stars, during the festival Georgian jazz-pianist George Mikadze staged concerts at club Take Five along with his band made up by famous American musicians. It was unanimously agreed that the Black Sea Jazz Festival 2015 is so far the best among other festivals and its organizers expressed hope to keep that vibe. “An unprecedented number of people attended the Festival this year in Batumi. It was great. We hope to maintain this pace,” said George Kereselidze, Director of Eastern Promotion. The presenter of the BSJF was TBC STATUS; supporters; the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, Culture Ministry of Adjara and the Georgian National Tourism Administration.

Gaio zK andelaki and Big Band’ s Summer Tour s Gaioz Kandelaki Band’s ours

By Maka Lomadze Jazz in Georgia began in the 1970s. Then, there was an iron curtain, but people once more proved how inspired they were towards freedom, no matter where they lived, whether it was in the Soviet Union or elsewhere. In those days, people used to listen to jazz secretly. But the trend spread. The patriarch of jazz is Gaioz Kandelaki, who began holding jazz festivals in 1970. He managed to ‘infect’ the future generation, including his own son and his friends, so much so that they gave up their own professions and founded the company Eastern Promotion, which has become one of the leading jazz brands worldwide, producing more and more sparkling stars annually. The last of their ‘pearls’ was held on the 26th of July – at the Black Sea Jazz Festival in Batumi. The ground today is undoubtedly much more fertile for this wonderful musical genre. Jazz is the music of freedom and offers people the chance to look at life with affection rather than competition, which is so rare in other realms of art. Jazz is defined by the people themselves, who have wonderful personal virtues besides their indelible talents. In this article, Georgian jazz guru Gaioz Kandelaki and the recent concerts dedicated to his jubilee will be discussed. His efforts have not been in vain as there are two jazz annual festivals and a monthly jazz series too, which proves that the jazz scene in Tbilisi and Batumi is indeed thriving. A few days ago, Tbilisi City Hall hosted a performance by the Big Band at the Olympic Village, which was founded in 1997 by the skilled and respected musician Gaioz Kandelaki. Givi Gachechiladze has been its conductor since it opened, alongside a number of soloists spanning several generations. The summer concerts began at the beginning of this month, at Event Hall, to celebrate Gaioz Kandelaki’s 70 th birthday. It has been recognized that he has done so much for the development of Georgian culture overall and jazz in particular that the Georgian Minister of Culture awarded him with the title ‘Priest of Culture’. Recently, on July 24, the Big Band played at the Jurmala Alternative Festival together with Diane Schuur, Deborah Meyer, Teatro di Milano and Jurmala Big Orchestra. The website of the festival described them as playing “jazz full of sun”. Tbilisi Big Band is the company that was conferred the main prize of ‘Best Jazz-Orchestra’ at a festival held in Monte Carlo in 2006, where they

Big Band at the Jurmala Alternative Festival.

were characterized as having playing with a mix of Georgian music and Western European art. The novelty was that some scenes were staged and that the musicians actively participated in them together with the soloists. The potpourri, created on the basis of Georgian music motifs, was met with grand ovations. The judges made special mention of the founder of the band Gaioz Kandelaki and referred to him as a jazz pioneer in Georgia. Jurmala is a very musical town, and in spite of the fact that the new wave has moved to Russia, it still offers a lot of concerts. “Last year, we were in Latvia and our ambassador there connected us with the organizers; thus, we have been invited to this year’s Alternative Festival,” Kakha Markozashvili, Director of Tbilisi City Hall Big band told Georgia Today. Reportedly, the band performed some songs for the first time, for instance, Georgian Tsitsinatela and Megruli Potpourri: “It was particularly nice because there was not just a concert but the music was accompanied by polyphony. Our soloists – Maia Baratashvili, Mariko Ebralidze, Giorgi Sukhitashvili, Boris Bedia, and Zaur Shavgulidze played to the Latvian audience.” Recently, the Georgian Ministry of Culture issued the title of Priest of Culture – one that is reserved only for living legends. Gaioz Kandelaki turned out to be one of them. He is a very humble and sophisticated Georgian gentleman. On being congratulated on this award, Gaioz replied: “Thank you. I didn’t even know that my friends were about to hold a concert, and I of course had no idea at all that the Ministry was going to award me with the title of Priest of Culture. It was very nice. We are working for people and when somebody sees and appreciates it, it’s particularly pleasant at my age. I must also say that there are a lot of other honorable people who often stay out of the limelight. This award belongs to the whole Big Band and will be held in great esteem. I would like to immensely thank once again the Ministry of Culture.” On July 27, the Big Band performed for the Olympic Village with traditional foreign hits, entertaining the participants of the ongoing Youth Olympic Games with a lively musical program. The Tbilisi Big Band will close the summer season with a tour of Azerbaijan where, at the Gabala International Music Festival, they will give a concert on the 31th of July, performing almost the same program as they did in Jurmala. In the near future, they are also set to play at the Minsk Jazz Festival.




Films about Tbilisi, Par t 2 apartment and, though empty, it is filled with their love and life. Yet, for full happiness, the neighboring couple suggests they buy furniture for their new flat. Ironically, as the house is filled with objects, so their relationship fills with problems. Since the film depicted the relationship of an average couple from Tbilisi, the city where everyone was infected by the illness of acquisitiveness, society responded negatively. The objects and furniture seen in the movie were exact copies of the ones that almost every family in the city owned and loved and, as people saw themselves in the plot, the story of this young couple enraged each and every one of them.

April / 1961, Director: Otar Iosseliani.

By Tsiko Inauri Georgian Director, Otar Iosseliani, speaking of Tbilisi: “It has always been an Armenian city – as it was built by Armenians. Armenians living in Tbilisi are builders, craftsmen, artists and philanthropists. They have built an amazing city, wonderful!” I agree with Iosseliani. When thinking of old Tbilisi, personally, I always remember ethnic Armenian craftsmen sitting in front of a dukani (tavern). I don’t know why. Maybe I once saw a photo and it stayed in my mind. The charm of the Old Tbilisi district is probably most well-presented in the film

“The Color of Pomegranates” (see the July 17th edition of Georgia Today). Other movies tell stories of a relatively modern Tbilisi but each of them gives us an opportunity to enjoy wonderful views of Tbilisi and its streets. April / 1961 Director: Otar Iosseliani Starring: Titina Chanturia, Gia Chirakadze Genre: Drama The main plot of the film April is the following: Vazha and Mzia’s love story begins in the narrow, noisy streets of the old city which is just being built. The newlyweds move into their new

fails and he is obliged to close it down. He starts painting signs for other people’s taverns to make a living. In one of these taverns, professional painters get interested in his works, find Pirosmani and invite him to a meeting. Yet, for various reasons eventually they grow to dislike his work and the artist himself is ridiculed in a caricature published in a local newspaper. Lonely and ill, Nikala dies in poverty under a staircase. Autumn Sun / 1973 Director: Temur Palavandishvili Starring: Medea Japaridze, Otar Megvinetukhutsesi, Sesilia Takaish-

Pirosmani / 1969 Director: Giorgi Shengelaya Starring: Avtandil Varazi, Boris Tsipuria, Zurab Kapianize Genre: Drama, Adventure “Pirosmani” presents events from the life of Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani. It was a great success right after its release and won a number of important awards: the Azolo International Film Festival Award (1974) and the Gran-Prix “Golden Hugo” at the Chicago International Film Festival (1974). The plot of the story develops as Nikala comes from Mirzaani village to Tbilisi and starts working as a train conductor. After saving some money he opens a tavern. He refuses to charge poor people, however, and soon the business

Pirosmani / 1969, Director: Giorgi Shengelaya.


Visitors will have a chance to see thematic collages and multimedia installations made by Ukrainian and Georgian artists together with ethnographic exhibits of the 19th century from the Tbilisi History Museum.

vili, Elene Akhvediani, Lado Gudiashvili Genre: Lyrical Drama Autumn Sun was the first full-length film by Temur Palavandishvili. The script was written by Rezo Tabukashvili, husband of the leading actress, Medea Japaridze and the soundtrack was composed by Vazha Azarashvili. The Old Tbilisi district is put in the foreground, not only as a residential neighborhood, but as an aesthetic phenomenon as such. Moreover, the script is an autobiographical illustration of the real life events surrounding Rezo Tabukashvili and his wife Medea Japaridze.

WHAT'S ON IN TBILISI CINEMA AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 299 99 55 July 31 – August 6 SOUTHPAW Directed by Antoine Fuqua Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence Genre: Action, Drama, Sport Language: English Start time: 19:35 Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 14:40, 17:00, 19:50, 22:30 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari PIXELS 3 D Directed by Chris Columbus Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi Language: English Start time: 22:15 Language: Russian Start time: 14:45, 22:20 Ticket price: 8.50 – 12.50 Lari TERMINATOR GENISYS Directed by Alan Taylor Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 17:10 Ticket price: 9.50 – 10.50 Lari UNFRIENDED Directed by Levan Gabriadze Cast: Heather Sossaman, Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson Genre: Horror, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 12:30 Ticket price: 7.50 – 8.50 Lari RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 255 50 00

July 31 – August 6 MINIONS 3D Directed by Colin Trevorrow Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 14:10 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari PIXELS 3D (info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 12:15, 17:10, 19:45, 22:20 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari TERMINATOR GENISYS (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 12:30 Ticket price: 7:50 – 8.50 Lari UNFRIENDED (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 15:15 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari ANT-MAN Directed by Peyton Reed Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 17:15, 20:00, 22:40 Ticket price: 9.50 – 12.50 Lari PAPER TOWNS Directed by Jake Schreier Cast: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance Language: Russian Start time: 17:15, 20:00, 22:40 Ticket price: 9.50 – 12.50 Lari MUSEUM MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 1 Rustaveli ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22

SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM OF GEORGIA Address: 3 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22 ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURE Examples of work by early Georgian goldsmiths were discovered during archeological excavations, and are currently reserved in the archeological treasury. The exhibition presents three periods development in the history of Georgian goldwork, from the 3rd century BCE to the 4th century CE: KURGAN CULTURE (3-2 BCE), “GOLDEN FLEECE COLKHETI” (8- 3 BCE), KINGDOM OF KARTLI-IBERIA (3RD CENTURY BCE-4TH CENTURY CE). June 27 – October 31 “GEORGIANS IN WORLD WAR II” IS AN EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VICTORY OVER FASCISM. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 SERGO PARAJANOVI – “21ST CENTURY DREAM” The exhibition is dedicated to Sergo Parajanovi’s art which was born due to the multicultural traditions of Tbilisi. The project aims to expose the innovative prospect of the diverse and creative inheritance of Sergo Parajanov in order to expand international artistic dialogue between Georgian and Ukrainian artists.

GALLERY THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. PIROSMANI’S 150TH The National Gallery is hosting pictures of David Kakabadze (18891952) and Lado Gudiashvili (18961980) together with sculptures of Iakob Nikoladze (1876-1951) and photographs from the National Archives of Georgia and Iakob Nikoladze House-Museum depicting the sculptor’s life and creative work. GALLERY NECTAR Address: 16 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 295 00 21

LISI LAKE Address: Lisi Lake, green zone (In front of football stadium) July 31 – August 2 MZESUMZIRA’s EZO Vol.3 Line up: July 31 SAY GOOD-BYE TO JULY FROM THE EZO To Ka Pasha Bero Autumn Tree PIOTR BEJNAR (PL) Gio Shengelia Start time: 16:00 Ticket price: 10-20 Lari August 1 GREET AUGUST WITH A WHOLE NEW ENTHUSIASM Leon E Third Soul BE SVENDSEN (DK) - LIVE Gabunia Tade RAMPUE (DE) - LIVE Rati Start time: 14:00 Ticket price: 10-20 Lari

The four artists who are all living in Vienna are working completely different, both formally and conceptually. They never exhibited in this combination, the exhibition and art-works are both experimental.

August 2 TAKE A BREAK AND CHILL OUT WITH US Lemonade Muffin Grill Fruit Mojito Hammock Event music of Gia Khaduri! Start time: 14:00 Ticket price: Free


RADISSON BLU IVERIA HOTEL Address: 1 Rose Revolution Sq.


FUNICULAR Address: Mtatsminda Park Telephone: 577 74 44 00, 2 98 00 00 July 31 CONCERT OF GEORGIAN BAND LIFE BELL Start time: 21:00 Entrance: Free

July 31 POOL PARTY @OASISPOOLCLUB! DJ Walld •Cool Ambience •Infinity Pool 200sq. m. Face control, Age control Free cocktails and alcoholic drinks included in the price to be fully redeemed at the bar. Start time: 20:00 Price: 30 Lari




Dyed in the Wool

By Tony Hanmer I think that a lot of Georgians have a skewed opinion of a place like Canada, based on what they tell me. Many of my friends have practically begged me to smuggle them here (I’m writing from Canada now) in a spare suitcase, then let them disappear into the illegal immigrant workforce and live out their dream of

getting rich quick, supporting their families back home in the process. I have to tell them that I don’t have the power or authority to sponsor their trip here. That to work legally as an immigrant, you have to have a job lined up and agreed on before even leaving Georgia, and then you can apply for a work visa. That if I was found to be the arranger of an illegal work experience, I’d go to

jail, and the worker would be deported and blacklisted. But the dream lures them on. Many of them have friends or relatives already in Canada, as citizens or not, so clearly some of them are making this happen. Usually at huge financial cost, it seems, which they must then pay back over years before even getting back to a zero balance. They don’t know how expensive it is to live here; how much of your income goes to taxes; how cold the place is, both in climate and in relationships (compared to the warmth of Georgians); how poor the public transport is except in the big cities, making you dependent on owning and driving a car; how law-abiding and bureaucratically abound it is, compared to the freedoms in Georgia. (Building codes? What are those?) It’s just the Land of Opportunities, period. In a place as large as this, with a population of about 36 million, there are bound to be some people who go against the grain, though. They choose to live in the countryside, grow or raise their own food, make their own furniture, renovate their own houses (maybe even build them), not change cars and fashions yearly to keep up with the Joneses. Some of them are my friends. This couple have seen their children grow up and leave home already. He’s a

film producer and director, mostly working on documentaries. He also does most of the cooking. She grows the food and raises sheep, of which they currently have 19; chickens are next. Neither of them is a country-raised person; both come from cities, so this is all new to them. They live on the edge of a lake. She makes the furniture, too. Not all of their food is home-grown, of course; and they’re not off the energy grid. So this is a sort of halfway point between complete reliance on modern technology and a total centuries-old lifestyle. It works for them, they’re comfortable with it, and we have plenty to talk about, coming from something similar in our life in Svaneti. We have cows and Skype! She’s learning how to process the sheep wool at home, and will eventually be spinning it into yarn, for the handmade versions of which there is considerable demand. She may try making felt. Online groups are a great help for exchanging questions and ideas, and she finds seminars to attend on various technical aspects as well. She showed us around while he made lunch. My wife tasted spicy nasturtium flowers and sweet Saskatoon berries off the plant for the first time, and admired

the cabbages, beets, carrots, herbs, strawberries and raspberries too. The sheep are in fine form, having lots of pasture to roam in. Several are Cotswolds, huge and with thick wool, which they’ll need to have grown back by winter’s onset with its minus 40s. But that insulation, and a shed (“Too small to call a barn,” she says) is all they’ll need. They are friendly animals, and let us approach and handle them. Art is evident everywhere in the house, from its walls of various bright colors which harmonize well to the rustic furniture and cork floors. One wall used to have very outdated 3-d velvet wallpaper, but that, under coats of purple paint, is now a subtly textured masterpiece which still doesn’t distract from pictures on it. The whole house feels like a happy place to live and be creative in, which they both are and do. This, to me, is a better Canadian dream. Doing it your way, with hard work but not trying to stay current with everyone else’s ideas of what is successful, rich, beautiful or “flavor of the month”. Just being oneself, with enough income to live and be generous but not to draw envy. It works for my wife and me in Svaneti, too.

Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1000 members, at . He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:

Georider s a Tbilisi Based Georiders Tour Compan y ffor or the Company Ad ventur ous Cy clist Adv enturous Cyc By James Dean Founded in 2007 Georiders started as a Facebook page set up to galvanize the small community of mountain bikers in Tbilisi, giving them a forum to discuss bike issues and arrange various activities and rides. The Facebook page was quickly followed by a website offering adventure mountain bike tours in the high Caucasus. Over the years it has developed into a professionally run tour company delivering over 70 plus tours leaving many international tourists with the adventure, flavor and cultural awareness of The Republic of Georgia.”We just wanted to say what a terrific time we had with Georiders on our recent trip to Georgia. It was great to see a part of Georgia we otherwise would have missed, and the countryside was beautiful.” - Dave and Heidi from the UK. Visiting places such as Girevi, Parsma, Shenako, Old Diklo, Ushba, Ushguli and Adishi and staying in traditional, clean and comfortable guesthouses, tourists come away from a Georiders tour feeling they’ve seen Georgia as it would have been hundreds of years ago, unspoiled by mass tourism and luxury hotels. As Valerie from California puts it: “Tusheti is an amazing destination, very unspoiled, a piece of paradise tucked up in the high Caucasus.” The riding and scenery in Tusheti, Kazbegi and Svaneti has to be ridden and seen to be believed. Stunning panoramas wait at the top of every pass, followed by a thrilling descent to keep guests craving more. Undulating double and single track trails hug the side of mountains or follow wild rivers crashing down valleys whilst waterfalls offer the occasional cooling shower along the way. For years now the company has been offering package and bespoke tours to

inbound tourists from as far away as the US, Europe, Australia and Asia, typically 18 plus in age, including some very adventurous guests in their mid 50’s. Parallel to this Georiders continues to run one day tours and weekend tours to Abastumani, the Abano Pass, Ananuri and locally around Tbilisi. Still having a great influence in the biking community, Georiders helps to organize community rides, helps enthusiasts find out what’s going on in Tbilisi bike-related, and works with government agencies on bike routes and to organize charity events to give bikes to under privileged children. For 2016 the tour offer will consist of three main mountain bike tours in Svaneti, Kazbegi and Tusheti plus a variety of new adventure tours, Jeep tours, hiking tours, and motor bike tours along with cultural city tours, architecture tours and historical tours. There’ll be new prices for existing tours and the bespoke tour service that has become increasingly popular will continue. If you’re interested in finding out more about Georiders or simply want to go for a ride with other riders, visit the website or join the Facebook group Georiders - Mountain Biking Guiding in the Republic of Georgia.

Photo showing: “Riding to Adishi with Georiders” by Andrew Welsh




The Ins-and-Outs ffor or Geor gia a OF 2015 Georgia att the EY EYOF By Eka Karsaulidze and Katie Ruth Davies The 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) was opened in a grand ceremony on July 27th and has already revealed the strengths and weaknesses in the Georgian side. The Georgian national team had a successful start in tennis but by Day 3, three Georgian tennis players – Davit Chelidze, Ana Makatsaria and Ana Shanidze –had been forced out of the tournament, leaving just one Georgian, Nikoloz Davlianidze, still in the game. Davlianidze defeated Annei Kaska from Belorussia 6:1 6:4 in the third round and will face Polish Rafal Michalski, who is one of the favorite candidates for gold in the quarterfinal. In basketball, too, Georgia has suffered defeat, with the girls dropping out on Day 1 in a loss to Turkey (28:61) and the boys making it to Day 3 but finishing third place in Group A, stepping out of the tournament after losing to Bosnia and Herzegovina with a score of 74:81. There were also disappointments for Georgia in handball– the boys’ Georgian national team lost 28:22 against Switzerland and the girls were defeated by

the Czech Republic 40:17. But July 28 saw success at last for Georgia as judokas Zurab Kakhiashvili and Temur Nozadze both won bronze medals for the Georgian national team. Zurab Kakhiashvili was the first Georgian to win a medal. The Georgian judoka defeated Czech Davit Vopat in the 50kg weight category by waza-ari. In the debut, he was penalized with shido but then he warmed up to gain yoko. “It was a difficult round. I’m very happy to become the first medalist of the Georgian delegation. I will try my best to improve the results and gain only gold medals for my country,” said Kakhiashvili after the competition. Later that day, Temur Nozadze also won a bronze medal in an intense struggle with Turkish Zehir Ugurcan in the 55kg weight category. “I am so happy. It was the hardest competition but I managed to do the final throw 9 seconds early. I’m not going to stop there, and from now on I will try to win only gold medals,” said Nozadze. The third day of the 13th European Youth Olympic Festival in Tbilisi saw another judo success for Georgia with Robinzon Beglarishvili winning the country’s first gold medal.

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili congratulates Georgia’s first EYOF 2015 gold medal winner, Georgian judoka Robinzon Beglarishvili.

Beglarishvili beat Italian Manuel Lombardo with waza-ari in the 60kg weight category. “I didn’t expect so much support from fans and extend them my thanks. It’s nice that Georgia is hosting

such an event for the first time. My opponent was strong but, nonetheless, I managed to beat him!” said the champion. Georgians Natalia Kipshidze and Bagrat Niniashvili also won bronze

medals in judo. Kipshidze beat British opponent, Kiera Bateman, in the 48kg weight category with shido while Niniashvili beat his Azeri opponent, Pasha Aliyev, and brought a fifth medal for his country. The Russian national team had won nine medals, keeping it in first place two days into the EYOF 2015 competition, before Italy slipped ahead on July 29 by winning seven gold medals. President of the European Youth Olympic Festival Patrick Hickey remarked that these games are a significant step forwards for Georgia’s sporting development and a step forward in Tbilisi’s recovery from the floods that hit the city last month. “Sport has a crucial role to play in providing hope during tough times and the entire European Olympic family is behind Georgia in this endeavor,” said Hickey. The international competition will run from July 27th to August 1st and will cover nine types of sporting events with over 4000 athletes competing from 49 countries. Keep up-to-date with the latest EYOF 2015 results (both Georgian and international) on

Batumi – City of Spor ting Revival? By Alastair Watt The headline attraction of Georgia’s Black Sea coast, Batumi, has undergone a rapid transformation in the last 10 years with towering hotels and opinionsplitting sculptures lining its once under-stated promenade. However, amid the construction and tourism boom, the city’s main rugby and football clubs found themselves playing ‘home’ matches outside Batumi as the Tsentral Stadium became a victim of the seaside makeover in the mid-2000s. For a city with a proud sporting heritage, this seemed a potentially devastating side-effect of Georgia’s aesthetic development under Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency, but sports infrastructure has returned to the agenda in recent times following the change of government in 2012. With the city attempting to cradle old and new, few are better qualified to talk about Batumi’s sporting past, present and future than Irakli Chavleishvili, the Deputy Chairman of the Batumi Municipality City Council, now in his third year in the position. A native of the city, Chavleishvili’s father Guri was captain of Dinamo Batumi football club for 13 years in the 1950s and 1960s and went on to manage the club with great distinction for a further 15 years. Navigating my way through

Batumi’s palm-tree laden streets, mercifully quiet compared to Tbilisi, I find the City Hall where he gives me a customarily warm Adjaran welcome to his office. Breaking the ice by complimenting the striking appearance of modern day Batumi, I ask Chavleishvili what he makes of his hometown in its current guise. “Batumi was always very popular but sadly some of Old Batumi’s cultural heritage is gone with all these skyscrapers,” he says, echoing the thoughts of many of the city’s natives. Knowing his family connection to Dinamo Batumi, this prompts me to ponder his opinion of the club’s ongoing homelessness and whether a new home was any closer to being sorted for the city’s rugby and football clubs.

Fill in the grid so that every row, every column, and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 through 9. See answers in the next issue

Answers to previous puzzles

“The stadium situation has been difficult for the club (Dinamo) but last season they finished high in the top league, despite these difficult conditions,” notes Chavleishvili, who then briefly mourns their defeat to Cypriot team Omonia Nicosia the previous night before revealing the latest developments with the long-awaited new stadium. “There was a tender for the contract to build the new football stadium, which would be a 30,000-seater international standard facility. A Spanish company won the bid but now there are problems with documentation,” adds the Deputy Chairman, and since our meeting on July 10 the stadium saga is no nearer to a resolution. At grassroots level though, there has been some progress with a new yard football tournament catering for a round

500 of the city’s youngsters, an initiative of which Chavleishvili has high hopes. If there is a cautious optimism about the Deputy Chairman when it comes to football, he speaks in nothing but glowing terms when asked about rugby. “We, Georgia, are achieving great progress in rugby and we should aim as high as possible in this sport. The efforts of Bidzina Ivanishvili (former PM) and the Georgian Rugby Union have been excellent in this direction,” notes Chavleishvili who then explains that two new stadiums, one for rugby and one for beach rugby, are under construction in the city. Hitherto unaware of this development, when Chavleishvili offers to take me on a tour of the site, I postpone my Adjaruli khachapuri lunch and off we go. Driving past the revamped coastline, we reach the new site of Batumi’s new rugby home around a kilometer inland to the south of the city. As Chavleishvili points out correctly, construction is well underway with the main body of the tribune already erected and little more than seats to insert and a playing surface to be cultivated. Its capacity, around the 2500 mark, may be modest compared to the grandiose visions of the forever delayed football stadium but will comfortably accommodate the city’s rugby club which finished 3rd in last season’s Georgian

Premier Division. Beach rugby is also growing in popularity in Batumi with an annual tournament attracting teams from all across Georgia and beyond. Back in the bowels of Batumi City Hall, Chavleishvili educates me about the origins of rugby in Georgia. “The Georgian people have had a long tradition in rugby. First we have the old game Lelo (similar to rugby in that one team, or indeed town, tries to carry a ball to the other end of the field with the other team, or town, permitted to use barely limited physical force to thwart their opponents. As possession of the ball is given up, the attackers become the attacked, and so on) which still takes places every year not far from Batumi,” he says, before adding that actual rugby was imported to these shores. “The British forces used to come to Batumi or Poti in the 19th century and they played rugby with the locals, this is where actual rugby in Georgia was born,” notes Chavleishvili. That brief but enlightening history lesson concludes a pleasant encounter with a man clearly devoted to both his city and his sport. Batumi rugby club should play their first match in their new stadium by the end of the year and, while the fate of football in the coastal city is less certain, sport is no longer being forgotten in this peculiar corner of Georgia.

GENERAL MANAGER - George Sharashidze BUSINESS MANAGER - Iva Merabishvili

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF - Katie Ruth Davies COPY EDITOR - Alastair Watt JOURNALISTS: Alastair Watt, Tony Hanmer, Tamar Svanidze, Joseph Alexander Smith, Zviad Adzinbaia, Joseph Larsen, Beqa Kirtava, Meri Taliashvili, Eka Karsaulidze, Baia Dzagnidze, Zaza Jgharkava, Teona Surmava, Ana Lomtadze, Maka Bibilashvili, Nino Melikishvili, Nina Ioseliani, Tatia Megeneishvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Nino Gegidze, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Nino Japarashvili, Maka Lomadze, George Abashvili PHOTOGRAPHER: Zviad Nikolaishvili TECHNICAL SUPPORT: Misha Mchedlishvili CIRCULATION MANAGERS: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #777  

July 31-Aug. 6, 2015

Issue #777  

July 31-Aug. 6, 2015