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June 19 - 25, 2015



Price: GEL 2.50

Georgia Today 28 p., Produce in Georgia 4 p.

ISSUE No.771


Tbilisi Flood: Dig ging Hope fr om the De bris Digging from Debris BUSINESS HEADLINES

New Hotel Opens in Tbilisi

Ex-Ma yor Zur ab Ex-May Zura Chia ber ashvili: Chiaber berashvili: Ne wR oad Not New Road Responsib le ffor or esponsible y Traged edy Ex-Mayor discusses the cause and effects of the flood.



Saudi Ar abian Prince Ara Visits Geor gia Georgia


EU: EUR O 3 million to EURO Help Geor gia Pr ovide Georgia Pro Housing Solutions

Geor gia Ste ps Up Georgia Steps Counter -T er Counter-T -Ter errrorism Measur es with Measures Ar ankisi Arrrests in P Pankisi


Government raids Pankisi P.12 Gorge, detains six.

Constr uction of Construction Pioneering 50 Million Eur o Ener gy Pr oject Euro Energ Project Underw ay Underwa

Georgia Today analyses the June 13 flood and its aftermath. P.6


Geomor pholo gist: Geomorpholo phologist: Consequences of Ignoring the Risks



Geomorphologist George Gotsiridze discusses the causes of Saturday's devastation. P.8

Li ved and Died ffor or Liv Tbilisi Zoo

The last interview with Guliko Chitadze, well-known zoo worker who died in the flood trying to save her 'little ones.' P.10

Geor gian P olitical Georgian Political Wise Man R ondeli Rondeli P.21 Dies Aged 73 Geor gia Suf Georgia Sufffer Tbilisi Cup Disa ppointment Disappointment against Emer ging Emerging P.27 Ital y Italy



JUNE 19 - 25

Georgia Signs Deal in France to Buy “Air Defense System”

Society XXI Holds 3-Day Event “Model Gover nment Georgia”

Georgian MOD Tina Khidasheli with Jerome Bendell, CEO of French Operations at TRS.

By Nino Melikishvili Georgia has signed an agreement in France on the purchase of an advanced system that will guarantee the country’s air defense. According to Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli, one more deal is being prepared on arms purchase and, as she said, in few weeks she will be heading back to France. Citing its privacy, officials are reluctant to discuss the details of the contract. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has not released any information about the system nor its price. It has not even named the company they made the deal with, on the sideline of the Paris Air Show on June 15. However, the MoD did release a short video which shows that the French company Thales and American Raytheon’s joint venture ThalesRaytheonSystem (TRS) signed an agreement. More precisely, Jerome Bendell, the company’s CEO for French operations signed the contract on behalf of TRS. TRS is an aerospace and defense company which produces a range of ground-based surveillance radars, air defense command and control systems, as well as offering cyber capabilities. “I really cannot speak about the de-

tails of the contract,” said Tina Khidasheli. “These kinds of documents with such types of procurement information should be a top state secret.” “When the contract is completed and when the weapons arrive in Georgia we will be able to openly say that our defense capability is guaranteed,” she revealed. Also, on June 15, Khidasheli met her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris. “I had a very good meeting with the French Defense Minister. We discussed many issues, including arms purchase,” said Khidasheli. The Georgian Defense Minister thanked both of her predecessors, Alasania and Janelidze, for making this agreement possible, as they also met the French Defense Minister in the past year and a half. Jean-Yves Drian met Irakli Alasania three times and also met Mindia Janelidze in March, 2015. “This is only the first step, because we are not going to stop,” said Khidasheli, “Our plans are much bigger and very soon you will learn about the second contract, which I hope will be signed very soon in Paris.” Minister Khidasheli also mentioned that the terms of this agreement are very profitable for Georgia and thanked France for the cooperation.

By Steven Jones Non-profit organization Society XXI, hosted a three-day project “Model Government Georgia” (MGG) involving hundreds of students from across the country.. The project, which is the intellectual property of the organization, was held at the premises of Grigol Robakidze University and National Parliamentary Library of Georgia on June 13-15. Ministries and top positions including the Prime Minister were replicated, to raise knowledge and become more competent in the issues of the region and particularly Georgia’s security architecture. The event was colorful and stressful at the same time, as the newly founded organization and its young professional staff had to implement MGG against the background of the Tbilisi floods and the passing away of Dr. Alexander Rondeli, the Honored Adviser to the organization and one of its most important friends. Despite

transport chaos in the city and a sense of shock among citizens, the organization proceeded in the hope that Georgian youth could benefit. Society XXI resists challenges of 21st century Georgia and supports the promotion of knowledge-based society in the country. The team believes that education and professionalism are the very bases of modern social affairs, economic growth, and prosperity. Society XXI is determined to inculcate principles of open society, liberal democracy, transparency and good governance via enlightenment, education and enabling young generations to participate in public life. Society XXI is a network of young professionals encouraging and supporting Georgia’s European & Euro-Atlantic future. The main tools - to spread the values and the vision of the organization throughout the country and beyond - are social activities and developing young leaders of the 21st century to encourage and bolster Georgia’s modernization and institutional development.

The Society has implemented several projects, including “Young Georgian Diplomat to European and EuroAtlantic Institutions”, the career program mutually organized by the World Union of Georgian Students and Society XXI in March this year. “European Party” was one of the main components for MGG to build a network of future professionals of Georgia and to enable them to meet dozens of successful persons from different fields, including diplomacy, politics and academia. Taking into account the existing situation in the country, the organization’s executive board decided to dedicate the event to Alexander Rondeli and hold it in support of the victims of Tbilisi flooding. According to the information from the organization’s leadership, “European Party” will be held in the future as a tradition to bring together future generations that are oriented toward contributing to Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Citizens Rally Behind Zoo Director


Following the June 17 tiger attack close to Heroes’ Square, the director of Tbilisi Zoo, Zurab Gurielidze, was questioned by prosecutors before issuing a statement in front of the cameras. “I acknowledge that the state agencies spread the information I gave to them. After my notification, it was considered that there was no threat whatsoever [and that all animals were accounted for] and of course it’s all my fault,” said Gurielidze, reading a prepared statement in his hands. Asked if he had been interrogated by police, Gurielidze said that he’d had “certain meetings with the police” but claimed that no criminal charges had been brought against him. Hundreds of people rallied in support of Gurielidze and in protest against what many demonstrators believed was the authorities’ attempt to make the zoo director a scapegoat for their own failings,

June 17 Rally in support of Zoo director, Zurab Gurielidze.

which led to the death of the man in the tiger attack. After the meeting, PM Garibashvili denied that the authorities were planning to arrest the zoo director and also told Gurielidze that nothing was his fault. “I

will be the first among the supporters of Zurab Gurielidze, the director of Tbilisi Zoo,” Garibashvili said. There is a chance that a number of animals are still alive and on the loose in the city so posing a threat to residents.



JUNE 19 - 25

Ruined Tbilisi Zoo and Ambiguous Plans on the New Project

PM Garibashvili overlooks the damaged Vere highway and Tbilisi Zoo.

By Teona Surmava The June 13 2015 Tbilisi flood has already killed 20 people, left at least 24 families without shelter and destroyed several enclosures at Tbilisi Zoo. Owners of the zoo confirmed that caretaker Guliko Chitadze – who previously lost her arm after being attacked by a tiger – died as a result of the flood (See Page 19 of this week’s edition). In response to the tragedy June 15 was declared a day of national mourning. Georgian society came together in its entirety, regardless of ethnicity or race. Apocalyptic scenes, including the hippo, lions, bears and wolves set free have already attracted the attention of world media. Tbilisi Zoo spokeswomen Mzia Sharashidze confirmed that eight lions, seven tigers and two jaguars were killed. Only two bears survived, while six of the zoo’s 10 penguins died. A white lion cub named Shumba was found shot in the head on Sunday. Additionally, the flooding destroyed a shelter housing homeless dogs. According to government estimates the total property damage amounts to more than 40 mln GEL. One infrastructure project that must be carried out is the building of the new Zoo. The project to move the old zoo to the city’s periphery began in 2012. London studio HASSELL, together with design firm Arup, was appointed by Tbilisi City Hall to finalize the concept design of the new Tbilisi Zoo on the city’s outskirts. The project’s original

idea aimed at building a zoological and recreation complex on the inland lake known as Tbilisi Sea. The plan called for a number of new buildings and landscapes, including an entrance hub, boulevard,

a secondary hub with playground and cafe, an inner zoo and an open-range zoo. The plan originally aimed at building upon the dramatic landscape and mountainous topography of the area to create an enjoyable recreation

space in Tbilisi. The project of building the new Zoo was developed on a conceptual level but sidelined when the new government took power in 2012. Last weekend’s tragedy raised many questions regarding the new project and the future location of the zoo, but government officials have not yet confirmed willingness to implement the project developed by HASELL. Rumours are circulating that former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili plans to finance the new

zoo’s construction. However, no official source has yet been found to confirm. A petition has appeared on the internet promoting the idea that the new Tbilisi Zoo be named after Guliko Chitadze. “Guliko Chitadze was and remains the greatest example of love towards animals. She did her duty till her final moments, regardless of the danger she was in. So let us make sure that our children are taught how to love our four-legged friends with the story of Guliko Chitadze!” reads the petition.

New Zoo design (2012) by London studio HASSELL and design firm Arup.

10 Galaktion Street

Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail:



JUNE 19 - 25

Tbilisi F lood: Dig ging Hope fr om the De bris Flood: Digging from Debris

Thousands of volunteers turned up to clear the debris. Photo: Zviad Nikolaishvili/GT

A Georgia Today analysis by Katie Ruth Davies, Beqa Kirtava and Joseph Larsen Saturday evening June 13 exposed Tbilisi to a torrential downpour. While many residents sat back and rode out the storm in comfort, others were less lucky. At the time of going to press it has been reported that 20 people were killed in the flood, including three zoo workers. Dozens of families had their homes destroyed in the downpour, and the Georgian Minister of Finance Nodar Khaduri told reporters that the damage is estimated at 40 million GEL. ZOO ANIMALS ESCAPE Many animals drowned in the muddy waters which flooded their enclosures. Others, including a hippopotamus, lions, tigers, bears, and wolves, escaped from the zoo. Begi the hippopotamus was quickly captured and is now residing in the elephant enclosure on high ground, and the predators are being housed temporarily in a municipal facility. Conflicting information also spread this week on both social and foreign media regarding the shooting of several of the predators, including numerous wolves and the people’s favourite white lion- Shumba. The Tbilisi Zoo’s Administration was quick to refute allegations of animal cruelty. “Tranquilizer darts were used in most cases but even the strongest tranquilizer can take 4 - 5 minutes to knock an animal out. In some cases, where the animal was aggressive, we could not wait those 4 - 5 minutes. It was a matter of citizen safety,” said Tbilisi Zoo director, Zurab Gurielidze. An example of such tragic circumstances was seen at lunchtime of June 17th when an escaped white tiger killed two civilians when they disturbed it in the storehouse where it had been hiding since Sunday. It was quickly put down by armed police. As the entire location was covered with water and mud, it was impossible to determine the exact number of animals who survived the flood. An official statement claiming that all predators had been accounted for was withdrawn the next day following the tiger attack, with zoo director Gurielidze claiming responsibility. Protesters were quick to show their support for

Gurielidze, claiming that he was being framed for the government’s own failings. PM Garibashvili reassured angry citizens that the zoo director would not be held accountable. It is said that a second tiger and a hyena remain on the loose. RECOVERING THE DEAD Particular attention was paid to flood damage suffered by the Vake-Saburtalo highway in Vere valley and Tbilisi Zoo, where three employees were killed and a number of vehicles were swept along the road by the flood of water, mud and debris. 40 families lost their homes and many had to be rescued from their roofs. The basements of blocks of flats, some of which had only been completed recently, were flooded and the day following the flood some people were asked to leave their buildings for safety. Those whose houses were swept away lost everything. As of going to press, 10 of the reported 24 missing people have returned home and 20 are confirmed dead. The oldest victim was 77, the youngest at going to press is 22. Three people are still missing. PEOPLE LOSE THEIR HOMES “This wasn’t a gradual rising of the water level. The waves came all at once. Sweeping up absolutely everything that stood in the way,” one of the flood victims told Georgia Today. 300 people were left homeless following the flood which swept away many structures and severely damaged others. Aid agencies rapidly gathered basic essentials for them as people began to bring clothes and other donated items. At present the victims are being housed in hotels but aid is on the way. Construction company Metra Development has offered free flats to all families whose houses cannot be repaired to living standard. Further, the Patriarchate is donating 100,000 GEL and offering to collaborate with City Hall to house the largest homeless family. Donations from the general public around the globe currently top 15 mln GEL. WHO’S TO BLAME? “Because of the long hours of rain and the landslide, the flood couldn’t have been completely avoided. However, if the underground culverts had been of a bigger diameter this wouldn’t have turned into such a large-scale ca-

Tbilisi Zoo (bear, monkey and predator enclosures) following the devastating June 13 flood. Photo: Zviad Nikolaishvili/GT

tastrophe,” said Tbilisi Mayor, David Narmania, in an interview with Imedi TV. The Georgian Patriarch, to the disbelief of many of his supporters, blamed the Communists who constructed the zoo using funds raised from the melting of church and monastery bells, so committing a sin against God which has now been revenged. Many locals blamed poor infrastructure and planning. The fact is that the flood is Tbilisi’s worst in recent memory. Yet it is not the first, nor was it unexpected. The talks about the dangers of River Vere date back several years to the time the previous government decided to cut a new road connecting Heroes’ Square to Vake-Saburtalo Street. Well-known urbanist, Niko Kakhetelidze, spoke out about the aforementioned threats on Maestro TV’s “Us”, in 2012. “The new street which was cut connecting Heroes’ Square to Vake-Saburtalo Str. resulted in putting the River Vere in a kind of a sarcophagus. This is unacceptable, as one day Vere may overflow and sweep up the whole area surrounding Heroes’ Square. It took us not more than 30 minutes [of seeing the plan] to realize the threat,” he said. This week he spoke out once more to categorically accuse the previous government of misconduct. According to numerous geologists the reason the epicenter of the flood appeared near the Tbilisi Zoo territory is that when the new road and the overpass were built, River Vere was enclosed within narrow tunnels. Therefore, when the wave of water, generated from a landslide in Akhaldaba, hit the area, bringing trees and debris with it to block the tunnels, the water, under pressure, burst through to the surface. Geomorphologist George Gotsiridze blames both the force of nature and man’s ignorance in urbanization. In an exclusive interview with Georgia Today (See Page 8 of this week’s issue) he also lamented the lack of Early Warning Systems: “Unfortunately Georgia is lacking in Early Warning Systems and with regards the concept of spatial development of the river Vere, the cluster of buildings there has been historically developed in an incorrect way since Soviet times. A Disaster Management program should be developed urgently.” Urbanist Kakhetelidze also suggested the number of new constructions which have been built in the gorge of River Vere were a trigger to the disaster. Representative of the “Green Movement” Nino Chkhobadze said: “This happened because geological research wasn’t carried out, because the road [connecting Heroes’ Square to VakeSaburtalo Str.] was cut not according to standards [Editor: it has been rumoured that the highway was constructed hurriedly using geological data collected in the Soviet period]; that is why they had to cover up the mountains with nets, as severe rockfalls soon began.” 1960S FLOOD What is interesting is that the River Vere also overflowed in 1960. The writings of Georgian writer Edisher Kipiani speak of a deluge of rain which caused the River Vere to overflow and kill every single animal in Tbilisi Zoo, except for the hippo. He does not mention human casualties or flooding of other locations. WHY HASN’T TBILISI ZOO MOVED TO ITS NEWLY-OWNED LANDS? According to the Tbilisi Zoo Administration, the reason for the delayed movement is the extremely high cost. The zoo’s representatives stated on Facebook that moving to a new location would cost Euro 100-500 million, which simply can-

People try to salvage what they can from their ruined homes. Photo: Zviad Nikolaishvili/GT

not be allocated at this time, though the City Hall announced this week that they do plan to move the zoo to the Tbilisi Sea area. Rumours abound that Georgian billionaire and ex-PM, Bidzina Ivanishvili will cough up the funds to build a new zoo. Whether he does or not is yet to be seen but what can be said is that the people are behind the move and funds are being raised as we speak to benefit the surviving animals.

hundreds loading trees and the ruins of cars and up-stream houses into trucks. And when further eager volunteers were turned back with thanks on Sunday afternoon, the fundraising began. People brought clothes, bedding and other day-to-day essentials to municipal centres for those left homeless; banks and other organizations offered set sums or material help and the general populace raised $2M in just two days.

THE PEOPLE PULL TOGETHER Within the first few hours of the disaster the area was filled with rescue workers and, as the sky lightened, with hundreds of thousands of volunteers of every age and from every walk of life. Never had Tbilisi society witnessed such a coming together of people wanting to help; knee-deep in mud, spades in hand, at first they dug away the mud that caked the roads, re-opening one of the main arteries of the capital in just 48 hours. Then they started on the debris, in their

Begi the hippo, now safely back on zoo territory after a tour of Heroes' Square. Photo: Joseph Alexander Smith




JUNE 19 - 25

Geomorphologist: Consequences of Ignoring the Risks By Katie Ruth Davies Around a million cubic meters of solid mass (in an area 3.8km in length) broke away from a mountainside above Akhaldaba, 10 km outside Tbilisi, to create a landslide that was the first step in the tragic deaths of around 25 people and hundreds of animals. The debris first blocked the road that connected Georgia’s capital Tbilisi to nearby Tskneti, Betania, Manglisi, and Pantiani villages, before crashing down into the River Vere. Georgia Today met exclusively for a quick chat with extremely busy Geomorphologist George Gotsiridze who is, at present and in the aftermath of the landslide and flood, running from meeting to TV interview and back again. Q: Tell us a little about yourself. A: I am Geomorphologist, Geo-ecologist, GIS (Geographic Information System) and Remote Sensing Specialist. I principally work in Consulting Center GeoGraphic, founded by me and my partners in 1998. The company is composed of geographers, urbanists, architects, foresters, engineers, surveyors, photogrammetrists, environmentalists, programmers and GIS specialists. I spend most of my time dealing with project management and I’m actively involved in mountain development and disaster management issues. As you can imagine, I’ve been busier than usual this week! Q: On that topic, what is your perspective on the flood? Is nature more to blame or is Man more at fault in this case? A: I’d say both. Rivers by nature are active and Man has been ignoring that fact since the development of the city [Tbilisi] first really got going in this area from the mid twentieth century. Q: Tell us more about the River Vere and what caused the flood on June 13. A: The water catchment area of the River Vere is huge (up to the 300 and almost equal to the size of Tbilisi. So, it means that a lot of water is generated in semi-dry small river beds which are connected to the main Vere riverbed. Continuous heavy rainstorms over several hours, together with unstable landslide slopes (with slope denudation materials), such as those in Akhaldaba, are enough to create a strong mudflow

George Gotsiridze, Geomorphologist.

which, last weekend, rapidly directed into the city and through the first artificial tunnel build in the 1950s. Tree trunks and mud picked up by debris came down from the recent Akhaldaba landslide and blocked that first tunnel entrance, so resulting in the first flooding on Svanidze street. The same flow and blockage by the build-up of debris happened at consequent tunnels all the way down to the end of the Vere river where it meets the Mtkvari riverbed. Q: What (if anything) could have been done to prevent the Vere tragedy? A: Unfortunately, Georgia is lacking in Early Warning Systems and with regards the concept of spatial development of the river Vere, the cluster of buildings there has been historically developed in an incorrect way since Soviet times. A Disaster Management program should be developed urgently. Q: What can be done to stop this kind of thing happening again (both on the governmental and citizen sides)? A: A number of things, actually. The development of Alarm, Early Warning and Monitoring Systems, a resettlement action plan, and proper spatial development and implementation of a curtain development program in accordance with the city development strategy. Q: What’s been keeping you busy in the days following the Vere flood? A: Observation, measurements, and consulting! Gotsiridze, along with Italian geologist Claudio Margottini and other local experts are working to complete a review of the landslide-affected and flooded area, after which they will offer recommendations to the Georgian Government to prevent a similar disaster happening again in future. Italian geologist Claudio Margottini said: “Now it is necessary to explore the area because the situation is still very dangerous. If rainfall starts there again there is a big chance another landslide could happen.” Temur Gaprindashvili, Head of the National Environment Agency’s Geology Department said the Vere River was gradually receding and returning to its natural riverbed, however “there is still high risk if it rains again and the river swells.”

Specialists asessing damage at Akhaldaba. Photo: Zviad Nikolaishvili/GT

The 3.8km slip area of the Akhaldaba landslide. Photo: Zviad Nikolaishvili/GT

Top of the Akhaldaba landslide. Photo /Facebook/Irakli Supernobody



JUNE 19 - 25

Interview with the Late Guliko Chitadze, Zoo Worker and Animal Lover By Eka Lomidze 04.06.2015 “I had a dream that there was a lake of blood in the tiger cage; someone was attacked by them. I saw two men standing over the injured person. A few times youngsters have tried to approach the tigers and got hurt. I was afraid that my dream could mean another mishap with youngsters which is why I went around telling everyone about my dream, including Zura (Gurielidze, zoo director) and insisting that the guards should pay special attention to the tigers. It appeared that I had a dream about my own encounter with death; I just couldn’t recognize myself. It was my destiny,” Guliko recalls, waving the remains of her amputated right arm. She stays positive, however, and is thankful that at least some of her arm was saved. “This way I’ll be able to use the artificial hand better and take care of my little ones.” By little ones, she means the zoo animals. Guliko Kontselidze-Chitadze is the main caregiver of the zoo. Several days ago she was attacked by tigers. I have known her for a long time and I know how strong-willed she is, but what I heard from her while visiting her at the hospital exceeded all my expectations. She tells everyone who comes to her sad that it’s no use worrying about something that cannot be changed. She says she has to learn to live anew with her left hand. She will not say a bad word about the tigers. She believes that it was just ‘silly ones playing’ with her and that they didn’t understand what they were doing. And this, from a woman who had no flesh on her arm when they took her from the zoo territory. What happened on that day? I was very interested in the details of the tragedy as once, when tiger Simba scratched me with a claw while playing with him, Guliko argued with me, asking why I had not followed the safety rules that she’d taught me. I was surprised that this extremely careful person had had a mishap whereas I might expect a bigger tragedy from a less attentive and careful person. Soon white lions raised by her will be taken from the zoo to be settled in the zoos of other countries. On the day of the attack, Guliko had come to her ‘little ones’ to say good-bye, she took photos and was about to return to the room with monkey Marta and fox Troa. “I heard a child crying. On the upper side of the cage of lions and tigers there stood a girl crying. The accompanying man, her father as I later understood, was comforting her and saying he would buy a new one. It appears that a toy had fallen from the girl’s hands right into the tiger cage. I also tried to console the girl and reassure her that she’d get a new toy, but she just cried even more intensively. The man said

she would not stop til she had it back and started to go down the stairs. I recalled my dream and thought the beasts would tear him apart if he went down. I told him it was not allowed for visitors to go there; the guards wouldn’t let him in and it might be fatal to go. I told him I would go myself. Not for a toy, even for gold bars should I have gone to the cage. But I, who has no child and loves children greatly, could not let the girl cry that long and hard and so I did. Before the tigers came to the lower corner of the cage, I managed to reach through and grab the toy and throw it up to the man and it seems that at that moment I let myself get too close to the cage. The tigers got hold of my dress with their claws. The dress didn’t tear and I fell. One of them held my hand down and another put claws in my leg while the third attempted to drag me into the cage. I was trying to get away with my other hand and crawl away to the wall. The man started shouting and ran down. I asked him not to come in but run to the bear enclosure where he would find Vaniko (Markhvashvili), a veterinarian. When the tigers’ claws raked into my flesh, I felt soul-squeezing pain. Imagine, it is painful when something small cuts your finger and here all my fingers and my entire hand was being torn into by huge claws… I remember how I took my fleshless arm back out of the cage. Vaniko came, tore up his shirt and tied it aroung my arm as there was no time and I was bleeding. I almost lost consciousness with pain but I could still hear everything. I cannot describe how much my hand hurt; the hand with which I had raised the mother of those tigers, Salima. Luckily, she had realized that her children were hurting me, ran to us and started beating her children with her paws, which allowed me to get away; otherwise, they would playfully cut me into pieces and dragged me inside the cage. Rumours said that the tigers I’d raised did this to me. Don’t believe it. The older white clubs are already big and you should see how they love me; one of them even hugs me and sits quietly like a house cat. I have never been afraid of the ones I raised and I have never though they would ever attack me. Animals feel motherly warmth incredibly well and never forget the care they’ve been given.” Guliko’s situation is getting better by the day. Although she is well taken care of at the hospital, she cannot wait to return home. And home means the zoo. The loyal defender of animals who does not have her own child, has practically settled in the zoo to raise the animals there. She does not differentiate if an animal is of noble breeding, predator or just a wild animal. Guliko takes care of all of the young ones equally. Before I left, she told me she was missing her little monkeys – Eva and Marta – and her fox Troa. The little ones refused to take food when their favorite care-giver wasn’t there. They only accepted food from Guliko’s husband Malkhaz Chitadze hoping that Guliko would soon follow him. Two years ago when tigers attacked a boy who jumped into the cage, Guliko worried a lot. She visited the boy at the hospital and tried to comfort him… When she told me the story of the boy miraculously saved from tigers, she did so with tears in her eyes. This is what Guliko is like – with a kind and ready heart. You can hardly find such a person who will support and back you as much as she can. Rest in Peace, Guliko.

The late Guliko Chitadze, Zoo Worker. Photo taken from

Lived and Died for Tbilisi Zoo

Guliko Chitadze, who recently survived a tiger attack, fell victim to the devastating flood alongside her husband last Sunday morning as they tried to rescue the animals to which they had devoted 25 years of their lives. On May 27 Guliko was attacked by a tiger and as a result was forced to have her right hand amputated. As soon as she recovered from the tiger attack she returned to work and continued taking care of her beloved animals. People were often fascinated by the “assiduous woman with a heart of gold” who dedicated her life to the zoo, sleeping only four hours a day in order to feed the animals. Guliko’s friend wrote a letter, a ‘farewell’ to her friend: “ I want this day to be a dream and to disappear . I cannot believe that you are no longer alive. .. Now you are in a better world with your animals, rest in peace my dear friend, farewell.”

The late Guliko Chitadze, Tbilisi Zoo worker killed in the June 13 flood.



JUNE 19 - 25

Ex-Mayor Zurab Chiaberashvili: New Road Not Responsible for Tragedy By Katie Ruth Davies The Tbilisi flooding which began on June 13 killed at least 18 citizens, left many homeless and left deadly animals stranded on Tbilisi’s streets. Speculation has since arisen as to potential culpability of the new road in the Vere Gorge in Tbilisi built during the United National Movement’s in the middle of the last decade. Zurab Chiaberashvili, former Tbilisi Mayor, talked with Georgia Today about some facets of the natural catastrophe and possible solutions of the complicated situation. Q: The new road in the Vere Gorge was built during the UNM’s time. Could you tell us why such a project was initiated and what the major cause of the flooding was? A: The basis of the flooding was of course not Vere but the massive landslide several kilometers away that drove the flooding. Looking at the city’s history, almost the same tragedy happened back in the 1960s. A couple of years ago we initiated the building of the new road

which would importantly ease transport movement in a city suffering from permanent traffic jams. Q: There were allegations that geological factors had been ignored due to political pressure to build the road. Do you think there are enough grounds for the Prosecutor’s Office to pursue this claim? A: First, as I said before, Vere Gorge has nothing to do with the source of the flooding, as it started before and the Vere region was unable to deter the immense amount of water. Moreover, when the reconstruction of the area started after the Rose Revolution, over 73 families were compensated and displaced from the vicinity in terms of security. If these measures had not been taken, I cannot imagine what the situation would be now. In addition, prior to the building of the road, all necessary geological studies were conducted; if the government is keen to involve some international experts in the process, I would welcome that. Q: What measures does the local government need to take to solve the

Ex-Mayor Zurab Chiaberashvili

problem and what other relevant projects need to be implemented to improve the city’s infrastructure? A: I agree with the experts saying that a protective dam needs to be built quickly to control the masses of water in the future. This project appears to be costly,

though. It will enable us to preempt such tragedies or minimize the natural risks in the future. Apart from this, Tbilisi City Hall definitely needs to continue building an alternative transport networks in Tbilisi to avoid massive amounts of traffic in the evening and encourage other

important projects at the same time. In addition, there is a need to build several bridges and tunnels, which I believe would highly contribute to improving the city’s infrastructure. Q: Yesterday another tragedy happened as a tiger attacked and killed a citizen near the zoo. Who should be responsible for this? A: When such a tragedy happens and there are some extraordinary situations, a team is usually created to coordinate all of the processes and to monitor every aspect around a catastrophe. As we see, formally, such a team did exist or could not function efficiently in time. I think the Crisis Management Council (CMC) was responsible for all aspects, including the number of animals residing in the Zoo after the flooding. As for the Zoo administration, their responsibility was to inform the crisis management team about the number of the animals alive, and those killed by the special forces on the ground were to be taken under control by the CMC. This reveals incompetence and lack of professionalism in the CMC.

Georgia Steps Up Counter-Ter rorism Measures with Ar rests in Pankisi By Zaza Jgharkava The Georgian government picked its moment to detain supporters of the Islamic State in the Pankisi Gorge. At a time when rescue agencies were looking for missing people and escaped animals in the Vere river gorge, on the evening of June 14 the government held a counter-terrorist operation on the territory bordering Dagestan. The imam of the village Jokolo Ayuf Borchashvili and his son-in-law Ramzan Mghebrishvili were detained along with Ramazan, resident of Dumastur, who was visiting the Borchashvilis and whose last name has not been made public yet. Baadur Chopanishvili from the village of Omalo was also detained as well as relatives of a leader of the Islamic State Tarkhan Batirashvili – Merab Tsatiashvili and Gela Tokhosashvili.

The special operation was clearly aimed against the practice of sending young people from Pankisi to Syria to fight for Islamic State. On April 2 this year, some schoolchildren from Pankisi went to Syria with the help of local Wahhabist group.s With the total of Georgian volunteers to the fighting reaching over 50, the counter terrorist department of the Interior Ministry started an investigation into the sending of young people from the Pankisi Gorge to Syria. The measure may have been influenced by efforts of Russian media to portray the Tbilisi authorities as supporting the flow of fighters from the Pankisi Gorge to Syria, by doing little to stop it. According to Mamuka Areshidze, expert in Caucasus issues, Georgia’s northern neighbor is trying to steer international public opinion toward connecting Geor-

Taken from Chechen boys in Pankisi Gorge.

gia with terrorism, which could ultimately give the Russians grounds to launch its own anti-terrorist operation. History appears to be repeating itself as roughly 15 years ago similar efforts were made when Pankisi was apparently being used as a breeding ground for the Taliban. Georgian authorities could not control the gorge and for the Kremlin this territory was seen as an enclave for Chechen rebels. After the Rose Revolution the Pankisi Gorge was apparently fully cleansed of Chechen and Islamist fighters. However expert Zaal Kasrelishvili says that during the rule of the previous government radical Islamists became very active in Pankisi. “It seemed that there was no problem but, in fact, during the rule of the previous government the number of radical Islamist followers increased in the Pankisi Gorge and

they acted in agreement with the government. At least, after the Lapankuri special operation it became clear that there were important movements there. Thus, for us it is not entirely strange to see what is happening around the Pankisi Gorge now and I would like to say that the Pankisi Gorge issue was covered not only by Russian media but by western media which presented it as an ally of the Khalifat,” Kasrelishvili noted. Although Pankisi has not been an issue at the forefront of Georgian politics for some time, non-governmental organizations have long been talking about

ment did not pay much attention to it, today this movement is a strong religious community. Wahhabists receive money from abroad and have local government support. It seems that someone in the local government has decided to defer power in order to control the gorge and selected Wahhabists for some reason. They receive income not only from abroad but from the local forestry revenues. There is not only internal confrontation in Pankisi, we are losing citizens,” Areshidze says. The Wahhabists apparently stepped up their activities after news was spread that Tbilisi had offered Washington the

“No one knows what this confrontation will bring about. Followers of traditional Islam are mostly old-aged people who have no financial or other resources to resist the strengthened Wahhabist unit...They receive income not only from abroad but from the local forestry revenues. There is not only internal confrontation in Pankisi, we are losing citizens.” - Mamuka Areshidze, Expert in Caucasus Issues. strengthened Wahhabist movements in the area. There have been frequent discussions on the covert confrontation between traditional Islam followers and Wahhabists in Pankisi and if the government does not take care of this in time, the gorge might turn into an arena of religious conflict. Expert in Caucasus issues Mamuka Areshidze does not know how the process will end if the government does not change its policy in Pankisi. “No one knows what this confrontation will bring about. Followers of traditional Islam are mostly old-aged people who have no financial or other resources to resist the strengthened Wahhabist unit. Since 1995, Wahhabism has been deliberately established in the Pankisi Gorge. It was then that the first Arab mullah appeared in the Gorge and, because the govern-

option to establish a base on its territory to prepare for fighting in Syria. This information was spread during the term of the ex-defense minister Irakli Alasania. However, soon after, Alasania was dismissed from his post and the Pankisi issue was closed, publicly at least. When the latest counter-terrorist operation ended, the former Emir of the Pankisi Gorge Ali Kavtarashvili told the Kakheti Information Center that the Georgian government is “playing with fire” as apparently the captured Borchashvili is a representative of the Islamic State in Georgia. Security measures have been made stricter in the gorge where special forces remain. The Interior Ministry has reportedly released 5 of the 6 detained people but Ayuf Borchashvili remains in detention.

JUNE 19 - 25

EU: EURO 3 million to Help Georgia Provide Housing Solutions P.15


Iveria Inn Opens in Tbilisi ikurashvili; Governor of Chugureti District, Zurab Chikviladze and other officials. Mayor Narmania welcomed the initiative and noted the importance of new investments. “It is very welcoming that Georgian businessmen have contributed in the development of the capital city,” he said. “Making new investments and opening new hotels will create new jobs and more people will be employed which is also vital for our city!” The Hotel Iveria Inn offers an incredibly comfortable environment and European standards at affordable prices. New hotel Iveria Inn has opened in Tbilisi. The hotel is located in the downtown of the city, at 6, Tsulukidze Street. The hotel, ideal for tourist and business class, is adapted for people with disabilities and consists of 71 rooms. Built through Georgian investment to a total cost of 5,000.000 Gel, it currently employs 42 people with that number set to increase in the future. The grand opening of the hotel was attended by the Mayor of Tbilisi, David Narmania; the head of Georgian National Tourism Administration, George Chogovadze; Chairman of the City Council George Alibegashvili; Governor of Isani District, Vakhtang Kiz-

Construction of Pioneering 50 Million Euro Energy Project Underway P.15

New Program to Promote Hazelnut Exports

Aiming to create a Georgian hazelnuts brand on the world market, the government has initiated a new program to help with the export, revenue growth and promotion of bio hazelnut production. The program foresees legislative regulations, promotion of education for entrepreneurs including harvesting methods with reduced waste, fertilization management and control of pests and diseases. The hazelnut plantations in Georgia cover 44,000 hectares, and 75% of its production is exported. The revenues from hazelnut export are rising steadily. According to last year’s data, Georgia received $183 million from such exports, which is 10% more than in

2013. The Ministry of Agriculture notes that in 2013, hazelnut export revenues were estimated at $167 million, while in 2012 it was $84 million. Furthermore, the new program also includes the establishment of special infrastructure such as laboratories in the regions, reclamation infrastructure for plantations, dryers and warehouses. The Georgian government promises to provide financial support for agro insurance and loss recovery. Interested parties have the opportunity to engage in, and benefit from, preferential agro-credit, while the framework of the ‘Plant the Future’ program offers 70% reimbursement for seed costs and 50% for irrigation system costs.



JUNE 19 - 25

Saudi Arabian Prince Visits Georgia

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Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud

By Steven Jones On June 10, Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud, visited Tbilisi upon the invitation of Georgian Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili. Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, at Tbilisi airport, met with the Prince, one of the richest persons in the world and a descendant of the founder and first ruler of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz al Saud. The Prince met with the PM and Georgian President, Giorgi Margvelashvili and at the

mutual briefing with Garibashvili, he articulated that the visit had a financial purpose adding: “I am looking forward to investing in Georgia”. “It is a great honour for me to come to Georgia. We had an interesting conversation, discussing Georgia’s economic condition. I would like to remark that there is the possibility of us developing closer relationships between our countries. Our financial interests represent the reason for our visit here. We look forward to investing in your country,” said the potential investor. The visit, prepared by Giorgi Janjgava - Georgian Ambas-

sador to Saudi Arabia - covered many topics including the business environment in the country, political and economic stability and other matters. President Margvelashvili granted honorary citizenship to the Prince for which Al-Waleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud thanked the leader. According to official information, the parties also reviewed the ongoing processes in the region and the prospects for developing trans-regional cooperation. In addition, the Association Agreement of Georgia with the European Union was also discussed. “We had a very productive

and useful meeting with the President, and afterwards I met with the Prime Minister,” the Saudi Arabian Prince said. “The President briefly talked about the history of Georgia and spoke about Georgia’s economic situation. I was very impressed by the President and the Prime Minister and I hope that we will further strengthen and deepen our relationship” Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity was also covered in the meeting with the President for which Margvelashvili thanked the Prince for supporting Georgia in this regard.

More than 15m GEL in Donations for Tbilisi Flood Victims People both abroad and at home are giving to the cause, donating whatever they can to help those affected by the June 13 flood. So far more than 15 mln GEL has been raised, with the first two million donated just 24 hours after the launch of a charity fund, and doubling that figure in 48 hours. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili yesterday thanked donors for their generous support. “The European Commission has allocated ˆ3 million to help deal with the crisis. As for donations, about 15,200,000 GEL has already been raised. I would also like to thank all the people who are helping in the clean-up efforts, such as volunteers, the National Guard, rescue teams, athletes, representatives of different ministries, etcetera,” he said. Over 300 people were affected by the flood and were quick-

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ly placed in 10 hotels and houses where they were then given immediate assistance, such as food, cooking equipment, medicine and children’s necessities. On Wednesday night a special program ‘Hope for Tbilisi’ was broadcast on Imedi TV where members of the Georgian public and local businesses were able to donate to the relief fund by dialing a specific number or transferring money to a special account. 1,563,197 GEL was raised. The Georgian Government has been working with donor organisations to coordinate relief donations since the tragedy struck in the early hours of last Sunday morning. PM Garibashvili announced that the damaged would be reviewed by specialists following which projects would be allocated for donor organizations. Their assistance is to be of a financial, advisory and technical nature towards recovery and reconstruction works.

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Kazakhstan is Constr uction of Pioneering Construction Read y to J oin WT O eady Join WTO 50 Million Eur o Ener gy Euro Energ

Pr oject Underw ay Project Underwa By Baia Dzagnidze Aiming to increase the reliability of the 220 kW energy network in Western Georgia and diversify power resources, the construction of a new 500kV/220kW substation at Jvari, a double circuit 500 kW transmission line from the Kavkasioni line to the

Kazakhstan completed negotiations of its membership in the World Trade Organization in the framework of a special working group set up in 1996. According to the press service of the WTO, Kazakhstan will be the 162nd member of WTO at the organization’s 10th ministerial conference in Nairobi in December. “I congratulate the WTO’s member countries and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan in this historic step,” said Roberto Azevedo, DirectorGeneral of the World Trade Organization. Kazakhstan was negotiating on accession to the WTO over 19 years. A package of documents of accession will be submitted for formal approval by the working group, and then submitted for

adoption by the General Council of the Organization on June 22. The press service noted that the complexity and uniqueness of Kazakhstan’s accession process was a mandatory negotiation about tariffs related to its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union. “WTO’s membership is a prestige for Kazakhstan. Mostly it is a political issue, because Kazakhstan is positioning itself as a leader in Central Asia, and it is unlikely to be outside the WTO, since its members make up a large part of the world. This organization’s requirements show that Kazakhstan is not a pariah, and is not on the sidelines of global economic processes,” said Eduard Poletaev, political expert and Editor-in-Chief of the World of Eurasia magazine.

EU: EURO 3 million to Help Geor gia Pr ovide Housing Georgia Pro Solutions

The European Commission has announced it is to make additional funds available to help the Georgian authorities deal with the effects of this weekend’s devastating flood. Up to Euro 3 million will be offered to help provide durable housing solutions following the damage, to be delivered through budget support. Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations: “My thoughts are with the victims of these devastating floods. The European Union

Jvari substation and a double circuit 220 kW transmission line between Jvari and Khorga has begun. The first substation is being implemented by Portuguese construction company EFACEC, while the other two are being developed by an Indian company, Jyoti construction. It should be noted that this is the first double circuit 500

kW transmission line the region. With an estimated cost of 50 million Euros, the project is set to be completed in August 2015 and is funded by the German Development Bank (KFW), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Neighbourhood Investment Fund (NIF).

CSR Club Issues a List of Donations The Corporate Social Responsibility Club has issued a detailed report about the contributions provided by Georgian companies to help the flood victims. The list below show the data as of 16.06.2015. Financial Donations Sakpatent - 1 000 000 GEL Beeline - 20 000 GEL PSP - 100 000 GEL TBC Bank - 50 000 GEL Bank of Georgia - 100 000 GEL Bank Republic - 30 000 GEL ProCredit Bank - 30 000 GEL Liberty Bank - 100 000 GEL

Wissol Group - 10 000 GEL Nikora - 20 000 GEL Medical Corp. “Evex” - 25 000 GEL Socar - 50 000 GEL Tegeta Motors - 5 000 GEL Duty Free Alliance - 10 000 GEL Barambo - 15 000 GEL Rakia Group - 20 000 GEL Partnership Fund - 50 000 GEL Toyota (Caucasus & Central Asia) - 10 000 GEL IDS Borjomi - 20 000 GEL Zedazeni - 10 000 GEL Europebet - 50 000 GEL Magti - 50 000 GEL Silk Road Group - 50 000 GEL

Imedi L - 50 000 GEL SPAR Georgia - 10 000 GEL Archi Group - 10 000 GEL Azeryolservis - 30 000 GEL Achi, Shoti & Revaz Arveladze Fund - 5 000 GEL State Audit Office - 30 000 GEL Apart from financial donations, many organizations, including Aldagi, Alta, Foodpanda, and more have launched projects to aid those affected by the flood. For the full list of donations and projects visit - https://

stands with the people of Georgia and is ready to help families in Tbilisi rebuild their houses and start a new life. This contribution is an expression of our solidarity with those affected by the disaster.” The European Commission is also providing Euro 400 000 in humanitarian aid to help the most severely affected families by supporting the Georgian Red Cross and NGOs in delivering relief, including food, blankets, cooking equipment, water, sanitation, and hygiene and medical assistance.


Indi viduals Ar or Child Traf king Individuals Arrrested ffor afffic icking By Beqa Kirtava The Head of Rustavi Maternity House, Aleksandre Baravkov; Deputy Director, Konstantine Manjavidze; and one of the founders of the “New Maternity Center” Mzia Ugrekhelidze have all been detained for child trafficking. According to the Investigation Department of the Finance Ministry, the

detainees offered pregnant women money to abandon their newborn children and later gave the infants to third parties in exchange for cash. The detectives have revealed two cases of child trafficking, one for 3,000 and the second for 5,000 GEL. The investigation is still ongoing to discover the possible involvement of other parties. The aforementioned individuals face 14 to 17 years in prison.



JUNE 19 - 25

Porta Batumi Tower: World-Class Luxury Residences in Batumi 81 and 88 m², spacious 3+1 type 125 m² and 12 duplex type exclusive penthouses. There are 14 apartments and two technical rooms on each floor, with 4 elevators. The residential spaces are provided to customers in so-called ‘white frame’ condition with electricity, water and natural gas systems on floor. The price per meter square is ranging from 1.450$ to 2.700$, offering special full payment discounts or 24 months with 0% interest payment options. An easy walk to the Batumi Marina

Can Dusmez – Sales and Marketing Manager at Porta Batumi Tower: Porta Batumi Tower is the world class glittering glass masterpiece of modern architecture which proudly overlooks Batumi. Porta Batumi Tower’s world class design is created by award-winning U.K. architects “Broadway Malyan”, which brings the international standard style in Batumi. Porta Batumi Tower complex is implemented by the leading Turkish construction company and developer “System Construction”, a global player in construction and real estate development. In Batumi, System Construction invites you to discover a truly distinguished project, collaboration between the world’s best architectural design, engineering and construction talents that

takes this traditionally popular destination to a new level, while bringing numerous high-technology construction techniques to Batumi for the first time ever. System Construction also implemented a 95-bed hospital project, which is planned to open in August 2015. The multi-profile residential complex includes several parts: 3,850 m² casino, 100 rooms boutique hotel, retail area, 417 residential apartments, terrace café + restaurant with a magnificent sea view and 2-storey underground car parking. The rough works of the construction is already finished and the project will be completed in June 2016. Porta Batumi Tower offers different size of flats with unique landscape; compact 1+0 studio types of 38.5 and 40 m², 1+1 types of 57, 66, and 85 m², 2+1 types of

and historic Batumi, Porta Batumi Tower is in the most desirable location next to the Miracle Park and Alphabet Tower, overlooking the beach and the Black Sea. This strikingly modern tower combines luxury and style with outstanding construction quality in an unrivalled location to offer you a holiday residence with superior investment potential. A statement about status and an appreciation of the finer things, Porta Batumi Tower is the jewel of new Batumi.


JUNE 19 - 25


Dechert OnPoint: New IEA Publication on Georgian Energy Policy Dechert Georgia, through the contribution of partners Archil Giorgadze and Nicola Mariani, joined by senior associates Ruslan Akhalaia and Irakli Sokolovski, as well as Ana Kostava and Ana Kochiashvili, is partnering with Georgia Today on a regular section of the paper which will provide updated information regarding significant legal changes and developments in Georgia. In particular, we will highlight significant issues which may impact businesses operating in Georgia. Dechert’s Tbilisi office combines local service and full corporate, tax and finance support with the global knowledge that comes with being part of a worldwide legal practice. Dechert Georgia is the Tbilisi branch of Dechert LLP, an international Law firm that focuses on core transactional and litigation practices, providing worldclass services to major corporations, financial institutions and private funds worldwide. With more than 900 Lawyers in our global practice groups working in 27 offices across Europe, the CIS, Asia, the Middle East and the United States, Dechert has the resources to deliver seamless, high quality legal services to clients worldwide. For more information, please visit or contact Nicola Mariani at New IEA publication on Georgian energy policy: an overview The International Energy Agency (“IEA”) and Georgian Ministry of Energy (“MoE”) presented the Report on Energy Policies in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (“IEA Report”) in Tbilisi in April 2015. The IEA Report is the fruit of two years of research by IEA and the International energy cooperation program INOGATE, involving the European Union (EU), the littoral states of the Black and Caspian Seas and their neighbouring countries. The publication was prepared as a component of IEA’s engagement with non-member countries and focuses on providing authoritative research and analysis on means of ensuring reliable, affordable and clean energy supplies for countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The IEA Report addresses the current Georgian energy policy in detail, including examination of key energy data regarding supply, generation, import and export, demand, intensity, renewables and data sources. It explores the current market structure of the Georgian energy sector as well as the institutional and legal framework and sets out energy security, market convergence and investment attraction specificities. Key policies and recommendations for Georgia covered in the IEA Report will be discussed in this week’s edition of OnPoint. INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK AND EXISTING ENERGY POLICY The IEA Report notes that the main energy policy strategy of the Government of Georgia (“GoG”) is long-term hydropower development dedicated to attracting foreign direct investment to reach self sufficiency in energy resources and expanding electricity export to neighbouring markets. The responsibility for implementation of this strategy is shared among three main governmental organs in the energy sector: the MoE, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection (“MENR”) and the Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission (“GNERC”). The report notes that despite vast bio-

mass, solar, wind and geothermal resources, the GoG has yet to fully assess and discover the economic potential of renewable energy development and elaborate a legal and regulatory framework with targeted measures and incentive schemes, such as feed-in tariffs. According to the IEA Report, the documents outlining Georgia’s current energy policy as well as long-term priorities are the following: Main Directions of State Policy in the Power Sector, adopted in 2006, is a guiding principle which outlines key policy directions such as reducing import dependency, expanding electricity

market and the Electricity Trading Mechanism (“ETM”); strengthening Georgia’s importance as a transit route and the creation of a regional platform; adherence to environmental standards; and improved service quality and consumer protection.

export capacity and utilizing energy transit potential. Top priorities of this policy include development of the regional energy market, transportation of Caspian energy resources to EU markets and construction of new large HPPs and transmission lines. Socio-Economic Development Strategy to 2020 is a strategy adopted on 6 June 2014. It outlines Georgia’s future energy development strategy up to 2020 and elaborates key priorities, focusing mainly on enhancing energy security and increasing self-sufficiency. The State Programme for Renewable Energy adopted in 2008 is a programme focusing on attracting investors in the energy sector to build small to medium-sized HPPs by offering deregulated prices, the possibility of export without license for nine months out of the year, low taxes and streamlined bureaucracy. However, this programme also introduced the obligation on all new HPPs to sell 13 MW of electricity on the internal market during each annual winter period. Georgia’s Energy Strategy to 2030 is a policy under discussion presented to the government for consultation in July 2014. The key proposals in the draft include: gradual approximation and harmonization of Georgia’s legislative and regulatory framework with the EU’s; diversification of supply sources and utilization of Georgia’s renewable energy sources; improvement of the energy

to-day energy needs. The share of imports in Total Public Energy Suppy (“TPES”) increased from 47% in 2002 to 77% in 2013 in order to meet robust energy demand. The IEA Report states that Georgia imports roughly 88% of its natural gas and about 45% of its oil products from Azerbaijan, while diversifying its sources with imports from Russia. The report notes that Georgia exports excess electricity and is interconnected with all four of its neighbouring countries, however the volumes of trade are minor and, considering the total annual potential capacity of 15,000 MW, only 12% of which is utilized, there is ample room for growth. 75% of Georgia’s current electricity production comes from HPPs, with the remaining 25% generated via natural gas combustion. The IEA Report mentions that Georgia’s own energy resources, apart from hydropower, stem from: wind, with potential of 4 TWh per year; solar power, with potential evaluated at 108 MW per year; geothermal, amounting to 200-250 million cubic meters annually; crude oil viable reserves, estimated at 5 million tons in 2015 and with untapped resources of 50 Mt; natural gas reserves estimated at 8 bcm with 102 bcm resources; and hard coal reserves estimated at 201 Mt with 700 Mt of reserves. The IEA Report states that the country lacks a declared strategy regarding emergency stock holdings and fuel replacement mechanisms in the event of

ENERGY SECURITY The IEA Report maps the energy security issues Georgia is facing, paying special attention to diversification of resources. Georgia is a net oil and gas importer and relies heavily on imports of natural gas, oil products, hard coal and biofuels in order to meet most of its day-

energy supply disruptions. The government is considering developing minimal strategic gas reserves and has called for tenders for underground gas storage development to overcome recurring winter deficits estimated to reach approximately 200 mcm by 2030. It has proposed doing this by holding the summer surplus underground. ENERGY SECTOR INVESTMENT CLIMATE The IEA Report provides an extensive description of energy sector investments in Georgia. Total foreign direct investment in the energy sector amount-

ed to USD923 million in 2014. The report states that Georgia has undertaken a number of profound institutional reforms aimed at improvement of its business climate: e.g., the number of activities subject to licensing was reduced to 159 from 909; the tax system was dramatically overhauled; the labour market underwent far-reaching reform; and taxfree zones were introduced. The report mentions Georgia’s World Bank ranking for ease of doing business, which, at No.15, is the highest among countries in the region. According to a separate report by Transparency International, which was also cited in the IEA Report, Georgia’s ranking on public sector corruption was also the best in the region. The report outlines several key investment projects of strategic regional interest, which are already being implemented: a 500kV/400kV connection line to Turkey and a 400 kV electricity transmission line between Georgia and Armenia, along with 17 HPPs under construction by the end of 2014. The gas sector projects of strategic interest were also noted, including Caspian gas transportation and transit and developments allowing an additional 16bcm/y of transportation from Shah Deniz 2. CONCLUSION AND IEA RECOMMENDATIONS The IEA Report outlines Georgia’s progress over the past few years and sets out recommendations to ensure reliable,

affordable and clean energy supplies. The IEA Report mentions the importance of Georgia’s Energy Strategy for 2030 and notes that elaboration of such a strategy requires high-level government commitment and consultation with all energy stakeholders. According to IEA, the focus of the new energy policy should be maximizing renewable energy sources and energy efficiency gains while ensuring that supplies remain affordable and secure. It should also consider detailed implementation of the new Georgian Electricity Market Model 2015 (“GEMM 2015”) in order to bring Georgia more in line with the EU mar-

ket and support the progressive development of the regional market. Based on the IEA Report, preparation of the necessary legal framework and implementation of the policy in a timely manner is as important as finalization of the policy itself. Furthermore, the IEA Report urges Georgia to prepare legislative proposals regarding energy efficiency, as losses during the natural gas distribution process are high in comparison to European levels. Ageing infrastructure and industry sectors also contribute to efficiency losses. IEA notes that a long-term stable regulatory framework for the new electricity market model should be created in order to align these rules to those of the EU market while considering the regional context as well. Finally, the IEA Report states that Georgia needs to strengthen the competences and independence of the national regulatory authority and reinforce its role in safeguarding consumer interests. Georgia also needs to explore the possibility of creating an analytical center to gather experienced national experts to develop functional policies and industry regulations. *** Note: this article does not constitute legal advice. You are responsible for consulting with your own professional legal advisors concerning specific circumstances for your business.


JUNE 19 - 25


The ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI, is an independent think-tank associated with the International School of Economics at TSU (ISET). Our blog carries economic analysis of current events and policies in Georgia and the South Caucasus region ranging from agriculture, to economic growth, energy, labor markets and the nexus of economics, culture and religion. Thought-provoking and fun to read, our blog posts are written by international faculty teaching at ISET and recent graduates representing the new generation of Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian economists.

Legalize Marijuana? juana consumption is permitted in highly controlled cafes with special licenses (so-called “Coffee Shops”), managed to attract huge numbers of tourists from other European countries who came for smoking marijuana in Holland (as many other European countries have liberalized their policies, this kind of tourism has decreased). Georgia, which is happy to offer gambling to Turks, Azeris, and whoever else is not allowed to have casinos in their home country, might attract (mostly young) tourists from countries where cannabis consumption is illegal. The money paid for purchasing marijuana, currently pocketed by dealers, could be a source of income for the government.

By Saba Devdariani According to a recent study, smoking marijuana for many years leads to a severe loss of intelligence: compared with people who did not consume cannabis, the IQ’s of smokers were lower by 13-38 points (Meier et al.: “Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife”, PNAS 109, 2012). Moreover, after a long time of consumption, cognitive abilities and memory do not recover when smoking marijuana is eventually given up. Recently, decriminalization of marijuana became a hotly discussed topic in Georgia. The opinions are strongly polarized, with peaceful protests for liberalization on the one side and strong moral objections and concerns about public health on the other. Member of Parliament Goga Khachidze drafted a law for the decriminalization of marijuana, which was sharply repudiated by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. Consuming marijuana comes with more serious health risks than often hawked by legalization advocates. Clearly, a loss of intelligence of up to 38 points is not a trifle. Yet does it follow directly that smoking cannabis should be outlawed? While in the political arena, bombastic statements often dominate sober analysis, in this article I will look at the issue from philosophical and economic angles, trying to be as impartial as possible. OWNERSHIP OF ONE’S OWN BODY The question of cannabis legalization touches on a very fundamental issue: should people be allowed to harm themselves? The philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), one of the fathers of liberal thought, would have answered this question affirmatively. He derives the moral legitimacy of private property from the very assumption that people own their own bodies. Because they own their bodies, they own their labor, and thus they have legitimate claims on the product of their labor. As “ownership of one’s body” is a central notion in Locke’s thought, which can hardly be reconciled with the idea to “protect people from themselves”, libertarians around the world unanimously support the legalization of marijuana. In reality, however, there is not one single society in the world which is fully in line with the principle that one is unrestricted owner of one’s own body. In addition, in most societies the rules regarding harming oneself are highly inconsistent: while people are typically allowed to drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, adopt unhealthy eating habits, and exercise dangerous hobbies, states usually try to prevent people from committing suicide, wasting their money in gambling, and consuming certain drugs. Even if one does not agree with the idea of ownership of one’s body, these inconsistencies cause serious justification problems. Is it reasonable that in a country like Georgia smokers of marijuana may be jailed for many years while

smoking of ordinary cigarettes is not even considered a misdemeanor? IMPACT ON SOCIETY The legal inconsistencies are even more striking in view of the fact that in many respects marijuana resembles much more tobacco than heavy drugs like heroin and cocaine, and some experts consider it even less dangerous than tobacco. For example, smoking

brighter colors), accelerated heart rate, more appetite, impaired body movement, and sometimes nasty symptoms like anxiety, paranoia, and “random thinking”. Therefore, people who smoke marijuana and drive cars pose serious threats for others. While this is also true for alcohol, it is not possible for the police to quickly find out whether a person has smoked marijuana, as the test can only be carried out in police stations.

While Georgian society may not be ready yet for a full decriminalization, in light of the enormous societal cost of imprisoning people, it should be seriously considered to make the legal consequences less severe. marijuana is less addictive than smoking normal cigarettes (cf. Wes Boyd from the Harvard Medical School, who writes in Psychology Today: “The physiological effects of cannabis withdrawal are generally mild.”) Moreover, marijuana can be cultivated in lofts and winter gardens or even in a plant pot on the window sill. This makes it cheap even if it is illegal, while the very combination of being highly addictive and highly priced is what makes hard drugs like heroin and cocaine so destructive for society. High prices trigger consumers of those drugs to engage in all kinds of illegal activities for funding their addictions (socalled “trigger offenses”), while crime associated with obtaining marijuana is rarely observed. However, smoking cannabis may have negative externalities on others. According to the medical portal WebMD the immediate effects of smoking marijuana are altered senses (e.g. seeing

Long term effects of cannabis consumption include not just the standard issues also associated with tobacco smoking, like increased risk of cancer, fertility problems, and higher risk of heart attacks, but also mental disorders like schizophrenia and depression. This is an important difference between the two kinds of smoking: health problems resulting from tobacco smoking are not increasing health care expenditures, as smokers typically die rather quickly, but mental problems do cause additional costs. However, these costs could be covered by special taxes levied on marijuana consumption, as they exist, for example, in the Netherlands. Moreover, experts do not believe that these mental illnesses are genuinely caused by cannabis – rather, marijuana seems to trigger the outbreak of mental issues people already have. Unlike with most other drugs, including legal ones like alcohol, there has not been recorded one single death caused by an overdose of cannabis.

CRIMINALIZATION COSTS Is it smart to send people to prison who did nothing else but smoke marijuana? In most countries of the world, including Georgia, prisons are “universities of crime”. The socialization among other inmates in prisons and the stigmatization that follows from imprisonment has turned many essentially harmless people into “bad eggs”. What started with some minor offenses like smoking marijuana, perhaps part of teenage rebellions, ruined many persons’ future lives and careers. Another question is whether the ban really achieves its goal to reduce the number of consumers. A recent study from Australia, where marijuana is decriminalized only in some states but not in others, did not find statistically significant increases in the number of marijuana smokers as a result of decriminalization (Williams and BrettevilleJensen: “Does liberalizing cannabis laws increase cannabis use?”, Journal of Health Economics 36, 2014). However, it seems that in states with liberal laws the distribution of consumers is shifted towards younger people, which is clearly problematic. One largely refuted argument against decriminalization is the so called “gateway theory”. It states that smoking marijuana is just a first step of an “addiction career” and will later lead to the consumption of harder drugs. Yet as one of many reports state clearly: “There is no evidence that marijuana serves as a stepping stone on the basis of its particular drug effect.” (Joy et al.: “Marijuana and Medicine – Assessing the Science Base”, National Academy Press, Washington 1999). One should also take into account that cannabis could be a source of tax income for the government. The Netherlands, where for many decades mari-

BACK TO PROPORTION! The global trend in the last years is to decriminalize the consumption of cannabis. There are still countries where consumption, possession, and production are illegal, like Georgia, France, and Greece. In many others, however, consumption is now de jure or de facto decriminalized, like in the Netherlands, Spain, some states of the US, and Australia. Typically, production and trade is still illegal, but there are even a few countries where marijuana it is totally legalized, like Uruguay and, allegedly, North Korea. In Georgia, the consumption, possession, production, and sale is illegal. Repeated consumption and possession of certain amounts can lead to imprisonment of up to 14 years! While the Georgian society may not be ready yet for a full decriminalization, in light of the enormous societal cost of imprisoning people, it should be seriously considered to make the legal consequences less severe. In the end, a rational government should recognize that marijuana consumption, even with strict criteria applied, is not more than a minor offense.

Georgia Today would like to convey its condolences to those at ISET for the loss of two students as a result of the June 13 flood, Mariam Kutelia (See Page 21 of this week’s edition) and Ivlita Jibuti.


Geor gian P olitical Wise Georgian Political Man R ondeli Dies Ag ed 73 Rondeli Aged By Zviad Adzinbaia Alexander Rondeli, a founding president of Georgia Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) and revered Georgian political scientist died on June 12, aged 73. Rondeli was regarded as a leading political scientist and an expert of international relations and Russian studies in Georgia. He had been leading GFSIS for more than 14 years, with the foundation conducting excellent analysis on regional and security studies in the country. Rondeli was one of the pioneers in his generation who was determined that Georgia would opt for the European and NATO path, as he believed this would guarantee the country’s national security and future prosperity. Dr. Rondeli, who held the diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, was born in 1942. He graduated from the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Tbilisi State University and obtained a doctorate degree in 1974. Subsequently, he was a research fellow through an exchange program at the London School of Economics and Political Science (1976-77). Apart from this, he was tightly linked with Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School as a mid-career fellow (1993–94), and to Emory University (1991) as a visiting professor. Mount Holyoke College and Williams College were other academic institutions where Dr. Rondeli continued his academic career in the 1990s, an extremely complicated period for Georgia. In addition, at Tbilisi State University (1991-96) he led the Department of International Relations and directed the Foreign Policy Research and Analysis Center at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (1997-2001). Two wellknown books International Relations and The Small States in the International System were written by the late Dr. Rondeli, texts widely used by Georgian IR students. Rondeli, when founding GFSIS at the end of the 20th century along with Temur Yakobashvili, a former Georgian official, said it aimed to “help improve public

JUNE 19 - 25


USAID/REAP Mour n Tragic Mourn Loss of Mariam K utelia Kutelia By Steven Jones The USAID/REAP program said it had lost “a valued member of its team” upon learning of the tragic death of its intern Mariam Kutelia, who was killed in the Tbilisi flooding last weekend. Mariam’s death inspired the project and its grantees to contribute to the relief efforts of the flood and provide aid. USAID’s Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production (REAP) united as one to participate in the mass volunteering in Tbilisi, donating hundreds of shovels, dozens of wheelbarrows, gloves, rain boots and hats, the equipment most

in Tbilisi destroyed the homes of numerous families, caused, at the latest count at time of writing, 18 deaths, and left dozens missing, but the unprecedented volunteer efforts led largely by young people provide hope in a time of great distress. Due to the largely horizontal organizational structure of the volunteers and the lack of singular leadership, technology and the use of social networks became the key tools to share information and provide updated details on meeting locations, necessary equipment and donation priorities. Some Facebook hashtags are still being used to provide

Alexander Rondeli, a founding president of Georgia Foundation for Strategic and International Studies

policy decision-making in Georgia through research and analysis, training of policymakers and policy analysts, and public education about the strategic issues”. The political wise man strongly advocated Georgia’s European and EuroAtlantic orientation, a course he saw as the single choice for the country to become a viable democracy. During the past two decades, he became a teacher for thousands of students in the country, many of whom have gone on to establish successful careers on politics or connected fields. From his colorful professional experience in the fields of diplomacy, politics and security, Rondeli believed that Russia had only imperial ambitions in Georgia, no peaceful goals, a statement he

rearticulated in November 2013 when visiting Georgetown University. He assessed Georgia - despite permanent Russian pressure and its ongoing occupation of part of its territory – would be able to maintain the course taken to defend its sovereignty and build a democratic state. He dreamt of a Georgia which would create a ‘success story’ in the region and beyond as a territorially tiny country taking extraordinary and audacious steps to make a quick shift from the post-Soviet mentality to that of a western democracy. He saw the current Georgian stance as ‘moving slowly but developing’. A service for Dr. Rondeli was held at Tbilisi State University on 16 June attended by thousands of Georgian and foreign public figures, students, scientists and others.

For mer Tur kish Pr esident Sule yman Demir el Dies ormer urkish President Suleyman Demirel Former Turkish president and prime minister, Suleyman Demirel, died on Wednesday at age 90 in a hospital in Aknary. According to the Anatolia news agency, the cause of death of the former leader was heart failure. Over the past year, Demirel was taken to hospital twice, and last month he was said to be in a critical condition. His condition rapidly deteriorated on Tuesday evening, June 16. He died at 2:05am on Wednesday at Ankara’s Guven Hospital. Turkish President Recep Tayyip

Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu expressed their condolences to Demirel’s family and to the people of Turkey. The Turkish Prime Minister said that, due to the death of the former prime minister and president, there will be three days of national mourning in the republic. “Suleyman Demirel, who left a deep mark in the political history of Turkey and contributed to the development of our country, is one of the most significant figures in our political history,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the current

President of Turkey. Suleyman Demirel was born on November 1, 1924. He was a founding member of the Justice Party in Turkey. He was a prime minister several times in the 1960s and 1970s before serving as president from 1993 to 2000. Demirel was also responsible for the development and implementation of several economic reforms that have put Turkey on the path of industrialisation. Suleyman Demirel’s funeral will be held in Ankara on June 19.

Mariam Kutelia

needed for the thousands of volunteers standing together against the natural catastrophe. The trucks and equipment were driven to the Office of the Vake District Local Government from Shida Kartli and Kakheti regions. Some of the volunteers left to join the rescue efforts of the missing persons such as Ivlita Jibuti, a pregnant newlywed, who was due to graduate from the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University this summer with a master’s degree in Economics. On the night of June 13, flash floods

a stream of updates on how many volunteers are needed at specific locations for clean-up efforts, what donations are needed at which local government offices, what medications are urgently needed at the temporary housing locations and so on. The Facebook group “#13 June-Volunteers” counts around 18,000 members, many of whom are actively involved in the disaster relief efforts to this day. REAP’s team expressed their deep condolences toward Mariam’s family and toward the families of other victims of the flooding.

FOR RENT Apartment in Vake (behind the Vake Swimming Pool) in an ecologically clean environment with beautiful views. The 120 sq. m. duplex apartment on the 10th floor, newly renovated, with a new kitchen, fireplace, balconies.

Price: 1100 USD Former Turkish president and prime minister, Suleyman Demirel

Tel: 577521020 Tekla (English) 597000109 Dato (Georgian)


JUNE 19 - 25


Ir on Thea tr e Gaining Inter na tional Iron heatr tre Interna national Acc laim and K ee ping Classics Ali ve Acclaim Kee eeping Aliv By Maka Lomadze Berthold Brecht is helping Georgian theatre and its history to gain worldwide acclaim. The Caucasus Circle Chalk, staged by the renowned Robert Sturua, with phenomenal theatre and cinema star, the late Ramaz Chkhikvadze, together with the famous Rustaveli Theatre company, reached such levels of creativity that a British critic once wrote: “Wow, Georgians have taught us how to play Shakespeare!” Today, the Iron Theatre is staging Davit Andghuladze’s version of Completely Other Opera, based on Brecht’s Three-Pence Opera. The Iron Theatre recently returned from the Black Sea International Theatre

Festival, held in Turkey, in which only 11 international troupes out of 120 applicants took part. They were there on the strength of Completely Other Opera. This particular theatre is attractive to tourists with its modern facilities, enticing aesthetics and staging qualities. One other sign of its modernity is Andghuladze’s propensity to give male roles to female performers, and vice versa. Nodar Simsive plays the part of a woman who is a former prostitute, who has a husband with one daughter, played also by a male actor. He is widely considered the best actor and most sparkling figure of the whole company in this particular performance, which is unusually vigorous and loud. Ana Kaulashvili, a female actor play-

ing the part of a young pauper whose mother is a prostitute and whose father is a thief, shared the challenges she faced in performing this particular role: “It has not been an easy task to transform into a young man! The performance premiered in 2011. The work was extremely interesting and hard at the same time. I used to observe young boys in order to resemble them. It was our first tour abroad, thus, very important for the the-

atre as well as for us, young actors. I think, due to this experience, we became smarter as artists. There was no contest, but we received a positive reaction. We got acquainted with the theatrical traditions of Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and other countries.” Anghuladze tries to express his civil opinion and position with regard to the present, using the plays of the world

classicists. The main figures for Brecht in Three-Pence Opera are prostitutes, thieves and policemen. When looking at the highest rating TV shows, such themes and characters tend to be involved. The theatre is closed now for the summer season and will reopen in October with the premiere of “Samanishvili’s Stepmother” based on the story by Georgian writer Davit Kldiashvili.

June 21 DIVORCE CHARITY EVENING Giorgi Eristavi Directed by Davit Doiashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 15 Lari

Directed by Brad Peyton Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 22:35 Ticket price: 9.50 – 10.50 Lari

liberation movement of Georgia and to the victims of the Soviet political repression throughout this period.

TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATRE Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 Directed by Leigh Whannell Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson Genre: Horror Language: Russian Start time: 14:40, 19:35 Ticket price: 8.50 – 12.50 Lari

HOT PURSUIT Directed by Anne Fletcher Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Sofía Vergara, Matthew Del Negro Genre: Action, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 14:50 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari

WHAT'S ON IN TBILISI THEATRE GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 June 19 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15 Lari June 25 RAMONA Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15 Lari MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 June 19 INTRO CHARITY EVENING Musical alergia Start time: 20:30 Ticket price: From 7 Lari GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATRE Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 June 19-20 LUARSABI Directed by Luka Chkheidze Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari June 23 STOP AIDS Directed by Davit Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATRE Address:182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90

June 21 GISELLE Adolphe Adam Soloists: Nino Samadashvili and Philip Pedulov Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: From 5 Lari Venue: A. Griboedov Theatre, Rustaveli 2 Ave. CINEMA AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 299 99 55 June 19-25 JURASSIC WORLD 3D Directed by Colin Trevorrow Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: English Start time: 22:20 Language: Russian Start time: 12:10, 14:50, 17:35, 19:45, 22:30 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12:50 Lari SPY Directed by Paul Feig Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jude Law Genre: Action, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 12:00 Ticket price: 7.30 – 8:30 Lari SAN ANDREAS 3D

RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 255 50 00 June 19-25 JURASSIC WORLD 3 D (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 14:45, 17:15 Ticket price: 7.50 – 10:50 Lari SPY (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 12:15, 17:15 Ticket price: 7.30 – 8:30 Lari SAN ANDREAS 3D (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 15:00, 17:00, 20:00, 22:15 Ticket price: 9.50 – 10.50 Lari INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 19:30, 22:30 Ticket price: 8.50 – 12.50 Lari LOST IN KARASTAN Directed by Ben Hopkins Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, MyAnna Buring, Noah Taylor Genre: Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 16:00 Ticket price: 9.50 – 10.50 Lari

INSIDE OUT Directed Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen Cast: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama Language: Russian Start time: 22:30 Ticket price: 11.50 – 112.50 Lari MUSEUM IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 June 9-19 THE EXHIBITION “PRESENTIMENT” BY TSIRA PAPINASHVILI SHALVAAMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF ART Address: 1 Lado Gudiashvili St. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 June 10-28 THE EXHIBITION OF THE PAINTINGS AND GRAPHIC ARTWORKS OF 50 MODERN GEORGIAN ARTISTS OF DIFFERENT GENERATIONS.

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 preserved in the archeological treasury. The exhibition presents three periods of development in the history of Georgian goldsmithery, from the 3rd century BCE to the 4th century CE: Kurgan Culture (3-2 BCE), Golden Fleece Kolkheti (8- 3 BCE), Kingdom of Kartli-Iberia (3rd century BCE-4th century CE). GALLERY THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. June 3-17 EXHIBITION “MAELSTROM: FRANZ MARK, GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM AND MODERNISM IN GEORGIA” GALLERY “VANDA” Address: D. Chonkadze str. #14 (Sololaki) Telephone: 293 42 86 Gallery works daily, 12:00 – 19:00 June 19 – July 5 VAKHTANG TATO AKHALKATSISHVILI’S EXHIBITION YOUR MYSTERIOUS WAYS

MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 1 Rustaveli ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22

ARTAREA Address: 10 D. Abashidze st.

The exhibition also includes one of the train carriages in which the participants of the national uprising of 1924 were executed.It is also dedicated to the history of the anti-occupational, national-

June 19 LIVE @ TWILIGHT’S CHARITY PROJECT Nika Machaidze, Natalia Beridze, Gacha Bakradze Start time: 21:00



JUNE 19 - 25


Tradition Making, Par t 2: Etseri, Svaneti By Tony Hanmer (Continued from last week) Cheese can be made from the milk of a variety of mammals; the common cheeses are from cows, goats and sheep, all made in Georgia. We’re sticking with cows’ milk, because a cow is what we have and what others use up here for cheese making. Rennet is added to the warmed milk, being an enzyme originating in the cow’s stomach which causes the solids (curds) to separate from the liquids (whey), the former becoming the cheese and the latter usually being discarded or fed to calves. After it has sat for a while, the formed curd mass is cut up in the whey and left a bit longer before extraction. A bacterial culture can be added early on as well, and is often required to make a specialized cheese. I am seeking to make mine without this addition, because it must be bought, likely from outside Georgia, and this adds to the expense and complication of things. Other things can be added to flavour it now, too: herbs, for example. The cheese is usually pressed, once you have separated it by hand from the whey, to extract even more whey; longer and with heavier weight for a harder cheese, less so or even not at all for a softer type. This step is not found in the Georgian cheese making that I have

seen, and which my wife does. She merely leaves it to drain for some hours or overnight in a plastic cheese strainer, periodically pouring off the whey which has come out. Then the cheese is aged, also omitted in Georgia, although curing local cheese in brine is often done. I’m talking about drying it out in air, while protecting it with a cloth or other cover from the main animal enemies: mice, and flies, which would love to lay their eggs in it, which will yield maggots! Unwanted surface bacteria can be discour-

aged by a wipe with a brine-soaked cloth, or a dip in brine. You need to keep tabs on air temperature and humidity during this time, as these affect the aging process and its results. In fact, all of the above processes should be monitored when experimenting with cheese making, to arrive at a repeatable result! Temperature of cheese when you add the rennet; amount of rennet, stirring and cutting processes; amount, timing and time of weight; and so on. Treat it as a science as well as an art.

You can wax the cheese with hot molten wax to kill surface bacteria and seal it from further such and help it age, and I’m fortunate in having a neighbour and good friend here who will sell me the necessary wax from his beehives, though I’ve not yet tried this process. As with any experiment that you want to call scientific, a main rule is: only change one variable at a time! Otherwise you won’t know what does what. Then, wait. Months, sometimes longer. This is the hard part, as it is with liqueur making, as I’ve found. So far I’ve carried out two simultaneous tests, one pressed overnight and the other not at all, and both have yielded a hard cheese with a softer, stronger flavoured centre at just over a month old. I need to continue, because my results are absolutely delicious enough to persuade me away from either Georgianmade or foreign commercial varieties available in-country, which is my longterm goal. (My niece, living with us, and my wife, agree.) I’d even like to get the cheese certified, if they do that here, give it a name, and start a small scale sales operation! Nothing big or taking all my

time, but enough to offer clients at our guest house to eat or buy and take with them. (I’ve now determined, from a quick online search, that my cheeses from Georgia can be imported for personal use into the USA or Canada, but not into the EU.) Next up, buying a food-grade plastic cheese mould to give a regular cylindrical form, and making a simple press for it. I’m delighted with the first tests, and am encouraged to continue to success. The aging room still needs to be made, with shelves and temperature/humidity control, away from pests. But step by step, I think we can do this. The philosophical underpinning of all this is the tension between making a tradition to stick with (finding what works in the cheese making and staying religiously with that), versus innovating to get a new result; perhaps this too eventually becoming a whole new tradition. Georgian cuisine tends to be very conservative in this regard (e.g. there is exactly one dish here that you put ground black pepper on: khinkali), but as I am finding out to my benefit, there’s plenty of room for new things. Including Hanmer cheese from Etseri.

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:

Tbilisi Hasher s to Walk ffor or the Zoo Hashers

Tbilisi Hash House Harriers on a recent hash in Mestia

On Sunday 21st at 3pm, the Tbilisi Hash House Harriers (TH3) walking/ running group would like to invite you to join a mystery Charity Walk and BBQ in order to raise money to donate to the Tbilisi Zoo Fund. The friendly, Tbilisi-loving mixed-

nationality/age group will be meeting at the entrance to Vere Park, next to the beer wagon, at 3pm and setting off on a walk/run from there. Families welcome! For further information contact:


Katie Melua to Support Tbilisi Flood Victims By Nino Melikishvili After the devastating flood in Tbilisi, both in Georgia and abroad, people united to support those who were affected by the disaster. Famous Georgian UKbased singer Katie Melua is one of the many to offer support to Tbilisi’s flood victims and she plans to perform a charity concert to help her Tbilisi hometown. As Georgian society in the UK announced, Melua will perform a charity concert in London. The concert will be held on June 21 and all money raised will be donated to a Tbilisi flood relief fund. Besides her career as singer, Melua is known for her charity work. Katie is patron of Fair Trees, the organization that is trying to stop the exploitation of core pickers in Ambrolauri, Georgia, by the European Christmas tree industry. Katie is also a patron of the Manx Cancer Help

charity, which offers support to cancer sufferers and is based on the Isle of Man. Other initiatives will also be held in the UK to raise money for the flood victims. Madona Kobalia, a board member of the Georgian Community in the UK, is participating in a nine Kilometer fun-run on June 19 to support people affected by the flood. Also, Georgian restaurant Tamada in London will be hosting a charity event on the 28th of June, with multiple live performers to help Georgian people who became homeless after the flood. They also have Tamada Fund ( where people can donate. What’s more, on June 26, Melua and her friends in the UK will host a charity exhibition where Georgian food, wine and souvenirs will be sold. The money raised will also go to the relief fund.


Georgia’s Long Road Back from the Bar ren Reaches of Pot 6

By Alastair Watt Poland were somewhat flattered by a four-goal winning margin against Georgia in the Euro 2016 qualifier in Warsaw on June 13 but, despite further signs of improvement for head coach Kakha Tskhadadze, the defeat confirmed that the Georgians will be bottom seeds for the looming World Cup 2018 qualifying draw. Perched 139 th in FIFA’s world rankings, one place above Tajikistan, Georgia find themselves at their lowest standing since their first year of com-

Andorra, San Marino and newcomers Gibraltar against whom Georgia recorded its only competitive victory in the last two years, last October. For the World Cup campaign ahead, Georgia won’t have the luxury of playing the also-rans. Instead, they’ll be one of them. In Warsaw, Georgia had held their own until Arkadiusz Milik’s 62nd minute opener and were still well in the game until Robert Lewandowski mercilessly walloped a high-speed hat-trick past Georgian goalkeeper Giorgi Loria in the final minutes.

For the World Cup campaign ahead, Georgia won’t have the luxury of playing the also-rans. Instead, they’ll be one of them. peting in international competition in 1994. With Euro 2016 qualification already an impossibility, focus switches to the next campaign but if Georgia are to even come close to reaching Russia 2018, they’ll need to take the long road to do so. Some of the other confederations have already started their qualification bids, while the draw for European qualification takes place on July 25 in St Petersburg where Georgia will face the embarrassment of being placed in the same pot as perennial whipping boys

Tskhadadze, while complimentary of Poland who he described as “a machine”, also accepted responsibility for the 4-0 reverse, Georgia’s fifth defeat from six qualifiers, scoring just once in the five games not involving Gibraltar. “The last five minutes were a disaster and we have to play until the end. That was unacceptable and I am responsible. We must analyze mistakes as we had been competitive for 87 minutes but could not take our chances,” said the very humble Georgian head coach. In fairness, this was one of Georgia’s better performances of the campaign, not

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

a wonderful accolade admittedly, but the on-pitch progress is visible even if the results are yet to reflect this. The experience gained by the young pair of Lasha Dvali and Valeri Qazaishvili should be valuable for the remainder of the campaign, while it should not be forgotten that Georgia were without their captain and most reliable performer Jaba Kankava in the Polish capital. The Georgians won’t get the opportunity to salvage some pride and ranking places from a sorrowful campaign until September, when they host Scotland and then visit Ireland. The Scots, following a scarcely merited 1-1 draw in Dublin, stay third in the group and will all but secure third spot at worst if they can follow in the footsteps of Germany, Poland and Ireland by winning in Tbilisi. It is in such circumstances that Scotland last visited Georgia in 2007, within touching distance of a place at Euro 2008 after beating France twice, only to be undone by goals from Levan Mchedlidze and David Siradze on what remains a painful night for the Scottish fans. That memory may offer some encouragement to Tskhadadze, who could do with a positive result soon to substantiate claims of progress before he plots his country’s way through what promises to be a daunting World Cup qualification group on the horizon.

JUNE 19 - 25


Geor gia Suf Georgia Sufffer Tbilisi Cup Disa ppointment a gainst Disappointment ag Emer ging Ital y Emerging Italy By Alastair Watt An under-strength Georgia fell to a nonetheless surprising 26-10 defeat at the hands of Emerging Italy at Avchala Stadium in their second match of the Tbilisi Cup on June 17. The result confirmed Emerging Ireland as the tournament’s winners with a game to spare, and they will be presented with the trophy following their concluding match of the event against hosts Georgia on June 21. The Georgians had started the tournament reasonably well with a relatively comfortable 19-10 win over Uruguay in their opening game on June 13 courtesy of Konstantin Mikautadze’s try and kicked points from Beka Tsiklauri and Lasha Malaghuradze. Earlier that day, The Emerging Irish had cruised to a 25-0 triumph over their Italian equivalents with tries from Eoin Griffin, Andrew Conway, Stuart McCloskey and Tiernan O’Halloran. It was only minutes after Georgia’s match with the Uruguayans that the torrential rain fell on Tbilisi that would lead to the tragic flooding and deadly events that followed. Soon after, the Georgian players, as well as staff, were out in force joining the volunteer effort to clean up the affected parts of the city. Whether these exertions contributed to an underwhelming display against the Italians’ second string is uncertain but if it did, it would be understandable.

The Georgians certainly didn’t look like being subjected to a 16-point defeat in a competitive first half which finished with the scores level at 3-3 courtesy of early penalties by the visitors’ Carlo Canna and the hosts Malaghuradze. However, after the restart things quickly took a bad turn for Georgia as Canna’s drop goal followed by Simone Marinaro’s try which was converted by Canna who then quickly added a penalty put the Italians 16-3 ahead before the hour mark. Hopes of a comeback were more or less extinguished when Muraz Giorgadze was yellow carded in the 61st minute, after which Canna added a further five points from the boot, two of them from a conversion after Maxime Mbanda’s 65th minute score. Flanker Beka Gorgadze’s try at the death, converted by Tsiklauri, represented scant consolation for the hosts who had been hoping to give the Georgian people some brief positive respite from the devastation of the flooding. A 33-7 victory for Emerging Ireland over Uruguay earlier that day, combined with Georgia’s loss, assured the Irish of tournament success. However, Milton Haig’s Lelos still have the chance to restore some pride on home soil when they take on the Irish on Sunday, before they prepare for the World Cup which begins in England and Wales in less than three months.

GENERAL MANAGER - George Sharashidze BUSINESS MANAGER - Iva Merabishvili

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF - Katie Ruth Davies COPY EDITOR - Alastair Watt JOURNALISTS: Beqa Kirtava, Baia Dzaginadze, Eka Karsaulidze, Alastair Watt, Joseph Alexander Smith, Joseph Larsen, Zviad Adzinbaia, Tony Hanmer, Meri Taliashvili, Zaza Jgharkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Nino Melikishvili, Ana Lomtadze, Teona Surmava, Tatia Megeneishvili PHOTOGRAPHER: Zviad Nikolaishvili TECHNICAL SUPPORT: Misha Mchedlishvili CIRCULATION MANAGERS: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #771  

June 19 - 25, 2015

Issue #771  

June 19 - 25, 2015