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Thursday, May 8, 2014

The White House Petition: Demand Russia to de-occupy territories of Moldova, Republic of Georgia, and Ukraine

We petition the Obama administration to: Demand Russia to de-occupy territories of Moldova, Republic of Georgia, and Ukraine To prevent ongoing occupation of Ukraine and future potential occupations of former Soviet republics, such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Baltic countries, and other, Russian neo-imperial military machine needs to be stopped now. We need to demand Russia to unconditionally withdraw its all armed forces from the territories of Moldova (Transnistria), Georgia (Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region) and Ukraine (Crimea). Until complete de-occupation of all three countries (Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine) happens, total economic embargo on Russia, identical to what Iran, North Korea and other politically similar regimes are experiencing today, should by imposed by the global community. Sign this Petition - Stop Russian Agression against Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Annual Exhibition of Georgian and Caucasian Shepherd in Tbilisi, Georgia

Annual Exhibition of Georgian and Caucasian Shepherd "Tarti 2012" has been held thirteen times in Tbilisi, Georgia past Saturday. The exhibition was organized by The Kennel Federation of Georgia (The Fédération Cynologique de Géorgie (FCG)) and the Caucasian Shepherd Dog Club "Bombora". There were 115 registered participants this year as usual for this event. Much attention of guests and spectators who came to the exhibition, was brought to a breed "Georgia Mountain Dog".

 It is remarkable that the judges at the show were presented by Russian and Georgian flags. The competition was judged by the Georgia Kennel Federation President Gia Giorgadze and International Judge Vasili Markov who arrived from Russia Vasili Markov is the well known expert and also the owner of the kennel "Aleksandrova Sloboda" in Russia. Vasili Markov is engaged in breeding of Caucasian and Central Asian Shepherd Dogs for 20 years and his kennel for more than 60 dogs. He came to Georgia for the second time and said that in recent years quality of Caucasian shepherds in Georgia which is the birthplace of this breed has improved considerably.

Exhibitions winners and owners of the best dogs were awarded with dozens of valuable prizes - DVD-players, large screen LCD TVs, as well as a 15-pound bags of food for large dogs produced by Royal Canin. Special prizes - Golden Cups were dedicated to the winners of the exhibition who won the first place in each of the exhibition category.

Georgian Shepherd Dog Information here

Georgia Marks Day of Soviet Occupation

The Bolshevik’s Red Army parade in Tbilisi, February, 1921. A Georgian Bolshevik Sergo Orjonikidze led by the Red Army’s invasion of Georgia ninety one years ago. Photo: courtesy of

Government buildings in Georgia lowered national flags to half-staff on February 25 to mark the day when the Bolshevik’s Red Army took over Tbilisi in 1921.

This is the second year when the Day of Soviet Occupation is officially marked in Georgia after the Parliament unanimously passed a resolution in 2010 instructing the government to organize various memorial events on every February 25 to commemorate, as the decision puts it, hundreds of thousands of victims of political repressions of Communist occupational regime.

This year the government held a week long campaign, which among others, also included events aimed at increasing awareness about the events of ninety one years ago among school students, involving special classes and lectures on invasion of the Red Army.

The government was promoting “red poppy campaign” encouraging citizens, including school students to wear poppy ribbons said to be symbolizing remembrance of those fallen in fight against the Red Army. Officials and many lawmakers, as well as newscasters on the Georgian nationwide broadcasters, also wear these ribbons this week.

President Saakashvili is expected to make a public speech later on Saturday in connection to the Day of Soviet Occupation, according to his press office.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Georgian National Ballet a family dance with history

TBILISI (Reuters) - It has survived communist oppression, the Cold War, the break-up of the Soviet Union and counted Josef Stalin and Elvis Presley among its admirers, but at its heart the Georgian National Ballet has always been a bit of a family business.

Founded nearly 70 years ago by the husband and wife team of Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili and initially named the Georgian State Dance Company, the troupe has travelled from the back offices of suspicious state and party officials in 1945 to some of the greatest stages in the world.

The combination of lively music, shows of strength, tornado-fast spins, jumps, swords, shields and daggers for male dancers, matched with the gliding and elegant movements of female performers in vibrantly colored costumes make Georgian dance a dazzling spectacle for audiences.

"I would dare to say that other national dance groups in the world don't present such diversity on the stage," said Iliko Sukhishvili Jr., the founder's grandson and current chief choreographer of the troupe.

Georgian dance history goes back many centuries and reflects the national character and ancient history of Georgia, a tiny Caucasus country sandwiched between Russia and Turkey.

One of the oldest Christian nations in the world has always suffered at the hands of invaders, dominated by Arabs, Persians, Turks and of course latterly Russians.

The uneasy historical background of the country has always been reflected in the Georgian dance, first choreographed by the original husband and wife team of Sukhishvili and Ramishvili.

Each dance has a different costume originating from the different regions of a country whose mountainous landscape tumbles down onto the shores of the Black Sea.

In order to persuade officials that his dance company would not offend the Marxist principles of a Soviet state still reeling from the brutalities of World War Two, Sukhishvili's grandfather gave a two-hour solo performance for state bosses and secret police in their offices, describing it as a tribute to the pure folklore encouraged by the Communist Party.

"It was one of the most exciting and brave mystifications in Georgia's art history of that time," said granddaughter Nino Sukhishvili, who is now a senior manager of the group.

Since then there have been full houses in the Albert Hall, the Coliseum, New York's Metropolitan Opera House, Madison Square Garden and Milan's La Scala and the family have remained at the helm. Tengiz, the father of the current Nino and Iliko, was general producer until his death a few years ago.

"Our ballet has become a visiting card for our country as its history and the diversity of its regions are all reflected in our two-hour performance," Iliko Sukhishvili Jr. said.

That's probably why founders of the group received offers to stay abroad during tours, including one from George Balanchine, the founding father of modern American ballet.

"World's No. 1 Folk Dance Company and former Soviet Union's greatest export," the New York Times once wrote.

However, unlike other Soviet artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov or Rudolf Nureyev, who defected to the West, the Sukhishvilis stuck it out to see Georgia finally come into its own with the Soviet Union's collapse.

"I think it was not that much about fear, but about love and dedication to their country, I mean Georgia, and sense of responsibility," Iliko Sukhishvili Jr. said.

The troupe still includes 80 male and 30 female dancers and 15 musicians, and has given more than 10,000 concerts in about 100 countries on all five continents.

The program has been altered over the years and the latest vision from the family at the heart of the troupe has caused some concern among traditionalists.

"I knew that our new program would cause a big discussion in Georgia and I even wanted that explosion. What is art without such explosions?" Iliko Sukhishvili Jr. said.

He said that the new program, which includes more dynamic parts in dances performed by women and more room for improvisations on the stage, was in no way a rejection of the choreography he inherited.

"I had basics, all main geometry of the dance and I used all of that," he said.

But time is already proving him right and other Georgian dance groups are beginning to copy the moves, just like they did with his grandparents decades ago.

"What is my biggest professional emotion? When I see that something I have had in my mind is transformed into something on a dance floor."

(Reporting by Margarita Antidze, editing by Paul Casciato)
Original article here

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Abkhaz separatists blackmail Georgia and UNESCO - to save a unique ancient Georgian fresco they need to agree with the separatist's request first

Abkhazian separatists are finally willing to let UNESCO look closer at the restoration works at Bedia Monastery, built in 999 by King Bagrat III, but won't allow the team to enter from Georgian territory. Georgian authorities believe a unique fresco of the king has been destroyed during work to restore the complex

Bedia Cathedral (Georgian: ბედიის მონასტერი) is a medieval Georgian Orthodox cathedral located in Agubedia, in the Tkvarcheli district of Abkhazia, a Georgian region on the Black Sea coast, currently occupied by Russia with support of Abkhaz separatist groups.

Bedia Cathedral was originally built at the close of the 10th century and consecrated in 999 on the behest of King Bagrat II of Abkhazians, who would go on to become King of the Georgians as Bagrat III and who was interred at the church after his death. The extant edifices, however, date back to the 13th-14th centuries and include a domed cruciform church, a belltower resting upon the northern narthex and the ruins of an old palace. The southern wall of the main church contains fragments of contemporary murals, including the portraits of Bagrat II and the representatives of the Dadiani noble family of Georgia.

This complex was one of the cultural centers of Georgia for centuries and had its own unique library. Even more important, it has the only existing fresco of the first king of a united Georgia.

Georgia in 2008 expressed concern about the possibility that the monument could be destroyed, when there was information that Russia was going to conduct restoration works on historical monuments in Abkhazia.
Video footage was broadcasted by the Abkhazian TV channel 'Abaza' showing that the walls and frescos of the monastery were already painted, including the Bagrat III fresco.

In October 2011, media reported that after Ilori Saint George Church, restoration was going to be made to Bedia Monastery too. According to this information, the restoration works was going to be done by the company Tektonik from the city of Vladimir in Russia.

It is now being said by the Georgian National Agency for the Protection of Cultural Heritage that the fresco has been destroyed. The only fresco of Bagrat III collapsed due to mistakes made during restoration works, according to Giorgi Gagoshidze, spokesperson for the agency. He says they were reinforcing the walls of the church when the Bagrat III fresco was destroyed.

The Georgian government thinks the international community should be informed about this problem and get involved. Abkhazia lies in the northwest corner of Georgia and is currently occupied by Russia. Georgian jurisdiction therefore does not apply. Separatist authorities in Abkhazia are not willing to let a UNESCO team to come and save the fresco if they enter the occupied territory from the Georgian mainland. However, Nino Kalandadze, Georgian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister says that the cultural heritage issues are so severe and painful that the Georgian government is ready to discuss other ways to make it possible for the mission to go there, and therefore Georgia is ready to make an exception from the travel restrictions.

Georgia is now ready to make an exception from the travel restrictions and agree with the Abkhaz separatists blackmail. Georgia will let a UNESCO mission enter the territory in order to save a historical monument from the Abkhaz separatist barbarians. Unfortunately according to Kalandadze, UNESCO is unable to send a mission yet, because there are no safety guarantees, as the occupied region of Abkazia is not safe enough even for so well-known international organization, such as UNESCO.

Friday, January 13, 2012

January - month to visit Georgia in your travel calendar for 2012

Georgia - travel destination for January in the travel calendar by , UK journalist specialising in travel.

Every destination has its best time of year. So, to help you plan your trip, Lonely Planet's Tom Hall has put together a calendar of countries best seen in 2012 and published it in The Guardian.

January: Georgia
Winter sports fans and city breakers looking for somewhere new should try Georgia. The country is attracting a growing number of independent travellers who are exploring mountains dotted with historic castles and churches, beautiful towns such as Svaneti and Kazbegi, and the Europe-meets-Asia capital Tbilisi. It won't be warm in January but skiers won't mind: the country's main resort, Gudauri, is a good bet for reliable snow and can be reached by road from the capital in two to three hours.
• bmi ( flies from Heathrow to Tbilisi with returns from £364 including taxes

Read the whole travel calendar for 2012 here, but first, plan your trip to Georgia!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Apply Now to Teach English in Tbilisi, Georgia

Volunteering to teach English in Tbilisi, Georgia is a great way to immerse yourself in a new culture and develop skills that will stay with you for a lifetime.  You can choose to stay for anywhere from 3 months to a year—and many choose to stay longer! In addition, the Teach and Learn with Georgia program offers its teachers a number of benefits, including:
  • Paid round-trip airfare to and from your home country
  • A monthly stipend of approximately $300USD
  • Medical Insurance
  • Free accommodations with a host family
  • Training, including teaching, language, and culture classes
  • One round-trip ticket for one vacation per year.

Apply Now to Teach English in Tbilisi, Georgia, Eastern Europe. Direct link here
Read more details about Reach to Teach program in Tbilisi, Georgia - Why to teach English in Georgia and other details, such as cost of living, transportation, climate, history of the program and many other things. Direct link is here

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Georgia Economic Development Results in 2011 - The World Bank Ranking

In terms of GDP growth Georgia is among the top three nations in the world. This was stated by the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Vera Kobalia at a press briefing several days ago where she was summing up the economic development results of 2011 in the Republic of Georgia.

According to its data. Turkey holds the first place, followed by Estonia. Georgia is in the third place

Kobalia noted that the forecast of real GDP growth of Georgia is better than that of countries such as Lithuania, Belarus, Armenia, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia, Germany etc.

The Minister also reported that, according to Doing Business World Bank ranking Georgia holds the first place on Registering Property out of 183 countries, and among the top ten on indicators such as building permits, starting a business, and financing.

Kobalia stressed that Georgia ranks second in the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Below you could see all key matrix results. Georgia plans total score improvement by 1 addition point in 2012. Out of top 10 parameters, Georgia shows progress in 8 of them

TOPIC RANKINGSDB 2012 RankDB 2011 RankChange in Rank
Starting a Business78up 1
Dealing with Construction Permits46up 2
Getting Electricity8991up 2
Registering Property12up 1
Getting Credit821up 13
Protecting Investors1721up 4
Paying Taxes4262up 20
Trading Across Borders5434up -20
Enforcing Contracts4140up -1
Resolving Insolvency109111up 2

Complete report could be seen here:

Friday, December 30, 2011

Can I get a job or promote my business idea using Reality TV? Yes, You Can, in Georgia!

Georgians Looking for Jobs, Loans Can Make a Pitch on Reality TV - Wall Street Journal

TBILISI, Georgia—Governments around the world are scrambling to find innovative policies to create jobs in the teeth of a global downturn. In ex-Soviet Georgia, the government appears to have found a policy that's all its own: reality TV.

Every Sunday, Georgians gather to watch "Employ and Get Employed," an "American Idol"-inspired extravaganza, with echoes of "The Apprentice," on which unemployed citizens and wannabe tycoons pitch business plans to a panel of judges.

On "Employ or Get Employed," the new reality TV hit in the former communist state of Georgia, unemployed citizens and wannabe tycoons pitch business ideas to a panel of bankers. WSJ's Joe Parkinson reports from Tbilisi.

Only this panel of four suited men isn't chaired by a Georgian Simon Cowell, or even a Donald Trump.

Here, participants pitch to Vladimir Gurgenidze, head of Liberty Bank, who until 2008 was Georgia's prime minister; the current prime minister's brother, Bank of Georgia director Irakli Gilauri; plus a third banker and the mayor of the capital, Tbilisi. Mayor Giorgi "Gigi" Ugulava is widely expected to run for president in 2013, when his political mentor Mikheil Saakashvili steps down.

The show, screened at prime time, is notching up one of the highest ratings on Georgian TV.

A recent episode featured a Tbilisi pest-controller called "The Exterminator," who sought capital to decorate his van in cockroach skins. A man who said he was an economics professor pitched for financing to build a flying-saucer-shaped hotel. He said he had been contacted by aliens.

Soon after the show first aired in November, a trainee priest, accompanied by two uniformed female chauffeurs, pitched a "Pink Taxi" service that would be driven by women and only take women passengers. Neither of his companions had a driver's license, the show's producers said, but that didn't put off the panel. Bank of Georgia offered him a start running a taxi from its own fleet.

Critics say "Employ and Get Employed" is essentially a state enterprise, designed to help Mr. Saakashvili's pro-Western, pro-market regime overcome its political Achilles' heel: high unemployment. Georgia's official unemployment rate in September was 15.5%.

The show is bankrolled with funds backed by Tbilisi City Hall. The capital up for grabs—1.1 million lari, or about $660,000—is distributed by banks, but also guaranteed by the city government. If the panel likes a pitch, they offer the contestant a business loan at a 6% interest rate—far cheaper than the national average of around 20%—to help grow their ideas and combat unemployment.

As well as low-interest-rate loans, the panel can offer government jobs, places in state-run business education programs or free leases on municipal land. The show is broadcast weekly on the privately owned, pro-government TV channel, Rustaveli 2. It is produced by the team responsible for "Georgia's Got Talent" and the Georgian versions of "American Idol" and "Big Brother."

Mr. Ugulava, re-elected Tbilisi's mayor in 2010, is a philosophy graduate and former journalist. As the panel's chairman, he announces which contestants succeed in bids for state-backed loans. If a pitch falls flat and fails to secure a loan, the mayor occasionally doles out a job, a one-off contract or even lifestyle advice instead.

Bachuki Bakhtadze, a guitar teacher and composer from Tbilisi, asked for support to launch a floating restaurant for Georgian banquets. The panel decided that, as Georgian banquets are notoriously wine and vodka soaked affairs, the floating restaurant wouldn't be safe, or profitable. The mayor did, however, promise Mr. Bakhtadze a job as a tour guide at the capital's annual festival.

Guram Jobadze also failed to get funding for his project. He wanted to sell coil-shaped potato chips on skewers at vending stalls across Tbilisi. Still, he was offered a place to study at city hall's flagship business education program.

Mayor Ugulava also promotes Tbilisi's latest public works on the show. He leads the show's glamorous blonde presenter on tours that in recent weeks have encompassed the capital's new reservoir; an under-construction emergency call center; and a highway project designed to reduce travel times and accidents en route to the capital.

Since the so-called Rose Revolution swept President Saakashvili to power in 2003, his government has won international acclaim for economic reforms that overhauled labor and tax legislation, reduced corruption and eased the regulatory framework.

But while Mr. Saakashvili and his ruling United National Movement party survived defeat in a war with Russia in 2008, high unemployment is among the factors eating away at their popularity, in this country of about 4.5 million.

Mr. Ugulava's on-screen benevolence has raised some eyebrows. Critics say Georgia's business-friendly government is using the show to promote itself ahead of parliamentary elections next year, and to position the mayor for a run at the presidency a year later, when Mr. Saakashvili's final term expires.

"Of course this is political, but in a way it's smart politics. It's a pre-election treat for voters where the mayor is shoring up his credentials as a reform-minded job creator," said Koba Turmanidze, a political analyst at Tbilisi State University. "In Georgia, people like big political personalities."

From his office on the top floor of Tbilisi's 21-story city hall building, Mayor Ugulava denied the show is shaped to boost his popularity. He said he was warned by colleagues—and by his wife—of the political risks of starring in the show, but he wanted to help embed a free-market mindset in Georgia's population.

"The show's clearly not populist, because I have to say 'no' to a lot of people, and politicians don't like to do that; it brings no political benefit," said Mr. Ugulava. "We're a former Soviet state and we need to keep sending a message to the public: 'This is no longer a planned economy and the attitude cultivated during the Soviet period of reliance on the state is no longer relevant here.'"

Georgia's current prime minister, Nika Gilauri, also scoffed at suggestions that the show has a political objective. "Employ and Get Employed" is "like any other business show," he said in an interview.

Producer Giorgi Khaburzania said he previously tried to produce a show using the "Apprentice" format, but "it didn't work. We needed more money and more funny contestants," he said. "With this show, we've got it all."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Georgia Certificate of The Compatriot Residing Abroad - Law passed and design is ready. Soon will be available for overseas compatriots!

Georgia State Minister of Diaspora Issues Mirza (Papuna) Davitaia and Georgia Deputy Minister of Justice Giorgi Vashadze presented design of the Georgia Certificate of The Compatriot Residing Abroad. The winner of the design contest Mamuka Gongadze was awarded 5000 GEL for his work.

The best design contest for the Georgia Certificate of Compatriot Residing Abroad Compatriots was announced on November 7. Those who were willing to participate had to submit their work by December 1st  to It was possible to view the works online on the Georgia State Minister's social network website –

Georgia Certificate of The Compatriot winning design and now, the formal and official design, looks like a booklet filled in Georgian and English languages. The background images feature Georgian public figures residing abroad, musical score of the anthem of Georgia and other Georgia historical sites and places.

The legal foundation of this Certificate is the bill "On the compatriots living abroad and diaspora organizations". The bill was passed by the Parliament of Georgia in November 2011. Bill "On the compatriots living abroad and diaspora organizations" will come into force in March 2012. That's the expected time when first Certificates will be issued to overseas compatriots. The purpose of the bill is to define public policy and the principles of Georgia with regard to overseas compatriots, to form the basis for implementation of this policy, and to determine the legal status of overseas Georgian compatriots and Georgian diaspora organizations.

Below you could see some snapshots of the Certificate. For additional information please visit online official page of the Georgia House of Justice (in english):