Pipeline attack foiled, Paatas with the Pinecones, Sandra in Zugdidi, PM no homophobic referendum but constitution yes post election, EU visa free in Jan, Scorpions, Belarus spy chief, Otsneba Khobi MP swap, Army drowning, Gulists not in Batumi, Pankisi Daesh guy killed, Ajara bride abduction, Vodka biz guy wounded in Krasnodar, another ABL land grab, Gori wreck, Russian soldier who killed Gyumri family convicted, Big demo against cutting down trees and Narmania, Ashgabad flights, Ski Tetnuldi, Geo 7 medals in Rio, heavy backpacks, Pirosmani at Nat Gallery, Hualing in Forbes

One thought on “TBLPOD25aug2016

  1. The MEME this week is a clip from the Scorpions concert at Black Sea Arena. The crowd went wild when they performed the song Still Loving You while wearing Georgian flags.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bl6pCL


    Social Science in the Caucasus has a two-part blog post on inconsistencies in the practice of tallying votes. They find that inconsistencies are a problem, but they’re probably due to data entry errors, not tampering, and they probably didn’t affect the outcome of the 2012 Parliamentary elections.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bRT17U

    EurasiaNet’s Josh Kucera has a good overview of the plot to blow up the gas pipeline near Mtskheta. The questions that still need answering are who was pulling the strings, and who were supposed to be the ultimate targets of the attack. He mentions that Russia and Armenia both have plenty of enemies.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bTDyVC

    Kucera also covers the sentencing of Valery Permyakov, the Russian soldier convicted of murdering a family of six in Armenia last year. The authorities haven’t decided where he’ll serve out his life sentence, and a public backlash can be expected if the Armenian courts send him back to Russia. Some media sources reported that the government is negotiating a deal with Russia where they would send Permyakov back in exchange for Hrachya Harutunyan, an Armenian serving a long sentence in a Russian prison.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bEnkxL

    Forbes has an article about the new Hualing Tbilisi Sea New City. The complex is being built to include hospitals, schools, shopping malls, and hotels, and it’s financed by Hualing, the single largest foreign investor in Georgia. Hualing is based in Urumqi in China’s Xinjiang Province, and the company’s ownership has long been impressed with Georgia’s political and business environment.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2b9VpZ6

    Leonid Ragozin has an incendiary piece in the Moscow Times about the authoritarian nationalism that has become popular in Russia since 1991. Rather than seeing it as a Russian or post-Soviet phenomenon, however, he compares the nationalist movements that have transformed Russia for the worse since the 1990s to the Brexit campaign and the emergence of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bTDdCz

    Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty has a great article on demographics in post-Soviet countries. Birth rates and population growth are the lowest in those countries that have higher life expectancies. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, and Armenia have seen the sharpest population declines since 1990. The five Central Asian republics and Azerbaijan have experience population growth over the same time period. Fertility rates have fallen from where they were 25 years ago in every post-Soviet country, however.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2b9XtD0

    Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty also has a detailed piece on the recent suicide case in Dapnari near Samtredia, and how it’s connected to Georgia’s harsh anti-drug policies. The suicide victim was a drug user who claimed to have been blackmailed by a local police officer. Many people in Georgia, including Irakli Alasania and the Free Democrats, think that the government should focus on treating drug users and punishing drug dealers.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2btj1Xx

    **The Christian Science Monitor has an article about the Russian region of Tatarstan. Unlike the volatile North Caucasus, majority Muslim Tatarstan hasn’t had major problems with either ethnic separatism or Islamist extremism. Why? Local leaders have purged radical imams from local mosques, and the region’s Muslims have a long history of co-existing with their non-Muslim neighbors and accepting rule from Moscow.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2buHbzq

    Foreign Affairs has an article on Europe’s other refugee crisis–the one in Ukraine. There are about 1.7 million IDPs in Ukraine, and another 1.4 million Ukrainians living as refugees in Russia or in other countries in Europe. According to the authors, neither the authorities in Kiev nor in the breakaway territories are doing much to help the displaced.
    Link: http://fam.ag/2bHXufX

    Ariel Cohen of the Atlantic Council pens an Op-Ed in the Huffington Post. He says that because Russia and Iran are getting closer–the best example being the North-South rail corridor that will link the two countries through Azerbaijan–the US, NATO, and the EU absolutely need to strengthen support for Georgia.
    Link: http://huff.to/2b4I5C6

    The New York Times has a travel piece on Georgia, comparing the country to California with its balmy weather, wine culture, and excellent fruits and vegetables.
    Link: http://nyti.ms/2bmU1ju

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