Pipeline insider spills, Turks call off scuba search, parties and blocks finalized by CEC, visa vote 5 Sept, IPRM on SO, Ilham meeting, Izoria to Baghram, R US Reps in Tbl and ABL, OSCE observers, NATO exercises, Otsneba will build road through Dariali, Targamadze on crime boss, Narmania yelled at on trees, Rustavi prisoner escapes again, Kakheti fire, Liberty Bank in Gldani robbed, Mestia tourists found, GDP down, wind turbine in Gori, candy in Baghdati, Borjomi in Korea, Japan Tobacco says excise high, Racha tourists, Georgia safe, Georgia great medal count per GDP, youth chess champ, no show for neutrality meeting, Russian TV bundles, Stalins Ghost new movie, TI on budget, Trans Caulk trail, Dariko wedding photos, War Nerd on 2008, DeWaal on Russia Turkey Melua with Gori singers

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  1. The MEME this week is a trailer for the upcoming documentary film In Search of Stalin’s Ghost. The film is by Daniel Washington and explores Stalin’s legacy in Georgia, and in general how much of the Soviet Union still lives on in Georgia. The central character in the documentary is Irakli Khvadagiani, a researcher with SOVLAB who works on discovering the physical spaces where some of Stalin’s crimes occurred.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2ch2qc9

    No-Yolo publishes an interview with In Search of Stalin’s Ghost filmmaker Daniel Washington.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2c4bsqU

    Transparency International, the hardest working NGO in the South Caucasus, publishes an outline of the State Audit Office’s report on the 2015 budget. They find some imbalances, including the practice of overspending at the end of the year, and recommend that the government set up a better monitoring system.

    Madona Gasanova of The FINANCIAL has an investigative piece on the programming offered by MagtiSat, the television branch of MagtiCom. She finds that of the 43 channels offered in the MagtiSat basic package, 20 are in Russian language, including Russia24, which is owned by the Russian government. No EU or US news channels are included. According to Gasanova’s interviews with experts from Georgia’s Reform Associates and the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, this is a clear example of Russian propaganda being given a podium in Georgia.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bV7kKb

    The Guardian profiles The Transcaucasian Trail Association, a Washington DC-based group of people, most of whom with ties to Georgia, who’re working on building an integrated network of hiking trails linking the Black and Caspian Seas. They’re also working on a North-South trail linking the Greater and Lesser Caucasus ranges, and so far most of their work has been paid for through Crowdfunding. The entire project is expected to cost 3-5 million dollars.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cqAnZ9

    The Centre for European Policy Studies in partnership with Tbilisi-based Reformatics publishes a detailed study on EU-Georgian relations. The 213-page report is subtitled “what, why and how” and focuses on recommendations for deepening Georgia’s EU integration, covering everything from migration to the deep and comprehensive trade agreement to civil society and dispute settlement.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bZT4Ry

    Bird in Flight has a photo essay by Daro Sulakauri, the photos are of a teenage wedding in Kakheti. The bride is 17, the groom is 22, and they met for the first time on the day of their engagement. Sulakauri took on the project in order to raise awareness about early marriages in Georgia, something that she is strongly against.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2c4ayuD

    Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty has a photo essay on the First Chechen War from 1994 to 1996; Wednesday was the 20th anniversary of the war’s end. Photos show both Chechen rebels and Russian government troops, many of whom are still wearing Red Army insignia. Photos also depict Grozny, which was almost entirely razed to the ground.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bV7YHJ

    Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty also has an article about Abkhazia’s recent government shakeup. President Raul Khajimba replaced Prime Minister Artur Mikvabia with Beslan Bartsits and brought in a new Finance Minister and Interior Minister and replaced some smaller offices. The shakeup is allegedly to defelct criticism from the opposition, which earlier this year sponsored a referendum on holding a snap presidential election. The referendum results were declared void, but Khajimba’s position is still shaky.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bIVKRt

    Social Science in the Caucasus looks at Internet use in Georgia. 2015 was the first year when a majority of Georgians–57 percent–reported using the Internet at least occasionally. The age group that experienced the largest increase in Internet users from 2009 to 2015 were those between 36-55.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bBjVUw

    The New Yorker has a fantastic long form piece on Sergii Leshchenko and Mustafa Nayyem, two Ukrainian journalists who became prominent critics of the Yanukovych regime. They went into politics after the Maidan Revolution, and this June announced plans to launch their own political movement, one that will have an ideological foundation. That’s a novelty in a country where political movements are almost always based on charismatic figures with wealthy sponsors.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cecEds

    The Legatum Institute publishes a report on combating disinformation everywhere, but in Ukraine especially. They make some recommendations, like the UN and NATO member states coordinating their responses to Kremlin disinformation, and governments collaborating with activists, civil society actors, and media outlets. Governments also need to rebuild trust with their own citizens–that breakdown in trust has made disinformation more attractive than it would be otherwise.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2c4bkYg

    Gary Brecher hosts a discussion of the August War on The War Nerd Podcast, which is available from Patreon. The podcast covers a different war-related topic each week, and the 22 August 2016 edition of the podcast, which is number 46, covers the August War.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bZUgV4

    According to the World Economic Forum, Georgia did extremely well at the Rio Olympics. They publish a GDP-adjusted medal count, and Georgia won 19.66 medals per hundred billion dollars of GDP. That puts them fourth after Grenada, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. By contrast, the United States, which was the overall medals winner, won only .67 medals per hundred billion dollars of GDP.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bBjR7b

    Andrew North writes in Culinary Backstreets about Shavi Lomi, a restaurant in Solalaki that has the perfect option for a group of people who can’t decide what to order: the gobi, or friends, bowl: a big wooden bowl that contains a number of different dishes, most of which are native to Kakheti.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bG0mpC

    Will King writes in JakoFM about customer service in Georgia, and makes some criticisms that all of us can relate to–such as when the waiter goes into hiding immediately after serving the food. He thinks restaurant owners can fairly easily provide better service and make more money in the process. They just need to take service seriously and realize that customers can’t be taken for granted.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bRFi4B

    Calvert Journal has a piece on subversive street art in Yerevan. They focus on performance artist Artak Gevorgyan, founder of the group Counterstrike which uses art to protest corruption and police brutality. Gevorgyan was arrested last December for violating public order. His crime? Driving around the capital in a hand-painted cardboard tank, then crashing the cardboard vehicle in the National Security Service building.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cecIdg

    Tom De Waal writes in Carnegie Europe about the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey. He thinks it’s much less significant than most commentators assume, because the two countries are historical enemies with opposing goals in Syria. Still, both countries want to see multilateralism replaced with multipolarity, and that’s a threat to both the EU and NATO.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2bV84yM

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