New Ministers, TBC buys Bank Republic, Industry saved by court, Burchuladze woes, EU Council talks visas, R2 to Supreme Court, Sturua Cop appears, French Def Min, PACE shows up, BI likes FDs and Reps, new Const Court judge nominations, Usupashvili says he turned down PM job, Nat Movement land grabs get compensation, US House on territorial integrity, German West Point in Geo, ABL abduction, Imereti cop bribed, wind in Laghodekhi, Kremlin cash in territories, gas smell, China trade deal, trade numbers, wine up, Kutaisi Univ City, tablet factory, Nokalakevi museum, Givi Margvel Nobel nomination, American movie in Tbilisi, Judo gold in Paralympics, Nino Arobelize interview

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  1. The MEME this week is a short film by director Beso Gvenetadze. The film shows actors visually representing famous Georgian proverbs and idioms, for example postponed work is taken by the devil.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2d1Qmf6

    EurasiaNet has an opinion piece on Misha, who’s starting to look like a crusader without a cause. He can’t go back to Georgia, and he hasn’t made much of an impact on Odessa. His boisterous, aggressive, and sometimes authoritarian style has gotten old. They recommend he give up politics and find a new profession.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cpchhZ

    Social Science in the Caucasus looks at declining trust in social institutions in Armenia. Trust in all the major institutions, the presidency, parliament, executive government, and local government, has fallen since 2011. Local government is the most trusted, and parliament is the least.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2ca00HZ

    Chai-Khana profiles Razeta, a woman who makes dresses for a living in Pankisi. She makes traditional Chechen dresses, wedding dresses, graduation clothing, and lots of other items, and her handiwork is even popular with customers outside of the gorge. She’s a refugee from Chechnya who came to Pankisi during the war there in the 1990s.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cZNZGQ

    No-Yolo publishes its completely non-pretentious guide to Tbilisi. It covers everything from transport to accommodation to culture to food and drink. They make some pretty good recommendations, such as dancing the night away at Mtkvarze, staying at Fox Hostel on Griboyedov, and haggling over everything.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cGZpl4

    The ISET Economist blog deals with how teachers respond to incentives. They argue that money alone won’t lure Georgia’s best and brightest young graduates to the teaching profession, but it’s definitely the place to start. Teachers are the lowest-paid professionals in Georgia and their salaries have risen at a slower pace than that of Georgian workers in general. They focus on an program by which Bidzina invested about 19 million lari in increasing the salaries of school employees at a single school in the town of Sachkere; the school’s performance increased almost immediately, showing that higher-paid teachers do have an incentive to be better at their jobs, but that money should be targeted toward higher-performing teachers.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2ca1CS5

    Jam News has a piece on Abkhazians crossing the Administrative Boundary Line to get medical treatment. Abkhazia lacks trained doctors and adequate equipment, so many people have no choice but to come either to Russia or to Georgia to get medical treatment. The Georgian government makes sure that care is provided for free in part for political reasons, but the state no longer pressures Abkhaz patients to take Georgian citizenship or passports. Still, many Abkhaz view going to Georgia for medical treatment to be treason.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cyBFiK

    Tea Journey looks at tea producers in Western Georgia, who are working to revive an industry that was devastated by the Soviet collapse. There are some encouraging signs. Georgian tea is now of higher quality than it was in the Soviet era, and a tea plucker can get paid up to 2.2 lari per kilo, more than double the market rate two years ago.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cL01ES

    Will King writing for Jako.fm runs through some of the best burger places that have popped up in Tbilisi, including Burgio, Pipes, and Burger Bar. One place that didn’t make his list is Georgetown American, a 24-hour place on Abashidze in Vake that also does cheesesteaks.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cwexQf

    Georgian Journal has a photo exhibition of Georgia’s highest mountains. First place goes to Shkara in Svaneti, the highest mountain in Georgia and the third-highest in the Greater Caucasus.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cc3GxD

    New York Public Radio features Georgian folk music this week in its New Sounds podcast. The song is Tsintskaro performed by the Rustavi Choir.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cKZenb

    EurasiaNet’s Elizabeth Owen writes about Turkey’s attempts to shut down Gulenist schools in other Turkic-speaking countries following the failed coup attempt in July, which the Turkish government blames on Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric and rival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Azeri government has shut down a lot of Gulenist schools, but Turkey’s allies in Central Asia have been less responsive. Plus, a lot of the schools in question are only loosely affiliated with Gulen, and many are led by non-Turkish directors and teachers.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cPIEBz

    Richard Giragosian writes in Agos about Armenia’s new Prime Minister, Karen Karapetian. To him, the appointment isn’t surprising but it also isn’t encouraging. Karapetian is well respected and has a strong background in international business. He’s also believed to have close ties to Kremlin officials. The fact that he’s lived in Russia for the past 6 years won’t win him any points with Armenia’s vested economic interests, who are a closed club that don’t like to be shaken up by outsiders.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2coZmat

    The Rand Corporation has an op-ed on Russian disinformation and what the US government can do the counter it. Russia has succeeded in convincing many Western voters that Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution was a fascist putsch, as well as that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by government forces. Their proposed response? The US should devote more resources to public diplomacy, including revamping Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty and Voice of America. It should also better coordinate efforts with like-minded governments.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cyBLHc

    Sean Guillory writes in Open Democracy about the lost art of Kremlinology and why it shouldn’t make a comeback. Russia is a complex society with lots of actors besides the Kremlin and its clients, so Russia watchers are advised to dig deeper. For example, grassroots protests and workers’ strikes in Russia’s regions are on the rise, but Kremlinologists aren’t paying attention.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cgaM2v

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