EU visa free progress, Parliament chair Kobakhidze constitution comission, charges on UNM fake photographer spies case, Kaladze and Gazprom, Tedo Japaridze works with PM, weed decriminalization protest, European Investment Bank puts 450 million Euros into infrastructure, EUMM extension, UNM fires 20, Burchaladze back to song, Svans ticked at selfie, guy mad he was fired, Ajara avalanche victims saved, American tourist murder charge, another Pankisi Daesh kill, abortion church, Gelati fresco damage, book thief, Marneuli substation, Korean net station, lari slides, FDI up, export down, BoG 9 bil lari, no Alfa Bank, Svaneti power station by Turks, DC wine tasting, French TV like Buniatishvili, budget low, Melua song, Tillerson, Svaneti trip

2 thoughts on “TBLPOD15dec2016

  1. The MEME this week is a Christmas carol performed by Katie Melua with help from the Gori Women’s Choir. The Ukrainian folk carol The Little Swallow was performed live for the BBC.
    Link: http://ow.ly/krj73079q4d


    Georgia Today interviews Rebekah Friesen, the widow of Fritz Musser, the American murdered near Telavi in August. Words can’t really describe it, so read it for yourself.
    Link: http://ow.ly/CBBj3079q6H

    Giorgi Lomsadze writes for EurasiaNet about the European Union agreement on a visa liberalization suspension mechanism, which gets Georgians and Ukrainians closer to being able to travel to Europe visa-free. Easier travel should deepen ties between the EU and Georgia and should give Georgians the sense that they’re now considered stakeholders in the European project.
    Link: http://ow.ly/BQrB3079q90

    Devi Dumbadze writes for Eurasia Daily Monitor about the merger of military forces between Abkhazia and Russia. Russia is strengthening its belt of military bases that stretches from Crimea to Abkhazia to South Ossetia to Armenia, and it seems to be doing so as a response to NATO’s buildup of forces in the Black Sea.
    Link: http://ow.ly/4n3v3079qiF

    Social Science in the Caucasus continues a series about blog posts about how Georgians view members of other ethnic groups. This post looks at views on marriage between Georgian women and men of other ethnicities. Ukrainians, Russians, Americans, and Abkhazians get the highest approval ratings, which still are pretty low. The highest disapproval ratings are for marriages between Georgian women and Kurds, Turks, Iranians, and Azerbaijanis. As expected, younger, urban, higher-educated people are more approving in general of mixed marriages involving Georgian women.
    Link: http://ow.ly/XwR43079qkw

    Gela Merabishvili of Virginia Tech and Annamaria Kiss of Central European University co-author a paper on national security perceptions in Georgia. Perceptions have actually changed quite a bit: the 2005 National Security Concept didn’t view Russia as a serious threat; that had obviously changed by 2011. Georgia’s policies toward Russia became more conciliatory after Georgian Dream came into power, but the perception of Russia as Georgia’s main threat seems to be permanent now.
    Link: http://ow.ly/5Vm73079qmR

    The ISET blog looks at how the number of Georgians employed in different economic sectors. It was published in November but we just came across it and really think it’s worth sharing. About 57 percent of the workforce is involved in agriculture, compared to only 4 percent in manufacturing. Unfortunately, agriculture only accounts for 9 percent of GDP, despite the hard work of so many people. For a developing country like Georgia, it’s important that more workers move out of agriculture and into higher-productivity sectors.
    Link: http://ow.ly/gaNz3079qqu

    Politico Europe is running a somewhat dubious article arguing that Russian meddling helped Georgian Dream win the parliamentary elections in 2012. The author, Melik Kaylan, compares Bidzina to Donald Trump, arguing that both are pro-Russian, anti-establishment figures who present themselves as defenders of common people against corrupt international financial elites. He also makes the bizarre claim that Georgian Dream is an alt-right conservative movement. Not necessarily accurate, but worth checking out
    Link: http://ow.ly/S1Rj3079quo

    The EU publishes an infographic on attitudes toward the EU among Georgians. They find that 52 percent of Georgians view the EU positively, compared to only eight percent who view it negatively. Also, the main values associated with it are freedom and human rights. Interestingly, Georgians are significantly more likely to trust the EU than to trust NATO.
    Link: http://ow.ly/buQ63079qwW

    For German speakers: The magazine Zeit has an interview with Prime Minister Kvirikashvili, who speaks about his foreign policy vision. He says the situation has improved with regards to Russia, and he thinks it’s possible for Georgia to join NATO and still have a good relationship with Russia.
    Link: http://ow.ly/JDTX3079qCl

    Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty looks at Rex Tillerson, the nominee to become the next US Secretary of State. Tillerson has been CEO of ExxonMobil since 2006 and has long-standing ties to Russia and to Vladimir Putin. He’s been a critic of sanctions against Russia in retaliation for their invasion of Ukraine, saying the sanctions are more likely to hurt foreign businesses operating in Russia than to hurt senior Russian officials. Tillerson has criticized the Putin regime, too, pointing out that it doesn’t respect the rule of law.
    Link: http://ow.ly/PZ843079qGE

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