Constitution draft with fake proportional parliament and appointed President, Abkhaz elections, Janelidze in DC on ISIS with Tillerson, Yerevan protests, Batumi arrests, Abkhaz cop Interpol red notice, Gali chat, Tibilov meets Putin, Georgian burglars arrested in Spain, Marvgel in Marneuli for Nowruz, Tsulukiani has baby, Hep C clinic in Zugdidi, ADB 800mil road through Rikoti, Ortachala gov compound, DLA Piper becomes Dentons, Romania beat Lelos, weelchair fencers, Margvel vetoes surveillance bill then override, Jesper is 6 millionth this year, Jews in Oni, Rustaveli 19 subtitles, angels in crash

One thought on “TBLPOD23march2017

  1. The MEME this week is the video featuring Jesper Black, the 6-millionth tourist to visit Georgia. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out. Georgia really rolled out the red carpet for Jesper, who came on vacation from Portugal.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2mUeq4b


    David Batashvili for EurasiaNet writes about the potential that Russia ramps up its invasion of Ukraine this year. Russia has established new divisions in Rostov, Voronezh, and Smolensk, and they moved the headquarters of the Russian 20th Army westward to Voronezh, just 50 kilometers from the border. Ukraine isn’t strong enough to counter a new offensive by Russia. However, such a move is unlikely because the Kremlin wants to wait and see the outcomes of the French and German elections later this year, and they don’t want to squash the potential of a rapprochement with the US.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2nVfSoB

    Also for EurasiaNet, Josh Kucera writes about unease in Batumi about the growing presence of Turkish business interests. According to an estimate cited by Kucera, as much as 90 percent of Adjara’s foreign investment comes from Turkey, and the city’s historic center is now essentially an ethnic Turkish enclave. Also, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tried to exert more political influence in the area, succeeding in having a Batumi school associated with Fethullah Gülen shut down by the authorities last year. All of this has fueled resentment, some of which ends up targeting ethnic Georgian Muslims.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2mwlHMr

    Liz Fuller for Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty provides a good recap of last week’s parliamentary elections in Abkhazia. Twenty-two of the region’s 35 constituencies will go to runoff votes, so we still don’t know what the next government will look like.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2o8Ehq6

    Liz Fuller has a separate piece about the widening rift between the President and the Parliamentary leadership. The President recently launched his own campaign to solicit citizens’ views on the constitutional reform process–a process in which he was not invited to participate. Margvelashvili is also strongly against changing how the office of the President is elected, which is a top priority of Otsneba’s parliamentary majority group. Margvelashvili thinks the proposed change is targeted at him personally.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2nMMG6A

    Chai-Khana profiles David Shimshilashvili, a leader in the tiny Jewish community of 10 people in Oni. Because Judaism requires the presence of 10 men for a synagogue to be open to worshippers, the building remains empty, and Shimshilashvili watches over it. As late as the 1970s, Jews outnumbered ethnic Georgians in the town, but since then most of the community has left for Israel.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2nMMwfp

    Social Science in the Caucasus looks at Georgian public attitudes about women serving in Parliament. According to their data, 43 percent of Georgians think there should be more women in parliament–currently there are 24, or 16 percent of the total, which is the highest proportion in Georgia’s history. By contrast, nine percent of people think more women in Parliament would make a negative impact, and 39 percent think it would make no impact at all.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2o8Vr6O

    Writing for PONARS Eurasia, Kornely Kakachia of the Georgian Institute of Politics analyzes Georgia’s relationship with Germany, its most important partner in Europe. Germany remains somewhat skeptical of Georgia. In Kakachia’s view Georgia is somewhat to blame, because it has prioritized its relationship with the US over the past decade or so. The government needs to pay more attention to Berlin and to work harder to lobby for its interests there.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2mw8GCo

    Writing for The Clarion, Jaba Devdariani addresses EU engagement in Abkhazia. The EU is sticking to a policy of non-recognition and engagement, denying that the government in Sukhumi has any legitimacy but trying to engage with the public. That makes sense in theory but it’s not working: Russia is integrating Abkhazia’s army into its own and has economic and political control over the region. A new approach is needed. Devdariani thinks the EU should more directly apply pressure on the authorities to democratize the region’s political system, using the More for More approach.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2ngJdeP

    OC-Media has a photo exhibition of the Nowruz celebration in Marneuli. Nowruz is Persian New Year but it’s also a celebration of the coming of spring in the Zoroastrian tradition, lasting from the 20th through the 23rd of March. During the festival, rituals are performed representing each of the four elements: earth, wind, fire, and water.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2nGVScc

    The New York Times lists nine young film directors to watch in 2017. One of them is Nana Ekvtimishvili, whose new film My Happy Family is getting a lot of attention. The film is co-directed by Simon Gross.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2mwdJ5X

    Sophie Royal writing for Financial Times profiles the wine industry in Abkhazia. Russia is the only market open to Abkhazian wine producers, and currently only one company exports to Russia: Wine and Beverages of Abkhazia, which produces 10 varieties that sell for about 320 rubles per bottle on the Russian market. Despite the industry’s small size, wine producers and government officials hope wine production and export can help repair the region’s crumbling economy.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2nGWxdF

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