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  1. The MEME this week is a humorous gif about the fallout between Paata Burchuladze and Girchi. It’s by Rezi Beselashvili, and he puts Burchuladze’s head on Bart Simpson, and a pine cone–Girchi means pine cone–on the head of Abe Simpson.
    Link: http://ow.ly/8kMh304G0uv


    Giorgi Lomsadze writes in EurasiaNet about recent comments from Bidzina that Turkey wants Georgia to close down its casinos. Georgia’s casino industry, which is mostly based in Batumi, produced 66 million lari in tax revenue last year. Lots of that came from Turkish gamblers. A lot of Georgians want to see the casinos closed down, too.
    Link: http://ow.ly/TsaM304G1yV

    Social Science in the Caucasus covers public trust in the media. The percentage of people who report having trust in the media has fallen from 50 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2013. People don’t distrust the media, either; they’re just a lot more ambivalent about it than they used to be.
    Link: http://ow.ly/H6JY304G1Ao

    Foreign Affairs has a piece on Georgia’s democratic development and what the Parliamentary Elections mean for its future and its Western choice. The article is co-written by Dennis Sammut, who is well-known and well-liked around Tbilisi. He thinks that Otsneba’s victory in 2012 was positive for the country’s domestic development and external stability, and that those reforms will last regardless of who wins next month.
    Link: http://ow.ly/FTo6304G1Bm

    Tom De Waal writes for Carnegie Europe about the upcoming elections. They will almost certainly be free and fair, something you rarely if ever see in the neighboring countries. Also cause for celebration is that this election isn’t dominated by charismatic figures promising to drag the country back from the abyss. De Waal thinks there is a lot to feel good about.
    Link: http://ow.ly/XuUa304G1Dw

    Melanie Mierzejewski-Voznyak writes in New Eastern Europe about the Parliamentary elections. It’s Georgia’s 8th Parliamentary election and one of its most important–not because there’s potential for unrest, but because of how orderly and competitive they are. Still, political parties and their members are known to behave badly in public, and women still aren’t well represented in the parties.
    Link: http://ow.ly/iOau304G1Es

    The National Democratic Institute has an infographic on female participation in the Parliamentary elections. There are currently only 18 female MPs out of 150 total, and only 17 percent of majoritarian candidates are women, compared to 37 percent of party list candidates. Still, three-quarters of Georgians think women in office perform as well or better than men.
    Link: http://ow.ly/1jPu304G1FZ

    Photojournalist Mike Goldwater reruns his photos from the Fall of Sokhumi. His photos are heartbreaking.
    Link: http://ow.ly/Kr2x304G1IC

    Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze writes an op-ed in The Hill. He talks up Georgia’s recent progress in the political and military spheres and expresses the view that NATO membership is a matter of when, not if.
    Link: http://ow.ly/QdJU304G1L5

    Caucasian Businessweek runs the numbers on the new free trade agreement signed with China. More than 95 percent of Georgia’s export products with be tariff-free. Exports to China already make up nearly 10 percent of Georgia’s total, and that should only increase. The wine market has the biggest potential for growth.
    Link: http://ow.ly/ZMPI304G1Y2

    Andrew North profiles Desertebi bazaar for Culinary Backstreets. You can find tomatoes of any and all shapes, sizes, and varieties, and all are grown in Georgia.
    Link: http://ow.ly/BThl304G249

    The German Institute for International and Security Affairs publishes a paper on unresolved conflicts in the former Soviet Union. One chapter is devoted to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with a focus on how those conflicts are affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine.
    Link: http://ow.ly/ABEj304G26h

    Neil McFarquhar for the New York Times writes about Russia’s courting of foreign separatists. Last week the Kremlin hosted a couple of marginal groups from around the world for the Dialogue of Nations; guests included the Texas Nationalist Movement and delegations from Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and elsewhere. Not surprisingly, no secessionists from Russia’s territory were invited.
    Link: http://ow.ly/xVPv304G296

    Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty has a photo essay about the Babi Yar massacre. The tragedy is remembered differently by different national groups. For example, during the Soviet period it was officially remembered as an atrocity against the Soviet people, with no specific mention of Jewish victims or Soviet collaborators.
    Link: http://ow.ly/MWfm304G2d0

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