Sandra calls fowl, Free Dems go Otsneba, Krtsanisi shooting, EU visa free update, Pakistan meeting, Rakviashvili Sec of Sec Council, Isoria on draft, Patriotebi new math, fewer ministries, Ukraine and Poland talk WWII start, South Ossets to join Russian army, EU governance reform 30 mil, 3 ABL abductions, soldier death in Kakheti, Geo Manganese lawyer arrested, Larsi closes due to snow, 112 Rustavi office, Tarek food response, Sarpi software glitch, savings down lari loans up, IMF growth numbers, Gardabani plant, TBC insurance, Textile plant in Poti, German trains to Tehran, Rakia fixes Metechi, more right hand drive car drama, tennis win, Poles study Geo wine, Chubabria on homelessness, De Waal Pushkin, Melua, sheep, VOTE

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  1. The MEME this week is a freeze-frame from a Public Broadcasting Station program about the US Presidential election. It shows each of the US states that could go either Democrat or Republican in the election. But instead of the US state of Georgia, it shows an outline of the Republic of Georgia. Whoops.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2eTSJPp


    Michael Cecire writes in Foreign Affairs about the aftermath of Georgia’s elections. The country is certainly democratic, but it’s not yet a liberal democracy. Otnseba is looking to amend the Constitution to cement its position, and some within the National Movement are looking to remove them from power using political agitation rather than the ballot box.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dLqO6M

    Lincoln Mitchell assesses the possible outcomes if Otsneba wins a Constitutional Majority. They’ve mentioned both making the President elected by the Parliament and amending the Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, both things Mitchell thinks would be very counterproductive for Georgian democracy.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dOzTXT

    Tatuli Chubabria of the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center writes in Open Democracy about Tbilisi’s endemic homelessness. She says it isn’t about low economic growth or lack of supply in the housing market, it’s about general social exclusion. Plus, current housing assistance schemes are quick fixes that usually fail to get people integrated into society.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2fapeN6

    Social Science in the Caucasus looks at employment statistics. The share of workers in agriculture is declining, as is the share of self-employed workers. It could be a sign that more people are working in sectors like finance, healthcare, and hospitality.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2e063TG

    Andrew Higgins writes for the New York Times about Russia’s policy of creeping borderization. Jariasheni is ground zero, a village literally cut in two by bulldozers, barbed wire, and Russian border guards.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2eJdrRz

    Tom De Waal writes for Carnegie Europe about the aftermath of the Parliamentary elections. He borrows the term superfluous men from Alexander Pushkin to describe those talented people whose talents aren’t wanted by the state–unsurprisingly, he’s talking about Irakli Alasania and Dato Usupashvili.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2eyKJFe

    Josh Kucera writes for EurasiaNet about the popular phenomenon that is the Alliance of Patriots. They’re a conservative nationalist movement that’s been compared to many of the anti-EU parties in Europe. He interviews Kornely Kakachia of the Georgian Institute of Politics, who predicts that while the Patriots are a dangerous movement, their having seats in Parliament will expose them as incompetent and probably do more harm than good to their movement.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2eejD3m

    The DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS, devotes an episode of its Russian Roulette series to the Georgian elections.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2eJntFd

    The CSIS also publishes a report called The Kremlin Playbook which deals with Russia’s strategy in Central and Eastern Europe. It includes a discussion about Georgia, where Russia’s economic influence in growing. That’s dangerous, because the Kremlin tends to politicize its economic relationships.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2eJlMHU

    A special report from The Economist considers while political and economic reform failed in Russia. They say it’s because the Soviet Union never fully disintegrated in the first place. Putin has ruled by reviving dormant institutions like the planned economy, KGB, and official propaganda platforms.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dLscX4

    Armen Grigoryan writes in the Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst about the government reshuffling in Armenia. Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan resigned back in September, and the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs were also replaced. Grigoryan thinks the moves were intended to strengthen President Serzh Sargsyan’s position going into next year’s elections.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2eTX3hz

    The World Bank publishes its Doing Business 2017 report. Georgia is number 16, an improvement from its number 23 ranking in the 2016 report. It gets extra points for protecting minority investors, making it easier to pay taxes, and making it easier to get electricity.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2fiPrs8

    TBLPOD’s very own Mark Mullen publishes a Georgian-language translation of a recent speech made by First Lady of the US Michelle Obama. Check it out and share it with your Georgian-speaking friends.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2eyQi6B

    The Independent reviews Katie Melua’s new album, In Winter, where she’s joined by the Gori Women’s Choir. It’s a mature Christmas album that has a seasonal vibe but doesn’t rely on the old, tired tropes about chestnuts and children’s sing alongs. She does some classics as well as a few new songs of her own.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2eeiKI9

    National Geographic calls Kakheti one of its best places to visit this fall. Not surprisingly, wine is part of the draw.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2fiRFaE

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