McCain we still love Georgia tour, New Years speeches, Alania, Usupash says Margvel will resign, Misha v rest of the leaders continues, PM Poroshenko chat, visa free to Serbia, Abkhaz may leave Geneva, Abkhaz ABL crossings shut, Lith say no to Russian extradition, Pinecones plant weed, Ilia bday, Public Broadcaster short list, Booking dot com problem, Pankisi center torched, Santa robbery, GDP and inflation numbers, new tax code in force, three million tourists, Rukhi car market for Abkhaz, grape seed oil, Torpedo Kutaisi auction, Rural strategy, Sherlock shoot up in UK embassy, Molly McKew on Putins long game
TBLPOD5jan2017 [ 27 min 24 s | 12.54 MB ] Play Now | Play in Popup | Download
The MEME this week is a clip from the hit BBC show Sherlock, who’s new season features a plotline involving Georgia. The season’s first episode begins with a major shootout at the British Embassy in Tbilisi. The publicity has sparked mixed reactions from Georgians. Many are happy their country is featured on a hit TV show, others think it unfairly and inaccurately portrays the country as dangerous and unstable.
THINGS TO READ
Social Science in the Caucasus looks at public trust in the Central Election Commission. They draw on the Caucasus Research Resource Centers survey from June, 2016. Only 29 percent of the population responded that the Commission would conduct the Parliamentary elections well or very well. As expected, Otsneba supporters reported the highest levels of trust in the Commission, with people supporting no party having the lowest levels of trust.
Lincoln Mitchell’s Georgian Analysis previews 2017. Georgia faces a number of domestic and international problems, including the unpredictability of Donald Trump, the quest to build a more inclusive, multi-party democratic system, economic problems, and the inability to bring Abkhazia and South Ossetia back into the fold. In Mitchell’s view, the domestic problems are more pressing.
Will Cathcart writes for the Daily Beast about the US Senators visiting the Administrative Boundary Line with South Ossetia. He focuses on a photo-op for John McCain, where the Senator shook hands with Dato Vanishvili, a Georgian man whose home is stuck on the South Ossetian side of the line. Unfortunately, Donald Trump doesn’t care about people like Dato Vanishvili and the problems that Vladimir Putin is causing them.
SF Gate profiles basketball star Zaza Pachulia of the Golden State Warriors, the NBA’s best team. Despite becoming a citizen of Turkey, Pachulia has maintained strong ties to Georgia. He owns two hotels and a gym in Tbilisi, and is probably the country’s most popular athlete.
Georgia makes Vogue’s list of top ten travel destinations for 2017. They recommend staying at Rooms and partying at Bassiani and Fabrika, eating at Le Montrachet, and getting out of town with a trip to Kazbegi.
Also for Vogue, Liana Satenstein previews the Eastern European fashion scene going into 2017. She focuses on Georgian designers’ use of nationalist symbols on the runway, including the Georgian flag. Also, young designers like George Keburia and Nicolas Grigorian will get more attention this year.
Agenda.ge profiles Fair Trees, a Danish NGO that supports pine cone harvesters in Racha. The organization was founded by Marianne Bols, who owns and operates a Christmas tree farm in Denmark that sources its seeds from Georgia. She founded Fair Trees to give back to the workers and communities that make her business possible.
Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty has a video on the village of Asu-reti, which was founded by German settlers during the 18th Century. The German community called it Elisabettal, but most of them were deported during World World II. It’s now a Georgian village, but it still has medieval German architecture.
Politico’s Molly McKew has a great feature article about Vladimir Putin’s long game against the West, which is really built on undermining Western credibility. In McKew’s view they’ve already succeeded. Many people in Ukraine, the Baltics, and the South Caucasus no longer believe they can rely on the US and other western democracies to stand up for collective security or common values, and the Kremlin has even succeeded in making many Americans believe their own political system has no legitimacy. This is a good read and has been much distributed. Molly lived in Georgia, knows the region well, is well connected and an insightful analyst. If you are going to read only one thing on Russia’s long game, read this one.
How could you fall for the overblown analysis of Molly McKew. She is a Saakashvili operative, who is probably still on his payroll Such articles undermine democracy in Georgia, which is probably her and Mischa’s goal. In DC she is nothing. Although there is some truth to what she says, undermining trust in the West hurts all of us. Think straight for once. AF
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