Ugulava unchained, Surveillance group, Grechikha’s kid hits Gvaramia, Vasiko heads Public Broadcaster, Kaladze says cash for Gazprom, Janelidze Turkey Iran, Russians destroy Abkhaz church, GDS shuts down politics, cops pull Girchi weed, EU worries about overstays, Spanish raid Georgian criminals, ABL abduction, Racha Oni park, Italians oversee road, EBRD dam, factories, Fab Labs, helicopter skiing, World Youth Rugby Championship in Georgia, Zaza gets all star votes, Lariazation plan passes, creepy Tovlis Babu video, Kalandadze interviews Damon Wilson, Boyz II Men, Burns Night
TBLPOD12jan2017 [ 30 min 46 s | 14.09 MB ] Play Now | Play in Popup | Download
The MEME this week is a viral video made by the advertising firm New Studio. It depicts Georgia’s jolly man of winter, Tovlis Babu, murdering Santa Claus and disposing of his body in a bathtub. The video has been criticized by a lot of people for its brutal content and for promoting a hateful version of nationalism. Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili called on New Studio to take it down in order to protect children.
THINGS TO READ
CNN takes us to the Administrative Boundary Line between Georgia and South Ossetia. The text and video piece focuses on Dato Vanishvili, the same man profiled in a recent piece by Will Cathcart. Vanishvili found himself living on the South Ossetian side of the line when Russian border guards moved it further into Georgian territory in 2011. He now lives on a portion of his property that is still on the side administered by Tbilisi.
Statfor’s Emil Avdaliani looks at the geographical links between Abkhazia and Georgia proper. He travels to the village of Khurcha, the only settlement beyond the Administrative Boundary Line still under Tbilisi’s control. While the Georgian authorities allow the Abkhaz to enter relatively freely, getting into Abkhazia is a lot more difficult. Even ethnic Abkhaz have to pay fees of 50 to 100 lari at the border crossing.
Voice of America’s Anna Kalandadze interviews Damon Wilson, Vice President of the Atlantic Council. Wilson speaks about the recent visit to Georgia by US Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Amy Klobuchar. He thinks it was more than a PR move; the Senators are showing US allies, the Kremlin, and the US government itself that they have a clear strategy for dealing with Russian aggression and they don’t care if Donald Trump has other ideas.
Social Science in the Caucasus looks at sex selective abortion in Georgia in a piece written by Dustin Gilbreath. They address allegations that Georgia has one of the world’s highest rates of sex selective abortion, arguing that on a deeper look at the data it appears those claims are overblown. Because of methodological errors in World Health Organization statistics, the number of boys to for every 100 girls was inflated from 113 to 120. So the real number is a lot closer to the natural rate of 105 boys per 100 girls, and the problem, while still bad, isn’t as bad as many believe.
Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty’s Daily Vertical looks at Russia’s aggression toward its neighbors in the South Caucasus, the Baltics, and Ukraine. The Kremlin is now using many of the same tactics against the US and Western Europe, so we’re all in the same boat now. In the words of host Brian Whitmore, we’re all part of Russia’s so-called near abroad.
Monica Ellena writes for Balcani e Caucaso about the Georgian alphabet, which is now part of UNESCO’s world cultural heritage canon. She explains the quirks and unique historical development of Georgia’s alphabet–which is actually three alphabets–with help from Tom Wier, a linguist at the Free University.
Zaza Pachulia gets some press in the New York Times, not for his basketball performance but because he’s gotten more All-Star votes than have a number of more deserving players. He’s apparently getting tons of votes from Georgians who aren’t sincere fans of the NBA but want to see their native son get some accolades.
Discussion of the week? Where was the discussion? Happy New Year – new and old 🙂