Caucasus

Tbilisi Hangout: Live talk on all things related to Georgia

Starting from November 28, Every Wednesday at 20:00 (Tbilisi time) me and Nicholas Clayton will talk about current affairs of Georgia on Google Hangout. The live webcast is called Tbilisi Hangout and it is about politics, society, sports and whatever nonsense we find interesting. We are trying to make it as interactive as possible, hence you can ask questions or leave comments, decide what you would like to hear next week and also join us with your web camera. Occasionally we will be coming live from various locations like bars, offices, streets, etc. You can subscribe to this YouTube channel in order to be updated about upcoming hangouts.

Here’s the first Tbilisi Hangout. In this episode we talk about anti-Ivansivhili articles in western media, global amnesty, mandatory ID cards, Georgia rugby, etc. let us know what you think.

 

Udabno – a village near Georgia-Azerbaijan Border [PHOTOS]

Udabno (Desert in English) is a last village on a way to David Gareja Monastery, part of which is disputed between Georgia and Azerbaijan. Approximately 200 families live in Udabno, big part of them are Svans who moved here in the beginning of 90’s because of an ecological disaster. The village does not have a doctor and in case of emergency they have to call one that lives in Sagarejo.

Udabno has a water problem, according to local school staff last time they had water was three weeks ago and the quality was so poor that two children suffered severe water-poisoning.

Udabno public school is in a poor condition, classrooms are heated by wood stoves and only principal’s cabinet has proper windows. 120 students go to the local school ten of them are in the last 12th grade and only three in the 11th grade.

Local dance teacher Natia Sabashvili gives classes 3 times a week for 15GEL a month ($9) and because of an absent dance studio she has to move from hall to hall. These photos were taken in the local school’s sports hall that has no heating, electricity, fixed windows, etc.

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Summer in Georgia (New Promotional Video)

I have just stumbled upon on a new promotional advert for Georgia called – Summer in Georgia. The clip shows some of the newly built buildings and beautiful shots of landscapes that are accompanied by a modernized version of a traditional Georgian folk song – Shen Bicho Anagurelo. The  punchline of the video is: Georgia – for the best moments of your life. Check it out:

 

Here’s the previous Summer in Georgia video:

Magnitude 5.6 earthquake hits Caucasus

5.6 magnitude earthquake has hit Caucasus on May 7, 2012 at 09:40 Azerbaijan time. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) the epicenter was in Azerbaijan’s Northwest, near Georgian boarder. Tremors were felt as far as in Georgia’s west. According to the Georgian Seismic Monitoring Center (GSMC), the epicenter of 5.8 magnitude earthquake was in Georgia’s Southeast 08:40 local Georgian time (Which is the exact same time, because there’s one-hour difference between Azerbaijan and Georgia).

World Press Freedom Day marked by a protest in Georgia [PHOTO/VIDEO]

World Press Freedom Day, May 3 was marked by a protest in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. Journalists, bloggers and NGO representatives gathered on Rustaveli ave., where a staged funeral of Georgian media took place. Some of the protesters brought posters saying “we deserve free media”, “media is not your monkey”, etc. The protest was joined by a group of young Georgians who demand an investigation of a recent suspicious prison death. Here are some photos and a video of the funeral:

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Freedom House lists Abkhazia and South Ossetia as separate countries

Freedom House, Washington D.C. based democracy and human rights advocate has recently released its Freedom of Press in 2012 Findings. The report highlights key developments in global press freedom over the last year, including improvements in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and crackdowns in authoritarian states. The annual report includes findings in 197 countries and territories.

Media in Georgia, according to the report is partly free and out of all the countries it’s on 111st place, which makes it a leader in the region (Turkey is 117th, Armenia 149th, Azerbaijan and Russia 172nd).

Freedom House website gives separate findings and articles about each state. Interestingly, under the list of countries in Central and Eastern Europe/Eurasia Georgia’s breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Along with Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria) are listed as separate countries.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia are Georgia’s disputed regions that are recognized independent by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, the rest of the world considers it as a part of Georgia. With more than 200,000 IDPs, the conflict is still unresolved and Georgia officially refers to these regions as “Occupied Territories”.

Medvedev’s Facebook page blocked for Georgians

With Russian soldiers in Georgia’s breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a group of Forum.ge users proposed to mark the Defender of the Fartherland Day on February 23 by posting anti-occupation comments on Dmitry Medvedev’s Facebook page.

Cyxymu (Georgian blogger who was a target of series of attacks on social networking sites Facebook, Google Blogger, LiveJournal and Twitter, taking the latter offline for two hours on August 7, 2009) posted a photo about this campaign on Facebook that got attention of many Georgians. More than 200 Facebook users started to post comments and they still keep doing it:

“Дмитрий Анатольевич, я требую вывода российских оккупационных войск из Грузии!”

“Dmitry Anatolyevich I demand to withdraw Russian occupational forces from Georgia!” (more…)