National Movement says that Russia began the August War in 2008 -Ivanishvili
National Movement says that Russia began the August War in 2008 and says that the National Movement won it. This statement was made by the Former Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili on the meeting with representatives of press and online media. According to him, the last government did a lot of mistakes.
“Nothing would happen if the National Movement didn’t make a mistake. The movie has been making which includes what is Saakashvili asked, how the Americans ask him to stop but Russian aggression still continues. I can’t say what Putin is going to decide but I can say that we can unite the country and develop it. We should develop democratic institutes,”-Ivanisvhili said.
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigns
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia has resigned. He made his resignation statement at a special briefing at the government administration.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigned citing disagreement with his party colleagues over the detention of Nika Melia, leader of UNM. This follows the Tbilisi City Court’s decision to send United National Movement’s Nika Melia, Chairperson of the largest opposition party, to pretrial detention.
“Unfortunately, I could not reach a common understanding on this matter with my team and decided to resign. I want to hope, that this step would contribute to reduced polarisation in our political space, since I believe that polarization and confrontation pose the greatest risks to our country’s future and economic development,” G. Gakharia stated.
G. Gakharia’s statement said that while Melia had “never respected the law” and called “for the storming of the Parliament” on June 20, the decision to detain him poses unacceptable risks, and unduly complicates the task of economic recovery and the management of pandemic.
Opposition Reject Election Results, Hit the Streets
Georgia’s major opposition parties, including the United National Movement of ex-President Saakashvili, European Georgia, Lelo, Strategy Aghmashenebeli, Labor Party, hit the streets on Sunday afternoon, rejecting the preliminary results of the October 31 parliamentary vote, that forecast the Georgian Dream to form a third consecutive government.
The opposition claims the Georgian Dream “usurped power,” and rigged the elections, citing, among others, discrepancies in a number of final vote tallies. The key local election watchdogs said they identified the discrepancies in some 7 or 8% of the summary protocols. The opposition politicians argue the united opposition forces garnered more votes in total than the incumbent ruling party.
Protesting the “stolen elections,” the opposition leaders and protesters are rallying towards the hilltop residence of GD leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, after blocking Rustaveli Avenue, the main thoroughfare of the Georgian capital, outside the Parliament.
In the meantime, Gigi Ugulava of the European Georgia party, announced the opposition parties will organize a large-scale rally on November 8.
Georgia held Saturday’s parliamentary vote under a significantly modified system, which changed the composition of 150-member parliament to 120 MPs elected through proportional, party-lists, and 30 elected as majoritarians (from 77/73 ratio) and set threshold at 1% of votes. According to the results of 98.86% precincts counted, Georgian Dream garnered 48,1% of proportional votes, while the United National Movement-led Strength in Unity bloc came second with 27.12%. European Georgia scored third with 3.77%.
Preliminary results also show GD victory in 13 single-mandate constituencies, while runoffs are expected in 17 districts, including in all 8 districts of the capital city of Tbilisi.
MP Irma Inashvili, leader of Kremlin-friendly Alliance of Patriots party, that is at odds with UNM and other opposition parties, also announced that today her party rejects the results, vowing to hold separate rallies.
DETAILS RELEASED OF GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT’S CAMPAIGN TO STRANGLE ANAKLIA PORT PROJECT
Ruling Georgian Dream Party Reversed its Support for Vital Project,
Wiping Out Economic Benefits for Georgia
TBILISI, GEORGIA, 9 September, 2020 – The Anaklia Development Consortium (ADC), the company originally selected by the Government of Georgia to develop the strategic Anaklia Port Project, today shared additional details of the Government’s campaign, directed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, to undermine the project by dissuading potential project investors, lenders, contractors and suppliers from joining the project in order to kill it.
The following statement is issued on behalf of the ADC Supervisory Board:
“All infrastructure projects of such scale require government support; namely the encouragement of lenders and investors, the assistance in permitting, regulatory approvals and a favorable tax regime, and providing any ancillary support; in this instance, the provision of land and the construction of road and rail infrastructure. For a government to actually oppose an infrastructure project that it had itself approved is highly unusual in the global economy.
“The Georgian Government’s campaign to strangle ADC’s ability to develop the Anaklia Port Project represents a self-inflicted wound for itself and considerable injury to Georgia’s economy and its role in the region.
“Taken together, the Georgian Government's specific actions are part of a deliberate and well-orchestrated campaign to destroy a project which the Government itself originally sponsored and endorsed, but subsequently chose to destroy as a result of what appear to be the political and economic self-interests of the Georgian Dream Party and its principals.
“The Government manufactured all sorts of excuses for not wanting to see various investors, lenders and partners involved in the project, but the Government really only had one purpose: to choke the project to death by scaring away everybody who might have an interest in supporting it.
“Also, is it beyond coincidence that government ministers – including two Prime Ministers -- who voiced support for the project or otherwise expressed concern about the growing controversy with the project were tendering their resignations shortly after such comments were made?
“The damage to Georgia caused by the Government goes well beyond the potential loss of the Anaklia Port and the associated Special Economic Zone. The conduct of the Government is scaring away investors at a time when Georgia cannot afford to lose any more foreign investment. According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the amount of foreign direct investment in Georgia has fallen from nearly US$ 2 billion in 2017 to just over US$ 1.3 billion in 2019, and in the first quarter of 2020, stood at only US$ 171.8 million - a catastrophic decrease even before the Covid crisis began to take effect. As Retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges of the Center for European Policy Analysis said, ‘the government only has itself to blame.’”
Some examples of the Government’s efforts to strangle ADC and the Anaklia Port Project include:
- Georgian Dream party leader Bidzina Ivanishvili requested to meet with ADC to discuss the Anaklia Port Project and asserted that the expansion of Poti Port could achieve the same objectives of the Anaklia Port at a far lower cost.
- During a June 12 meeting of the Georgian Dream party, attended by more than 100 party officials, Party Leader Bidzina Ivanishvili personally blamed Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili for his actions in support of the Anaklia project and for having close ties to ADC investor Mamuka Khazaradze. Mr. Kvirikashvili resigned the day after that meeting.
- In February 2019 ADC learned that during an October 2018 meeting with senior U.S. State Department officials in Tbilisi, Mr. Giorgi Gakharia (then Minister of Interior) advised the U.S. officials that the Anaklia Port project was not in Georgia’s interests.
- SSA Marine, which was selected as the Anaklia Port operator and was a potential investor, alerted ADC of its concerns about what seemed to be the Government’s support of an expansion of the Poti Port. (Following detailed studies sponsored by the Government back in 2013-14, it had been determined that Poti Port could never meet Georgia’s needs for a Deepwater Port, which is why the government itself selected Anaklia for development at that time. The Government’s subsequent expressions of support for expansion at Poti was a clear signal to the lending and investment community that the Government was no longer supportive of Anaklia.)
- A sovereign European development bank advised ADC that it had decided against supporting the project because of the negative actions of the Georgian Government, and the possible shift of support to the Poti Port.
- Another sovereign European development bank advised ADC that it was withdrawing its support because one of its counterparts had just done so (above) due to the state’s apparent shift of support from Anaklia to Poti.
- It has been reported that Infrastructure Minister Maya Tskitishvili, in ministerial hearings before Parliament, undermined SSA Marine as a potential investor and as the port operator, claiming the company lacked experience and financial capacity. These assertions were not true. In the process of her speech, the minister also breached legal obligations of confidentiality that were associated with the investment agreement.
- SSA Marine advised ADC that it was suspending its activities related to the Anaklia Port project.
- Mr. Giorgi Kobulia, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, told “Forbes Week” that the negative public discussions and media reports of the Anaklia project were having a negative impact on the business climate within Georgia. He subsequently resigned within days of the interview.
- A major U.S. private equity firm which was in advanced negotiations with ADC to join the project revealed to ADC that Government officials warned the firm to stay away from the project.
- Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, in a trade visit to the U.S., met separately with SSA Marine, the leadership of the U.S. private equity firm that were interested in investing in the project, and with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, D.C. Secretary Pompeo expressed support for the Anaklia project with the prime minister standing next to him, saying it would “strengthen Georgia’s ties with free economies and not allow Georgia to be under the economic influence of Russia or China.” Upon his return to Georgia, Mr. Bakhtadze resigned, and this again put the project in unchartered waters.
- At a meeting in Tbilisi, a large Hong Kong-based private equity group with significant Central Asian transportation synergies that was considering joining the project was told bluntly by Infrastructure Minister Tskitishvili that the Government did not desire their participation in the project. At this same meeting Ms. Tskitishvili reaffirmed the Government’s seeming opposition to SSA Marine’s involvement in the project.
- Giorgi Volski, Vice Speaker of Parliament, falsely claimed that the Hong Kong private equity group mentioned above is a “Russian” company, with the intention either of disparaging it or sowing further confusion about the government's position in respect of the project.
- In a meeting between Prime Minister Gakharia and an Anaklia Supervisory Board member, Mr. Gakharia stated that “things had to get quiet” before he could reassure the major potential U.S. investor of the state’s support for the Anaklia Project, which the board member understood to be a condition that ADC and Mr. Khazaradze stop criticizing the government publicly on its opposition to the Anaklia Project, and the government would stop criticizing ADC.
- Also, the Supervisory Board was promised a letter of support to a U.S. investor from the highest levels of the Government, but this never materialized, even though ADC did comply with the Government’s request.
- A delegation from the U.S. (in Tbilisi to participate in the 5th annual Tbilisi International Conference sponsored by the McCain Institute) met with new Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, and subsequently with Mamuka Khazaradze. Representatives of the delegation told Mr. Khazaradze that Prime Minister Gakharia told them the Anaklia project was not commercially viable when this was patently not the case.
- Fadi Asly, chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, is quoted in the media saying, “No one will invest in Anaklia project as long as Bidzina Ivanishvili wants to destroy it.”
Taken together, these are only a selection of the instances where the Government of Georgia actively undermined the project in an effort to prevent ADC from developing the project. ADC intends to present evidence during the upcoming arbitration proceedings to demonstrate the degree to which the Government took such steps.
Further details of the Anaklia Port project and ADC can be found at http://anakliadevelopment.com
Georgian Dream took initiative to hold 2020 parliamentary elections under proportional system - Bidzina Ivanishvili stated
“Georgian Dream” has taken the initiative to hold the 2020 parliamentary elections under a proportional system, with zero electoral threshold. The Chairperson of the party “Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia” Bidzina Ivanishvili made the relevant announcement at the briefing today.
“I would like to remind that the ‘Georgian Dream’ was the initiator of the constitutional reform, regarding the transfer to the proportional system, as it better responds to multi-party democracy’s needs. However, it was also decided that transition to this electoral system would be better in 2024, as it would allow strengthening of parties, more consolidation, and competitiveness. This is why we chose 2024 as the optimal term, especially given into account that the current mixed electoral system is absolutely democratic, which has been tested in many traditional democratic countries. However, life constantly brings changes and a responsible political force must adequately respond to challenges and hear the public voice. We see that society demands changes and this initiative provides grounds for such changes”, – Ivanishvili stated.
The sitting of the Political Council of the party has been held today at the Georgian Dream’s office, after which the session of the majority took place.
Conduct of proportional elections in 2020 was one of the main demands of the protest ongoing at Rustaveli Avenue in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi.
Biopic about Lesya Ukrainka to be directed by Nana Janelidze
Biopic (biographical movie) about Lesya Ukrainka will be directed by Georgian movie director and scriptwriter - Nana Janelidze. Also, casting will be held shortly and the project team will start filming a teaser.
Cinematic portfolio of Nana Janelidze includes 5 feature-length works directed by her and 6 works in which she is the author of the script. In particular, she wrote the script of Repentance (მონანიება) (directed by Tengiz Abuladze, 1987). The movie received the Grand Prix of the Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.The movie about Lesya Ukrainka will be the first filmstrip of Nana Janelidze made in Ukraine.
“Lesya Ukrainka – it is a dusty portrait on a school wall, this is a live, passionate, jealous and dedicated woman who is fighting a deadly disease. She spent greedily and “felt” each moment, given to her by her fate, in order to depict in her work the heavy burden of her big talent. As soon as I heard about the project, I instantly felt that I wanted to work on it because this is really inspiring” – Nana Janelidze says.
The movie with the working title “Lesya Ukrainka. Forest Edge (Uzlisia)” is the story of a great poetess from her early years until her last days of life. The two realities – daily life and Lesya’s inner world are closely intertwined and depict all key turns of her fate. Alexander Lavrenchuk is working on the script of the biopic. Experts of the life and work of Lesya Ukrainka are actively involved in the process of work on the picture by the team. Julia Sinkevych (JS Films, General Producer of Odessa International Film Festival) is the creative producer and author of the idea, and Maria Moskalenko (FX FILM Georgia) is a co-producer of the movie.
"To us, the story of Lesya Ukrainka is very personal. We wanted it to be filmed by a woman. We discussed directors from Ukraine and from Georgia – because Lesya Ukrainka’s life is closely linked to these countries. We needed a director with a new and unbiased view and all these characteristics are wonderfully combined in Nana Janelidze. The script inspired her from the first lines – and now we are actively working on it and will soon start filming a teaser” – say the producers: Julia Sinkevych and Maria Mosalenko.
On September 12, a grant agreement on the support of the project was signed between the company JS Film and Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. The project “Lesya Ukrainka, Forest Edge (Uzlisia)” won the competition of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation and took the first place among international cooperation projects in the category of audiovisual art and the 3rd place among all international projects.
Notably, the biopic script was selected for participation in the program ScripTeast.
Ukrainian Cultural Foundation is a state organization established in 2017 in accordance with Ukrainian law. It is aimed at promoting development of national culture and art in the country, ensuring favorable conditions for intellectual and spiritual development of the society, wide accessibility of national cultural heritage for the citizens, promoting cultural diversity and integration of Ukrainian culture in the world cultural space. In accordance with the effective legislation, Ukrainian Ministry of Culture carries out management and coordination of the foundation activity.