On May 21, YouTube user Yevgeni Melnik shared this video of a group of four anonymous Georgian men doing an impromptu performance of traditional Georgian singing and dancing at Terminal F of Kiev Boryspil International Airport. The video has gone viral among Ukrainian Internet users: as of May 28, it has been watched 47,450 times.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + Georgia
Eva Anderson, a Senior Analyst with Transparency International, examines the recent prison abuse video scandal in Georgia as the country prepares for crucial 1 October Parliamentary Elections. The blog post in particular looks at the penitentiary system and the urgent need for reform.
A video showing prisoners being beaten up in one of Georgia's modernized prisons has been uploaded onto YouTube. Other videos appears to show more graphic incidents with one comment on Facebook hoping that they ‘provide impetus to serious structural reforms’ and that ‘prison personnel are held responsible.’
The Armenian Observer reports that construction has started on upgrading Armenia's highways. Effectively connecting Iran with Georgia via Armenia more efficiently, the blog notes the Armenian government's hopes that the road will make the landlocked country an important transit route between Europe and Asia.
During construction to one of Tbilisi's main streets, parts of a 5th century fortress used to defend the city were unearthed. The Young Georgians has a series of photos of the remarkable discovery, which appears on Georgian cartographer Vakkshuti's map of the capital from 1735.
Just before today's fourth anniversary of the August 2008 Russia-Georgia War, Georgian Photographers features a post accompanied by photos from George Tsagareli on documenting conflict in the Caucasus.
Net Prophet interviews Givi Avaliani, a Georgian blogger [GE] focusing on online campaigning and charitable activities, and who says that human rights protection and highlighting the poverty around him are his main inspirations. The Transitions Online blog says that more than 120,000 people have visited Avaliani's blog in the past year.
Ianyan introduces its readers to the female athletes representing the three countries of the South Caucasus in the Olympic games in London.
Behance features a typographic project to write the Georgian word for hello phonetically in an Armenian script stylized in such a way that it resembles Georgian. Although some letters in the Armenian and Georgian alphabets can resemble each other depending on the fonts and case or styles used, they are otherwise usually visually distinct, although some argue that this is also by design.
Democracy and Freedom Watch reports on the launch of an online monitoring platform ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for October 2012. The site, Elections Portal, is available in Georgian and English at http://www.electionsportal.ge.
Katie Going Global visits the South Caucasus and compares Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Assessing the three countries on many levels, the travel blog considers that Georgia is the most tourist-friendly.
Global Chaos comments on a recent video report by Radio Free Europe examining changing stereotypes of the Caucasus in Russian cinema. The blog asks whether the caricatures often adopted for public diplomacy purposes are counterproductive or not.
Making Connections not only posts a recent video by Georgian bloggers against homophobia, but also one calling for gender equality in the South Caucasus country. The blog notes that the second video, featuring Georgian men saying they can wash their own feet, is in response to a comment by the country's religious leader, Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II, declaring that this was the responsibility of women who should stay at home to do so. The Yerevan-based blog hopes that activists in Armenia will follow the example of such online campaigns.
Unzipped: Gay Armenia posts a video by Georgian bloggers against homophobia set to the song F*ck You by Lily Allen. The move comes less than a month after a Gay Pride march in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, was disrupted by priests and conservative elements in society. The same month a gay-friendly bar in neighboring Armenia was firebombed by Neo-Nazis highlighting the problem with intolerance and homophobia in the South Caucasus.
The British Embassy in Azerbaijan has awarded the 4,000th member of its Facebook page with a certificate and a small prize. With the British Embassy in Armenia and Georgia boasting 1,526 and 2,581 likes respectively at time of writing, the announcement shows how diplomatic missions in the Caucasus are increasingly turning to social media as a medium for engagement. In October 2011, for example, the British Ambassador to Azerbaijan answered questions on Twitter while two months later his counterpart in Armenia used Facebook.
No Sex and the City — Georgian Liberal (an oxymoron) blog comments on the physical confrontation between priests accompanying religious parents and LGBT activists marching in Tbilisi, Georgia. The blog details events as they happened, including the alleged inaction of the Georgian police when they were asked to intervene to defuse tensions.
The Young Georgians posts video of this weekend's flash flood in Tbilisi, Georgia. Five people, including two children, are reported dead.
Despite growing concerns about plans to build a new city on swamp land, Democracy and Freedom Watch says that Lazika will be included in the country's Constitution. With no transparency in the decision-making process, the blog sarcastically notes that for now the city exists only in the form of a Facebook page.
The Young Georgians posts photos and video of a protest demonstration held by journalists, bloggers and activists to mark World Press Freedom Day in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Evolutsia comments on a new policy of face control for entry into many of the Georgian capital's clubs. The analytical site also ponders how such a policy might affect the revenue of those Tbilisi establishments that have introduced it.
Beyond Tbilisi says that local authorities plan to clean up a river full of garbage in June. The blog run by Transparency International Georgia hopes to report on issues outside of the capital and is available in Georgian and English.
Writing on The PIK.TV blog, the channel's English-language editor, Tbilisi-based Nicholas Alan Clayton, comments on plans to construct a new city in Georgia. With little transparency in planning the Lazika development, recently referred to as an ‘instant city in a swamp’ by the New York Times, the blog says that while many reforms since the 2003 Rose Revolution have been inspiring, this is not one of them.
The Transparency International Georgia blog examines the case of the Georgian edition of the influential Forbes magazine following the resignation of its editor-in-chief who alleges that the magazine's publishers are practicing self-censorship ahead of parliamentary elections to be held later this year.
A satirical video posted on YouTube takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the development of Georgia ahead of parliamentary elections later this year and a presidential vote in 2013. With the current president, Milhail Saakashvili, unable to run for a third term in office it foresees him following in the footsteps of his nemesis, Russia's Vladimir Putin, by becoming prime minister as Georgia joins NATO, regains the lost territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, hosts world famous rock bands in seaside resorts, launches a space programme, develops a small town to take the place of Amsterdam as a sex-capital, and much, much more.
Novruz, the Persian New Year which is also celebrated in Azerbaijan, has come to an end and, using the example of the oil-rich country, Eastbook says that during the holiday it can often be difficult to conduct business or arrange meetings. Nevertheless, it notes that Azerbaijan's Embassy in Georgia was an exception.
Unzipped: Gay Armenia comments on the passage of legislation in Georgia outlawing discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, age, and political as well as religious views. The blog notes that the inclusion of sexual orientation makes Georgia “clearly the most advanced country in the South Caucasus in terms of legislative provisions on LGBT issues.”
Shota tweets that two bloggers were physically assaulted allegedly by representatives of Tbilisi University's Student Union, itself reportedly controlled by the ruling party of power in the country. News of the alleged attack [GE] was spread on Facebook and in the form of a video report by Net Gazeti on YouTube.
time difference comments on the return of Vladimir Putin to power in Russia following this week's election. The blog says that even if much of the world is concerned by the development, the Georgian government must recognize the reality and not alienate itself from its powerful and sometimes mutually antagonistic neighbor. “Maybe it's time to balance politics and be more diplomatic?” the Georgian blogger asks on Twitter.
ЖЖ Сухуми სოხუმი cyxymu [RU] updates its readers on another assassination attempt made today on the defacto President of Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region, Alexander Ankvab. The blog reports one bodyguard was killed, with another two wounded, in the fifth attempt on Ankvab's life since 2005.