Projects from Armenia and Georgia are among winners of European Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards

Europa Nostra
04.06.2024 (Caucasian Journal). On 30 May, the European Commission and Europa Nostra announced the 2024 winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards. This year, Europe’s most prestigious awards for heritage go to 26 winners from 18 countries across the continent, including from Armenia and Georgia.

The ‘Teryan Cultural Centre – Empowering Armenian Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh’ project from Armenia is one of five winners in the category ‘Education, Training and Skills’.

Since 2002, the Teryan Cultural Center has been committed to the study and preservation of Armenian culture, undertaking extensive research and hosting exhibitions about this culture. Since 2016, it has partnered with the Smithsonian Institute to take part in the ‘My Armenia’ project, training 55 Armenian artisans from the region of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, and enabling them to share their crafts with local and international audiences. 

The Real Problem with NGOs in Georgia, and What Law Is Truly Needed to Solve It

Op-Ed
01.06.2024 (Caucasian Journal). What’s the keyword of the newly adopted Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence? Correct, it is the word “budget”, because the law’s main provision is that a non-governmental organization must be labeled as a foreign agent if at least 20 percent of its budget is from foreign grants. The law is focusing on the budget, regardless of the NGO’s profile and mission.

▶ ქართულად:  Read the Georgian version here.

Even organizations typically not associated with political lobbying, such as medical, cultural, environmental, and even the dog shelters, would become vulnerable if they depend on foreign funding.  But instead of once again criticizing the law, let’s take a look at the core of the problem – why are they all dependent on foreign funding? What’s wrong with the Georgian nonprofit sector that it has to rely largely on foreign organizations’ grants? And what is to be done, in practical terms?

Most of the civil society organizations would be happy to live without foreign grants if they could secure funding locally.

The answer is simple. Most of the civil society organizations would be happy to live without foreign grants if they could secure funding locally.  But the organizations are forced to seek grants from foreign sources.  This brings us to the main issue: Where are the local Georgian donors?

The answer is again simple: There are no laws in Georgia that encourage companies or individuals to donate. 

Dr. Marek DABROWSKI: “The unique geopolitical window of opportunity for Georgia to join EU may not be repeated in the future”

29.05.2024 (Caucasian Journal). We are honoured today to welcome Dr. Marek DABROWSKI, a non-resident scholar at the Bruegel think tank in Brussels, a co-founder and fellow at the Centre for Social and Economic Research (CASE) in Warsaw, and a visiting professor at the Central European University in Vienna. 

Marek DABROWSKISince the late 1980-s, Dr. Dąbrowski has been involved in providing policy advice and conducting research related to monetary and fiscal policies, international financial architecture, perspectives of European integration, and the political economy of transition. He has also worked as a consultant for the EU, World Bank, IMF, UNDP, OECD, and USAID projects. In addition, he is the author of several academic and policy papers and serves as the editor of various publications.

 ქართულად: Read the Georgian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Dear Professor Dabrowski, thank you for your attention to our readers. You are one of the best-known international experts in European Neighbourhood Policy and the “New Eastern Enlargement”, so let me start with the most burning question: Can Georgia's candidate status and membership negotiations be cancelled because of the adoption of a law that has analogues in some EU countries' legislations (such as Hungary)?

Marek DABROWSKI: I am not aware of the analogues of the Georgian "Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence" being currently in force in the EU.  The Hungary's 'Sovereignty Protection Act' applies to foreign funding of election campaigns. The previous law adopted in 2017, which specifically targeted NGOs was struck down in 2020 by the Court of Justice of the EU and was revoked by the Hungarian parliament in 2021. Please remember that Hungary remains under Article 7 procedure for breaching the basic principles and values of the EU Treaties.

Rather, the Georgian law reminds me of the infamous foreign agent law introduced in 2012 in the Russian Federation, subsequently amended and tightened several times, which became a major instrument of persecution of political opposition, media, civil society organizations, independent intellectuals and cultural and academic institutions. 

BTU to host online event "Georgia's European Integration: Science, Technology, and Innovation in Focus"

29.05.2024 (Caucasian Journal). On June 4, Business and Technology University (BTU), in collaboration with Emerging Europe, will host a large-scale online event: - "Georgia's European Integration: Science, Technology, and Innovation in Focus."  

Caucasian Journal is pleased to be the information partner of this event. 

ქართულად: Read the Georgian version here.

The event will focus on Georgia's European integration and the educational, scientific, and innovative programs that facilitate this process. Opening remarks will be delivered by Nino Enukidze, Rector of Business and Technology University, and Andrew Wrobel, Founding Partner of Emerging Europe.

Jeanne CAVELIER: "Georgia is moving further and further away from satisfactory press freedom, and therefore from democracy and EU path"

23.05.2024 (Caucasian Journal). Our guest today is Jeanne CAVELIER, head of Eastern Europe & Central Asia Desk at Reporters Without Borders (
Jeanne Cavelier
Photo: RSF/Manon Levet
Reporters sans frontières, RSF). Previously Ms. Cavelier worked for renowned French newspapers such as L’Opinion and Le Monde.

 ქართულად: Read the Georgian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Dear Jeanne, welcome to the Caucasian Journal, thank you for attention to our readers. This year's Press Freedom Day was not a proud moment for Georgia. According to the fresh edition of your World Press Freedom Index, our press freedom has declined by 43 positions in three years: From the 60th position in 2021 to 103 this year. Your Index has been shedding light on press freedom since 2002. How precise is it in general, and how alarming is Georgia’s decline, compared to other countries?

Jeanne CAVELIER: Georgia is moving further and further away from a satisfactory press freedom environment, and therefore from democracy and its path of the EU. It is now ranked 103rd out of 180 countries, and changed categories in our last edition, moving from a “problematic” situation for press freedom to a “difficult” one. The trend is worrying: No other country in the region (Caucasus, Turkey and Russia) has fallen as much as Georgia in the ranking for 10 years. RSF Index relies on a solid methodology to compare diverse situations in 180 countries and covers all areas of press freedom. It is based on an analysis of 5 indicators: political context, legal framework, economic context, socio-cultural context and security. The lowest scores of Georgia are political and economic ones. It shows a growing authoritarianism. Press freedom is being threatened by the very people who should be its guarantors - the political authorities. That’s a worrying trend we observe worldwide this year. The low score of Georgia for the economic context is in particular due to a lack of ownership transparency and editorial independence of the media outlets. 

The trend is worrying: No other country in the region has fallen as much as Georgia in the ranking for 10 years.

Thomas HACKER, Bundestag: “Candidate status was granted to Georgian people, not to the government” (watch video or read)

Thomas Hacker
21.05.2024 (Caucasian Journal). Mr. Thomas HACKER, a Member of the German Bundestag (Federal Parliament), gave an exclusive video interview to the Caucasian Journal.  He recently returned from a visit to Tbilisi with a German parliamentary delegation.

You may watch the video below or read the full text - further below.  This interview is also available in Georgian language version.

 ქართულად: Video subtitled in Georgian is here. Georgian text version is here.

To be the first to view exclusive interviews, please subscribe here to our YouTube Channel


The text version of interview is below:

THOMAS HACKER: “CANDIDATE STATUS WAS GRANTED TO GEORGIAN PEOPLE, NOT TO THE GOVERNMENT”

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ: Dear Mr. Hacker, welcome to the Caucasian Journal, thank you for attention to our readers. In the Bundestag you represent Bavaria, but it seems you have also a genuine interest in Georgia.  How did you become interested in our country?

Thomas HACKER: In the Bundestag, which I attend for almost seven years now, I'm member of Committee on European Affairs and I'm the spokesman of my parliamentary group. Therefore within my obligations are countries that are part of enlargement process.  Whenever I come to a country I try to not only to meet the politicians but also the civil society, young people especially. 

Georgia is an important country in a very difficult neighborhood.

In my first visit in Georgia I found a genuine interest, of younger people especially, in becoming member of European community. I also learned about Georgian life, food, wine with is long tradition, so I came back again and again to Georgia. And I hope that my recent trip will not be the last.  We are planning two more visits. Georgia is an important country in a very difficult neighborhood, and I fear that the pressure from Russia is very high on the government. But we - as Germany and the EU - have to show faith in Georgia.

Parliament told us that they could not  guarantee our safety within the Parliament building, so political talks could not take place.

AK: Can you comment on the results of your visit?

TH: Our delegation was one of the Committee on Culture and Media. For two years now we have a close connection to the Georgian Committee on Culture and Media. Of course we planned political talks as well, but as the demonstrations were every day,  the Parliament told us that they could not  guarantee our safety within the  Parliament building, so political talks could not take place. We had many contacts with people, NGOs and civil society. We also attended the Berliner Philharmoniker concert in Tsinandali. So it was also a visit of cultural cooperation, intended to deepen the relations between Georgia and Germany. But in result we could see with our own eyes what was going in the streets of Tbilisi. Though political talks could not take place, we tried to get our message right and tell what the German Bundestag was thinking of so-called “foreign agent law”.

Miloš MICHLOVSKÝ: “If Georgian winemakers want to be competitive in Europe they must diversify” (watch video or read)

16.05.2024 (Caucasian Journal). Our guest today is Dr. Miloš MICHLOVSKÝ - one of the leading Czech experts in the field of winemaking. He is currently visiting Georgia and kindly agreed to give us an interview.  You may watch the video discussion below, and read the full text - further below.  This interview is also available in Georgian language version.
 ქართულად: Video subtitled in Georgian is here. Georgian text version is here.

To be the first to view exclusive interviews, please subscribe here to our YouTube Channel


The text version of interview is below:

MILOŠ MICHLOVSKÝ: “IF GEORGIAN WINEMAKERS WANT TO BE COMPETITIVE IN EUROPE THEY MUST DIVERSIFY”

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ: Hello and welcome to Caucasian Journal video interviews! Today it is our pleasure to welcome Dr. Miloš MICHLOVSKÝ - one of the leading Czech experts in the field of winemaking. He is currently visiting Georgia and kindly agreed to give us an interview. We must also thank the Czech Embassy in Tbilisi for this opportunity and for the help in translation. Dr. Michlovský, welcome to Georgia. Is this your first visit to Georgia, and what brings you here?

Miloš MICHLOVSKÝ: I would like to greet by a Moravian greeting “Welcome in the vineyard!” It's not my first time in Georgia. My first visit was in 1970-s during my study and doctorate period. I used to come very often because I had a lot of friends here. In recent years we had bilateral cooperation projects between Czechia and Georgia, as we try to share our best experience regarding EU accession, and actually all the lessons learned.

I see there's a quite dynamic process in Georgia in relation to the EU accession; there have been many changes in legislation. Of course these processes are not easy to be implemented in reality, but they are necessary for the accession to EU.

Open letter from Chairman of ICC Georgia regarding "Foreign Agents Law"

01.05. 2024. Open letter from Fady ASLY, Chairman of the Georgian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce, regarding the "Foreign Agents Law," also known as the "Russian Law".

I am writing this letter to inform society at large of all the consequences that Georgia will be facing after the implementation of the “Russian Law” in the country.

It is a fact that the enactment of this law by the Georgian Government will trigger a series of adverse consequences that will profoundly impact the business environment, the economy, and the overall prosperity of Georgia, as outlined in the following points:

1. Stifling Civil Society and Democracy
  • Impact on Governance: Civil society organizations (CSOs) are crucial for a healthy democracy as they hold government accountable, advocate for transparency, and fight corruption, therefore constraining their operations will lead to less oversight and more corruption, deteriorating the quality of governance.
  • International Perception: Implementing such a law will be perceived as an authoritarian shift, which will destabilize the democratic progress and image of Georgia on the international stage.

Martin SKALSKÝ on environment protection: “People must be active and demand changes” (watch video or read)

Skalsky Zoom
17.04.2024 (Caucasian Journal). Our guest today is Martin SKALSKÝ, chairman of the Czech non-governmental organization Arnika and leader of Centre for the Support of Citizens. He coordinates many projects in the countries of the former Soviet Union and Western Balkans in the field of environment protection.

You may watch the video discussion below, and read the full text - further below.  This interview is also available in Georgian language version:

 ქართულად: Video subtitled in Georgian is here. Georgian text version is here.

To be the first to view exclusive interviews, please subscribe here to our YouTube Channel


The text version of interview is below: 

MARTIN SKALSKÝ: “PEOPLE MUST BE ACTIVE AND DEMAND CHANGES”

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Hello and welcome to Caucasian Journal video interviews!

Our guest today is Martin SKALSKÝ, chairman of the Czech non-governmental organization Arnika and leader of Centre for the Support of Citizens. He coordinates many projects in the countries of the former Soviet Union and Western Balkans in the field of environment protection.

Dear Martin, welcome to Caucasian Journal. At the launch of our Journal we have installed an air quality widget right on our main page. So, no wonder that environment protection and especially air quality is our top concern.  Let me start with the alarming phrase from your website “Tbilisi is among Europe's top three most polluted metropolises”. How bad is it now, in simple words? And what are the other two cities?

Association "Wine Artisans" and artisan winemakers condemn "Russian Law"

14.04.2024 (Caucasian Journal). Georgia's Association "Wine Artisans" and artisan winemakers published a statement condemning the controversial bill on transparency of foreign influence, resubmitted by the parliamentary majority earlier this month. This statement is republished below. Association "Wine Artisans" is headed by Andro Barnovi, member of the Advisory Board of Caucasian Journal.

Association "Wine Artisans" and artisan winemakers condemn "Russian Law"
2024-04-14 
NO to the Russian law! NO to the traitor Government!

Although we do not represent political organizations, part of the Georgian artisan winemakers made it usual for the public that we are always one of the first to state our firm position on important political or social issues for the country.