Expert: Control of digital infrastructure enables China to impose demands by force

global focus
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13.09.2019.  Caucasian Journal from time to time presents to our readers articles which focus on issues of a worldwide importance. Their global impact is influencing many regions including the Caucasus. 

Today in our "GLOBAL FOCUS" is the technological expansion of China. Our special guest is sinologist Professor Olga Lomová from Charles University in Prague. This interview was given to Robert Schuster, managing editor of Caucasian Journal's partner journal Aspen Review.

Robert Shuster: How do you see China’s expansion into Central Europe? As a sinologist, you ought to see this as a positive development…

Olga Lomová: The fact that I am a sinologist does not necessarily mean that I can’t have a critical perspective on the subject of my interest. Sinologists shouldn’t be expected to welcome everything that comes from China, particularly in the realm of politics. Chinese influence in Central Europe, which I have observed for several years now, must be seen as part and parcel of global processes. Even though many people won’t admit it, we are only a tiny part of the globalized world—we are neither the center of Europe or an isolated entity but rather part of a single world in which China represents a great power that aspires to acquire even more weight in order to impose its demands on everyone else.

RS: Is China pursuing some sort of covert agenda?

OL: It is indeed, and not particularly a covert one, if you read Chinese newspapers and pay proper attention. Unfortunately, most analysts tend to underestimate the media rhetoric in China and until recently failed to ascribe sufficient importance to political speeches, editorials and, crucially, to appearances by the Communist Party Secretary - General Xi Jinping.

Open letter to the International Community

30.08.2019. Fady Asly, chairman of International Chamber of Commerce Georgia (ICC), sent an open letter to the international community. "Georgia is an amazing country with great potential; it hurts a lot to see it sliding backward so quickly, losing its leading position in the region and globally as a role model of good governance and economic development", - reads the open letter from the head of Georgia's largest business association. 

Caucasian Journal is publishing the full text of Fady Asly's letter in English below. The full text in Georgian can be found in our Georgian language version.

Open letter to the International Community


Dear members of the International Community,

We have learned from the press on August 27, that the Prosecutor General of Georgia had sent a letter to the UK Authorities requesting them to freeze the bank accounts of two Georgian businessmen, Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze on the ground of “alleged money laundering”.

Open letter to Bidzina Ivanishvili

21.08.2019. Fady Asly, chairman of International Chamber of Commerce Georgia (ICC), sent an open letter to Bidzina Ivanishvili. "The result of your seven years governance have brought the country back to the Shevardnadze era; your seven years governance brought to Georgia dictatorship, fear, instability, criminality and corruption", - reads the open letter from the head of Georgia's largest business association. 

Caucasian Journal is publishing the full text of Fady Asly's letter in English below. The full text in Georgian can be found in our Georgian language version.

Open Letter to Bidzina Ivanishvili

Mr. Ivanishvili,

I am writing to you as a Georgian citizen, someone who loves his country, someone who paid a very hefty price over 23 years fighting for the good of Georgia and the good of its people.

Crisis in Georgia: Comments from diplomats and experts

Was the recent crisis in Georgia a surprise to you, or did you expect such developments sooner or later? How do you assess the reactions of Russia, the Georgian government, and the opposition? What are the expected broader international consequences? 

03.07.2019. Today the foreign diplomats and experts are answering these questions for the readers of Caucasian Journal.

Lukas BEGLINGER, former Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia:  

While the concrete events triggering the crisis were rather unexpected, the underlying political problems and issues have existed for many years, without being adequately addressed. In the Georgian context, it is not surprising that at some point, people - including „ordinary“ citizens - start to vent their irritation and frustration about major political problems remaining unresolved, even more so as economic and social conditions remain difficult as well.

"Gavrilov's Effect": Consequences of Russia's sanctions on Georgian economy to be discussed

What are the real consequences of Russia's sanctions on Georgian economy? Is the effect really as catastrophic, as some politicians say? 

Caucasian Journal opens an interactive discussion on "Gavrilov's Effect", and welcomes real-time comments from all competent professionals - preferably with facts and figures at hand. 

Georgia's ISET Policy Institute has recently released a chart "Gavrilov's Effect on Economy", which Caucasian Journal is using here with the authors' permission. We hope this chart will trigger a discussion with important feedback from representatives of various industry sectors.

Statement of the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia regarding the recent developments in the country

The International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia condemns the arbitrary decision of the Russian Federation to stop direct flights from Russia to Georgia, as well as its decision to prohibit specific brands of Georgian wine from being imported into the Russian Federation.

Although those arbitrary sanctions will have a limited impact on our economy, they will still affect many businesses that depend exclusively on Russian tourists or on the Russian market.

Akaki MAMALADZE on production of first electric cars in Caucasus: "Our childhood dreams come true"

Georgia’s capital is suffering from environmental and traffic problems. High tech and business can help, but need investments and government support. AiGroup aims to produce Georgia’s first electric cars for its own car-sharing system, based on its own network of charging stations. Is this revolutionary concept too good to be true? 

14.06.2019 (Caucasian Journal). Caucasian Journal talks with Akaki MAMALADZE, director of AiProduction.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal:  When I was a schoolboy, we were sure that in 21st century a gasoline engine would be completely forgotten, and people would use electric vehicles to drive and even fly around. So, we are well into new millennium and still massively use the same petrol car as invented in 19th century. Do you feel you are putting to life a dream cherished by several generations?

Akaki MAMALADZE: Yes, I guess it is right time to desire that our childhood dreams come true. Nowadays electric vehicles (EV) have advanced well, and the global tendency brings more and more EV models to global market. There is a growing competition in car industry, as all prominent companies are making huge investments in research and development aiming at innovative solutions for the customers of electric vehicles. So we think it is right time to act, and take our part in this development process.

The new European institutions should be more vocal in EaP region

If the EU wants to remain a credible actor in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine it must re-commit to the support of the democratic development of these countries, says Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

13.06.2019 (Press Release) With the new European Parliament settling in and the discussions on the new Commission following suit, the EU’s management of its foreign relations and its financing – will be affected by internal changes. If the EU wants to remain a credible actor in the countries covered by the EU’s Eastern Partnership Policy – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – it must re-commit to the support of the democratic development of these countries, says Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF). 


10 years anniversary of the Eastern Partnership: Interview with Dirk WIESE

03.06.2019. Almost exactly ten years after the establishment of the Eastern Partnership, Dirk WIESE, Member of German Bundestag (parliament) and German government's Coordinator for Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership countries, visited Georgia from 13 to 15 May 2019. He participated in the South Caucasus Security Forum, one of most important foreign and security policy conferences in the key strategic region of the South Caucasus. Speaking to Caucasus Watch, Dirk WIESE gave a detailed account of his impressions from his visit to Georgia and the current situation and prospects of the Eastern Partnership in the South Caucasus in general.

Are there any ideas for new initiatives regarding Georgia's EU and NATO integration, which you discussed during your visit with Georgian officials?

The Euro-Atlantic orientation and ambition of Georgia have been clearly portrayed by all of my interlocutors. At the same time, they expressed their understanding that there is currently no concrete prospect of accession to NATO or the EU for Georgia.

Nicolas ILJINE: "It is far more exciting to discover new art in the Caucasus"

What’s the place of Georgia – and South Caucasus in general – in the world of contemporary art? How successful is Tbilisi Art Fair (TAF), Georgia's first contemporary art marketplace?

14.05.2019 (Caucasian Journal). For the most competent answers, Caucasian Journal contacted Nicolas ILJINE – internationally renowned art consultant, curator, TAF's Board member.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal:  Dear Nic, thank you for attention to the readers of Caucasian Journal. On May 17 TAF is scheduled to open its doors for the second time. A year has passed since the first ever contemporary art fair took place in Georgia, brought here thanks to the initiative and energy of its founder Kaha Gvelesiani. How successful is the TAF project so far, in your view? 

Nicolas ILJINE: In its first year, any fair is an experiment. In 2018 there were 8.500 visitors, 33 galleries, 45 artist spaces, 5 shops with books and multiples, 990 artworks exhibited in a price range of 250 to 30.000 USD, 22 media representatives and 37 international art professionals.