For Levan Asabashvili, the key to fixing Tbilisi is working on the small but significant issues to eventually change the big picture. When he looks at the crumbling facades in old Tbilisi, he sees a reality that can be changed, and a city worth saving. His collective, Urban Reactor, are one group of Georgians that have dedicated themselves to this mission, with full knowledge of the social and historical obstacles that must be overcome.
On one fine Saturday afternoon in March, Levan and I sat down in Gudiashvili Square to talk about the urban challenges Georgia faces.
Every nation needs someone to question, ciriticize, and even make fun of its own society. Even if people don’t always like it, making satire of the news is an essential way to unclog the social and political arteries, to prevent a detrimental heart failure. In the Republic of Georgia, there is no shortage of humor and rediculousness to be found, but chiti.ge doesn’t just go for the low hanging fruit… they see the value of pushing the so-called limits of what can and cannot be made fun of. My guest is Saba Lekveishvili, one of the people behind Georgia’s finest fake news program.
Driving outside of Tbilisi on the way to the ancient city Mtskheta, my hosts and I talk about Georgian language and how it has been effected by decades of Soviet Occupation and migration patterns. We also delve into Russian-Georgian relations today and how war is still very much part of the language and memory of the nation.
You can follow one of the guests on this episode via his twitter account. The other guest will remain anonymous.
I suddenly find myself in the republic of Georgia and the first thing one needs when arriving in a new country such as Georgia is a guide. Mark Mullen knows Georgia, he has been here since the late 90’s and pays close attention to what is going on in the present. Who better to sit down with on my first night in Tbilisi, to talk about this country.