Assassinations by poison? Russia points the finger at Georgia

Giorgi Lomsadze Oct 19, 2018

“You have to feel sorry for our Western friends,” a prime-time host on Russia's First Channel said with evident irony. “Just think about it: You are friends with this nice Georgian guy; you call him Batono Mishiko; you drink wine together… and then it turns out that he is a murderer,” the host, Kiril Kleimyonov, said on the October 18 edition of the show Vremya.

Moscow stirs fear of American germs

Giorgi Lomsadze Oct 12, 2018
Lugar Lab he Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research, outside Tbilisi, is purportedly the mothership in a network of U.S. bioweapons labs in the post-Soviet space, according to Russian government officials. (photo: U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jamie Blow)

The onset of fall has brought to Russia, as it often does, flu and conspiracy theories. Back in the news is Moscow’s seasonal talk of an imminent American biological attack, to be launched from medical research labs in Russia’s neighborhood.

Georgia bans plastic bags, marking the end of an era

Giorgi Lomsadze Oct 8, 2018
plastic bag Goodbye old friend (Giorgi Lomsadze)

Georgia is letting go something it has held dear for decades – the plastic bag – becoming the first former Soviet state to adopt a ban.

It’s not just that the Caucasus nation is catching up with global efforts to reduce plastic pollution. The move marks the end of an era.   

Armenia’s revolutionary bike ride

Giorgi Lomsadze Oct 2, 2018
Pashinyan bicycle Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan rides a bicycle in Yerevan. The event was interpreted as either a symbol of progressivism or a cheap PR stunt. (Photo: Prime Minister's office)

In the post-Soviet neck of the woods, a convoy of black cars remains the preferred mode of ground transportation for prime ministers. The region's cutthroat roads make little accommodation for bicyclists, often leaving human-powered transport only for the fashion-forward or suicidal.

Armenians exult over MMA victory against Azerbaijani foe

Giorgi Lomsadze Sep 26, 2018
Karapetyan Armenian MMA fighter Karine Karapetyan exults in her victory over Rena Safarova, the sister of one of Armenia's most hated Azerbaijanis. (photo: https://www.facebook.com/pak.sirt)

In Armenia and Azerbaijan, it's par for the course that sports competitions against the other side are treated as proxy battles. Boxers, wrestlers, and even chess players are enlisted into the war that the two neighbors continue to wage against one another over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

But when one of the competitors may be the sister of an Azerbaijani soldier who axe-murdered an Armenian counterpart in his sleep, the rivalry reaches a new level.

Georgians propose naming Tbilisi street after John McCain

Giorgi Lomsadze Sep 3, 2018
President Margvelashvili pays his respects to John McCain at the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi. (president.ge) President Margvelashvili pays his respects to John McCain at the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi. (president.ge)

Outside the United States, the loss of Senator John McCain has been felt perhaps most deeply in Georgia, which lionized the late Arizona Republican as the best friend it had in the country Georgians regard as their closest ally. Now, some Georgians have proposed honoring McCain’s memory with a street bearing his name.

Friends ignore South Ossetia’s big day

Giorgi Lomsadze Aug 27, 2018
South Ossetia spectacle A scene from a celebration put on by South Ossetia to mark the tenth anniversary of Russia's recognition of the breakaway territory. (photo: presidentruo.org)

Not many world leaders recognize South Ossetia as its own nation. And fewer still managed to join the petite Caucasus enclave for its gala celebrations of that recognition.