Concessions Are Part of Democratic Process
02 February, 2012
Concessions Are Part of Democratic Process

Jonas Paslauskas is from Lithuania – one of the few countries which has a lady President. Coming straight  from New York, he found a drastic change here but he has not regretted it. Let’s meet him and  learn his views and  find out his way of living in Tbilisi. 

G.J: When did you arrive to our country?
J.P: I arrived in Georgia in May 2010, directly from New York. I worked on the position of a Consul General there. When

I got the current position, I thought I would be remembering New York every day, but when I came to Georgia, I saw a very dynamic, very interesting country. It turned out that I did not miss the New York life. The diplomat’s work in Georgia is very busy and interesting, marked by different shades and enriched by various aspects. The work here is not boring at all; on the contrary – life in Georgia is always dynamic. 
G.J: What was the strongest impression that you received in Georgia?
J.P: I was impressed most of all by the positive attitude of Georgian nation. We, Lithuanians, sometimes have even smaller problems, or maybe no problems at all, but we happen to be too critical about things, whereas Georgians are always full of life. Georgians have very welcoming spirit; therefore, I feel comfortable working here.
G.J: How does your everyday schedule look like? 
J.P: Each day is different, but there is some routine. Usually, my day starts at the Embassy, where I meet my colleagues and discuss various activities and events; I also do paper work. Then at noon, I meet with other colleague diplomats, representatives of the Government of Georgia, NGOs, media, etc. Sometimes, the day ends with a diplomatic reception or dinner hosted by other ambassadors. Of course, I also organize many events at our residence. Having in mind that one of the main priorities of the Government of Lithuania is the support for regional development, I travel a lot in your country. If I have some spare time left, I go to the swimming pool.
G.J: How do you spend your weekends?
J.P: If I am not traveling, you can see me with my wife circling around Kustba, (Turtle Lake) or walking around the old town. If we have time, we stay in our residence and enjoy the game of pool.  On the other hand, we have a lot of visitors coming from Lithuania, United States and other countries. Usually, we take them to Jvari, Uplistsikhe, Svetitskhoveli, Signagi, etc. So, if the weather is good, we are always somewhere outside.
G.J: What can you say about the Georgian cooking?
J.P: Georgian cuisine is a unique phenomenon. I remember a saying: ‘Many people die without having tried in their life French champagne or caviar.’ Now I like to add that many people die without having tried Georgian Khinkali, Khachapuri, Saperavi or Tsinandali. I will be one of those happy ones who have had an opportunity to have tasted Georgian cuisine. And it’s not only the food that is important. It’s the Georgian table culture in general – your meaningful toasts, traditional singing and dancing. Georgians can sit at table 4-5 hours and there will be no drunken people around. Many nations can learn from your experience. Let’s not forget that Georgia gave two words to the world: wine (from ghvino) and medicine (from Medea). There is only one problem with your cuisine - it makes your clothes get smaller and smaller (laughs).
G.J: What about the Georgian culture? 
J.P: The most interesting thing is that Lithuanians know much more about Georgia than about their closest neighbors. For example, if you ask an ordinary person in the street about famous Georgians, many of them would remember famous movie directors such as Danelia, Ioseliani, Abuladze, Chiaureli. This is somewhat amazing. Speaking about my personal likes, I enjoy exploring Tbilisi. I like sculptures, Georgian polyphonic singings and traditional dances. They are wonderful. Accordingly, it is not surprising that one can see Georgian artistes on the prestigious stages throughout the world. In Lithuania two years ago, we had a big exhibition of Pirosmani’s works, which attracted a huge interest and it had to be prolonged. I also admire traditional Tbilisi songs. As for the writers, unfortunately I cannot read them in the original but recently my wife found a book of short stories translated into English – it comprises works of Ilia Chavchavadze, Nodar Dumbadze, Giorgi Leonidze, Mikheil Javakhishvili and that is what I am reading now.
G.J: Lithuania is one of the very few countries with a lady President. It would be very interesting to hear your opinion about Georgian political culture.
J.P: Not only the President is a lady, but we also have a lady Speaker of the Parliament (Seimas), Minister of National Defense, Minister of Finances and many others.
G.J: What is the reason of it?
J.P: It simply has become a natural part of our political culture. We accepted those values and are not dividing society by gender. Speaking about Georgia’s political culture, it would be unacceptable for me as a diplomat to publicly give recommendations here. I can share my personal impressions. In my opinion, Georgia has clear democratic goals – European and Euro-Atlantic integration. I believe that Georgia is on a right track and will go further with needed reforms. I am sure that you will overcome the difficulties that are on the agenda. I believe that Georgia will remain a reliable and active member of the international community, and will manage to increase the circle of its friends. We all understand that sometimes implementation of goals depends on various political factors and right moment, so strategic patience will be important in this regard. All in all, I remain a strong believer in your country’s success in the near future.
G.J: What do you think about our media?
J.P: Well, it is obvious that Georgians are TV viewers. We have seen in different polls that around 90% of the population gets the news from TV. Of course, printed press is important and it’s good that some of it is available in foreign languages. I read your Georgian Journal every time and it’s an important source of my information. Speaking about the media in general, I would say that the Georgian media does not differ from the media in other parts of the world. I would like to remind you that when there are some public discussions let’s say about the media laws or similar issues, one cannot expect one of the discussing parties to be a total winner. In the democratic society, concessions and a search for consensus is a part of the democratic process.
G.J: What do you think about Georgian prisons and courts of justice?
J.P: We see a lot of efforts to improve the system and the legislation. Though there are many problems – overcrowded prisons, lack of adequate healthcare, etc. But there are some notable achievements; for example, in the field of juvenile justice. According to the Georgian Crime Survey 2011, from the high crime country Georgia has managed to become a low crime country.

Print
Other Stories
Judges that served the violent regime of Saakashvili should not be in the Supreme Court, says Eka Beselia
Eka Beselia, a member of the parliamentary majority, held a press conference in the Parliament today.
Possible confrontation within the Georgian Dream Party?
Eka Beselia, a member of the ruling party, will hold a news conference in the Parliament at 12:00 today.
13 dead from swine flu in Georgia, emergency treatment to be free for all
13 people died from swine flu in Georgia so far, but there is no risk of epidemy, says Georgian Minister of Health.
Georgian president Salome Zurabishvili not ready for launching diplomatic dialogue with Russia
I'm not ready to give any advice to the legislative body about the launch of the diplomatic relations or dialogue with Russia
Georgia suffering the steepest drop in democratic quality in eastern Europe
According to the statistics for the Democracy Index 2018, published by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU),
“Let’s see if you can wrestle with women”- Interior minister to the opposition
Female Police officers were mobilized in front of the Gurjaani District Court where the case of Davit Kirkitadze, the member of the United Opposition was considered.
Georgian citizens can apply for temporary residency in France
150 permits for young specialists as well as additional 500 permits will be granted each year to go to work to France.
Numbers of Georgians seeking asylum in Germany has significantly decreased
According to Ambassador of Georgia to Germany Elguja Khokrishvili, the drop of asylum requests has been due to recently taken steps.
U.S. Congress supports Georgia with a new bill
Unanimously the U.S. approved the act, which calls for imposing sanctions on Russian actors for the commission of serious human rights abuses in the occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
‘Horn wrestling’ between opposition party leader and police chef
Yesterday on the 16th of December, clashes occurred between Nika Melia, leader of the United National Movement and Teimuraz Kupatadze, head of patrol police department in the village of Velistsikhe, Kakheti region (eastern part of Georgia).
Salome Zourabichvili officially becomes the fifth president of Georgia
The inauguration ceremony of president-elect Salome Zourabichvili took place in Telavi, Kakheti (eastern region of Georgia) on the 16th of December.
Fight erupt in paliament between Georgian MPs during session
Verbal and physical confrontation has occurred between MPs in the parliament.
Famous Georgians invited at the Inauguration of Salome Zourabichvili
The inauguration ceremony of president elect Salome Zourabishvili will be held in Telavi, Kakheti (eastern region of Georgia) on the 16th of December.
Exclusive interview with Lincoln Mitchell, American political analyst and Georgia expert
More than 20,000 people responded to the appeal of the opposition and gathered in front of the former parliament building in downtown Tbilisi last Sunday.
The after-pains of the presidential election in Georgia
Yesterday evening, at a meeting with his supporters in the Philharmonic Hall, the defeated candidate Grigol Vashadze made it clear that he didn’t recognize the result of the presidential elections and called for early parliamentary elections.
National democratic institute publishes their findings about the presidential elections in Georgia
A delegation of the National Democratic Institute, which included observers from five countries, analyzed the election process.
International media about the runoff presidential elections in Georgia
Although it didn’t hit the headlines, newspapers and broadcast around the world report about Salome Zurabishvili as the first woman who became president in Georgia.
100% of the ballot counted: Salome Zourabichvili wins
Yesterday on the 28th of November, the second round of the presidential election took place in Georgia.
Salome Zurabishvili was elected as president of Georgia
According to the CEC, Central Election Committee of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili, an independent candidate endorsed by the ruling Georgian Dream Party, received 59.61 percent of votes.
Preliminary results of runoff election for president in Georgia and clashes in Marneuli
Preliminary results for runoff election for president in Georgia have been announced.
Exit polls say Salome Zurabishvili won runoff election for president in Georgia
Runoff elections for president are over in Georgia. Voting booths were closed at 8 pm Tbilisi time. Some exit polls have already been published.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs about the shooting in Chumlaki
Today on the 28th of November, the second round of the presidential election takes place in Georgia.
Second round of presidential elections in Georgia
Georgians head to the polls for a runoff election for president. The first round was held on the 28th of October,
The 15th Anniversary of Georgia’s Rose Revolution
15 years ago, in 2003, the rose revolution took place in Georgia.
Unprecedented move by Cartu Group to nullify debts for 600 000 Georgian citizens
The Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze announced on the 19th of November that the bank debt of over 600,000 Georgian citizens, including those on a so-called ‘Black List’ will be annulled.
PHOTO OF THE DAY

Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
17.01.2019
18.01.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6634
2.6633
EUR
1
EUR
3.0363
3.0359
GBP
1
GBP
3.4259
3.4298
RUB
100
RUB
3.9891
4.0034
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.6633
EUR
1
EUR
3.0359
GBP
1
GBP
3.4298
RUB
100
RUB
4.0034
January 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31