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Georgian Dream rally in Tbilisi (6 of...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
27 May 2012

In the spring 2012, before the Parliamentary elections, political coalition Georgian Dream led by Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili launched its election campaign with a rally in the center of Georgian capital - Tbilisi

Political leaders, activists and supporters of the coalition started gathering at three separate locations of Tbilisi. They began marching towards the Freedom Square where a stage was installed for the rally. While waiting for their leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, several political leaders of coalition addressed the rally.

After the victory of the political coalition Georgian Dream in the Parliamentary elections Bidzina Ivanishvili became the Prime Minister of Georgia. Many participants of that rally became the members of the Cabinet. Irakli Alasania became the Minister of Defense of Georgia, Maia Panjikidze – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tinatin Khidasheli and David Saganelidze became members of Georgian Parliament.

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Georgian Dream rally in Tbilisi (5 of...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
27 May 2012

In the spring 2012, before the Parliamentary elections, political coalition Georgian Dream led by Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili launched its election campaign with a rally in the center of Georgian capital - Tbilisi

Political leaders, activists and supporters of the coalition started gathering at three separate locations of Tbilisi. They began marching towards the Freedom Square where a stage was installed for the rally. While waiting for their leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, several political leaders of coalition addressed the rally.

After the victory of the political coalition Georgian Dream in the Parliamentary elections Bidzina Ivanishvili became the Prime Minister of Georgia. Many participants of that rally became the members of the Cabinet. Irakli Alasania became the Minister of Defense of Georgia, Maia Panjikidze – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tinatin Khidasheli and David Saganelidze became members of Georgian Parliament.

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Georgian Dream rally in Tbilisi (4 of...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
27 May 2012

In the spring 2012, before the Parliamentary elections, political coalition Georgian Dream led by Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili launched its election campaign with a rally in the center of Georgian capital - Tbilisi

Political leaders, activists and supporters of the coalition started gathering at three separate locations of Tbilisi. They began marching towards the Freedom Square where a stage was installed for the rally. While waiting for their leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, several political leaders of coalition addressed the rally.

After the victory of the political coalition Georgian Dream in the Parliamentary elections Bidzina Ivanishvili became the Prime Minister of Georgia. Many participants of that rally became the members of the Cabinet. Irakli Alasania became the Minister of Defense of Georgia, Maia Panjikidze – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tinatin Khidasheli and David Saganelidze became members of Georgian Parliament.

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Georgian Dream rally in Tbilisi (3 of...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
27 May 2012

In the spring 2012, before the Parliamentary elections, political coalition Georgian Dream led by Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili launched its election campaign with a rally in the center of Georgian capital - Tbilisi

Political leaders, activists and supporters of the coalition started gathering at three separate locations of Tbilisi. They began marching towards the Freedom Square where a stage was installed for the rally. While waiting for their leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, several political leaders of coalition addressed the rally.

After the victory of the political coalition Georgian Dream in the Parliamentary elections Bidzina Ivanishvili became the Prime Minister of Georgia. Many participants of that rally became the members of the Cabinet. Irakli Alasania became the Minister of Defense of Georgia, Maia Panjikidze – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tinatin Khidasheli and David Saganelidze became members of Georgian Parliament.

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Georgian Dream rally in Tbilisi (2 of...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By Ketevan Mghebrishvili
27 May 2012

In the spring 2012, before the Parliamentary elections, political coalition Georgian Dream led by Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili launched its election campaign with a rally in the center of Georgian capital - Tbilisi

Political leaders, activists and supporters of the coalition started gathering at three separate locations of Tbilisi. They began marching towards the Freedom Square where a stage was installed for the rally. While waiting for their leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, several political leaders of coalition addressed the rally.

After the victory of the political coalition Georgian Dream in the Parliamentary elections Bidzina Ivanishvili became the Prime Minister of Georgia. Many participants of that rally became the members of the Cabinet. Irakli Alasania became the Minister of Defense of Georgia, Maia Panjikidze – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tinatin Khidasheli and David Saganelidze became members of Georgian Parliament.

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Minorities in Georgia (34 of 37)
Marneuli, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Jan 2012

A weekly cattle market near Marneuli, Georgia. Marneuli, a town in southern Georgia, close to both Armenian and Azerbaijani borders, is widely populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis, traditionally sheep and cattle herders. The market is a place of cattle trading not only for local Azerbaijanis, but also for Georgians, Armenians and others, who come here every sunday looking for a good deal.

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Minorities in Georgia (33 of 37)
Marneuli, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Jan 2012

A weekly cattle market near Marneuli, Georgia. Marneuli, a town in southern Georgia, close to both Armenian and Azerbaijani borders, is widely populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis, traditionally sheep and cattle herders. The market is a place of cattle trading not only for local Azerbaijanis, but also for Georgians, Armenians and others, who come here every sunday looking for a good deal.

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Minorities in Georgia (32 of 37)
Marneuli, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Jan 2012

A weekly cattle market near Marneuli, Georgia. Marneuli, a town in southern Georgia, close to both Armenian and Azerbaijani borders, is widely populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis, traditionally sheep and cattle herders. The market is a place of cattle trading not only for local Azerbaijanis, but also for Georgians, Armenians and others, who come here every sunday looking for a good deal.

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Tbilisi mayor in the synagogue
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
21 Dec 2011

Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava visits the city's synagogue during Hanukkah, to congratulate the Jewish community of Georgia. December 20, 2011

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Tbilisi mayor in the synagogue
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
20 Dec 2011

Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava visits the city's synagogue during Hanukkah, to congratulate the Jewish community of Georgia. December 20, 2011

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Minorities in Georgia (7 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Dec 2011

A Hanukkah prayer in Tbilisi synagogue. The Jewish communities of Georgia were oppressed during the Tzarist and Soviet times, but since the fall of the latter, the situation has improved dramatically.

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Mesketians return to Abastumani
Abastumani, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
01 Nov 2011

Alikhan Kuradze (at the wheel), 76, is taking help from the villagers to move to his new house in Abastumani, the village he was deported from to Central Asia in 1944.

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Mesketians return to Abastumani
Abastumani, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
01 Nov 2011

Alikhan Kuradze (at the wheel), 76, is using help from the villagers to move to his new house in Abastumani, the village he was deported from to Central Asia in 1944.

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Mesketians return to Abastumani
Abastumani, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
01 Nov 2011

Alikhan Kuradze (at the wheel), 76, is getting help from the villagers to move to his new house in Abastumani, the village he was deported from to Central Asia in 1944.

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Mesketians return to Abastumani
Abastumani, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
01 Nov 2011

A few Meskhetians (or Meskhetian Turks) families return to Abastumani, the village their ancestors were deported from to Central Asia in 1944.

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Mesketians move to Abastumani
Abastumani, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
01 Nov 2011

Alikhan Kuradze (at the wheel), 76, is taking help from the villagers to move to his new house in Abastumani, the village from where he was deported to Central Asia in 1944.

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Meskhetian Family
Nasakirali, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
12 Jul 2011

Meskhetian family in Nasakirali, Georgia.
In mid-November 1944, around 100,000 Georgian Muslims from the southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti were deported to Central Asia. The vast majority of them were Meskhetians (or Meskhetian Turks). In the course of WWII, they were perceived by the Soviet government to be Turkey's potential allies. More than 60 years after the deportation, a few families managed to return to their ancestors' land.

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Minorities in Georgia ( 23 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
13 Jun 2011

Farida Dorsumova, a Meskhetian ninth-grader, laughs as she prepares comes out from behind the curtain during a performance dedicated to the high-school graduation. During the performance, classmates - ethnic Meskhetians, Ajarians and Ossetians, introduced each other by personal characteristics, danced and read poems in front of their teachers and other students. Dorsumova's family has recently returned to Georgia from Central Asia, where their ancestor's were deported to from Georgia in 1944.

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Quba, Azerbaijan
By TemoBardzimashvili
31 May 2011

A young Meskhetian rides a horse in Azerbaijan.

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tsitelubani, georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
06 May 2011

A Meskhetian farmer works the soil in Tsitelubani, Georgia.

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Minorities In Georgia
Tbilisi, Georgia
By U.S. Editor
09 Apr 2011

Georgia is home to a diverse set of ethnic groups . Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Abkhazians, Ossetians, Russians or Ukrainians have all settled together to call this country home.

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Kutaisi-Baghdati-Abastumani-Benara, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
31 Mar 2011

Meskhetians in Abastumani, Georgia help the Kuradze family move to their new house.

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Ali Mekhriev in Abastumani
Abastumani, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
31 Mar 2011

Ali Mekhriev in his garden in Abastumani. Ali was among the first to return to the village from where his father was deported in 1944. Ali says that his father had always told him that their family would one day return to Georgia. However, the return to Abastumani turned out to be not as smooth as one would have hoped for: the family home had long been leveled, and the locals gave them a rather cold and suspicious reception. Building peace with the Abastumani’s Christian community took a few years, and it did not come easy. “We have a perfect relationship now,” says Ali. “What really matters is the kind of person you are: if you are a reasonable person, you won’t have problems with others.”

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Abastumani Meskhetian
Abastumani, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
31 Mar 2011

Ali Mekhriev in his garden in Abastumani. Ali was among the first to return to the village from where his father was deported in 1944. Ali says that his father had always told him that their family would one day return to Georgia. However, the return to Abastumani turned out to be not as smooth as one would have hoped for: the family home had long been leveled, and the locals gave them a rather cold and suspicious reception. Building peace with the Abastumani’s Christian community took a few years, and it did not come easy. “We have a perfect relationship now,” says Ali. “What really matters is the kind of person you are: if you are a reasonable person, you won’t have problems with others.”

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Kutaisi-Baghdati-Abastumani-Benara, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
29 Mar 2011

Ali Mekhriev, a member of the Meshkhetian community, plants potatoes in his garden. Abastumani, Georgia.

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Meskhetian Turks 28
Октябрьская, Kant, Kyrgyzstan
By TemoBardzimashvili
11 Mar 2011

People from the Meshkhetian community wait for the bride to come out at this wedding in the village of Kant near Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.

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Minorities in Georgia ( 35 of 37)
Talaveri, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
15 Nov 2010

The construction of Talaveri mosque. In 2009 the construction of the mosque has stopped after a few Georgian Orthodox priests and members of ultra-religious organization The Union of the Orthodox Parents arrived to the village and demanded to stop the construction. The construction resumed in 2010 after the case was widely covered in the local media. The Union is notorious for its frequent protests, some of them ending with violence, against religious and sexual minorities, as well as public celebration of such "satanic" holidays as Halloween. Talaveri, 2010

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Minorities in Georgia (16 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Aug 2010

Tbilisi Molokans celebrate Transfiguration day. Molokans, sectarian Christians deported to the Caucasus in the 19th century from Russia, are one of the small minorities living in Georgia. Despite the religious difference, Molokans are usually treated respectfully in Georgia. "Somehow Molokans are taken by Georgians more as an ethnic minority, rather than a religious one," says Koba Chopliani, an expert on ethnic minority issues at the Georgian Public Defender's office. Chopliani says that in Georgia there's much less religious than ethnic tolerance.

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Minorities in Georgia (15 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Aug 2010

Tbilisi Molokans celebrate Transfiguration day. Molokans, sectarian Christians deported to the Caucasus in the 19th century from Russia, are one of the small minorities living in Georgia. Despite the religious difference, Molokans are usually treated respectfully in Georgia. "Somehow Molokans are taken by Georgians more as an ethnic minority, rather than a religious one," says Koba Chopliani, an expert on ethnic minority issues at the Georgian Public Defender's office. Chopliani says that in Georgia there's much less religious than ethnic tolerance.

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Minorities in Georgia ( 17 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
18 Aug 2010

Tbilisi Molokans celebrate Transfiguration day. Molokans, sectarian Christians deported to the Caucasus in the 19th century from Russia, are one of the small minorities living in Georgia. Despite the religious difference, Molokans are usually treated respectfully in Georgia. "Somehow Molokans are taken by Georgians more as an ethnic minority, rather than a religious one," says Koba Chopliani, an expert on ethnic minority issues at the Georgian Public Defender's office. Chopliani says that in Georgia there's much less religious than ethnic tolerance.

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Minorities in Georgia ( 14 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
18 Aug 2010

Tbilisi Molokans celebrate Transfiguration day. Molokans, sectarian Christians deported to the Caucasus in the 19th century from Russia, are one of the small minorities living in Georgia. Despite the religious difference, Molokans are usually treated respectfully in Georgia. "Somehow Molokans are taken by Georgians more as an ethnic minority, rather than a religious one," says Koba Chopliani, an expert on ethnic minority issues at the Georgian Public Defender's office. Chopliani says that in Georgia there's much less religious than ethnic tolerance.

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Minorities in Georgia (18 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
18 Aug 2010

Tbilisi Molokans celebrate Transfiguration day. Molokans, sectarian Christians deported to the Caucasus in the 19th century from Russia, are one of the small minorities living in Georgia. Despite the religious difference, Molokans are usually treated respectfully in Georgia. "Somehow Molokans are taken by Georgians more as an ethnic minority, rather than a religious one," says Koba Chopliani, an expert on ethnic minority issues at the Georgian Public Defender's office. Chopliani says that in Georgia there's much less religious than ethnic tolerance.

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Minorities in Georgia ( 11 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
27 Apr 2010

A Roma community in Tbilisi. Roma are one of the most stigmatized small minorities in Georgia. “They are savages,” “they all should be in prison,” “are they human beings at all?” These are some of the answers for a poll conducted by journalists in the middle of Tbilisi. The question that random Georgians were asked was “what do you know about the Roma people?” In Georgia at best they are associated with street sellers, beggars, fortunetellers, that is people, who bother you while you’re walking in the street. In a worse case - they are thought of as thieves and swindlers.

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Minorities in Georgia ( 12 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
09 Apr 2010

A Roma community in Tbilisi. Roma are one of the most stigmatized small minorities in Georgia. “They are savages,” “they all should be in prison,” “are they human beings at all?” These are some of the answers for a poll conducted by journalists in the middle of Tbilisi. The question that random Georgians were asked was “what do you know about the Roma people?” In Georgia at best they are associated with street sellers, beggars, fortunetellers, that is people, who bother you while you’re walking in the street. In a worse case - they are thought of as thieves and swindlers.

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Minorities in Georgia (10 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
09 Apr 2010

A Roma community in Tbilisi. Roma are one of the most stigmatized small minorities in Georgia. “They are savages,” “they all should be in prison,” “are they human beings at all?” These are some of the answers for a poll conducted by journalists in the middle of Tbilisi. The question that random Georgians were asked was “what do you know about the Roma people?” In Georgia at best they are associated with street sellers, beggars, fortunetellers, that is people, who bother you while you’re walking in the street. In a worse case - they are thought of as thieves and swindlers.

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Minorities in Georgia ( 24 of 37)
Abastumani, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
18 Nov 2009

Ali Mekhriev (standing), a Meskhetian who recently returned to his ancestor's village Abastumani, is talking to the locals. Ali's father told him their family would one day return to their motherland, Georgia, where they were deported from in 1944 by the Soviet government.

However, upon their return they found problems in their native village of Abastumani. The family home had been leveled. And the mosque had been turned into a cattle shed by the village’s new Christian inhabitants, who were not happy to see the Meskhetians back. “’Go back to where you’re from,’ they told us,” says Ali. “You are not Georgians and we don’t need Muslims here.”

It took years for the Meskhetians to build a peace with Abastumani’s Christian community. “We have perfect relationship now,” says Ali. “The only thing that matters is the kind of person you are: if you are a normal person, you won’t have problems with others.”