• The push to name more European streets after women

    Nearly all roads are named after men. Campaigners want to change that.

    SOME CITIES are symbolised by their monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum and the Brandenburg Gate. But streets can do the job, too. Many are named after national heroes—nearly all of them male.

    Dozens of streets in Hungary are named after Petofi Sandor, the national poet. A visitor to any Italian city is likely to tread on Via Dante, Mazzini, Garibaldi or Verdi. Women remain conspicuously absent, apart from a certain Middle Easterner famed for her virginity. Even so, tens of lesser-known gents come ahead of Jesus’s mother. In Paris, 31% of streets are named after men, just 2.6% after women.

    The invisibility of women in Europe’s street names is mainly a historical hangover. This summer, residents of Brussels had the chance to name 28 new streets. None are named after individual men—the new Place des Grands Hommes instead gives them collective recognition. Two streets will be named after women: a doctor, Isala van Diest, and a film director, Chantal Akerman. But the achievements of these ladies appears on a par with local fondness for delicacies like kriek (cherry beer) and speculoos (gingerbread biscuits), which will also give their name to new streets. The ingenious naming of Ceci n’est pas une rue (“This is not a street”) will pay homage to the Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte—a deserving choice, but some may rue the missed opportunity to highlight other worthy women.

    Meanwhile, vigilante sign-stickers from Paris to Tbilisi are taking matters into their own hands. A Parisian group has unofficially renamed the Pont au Change after the entertainer and resistance fighter Josephine Baker; and the Boulevard du Palais after the 18th-century philosopher Emilie du Châtelet. Beyoncé Boulevard appeared in place of Rokin Boulevard in Amsterdam in August. Some local governments have joined the cause. La-Ville-aux-Dames, a town in France, has aptly named most of its roads after women. Brussels and a town in Burgundy have officially paid respect to Jo Cox, a British MP who was murdered in 2016 by a pro-Brexit conspiracy theorist. More such recognition would surely improve cities’ street cred.
    #toponymie #hommes #femmes #noms_de_rue #toponymie_féministe
    ping @reka

  • Moscow & NATO Playing a ’Dangerous Tit-For-Tat Game’ in the Ukraine

    I keep asking myself, if Americans really were asked to fulfill Article 5 of the NATO treaty for a place like Tbilisi, or even a place like Riga, or any of those countries we’ve now expanded NATO into or proposed expanding NATO into, like Ukraine, what would Americans say when they were told that full conscription was in process, full mobilization was in process, war taxes are going to be levied, and we’re going to war for a city you can’t even pronounce and couldn’t find on a map? That’s what we’re talking about. And oh, by the way, Russia is generally speaking cheek and jowl with that city, whereas we’re ten thousand miles away.

    #OTAN #Russie

  • Un tanker disparaît dans l’épicentre mondial de la piraterie, au large du Gabon

    Un tanker de 121 mètres ayant à son bord 17 marins géorgiens a disparu depuis une semaine au large du Gabon, dans le golfe de Guinée, considéré comme l’épicentre de la piraterie maritime dans le monde. Le Pantelena, battant pavillon panaméen, « a disparu des écrans » depuis mardi 14 août. Il se situait à ce moment « entre les eaux du Gabon et de Sao Tomé-et-Principe », selon une source militaire régionale.

    A Tbilissi, le ministère des affaires étrangères a précisé qu’il y avait 17 marins géorgiens et deux russes à bord. Le navire, construit en 2006 et d’une capacité de 7 000 tonnes, appartient à la société grecque Lotus Shipping, qui a lancé une opération de recherche conjointement avec « les forces maritimes régionales et du Royaume-Uni et en coordination avec les autorités géorgiennes », selon un communiqué de Tbilissi.

  • High-wire : a vertiginous ride in Chiatura’s Soviet-era cable cars — The Calvert Journal

    Chiatura, a once-booming mining town in western Georgia, won’t strike you as a quintessential tourist destination. The city’s only landmark is the Mgvimevi monastery, set on the edge of a natural cave. Chiatura’s main attraction, however, is “Stalin’s rope road”, a network of cable cars built in the 1950s to transport workers to the manganese mines in the mountains. After visiting Chiatura in 2010, photographer Lasse Ihlow returned in late 2017 to photograph the remains of the mining industry. “The only way I could discern that time passed was through the faded paint jobs on the houses and cable cars,” he reveals of a city where time seems to stand still. His photos show the farthest cable cars at the eastern end of the valley, where most of the active mines are located. “A majority of the working population is still dependent on the mining industry, which is in decline. The city is visited regularly by daring tourists who pass through for a thrilling ride on the city’s main cable car, before traveling on.” Few stay longer than a day, travelling in from Tbilisi or Kutaisi, sometimes only for a few hours. Though a ride on the cable-cars is a must, the photographer recommends heading to Chiatura for more than a flying visit: “Everyone is welcoming and hospitable, always ready to share their famous Georgian wine and talk despite the communication barrier.”

    #géorgie #caucase #soviétisme

  • Why the West Needs #Azerbaijan – Foreign Policy

    Teenagers from a boxing school take part in a training session in the Caspian Sea near Soviet oil rigs in the Azerbaijani capital Baku on June 27, 2015.

    There are only three ways for energy and trade to flow overland between Asia and Europe: through Iran, through Russia, and through Azerbaijan. With relations between the West, Moscow, and Tehran in tatters, that leaves onlyone viable route for hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of trade: through the tiny Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan.

    When you factor in Armenia’s occupation of almost one-fifth of Azerbaijan’s territory, all that is left is a narrow 60-mile-wide chokepoint for trade. We call this trade chokepoint the " #Ganja_Gap ” — named after Azerbaijan’s second largest city, Ganja, which sits in the middle of this narrow passage. And right now, the Russians hold enough influence over Azerbaijan’s rival neighbor Armenia to potentially reignite the bloody #Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of the late 1980s and early 1990s — giving them a dangerous opportunity to threaten the “Gap” itself.
    It is not just oil and gas pipelines that connect Europe with the heart of Asia. Fiber-optic cables linking Western Europe with the Caspian region also pass through the Ganja Gap. The second-longest European motorway, the E60, which connects Brest, France, on the Atlantic coast with Irkeshtam, Kyrgyzstan, on the Chinese border, passes through the city of Ganja, as does the east-west rail link in the South Caucasus, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. These are set to become potentially vital connections.

    The ongoing campaign in Afghanistan has also proven how important the Ganja Gap is for resupplying U.S. and NATO troops. At the peak of the war, more than one-third of U.S. nonlethal military supplies such as fuel, food, and clothing passed through the Ganja Gap either overland or in the air.

  • What became of Latvia’s left ? | openDemocracy

    L’article est très intéressant, mais j’avoue une faiblesse, je référeence aussi pour l’illustration, une magnifique œuvre assez précoce de Gustav Klucis (the Red Latvian Riflemen, 1918)

    The past month has seen a flurry of articles on the anniversary of October 1917 in St Petersburg and their consequences — many illuminating, some rather less so. Illuminating or not, the emphasis has usually been on the Russian in Russian revolution — the impact on the modern Russian state. But St Petersburg was an imperial capital at the time, ruling not only over the cities of the modern Russian Federation, but Tashkent, Tbilisi and Tallinn as well. It was very often in these peripheral regions that the revolution was most enthusiastically received.

    Indeed, the corner of the empire that was perhaps the reddest of all was not Russian at all. It was a place that very rarely comes up these days when the left is discussed, a country where the right appears to have a lock on both the government and the retelling of history — Latvia.

    #lettonie #soviétisme #image #gustav_klucis

  • How Azerbaijan, Georgia, And Turkey Subverted Russia And Isolated Armenia With New Railway

    Depuis le temps qu’on en parle. Un événement social, politique et économique majeur dans le Caucase

    After many years of anticipation and delays, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) rail line has ceremoniously gone into service. Its first train just pulled out of the New Port of Baku on Monday, making its first official run across Azerbaijan and Georgia to the east of Turkey. The presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey along with the prime ministers of Georgia and Kazakhstan showed up at the commencement gala and symbolically drove in the final railroad spikes.

    BTK Overview

    The BTK rail line, which extends from the bank of the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan to the capital city of Georgia before carrying on to Turkey, where it feeds into the broader Turkish rail system to Europe beyond, was first envisioned in 1993 after an existing railway that went to Baku via Armenia was shut down due to the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.

    #caucase #Transport_ferroviaire #arménie #géorgie #azerbaïdjan #turquie #btk

  • Georgian Women March Against Misogyny and Racism · Global Voices

    An ethnically diverse historic neighborhood in Tbilisi has become the battlefield for an ongoing cultural war in Georgia over minorities’ rights, with two demonstrations – one by ultranationalists, the second against them — pounding the pavement of the district’s central Aghmashenebeli Avenue in the space of four days.

    Chanting “Women’s disobedience begins!,” scores of female protesters marched down the avenue on July 19 to oppose the misogyny, racism and an alleged gang-rape threat that emanated from last week’s March of Georgians, a protest that primarily targeted migration by Muslims from the Middle East.

    #caucase #georgie #féminisme #résistance #inégalités #discriminations

  • Olga Sacharoff - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

    Grâce à #WOMENSART‏ @womensart1 sur Twitter

    Je viens juste de découvrir ce magnifique portrait d’une artiste espagnole née en Géorgie. Je partage, c’est très beau.

    « Woman leaning on table, 1915 »

    Born 1889Tbilisi, Georgia
    Movement Cubism, naive art, Surrealism
    Awards Medalla de oro de Barcelona
    Education Tbilisi State Academy of Arts
    Olga sacharoff

    #art #portrait

  • Marlen Khutsiev | MoMA

    merci @isskein d’avoir signalé cette initiative !

    MoMA presents the first major North American retrospective of the Georgian-born filmmaker #Marlen_Khutsiev (b. 1925, Tbilisi), who revitalized Soviet cinema with his New Wave sensibility during the Khrushchev Thaw of the mid 1950s and early 1960s. Still energetically making films in Russia at 91, Khutsiev will be in New York to introduce screenings and take part in an onstage conversation on October 8.

    Orphaned by war, and unmoored by the end of Stalin’s totalitarian rule, the generation that came of age in the late 1950s found themselves restless and alienated. During the Thaw, that fleeting moment of relative artistic freedom between the terrors of Stalinism and Brezhnevite stagnation, Khutsiev gave cinematic expression to their inchoate desires, anxieties, and social and political awakening in such landmark films as Springtime on Zarechnaia Street (1956), Ilych’s Gate (1962), and July Rain (1967).

    #Cinéma #soviétisme #urss #ex-urss

  • the sea in zahesi : une belle mosaïque géorgienne.

    I bought the camera in the summer of 2014 in a shop in Tbilisi. I intended it as a work tool. I bought a reflex camera. Thus far I had only taken photos with small compact cameras.

    In a short time, the work tool became part of my identity. Its use radically changed my relationship to research. The camera forces you to re-interpret through the lens the meaning of places and people. The flat field and the consequent picture are not the result of a random click. On the contrary, I want to give a conscious visual report on the subject matter of my research. This picture is not merely the view of the space and people existing independently of me, but rather the imprint of an intimate and constant dialogue between us, in which aesthetics and practice merges in an unrepeatable moment.

    #mosaïque #soviétisme #géorgie #image #propagande

  • Old Tbilisi Walking Tour of Architecture and Hidden Treasures | Travel the World

    We were surprised to learn that there was more for tourists to Tbilisi to see than just what is visible from the street. If we hadn’t had a guide, we would have never known that additional treasures were held inside the entryways of these Art Nouveau homes. (By the way, in case your knowledge of architectural styles is as minimal as mine, Art Nouveau is a style of architecture and design with linear and curving designs that was popular from the late 19th century until World War I.) As many of them are now apartment buildings, it is sometimes possible to pass into the entryways where a few still retain their ornately painted ceilings, intricate stairway metalwork, and even wall decorations as well.

    #géorgie #tbilissi #architecture

  • How influential are Orthodox radicals in Georgian society?

    By Silvia Serrano, lecturer in Political Science at the Auvergne University, Research fellow at CERCEC and CASCADE coordinator of Working Package 6 on ‘Religion and Politics’.

    Source : CASCADE. This initiative is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 613354 - CASCADE Project.

    On 22 October 2015, the Tbilisi City Court cleared an Orthodox cleric and three followers of the charges of impeding an anti-homophobia rally held in Tbilisi to celebrate the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, on 17 May 2013. This decision brought the issue of Orthodox radicalism in Georgia, and more broadly, of religious radicalism in the Caucasus, back to the forefront.

    The events of 17 May 2013 were widely covered in the Georgian and international media. TV broadcasts showed a small group of militants physically threatened by dozens of Orthodox activists under the gaze of indifferent police officers. The image of father Iotam, the superior of Ioane-Tornike Eristavi Monastery, chasing the militants with a stool as he was about to smash the window of a bus where the besieged had found refuge, went viral on social networks. A few days later, a petition initiated by intellectuals against the ‘threat of theocracy’ gathered several thousand signatures. The rally and counter-rally illustrated the divisions in Georgian society, and exemplified the polarization between ‘liberals’ in favour of individual freedoms, including sexual orientation, and ‘traditionalists’. The counter-rally was viewed by the former as evidence that groups led by uneducated priests, some of them with criminal records, were ready to resort to anything, including violence, to impose their obscurantist views. Although this interpretation is relevant, it ignores important developments which have to be taken into account in order to understand the role of public religion in post-Soviet Georgia.

    This episode highlights the role of institutional actors, namely the State and the Church, in shaping social attitudes towards minorities. Orthodox radicals obviously enjoy – explicit or implicit – support from the patriarchate. After the arrest of Father Basil Mkalavishvili in March 2004 – one of the main instigators of numerous assaults against Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists and others – the attacks against confessional minorities had dramatically decreased. Indeed, the behaviour of radical groups is largely determined by the messages sent by the authorities: passivity on the part of the government is interpreted as an authorisation of violence, while sanctions or court rulings draw red lines that are not to be crossed. The months following the coming to power of the ‘Georgian Dream’ coalition government in 2012 can be regarded as a test; the multiplication of conflicts over religious issues in the first two years of its rule can be correlated with the ambiguity and lack of direction of the new government. From this point of view, dropping the charge against undoubtedly aggressive individuals may be interpreted as a signal that violence against minorities’ rights advocates is tolerated by the state. At the time of writing, the prosecutor had not appealed.

    The assertiveness and high visibility of radical groups is often analysed as evidence of the growing influence of the Orthodox Church over Georgian society. However, being active does not mean representing majorities in society. ‘Traditional values’ often referred to in public debate, although seldom defined, are certainly cherished by many Georgians. But it does not mean that they support violence against minorities’ rights advocates nor that they share the hate speeches delivered by some priests in their sermon. A few days after 17 May 2013, when radical associations called for a second rally, no more than a few dozen people gathered and it went unnoticed.

    Indeed, the most remarkable development stemming from the rally two years ago was the fact that discrimination according to sexual orientation became a public issue. It illustrates the transnational dimension of social questions now debated in post-Soviet societies. It also sheds light on the role of NGOs in defining the topics to be discussed, while the Church finds it difficult to set the agenda on a broader range of social issues. Focussing on social issues such as homosexuality is hence viewed as a means to strengthen the ties between the Church and the ‘people’. In other words, it may be better analysed as an alternative survival strategy to compensate for its lack of an audience on religious issues. Hence, the rise of Orthodox activism should not be considered as evidence of desecularisation, but rather as a politicisation of religion to counterbalance a still weak religiosity.

    The process of reshaping the relation between the religious and the political in Georgia and across the Caucasus lies at the heart of Work Package 6 in the Cascade project. This Work Package looks into the complex and often contradictory dynamics that the dominant paradigm of secularisation / desecularisation cannot alone explain. In order to avoid the trap of simplification, this CASCADE research Work Package seeks to develop theoretical tools to address two mirroring processes: secularisation from below and desecularisation from above, a notion more explicitly expressed by the French ‘délaïcisation’. Facing indifference from large segments of the population towards its teachings, the Church, seeks to respond by challenging the secularity of the state; dynamics that are unfolding in other parts of the Caucasus and have their impact on shaping social developments in the region.

    #géorgie #caucase #caucase_sud

  • Turkey : Blast hits Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline - ENERGY

    An explosion has hit the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars-Erzurum gas pipeline in eastern Turkey, a provincial governor has told Anadolu Agency.

    Günay Özdemir, the governor of northeastern Kars province, said the blast happened in the early hours of Aug. 4 at a section of the pipeline located in the Sarıkamış district. Gas flow was cut in nearby Yağbasan village for safety reasons.

    “An investigation is underway into the explosion and the necessary measures have been taken,” Özdemir said, as quoted by the agency.

    Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said in written statement the gas flow through the pipeline had been stopped after sabotage by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the very early hours of Aug. 4, as reported by Reuters.

    An anonymous source told Reuters the blast occurred on the Posof side of the pipeline, which is owned by Turkish state-run gas grid Botaş, and had damaged the pipeline.

    “There has not been any gas flow through the pipeline so we’ll [not] see any negative effect about meeting the demand,” a source told Reuters.

    #Turquie #PKK #guerre_énergie

  • Significance of Southern Gas Corridor project increasing due to Ukrainian conflict – Georgian minister

    Significance of the Southern Gas Corridor is increasing day by day due to the conflict in Ukraine, as well as the relations between Kiev and Moscow in the gas sphere, Davit Bakradze, Georgian state minister on European and Euro-Atlantic integration told Trend.
    Here, we mean both the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and the Anaklia New Deep Water Black Sea Port,” he said. “All this will help implement the New Silk Road project.

    The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for EU. This project is aimed at diversification of routes and sources of energy supply and thereby increase EU’s energy security.

    The Southern Gas Corridor envisages the delivery of gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas and condensate field to Europe.

  • a word a day to be wiped away | CCA

    Le centre d’art contemporain de Tbilisi en Géorgie propose une exposition intéressante :

    a word a day to be wiped away

    April 10 - May 10, 2015

    A word a day to be wiped away is the title of the latest project of the Zurich based artist group RELAX (chiarenza & hauser & co). The video installation - curated by the artist Mariam Natroshvili - has been realised in the new location of the Center for Contemporary Art CCA Tbilisi.

    A word a day to be wiped awayis an installation that includes two yellow paint lines on walls, wall writings with about 60 specific words to erase from the vocabulary, some yellow furniture for sitting, reading and working and an exchange-cage (3m high wire fencing) which contains a news-kebab, a collection of local newspapers, two videos (nose, 2003; a discussion with Nargiza Arjevanidze, researcher, lecturer at the Tbilisi state university, 2015), a blue plinth with a mirror and about 30 cleaning rags hanging from the ceiling. 11 different translations of the wealth manifestofrom English to Georgian are on display on one wall. The translations have been realised by art students of the CCA.

    The words to erase from the vocabulary have been donated by different people from Tbilisi. Some of the words contain a double meaning or stand for a specific sense which are linked to all kind of different stories. During the exhibition they will be erased by visitors with the help of the cleaning rags. To get a rag out of the exchange-cage, visitors need to give a valuable object to deposit on the mirror-surface of the blue plinth.

    #art #géorgie #tbilisi

  • Soviet Mosaics, une merveille de site perso

    Là Je reste presque sans voix. C’est Jean Radvanyi via Silvia Serrano qui m’a signalé ce site initié par Nino Siradze sur les restes de mosaïques et de fresques soviétiques en Géorgie. J’ai parcouru le site, c’est une merveille naissante. Ce n’est qu’un début, mais très prometteur.

    Et ça me parle, j’ai voyagé dans ce pays dans tous les sens depuis 1996, et je n’ai pas manqué non plus de photographier les fresques et les mosaïques soviétiques que le hasard mettait sur notre chemin, sachant que tôt où tard ce patrimoine allait disparaître.

    Cela dit, les géorgiens, comme les lettons ou les habitants d’autres anciennes républiques soviétiques m’ont toujours regardé d’un oeil curieux, parfois intéressés, parfois moqueurs, souvent réprobateurs : pourquoi être fasciné et vouloir garder la mémoire des symboles les plus voyants d’un « système de merde » (je cite bien sur) qui a « pourri la vie » de ceux qui l’ont subi... ?

    Nino ici à une réponse (ce n’est pas la seule), mais il me donne l’occasion de dire que je suis en train de travailler sur l’art réaliste soviétique, peinture, monuments, sculptures, fresques et mosaïques et, autant j’en ai photographié des centaines, autant il existe très peu de littérature qui explique et donne une analyse en profondeur de ce qui est représenté (la gloire de l’industrie, de l’agriculture, le et la citoyen·n·e soviétique ayant atteint le bonheur radieux et parfait du communisme, etc...). Il faut donc passer par des entretiens, des recherches sur place avec des historiens de l’art, et c’est donc très long.

    On y reviendra aussi bientôt, mais en attendant, vous pouvez déguster le site de Nino.

    Et en cadeau Bonus, une photo que j’ai prise en 2007 lors du tournage de notre documentaire « voyage au centre de la carte » sur un des bâtiments de la mine d’or et de cuivre de Madneuli à l’extrême sud de la Géorgie près de la frontière avec l’Arménie

    The reason why I created this website is that one nice day I encountered an old soviet mosaic and remembered how I liked to see them in streets of my hometown Tbilisi as a kid. I saw them in all unexpected places, on abandoned warehouses, old factories, sometimes on main street buildings too.

    As a child I always got attracted by colors of those mosaics (content didn’t interest me much). Now, I looked at them all differently - though Georgians don’t really like to remember their Soviet past, I can’t deny that I was born in USSR and all this small symbols remind me of my childhood years (which, in spite of all the hard times, are nice to remember :) ).

    Anyways, these mosaics are not considered of any value and i’m afraid soon, little by little, most of them will be destroyed. I decided to photograph all the mosaics i can find in streets of Tbilisi and other places around Georgia and save them here, at least in favor of my childhood memories :) To my surprise, I found many interesting and funny details in those mosaics. Most part of them depicts facts from Soviet propaganda, though there are also mosaics (made in soviet period) describing facts and characters from Georgian history.

    Il y a aussi une page Facebook

    #géorgie #ex-urss #images #représentation #soviétisme

  • Week In Photo (28 December - 3 January)

    Etibar Elchiyev poses with 53 metal spoons magnetized to his body during an attempt to break his own Guinness World Record for “Most spoons on a human body” in Tbilisi (Photo: Vano Shlamov - AFP) Etibar Elchiyev poses with 53 metal spoons magnetized to his body during an attempt to break his own Guinness World Record for “Most spoons on a human body” in Tbilisi (Photo: Vano Shlamov - AFP) Norwegian ski jumper Anders Bardal competes during a training session ahead of the qualification for the Four-Hills Ski jumping tournament in Oberstdorf, southern Germany (Photo: Christof Stache - AFP) Norwegian ski jumper Anders Bardal competes during a training (...)

  • Germany calls in Britain’s ambassador to demand explanation over ’secret Berlin listening post’ - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

    From A to B to CIA: How the spy network functions


    Data is collected from “spy bases” in US embassies by a special CIA/NSA unit often located on the roof of the US embassy (circled above on top of the US embassy in Madrid). The operational nests in Europe and Central Asia are located in Athens, Baku, Budapest, Frankfurt, Geneva, Kiev, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Pristina, Rome, Sarajevo, Tbilisi, Tirana, Vienna and Zagreb.

    Collected data is then sent to a relay facility at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. (Pic credit: PA)

    The data is then transmitted to the College Park joint CIA/NSA centre (pictured above) in Maryland for analysis and use by America’s intelligence agencies. Under Britain’s long-standing intelligence-sharing pact with the United States, material can also be transmitted to GCHQ via a high-security link installed during the 1990s. (Getty Images)

  • Inauguration du tunnel ferroviaire #Maramaray sous le Bosphore : une « voie ferrée de la soie »…
    BUSINESS - Marmaray tunnel paves way for ‘Iron Silk Road’

    “The Silk Road is in need of being resurrected for the purposes of re-connecting vital trade arteries between Asia and Europe by rail,” he said.

    The Marmaray railway tunnel opens today on the 90th anniversary of the Turkish Republic’s founding. Located 62 meters under the Bosphorus Strait, it connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul for the first time by rail.

    The 13.6-kilometer tunnel, including a 1.4-kilometer immersed tube tunnel, is the deepest of its kind in the world at 60 meters.

    Construction of the tunnel under the Bosphorus had been scheduled to take four years but was delayed after a series of major archaeological discoveries. Some 40,000 objects were excavated from the site, notably a ship graveyard containing some 30 Byzantine vessels, which is the largest known medieval fleet.

    The Marmaray will provide a non-stop railway route connecting China to Western European markets and vice versa as a modern day “Iron Silk Road.”


    Le tunnel a donné lieu à une intense coopération avec le Japon

    POLITICS - Marmaray marks warm Turkey-Japan ties : Abe

    The Japanese have had a great role in almost every stage of the Marmaray tunnel. The contractor of the tunnel is a Japanese-Turkish consortium, TGN, which consists of Japan’s Tansei as well as its Turkish project partners, Nurol and Gama.

    A substantial portion of the financing for the project, which is expected to cost around 9.3 billion Turkish Liras ($4.5 billion) after everything is completed, was provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

    Although the European Investment Bank (EIB) has allocated funds to the project as well, the lion’s share came from the JBIC.

    Abe said his country had spent more than $1.45 billion for the realization of the project since 1999, when the JBIC and Turkey signed a financing agreement.

    The 13.6-kilometer tunnel, including a 1.4-kilometer immersed tube tunnel, which is the deepest of its kind in the world at 56 meters, is not the first mega project for which Turkish and Japanese companies have joined forces.


    Un élément important de désenclavement pour l’Azerbaïdjan

    Marmaray – tunnel linking Asia with Europe - AzerNews

    At a global level, the Marmaray project will provide an alternative route to the Middle East, Central Asia and Far East. First of all, this project will benefit the neighbouring countries among which Azerbaijan will turn into an economic and energy centre over time.
    Being the first continuation of the ’Silk Road’ of its kind, Marmaray will have trans-European significance for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad.
    The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad initially designed to link the transport systems of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, can now link Europe with the Caspian region.
    That will have positive impact on the development of trade and in general the strengthening of the region’s economy. Central Asian countries, Afghanistan and China are also interested in Baku-Tbilisi-Kars. These countries consider the transport corridor running up to the Black Sea as an alternative route to sea ports.
    This means that thanks to the Marmaray tunnel and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, the historical ’Great Silk Road’ will revive which will allow passenger and cargo transportation from Europe to arrive quickly at destinations located in Central Asia and China through Turkey.

    Apparemment une cérémonie très asiatique . Seuls les voisins européens immédiats (mais pas la Grèce) seront présents. La symbolique du lien ferré entre l’Europe et l’Asie aurait-elle échappé aux dirigeants européens ? Ou la position de la Turquie vis-à-vis de l’Europe resterait-elle un point aveugle de la géopolitique communautaire ?

    Ministers from Azerbaijan, Japan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Bulgaria and Romania will participate at the opening.

  • À la suite de la visite de Poutine à Bakou, il est envisagé de faire circuler les « light crudes » russes à contre-sens sur l’oléoduc Bakou-Novorossiysk, pour en exporter une partie par le Bakou-Tbilissi-Ceyhan, avec possibilité de traitement d’une partie par les installations azerbaïdjanaises.

    Azerbaijan, Russia in talks on reverse oil pumping via Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline - AzerNews

    Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR and Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft are in talks on a possible reverse flow of Urals crude through the Baku-Novorossiysk northern route pipeline in the amount of 5 million tons per year.
    If the talks succeed and the cost-effectiveness of operations under consideration is approved, part of the oil will be processed in Azerbaijan, and some of it will be delivered via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline and shipped from the Ceyhan terminal in Turkey on the Mediterranean Sea. Evaluation of the effectiveness and the negotiations will be completed by late this year.


    Poutine réalise une visite stratégique à Bakou | Presse russe | RIA Novosti

    La délégation russe était plutôt imposante – le ministre des Affaires étrangères Sergueï Lavrov, le ministre de la Défense Sergueï Choïgou, le ministre de l’Energie Alexandre Novak, le ministre des Situations d’urgence Vladimir Poutchkov, le ministre des Transports Maxim Sokolov, le ministre du Développement économique Alexeï Oulioukaev, le directeur général de Rosoboronexport Anatoli Issaïkine, le chef de la délégation russe pour les négociations multilatérales sur la mer Caspienne Igor Bratchikov, le président de Rosneft Igor Setchine et le président de Lukoil Vaguit Alekperov.
    La présence aux pourparlers de telles pointures du gouvernement russe, ainsi que les documents bilatéraux destinés à être signés témoignent de l’évolution progressive des relations entre les deux pays.

    Poutine & Aliyev à Bakou, le 13/08/13

    • ah oui, en effet ... Mais Cela voudrait-il dire que du brut russe circulera dans le BTC ? Si cela se vérifie, ce sera une grande première et un grand changement stratégique si on considère le BTC comme un investissement politique (très cher) destiné à « casser » le monopole russe.

    • C’est bien ce que je comprends (et que dit l’article). Même si ce sont des « discussions pour envisager les perspectives », il s’agit bien de faire passer du russe dans le BTC.

      Ce qui me surprend, c’est qu’il n’y ait AUCUNE reprise dans la presse occidentale (ça fait déjà 3 jours). Peut-être qu’il y a aussi un côté bluff ou carotte pour éloigner un peu l’Azerbaïdjan du camp états-unien. C’est d’ailleurs ce que souligne l’article de RIA Novosti en listant la copieuse délégation russe

      En tous cas, la vision stratégique de Vladimir V. Poutine et ses actes font preuve d’une grande cohérence. Ça change d’autres…

    • Oui, pour déployer une politique cohérente, il faut chercher du côté des Russes et des Chinois. Les occidentaux sont totalement encalminés dans leurs paranoïas sécuritaires (ça doit être un vrai délire les changements de règles de sécurité pour se prémunir des risques des révélations de Snowden) et leurs « sequestrations », leurs délires déflationnistes et autres « lignes Maginot » du néolibéralisme...

      La démonstration de la petitesse de nos politiciens européens réside une nouvelle fois d’ailleurs dans la façon dont les blocages américains se communiquent instantanément aux européens, ceux-ci se révélant dans l’expectative la plus totale face aux évènements récents.

      Même les Saoudiens et les Qataris se sentent pousser des ailes.

      Le monde multipolaire devient réalité. Sauf que... qui pour compenser la surpuissance en devenir des russes ? des chinois ? Le pouvoir de nuisance des saoudiens et des pétromonarchies en général ?

    • Analyse intéressante, mais je ne crois pas que la Russie cherche à être toute puissante etc... Pour l’instant, sa stratégie est de reprendre pieds sur ses marges, anciennes ou nouvelles, et elle ne voit pas plus loin. Elle n’est pas intéressée par l’Afrique ou l’Amérique du Sud comme les Chinois ou les Indiens, et pour finir, la Russie cherche plutôt à renforcer ses liens avec l’Europe dont elle sait qu’elle est, pour le moment du moins, un partenaire irremplaçable, même si elle développe et renforce aussi ses liens à l’Est et au sud (Iran, Syrie, Proche-Orient et Turquie). La Russie n’a aucun intérêt à faire échec-et-mat avec l’Europe même si on a l’impression qu’elle est en train de sécuriser ses voies d’approvisionnement énergétique vers l’Europe.

    • Seule reprise occidentale, en dehors des sites spécialisés énergie chez Bloomberg, par Zulfugar Agayev…

      Socar in Talks to Buy 5 Million Tons of Oil a Year From Rosneft - Bloomberg

      State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan is in talks to buy 5 million metric tons of Urals crude a year from OAO (ROSN) Rosneft, part of which will be re-exported through the BP Plc-led Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and part refined in Baku.

    • Longue et intéressante analyse sur Vestnik Kavkaza,
      soulignant le rôle d’Igor Setchine.

      Russia returns to Azerbaijan | Vestnik Kavkaza

      The ideologist and conductor of the new energy policy of Russia was the current head of Russia’s largest oil company “Rosneft,” Igor Sechin, who previously held the post of vice-premier of the Russian government overseeing the entire energy sector.
      If the agreement between SOCAR and “Gazprom” concluded several years ago on the beginning of purchases by the Russian side of Azerbaijani gas was called a breakthrough, the contract with “Rosneft” can be considered revolutionary. The fact is that the deal with “Gazprom” fitted into the scheme of the former Russian energy policy of concentrating all hydrocarbon streams of oil and gas on itself. The new scheme is beyond the old patterns: Russia is ready to work more widely, using all ways and means to effectively export its own raw materials, including ways which were once considered “political”, bypassing Russia, and therefore were touted as malicious.

      Avec de très forts enjeux internes…

      The mission of “Rosneft” at the present stage is to reshape the Russian oil and gas market, so that monopolies were less able to influence it. The deal with Azerbaijan is only one element of the impact in this case on “Transneft”, which is negotiating with SOCAR on a new agreement for 2014 on oil transportation via Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline, the so-called “northern route” of export of Azerbaijani oil. As variants of cooperation, “Rosneft” and SOCAR consider reverse, at least, from Makhachkala to be possible for supplies of Russian oil for processing at the underutilized factories of SOCAR. (Such a scheme operated in Soviet times and allowed efficient use of the processing power of the Azerbaijani oil refineries, that provided the entire region of the Caucasus with petroleum products). However, the pumping of all Russian oil for exports now belongs to “Transneft”, for which such an agreement can be a complete surprise.

      … et externes

      The alliance between “Rosneft” and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan may create conditions to circumvent the stringent requirements of the EU. We cannot exclude that in some configuration Russian gas could fall in Azerbaijani Southern Gas Corridor, formally breaking the monopoly of “Gazprom”.

    • Bizarrement (!) Transneft ne trouve pas que ce soit une bonne idée d’inverser Bakou-Novorossyisk… Pas qu’il y soit franchement opposé, mais ça coûterait trop cher !

      Transneft skeptical over oil supply via BTC - AzerNews

      Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft — the operator of the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline’s Russian section — considers the decision of the Rosneft oil company to ship oil through Azerbaijan economically inefficient.

      Et d’ailleurs, ça transférerait de la charge de travail de la Russie vers l’Azerbaïdjan (ce qui est bien un des buts recherchés).

      Tokarev said that this agreement stipulates offload of the Russian enterprises and instead upload of the Azerbaijani enterprises.

      Une petite carte pour bien comprendre

  • Une revue du livre de James Marriott et Mika Minio-Paluello, “The Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London” -

    The Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London | Counterfire

    The Oil Road provides an illuminating picture of political and economic power through the form of a travelogue across the countries affected by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline

  • Georgia : Commander of U.S. Marine Corps in Europe Meets Ivanishvili « Aletho News

    Georgia: Commander of U.S. Marine Corps in Europe Meets Ivanishvili

    Civil Georgia | October 5, 2012

    Bidzina Ivanishvili and Commander of the U.S. Marine Corps in Europe, Lt Gen John M. Paxton, outside Ivanishvili’s compound in Tbilisi.
    Photo: Ivanishvili’s press office

    Tbilisi – Bidzina Ivanishvili, whose Georgian Dream coalition won the parliamentary elections, said Georgia, which has two battalions stationed in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, would “definitely continue” cooperation with the U.S. over Afghanistan.

    He made the remarks on October 5 after meeting with commander of the U.S. Marine Corps in Europe, Lt Gen John M. Paxton, who is visiting Georgia.

    “Georgia has been a very valuable and trusted ally for many years; we work very closely together in Afghanistan, particularly in Helmand province and we have enjoyed a great relationship trying to develop NCO leadership, officer skills and work on enhanced security cooperation,” Lt Gen Paxton said after the meeting.

    “We are here to congratulate Mr. Ivanishvili and to wish him a smooth transition of power. We are here to just reaffirm that the United States stands by Georgia,” he said and added he was looking forward not only to working relationship in Afghanistan but also to continued good relations in years ahead.

    “This was my first meeting with the U.S. military, who have provided a huge assistance to establishing of the Georgian army and to its reforms in line with the NATO standards,” Ivanishvili said. “I knew it, but I was very glad to hear that Georgian [troops] have special importance in the NATO forces [in Afghanistan] and that together with the U.S. [troops] are [performing combat duties] in difficult areas”

    “Of course we should do everything possible in order to [continue] our partnership with the United States in Afghanistan and in such hotspots,” Ivanishvili said and added that Georgia was playing “a role of a real junior friend” to the United States and “we will definitely continue cooperation in the future too.”

    The Commander of U.S. Marine Corps in Europe met on October 5 with Chief of Joint Staff of the Georgian armed force Lt Gen Devi Chankotadze.

    “The sides focused on an enhanced military cooperation between the countries. Chief of JS underlined that Georgia will continue cooperation with the United States in the same format and stressed the role the U.S. plays in modernization of the Georgian army and in developing interoperability with NATO,” the Georgian Ministry of Defense said. “Lt Gen Devi Chankotadze affirmed that Georgia stands ready to continue cooperation with NATO and the United States in the post-ISAF period too.”

    Also on October 5, the Commander of U.S. Marine Corps in Europe visited National Training Centre, Krtsanisi, outside Tbilisi where he attended training of the Georgian servicemen, who are gearing up for the Afghan deployment.

  • Netanyahu blames Iran, Hezbollah for Israeli embassy attacks | Al Akhbar English

    Israel has blamed Iran and Hezbollah for bomb attacks at the Israeli embassies in India and Georgia on Monday.

    An embassy car exploded in a ball of fire in New Delhi, wounding two people, while Georgian police were able to defuse the Tbilisi device before it went off.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Islamic republic was responsible for both incidents.

    “Iran is behind these attacks,” Netanyahu told members of his right-wing Likud party.


    The attacks came a day after the fourth anniversary of the assassination of senior Hezbollah figure Imad Mughniyeh, himself killed a car bomb explosion in Damascus. Israel was widely suspected as responsible for the attack.

    Hezbollah declined to comment on the accusation when questioned by Al-Akhbar.