Today is 24 March, and it’s been snowing heavily in Tsavkisi for the past few days. My yard and street are covered by about a full meter of snow. Cars are stuck on the snow-covered streets and our small community is physically cut off from the rest of the world. Locals can’t remember such a snowstorm, especially in March.
The war in Ukraine had just begun when I wrote (on the ISET Policy Institute's website and in the Georgian Times) that the present events in Ukraine offer the world a chance to become better. I could not have predicted at the time that hostilities would unfold in such a disastrous fashion or scale, nor could I have anticipated that, following four weeks of the war, we would witness an even larger and, I would say unimaginable human and global catastrophe.
World economies hampered by the pandemic; countries facing public healthcare crises, with millions killed by COVID-19; thousands of cities under lockdown; social distancing and transformed social practices; countless institutions functioning online; the youth spending endless days and nights in front of computer screens; and, globally, over a year of online education. This is the reality in many countries around the world, including Georgia, in the spring of 2021.
The pandemic has taken an enormous toll on human lives and health globally. It has severely impacted the socio-economic state of millions of households, bringing immeasurable human tragedy, paralysis of social connectivity, economic crisis, and, to a certain extent, culture shock.
One issue on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days in Tbilisi—along with the August holidays and the risks of COVID-19—is the newly-rehabilitated Chavchavadze Avenue, which was recently reopened to traffic. Why is this issue so “popular”?