The FINANCIAL -- The post-communist world lost one of its greatest sons last week – a freedom fighter who devoted his life to the daunting task of cleansing Eastern Europe and Eurasia from the shackles of Soviet thinking and bureaucracy. Like Che Guevara before him, Big Kakha’s legacy transcends national borders. His crusade for liberty and human dignity took him in 2004 from Russia to Georgia, and – in the last year of his life – from Georgia to Ukraine. He was eager to help revolutionaries and reformers all over the world, not sparing his time, money and effort to instill liberal ideas and incubate liberal institutions. He did so in many different ways: through education and public advocacy, advising reform-minded presidents and opposition leaders, and – when given the opportunity to do so in his native Georgia – designing and implementing one of the most ambitious reform programs in recent history.

The FINANCIAL -- In October 2014, the seasonal rally of ISET’s Khachapuri Index came to an unexpected (temporary) halt. At 3.35GEL, the Index dropped 0.1% both month-on-month (relative to September 2014) and year-on-year (relative to October 2013).

The FINANCIAL -- After consistent increases in two previous months, the average cost of cooking one standard Imeretian khachapuri stayed at 3.35 GEL in October 2014, unexpectedly bringing the Khachapuri Index to a halt. The Index dropped 0.1 % month-on-month (compared to September 2014) and year-on-year (compared to October 2013). 

The FINANCIAL -- The average cost of cooking one standard Imeretian khachapuri varied in September 2014 across Georgian cities from 3.01 GEL, the minimum observed in Telavi, to 3.55 GEL, the maximum observed in Tbilisi and Kutaisi. The average price was 3.35 GEL, which is 3.2% higher compared to the previous month (August 2014), and 13.7% higher compared to September of last year.

The FINANCIAL -- All khachapuri ingredients, except eggs, have significantly increased in price in September 2014 relative to the same month of last year: cheese added 19.7%, flour - 17.2%, butter - 12%, yeast - 12%, and milk - 7.5%.  While Imeruli cheese is a unique Georgian product, all other khachapuri ingredients can be imported or produced domestically. According to GeoStat, in 2013, Georgia reached very high levels of self-sufficiency in such products as milk and eggs (around 90%). For wheat, however, Georgia heavily depends on imports, with only 10% of it grown by local farmers.

Not surprisingly, the recent NATO summit in Wales has dominated headlines in the Georgian press. Unlike in previous years, officials in Tbilisi stuck to promises that Georgia was primed to receive something “better than a MAP.” Russia’s involvement in shaping a “frozen conflict” in Ukraine only raised expectations that the alliance would offer Georgia greater integration. More importantly, however, Moscow’s new “deniable warfare” has prompted NATO members to finally follow their own rules - devote at least 2% of their countries’ GDP for their militaries - and not rely solely on Article 5. Ukraine’s fate notwithstanding, Russia’s recent aggression may be a blessing in disguise for Georgia’s security: a wakeup call within NATO and the realization that words of assurance continue to have zero value.

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