Caucasian Press Review (December 28th – January 3rd)
Almost all print media reported about New Year's events last week that gave a festive mood to both children and adults.
The 'South Ossetia' newspaper reports that the opening ceremony of the main Christmas tree of the country took place on Theater Square in Tskhinvali. Children, their parents and grandparents gathered there. According to tradition, the republic's leadership headed by the president Leonid Tibilov congratulated children on the coming New Year. "2015 was successful for the people of South Ossetia. I think that 2016 will be more successful for all of us,'' the head of the region congratulated people. Addressing the children, he wished them good health and well-being. "Dear friends, you should learn excellently. It is a necessary thing because you are the future of South Ossetia. I wish that the children in Ossetia would be born under a peaceful sky, as well as that future generations would be motivated and work hard for the benefit of their native republic,'' the head of the region said. There was an atmosphere full of the magic of a festive New Year with children's sincere joy. An interesting Christmas show was organized with the participation of Dyed Moroz. Together with funny fantastic characters they sang Christmas songs and danced in a ring.
The Rainbow Children's Art charity event took place in Nalchik at the State Concert Hall on New Year's Eve. An exhibition, an auction of handmade products and a charity concert were organized in the context of the event, the newspaper 'Kabardino-Balkarian Pravda' reports. The lots presented at the auction were made by orphanages, students of hobby groups and schoolchildren. The little craftworkers put their hearts into various handicrafts, paintings and much more. Each item was represented at the auction. It was not a soulless thing. Any participant of this event could buy something and make someone happier. A charity concert of young performers took place in the context of the auction. During the performance each viewer could make a donation. Money gathered at the auction and the charity concert was to be used to buy gifts for national boarding schools.
The Karachay-Cherkessian newspaper 'Republic Day' informs that a big celebration called 'New Year in Prostokvashino' took place in the republican secondary special correctional boarding school in Cherkessk. Teachers of the school involved students – deaf and hearing-impaired children – in the role of famous cartoon characters, as well as organizing competitions and games for them. Minister of Education and Science of the KCR Inna Kravchenko, who personally attended the festival, congratulated everybody on the New Year and presented certificates for special equipment, which was important for teaching children with hearing impairments: radio class Sonnet PCM, stationary system Istok C1 and informative induction system Istok M2.
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According to the newspaper 'Republic of Abkhazia' and the online edition of Sputnik-Abkhazia, presidential aide Vladislav Surkov paid a visit to Abkhazia on Tuesday during which he met with President Raul Khajimba and Prime Minister Artur Mikvabia. At a briefing with representatives of the press, the presidential aide greeted the Abkhazian people in the name of Vladimir Putin. Answering journalists' questions, he said: "It is encouraging to point out that Abkhazia has ratified the most important strategic document, the agreement between the defense ministries of the two countries. It is very important to create a common space of defense security." Surkov added that the investment program for next year was discussed at the meeting. Russia allocated 4.7 billion rubles to Abkhazia. In addition, the Russian Federation ratified the agreement on increasing pensions for pensioners of Abkhazia. There are additional funds amounting to 288 million rubles in 2016.
According to Surkov, measures to restrict the political and economic presence in Turkey and Abkhazia were discussed at the meeting. "Turkey and Abkhazia have no official relations. It does not recognize Abkhazia, so Turkish contractors are not allowed to build anything there with the use of Russian money," he said. At the same time, Surkov said that Abkhazia has long-standing relations with the Abkhaz diaspora in Turkey, and they should not forget about it. All these issues are to be worked out. As for exports of fishery products, coal, scrap of ferrous metals and timber from Abkhazia to Turkey will be limited.
Raul Khajimba expressed confidence that the economy of Abkhazia would not suffer due to measures on restricting the political and economic presence of Turkey in the Republic and relations between Russia and Abkhazia would remain at a level that would be beneficial to both countries.
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The 'Ingushetia' newspaper reported that the first modern hotel complex in the country with suites of rooms for athletes is actively being built in Nazran. The hotel is primarily designed to accommodate Russian and foreign athletes who will travel to the republic in order to take part in competitions at All-Russian and international levels.
The new facility is to appear near the Palace of Sports and the ice rink that was opened in the summer of this year. It is planned to spend about 180 million roubles of private investment on its construction.
The complex is to be a five-storey building with more than fifty rooms, including luxury suites for VIP guests. The total area of the project is to be about 4700 square meters.
According to designers, a restaurant, cafe, bath and laundry complex, salons, massage parlors and gyms are to be on the first floor. The project also contains parking for 45 cars. The possibility of building a hotel next to the outdoor ice rink is being considered now.
The site of construction of the hotel was chosen deliberately. Annual international competitions in skydiving on accuracy landing, as well as the international MMA tournament Battle Narts are organized not far from this place. There is a parachute tower to perform jumps from low altitude. A swimming pool is to be put into operation soon. In addition, it is planned to open the Palace of Sports in 2016 for 3500 people in order to organize the annual international boxing tournament in memory of Honored Master of Sports of Russia, member of Russia's Beijing Olympic team Islam Timurziev.
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The sporting results of the year and future plans were reported at a meeting between the President of Azerbaijan, head of the National Olympic Committee Ilham Aliyev, and representatives of the sports community, the local 'State Express' weekly reported. More than 200 events on a national scale and 46 international events were held in the country last year. During 2015, Azerbaijani sportsmen won 823 medals in various competitions, including at world and European championships. 321 of them are gold, 222 are silver and 280 are bronze. Gymnasts, water polo players, boxers, weightlifters, chess players, cyclists and taekwondists successfully performed in competitions last year. According to the Azerbaijani President, the main event of the past year was undoubtedly the First European Games that took place in Baku last June. Azerbaijani sportsmen won 56 medals there. 21 of them were gold. The Azerbaijani national team managed to take second place in the general team rating of the event among 50 European teams.
The Games took place at a high level. The first lady of the country Mehriban Aliyeva was the Chairwoman of the Organizing Committee. The President reminded that they had only 2.5 years to prepare for them. Nevertheless, they were organized at the level of the Summer Olympic Games. The opening and closing ceremonies of the Games were particularly memorable. "Perhaps nobody, including our foreign partners, believed that we would hold these Games at this level. According to the general opinion, it was impossible to organize the Games at a higher level, Ilham Aliyev said.
650,000 tickets were sold during the games. The President noted that guests, as well as 6000 athletes and thousands of coaches and sports professionals stayed for about three weeks in Baku and they could see the beauty of the city, feel the hospitality of the people, had the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of Azerbaijan and see its rapid development. The Games proved the fact that Azerbaijan was able to organize an event of any scale.
The beginning of the year will be an important and responsible time for Azerbaijan in terms of the organization of a number of sporting events. In July, Baku is to host the Grand Prix of Europe in Formula 1 racing for the first time and in the autumn the World Chess Olympiad is to take place there. The Islamic Solidarity Games are to take place in 2017.
As for Formula 1, Ilham Aliyev said that one of Azerbaijan’s conditions was to hold the competition in the city streets. They were held in city streets only in Monaco and Singapore. "The advantage is that on the one hand there is no necessity to build a new stadium. On the other hand, competitions that take place in a specially-built places look the same way. You don’t know where they are taking place when you watch them on TV. Our advantage is that the competition will be held in the streets of our beautiful, ancient and modern city."