Caucasus Press Review (July 7-11)

Caucasus Press Review (July 7-11)

"Georgia should become a transport and logistics hub, connecting Europe and Asia," the Georgian Minister of Economy, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, expressed his opinion on the Business Georgia website.

According to him, the government is working on projects in this direction. One of the main objectives is to increase the transit function of Georgia in the framework of the 'New Silk Road'.

The potential of this route is evidenced by a study showing that the shortest route from Kabul to Europe goes right through Georgia. "For all the components of the Kabul-Poti route turned out to be more profitable than its competitors. In this area there are many projects being implemented, and their unity creates just the potential network of which Georgia will be a part now and in the future," the Minister of Economy stated. The head of the economic department has announced 4 projects. They are the Anakliysky deep-water port, the Baku-Kars railway road, the construction of a new runway at Tbilisi airport and railway modernization.

According to him, they are largely dependent on the capacity of the corridor. It is necessary to bear in mind the potential of Georgia, which uses the Black Sea ports; the country can provide quick and cheap transportation from Asia to Europe through the Bosphorus. In particular, routes through Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine can also be used.

The project has already announced a tender for the construction of the port of Anakliysky and it is likely that by the end of the summer the company that will build the facility will have been determined. The new port will have a number of benefits: a strategic location, an ability to accommodate larger ships, an acceptable rate of maintenance, a high bandwidth, capability of logistical services and potential for the creation of an industrial cluster. As for the Baku-Kars railway, at the moment more than 60% of work on the territory of Georgia has been already completed. The minister said that its operation will increase the capacity of the corridor by 5 million tons.

The World Bank provides Georgia with help in improving the transport and logistics infrastructure. The total cost of the modernization of Georgian Railways is estimated at 260 million Swiss francs. The tunnels are currently built with a total length of 4.4 km. Upon completion of the railway, the capacity of the main areas will increase from 27 million to 65 million tonnes, and in future, up to 100 million tons. The works will be completed by 2019, the article runs.

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As reported by the 'Ingushetia' newspaper, at a meeting in the government on monitoring achievement of the targets of the May presidential decree, Deputy Prime Minister Marem Arapkhanov reported that in Ingushetia until the end of the year the wages of doctors will be increased by 137% to the average for the country. According to her, in the first quarter of this year doctors' wages have been increased by 130.3%. With regard to the teaching staff of general education, their average salary has been increased to the average wage in the region. It was also noted that there is a risk of failure to achieve the specified date indicator of 100% coverage of children aged 3 to 7 years in pre-school education and increase the number of children aged 5 to 18 years who are educated by additional educational programs, because of problems with financing from the federal budget.

The Deputy Minister of Labour, Hadzhibekir Mutaliev, reported that in 2015, 189 people with disabilities will be employed by enterprises of the republic in specially equipped workstations. In the current year it is planned to conduct training and retraining of 150 mothers, who are on parental leave until their children reach the age of three. As of July 1st, 72 women were directed to job training.

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"Why did the notorious entrepreneur German Sterligov decide to settle precisely in Nagorno-Karabakh?" the Armenian newspaper New Era asks. Sterligov took this decision  without notifying the Azerbaijani authorities, in connection with which official Baku has included him on the list of persona non grata of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, followed by a ban on entering the country.

The author recalls that, until recently, the public statements of Sterligov about the Armenians were more negative. At least, only those calls got into the press, in which he spoke about the need to deport Armenians and other foreigners from Russia. The fact that Sterligov was in the leadership of the infamous nationalist group 'Movement Against Illegal Immigration' forced the Armenians to treat it with a certain degree of suspicion. But three months ago, he suddenly showed up in Yerevan and tried to assert himself as a "great friend of the Armenian people." Sterligov called a press conference at which he called on the people of Armenia "to seek the return of their historic lands," and promised his support in this matter. In support of his good intentions the businessman gave Yerevan State University a unique multi-volume facsimile edition of the Illuminated Chronicle, which describes the history of mankind up to the XVI century.

The next mention of the Armenian context of Sterligov has already touched on his visit to Karabakh. But it was already clear that this is not just a tourist trip. And not so long ago, the media reported that Sterligov was going to sell his possessions and go to live in Karabakh. On his pages in the social networks the businessman posted a photo of his house not far from Volokolamsk with boarded shutters, and left a note, according to which he "is in Armenia", where he is dealing with "the creation of a settlement." Notably, the author writes, that speaking about Nagorno-Karabakh, the businessman calls it Armenia. The businessman told journalists that he is "looking for territories, where it will be convenient to create a farm for the production of environmentally friendly products." In addition, he said that "in the near future the Alena Sterligova House of Fashion  will be opened in Nagorno-Karabakh.’’  Allegedly, the wife of the tycoon has already found a suitable space and trusted partners. These intentions are confirmed by the lawyer of the businessman, Arthur Airapetov.

However, the author expresses doubts about the real reasons for such a step. The fact is, the journalist indicates, that the information about the departure of the businessman to Nagorno-Karabakh appeared immediately after witnesses talked about Sterligov in the Moscow City Court during the course of one tumultuous criminal case. Between him and the Russian law enforcement agencies "there have been differences." An assistant of the businessman, Polina Sirota, explained: ‘’Serious  circumstances made him leave, it is not connected with gangsters. No. This is a  higher level ... ". A hint at the political leadership was evident. But in reality, they are nothing to do with this issue. Sterligov's name is mentioned in the materials of a case related to the activities of extremist groups with the sonorous name "Combat Organization of Russian Nationalists". One of the members of the underground organization, Nikita Tikhonov, who was found guilty of the murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, said in court that the training for fighting and physical training of the nationalists took place on land belonging to German Sterligov. Another witness in the case testified that Sterligov funded the activities of extremists and paid them money for beating up activists involved in the protecting the rights of representatives of sexual minorities.

As suggested by the publication, if Sterligov’s visit to Karabakh is an attempt to avoid responsibility for certain offenses, then it is an absolutely hopeless undertaking. If the Moscow law-enforcement agencies really have any claim on the citizen of the Russian Federation, German Sterligov, there is no doubt that he will be extradited to the Russian authorities.

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Unique boxwood forests of Abkhazia are under threat. They have become a forage for insects, which moved to Abkhazia from the Sochi region. The Chairman of the State Committee on Ecology and Nature Protection of the Republic, Savely Tchitanav, told the portal Abkhazia 24 that we are talking about Buxus Colchica, this relict tree is of the same age as the dinosaurs. This is a kind of small-leaved and the most winter-hardy among the European boxwood, it withstands winter temperatures up to -10 °C, and lives up to 600 years. The voracious caterpillar moth eats the leaves of the boxwood.

It is thought that in 2012 this insect got into Abkhazia from Sochi. During the construction of the Olympic facilities in Italy, Russia purchased planting boxwood from China, where there was an insect. Unfortunately, the quarantine services did not find any insects, and thus the caterpillars came to the region of Sochi, and from them boxwood butterfly moths appeared there. They flew over the River Psou, which forms the border between Russia and Abkhazia. According to the monitoring, the caterpillars have settled in boxwood forests up to the village of Tkvarcheli, their proliferation has led to the deaths of many populations of boxwood. There is an alarming situation in Sochi. The spread of the insects has resulted in a massive loss of boxwood in the Khostinsky yew-boxwood grove on the territory of the Caucasus Nature Reserve. The pests are found en masse in other areas of the city.

The Internet edition of Satellite-Abkhazia reports that the State Committee on Ecology and Nature Protection of the Republic, together with the corresponding services, issued a  treatment for the boxwood affected by the moths within four days. Trees were treated with the chemical preparation 'Dimilin' for pest control, which is not harmful to humans or birds. The spraying was carried out using gliders and tractors.

"As explained by the experts, the regeneration in this species of pests in their homeland occurs 3-4 times. Due to a favorable climate in Abkhazia, this process is most active, up to 10 times. For this reason, it will be impossible to destroy all the pests. The chemical kills the butterflies and caterpillars, but it does not work on the cocoons. "Within a month we will be looking at further actions against the boxwood moth and by mid-August will treat the woods for a second time,’’ the head of the State Inspectorate for Plant Protection, Arkady Jinjiya said.

On July 9 the Deputy Prime Minister, Shamil Adzynba, raised the question of saving the boxwood at a Cabinet meeting. "The situation is catastrophic with the moth, if we do not take in principle a state decision, we will lose the boxwood," he said. According to him, it is necessary to buy equipment in the shortest time, no matter how much it may cost. It was also decided to discuss the mechanisms of combating the   moth with the leadership of Krasnodar Territory.

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There is a new holiday in Kabardino-Balkaria. The first Sunday of July is the Day of the Chegem Waterfalls. The newspaper Kabardino-Balkaria Pravda tells that residents and guests of the Republic gathered at the Chegemskiy Little Falls to mark the date. Tents telling about the historical traditions of the villages were deployed from every settlement, traditional dishes were presented, household items and handicrafts were displayed. Throughout the day, traditional music was played. The participants of the festival competed in arm wrestling, lifting weights, throwing stones and tug-of-war. At the exhibition organized on the occasion of the event, craftsmen presented their works of woodcarving, embossing, painting, drawing, embroidery. A private collection of ancient Adygeyan firearms and bladed weapons, ornaments and jewelry, antiques from the household, telling about the life of the Circassians in the XIX century, caused great interest among the visitors.

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