Caucasian Press Review (August 21 – September 6)
Dagestanskaya Pravda reported that a meeting of the organizational committee on the preparations and holding of the 2000th anniversary of Derbent took place in the city under the chairmanship of the Deputy Chairman of the RF Government, Alexander Khloponin. The city is holding wide-scale work on reconstruction of buildings and historic monuments, reconstruction of 14 streets and 4 parks.
The delegation examined reconstructed and new facilities. The guests visited the House of Peter the Great and the Battle Honor Park which occupied 2.28 ha. There is a memorial called ‘Mother Marked by Sorrow’ and the Eternal Flame, which are dedicated to the deeds of the participants in the Great Patriotic War. There is a fountain and a playground for children.
The head of the government of Dagestan, Abdusamad Hamidov, informed the delegation that reconstruction of the facilities of the federation with an important cultural heritage – the Derbent Fortress of Naryn-kala – has been finished. All the cultural and historic facilities of the city are 80-100% ready. 1.2 billion rubles were allocated for the arrangements from the federal and republican budgets.
The Presidential Envoy in the NCFD, Sergey Melikov, stressed that Derbent is a unique historical sitr. It is a global cultural and historical legacy, a memory of our ancestors; and it is very important to reconstruct its appearance. Melikov recommended not rushing with reconstruction of facilities which wouldn’t be finished before the celebration of the anniversary. Reconstruction can be delayed and continued after the celebration in a calm manner. He thinks that this is only the beginning of the positive changes which will take place in Derbent in the very near future.
The Fitch Ratings international rating agency confirmed the long-prospect ratings of Azerbaijan in foreign and national currencies at the level of BBB-, a ‘stable’ forecast. In the context of external instability, the assessment means a lot today, moreover, from the point of view of attracting foreign investments, the Region Plus local periodical writes. “The stable rating reflects a low level of the national debt (14% of GDP) and a big reserve of foreign assets (72% of GDP) which accumulated due to the high surplus and high oil prices from 2006,” the article says.
Fitch expects that the share of the oil revenues of the country will significantly decrease – down to 20% of GDP. It will lead to a deficit in the Azerbaijani state budget of 4% of GDP, based on the current oil prices.
The newspaper points out that the government has reached conclusions from the current situation on the oil markets, and the state budget project for 2016 will be developed on the basis of $50 per barrel. It will enable to achieve 100% provision of the revenue part of the budget in 2016, and in 2017 it could lead to a 4% surplus, if oil prices are not going to fall even lower, according to Fitch.
Against the background of the financial problems in some oil exporting countries, Azerbaijan still has a positive balance on foreign trade operations. According to the results of the first 7 months of the year, a surplus of $2.167 billion was achieved.
According to various experts, the Azerbaijani economy can resist a fall in oil prices to the level of $40 per barrel. Considering that the cold season is coming, experts believe that Azerbaijani oil prices won’t fall to the level of $40. Moreover, they expect that the government will intensify development of the non-oil economic sector; and from this point of view, the newspaper considers the current situation favorable for the long-term development of the country’s economy.
“A shift of the CIS countries to the ruble zone will lead to a restriction of their economic cooperation with other partners,” the Business Express Armenian newspaper cites the head of the Armenian Union of Employers, Gagik Makaryan. He stated at a press conference in Yerevan that the Russian President’s draft on rejection of the dollar by the CIS countries would lead to a growth of the foreign currency deficit, and thus, Armenia and other countries would appear in the ruble zone. Later, Armenia will have to buy goods not on its traditional markets, and it will lose old trading partners, which is beneficial for Russia, as it will stimulate the economy and strengthen the ruble. Markaryan believes that to avoid such a situation Yerevan should show flexibility and try to avoid negative consequences from entering the ruble zone. The expert believes that Russia is not an honest partner even with the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, as it doesn’t let member states feel positive moments from participating in it.
Vardan Bostadjyan, PhD (Economics), thinks that Armenia has a right to reject using a united currency on the EAEU territory. He thinks a united currency will make deals more transparent on the Eurasian market and strengthen the ruble, if it is going to be the united currency. “A shift to a united currency is a difficult process, especially considering the fact that the main capital is kept in dollars and euros. However, the message has already been sent,” the economist thinks.
Recently President of Russia Vladimir Putin presented a draft to the State Duma, which required an agreement on establishing a united financial market between Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. As a result of it, there will be conditions for an intensive development of national currency markets, preconditions for providing a coordinated monetary policy which is directed at additional opportunities for implementation of long-term strategies in trade-economic and investment cooperation, as well as achievement of general macroeconomic stability in the region.
A new political party has appeared in Abkhazia. The Sputnik-Abkhazia Internet-portal reports that the new party has been formed from the Ainar Expert Supporting Fund, which consists of young experts in the spheres of medicine, law, economics and IT. The Expert Fund has addressed the leadership of the country and the parliament many times to consider their offers on improvement of the economy, healthcare and the political system of Abkhazia.
Delegates of the founding congress which took place in Sukhumi voted for a formation of the party, elected a chairman and a political council. The Deputy Minister of Healthcare of the Republic, the head of the party, Batal Katsia, explains that the structure of the party includes a chairman, a political council which consists of 5 people who are no older than 40. Moreover, there will be a council of the party, which will involve representatives of the older generation.
The program of the Ainar Party states that the aim of state building is to establish a socio-oriented and environmentally friendly state which is functioning, according to the principle of stable development on the basis of truly Abkhaz volumes and traditions. The party’s ideology is the Ethical Code of Apsuara – the century-long traditions and customs of the Abkhaz nation. The party also declares such principles as “direct people power,” “uniting the nation,” “independent courts,” and “a united information system.”
The Free Georgia newspaper presents the Center for Legal Protection of Russian Compatriots in Georgia to its readers. The Center is working in the republic and is aimed at providing various legal and other necessary support to them in case of violation of freedoms, rights, and legal interests, according to universal principles and norms of international law in the sphere of human rights. The head of the Center, Alexander Bezhentsev, says that since the foundation of the Center in 2013, 1702 people have addressed the organization for help. The organization holds seminars in various regions of the country, especially in places where Russian compatriots live compactly. During the seminars, listeners receive information on the goals and tasks of the project, lawyers of the Center read lectures on Criminal, Administrative and Civil Law.
The Center has its own web-portal – pravfond.ge – where laws and normative acts are published, as well as the Constitution of Georgia. Employees often conduct online consultations and talk to citizens on the phone.