Caucasian Press Review (November 30 - December 6)
President of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov suggests changes in the system of parliamentary elections; he also signed the act on establishing the Constitutional Court (CC). The South Ossetia Newspaper reported that during the election campaign ahead of the presidential elections Tibilov pointed out that it was important for the country’s political development to shift to a mixed majority-proportional system for electing MPs of the republican parliament. The current proportional system is not popular among the population. Election of MPs according to party lists depersonalizes the process and washes out the notion of ‘my MP.’ Now the head of state suggests implementing the idea. He ordered the Ministry of Justice of the RSO to develop and implement a draft of the Constitutional Law of the RSO on Elections of Members of the Parliament of the RSO to the Presidential Commission on Improvement of Constitutional Legislation before February 1st2016. It is suggested to settle the following representativeness in the parliament: 17 deputies who are elected according to the proportional system in the republican election constituency; 17 deputies who are elected in single mandate constituency. The draft of the electoral system will be considered by the Commission on Improvement of Constitutional Legislation and presented to the head of the country for sending to parliament.
To provide constitutional justice in the country, the President signed an order on Measures Providing the Start of the Activity of the RSO Constitutional Court. The President's press secretary, Gana Yanovskaya, explained to the Sputnik-South Ossetia Internet portal that the Constitution of South Ossetia contained a provision on the CC as the highest judicial body, but it hadn’t been formed. In 2011 then-president Eduard Kokoity appointed two judges of the CC. However, later the presidential order on the appointments was cancelled.
According to the Constitution, the CC is formed by the president and the parliament and consists of five judges. Two judges are appointed by the president, and two by the parliament. The head of the CC is appointed by the president after the parliament’s approval. The term limit for the CC judges is 10 years. The head of the Presidential Administration Alan Dzhioyev has to present three candidates to the CC judges who are appointed by the president and one candidate to the CC judge who is appointed after the parliament’s approval to the head of the state before December 20th. According to the Law on the Constitutional Court, the parliament is suggested to settle the question on appointment of two judges of the CC among experts in the legal sphere, the press secretary says.
The Minister of Economic Development of North Ossetia, Oleg Guluyev, told the North Ossetia newspaper about measures on support for small and medium-sized business and some help for businessmen. Two programs are being implemented within the state program of Support and Development of Small and Medium-Sized Business: subsidiaries for compensation for expenses on purchasing equipment; and subsidiaries for encouragement of development of equipment lease. The Fund of Microfinancing, the Fund for Business Support, the Fund for Exhibitions and Presentations, the Regional Integration Center, the Lease Company, and so on were established. A business incubator is operating in Vladikavkaz.
More than 250 companies received financial support (more than 87 million rubles) due to the budget resources and the Program of Grants to Burgeoning Entrepreneurs for Establishing of Business. 53 business entities received more than 130 million rubles as part of the equipment lease. The money compensated expenses which were connected with the first payment on lease contracts, as well as providing target grants.
More than 26.5 million rubles will be spent from the republican budget for development of business in 2016. The Ministry of Economic Development of the RNO-A plans to participate in the contest among Russian regions to receive subsidiaries from the federal budget within the state support of business (including farms). Moreover, cooperation with entrepreneurs who have already received state support will be provided. It is a necessary stage for an analysis of the effectiveness of the support provided, as well as for the further elimination of administrative barriers and the tax load on businessmen.
Speaking about planned tax remissions for entrepreneurs, the minister stated that the government of the republic considered two drafts on amendments to the RNO-A Law on Using the Taxation Patent System and the Law on the Tax Rate for Certain Categories of Taxpayers under Simplified Taxation System on the Territory of the Republic. They require tax holidays for newly registered enterprises in some spheres during two years. Due to monitoring which regulates legal documents on providing business activities, entrepreneurs of the republic are able to participate in lawmaking.
Restructuring is taking place in the Ministry at the moment. It is aimed at attracting professionals to the work in the Ministry, who will create conditions for the effective work of businessmen in North Ossetia.
The newspaper Dagestani Pravda reports that one of the investment areas of the republic – a factory for the production of chicken meat by the 'Eco-product' company in the Magaramkentsky District – in the coming days will produce the first products. The poultry farm includes 12 modern poultry houses, a hatchery, feed and slaughter houses. It will produce about 4.5 thousand tons of chicken meat annually. According to the Production Director of the investment area, Ivan Perfiliev, the construction of the enterprise cost about 500 million rubles. They are already farming chickens in several hangars, the first culling is planned for December 14th. The investment project has been given the status of a priority project of Dagestan. The republican authorities have provided a platform with infrastructure and 335 million rubles were allocated for this purpose from the national budget.
The head of the Municipality, Farid Ahmadov, noted that already 95 residents are working at the site. In the future, this project will create 200 new jobs. It will provide about 6 million rubles of taxes to the budget of the area. The launch of the poultry farm will have a multiplier effect. A demand for bird-seed, which will be harvested in the area, will be formed to ensure its work and this will create new jobs and tax revenues for the budget. The official opening of the site is planned for mid-December.
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The Abkhazian online edition Apsny.ru and the Internet portal Sputnik-Abkhazia reported that the China Railway China and Russia's Regional Projects signed a memorandum, according to which, in 2016 they plan to begin construction of road and rail routes, which will link Russia's North Caucasus with Black Sea coast of Abkhazia.
China Railway intends to act as an investor and to invest in the project up to three billion dollars. They also plan to build an airport in the town of Baksan in the Kabardino-Balkaria and a sea port near the town of Ochamchira as part of the integrated development of the mining and recreational area 'Elbrus'.
According to Vice President of Abkhazia, Vitaly Gabniya, the new road will provide Abkhazia with a great opportunity. "The new transport project withdraws the Republic from Georgia, gives us the opportunity to reunite with Abazins, earn big money and create a variety of intermediaries, solving the problem of unemployment," Gabniya said.
He also noted that China assumes to receive the sea port to the European market through Abkhazia, to restore the important West Caucasian branch of the Silk Road. According to the vice-premier, the best option would be the construction of the road through Tkvarcheli, with access to the Sukhumi Military road and from there to the passes of the Main Caucasian ridge. "The road makes sense only with reference to a port that can only be built in Ochamchira. It is a comfortable deep-sea site. Accordingly, the road must go to the port. In this sense, the road through Tkvarcheli is optimal. This city, the satellite of the coal industry, is dying, because coal is not in demand as a product anymore. This project will help to revive it," Gabniya explained. Besides, he said, the Abkhaz authorities oppose the road passing through conservation areas.
Meanwhile, Abkhaz scientists put forward their proposals. The President of the Geographical Society of Abkhazia, Levard Bartsyts, presented an alternative version of the laying of the Transcaucasian road - in the west from the village of Achandara in the Gudauta district through the alpine village of Pskhu and through Pkhiya in the North Caucasus. This route, with a length of 40 km, according to him, is the shortest.
"It's a question which we have developed over 10 years. We have conducted not only physical and geographic research, but also geological, hydrophysiological and others. We studied all Abkhazia by creating a map. In our opinion this is the best option," the scientist noted. Bartsyts noted that the Transcaucasian road through Pskhu will help to develop the mining and recreational complexes. It is also possible to bring the road to Krasnaya Polyana on Lake Riza. It would be the center of the mountain recreation complexes," he explained.
These and other versions of the Transcaucasian route roads could be considered at the meetings of the working group on the implementation of transport projects. Abkhaz ecologists and scientists will have an opportunity to take part in its work, the article says.
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Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II said that he should have the right to pardon prisoners. The internet portal Georgia-Online reports that he said it after watching a play staged by convicted women in the State Drama Theater named after Shota Rustaveli and asked the Prime Minister to take an appropriate decision.
The Prime Minister has not yet commented on this initiative, but some representatives of the current government have expressed support for the initiative. The public positions are divided. The Chair of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee, Eka Beselia, supports the initiative. According to her, the idea will have a lot of supporters. "The Patriarch of All Georgia should have a special right, as a person who has the highest trust in Georgia," Beselia said.
The Georgian Minister for Punishment Execution, Kakha Kahishvili, also supported the initiative. "I believe that the Patriarch should have the right. I do not know anyone wiser than him, and he should have the right to pardon prisoners," the minister said.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, a constitutionalist Vakhtang Khmaladze, opposed the Patriarch's initiative to have the right to pardon prisoners. According to him, the question of pardon in the world is decided by the civil power, not religious ones. The main reason for this is that the people living in the country, the citizens, in most cases, are the followers of different religions. Accordingly, there are different faiths in the states and the civil power unites all of them. "This is the reason why such laws, as well as the right to legislate and control over compliance with laws, legal proceedings belong to the civil power, not the religious one," Khmaladze explained. He added that only the president has the right to pardon prisoners in Georgia, according to the current Constitution. It would be necessary to amend the constitution to give the same right to another person. Khmaladze believes that it is possible, but the question is whether it is right and appropriate.