Caucasian Press Review (November 9-15th)

Caucasian Press Review (November 9-15th)

The government of South Ossetia is planning to attract Russian specialists to state departments. An open competition has been announced for this purpose among Russian recruitment agencies, Sputnik-South Ossetia cites the head of the government apparatus of the republic Oleg Gagloyev. The competition will allow a recruitment agency to be chosen, which is to be entrusted with the involvement of Russian specialists in South Ossetia. The agency will also become an employer in the country and, accordingly, it will pay wages, travel expenses and accommodation.

According to Gagloyev, recruitment services, including wages and other specialists' expenses, will be paid from the Russian budget. He explained that the attraction of Russian specialists to the South Ossetian authorities is conducted in accordance with the agreement between the Presidents of Russia and South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov and Vladimir Putin, during their meeting in 2012.

Gagloyev noted that practical steps to attract specialists have started only now, as the mechanism for implementing the agreement, including financial details, was being implemented all that time.

"Russian experts were also previously attracted to our republic in order to solve various problems immediately. In addition, our experts regularly traveled to the relevant Russian agencies to enhance their skills. And it is time to attract Russian experts on a long-term basis," the head of the government said. It is planned to attract 12 experts in the first phase to those areas where South Ossetia needs them most: medicine, education, construction, utilities and tariff regulation. And the experts won't be involved in the daily work in these industries. Their task is to promote their modernization and optimization.

"Experts won't take any administrative decisions. They won't join personnel of state institutions. In fact, they will work as advisers. Their main task is to develop regulatory and methodical documentation. In addition, they will train our specialists at work," the interlocutor explained.

According to him, a joint Russian-South Ossetian commission, the composition of which is to be approved at a meeting of the government, will evaluate the qualifications of the experts before signing a contract.

If a recruitment agency and the commission miss anything and a specialist won't show a certain result, their contract will be terminated. According to forecasts, the first specialists from Russia are due to appear in the country at the beginning of next year.

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The task of the Georgian Energy Development Plan is to turn the country into the most energy independent country before 2025. According to Business-Georgia, Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze made such a statement in an interview with journalists. According to Kaladze, the implementation of this task involves the construction of new transmission lines and substations a new generation inside the country. At the same time, Georgia will carry out modernization of energy equipment. A significant sum for the Georgian economy of 700 million euros is planned to be used for upgrading the energy infrastructure.

The minister recalled that there are about 25,000 rivers in the country. 300-400 of them are definitely promising for energy. According to him, many investors are showing interest in energy projects in Georgia. At present, investments are mainly from Turkey, Norway and the United States. There are 104 projects of hydroelectric power stations, which are being developed at the stage of licensing and research with a total installed capacity of slightly more than 2900 MW, including three very large facilities, according to the standards of Georgia. A tender is to be announced in the near future.

However, according to Kaladze, hydropower won't solve the existing problems related to the seasonal capacity usage of reservoirs and, accordingly, the falling production of hydroelectricity. Therefore, new power plants will be put into operation in the country simultaneously.

The Gardabani thermal power with a capacity of 239 MW was built a long time ago. It is 40% more efficient than the old thermal power stations, which were built during the Soviet Union. It is planned to build another powerful heating plant with capacity of 500 MW.

There are also projects to build wind farms. The construction of 20 MW stations have already been started and they are to be put into operation in 2016. The project is estimated at $30 million. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is ready to finance these projects. According to experts, it is possible to use wind farms with a total capacity of 150 MW. The minister stressed that these measures will allow Georgia to become a completely energy independent country in the next 5-7 years.

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The US Embassy in Armenia is ready to continue assistance to the civil society of the country. Acording to the local weekly Business Express, the Armenian-American Chamber of Commerce US Ambassador Richard Mills said at a meeting with members. According to him, Armenia was the first after the Baltic countries among the former Soviet Union countries in respect of the activity level of civil society. He said that a number of NGOs are working closely with government agencies and international organizations. "Despite this, there are a number of issues that need to be solved, and civil society should be an initiator," the ambassador said. He believes that corruption can become a serious obstacle to the development of democratic institutions. "The United States will provide grants to NGOs and the Council for the fight against corruption in order to eliminate this negative phenomenon. However, these funds will be used only if we get tangible results. It will be a targeted struggle," the ambassador said.

The US Ambassador is also concerned about the high level of monopolization of the economy. He believes that the Armenian economy should be attractive to foreign investments. "The Embassy of the United States cannot force American businessmen to invest in the Armenian economy. You should provide all the necessary conditions," the ambassador said. He added that the United States has focused its attention on the activities of the national authorities, which are aimed at creating a business area where all the companies will compete on equal terms.

According to Richard Mills, one of the main areas that Washington is considering in the context of extension of the Armenian-American business relations is the prospect of direct investments in the Armenian economy. The United States will also continue to assist Armenia in the sphere of agriculture. Programs aimed at increasing the competitiveness of agricultural production and the development of rural communities, are being implemented. They amount to $12 million dollars. ''All the issues that may affect the growth of the economy and trade in Armenia will be discussed at the session of the Armenian-American Council on Trade and Investment on November 17th and the working group on economic cooperation on November 19th," the diplomat noted.

According to the publication, in January-June 2015 foreign direct investments from the US in the Armenian economy amounted to 865 million drams ($1.8 million). The trade turnover between Armenia and the United States in January-September 2015 amounted to $118 million. The figure fell 28% in comparison with the same period in 2014. Exports from Armenia to the United States have decreased by 31.2%, and imports by 26%.

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The Trotter Kabardino-Balkarian plant for producing LNG and oil tankers is going to increase its production 20-fold. The deputy director of the company, Anzor Thamokov, told the newspaper Kabardino-Balkar Pravda that they had to compete with foreign manufacturers and suppliers of gas carriers and oil tankers until the end of 2014. After the currency rose in price; many buying companies paid attention to the domestic machine builders. The production process was well-established by the company then, so they had their engineers, assemblers, and even a strong sales team.

The company entered the market in 2006 and in all those years, regardless of the economic situation, increased its sales. According Thamokova, equipment produced by 'Trotter' is in demand in terms of any crisis. The profitability is 20-30%, and the market is not going to decrease. The main buyers of production are northern and far eastern regions of Russia, where many areas have a low level of gasification. LNG is sold with the help of dealer centers. Now the Republican machine builder produces five-six units per month according to orders. Assembling one machine takes them about 20-30 days. About 70 people work for the company.

Now that demand has increased, mechanical engineers have big plans to extend production. The company is preparing documents and proposals for joining the program of the Ministry of Industry of the Russian Federation for the development of import-substituting production. The essence of the proposal is that the company can increase its capacity up to 100 units per month. The project involves the construction of a new production and employment of 400 people. 4 billion rubles are necessary to realize these ambitious plans.

The plant's management is confident of the success of such an enterprise. The market shows that the demand will be 100 units per month. A package of proposals will be sent to the Ministry of Industry before the end of the year. If the agency approves and supports the project, it is expected to extend production in mid-2017.

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In recent days the Nazran Mayor's Office has been periodically organizing meetings of citizens in each administrative district, Serdalo reports. "People receive information beforehand about the time of the next meeting, discussion of certain issues, or about City Hall officials who will join the event, etc. This allows them to prepare proposals, to point out the shortcomings of some organizations or individual officers and suggest ways to resolve them. Officials receive information directly from citizens, and not with the help of reports of their subordinates, who significantly help them during their work.

Such a meeting has taken place recently in the Gamurzievsky municipality, which was attended by employees of the mayor's office, the head of the district, members of the public council, the local inspector and head of the dispensary. Villagers spoke of important problems: elimination of landfills, allocation of land, the fight against the spread of drug addiction, bus stops. There were many complaints regarding a district inspector, because there are places in the republic where young people take drugs and commit unlawful acts. It is proposed to hold such meeting with the participation of youth.

The publication notes that meetinga of citizens are an uncommon situation for the Ingush people. There were such forms of communication when people solved economic, political and other problems, as well as elected elders and other leaders.

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