Caucasus press review (August 17-23)
On the basis of Russian-Abkhazian agreements in the financial and economic and social spheres, financial support for paying pensions to the RF citizens who live in Abkhazia has begun to arrive in Abkhazia, as well as for financing of the development program – the Complex and Investment Programs for Encouragement of the Socio-Economic Development of Abkhazia. This was reported by the information agency Abkhazia-Inform with reference to the head of the Expert Department of the Presidential Administration of Abkhazia, Irakli Khintba. He stressed that the whole volume of finances received from Russia was more than 33 billion rubles by December 31st 2014. The new Investment Program for Encouragement of Socio-Economic development of Abkhazia was adopted for 2015-2017 with 9.2 billion rubles of financial support. The volume of the financial support was more than 1.1 billion rubles after January 1st 2015; and transfers to the Pension Fund surpassed 1.5 billion rubles in the same period. “The main feature of the new financing paradigm is that a big volume of investments is allocated to fulfilling economic tasks, establishing the real economic sector while maintaining financing of infrastructural projects,” Khintba said. He also noted that in Moscow several major Russian banks created an investment agency which would give loans with low interest rates to projects in the sphere of development of the Abkhazian economy. The general volume of loans of the agency will reach 1.2 billion rubles.
The information agency also stated that as a result of a recent inspection by the Audit Chamber of Abkhazia, instances of ineffective spending of the republic’s funds were discovered amounting to a hundred million rubles. A lot of violations were found out in signed contracts. A deficiency of furniture and equipment worth 1.5 million rubles was detected. The Vice Premier of the Republic, Dmitry Serikov, presented a series of various violations and excessive exploitation. The results of the inspection will be discussed at an emergency meeting of the government.
The Azerbaijanskie Izvestia newspaper reports that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the republic and corresponding associations are studying opportunities for a decrease of prices in the hotel sector. “Today many hotels present themselves as three or four-star facilities; however, the level of services provided does not always match the standards,” the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Abulfas Garayev, says. “In this context, we recommend owners of hotels to bring prices in line with standards within the current legislation.” According to the Ministry, similar recommendations were also provided to heads of the executive powers in regions, businessmen, and other structures which are involved in the recreation sector. Experts of the Association of Tourism of Azerbaijan (AzTA) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are developing a plan of measures, which will include wide-scale monitoring of prices in local hotels.
Moreover, even though there are no demands for obligatory standardization in the hotel sphere in the current laws, businessmen are recommended to synchronize the standards of the recreational facilities which they intend to build with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Such an approach will enable business to be reoriented in the right direction without additional expenditures, as such corrections are very difficult for already built facilities.
Nevertheless, the possibility of launching fiscal and other benefits for development of budget hotels will demand serious calculations and professional economic reasoning, so that the tax losses of the state wouldn’t exceed the probable effect from development of the sector, the author of the article concludes.
Armenia is discussing words by the head of the Board of the Youth Union of the CIS Countries, Andronik Nikogosyan. In one of his recent interviews, he expressed assurance that soon Armenia could be merged into the Russian Federation, if Russia agreed to this.
Local media report that the Union of Young Defenders of the Motherland made a statement demanding to bring him to criminal account. The faction of the Yerevan Council of Elders ‘Hello Yerevan’ initiated a process of depriving Nikogosyan of a gold medal which was awarded to him by the Mayor of the capital, Taron Markaryan. The Voice of Armenia cites the Director of the Armenian Institute for International Affairs and Security Issues, Stepan Safaryan, who thinks that Armenian society shouldn’t ignore such phenomena, as new agreements and sponsorship could hide behind them. “Nikogosyan’s statements,” Safaryan adds, “have the same scheme and technologies which have been used to make Armenia join the Eurasian Economic Union.”
Representatives of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia also expressed their view. An MP of the parliamentary faction of the RPA, a member of the Regular Commission for State Legal Affairs, Levon Martirosyan, told the Aravot newspaper that it was right to bring to account those who stood against basic values. Another member of the RPA, the former Vice Speaker of the National Assembly, Samvel Nikoyan, supports the same view. “It is important that every citizen and every political activist expresses his clear position on the issue, just like I’ve done,” he said on air of Azatutyun Radio.
This year a project on building greenhouse facilities was successfully implemented in the Znaur District of South Ossetia. The tomatoes which are grown here successfully compete with imported agricultural products and are popular among the republic’s residents. The head of the District, Rustam Jioyev, told the South Ossetia newspaper that it was decided to build greenhouse facilities within measures on development of agriculture and creation of new jobs in the District. The head of the Republic of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov, positively viewed the idea and allocated 1 million rubles for purchasing greenhouses and tomato seeds. In April, the greenhouses were provided to local farmers, and in June they produced the first harvest. Some owners of greenhouses sell their products themselves in Tskhinvali; others provide trade facilities with tomatoes; often residents of the republic come to the District and buy tomatoes for their personal needs. Jioyev is sure that in the future harvest capacities will grow to 80-100 tons annually.
At the end of the 9th International Artistic Symposium 'Alanika', which had been taking place for two weeks in Vladikavkaz, participants presented their projects within an exhibition which took place in the National Scientific Library, the North Ossetia newspaper reported. Pictures, sculptures, photos, art-objects, installations by artists from Turkey, Iran, Egypt, the U.S., Ecuador, Belgium, the UK, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russian regions, including the North Caucasus republics, were presented there.
The head of the North Caucasus Branch of Modern Art and the head of the symposium, Galina Tebiyeva, says that Alanika is a unique example of cultural events, when participants don’t bring their works, but come there to work on the spot. Every participant presented his or her works and answered questions by lovers of modern art. The symposium also held workshops, conferences and meetings. The exhibition will work till 15 September.