Caucasus Press Review (April 20-26)
By Vestnik Kavkaza
For Azerbaijan, the period of low oil prices is connected with certain difficulties, but measures on diversification of its economy and development of the industrial potential significantly contribute to lifting negative consequences, Region Plus reports. It seems under such unfavorable conditions the driver of the oil sector of the country – SOCAR – should be damaged most; but the results of the company for 2014 show a positive dynamic. According to the vice president of SOCAR, Suleiman Gasymov, in 2014 the company’s revenues were 40 billion manats, with a profit of 1.1 billion manats (1.046 billion dollars). This is 12 percent more than in 2013.
Speaking at a business forum organized by Caspian European Club, Gasymov explained that low oil prices on the world markets have had a minimal effect on SOCAR's revenues, as only 28 percent of the whole volume of oil produced by the company was exported. The rest was sent to supply the internal market. The fact that gas and oil prices on the internal market of the country are regulated by the state enables the company to finance its programs to some extent, he noted. SOCAR will spend about 1 billion manats on projects on maintaining the level of oil and gas production and gasification of the country in 2015. This is equal to the indices of recent years.
The conflict between the parliamentary majority and the minority on the second vote of no-confidence in the Foreign Minister of South Ossetia, David Sanakoyev, seems to be over.
Let’s remind you that the parliamentary session on April 15th, when it was planned to consider the issues of the second vote of no-confidence in the country's foreign minister David Sanakoyev failed, as MPs from three parliamentary factions from the parties of Nykhas, the Unity of People, and the People’s Party (who disagreed with the issue) were absent. MPs from the United Ossetia Party, which is the parliamentary majority, blame the Foreign Minister for the unsatisfying and ineffective work of the minister himself and the ministry in general; moreover, he is accused of publishing a draft of the treaty on alliance and integration with Russia without the approval of the Presidential Political Council. Sanakoyev called the steps by members of United Ossetia “political repressions” and addressed the Supreme Court of South Ossetia, demanding that it recognize the parliament’s decision as illegal.
The ‘South Ossetia’ newspaper publishes a statement by the press secretary of the President of the Republic, Gana Anovskaya, which says that in striving for the fastest settlement of the issue, President Leonid Tibilov met all party factions of the South Ossetia parliament last week, urging them to restore the work of the parliament and solve all problems, considering the opinions of all parliamentary factions. He also recommended United Ossetia to eliminate the issue on the second vote of no-confidence from the agenda, as it caused too acute conflicts. In the end, the faction followed the recommendation.
The head of the faction Unity of the People, Vladimir Kelekhsayev, and a representative of the Nykhas Party, Igor Kochiyev, called the decision the only correct one. They hope that the conflict won’t develop.
Later, the local information agency Res cited the press secretary saying that the President of South Ossetia has signed an act on appointing Sanakoyev to the position of state advisor to the President.
The former Foreign Minister told the agency that shifting to the new position was approved by him. “I am ready to serve my Homeland and fulfill the duties which the President lays on me,” Sanakoyev said.
The deputy prime minister of Russia Alexander Khloponin, who is visiting Sukhumi, has attended the opening ceremony of the First Republican Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children, the ‘Republic Abkhazia’ newspaper reports. The center is equipped with exercise machines, special healing costumes, physiotherapeutic equipment, and a swimming pool with hydro-massage. A neurologist, an orthopedist, a pediatrician, an eye doctor, a speech therapist, a psychologist, art therapists, physiotherapeutic therapist-nurses, massage therapists and other specialists will work there. Leading foreign rehabilitation centers helped in training the tutors.
The Chief Pediatrician of Abkhazia, the acting head of the Center, Ada Abukhba, noted that the Center will train children in self-service skills. Moreover, the Center will work with parents, as they also need special therapy, as a disabled child in a family can create some problems.
About 500 disabled children are registered in Abkhazia; 110 of them live in Sukhumi. They will be treated for free in the Center at daytime; while children from villages and distant regions will have an opportunity to live there.
The main advantage of reorganizational arrangements conducted in the sphere of healthcare is that all medical organizations which provide initial medical and social help have been preserved. According to the ‘North Ossetia’ newspaper, this was stated by the Minister of Healthcare of the republic Vladimir Selivanov at a session of the Board of the local parliament. He said that in 2014, 354 twenty-four-hour beds were eliminated; 319.5 staff positions with an economic effect of 36.6 million rubles were cancelled. All saved resources were sent to fulfill the May Orders of the President of Russia (2012). Due to the optimization, enlargement of healthcare facilities took place; inter-regional offices of special kinds of medical services were established. In 2015, it is planned to cancel 153.7 staff positions in the state-funded healthcare facilities. The number of workers will be reduced by 104 people. The economic effect will be 24.78 million rubles.
However, the minister admitted that despite the arrangements in 2014, norms on the number of beds required by the governmental act on November 28, 2014, had not been reached. The number of beds is bigger than it should be. This leads to extra expenditures – 739 million rubles annually. It leads to a lack of resources for medicines, equipment, appearance of debts for social taxes and utilities.
Meanwhile, according to Selivanov, too radical measures on reduction of an ‘excessive’ 939 beds could lead to a social burst, as it would be necessary to dismiss 89 doctors, 283 nurses and 283 medical attendants. “Thus, we will conduct optimization carefully and professionally. We should break the parasitic behavior by those heads of hospitals who got used to working in the same old way,” he said.
‘Free Georgia’ reports that the Georgian Partner Foundation and the French company of Compagnie de Vichy, which manages popular thermal and SPA resorts in Europe, have signed a memorandum on cooperation. Compagnie de Vichy is ready to provide hydrological studying of healing water at Tskhaltubo Resort together with the Partern Foundation and develop a strategy of planning and rehabilitation and a financial model of the buffer zone.
The SPA resort of Tskhaltubo has been very popular since the 12-13th centuries. Today Tskhaltubo is famous for its thermal radon mineral water procedures. The water of the spring is unique for its physical and chemical characteristics.
Earlier, the Partner Foundation studied the abilities of the resort and developed a concept of its development for revival of the resort. According to it, rehabilitation of the resort zone requires reconstruction of thermal baths, hotels, and construction of new buildings with modern equipment and medical machines, development of SPA tourism, construction of entertaining centers for children, water parks, development of a restraint network, building a gold area, opening of shopping centers, and building tropical gardens.