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Friday, 21 October 2016


Russian business also has to answer to Georgia

2008-11-25 09:09

1/9/7/97.jpegA Georgian parliamentary commission will soon discuss the illegal activity of Russian companies on its territory. The main issue is concerning Russian mobile phone operators in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Does this mean that a "squeeze" on Russian business is starting in Georgia?


For the moment it is mainly mobile phone operators that have caught the attention of Georgian parliamentarians. Back in June the National Communications Commission (GNCC) fined ‘Megafon' 5 thousand lari for what it deemed illegal activity on Georgian territory, meaning in South Ossetia. In September it fined them 500 thousand lari on the same grounds. Which is proportional to the "sin" committed.

According to the commission's data, to begin with the ‘Megafon' signal covered part of South Ossetia's territory - Tskhinvali and the Java region. But during the military conflict in August the range was expanded to cover the entire republic, as well as the Gori and Kareli regions of Georgia.

The Russian operator vehemently denies all these allegations and does not want to pay the fines - either the first or the second one.

Parliament has taken control of the situation. According to the chairman of the parliamentary commission Shota Malashkhia, "Russia must answer for its aggression and annexation, and this concerns the activities of Russian companies working both in the banking system and the mobile phone sector".

It is not quite clear how exactly the deputies are planning to "force the Russian companies back onto Georgia's legal framework". This is even more difficult to do, because ever since the current State Chancellor and former minister for economics Kakha Bendukidze proclaimed that "in Georgia everything can be sold, except one's conscience", Russian businessmen, ignoring the political situation, have been generously investing in the country.

In Georgia the lion's share of the energy sector, banking sphere, wine-making, process industries and others have long been in the hands of Russian businessmen. After the ‘Rose Revolution' in 2004-5 Russia headed the list of the main investors. Last year it fell to fifth place. And now, according to unofficial figures, it is in tenth place. At the same time, the giants of Georgian industry - the main nuclear power stations, the ‘Azot' factory in Rustavi, the gold mining company ‘Madneuli', the processing factory in Batumi and a couple of sizeable alcohol companies belong to Russian businessmen or to Georgians living in the Russian Federation.

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