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Prince Mikheil and paupers2011-04-18 20:27
Splendour and poverty are the two words best characterizing Georgia with its current regime. Splendour is always either a thin layer of gold that peels off when scratched with a nail, or just ephemeral reality existing only in the officials' speeches. But the country's poverty is real, miserable, and humiliating. Sakartvelo government's nose should be rubbed into figures like the nose of a kitten that has been naughty. One third of the population believes that they live beyond poverty line and thousands of families have got no roof over their head.
Each third person in Georgia is poor. This is the real situation in a country of democracy and general prosperity trumpeted from TV screens. The officials may take one's breath away by their stories of how splendid life in Sakartvelo is: constant foreign investments, queues of American billionaires eager to invest in Georgia, and foreign businessmen snatching promising contracts from each other's hands. Foreign friends say sweet things to Saakashvili, something like "you've got a mix of Italy and France here". As for Mishiko, he is sure that Georgia is catching up with Singapore by leaps and bounds. However, neither Italians, nor French, nor Singaporeans are able to imagine the living conditions of Sakartvelo people.
Georgian regions are on the verge of poverty. Each third provincial citizen earns less than 200 laris per month - that's about 125 dollars. That was the monthly income named by 35,1 percent of the respondents interrogated in the course of a poll conducted by International Society of Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED). In all, the question about income was put to 1101 people. There is an impression that one third of the regional population makes living by standing at the church porch, though, one might probably get even more there.
According to the research, 24,8 percent of the Georgians earn up to 500 laris per month in the Georgian regions. In all, more than a half of the citizens of provincial Sakartvelo live on less than three hundred dollars per month, not to mention the galloping inflation and madly jumping prices.
No wonder regions are abandoned: everyone tries to get to the only city providing job and money - Tbilisi. Today, almost half of the population lives there, while provinces are deserted. One can hardly blame the people, for, generally speaking, it is possible to get a job only in the capital - the unemployment level here is a bit lower there than in the rest of the republic and salaries are higher two or three times.
What is there to do in the regions? The industry has been ruined; agriculture is rather a subject of talking than making any real steps. The appropriated means disappear without reaching the farms. Tourism development? Don't make me laugh: Georgian tourism in nothing but an advertising folder, a shiny rattle for the establishment to jingle happily at various foreign forums. According to Saakashvili, tourism is reduced to the construction of hotels and to wide smiles for dear guests. However, life is somehow more complicated and costly than the country's government believes. Besides, tourists in Georgia do not grow in number despite Mishiko's sweet talk.
However, there are people in provinces who earn decent money, in the Georgian terms, but they are very few: in all, about 20 percent of the pollees. 10,2 percent earn 800 laris, 6,4 percent - 1200 laris and 3,5 percent - over 1200 laris, while each fifth respondent refused to answer the question at all.