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Friday, 20 April 2018


The lost Georgia: Tbilisi killing its own people

2011-08-09 12:53

The lost Georgia: Tbilisi killing its own people. 20594.jpegVerbally conducting a liberal economic policy, Georgian authorities actually support only business affiliated with bureaucracy. Liberal slogans serve to justify the complete destruction of the social infrastructure remaining from Soviet times. Until 2008 the Georgian elite had been trying to maintain at least the gloss of respectability in its anti-national policy but when Saakashvili's criminal military adventure failed the social transformations carried out by his government started resembling social fascism.


Under Saakashvili's guidance the republic undergoes total degradation of public and social institutes. Collapse of the already small private sector after the August war led to an unprecedented unemployment growth, which level varies from the official figure of 16,5 percent in the cities to the shocking 50 percent in the country. The situation might be called disastrous considering that half of the country's population still lives in the countryside. According to the latest report by European Commission, employment in the "informal sector", or simply the criminal sphere, has jumped in the last three years. The government leaves its people no choice.

Still, the few production companies that survived in Mishiko's socio-economic experiments are facing huge workforce deficit. How is it possible? The point is that the senseless, not to say criminal, educational reform has actually deprived the labour market of young high-skilled personnel. Compared to the beginning of the 2000s, by 2009 the number of young men having senior secondary education had reduced twice, not to mention those with professional education. The lack of technical specialists who mainly provide the actual economic growth is the biggest. No wonder the not very rich republic has been engulfed by a wave of poverty in recent years.

In 2007, poverty level was nearly 42-45 percent of the population; this year it has reached two thirds of the country! 15 percent of people are classified as absolutely poor, which means living on 2,5 dollars a day. Pensioners make up a separate category of the Georgian poor. According to European Commission, 18 percent of Sakarvelo population is over 60. Average pension in Georgia is 70-80 laris, the cost of living amounting to 150 laris officially and to 180-280 laris according to independent experts. And the gap is growing. The government annually indexes pensions by eight-ten percent, while inflation in the consumption sector most demanded by the poor - the food sector - stably keeps at the level of 25-30 percent. The majority of Georgian population has no money to buy food and for the elderly, the problem of permanent malnutrition is aggravated by complete unavailability of medical service.

Free-of-charge health care has been practically abolished in the country two years ago. The state budget aimed at turning the country into a militarized police-ridden state instead of socio-economic development - arms costs amounted to forty percent of total expenditure in 2007 - was simply unable to bear the load. As a result, medical institutions passed into private hands for a song. New owners who were supposed to improve the health care facilities and raise the medicine onto a new technological and organizational level turned out to be common real estate speculators. Medical staff was quickly reduced and the hi-tech science-intensive medicine ceased existing in Georgia. Branch professionals emigrated to Russia or to the West, or changed their business area and lost skill, which was even worse. Before his re-election, Mikhail Saakashvili announced the 100 New Hotels program. Today, he and his team prefer never to mention it, for the program was a crashing failure.

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