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Ankvab "reserves" Russia2011-09-20 18:51
In Sochi, the jubilee International Investment Forum was completed. According to preliminary reports, the Russian regions have signed agreements with investors for sums on about a trillion rubles - especial excitement was aroused by the Olympic project. It is noteworthy that the event was also attended by Ankvab who last month was elected the new president of Abkhazia. Economic and political cooperation between Russia and partially recognized republic is being expanded, despite the dissatisfaction of official Tbilisi.
This year in Sochi, the main issue of discussion was diversification of hydrocarbon supplies from Russia. Triumphant agreement, marking the begining of construction "South Stream", signed by the consortium members, has shown the present and potential consumers of Russian natural gas, that "Gazprom" keeps its words and intends to make every effort to create a unified gas transportation system. In this case, not only Kiev but aslo Tbilisi is loosing the advantage of a transit country. Alternative Nabucco pipeline with Azerbaijan's gas, which could be pumped through the Georgian territory, is losing its relevance against the background of the "South Stream". And this is despite the fact that the EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said of the need to
implement the project at any price because the prospects are shrinking with each passing day.
But for Abkhazia, Investment Forum can become a gateway into an economically independent future. Ankvab decided to strike while the iron is hot - not waiting for the inauguration - and arrived in Sochi to discuss pressing republic's problems which Russia can solve. Last year, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev estimated the trade turnover between Russia and Abkhazia in $ 130 million per year, which is not so little for the small Caucasus state. Until recently, the Abkhazians have been exporting mostly agricultural products, including a lot of tangerines. However, the coming 2014 Olympics is opening additional opportunities for cooperation. The gravel and sand from Abkhazia are very necessary for the construction.
Sukhum hopes to replenish its moneybox with help of its beach resorts. Their advantages are good geographical location and recreation areas promoted during the Soviet era - Gagra, Pitsunda and Gudauta. According to the State Committee, in 2010, 112.6 thousand people had a rest at the sanatorium-resort complex of Abkhazia - an increase of 5 percent over the previous year. Another 729 000 people, according to the department, visited Abkhazia on field trips. This income item had brought about a billion rubles or almost a half of the state budget. Not to mention the Russian-Abkhaz hydrocarbon production projects in the Black Sea shelf with help of "Rosneft", as well as the restoration of rail communication between Russia and Abkhazia and the resumption of flights between Moscow and Sukhum, interrupted by the war with Georgia in 1992.
But all these achievements belong to Sergei Bagapsh who was able to establish close ties with Moscow, to lobby the interests of the republic in the international area and finally to get independence from Tbilisi. Therefore, the visit of Alexander Ankvab, who understands that it's not in the interests of both sides to spoil relations between the two states, had to secure the status of the politician who is able to continue correct economic and foreign policy of Abkhazia. Of course, the new government tries to balance between the active Russian economical dominant and cooperation with Turkey. But it can not overshadow the political interests of Moscow in Sukhum.