Borjomi to brim over the border17.08.2011 | 23:07
Borjomi may again return to Russian stores. Chief Sanitary Officer of RF Gennady Onishenko reported that Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Rights is going to consider an official petition to resume the supply of the legendary mineral water from Georgia. The details of the negotiating process, as well as the difficulties raised by official Tbilisi were described to GeorgiaTimes by one of the leaders of the Georgian opposition, head of the Free Georgia party Kakha Kukava.
"Borjomi" epic lasts since 2006. Five years ago, RF authorities imposed a ban on importing products with this brand and since then, mineral water won't flow under the settled stone of bureaucracy. Its possible return is rumoured almost every half-year. However, the business aspect of negotiations on the matter has receded into the background, giving place to politics. Tbilisi tried to use the Borjomi factor in its dialogue with Moscow on Russia's entrance in WTO despite its evident insignificance: with all respect for the healing and flavor properties of the Georgian mineral water, there are many other sorts of it in the Caucasus enough to satisfy Russian citizens. Narzan, Bagiatta, Essentuki and other brands are able to quench everyone's thirst.
Now Gennady Onishenko's administration is closely considering a proposal made by one of the Georgian companies that is going to supply Borjomi to Russian consumers. "We have always shown that we are ready - if there is any demand, we will consider the technological aspect of the issue... We will specify the company's competency and test its products' quality", - the head of Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Rights underlined.
Unfortunately, thorough testing is inevitable. The reason for banning Borjomi import was the unrestricted amount of adulterated products that swept the Russian market. Mixing tap water and soda to produce the most famous mineral water in the post-Soviet space turned out to be exceedingly cost-saving and profitable business, and some enterprising businessmen could not help falling to overt fraud. It is notable that Onishenko used to say that the amount of Borjomi sold in Russia exceeds Georgia's production capacity.
Strange as it may seem, one of the persons most interested in bringing Borjomi back to Russia on the Georgian side is not a public officer but an active oppositional activist Kakha Kukava. Last time chairman of the Free Georgia party held negotiations on the matter with Gennady Onishenko at the end of July. As he told in an interview to GeorgiaTimes, Moscow promised not to hamper the resumption of mineral water supply provided that all legal and sanitary standards are complied with. "We held talks with various companies in Georgia and they have already initiated relevant procedures on coordinating Borjomi export to Russia. And we want to thank Mr. Onishenko for keeping his promise", - Kukava said.
The Georgian oppositionist added that in case the talks' outcome is successful, Georgian economy will get a strong motive for further development, especially that the rehabilitation of Borjomi might become a signal for bringing the rest of Georgian products back to the Russian market. "We are expecting to get a positive effect by the end of this year", - our interlocutor is sure.
Kukava underlined that presently, he has no right to specify the companies that agreed to negotiations with Russia. The point is that their management is acting at its own risk, having no official Tbilisi's consent. "The owners of these companies may lose their business in case they fail - actually, the next day after they open. The country practices reprisals in respect of the unwanted elements, and the Georgian authorities are not interested in developing political or trade relationship with Russia. It is good for common people, for business, agriculture and not only them. In recent months, relevant statements were made by Minister of Economy Vera Kobalia, head of MIA Grigol Vashadze, Economic Advisor to President Kakha Bendukidze and many others, which shows that the current ruling establishment is not the true government of Georgia but an administration appointed by the USA. Their main point is to ensure the energy products transit through their territory and send the required number of soldiers to Afghanistan", - Kakha Kukava underlined.