Anaklia: Saakashvili gets into a mess24.08.2011 | 20:34
Georgia's number one showman Mikheil Saakashvili is back on stage announcing Anaklia as a new holiday destination and making a pompous 3D presentation for potential investors. On top of it all he organizes a fireworks show meant for... Abkhazia. Yet, this did not have the right effect. On the contrary, Saakashvili was accused of banal self-publicity. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed fantastic plans of Sakartvelo leader with Georgi Gachechiladze, head of the Green Party, and Sergey Demidenko, a well-known economic expert.
Demidenko, a well-known economic expert.
Presentation of Anaklia as a holiday destination was in preparation for a long time, no doubt. Most probably, this is the reason why president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili took a pause to rush back into the media space with loud statements. "Anaklia used to be a place where no one except for an occupant soldier wearing a single overshoe, could be brought to, - Mishiko exclaimed. - In 2012 Anaklia will have more than 1000 accommodations for vacationers, i.e. 200,000 tourists per year - more than in Ajaria at the time of Aslan Abashidze".
Even at this solemn and (sort of) festive event the leader of Sakartvelo did not miss a chance to refer to Russia with a reproach. All that sounded slightly awkward, honestly speaking. If an "occupant wearing one overshoe" can occupy your lands, what is the price of your vaunted army, Mr. President? However, the continuation of the evening showed that Saakashvili was not going to slow down.
The president of Georgia spoke a lot about "five- and seven-star hotels" to be built instead of trenches, and a huge amphitheater with stadiums and discotheques instead of military units. "When I became president, Georgia was visited by 120 thousand tourists per year. This year we had 3 mln people coming here", - Saakashvili informed promising that in the near future construction of a Poti-Anaklia motor highway would start to ensure a 15-minute drive between these cities and a 50-minute drive to Batumi.
Nothing to add... The only seven-star hotel in the world is Burj Al Arab (OAE). What Saakashvili spoke of is nothing but virtual projects demonstrated for the guests of the party. Besides, it's not clear why he used the past tense.
The climax of Mikheil's "triumph" over "the bootless occupants" was a pompous termination of the ceremony. At first Nino Surguladze sang "My Abkhazia" song and then the sky over Anaklia was lit with a bright fireworks show that, as Saakashvili confessed, was meant to be seen in Abkhazia. "They are not afraid of missiles, since they can kill people without a qualm but they are scared to see a fireworks show, hear the sound of songs, music, joy or any other expression of free human spirit", - the Georgian president said. - That is why I would like to tell them: don't give the alarm, it's just fireworks". The idea is to show that things here are wonderful. Pure joy, isn't it?
Naturally nobody reacted to Saakashvili's cheap tricks. Not only in Abkhazia. In Georgia either. As Georgi Gachechiladze, leader of the oppositional Green Party stated, Anaklia has many problems. No wonder: the authorities, as usual, transferred the project to foreigners who did not study local climate and soil. "The number of palms planted in Anaklia is enough to prove that it is all self-publicity", - the oppositionist resents. - There are hundreds of tropical palms that won't survive in local climate". According to Gachechiladze, palms have been dry for two years already unable to adapt but foreigners don't care about that - they simply get their millions.
In a conversation with GeorgiaTimes correspondent Georgi Gachechiladze told about crucial problems not considered at the time of development of tourist projects in Anaklia. "The place is situated in a complicated ecological zone. There is the Inguri river taking lots of contaminators to the sea, so water quality issues are regular", - he remarked. - Besides, since the construction of the Inguri hydro electric plant was constructed at the time of the Soviet Union we have had problems connected with the stability of the coastal line. The hydroelectric plant does not gate through hard materials the river carries so the balance is broken and because of high tide, water takes the territory off the dry land. Certainly, engineer works can be done. But they will cost a fortune".
Our second interlocutor - Sergey Demidenko, expert at the Institute of Strategic Analysis and Evaluation, - thinks that Saakashvili is overoptimistic speaking about 200, 000 tourists per year. It was a presentation. And a presentation unsupported by advertising is nothing. As for advertising, it has distinct rules", - the expert thinks. - I'm not an advertiser, I can't outline these rules. But I guess exaggeration is essential for advertising. It is totally evident that Saakashvili is trying to sell goods on the basis of statements that things will be great, gainful and cool since we will have 200,000 tourists annually".