Wine to ferment into politics19.10.2011 | 13:37
Russia's chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishenko has come up with a de-facto ultimatum for Georgian winemakers demanding that they decide whether they will sell wine on the Russian market or not. This is not the first time that Rospotrebnadzor demands that. Will its efforts finally yield results to the benefit of both sides? GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed that with Vladimir Homeriki, vice president of the All-World Congress of Nations of Georgia.
A drop of Georgian wine may wear away a stone no worse than water does. That is why Russian consumers still have access to Kindzmarauli, Khvanchkara and Saperavi despite Gennady Onishenko's strong, like cognac Ararat, position. Some even like the shroud of mystery around acquisition of a box or two of desirable drink and intriguing details of the hunt to tell at the table. Yet, most citizens living in one sixth of the planet are not fans of bootleg romance. They would like to buy world famous wines in supermarkets instead of having precarious contacts with "friends of my acquaintances".
As for Gennady Onishenko, he was enraged by the behavior of some Georgian companies whose indecisiveness is likely to handicap a herd of Buridan's donkeys. "At first they state they want to resume wine shipments. We say we are ready to consider their request. Then Georgian politicians launch a new wave of hysteria saying they don't need the Russian market. Ok - if you don't. These pitiful volumes make no difference for the Russian market and any possible segments of it. Use other political reasons to remind of yourselves", - head of Rospotrebnadzor said.
It's time for Georgian companies to decide what they do: business or politics. If it's business, return of their products to Russia is a matter of time, of near future. After all, quality of officially produced wines from slopes of Kakhetia and Imereti is well-known and can satisfy even Russian chief sanitary doctorr known for his fault-finding. Choosing politics, entrepreneurs from the Georgian republic must admit that they are simply state officials obeying the ruling clique.
By the way, high-ranking state officials of Georgia that put latent ban on return of local wines to the Russian market are like the unter-officer widow known for endless self-torture. It's not a secret that many "young reformers" have a juicy share in that business. Their involvement in activities of various companies is indirect. Otherwise, there is a risk that the image of the republic as "a country without corruption", praised by president Mikheil Saakashvili, may be seriously damaged. Yet, nobody can keep officials from being on friendly terms with successful businessmen. And slightly help their Fortuna (on a repayable basis, though).
There is not much to add about Georgian grapes that turns into a heavy burden for local economy without an open access to the Russian market. The authorities of the republic have a choice either to buy them at a sacrifice, or deprive farmers of the last source of income they have. Presently, the country's leaders prefer the second option leaving Georgian farmers in wait for a drastic rise in demand for raisin buns having no other way to sell grapes.
While official Tbilisi looks for ways to reinforce barriers to prevent appearance of Georgian wines on the Russian market, some local businessmen keep trying to return to Russia. For instance, well-known public figure Vladimir Homeriki assisted by a group of Georgian oppositionists organized a trip to Moscow for a delegation of businessmen from Georgia. As he told GeorgiaTimes correspondent, they are looking forward to obtaining Rospotrebnadzor's permit. "We have carried out all tests. In reply to Mikheil Saakashvili's hysteria in Georgia we found brave companies ready to come to the Russian market - presently, there are five of them. We will have a meeting in Moscow and both sides will be able to share their plans", - he emphasized.
Vladimir Homeriki added that presently the situation for businessmen in Georgia is rather complicated if they don't have connections with the ruling establishment of the republic. "Saakashvili intimidates local wine makers in all possible ways, only two or three companies, controlled by the authorities, sell their products. Others look forward to resumption of wine shipments to Russia. As well as many Russian people who have not forgotten the taste of Georgian wine", - our interlocutor remarked.