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Why Saakashvili failed?

24.11.2011  |  20:19

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The book by the economist Larisa Burakova "Why Georgia has managed", issued this year, doesn't give rest for many fans of the current Tbilisi owners. The publishers claim that the description of the reforms by Mikhail Saakashvili enjoys extraordinary popularity in Russia and will soon become a bestseller. Is the book of the graduate of the Higher School of Economics an objective analysis of what is happening in the Caucasian republic? Or the young girl came under the influence of the organizers of the Rose Revolution? The GeorgiaTimes' correspondent talked about this with the head of the Caucasus sector of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies Jana Amelina.

The book "Why Georgia has managed" at one time caused a lot of noise. After all, it has become the first major study of the changes that have occurred in the Caucasian republic since coming to power of Mikhail Saakashvili and his team. Unfortunately, this product has a distinct descriptive nature without the slightest hope of an objective approach. The interview of the Georgian president and his chief economic advisor Kakha Bendukidze are given nearly without the cuts, the whole pages. One gets the feeling that at the time of the writing, the two men were standing behind Larisa Burakova and obsessively pointing out further path of the author.

The work of Georgian reforms has caused incredible joy of many Russian liberals. In many ways, for the reason that Mikhail Saakashvili has become a real icon for them. These people do not notice the major "achievements" of the president: a huge number of unemployed people, unleashed conflict in the South Ossetia and the ever-increasing national debt of the republic. For them, the "European Gloss", which the leader of the Rose Revolution unsuccessfully tries to bring to his own country, is the priority. Naturally, publishers have also participated in a kind of advertising campaign of the book "Why Georgia has managed". The representative of the "Alpina Business Books" Elizabeth Barakhtina has even told the media that in Russia, this book had become a bestseller. But the two circumstances, accompanied this statement, cast doubt on its veracity. First, it was made in an interview with Georgian journalists, and secondly, it was not confirmed by any official data regarding any sales - on the pretext of confidentiality. And, apparently, it won't be declassified for a long time.

Well-known Russian expert Jana Amelina believes that the book by Larisa Burakova unlikely enjoys significant interest among the common readers. "Of course, when it was published, the people, engaged in the Caucasus studies, had read it. There's just no other literature on this topic. But I have not seen any major positive review of this book. The experts have rated it quite negatively - as, indeed, the very Georgian reforms. And if any students of the Higher School of Economics are reading it - this is not an indicator of a success. Although. you can promote any publication", she said in an interview to the GeorgiaTimes.

"It's bad, unsuccessful book that does not hold water. It is based on the official statistics and statements by the authors of Georgian reforms, which were not critically estimated. And this fact deprives the book by Larisa Burakova its value as a serious investigation, since it is clear that in process of writing such books you cannot rely for the statistics and words. And most importantly is that the author stands on the ultraliberal positions in the economic sphere, and that those things, perceived negatively by many people, is an achievement in the eyes of Larisa Burakova - for example, the complete destruction of social sphere and ultraliberalization of labor legislation. These are the things that make life of simple worker unbearable and can hardly be estimated as a success", added Jana Amelina.

Our interviewee pointed out that some of the achievements of the Georgian authorities cannot be disclaimed - for example, new roads and police reform. But all the successes of Mikhail Saakashvili's team have nothing common with the economy, while this sphere is the subject of the study of the creators of the book "Why Georgia has managed". "We can see that agriculture is collapsed. After losing the Russian market, Georgian producers have been unable to find an alternative. And the whole industries, traditional for the country, are ruined, for example the viticulture. The Republic has always been self-sufficient. It was impossible to imagine that the vegetables and fruit would be supplied from Turkey and Ukraine, as it is now. In Georgia, one of the major items of export is the export of ferrous and nonferrous metals. And if you can call this achievement - then we have different ideas about success", noted Jana Amelina.

Maxim Sergeev

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