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Corrupt tourism of Dagestan

16.11.2012  |  14:48

Corrupt tourism of Dagestan. 28713.jpeg

Dagestan is going to become a big tourist cluster. Everyone has long known about political and not only risks. Rules of play in the Dagestani tourist business also do not add positive. One of the major local operators complains that some forces have been long trying to squeeze it out from the market. The process is being organized in accordance with local specificity.


Travel company "Sirius" is not new to the tourist market of the country, and its founder is also not the last person in Dagestan. Magomedkhan Aratsilov is deputy of the People's Assembly of the Republic and a famous athlete, silver medalist of the Olympic Games in Moscow. Since 1994, in cooperation with "Dagestan Airlines", it is engaged in regular charter transportation of tourists to Turkey. But for nine years, since 2003, there is a conflict between the two business structures. "Sirius" believes that "Dagestan Airlines" is squeezing out the company from the market through its front offices.

The story began with the fact that in 2003 Mirza Omariyev became the head of "Dagestan Airlines". He, his cousin Hasan Aliyev and Zhabir Abakarov, who replaced Omariyev in 2011, began active displacement of "Sirius" from the tourist market. "Sirius" severed the contracts on freight aircraft. Immediately after this similar deals were concluded with other firms: Turkish "Setenay-Tourism", Vladikavkaz "Around the World" and so on. All of these companies were fictitious. They had no license for tour operator activities; they were not listed in the appropriate register and did not even pay insurance contributions.

"In 2005, we applied to the Federal Antimonopoly Service in the Republic of Dagestan with the requirement to ensure their rights in the market. And in February 2006, the Federal Antimonopoly Service made a decision to oblige "Dagestan Airlines" to grant agreements-freights for the aircrafts to the "Sirius".

In 2006, the FAS issued a new decision and determination that the "Sirius" must get freights for aircraft on the line "Makhachkala-Istanbul-Makhachkala". After a few days the action on these decision and orders were suspended. Thus, the very FAS, without legal rights, suspended its decision and order. We turned to the court to complain about the inaction of the FAS", says the founder of the "Sirius" Magomedkhan Aratsilov. "But lobbyists of our opponents made a cunning move. FAS issued a new regulation with the new deadline. Formally, it was in our favor, but the text had special errors. So, it could not be fulfilled. Thus, FAS actually contributed to the solution of the dispute in favor of competitors of the "Sirius", says Aratsilov.

"Sirius" also has legal proceedings with "Dagestan Airlines". But avail, since the company is being supported in the very top of the regional government. "Leadership of the "Dagestan Airlines" claimed to carry out regular flights to Turkey, while freight is provided only for charter flights. However, "Dagestan Airlines" carries out no regular flights due to lack of legal basis for it. Moreover, there is documents notarized ny the Ministry of Transport of Turkey in respect of the flights "Makhachkala-Istanbul". It states that flights on the route "Makhachkala Makhachkala-Istanbul" from March 28, 2004 to December 16, 2011 were chartered, not regular. Flights were carried out under the order bogus travel agencies. That is, here we see outright forgery, which is easy to prove by documents", says Magomedkhan Aratsilov.

In 2011, the story developed. "Sirius" concluded with "Dagestan Airlines" freight of seats on the flight "Makhachkala-Istanbul-Makhachkala". FAS of Dagestan, despite the fact that previously it had no objection to the transaction, initiated investigation into the creation of obstacles to market access to other economic entities. The reason was the complaint of two commercial companies, travel agencies "Emerald" and "Cruise", which believed that the agreement between the "Sirius" and "Dagestan Airlines" violated the antitrust laws. However, neither the "Cruise" nor "Emerald" were included in the tour operators register. "I was told that one of the deputy general directors of "Dagestan Airlines" stands behind the interests of these companies. I know that this deputy director demanded from us the concessions in favor to competitors", says Magomedkhan Aratsilov.

Currently, the company "Dagestan Airlines" has big problems. In December 2011, it was deprived of air operator certificate. Currently, the airline is actually idle. The authorities of Dagestan are urgently seeking funds to address its many debts. In particular, they are considering the option of attracting foreign investor in the face of the rich native of Dagestan Suleiman Kerimov. Kerimov's help may positively influence the "Dagestan Airlines". However, having surrounded itself with a mass of fictitious entities, management of the company might well have withdrawn very substantial funding from the turnover.


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