Borjomi to become a drink of reconciliation06.03.2009 | 13:33
Georgia is putting the license for Borjomi drink production to tender. The initial price is 8 million US dollars. "Protection" of the national patrimony subject to auction to which the source of this mineral water can definitely be referred, is close to become an indicator of patriotism. Meanwhile Borjomi might very well become "a drink of reconciliation".
Why? And why not? In prospect a Russian businessman may become the owner of the license for production of this healing drink (this quality of Borjomi water was not denied even by Russia's Chief Sanitation Officer Gennady Onishenko) for the coming twenty-five years. Such an assumption was immediately expressed by the Georgian oppositionists, economists and various experts hardly did the information on the license auction appear. Meanwhile the auction will be held on March 20.
To protect Georgia from "Russian intervention" (though speculative) is a prestigious affair today. Experts asked not to allow that. Nino Burdzhanadze's party "Democratic Movement - United Georgia" came forward with a special statement: "Announcement of the auction for the sale of Borjomi water production license acquires a special meaning against the background of problems existing in the Georgian-Russian relations, military rhetoric, quite high rates of Russia's direct influence on the Georgian economy and irreversible process of transfer of strategic facilities to the Russian state capital". Kommersant radio station (Georgia) even reported that the Georgian mineral water market players had got united in order to protect Borjomi.
However there is a little problem that creates certain difficulties for a triumphant campaign protecting the Georgian national patrimony against Russia. According to the experts the potential buyer of the Borjomi production license is David Yakobashvili. Exactly, the very Chairman of the Board of "Wimm-Bill-Dann" that the journalists call "a real capitalist", "the owner of factories, newspapers and ships".
Wimm-Bill-Dann does not confirm this information yet giving no denial either. Meanwhile David Yakobashvili has never been mean investing in Georgia. Russian Wimm-Bill-Dann is represented there by "Gruzinsky product" company. Besides not the company but personally David Yakobashvili can take part in the auction. To call Yakobashvili Russian would be too bold even in anti-Russian Tbilisi. So the idle speculations about "Russia's hand" in the Georgian economy gradually subside as equally "Georgia's hand" in Russia can be discussed.
Under such circumstances if David Yakobashvili really has serious intentions towards Borjomi this mineral water has a chance to become a "drink of reconciliation". Politics is an unpredictable thing. This week the wind of changes started to blow. Both Moscow and Tbilisi acknowledged the necessity of direct dialogue between Russia and Georgia. The starting point for de-escalation of confrontation is economic partnership as both parties believe.
By the way in 2007 the Georgian media published the rating of 80 richest Georgians in the world. The list included Georgian residents and people of Georgian origin living in different countries of the world. The data were compiled on the basis of anonymous poll of businessmen and experts. The results of the research showed that Georgian oligarchs live in 9 world countries - Georgia, Russia, Turkey, the USA, Israel, Ukraine, Austria, France and Spain. Even according to this information a quarter of all Georgian oligarchs lives in Russia.
An interesting thing is that the oligarch rating leaders - Bidzina Ivanishvili and Kakha Bendukidze - represent Georgia. It is common knowledge they have earned their capital in Russia. So Georgia is unanimous believing that big money and big investments start in Russia. So it is never late to drink Borjomi for Georgian-Russian partnership.