Thursday, 14 April 2011

"Together against road accidents" social project

SUKHUM -- The "Together against road accidents" nation-wide social project starts on April 14. The project is carried out by the AQUAFON Company in partnership with the "Imaginarium" creative group with support from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia, the Republican drug abuse clinic, the Committee on Youth and Sports of the city of Sukhum, the "Ego-design" company, the "SOMA" radio, the "Riorita" radio and the "Lady Boss" magazine.

The purpose of the "Together against road accidents" project is to make it clear that each of us is responsible for what is happening on the roads of Abkhazia today, and that each of us must contribute to the struggle against this disease of today's life!

The project also aims at "reaching out to everyone driving a car that only the society in which driving even in a state of minimum alcoholic or narcotic intoxication meets with universal condemnation and results in an inevitable administrative liability has a happy future".

"The horrific number of accidents' victims is evidence of the fact that we must struggle against this disease of the society together and in every way possible. We need long-term projects aimed not only at forming the driver's self-consciousness, but also at developing the public mechanism, capable of stopping self-destruction of the nation", the project's authors believe.

"Our sons, brothers, fathers perish on the Psou-Ingur motorway! The average age of the killed on the roads is 25 - 40 years. Each of them made plans for the future and was the future of Abkhazia himself! We lose valuable lives of our small republic. Therefore, every time, getting into the car, remember: your children need an alive father! Your parents need an alive son!", the project's press release reads, in part.

Source: Apsny Press


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Bagapsh: My thanks to Turkey

Hasan Kanbolat - Today's Zaman

12 April 2011

Sergei Bagapsh, the leader of Abkhazia, a country that declared its independence from Georgia in 1992, completed his visit to Turkey and return to Sukhumi.

Bagapsh has been in office for six years. Previously he had planned to pay a visit to Turkey on several occasions (Oc. 17-24, 2007 and April 21-25, 2007), but these visits had been canceled at the last moment at the request of Tbilisi. In this regard, Bagapsh’s current visit was considerably important, and if we are to analyze it, we should first note that he does not regard Turkey as a foreign country and treats the political distance between Turkey and Abkhazia as “a matter within the family.” For this reason, Bagapsh particularly refrained from criticizing Turkey’s Georgia policy. He also noted that he pays respect to Turkey’s Abkhazia policy.

Referring to his visit to Turkey, he said: “Our sole purpose with this visit is to thank to Turkey. If we had been officially invited, Turkey would have received many reactions. With its smartly designed policies, Turkey had become a leading country in the region. Turkey is exerting great efforts to maintain peace in the region. I would like to thank to Turkey for its tolerance. Turkey is a serious country and we always respect its actions. We wouldn’t want to cause any harm to Turkey in order to get our desires fulfilled. We appreciate Turkey’s position. First of all, we want Turkey to understand us. Of course, this process will start and continue. We believe that we will make great progress in this respect.”

Bagapsh is determined to establish ties with Turkey through a gradual process. It is clear from his statements that he intends to boost economic relations with Turkey in the first place. Abkhazia is both a secure and stable country. Turkish businessmen may use this country as a base for their trade with the Russian Federation. Tourism, energy, industry and agricultural investments may be made in Abkhazia.

Bagapsh also seeks to reinforce the ties between Turkish citizens of Abkhaz origins and Abkhazia. “The Abkhaz diaspora in Turkey is strong and this visit was made possible through their efforts. I am grateful for the tolerance Turkey affords to us so that we can re-establish the ties among our people. [A total of] 500,000 Abkhazian live in Turkey. We are a small country. We have demographic problems. So, we wish our people in Turkey to return to the homeland. However, this is not easy. Turkey is very advanced in many respects. The Demographic Committee will provide homes and jobs for our sisters and brothers coming from Turkey. Currently, it is vitally important for us to boost our demographic power,” he said.

Touching also on Abkhazia’s relations with Georgia and the Russian Federation, Bagapsh stressed: “Abkhazia has never been part of Georgian territory. We have never attacked Georgia. We are ready for all sorts of negotiations with Georgia, but as two recognized countries. No other sort of negotiations are possible.”

He also commented on the forceful seizure of the Turkish vessels in the Black Sea by Georgia. “Georgia is no different from the Somali pirates. Such an act is wrong. It is not proper,” he said.

Pointing out that Abkhazia is being portrayed as part of or as a region of the Russian Federation, Bagapsh said: “Such a thing is unacceptable. Abkhazia has to maintain its bilateral relations as an independent state.” Abkhazia’s independence is recognized by the Russian Federation, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru. Bagapsh claimed that many more countries will recognize Akbhazia’s independence in the next few months.

Bagapsh politely knocked on Turkey’s door, and it opened, and he became a guest of Turkey, then returned to his home after thanking Turkey. After this, Turkish-Abkhaz relations will improve on a multi-dimensional level without bothering Georgia. These improved relations will result in sea and air transport. Educational, cultural, humanitarian and development aid and increased visits by both countries’ delegations will create new ripples of improving relations. The stability, security and welfare of the eastern Black Sea region depend on the harmony between Turkey, the Russian Federation, Georgia and Abkhazia.


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Lots of Laughs, Little Freedom On Television, by Paul Rimple

Few things rattle Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili more than criticism about Georgia’s media freedom.

At the 2010 Milken Institute Global Conference, the Georgian president said: “Everything is said in Georgia, there are no taboos. There are no libel, defamation laws.”

Nobody understands this better than Rustavi 2, the country’s most-watched television station. Co-owned by Davit Bezhuashvili, brother of the chief of intelligence, the station functions as a state propaganda tool and has perfected the technique of “creative subjectivity.”

Because the Georgian media are not permitted into Abkhazia, they must rely on eyewitness accounts from ambiguous sources. In other cases, they create the news with the complacency of the government.

Several months prior to the 2008 war, Tbilisi claimed that the Abkhaz attacked two busloads of voters in the border village of Kurcha, which Norwegian Helsinki Committee investigators deemed a poorly staged provocation. Somehow, a Rustavi 2 crew happened to be in the insignificant border village to film the entire sequence with one camera positioned with its back to the line of fire.

Imedi TV’s fake broadcast in March 2010 of a Russian invasion is a case in point. It scored few unscrupulous points in Georgia because this is what is largely expected from the news.

Tbilisi has been working on media damage control by slowly pushing a transparency law though parliament that would ban ownership of broadcasters by offshore-registered firms. Media experts are pressing for provisions like easing access to public information, a long-time obstacle for journalists.

While the bill has been applauded as a step forward, the media situation in Georgia is still a farce. Nobody knows who really makes the decisions about what stories are covered or not. In its media freedom index, Freedom House ranks Georgia “partly free,” next to Nepal.

It’s hard to take Georgia’s media freedom seriously when the government trumpets its democratic development while all the main media outlets are influenced by government, politics and economic control. It’s like saying that having an independent media would be a threat to your freedom.

Paul Rimple is a journalist in Tbilisi.



Documentary Gives Alternative Version of Polling Day Shooting
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Jun.'08 / 19:21

An investigative documentary produced by the Reporter studio has claimed that a shootout and rocket attack on two buses in the Abkhaz conflict zone on election day, May 21, was pre-arranged and has indicated that it was staged by the Georgian side.


The Georgian president accused of manipulation
The article below was published in Le Figaro in French.

Le président géorgien accusé de manipulation, Le Figaro, May 26
The explosion of two buses in front of cameras raises questions.