Caucasian Press Review (October 5-11th)

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Caucasian Press Review (October 5-11th)

The Russian Trade Representative in Azerbaijan, Eldar Tlyabichev, told the Azerbaijani News about Russian-Azerbaijani economic cooperation. According to him, the main characteristic of trade-economic ties between the two countries is the high level of diversification of Russian exports, the structure of which has a share of machinery, equipment, vehicles, foodstuffs, chemicals, electric power, ferrous, non-ferrous metals, steel and other goods with high added value that is not less than 90%. In January-July 2015, machinery, equipment and vehicles were delivered from Russia to Azerbaijan worth $475 million, as well as foodstuffs and agricultural raw materials worth $369.4 million, metals and products about $186.1 million. The structure of Russia's imports from Azerbaijan during the same period was formed mainly with the help of foodstuffs and agricultural raw materials worth $131.9 million, mineral products worth about $28.4 million, and textiles and articles worth around $13.2 million. 

At the end of 2014, the Russian-Azerbaijani trade turnover reached a historic figure of $4 billion, showing an increase of 12% in comparison with 2013, despite the fact that there was not the best situation on the world markets and weak market conditions. Dynamics of mutual trade turnover were among the best in the CIS.

As for regional cooperation, Tlyabichev noted that the 6th Russian-Azerbaijani Forum in Yekaterinburg confirmed this positive tendency. Today, more than 70 regions of Russia have contacts with business circles of Azerbaijan. Both intergovernmental and export bilateral agreements among centers of support of the regions, the regional offices of Chambers of Commerce and the Azerbaijani fund AZPROMO were signed with a number of regions. This year Azerbaijan was visited by delegations from the Astrakhan, Tomsk and Nizhny Novgorod regions, the Altai and Stavropol Territories, Bashkortostan, Chuvashia and St. Petersburg. Five regions of Russia are due to visit Azerbaijan.

More than 600 joint Russian-Azerbaijani enterprises are operating in agriculture and industry, as well as in the sphere of information technologies. About 300 of them are in the form of joint economic entities. According to the Russian trade representative, the agreement, signed in September of last year during the 4th Caspian Summit, will help further development of joint ventures between the governments of Russia and Azerbaijan on promotion and mutual protection of investments, as well as the ratification, which is expected in the near future.

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The 'Ingushetia' newspaper reported about a meeting that took place a few days ago. The head of the republic, Yunus-bek Yevkurov, met with journalists, who were interested in the results of the participation of the Ingush delegation at the investment forum in Sochi. According to Yevkurov, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and the investment forum in Sochi showed that a large number of business leaders of Western countries can successfully cooperate with Russia, despite the imposed sanctions. The current political situation cannot affect serious businessmen, who have friendly relations with Russia. At the forum in Sochi Ingushetia signed working contracts worth more than 11 billion rubles, including a state contract with Rostelecom worth 250 million rubles. According to the agreement, the Dzheyrakhsky region will connect the flat part of the Republic with cable connections. This will give an impetus to the development of the mountainous areas, as well as the tourism sector. Another contract was signed for 80 million rubles that involves construction of a JSC Transneft sports and recreation complex in the village of Yandare.

In addition, several projects will be implemented by some private entrepreneurs. One project worth 500 million rubles is for the construction a large modern hospital in Karabulak, a large shopping and entertainment center in Nazran, as well as a major logistics center and greenhouses on an area of ​​50 hectares. There are a number of projects for the construction of high-rise housing, economy class housing in Sunzha costing more than 1 billion rubles, as well as a project worth 800 million rubles in order to equip cars with gas cylinders.

During his visit to Sochi, Yevkurov discussed with the mayor the possibility of allocating a site for the construction of a representative mission of Ingushetia in order to open a shop for selling Ingush brand goods. A representative mission of the republic is to be built in Yekaterinburg after an agreement that was reached during Yevkurov’s recent visit to the Russian-Azerbaijani forum held there. There is an agreement with the region about future cooperation between the Nazran perinatal center and the representatice mission of the republic. 

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According to the newspaper Dagestani Pravda, has been a long time since the beginning of the operation of the Caspian heavy sheet-glass plant, which was built near the village of Tube in October 2013. The initiators of the project considered that agreements with buyers from all over the world regarding the supply of finished products have been reached. Last year, factory products were exported to Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. New agreements were reached this year in order to supply heavy sheet-glass to Uzbekistan and Armenia.

Recently the factory has received the European certificate of quality. According to the executive director of the plant, Abakar Mudunova, an independent examination was carried out in early September in the Netherlands. Now the production of the factory has the CE mark and it is available in 27 countries of the European Union. 

The company also cooperates with the sea port of Makhachkala for shipment of its export products. This allows it to deliver products on long-term contracts to Turkey. It is planning to enter the promising markets of other countries with access to the sea.

* * *
The Georgian government is negotiating with Gazprom about increasing the transit of gas from Russia to Armenia through Georgia, as well as about possibilities of Russian gas supplies to commercial operators and private companies. ‘‘Since 2007, Georgia has stopped buying Russian gas, but the country receives 10% of the total volume of Russian gas transit to Armenia,’’ Georgian mass media cite Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze.

The Free Georgia cites the words of the minister, who stressed that the negotiations with Gazprom are related to Georgia's desire to increase the number of energy resources. At a meeting in Brussels, the Georgian side raised the issue of increasing the volume of gas supplied to Armenia. It is important for Georgia that the pipeline could work at peak capacity in order for the country to receive gas at a higher level. If Georgian commercial companies have such a desire, they can also receive Russian gas. "Our main supplier is Azerbaijan, but, like every developed country, we think about the diversification of energy sources. We mean supplements of additional volumes of gas not only from Russia. We are actively working with Iran. Taking into account our geopolitical position, Georgia can become a transit country. In this case, Iranian gas will be supplied to Turkey, and then to Europe. Therefore, we will facilitate such important international projects as Shah Deniz as much as possible," Kaladze told reporters. Information about negotiations with Gazprom caused mixed reactions in Georgia. The Georgian PM's Special Representative on the settlement of relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, said that he sees nothing wrong in an increase of transit from Russia. "We have received gas from Russia for many years. It is a part of the transit, which we transit from Russia in the Armenian direction. Azerbaijan remains and will remain our strategic partner in this regard,’’ Abashidze said.

The internet portal Georgia-Online reports that the management of the television and the magazine Tabula is preparing to hold the protest ‘Gazprom is a Gas Chamber of Freedom’ on October 17th near the government building in Tbilisi. "The freedom of Georgia is under threat, the government makes us walk into Gazprom’s trap. Dependence on Gazprom means a submissive, poor Georgia in darkness. The energy independence of Georgia is an achievement of the Georgian people. We shouldn’t fall into the trap," the organizers said.

The United National Movement party demanded that the Security Council of Georgia be convened. According to representatives of the opposition, negotiations with Gazprom should be considered by the authorities in this format. According to representatives of the party, the decision to negotiate with Gazprom has a political character and it is aimed at easing the country's energy security.

* * *

It is planned to open a number of infrastructure facilities before the new ski season in 2015-2016 on the site of the resort Arkhyz in Karachay-Cherkessia, which are being built by the company Resorts of the North Caucasus and residential investors on a special economic zone, created on the territory of Zelenchuk and the Urupsky District of Karachay-Cherkessia.The local newspaper Republic Day informs that the Minister for the North Caucasus, Lev Kuznetsov, and the head of Karachay-Cherkessia, Rashid Temrezov, checked the readiness of the new infrastructure facilities being built now.

The most large-scale construction is at Lunnaya Polyana. It is the second village to be included in the resort Arkhyz, according to the project. The General Director of the company Resorts of the North Caucasus Oleg Gorchev said that 21 assembly support and the two stations on the slope have already been installed during the construction of a new chairlift with a length of 2,400 meters and a height difference from 1704 to 2232 meters. Works on laying the cable and installation of cabins with convertible tops are to start in the near future.

Three ski slopes of blue, red and blue, as well as black categories with a total length of 6.9 km are being built now. A multifunctional center, as well as an artificial snow system will be put into operation at the beginning of the winter season. It is being built without a storage pond, the water supply will be under pressure from the bottom of the river Arkhyz to upward.

There are two objects in the village of Romantic, which are in high readiness at the stage of finishing work and installation of internal equipment. They are a restaurant entertainment complex and the hotel Vertical (200 rooms). 

According to investors, the restaurant and entertainment complex will solve the problem of hundreds of tourists with meal services at the resort. There are a hall catering for 700 people, 5 bars, a restaurant with 300 seats, a grill restaurant with 180 seats, a karaoke club with 36 seats, as well as terraces with 150-200 seats. According to customers' facilities, 400 people work on the construction of the facilities, mainly experts from Karachay-Cherkessia. 140 vacancies will appear after the opening of the entertainment complex, and another 60 vacancies in the new hotel.

The Minister for North Caucasus Affairs pointed out that it is one of the priority projects for the region, the Ministry, as well as at the level of the Russian government. He expressed his confidence that the number of those who would like travel to resorts is significantly high, taking into account the general trends that are now taking place in the tourism sector.

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