Weekly digest
23 September, 2010

Russian organization, ‘Mothers of Soldiers”, presumes Russia is planning to attack Georgia from Dagestan. As Svetlana Utkina, representative of the organization, says, groups of soldiers are sent to Dagestan from St. Petersburg.
‘We received letters from the mothers of the soldiers of military unit 3526, notifying that their sons are forced to sign contracts. The unit officers say they prepare soldiers in Dagestan for Sochi Olympic Games’ security purposes. That’s absurd! Olympic Games are to be held in three years

and these soldiers complete their military services after several months’, Utkina said. Military officers take away mobile phones and SIM cards from the soldiers. Transportation of soldiers to the North Caucasus is planned for the next week, Utkina adds.
The organization informs that bazooka battalion has daily trainings lately.
The organization members deduce that Russia is planning to attack Georgia from Dagestan.
‘Scenario is the same we saw before the war in Chechnya. Soldiers had no right to get any information or contact their families. I am afraid that the attack against Georgia is planned from the side of Dagestan’, Chairwoman of the organization, Ella Polyakova said.
Mothers of soldiers held a protest action in front of St. Petersburg military district headquarters, protesting the decision of Russian military leadership.

* Nine service members of international coalition in Afghanistan died Tuesday after their helicopter crashed in the volatile Southern region where troops are ramping up pressure on Taliban insurgents.
One civilian, a NATO soldier and an Afghan soldier were also injured. The nationalities of the NATO personnel are not known yet.
It is unclear what caused the crash. In its statement NATO declared: “There are no reports of enemy fire in the area.”
At least 529 foreign troops have been killed this year in Afghanistan that makes 2010 the deadliest year since the US-led operations started in 2001. ISAF did not give the exact location of the incident in its statement, adding that the nationalities of those involved will not be released until their relatives have been contacted.
“The cause of the crash is under investigation,” it said. “There are no reports of enemy fire in the area.”
There are almost 150,000 foreign troops fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan, supporting about 300,000 Afghan security forces.

* Jury trial system starts on 1 October. Deputy Chairman of Supreme Court Zaza Meishvili and Deputy Minister of Justice Giorgi Vashadze answered the journalists’ questions regarding the said issue at the press club of Prime Time.
Meishvili said that jury trial will come into force in Tbilisi first; and it will hear the cases of premeditated murders.
Jurors will be citizens of the age from 18 to 70-year; registered in Tbilisi. They should not be lawyers, psychiatrists, psychologists, convicts, persons with psychical and health problems.
100 citizens will be picked at random from the electoral register. Twelve persons will be selected and other two will be in reserve. The selected citizens of Georgia are obliged to carry out the duties of jurors. Any person, who refuses to serve in the jury, will have to pay fine in the amount of GEL 1000-1500.
Jurors will bring in a verdict without a judge’s involvement. Jurors will state whether the convict is guilty or not. If both defendant and plaintiff agree, jurors assemble in three days to determine measure of punishment. The case is discussed by judge if the sides object to allow the jurors to hear the case.
Costs of transportation and all other expenses will be covered by the state. The employer the juror works with is obliged to assist the juror in meeting obligation.
Jury trial will be introduced throughout Georgia during next two years. Tbilisi Civil Court will hear Eastern Georgian cases, and Kutaisi Civil Court will deal with Western Georgian cases.

* ‘The wine crisis is overcome in Georgia’, Mikheil Saakashvili said at the opening of a new hotel in the village of Kisiskhevi, Kakheti region.  
‘I would like to thank Vladimir Putin: due to his sanctions, quality of our wine has improved. Georgia started producing high-quality wine’, Saakashvili said and added that the quality of Georgian wine equals French and Spanish productions and now Georgia should concentrate on increased export.
’Russia’s attempts directed against our wine were in vain; the crisis is overcome. We started to produce high-quality wine. I know that foreigners are treated to Georgian wine in Russia’, Saakashvili said.

* Low quality of tourism service has obviously shrunk the inflow of visitors to Abkhazia. Many of those Abkhazians engaged in the tourism business have become impolite and even rude to tourists, De-facto President Bagapsh said in a TV interview. “We have been seeding love for Abkhazia for centuries, but respect can be lost within a season,” he said.
Georgian authorities blame Russia for the decrease of tourists’ flow to Abkhazia.
However, Bagapsh said this presumption is wrong. “Georgia should stop proclaiming that it is Russia that hinders Georgia’s normal life,” Bagapsh said. Human and other relations will improve when Georgia recognizes the independence of Abkhazia, he added.

* ‘Georgia is the country where you can sunbathe on the Black Sea beach and just a 30-minutes ride away, go skiing in the mountains, as they do in California,’ President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili said in his speech in New York, at NASDAQ stock market .
‘It is a state with minimum bureaucracy and taxes. The country is actually free from criminals and corruption. So many reforms have not been introduced anywhere in the region as in Georgia in the last 5 years. Georgia is one of substantial tourism centers. I noticed a trailer about tourism in Georgia at Times Square,’ Saakashvili said.