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Compiled by Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, August 10
Vephkhvadze’s criticism applauded by majority

Sakartvelos Respublika reports that Levan Vephkhvadze from the Parliamentary minority has stated to his fellow MPs that too many bad mistakes were made during the war period last August.

Political forces had a significant responsibility and could not fulfil it, Vephkhvadze said. Being in opposition doesn’t mean that you have to say that the Georgian armed forces have oppressed peaceful citizens, he said, this comment being a criticism of opposition members who have accused Georgia of starting the war. Despite our different political viewpoints we should have the same attitudes concerning the genesis of the war, Vephkhvadze said.

Vephkhvadze explained although society may have been divided before the war today different generations are united. His report was followed by applause from the majority side of Parliament.

503 hectare forest destroyed by occupiers

Rezonansi reports that the ecological losses of which occurred in the Borjomi ravine during last August’s war have now been evaluated. Zviad Jachvliani, acting head of the Samtskhe-Javakheti Environment Protection Bureau, has declared that it has been officially confirmed that the fire was caused by Russian fire bombs. The fire destroyed unique species of flora and fauna. Restoration of this would be very difficult because the ground has been burned one metre deep, though grants have been given for this.

The fire damaged both the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park and other protected territories. Simon Parunashvili, Director of the Samtskhe-Javakheti Forest Management Department, said 503 hectares of mostly coniferous forest have been destroyed.

Decline in Georgian economy began with Russian embargo - Machavariani

Rezonansi reports a statement by Mikheil Machavariani, the Parliament Vice Speaker, who said that last August’s war had had an important influence on the Georgian economy but the country had managed to overcome its crisis through international help.

“The negative influence on the Georgian economy began in 2006 with the Russian embargo. The war brought further bad results for the economy. The Georgian railway system, the economic artery of the country, was paralyzed till 23 August, and there was crisis and instability inside the country. Georgia is a country with a small economy which needs ongoing investment to achieve stability,” Machavariani stated.

He added that May 2009 was especially bad for the Georgian economy. But in June the situation improved, and therefore the Government will keep its promises in connection with social affairs, pensions and infrastructure.