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The News in Brief

Wednesday, October 7
“Without Putin” - new book launched for sale in Russia

The launch of a book entitled Without Putin has been held in Russia. It is written in the form of a dialogue between famous Russian journalist Evgeny Kisilev and former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. A lot of things which happened during Kasyanov’s premiership are discussed, in particular, the case of the YUKOS Oil Company, controlled by Russian billionaire Mikhail Khodorovsky and a number of prominent Russian businessmen, which was declared bankrupt by a Russian court. The book also reports how during the Yeltsin Government and Vladimir Putin’s Presidency freedom of speech has been suppressed in the Russian Federation.

The author tries to answer the question of how Russia came to have an authoritarian regime. All the initial sale copies of the book have already been sold.

“Today what is going on in Russia matters for more people. The people have the feeling that they can change nothing. But changes will take place, and much earlier than one can imagine.

“We intend to take this book to Ukraine. It is also very important to publish it in Georgia. It is important to show a Georgian audience, and everyone who fights for democracy, how the face of democracy has been transformed in Russia,” Mikhail Kasyanov said. (Rustavi 2)

Georgia takes part in international economic conference in Turkey

The annual two-day conference of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund has opened in Istanbul, Turkey. 186 countries, including Georgia, are participating. Prime Minister Nika Gilauri leads the Georgian delegation.

The delegation has planned important meetings. The Prime Minister has already met the President of the European Bank for Development and Reconstruction, Thomas Mirow. They discussed the stability and infrastructural projects of the banking sector in Georgia in which the EBRD will participate.

Irakli Ezugbaia, the head of Georgian Railway, is also attending the conference. As previously reported moving the main Tbilisi railway station from the centre of the city has been planned and EBRD intends to fund the project. (Rustavi 2)

Political Affairs Director of Council of Europe meets non-Parliamentary opposition

Director General of Political Affairs and Democracy of the Council of Europe Jean Louis Loran has held a meeting with representatives of the non-Parliamentary opposition Kakha Kukava (Conservative) Nino Burjanadze (Democratic Movement – United Georgia) and Eka Beselia (Movement for United Georgia).

Kakha Kukava told journalists prior to this meeting that all pressing questions, including political prisoners, would be discussed. He said that there were 80 political prisoners in Georgia, and that the freedom of the mass media and the judicial system and electoral and judicial reforms would also be touched upon.

Eka Beselia said she would present concrete materials concerning the actions taken in Georgia against opponents of the Government. She said she would draw attention to political reprisals, political prisoners and illegally condemned persons. Nino Burjanadze made no comment before the meeting. (Interpressnews)

Gigi Ugulava – Change of local government election date not planned

The date of the next local government elections is not planned to change, Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava has told journalists.

Ugulava said that the elections would be held on May 30 2010 and no one has discussed delaying them. “We know that Parliament is considering changes in the law on local government and there is also work being done to perfect the electoral system. After this has been done the local government elections will be held at the end of May as planned,” the Mayor declared. (Interpressnews)

Head of Procurement Service of Poti seaport detained for bribery

Officers of the Constitutional Security Department of the Georgian Foreign Ministry have detained the head of the Procurement Service of Poti seaport, Besik Jojua, for bribery. The founders of the European Service Centre Ltd, Giuli Kvaratskhelia and Bezhan Molashkhia, have also been arrested after reportedly paying a bribe of 39,000 GEL to Besik Jojua.

Along with other companies European Service Centre participated in the tender to lay railway lines leading to the seaport. In order to gain this GEL 284,000 contract the representatives of the European Service Centre allegedly made a corrupt bargain with Besik Jojua. The crime carries a term of imprisonment of up to eleven years. (Rustavi 2)