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Compiled by Lera Khubunaia
Tuesday, February 28
New Black Sea town project: folly or future?

The "Lazika" project, concerning the construction of a new town near Poti, will begin this year. The chair of Parliament's Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee, George Meladze, discussed the issue with InterpressNews.

For now, Meladze cannot say how the government will finance the construction, estimate the total cost, or even the amount needed for this year's work.

Last year, President Mikheil Saakashvili announced his intention to build a new town, called Lazika, but project details remain scarce.

Rezonansi newspaper asked two public figures for their opinion of the Lazika project.

“I think it is a good project. It’s not like they are destroying anything, they are building it. I don’t know all the details about this project, but I think it won’t be a bad idea. To call Lazika a new town would be little too loud. I think it will be more like a new neighborhood,” said composer Nato Gelashvili. “If we remember, building new neighborhoods is not always accepted from the beginning; the same will happen for Lazika. At first it is always a very controversial topic... It should not be bad, but calling it a town, in my opinion, is too much.”

Poet Jansug Charkviani says, "This 'town' is built by some immature people. What Lazika are you talking about, the country is running away, it is running away. For whom are they building this town? I know one thing that no one is left in the towns".

“I have no idea for whom they are building this town; I thought it was a joke, but I think Lazika should not be a total disaster. I guess it will be created for population of other nations, which will mess us up one day. I know that all this is happening against our society.”

Ivanishvili’s citizenship decision to come in April

It has been almost five months since Bidzina Ivanishvili was stripped of his citizenship. President Mikheil Saakashvili revoked the billionaire's citizenship after it was revealed that Ivanishvili had three passports, violating Georgian law.

While Ivanishvili has returned his Russian and French passports, the Civil Court has not satisfied his request to restore his Georgian citizenship. Saakashvili must decide to restore Ivanishvili's citizenship based on the recommendation of the Civil Registry Agency and the Ministry Internal Affairs, reports Mteli Kvira.

According to Georgian law, the Registry and the Ministry were supposed to present their conclusion by February 14; both organizations have failed to meet that deadline.

Ivanishvili’s lawyers are waiting for an explanation of the delay, according to Zakaria Kutsnashvili, lawyer and member of the Georgian Dream initiative group. He believes that the authorities have found in favour of Ivanishvili, and so they are merely trying to stall the return of his citizenship.

By law, the President is obligated to make a decision within 90 days. Ivanishvili applied for citizenship on January 5, therefore Saakashvili’s final decision is due on April 5.