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Compiled by Lera Khubunaia
Friday, March 16
Ambulance wait times average one hour

The response time of Tbilisi ambulances has become a problem according to Rezonansi. Especially during rush hours, people say that it is nearly impossible to connect with the 113 emergency line. If you are able to get through, it may take an hour for the ambulance to arrive at its destination.

Head of the Municipal Department for Social Services and Culture, Mamuka Katsarava, admits there is a problem, and notes that the reason is an increase in the number of emergency calls.

"City Hall is working hard to solve this problem and soon in the future we will make the right decision and solve it," Katsarava said.



Saakashvili is "pro-Russian": Papava

In an interview with Akhali Taoba, Paata Gugushvili Institute of Economics professor Lado Papava stated that he believes that President Mikheil Saakashvili is not a pro-Western politician.

"I never believed in this. He is pro-Western only at the level of his statements otherwise, with his behavior, what he did was more pro-Russian. The entire electricity [grid] is practically in the hands of Russian capital, the banking sector is a large Russian bank, mining-processing of copper and gold is in the hands of Russia, there is a strong Russian company in the telecommunications market, and he even invites Russian capital to enter [Georgia]," Papava claims. "Meanwhile, Russia has a plan to build a literal empire. Russian already absorbed Armenia into that empire; now it is Georgia's turn".

"After the Rose Revolution, Saakashvili opened the door for Russia's plans to form this empire," he continued. "In contrast to his anti-Russian rhetoric, Saakashvili announced on February 28 in Parliament that he is ready for a relationship with Russia; but he will not give up territorial unity. It was the right thing to say, but during his appearance in Parliament, Saakashvili did not mention anything about the Georgia-Abkhazia and Georgia-Ossetia problems. Basically, he made this announcement in a way that on one of the most critical issues, which is Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Saakashvili did not say anything.

While Papava had many harsh words for Saakashvili, he did acknowledge that the recent lifting of the visa requirement for all Russian Federation citizens was a positive step. "Regarding the visa regime with Russia and changing it into a one-way visa regime, Saakashvili improved the mistake which he made by assigning a non-visa regime only to [those residents of North Caucasian nations]. Other than that, this act will not give any special effects".

"Whether or not Saakashvili plans to become Prime Minister does not matter to me; and it has never been interesting for me, because Saakashvili does not have any other option," Papava asserted. "So the fact that Saakashvili changed the Constitution, that the Prime Minister will be the country's leader, that he is moving Parliament to Kutaisi so that he can avoid public rallies in Tbilisi all these were done so that Saakashvili could become Prime Minister. But, if he decides to announce that he plans to become Prime Minister, with this he will make enemies in the West. If he announces that he will not become Prime Minister, the United National Movement, as a party, will go down".