ABKHAZIA IN THE MODERN DAYS. WHAT TO DO? (Part VI)
I am not an economist, therefore it would be incorrect to suggest any specific economic calculations or schemes. In order to develop a specific and effective economic strategy we should appeal to the experts.
By the way, the experts presented a very interesting project at the national forum “Strategy-2025”, which was held in Sukhum on 2 June, 2018. The project was developed within the framework of the “25 steps for the development of the economy of Abkhazia until 2025” program with the assistance of consulting company Strategy Partners Group, but, unfortunately, it remains unclaimed.
The purpose of the reflections that I will share today is not a specific program, but only the determination of the possible direction and principles of the development of the economy of our country, as well as the factors that must be taken into account.
Abkhazia is a small country with a small population. This is the first and main factor that we should definitely keep in mind. We need to be aware that a serious economic breakthrough cannot be realized without good specialists, without our own currency and monetary system, without production, without high technologies, without good relations in international markets, etc. But it is impossible to gain all these things without human resources.
It should be noted that any dreams of creating high-tech industries (IT, engineering, biotechnology, etc.) are destroyed when we face realities. Our reality is a low percentage of the working-age population, a low level of education due to the lack of a high-quality system for the formation of institutions of secondary and higher education. The Sukhum Industrial College and the Sukhumpribor factory will not give us the required number of qualified programmers and engineers for an economic breakthrough to create the simplest computers or software. I do not think that it is possible to produce competitive products on the basis of these institutions.
The second factor we need to draw our attention to is that the economic model based on the principles of “gain” in complex financial schemes, on building up the so-called “pyramids”, using cryptocurrencies, creating offshore zones, etc. without real production, without providing real assets and without adequate administration, in small countries, like Abkhazia, is doomed to complete failure with tragic consequences for the population.
The third factor is our land and subsoil. This is perhaps the only valuable asset of Abkhazia that allows us to conduct a variety of economic activities. However, due to the small area of the country, the possibility of creating any giant concentrated productions is excluded.
Summing up, I will formulate my vision of the development of the economy of Abkhazia.
The rules of doing business in our country, if we designate them in brief, should be based on the following principal positions:
- Improving the quality of administration in the economy.
- The withdrawal of the maximum possible part of the economy from the shadow (it requires: a) the laws in accordance with which every citizen of the country declares his income and property; b) changes in tax legislation; (c) reducing administrative barriers, lifting certain bans, etc.).
- Agriculture and tourism should maintain the status of priority sectors.
- Development of processing, including agro-industrial industries with minimal labor requirements.
- Rational use of natural resources (water, timber, coal, inert materials and mainland oil) with tangible benefits for every citizen of the country (in particular, through the creation of popular funds similar to those ones successfully used in Norway. Funds are used to ensure the social rights of citizens and growth of salaries and pensions).
- Development of alternative environmentally useful energy (mini-hydro, wind and solar panels).
Administration in the economy
Speaking about the administration in the economy, it should be noted that it is the rational and conscientious management of the economy is the key to the effectiveness of the results.
Unfortunately, the economy of Abkhazia became a victim of two negative phenomena at the same time: excessively bloated bureaucracy, breaking the principle of rational management, and banal crime, staying in perpetual conflict with the principle of good governance. Any, even the most insignificant business becomes the object of control, with the purpose of extortion from a dozen different state structures (tax, sanitary and epidemiological station, fire, customs, other controlling authorities) and the victim of various informal and criminal communities. We know many stories of successful enterprises that have been ruined because of disputes and contradictions that the state was not able to resolve.
All of the facts above indicate that taking the economy out of the shadows is possible only if the judicial and law enforcement systems are fully restored as guarantors of resolving contradictions.
The fastest and most profitable alternative to criminal and informal solutions to problems can and should be only the Law.
From my set of specific principles of rational administration in economics, we shall single out, from my point of view, the most important ones:
- Reduce administrative barriers (the number of permits and inspections of any economic activity must be kept to a minimum.
- Reduce the number and size of taxes.
- Taxes should be clear, no hidden tax mechanisms, no fund fees, no special taxes should be in principle. The population should pay only for the services that the state actually provides. In our case, we can talk about ensuring safety, about ensuring standards in health care and education, safety of economic activity, public services as well.
- Most social services, which do not exist in fact, have turned into a system of self-deception for 25 years, this fact must be eliminated. The number of social guarantees of the state according to civil requests must be brought to an acceptable level (if higher education becomes fee-based, medicine becomes fee-based, if half of the civil servants are reduced, if the school system is optimized, if the administrative-territorial division is reformed, then resources can become an “airbag” for a certain period, until the moment when the effect of tax cuts, that is, their quantities and sizes).
- Gradually introduce a progressive tax system (the more you earn, the more you pay). (However, it is possible only after the full restoration of the judicial and law enforcement systems.) It is necessary to use the unique features and advantages of Abkhazia. First of all, environmental and climatic advantages. Many people don’t have the opportunity to grow products in several climatic zones at a micro distance from each other (it makes no sense to grow Dutch tulips where everyone is used to grow tangerines and tea) and at the same time to have local crops and create products using traditional technologies (Abkhazia is a winemaking zone, not a raisins’ production zone). It is worth focusing on such things. For example, Abkhazia is no longer a traditional center of metalworking, but it still maintains a long tradition of cheese making, etc.
One of the main reasons for the slowdown of our country’s economic development is the underground economy, which unfortunately, exists for 25 post-war years.
Tools to combat the underground economy are well known (we have already discussed them above), but our legislators do not adopt the relevant laws, and the government does not use even those ones that have been adopted. At the same time, representatives of the law also cannot directly influence the executive branch in order to achieve the use of instruments to combat the underground economy, because such methods are not written in our Constitution.
First of all, it is worth noting that while the state demands more from citizens’ profits while other citizens pay following corruption schemes, it is impossible to get the economy out of the shadow. When the state is unable to convict and punish the violator of the law, it is impossible to get the economy out of the shadow! I repeat once again: only a court that strengthened its position and law enforcement agencies that have won respect and trust can create the primary conditions for getting the economy out of the shadows.
In this case, the state can demand annual declarations of income and property from citizens, enterprises, organizations and check declarations.
In this case, the state can demand annual declarations of income and property from citizens, enterprises, organizations and check declarations. Nowadays in most retail outlets, there are no cash registers, and this is the first sign of the so-called “gray schemes”: thus, the owners of enterprises also avoid taxes. While in other countries, cash registers are everywhere. Moreover, in many European countries, citizens are taxed in such a way as to interest buyers to require checks from the seller upon purchase.
When I was a clergyman in Greece, I was obliged to fill out an income statement each year. My income at that time was about € 14,000 per year. If I attached checks (or a special accumulation card) about purchases of essential goods for a year in excess of € 5,000 to this declaration, I was exempted from paying half of the annual tax.
Another thing: it is impossible to bring the shadow economy to light without ensuring the transparency of the work of the Abkhaz customs structures. As it was noted in the book “The economy of everything. As institutions define our life. ”Dean of the Faculty of Economics of Moscow State University, Alexander Auzan, goods through customs can be imported and cleared“ in white, ”“ in gray ”or“ in black.”
“Let’s say when the goods go through customs in the black,” the author continues, “you practically pay nothing to the state, but you have enormous risks if you need to protect the contract or if criminal prosecution begins. When you import goods in a white way, you have less risks, but in Russia (the same thing in Abkhazia – example of fr. Dorotheos) they are not nil – you can still have problems at customs. Therefore, the choice of white circuits in our country is not an obvious solution.
Therefore, the choice of white circuits in our country is not an obvious solution. ”For transparency, customs work requires only one thing: either the state simplifies the procedure of transporting goods across the border as much as possible, or conducts strict monitoring of the work of customs structures online.
Financial support for economic reforms
Abkhazia does not have its own currency and the corresponding monetary system in its classical form. For all the post-war years, honest privatization was never carried out, there is still no intelligible monetary system, and the state has assumed the functions of distributing funds from external injections and selling various kinds of objects. Is it any wonder that the authorities have thus brought the country into a dead end of economic stagnation?
Attempts to create your own monetary system right now (theoretically possible) will be fraught with enormous risks that can be fatal for a stagnant economy. It is incredibly difficult to apply the “classic recipes” of economic recovery to Abkhazia, because before we deal with the economy itself, we will have to reanimate the vital functions of the state, which has been living in poverty for a quarter of a century. And we all refer to the post-war disorder. There are many reasons for this, they are all objective, and the population of Abkhazia cannot influence them: external isolation, an economic blockade, the absence of a peace treaty with Georgia, etc.
Thus, the only way to change the state of things is to find a balanced way to improve the economy by standard methods in almost extreme realities. This process will require a lot of time and carefully thought-out step-by-step implementation of basic reforms (privatization, the creation of financial institutions, the conduct of monetary policy, etc.). In fact, Abkhazia, with its established lifestyle in a quarter of a century, is faced with the task of conducting an extremely unpopular and painful “surgical intervention” procedure, otherwise we will not have a chance for future prospects.
First of all, we can talk about creating a simple and understandable mechanism for citizens of privatization. Today, most of the facilities, including infrastructure facilities, being formally state-owned, actually have private owners. And these owners, mind you, are not interested in building normal legal and economic relations with the state and developing their objects. To explain the reasons, let me give an example: the tenant (in this case, a conditional (!) Object) is always under pressure from the authorities, who demand from him either money according to the corruption scheme, or a “rollback” in granting loans, and plus guarantees of support for upcoming elections. In such conditions, tenants are in principle not interested in developing their facilities and see the goal of managing the facility is either selling and reselling the asset of the object, or assigning it with a gray scheme, or receiving a loan under the guarantee of support of a political force in elections, a loan, which is unlikely whether it will ever be returned to the state, but on the contrary, it may be a burden on the budget!
Most likely, we all will have to come to terms with the idea that only economic amnesty can eliminate this practice over the years – that is, all these objects should be re-arranged through honest privatization to their actual owners. The state, even if it “loses” these objects, will no longer have to spend taxpayers’ money on the maintenance of unprofitable objects, and society will finally be able to rely on taxes from objects, and the owner will have an interest in development, and this will lead to tangible – winning – push in the economy.
If such an economic amnesty is carried out and implemented, law-enforcement practice and the relevant ministries (economics and agro-tourism) develop standards and development projects by region, then we can talk about creating a specialized bank, for example, an agrobank or development bank that could issue available “Long” loans to the public and business representatives for the development of various projects in promising sectors of the economy. Of course, the credit policy provides for reliable insurance mechanisms, without which its implementation would be a suicidal event for the economy. Such measures will improve the investment climate, which will immediately be reflected in the inflow of foreign investments, especially if the creation of small and medium-sized industrial enterprises becomes the subject of a tax amnesty for a certain – reasonable – period.
Another aspect of the issue under consideration is related to the protection of the interests of Abkhazian exports. Abkhazia today is a country partially recognized by the world, and we have literally one window open for the economy – to the Russian Federation. In addition, the small scale of the Abkhazian domestic market and the lack of competitiveness on the external market (with the exception, perhaps, of winemaking) makes us seriously think about the mechanisms for promoting Abkhaz products outside the country to international markets.
It seems to me that as a mechanism for business interaction (both individual representatives and associations) with the state, in the fulfillment of this task, a specially created network of Abkhazia’s trade missions abroad will serve in excellent service.
Abkhazia throughout its history has been an agrarian country, so it is agriculture with a number of traditional unique practices and technologies that should maintain its priority position in the economy of our Republic, although certain risks exist today.
K.D. Kudryavtsev in his collection of materials on the history of Abkhazia, published by him in 1922, notes that “land economy is the main revenue item in the country”. Further, he cites an interesting statistic (it should be borne in mind that these statistics reflect the period when the industrialization of Abkhazia began):
- In 1910, more than 3 million poods of maize (almost 50 thousand tons; here and hereinafter the modern equivalent of measurements is given in brackets – about. Dorotheos). 16.7 thousand tons are currently produced;
- Every year from 2.5 to 3 million buckets of wine were made in Abkhazia (156,250 bottles). Currently, Abkhazia exports approx. 20 million bottles of wine, of which approx. 700 thousand bottles;
- The export of dried and fresh fruits exceeded 100 thousand pounds per year (more than 1600 tons). For comparison, Abkhazia currently exports 3,500 tons of citrus;
- The annual export of bay leaves reached 2,000 pounds (32 tons). Currently bay leaf wholesale is not exported;
- The cost of tobacco collected in 1914 exceeded 7 million rubles (5.46 billion rubles at the current exchange rate). Currently, tobacco is not produced and is not exported at all;
- The number of horses in Abkhazia in 1917 reached 15.7 thousand heads. Currently, there are 2 thousand heads, according to the UGS RA for 2016;
- The number of buffalo used as a labor reached 28 thousand heads. Today there is no record of buffalo livestock;
- The number of all cattle – 103 thousand heads. Currently – 90.7 thousand heads, according to the data of the RA GHS for 2016;
- Only 150–200 thousand pounds of pork per year (3.2 thousand tons) were only exported from Ochamchyra. At the present time – 0.5 thousand tons, according to the RA GHS for 2016;
- The number of harvested oysters in Gudauta reached 6-7 million units annually. Currently, oysters are not harvested and not exported at all.
The development of the second most important sector for our economy – tourism is largely associated with agriculture. The attractiveness of developed tourist countries (Italy, Greece, Spain, France, etc.) is not only in the presence of favorable climatic conditions and a large number of cultural monuments, but also in high-quality and healthy food. What, unfortunately, do not want to understand the people who provide travel services in Abkhazia. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Resorts and Tourism has not developed recommendations and standards for this task.
And this is on condition that the solution of such a global problem of our time as the health of a nation directly depends on the development of domestic agriculture. It is not a secret that the overwhelming majority of food imported into Abkhazia suffers from low quality.
Blogger Elya Jikirba writes in one of his posts on Facebook: “If I had been asked how a different reformer should start his activities, I would say: with providing Abkhazia with his product. That is, we must begin with the transfer to our own production of the entire consumer basket – from raw unprocessed wheat and rye, natural fruits and vegetables to meat and dairy products. It is necessary to build exclusively ecological line of products free from pesticides and food additives, unpolished. And it is necessary to create conditions for the implementation of this plan.
There will be enough land for plantations to meet domestic needs without causing damage to nature, and the long-term effect is not comparable in terms of productivity to the current, since products that meet environmental standards will be qualitatively different. With all the attendant and attendant effects of an economic, medical, and psychological plan.
Natural paradise should dock in perfect symbiosis with man-made paradise. Then the tourist will go on gastro tours, and the people will get a chance to live richly and in health. ”
Unfortunately, the socialist economy of Soviet Abkhazia also played a significant role in the destruction of effective forms of farming by Abkhaz peasants. But the practice of national management has been formed over the centuries, taking into account many factors, including natural ones.
The organization of the economy in the Abkhaz villages had characteristic features. On the one hand, the economy has always been individual (therefore, the collectivization carried out by the Soviet authorities in the 30s of the 20th century caused a strong reaction from the Abkhaz population), on the other hand, there was collective mutual assistance in organizing the individual economy (summer) pastures.
By organizing an individual farm, the Abkhazian family distributed the zones of its land ownership clearly by function: the courtyard in front of the dwelling – амӡырха, ашҭа, агәарԥ;; garden-vineyard – aқәaҵa; orchard – абаҳча; arable land
Small mini-tractors (it is they, in most cases, our farmers need) cost from 300,000 to 700,000 rubles today. The cost of special equipment for various purposes – combines, sprinklers, mowers, etc. – about the same, depending on the task. If the government of Abkhazia for the last ten years would not have invested enormous resources in various fruit companies and other agricultural projects and would not have squandered agriculturally acquired agricultural equipment, residents of Abkhazian villages would already be equipped with tractors and other necessary agricultural machinery.
In the future, the distribution of tractors among peasants can be done in two ways: according to the rules of a market economy, i.e. through the provision of loans and the issuance of targeted grants for the draw (realizing the principle of social justice), an example of which I have already cited in the case of the solution of the housing problem.
The mechanism is as follows: self-governing regional meetings jointly accept applications from peasants who, although for objective reasons, cannot receive a loan for the development of the economy, but at the same time have all the prerequisites for successful economic activity. It is precisely this category of peasants that must be given small grants according to the principle of drawing lots for the purchase of equipment and the development of farms.
The second one. The state should actively protect the rights of peasants and assist them in the realization of agricultural products grown by them. Probably all of us were bumped into the memory of video and photo shots with tons of discarded citrus fruits, which journalists showed us at the end of the past 2018. In the place of our leadership, I would send these tangerines to children’s homes of the Russian Federation, and not to emit. Is it even impossible to carry out a charity act?
I am confident that in some cases the introduction of high excise taxes or even a ban on the import of certain types of products into the territory of Abkhazia may become one of the priority measures to protect the interests of Abkhaz peasants. Indeed, while our peasants fight and cannot sell the vegetables, fruits and citrus fruits they grow, until they have the opportunity to process their products and they die, our government allows itself to import similar agricultural products – of inferior quality – from Turkey, Georgia and Russia , aggravating the already desperate situation of their own peasants. As a result, products are better in taste and quality and are uncompetitive for completely different reasons !!!
The Third one. It is necessary to solve the problem of so-called. intermediary trade in the agricultural markets of Abkhazia. After all, from this phenomenon, which has long historical roots, unfair, unfair competition grows.
As the researchers note, this kind of trade in Abkhazia has been developed since the end of the XIX century. Turkish, Armenian, Jewish and partly Mingrelian (Lazy) merchants bought all types of agricultural products in Abkhaz villages for almost nothing and resell it on city markets twice or even more. The same thing happens in our time. It is sad to realize that Abkhazians themselves have now been added to the number of such enterprising merchants. In addition, the dealers do not have to go around the villages in search of agricultural products: the peasants themselves bring to the markets both meat, cheese, and vegetables. And so they sell it at prices that are beneficial only to them, dexterous intermediaries, and not to producers and buyers.
I am convinced that the problem will disappear on its own if conditions are created (for example, with the help of targeted loans) for the construction of new, comfortable agricultural markets with parking lots nearby – in the capital and regional centers, and the markets will enter into supply contracts only with peasant producers . With the advent of such sites, the medieval chaos that we are seeing in our markets today will end naturally. In the end, the face of our cities will change for the better. And, most importantly, ordinary peasants will be able to honestly compete with each other and realize the quality agricultural products produced by them at a reasonable price.
And one more question gives me no peace: is it really so difficult in the age of technology to create an electronic database of citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia engaged in agriculture, through which any Internet user could check the origin of a product !?
At the same time, I am not inclined to idealize the Abkhaz peasants. That is why I want to complete the agricultural theme like this: like the peasants of any other country in the world, they are not averse to complaining about their fate. Pierre Trudeau (1919–2000), one of the most popular Canadian leaders, addressing agricultural university students in 1979, said: “Farmers are professional complainers. Too much sun – complain! Too much rain – again complain!”
Animal husbandry (or cattle breeding) has always occupied the most important place in the economic life of the Abkhaz. Until the Soviet period, it was extensively distant, i.e. in the spring, cattle were distilled into the foothills, with the onset of summer they were raised on mountain pastures (alpine meadows), in the fall they were lowered into the foothills and on the plains, and in the autumn-winter period they were kept in winter houses. In fact, the cattle in Abkhazia was grazing all year round.
Livestock breeding in Abkhazia of the pre-Soviet period had one more peculiarity: the peasants preferred to keep small cattle – sheep and goats, the main food of which was the so-called branch feed. This is simply explained, since the relief of Abkhazia is mainly a mountainous and hilly country, under whose conditions it was almost impossible to create a stable forage base for keeping large numbers of cattle. Although the flat part of Abkhazia makes it possible to grow hay, silage and cornstalk, but the amount of harvested is not enough to raise cattle on a large scale.
Ts. N. Bzhania in his work “From the history of the economy and culture of the Abkhazians” notes a curious fact: only at the end of the XIX century. The Abkhaz people adopted from Megrelia settlers the custom of driving cows and bulls to the mountains along with goats. Formerly, the Abkhaz led only goats, sheep and horses to the alpine meadows.
In the Soviet period, approaches to cattle breeding in Abkhazia changed. Breeding cattle on a large scale became possible, since the provision of feed was centralized, they were supplied from other regions of the USSR. Now, when we are again in the same economic conditions in which our people lived in antiquity, it is reasonable to return to the breeding of small ruminants. This is a question not only of expediency, but also of the health of the nation. Meat, which today mainly consumes the population of Abkhazia, is delivered to us from abroad, where cattle breeding, unfortunately, is conducted using feed with various biological additives.
In the XX century. Worldwide, farms were actively established to accelerate the cultivation of livestock and poultry. And this is impossible without giving up on natural, natural food. Today, on farms in developed European countries, for example, in France, cattle and poultry are freely exported so that the meat becomes more tasty and high-quality.
If we revive the ancient form of animal husbandry in the mountains in Abkhazia, the quality of our meat and dairy products will be very high, and we will earn a lot of money, not to mention the fact that this factor will increase the tourist attractiveness of Abkhazia, because, as I have already noted, In the modern world, the key component in tourism is the quality of food.
Imagine that in the menu, which is served to guests in cafes and restaurants, next to the names of cheese and meat dishes it will be indicated that it is pure ecological food from the alpine pastures of Abkhazia. And you can even write what plants the cattle ate during the summer feeding season. For example, herbs such as nordus stricta (асахьҳәыра, belous), canunculus alexandri (ачықь, buttercup) and sibbaldia semiglabia (асамҟәыр, trident).
It will be unfair if I do not note that our ancestors did not manage on farms without cattle (cows, bulls, buffaloes), but kept them, as a rule, in small quantities. And this form of animal husbandry, which also has ancient roots, must be preserved and maintained.
Although there are no large livestock farms in Abkhazia today, the villagers keep a fairly substantial number of cattle. But hardly anyone believed him …
Here are some interesting historical facts on the topic.
The owners of a large number of cattle in Abkhazia several times in the spring organized their herds in the spring organized water intake in the sea. Even Flavius Arrian in 134 A.D. noted: “Seaside residents drive all their cattle to a watering place to the sea, and he drinks with obvious pleasure; they even say that this drink is more useful for him than fresh.”
From ancient times, mountain pastures of Abkhazia have been the subject of controversy between princes, nobles and peasants. All pastures were distributed, and even their quarrels could cause a violation of their borders. Since the late 80s. XIX century. Mountain pastures of Abkhazia were leased at auction – on the basis of the law of the Russian Empire of June 29, 1887 – for a period of 3 years. Tenants could be both rural communities (ақыҭа) and individuals.
Piedmont villages of Bzyp Abkhazia used permanent pastures: “Mountain of Huapaa (Хәаԥаа рышьха), “Mountain of Achandara” (Аҷандараа рышьха), “Mountain of Otkhara” (Отҳараа рышьха), etc. Only on the pastures belonging to the “God from the winds from Otraha ryshha) and others. ), in the second half of the XIX century. up to 10,000 heads of goats and sheep grazed during the season. The representatives of the names of Benia (Кьахьыраа) from the village of Otkhara livestock population exceeded one thousand. During the lactation period, milk yield of the Abkhazian goat made up to one and a half liters of milk per day. So count how much milk was from some of the older people a year!
Abkhazians had a pasture fee or tax called «ажьыӡ» (literally raw meat). They paid this tax in kind, and later – in cash. For example, according to the data that Ts. N. Bzhania cites in the book “From the history of the economy and culture of the Abkhazians” already mentioned by me here, a resident of the village of Jgiards of Baguaz Amchba in Guarap pastures of a herd of two or three communities, and this amounted to 3-4 thousand heads of small ruminants. “By charging the pasture fee with money,” reports Ts. N. Bzhania, “(five kopecks for grazing a goat or a sheep, one ruble per horse) or in kind (1 goat or a sheep for grazing 100 heads of small cattle), Amchba Baguaz and later his son Shmaf received income five to six times the amount that was paid into the treasury for something.”
In the XIX century. there were cases when individual princes claimed their rights to some mountain pastures and forced the peasants to pay pasture fees. One of these cases, associated with the Abzhuy prince Gregory Chachba, ended up being a shepherd in the village of Atkhara broke through the barrier, beat the prince and his manager and went to the mountain Shoudyd. When the manager sent the guards to the mountain pasture to enforce the grazing fees from the residents of Atkhara, the latter gave them armed resistance and drove them away.
Now I will give my specific proposals on the development of animal husbandry in modern Abkhazia.
The first one. At the initial stage, our state may well work out standards and recommendations for the breeding of small cattle. The basis for the creation of small enterprises for the processing of milk and meat at small farms in the areas of the Bzyp and Kodor gorges can serve as target loans. The presence of livestock farms in these areas will make it easy to distill small cattle in the summer to mountain alpine pastures, and in winter to provide it with the vetted feed already mentioned by me. Note that with respect to the Kodori Valley such a step will also be the beginning of the state development of the neglected territories of Tsabal and Dal. Let me remind you that in the middle. XIX century. these territories were considered the most densely populated in the central part of Abkhazia. Up to 10,000 people (1,500 yards) lived in Tsabal alone, and there were up to 150,000 small livestock cattle farms on the farms.
The second one. Practically in all the villages of Abkhazia, as I have already noted, there is a lot of cattle in private farms. However, not all owners can create good conditions for their breadwinners – not enough money. If you set a goal and improve conditions, the peasants will feel better, the work will not be so hard. If, for example, in one village there are a dozen farms, each of which has up to 20 cattle, but the conditions of their maintenance fall short of standard ones, it would be rational to solve the problem by granting loans or mini-grants for the construction of small farms.
And here I again appeal to the already well-known “recipe” of the two approaches. The first approach is based on the rules of the market economy and can be implemented through the provision of loans for the construction of small farms – with tight control of the targeted use of credit funds. The second approach involves grants according to the principle of drawing lots (implementation of the principle of social justice). We have already spoken about the principle itself more than once.
The Third one. It is important to help our peasants with the sale of meat and meat products. In addition to providing an opportunity to directly sell it in the agricultural markets, it is necessary to develop standards and recommendations for lending to small enterprises for processing meat and dairy products in regions where Abkhaz farmers could take meat products (more on this below). Considering that the elementary food culture was lost in Soviet times, it is necessary to popularize the benefits of natural products from local producers (meat, legumes, etc.). For example, today, by inertia, our people are purchasing imported semi-finished products and meat from Russian and other producers, preferring this, for the most part, low-quality and questionable products to local meat products. Fortunately, our repatriates, albeit in a limited range, nevertheless, offer in their small shops high-quality (including well-cut, which is also very important!) Meat products.
It seems to me at least strange to the current state of affairs: while we insist that we do not have any livestock farms in our country, the Abkhaz peasants literally implore the second-hand dealers to buy meat products from them (and again they face unfair competition!) . And our population continues to buy imported food products in food stores and from warehouses, the quality and composition of which raises many questions. Is it really necessary to invest billions in investments in the production of, for example, sausages from local ecological pure meat products !? In all agrarian European countries, practically in every village there is a small workshop for the production of sausage products.
The main product of the dairy farm in Abkhazia at all times was cheese, which, as is well known, occupies a special place in the diet of the Abkhaz.
According to Ts. N. Bzhania, whom we have already cited above, the following sorts of cheese are known among Abkhazians:
1) ашәаӡа (fresh cheese);
2) ашәеилаҵа (famous peasant cheese, which is distinguished by its high taste and fat content; most consumers are known as “suluguni”);
3) ашәырпыҵы (crumpled cheese);
4) атазыла (the first cheese without further treatment with hot water, steeply salted, well-pressed in a vessel with whey and smoked; unlike the «ашәеилаҵа» variety, the “Atazyl” cheese is brittle, not viscous);
5) ацқьашә (ritual cheese for zagoveniya during Lent);
6) ахмасиа (sheep milk cheese, which is prepared for consumption and ritual prayer: fresh sheep milk is fermented with cheese mass from the abomasum of a lamb or goat sucker; fermented milk is stirred with a clean nut stick and after 4-5 minutes thickens; the freshest cheese is removed from the boiler is cut into pieces and served to the table; this cheese is distinguished by its high fat content and resembles the taste of the first cheese, which serves as raw material for Suluguni cheese);
8) ачаҩыр (prepared from mixed, combined dairy products – cow and buffalo milk, yoghurt, first cheese – with the addition of salt or even pepper).
The key problem in the production of cheese in modern Abkhazia is that it is not properly maintained in appropriate conditions, not allowing the fermentation process (fermentation) to complete.
As for the prospects of the dairy industry, we in Abkhazia have all the prerequisites to start producing sour milk of various kinds, natural yoghurts, etc.
I do not understand why import finished milk products from reconstituted milk (for example, dairy products, ice cream, etc.) into Abkhazia, if the same products can be produced in Abkhazia itself?
Perhaps, viticulture is the only branch of agrarian direction in Abkhazia that is developing more or less successfully. Over the past 10 years, a lot of new grape plantations and several private mini-factories producing high-quality wine have appeared.
At the same time, large batches of finished low-quality alcoholic beverages and low-quality raw materials for the production of such in Abkhazia continue to be imported into Abkhazia. This is where our state needs to pay the closest attention and be tough – to ban the importation of both products and raw materials. After all, this not only harms people’s health, but also has a detrimental effect on the image of resort Abkhazia. The activity of local unscrupulous producers of alcoholic beverages should also be strictly stopped.
But the state should help, so are the Abkhaz peasants who produce home-made wine, chacha, and other alcoholic beverages — mostly of excellent quality.
In many highly developed European countries with an excellent agricultural sector, this practice exists. In the centers of agricultural districts, uniting several dozen villages, state and private mini-enterprises are created for the processing and packaging of agricultural raw materials. They are created for the convenience of peasants who bring their products (for example, grapes or wine raw materials). At the request of the owner at the enterprise, the grapes are either turned into wine for a fee, or simply processed and packaged. And then the peasants themselves dispose of ready-to-sell products.
If, for example, in seven districts of Abkhazia we create at least one state or private mini-factory for processing and packaging, say, wine raw materials, our farmers will be able to withstand wine as much as necessary (this is one of the key problems of homemade wine producers). Such an approach will immediately affect the quality of alcoholic beverages, and solid packaging will make it possible to realize products with greater benefits.
Citruses, tea, laurel
In the 30s and 40s of the XX century. The Soviet leadership of the Georgian SSR, which included the Abkhaz ASSR, was tasked with providing the entire Soviet Union with tea and citrus fruits. Indeed, the Georgian SSR (meaning Western Georgia and Abkhazia) became the only region in the Soviet Union that produced tea, mandarins, lemons, oranges, high-grade export tobacco, rare tree species, in particular tung, noble laurel, eucalyptus ( Oragvelidze MF 3 500 kilograms of tea leaves per hectare (Moscow, 1948).
If today our government is not able to create the conditions for the rhythmic and timely export of highly demanded citrus fruits from Abkhazia (oranges, tangerines and lemons), it is necessary to provide favorable conditions for our peasants to sell citrus fruits at least in the domestic market.
This implies the introduction of high excise taxes or even a ban on the import from neighboring countries of not only citruses themselves, but also finished products from them. For example, has anyone read how many packages of imported orange or other juice are sold annually in Abkhazia? Believe me, the figure will be impressive! And why cannot you replace the imported juice on your own natural?
It does not fit in my head, as it is possible with the existing citrus crops, it is impossible to order a glass of natural citrus juice at most catering points (with the exception of some expensive restaurants and cafes)! That is, you can order, but getting an order is a big question …
This winter I went up to the monastery along the avenue, where the locals traditionally arrange outdoor, so-called spontaneous trade. Walking along a paved road, along which more than five dozen shopping stalls are located, I noticed that one of them had a crowd of tourists. I wondered what attracted them. What was my surprise when I saw that in a tent they were selling natural tangerine juice, which was also squeezed right in front of tourists.
города»Everything I said in relation to citruses concerns tea. And as a remark, I note that by the time of its entry into the Russian Empire in 1810, Abkhazia was just the corner of the earth on which the first experiments in the cultivation of a tea-tree were carried out in our region. According to the author of the article “A trip to the southern part of Abkhazia. To the question of the prospects for tea culture in Abkhazia ”, published in 1926 in Izvestia of the Abkhaz Scientific Society,“ as early as 1848 M. Vorontsov, being the governor of the Caucasus, ordered to send tea bushes from his estate in the Crimea Dr. Bagryanovsky, where they are well established, and from them even plantations were planted around the city. ” So the culture of growing tea in Abkhazia is 170 years old!
Some of our citizens (and among them high-ranking officials), who assert that the production of tea is unpromising for Abkhazia, in my opinion, does not quite adequately assess the situation. I understand that it does not make sense for us to compete in the production of tea with India, the state of Sri Lanka, or to prohibit the importation of high-quality tea products from other countries (high-quality tea should come to the shelves of our stores). I’m about a friend. Our people have no tradition of tea drinking, so few of us buy exquisite teas.
I will share a curious observation from my point of view: until recently, the senior representatives of Abkhazian villages often heard the characteristic phrase: «Ачаи азлара азы оуп изызжәуа, аӡыршы амацара изысҭахыуи!».
Most residents of Abkhazia buy tea bags. Is it possible to consider such a tea a useful product? Why drink imported tea, causing damage to our own health, and even pay for it, if we can drink our own tea – real, natural?
The conclusion suggests itself: for the development of tea-growing in Abkhazia, it is first of all necessary to stop supplying our domestic market with cheap and questionable tea products from neighboring countries.
As for bay leaves and eucalyptus leaves, as well as various medicinal herbs growing in Abkhazia, it is high time to arrange their collection, processing and packaging centralized, and not allow private individuals to harvest herbs in a handicraft manner, as it is, unfortunately, practiced.
Concluding the topic of agriculture, I would like to recall the words of US President Franklin Roosevelt (1882–1945): “And yet our plight does not come from a lack of material resources. We were not subjected to the locust invasion (unlike Abkhazia, which had already been subjected to the invasion of the American white butterfly, firebox and marble bug, about Fr. Dorotheos). Compared to the disasters that our forefathers managed to overcome, because they believed and were not afraid of anything, our difficulties are far from being so tragic. Nature continues to bring us generous gifts, and the work of people multiplies them. Abundance is at arm’s length, but we are not able to take full advantage of it.”
Taking into account the climatic conditions with which the Almighty generously bestowed on our small country, tourism is certainly the second most important branch of the economy of Abkhazia.
An English mountaineer V. Dent spoke of the Caucasus in the following way: “If anyone has health, strength, energy, go to this country – they silently call you giant mountains. Prideful nature calls you: “welcome.” She will unfold her wonders in front of your eyes and say: “Go, I will show you something that is not for everyone to see. These are your beauties – take them. Only sleep creates this; my spell you will never forget. ” If you want this thing, go to the Caucasus! ”.
According to K.D. Kudryavtsev, whom we have already quoted above, at the very beginning of the 20th century. the large (by the standards of that time) income of Abkhazia brought “board-house hotel”, the infrastructure of which was well thought out: sanatoriums and rest houses were located in Gagra, Musser, Gudauta, New Athos and Sukhum, and “the annual number of visiting tourists, sick, pilgrims (pilgrims. – approx. Dorotheos), sightseers, etc. far exceeded tens of thousands.”
According to statistical data about the pilgrims who visited the New Athos monastery, collected at the end of the XIX century. representative of the Vladikavkaz Railway N. Tikhonov, it followed that every day on average the monastery received up to 200 pilgrims from different parts of the Russian Empire. Those ones up to 70 thousand people a year!
Abkhazia, which has a large number of ancient Christian monuments (up to 200 temples were built on the territory of our small country at various times, the earliest of them dates from the beginning of the 4th century, for comparison, modern Abkhazia has just over a hundred settlements) – still attracts many pilgrims, and this brings her treasury considerable profits. This trend, which in our time is called “religious tourism” (although I do not agree with this terminology), should develop even more successfully than a century ago.
Incidentally, at the end of the XIX century. pilgrims followed to the New Athos monastery by the so-called. Sukhum military road through Dal and Tsabal with a stop at the Dranda monastery. There was even an idea to build two sketes (small monasteries) in the headwaters of the Kodor River, in which pilgrims could take rest, coming from the Stavropol Territory. For this purpose, the Dranda monastery was given “two tithes of state-owned land” on Chkhalta and in the Klych region. I mean that during the development of Dal and Tsabal – a very important strategic direction for Abkhazia (we spoke about this many times in various sections of our reflections) – it is necessary to revive the route of ancient Christian Abkhaz pilgrims (Dranda – Arkhyz) and the route of Russian pilgrims of the end of XIX – beginning of XX century (Arkhyz – Dranda – New Athos).
However, our country is not the only one in the world that has wonderful mountains and seas, lots of sunny days a year, favorable air, beautiful landscape and historical and cultural monuments. All this requires care. And we, unfortunately, if we compare our situation with the situation in other countries, we do not give this care to our country. Therefore, budget revenues from tourism are not so great.
According to Banca d’Italia, the exact amount of expenses of tourists entering Italy in 2017 amounted to 39.1 billion euros. Tourists from abroad replenished the Italian treasury by 41.3 billion euros, which is equivalent to a 1.5% increase in GDP. Greece, which was experiencing an economic crisis in 2016, nevertheless, 27.8 million tourists visited. According to the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC), in 2016 the contribution of Greek tourism to the country’s GDP was 18.6 per cent in terms of money and $ 14.7 billion in money equivalent. And the income from visits by foreign tourists to another geographically close neighbor, Georgia, in 2018 exceeded $ 3 billion.
From my point of view, the main problem of Abkhazian tourism lies in the fact that we compare ourselves with the resorts of the Krasnodar Territory, where the rest since Soviet times was intended for mass. There is no need to do Las Vegas from Abkhazia, its similarity already exists on both sides of our border – this is Sochi and Batumi! We should focus on holidaymakers from Moscow, St. Petersburg and other large and rich cities of the Russian Federation, who need rest on the model of the Mediterranean countries (Greece, Italy, Spain, etc.) – small resort towns and villages with cozy private gifts, high-quality food from environmentally friendly products, intellectual rest and other high-quality services. Mass cheap tourism is not needed by Abkhazia also because it causes great damage to the environment.
It seems to me a promising project in the vicinity of New Athos, which can serve the development of tourism in Abkhazia: in New Athos at an altitude of 500 m above sea level, remains of a monastic funicular on the Aquy mountain (Athos mountain) and some fragments of a narrow-gauge railway, 14 km long, remain. If this pre-revolutionary monastic infrastructure is put back into operation (and the main work has already been done by the monks, the road has been broken), a very interesting route can be created. Tourists climb the cable car from the city of New Athos to Mount Aquy (Mount Athos), get acquainted with the ruins of an ancient Christian church, monastic buildings of the late XIX – early XX century. Here they are offered to admire the surroundings from the observation deck, as well as a fine lunch or dinner in cafes and restaurants built in eco-style. Then the tourists go to the pre-revolutionary monastic steam train on the narrow-gauge railway along the crest of Mount Aquy deep into the village. Lashpsard (more than 14 km). Before tourists a magnificent panorama overlooking the skete of St. John the Baptist and the ancient Christian temple Kuacha-nyha.
Then the route passes along the monastery apiary of the late XIX – early XX century. The place where the apiary is located is unique. Bees living here are available for honey harvesting at the same time three valleys, and tourists during this excursion are happy to purchase bee products.
The excursion also includes a visit to the ancient Abkhaz stone economic structure – atsanguara. In the same area, small hotels and restaurants of the Abkhaz national cuisine, decorated in traditional peasant style, can be built.
The emergence of hotels and restaurants will give impetus to the development of the abandoned village Lashpsard. By the way, in Soviet times, the inhabitants of this village partially provided the resorts of New Athos with vegetables and other agricultural products.
Next, tourists can either go back or continue the journey on foot along the old road towards Koman, where the monastery of St. John Chrysostom and other historical sites.
This route will attract the interest not only of foreign tourists, but also attract local residents, as in the winter on the tops of Mount Aquy often falls the deep snow we dream about by the sea. And the creation of additional infrastructure and, in particular, the mountain cluster will expand the possibilities of New Athos and will give impetus to its development, just as the construction of a sports and recreation complex on Krasnaya Polyana accelerated the development of the city of Sochi.
With regard to the reasons hindering the development of tourism in Abkhazia, I will note a few points. People will not come to us to rest just for the sake of natural beauty and cultural monuments. It is important for the modern tourist to feel safe, in comfort, to move freely in the country.
We will talk more about security in the appropriate section. As for comfort, I must admit, the quality of service, service has improved in recent years. Nevertheless, the solution of many problems requires not only large financial injections, but above all – manifestations of political will on the part of the country’s leadership. The manifestation of the will must consist in the maximum possible self-exclusion of the state from the business sphere, including from the tourist sphere.
The task of the state is to ensure safety, standards and levy taxes. There are no other tasks for the state in business. Any official who distributes money or privileges automatically becomes a participant in corruption schemes, and this must be understood and acknowledged.
From my point of view, in order to improve the situation in the sphere of comfort, at first it is necessary to do the following:
- Remove all stationary traffic police posts along the roads, replacing them with cameras recording traffic violations (until our inspectors extort money from tourists through the argument “and you have the same thing”, Abkhazia will not be attractive to tourists), but at the same time keep mobile police patrol.
- Introduce a ban on the construction of paid parking lots on streets and squares in cities and in territories adjacent to tourist sites. There are no problems if a person builds a specialized underground or high-rise multi-storey car park and intends to pay taxes to the state for the services provided. Such parking should be. In all other cases, spontaneous paid parking, the principle of which is reduced to the use of existing municipal roads or areas for parking (just like Ostap Bender – “give me money!”), Create the worst reputation throughout our country. I note that today the only free parking, located near the massively visited tourist sites, only at the New Athos monastery.
- To restore order with spontaneous outward trade at tourist facilities (with which I have been fighting in New Athos for more than a year) and to take tight control over the exploitation of wild animals and birds for paid photo shoots (this is prohibited by law, in reality everything continues as before; how many each of us had to observe how easily money is extorted from tourists for such “services”).
- During the holiday season, to ensure the presence of law enforcement officials at all tourist sites (in reality, they are nowhere to be found).
- Switch to an alternative system of unified e-tickets when organizing private and group trips with visits to government facilities and cultural monuments that are on the balance of the state. For example, a tourist buys from the company a single e-ticket for a one-day excursion along the Ritsa-New Athos route, which already includes the cost of visiting the Ritsa relic national park, the New Athos cave, several objects of the Anakopia state reserve, food facilities, car parks, and more. .d It is unlikely that a tourist will want to visit our country again if, for example, he only has to pay twenty times in New Athos for staying there twenty times (for visiting the New Athos cave, Anakopia fortress, gorge, museum, dining room, cafe, parking on each corner, etc .. The only thing for which he does not pay is only for the air that he breathes). In addition, the system of unified e-tickets will allow you to control all participants in the tourism business, depriving them of the possibility of hiding incomes and ensuring honest tax revenues to the budget.
- Fish factory (the lack of local fish products on the shelves of our stores and, in fact, fish stores as such in our cities is explained by the violation of fishing rules and the degraded system of distribution of fishery products).
- The leather factory (the success of various shoe brands of Caucasian origin in the Russian market is clear evidence that this trend cannot be ignored, as well as the ability of the Abkhaz diaspora to organize the supply of raw materials for the manufacture of high-quality footwear).
- Abkhazwineplant (functioning successfully).
- Confectionery factory.
- Canning factory.
- Meat processing plant.
- Dairy factory.
- Abkhazian printing association.
- Plant of beer and fruit waters.
- Souvenir factory.
- Plant dry ice and carbon dioxide.
- Diversified combine.
Another proposal that I have repeatedly expressed publicly concerns the production of souvenirs in the form of high-quality copies of the applied arts of the ancient Abkhaz. I am sure that all souvenirs related to the Abkhazian theme should be made exclusively in Abkhazia. We will never be able to compete with China in the production of souvenirs, and therefore our manufacturers must be protected from this, and tourists are convinced that the souvenir they have acquired is of authentic origin.
In this regard, I recalled the Hermitage, in which many ancient exhibits of high artistic value are kept. This and found in burials with. Ankhua bronze axes engraved, dated VIII-VII centuries. BC, and the sculptural figure of a horseman on a horse of the 5th-4th centuries. BC, found in a burial in the Bamborskaya Polyana near the city of Gudauta, and much more. It would be great if we produced and offered tourists high-quality copies of these rarities. After all, this kind of souvenirs, unlike the products of modern Chinese consumer goods, will be in great demand and will perfectly fit into the interior of houses and apartments of their connoisseurs and purchasers.
In the Soviet period, when millions of tourists visited Abkhazia, including guests from far abroad, the Sukhumi souvenir factory coped well with the task of providing kiosks near tourist facilities with beautiful, durable and, most importantly, real local souvenirs. The ban on the import and sale of non-authentic souvenirs of foreign origin in our time will open up the opportunity for the development of local production of souvenirs.
Enterprises of light, food and processing industry
(Enterprises of light, food and processing industry of Abkhazia should be focused mainly on the processing of agricultural and other raw materials produced domestically. After all, they will have to provide most of the domestic market and resort sphere with the necessary agro-food and food products (starting from the supply of table and mineral packaged water, natural juices, jams, etc. to confectionery, as well as souvenirs, which we have already mentioned).
A study by A. S. Orlov about the industry in the city of Sukhum, published in 1982 under the title “For the efficiency of the final results”, lists the enterprises that worked in the capital of Abkhazia during the Soviet era. Some of the 30 city enterprises listed in this list, in my opinion, could still be profitable today:
Of course, at the present time one should not foster the illusions that the above-mentioned production can be successfully developed in public administration (the reasons for the ineffectiveness of state management of business have already been noted above). The task of the state is much more difficult – to create conditions so that business itself can master these areas with the prospect of entering international markets.
As for the development of food and processing industries in the regions of Abkhazia, then, as we noted in the “Agriculture” section, today’s technologies allow in each of them to quickly and efficiently create small enterprises for the production and packaging of wine, fruit juices, jams, meat and dairy products, etc.
Let me be curious about another point: I still can’t understand why Abkhazia still does not extract sea salt and does not deliver it to the stores?
The fifth article of the Constitution of our country reads: “The land and other natural resources are the property of the people, are used and protected in the Republic of Abkhazia as the basis of the life and activities of its citizens”.
When we talk about natural resources, we must first remember that they are not the creation of human hands, so we must use them very, very carefully and rationally. A barbarous attitude towards them will inevitably lead to an ecological catastrophe, as a result of which we ourselves will be destroyed.
It is very important to determine the priorities of natural resources, the use of which will bring tangible benefits and an increase in the well-being of all citizens of our Republic. From my point of view, priorities should be as follows: water, wood, oil, inert materials, and lastly, coal.
If in the second half of the XX century. oil was called “black gold”, nowadays, taking into account environmental problems caused by globalization, water becomes “new gold”. And our small country, as you know, has large reserves of fresh water. Therefore, the use of water resources of Abkhazia, including a significant amount of mineral waters, should be carried out exclusively under strict state environmental supervision. In the same way as in the case of the Norwegian Petroleum Fund, funds from the extraction and sale of mineral and drinking water can be accumulated in special bank accounts to ensure the social rights of citizens and the growth of wages and pensions. We should do the same for forests, coal, inert materials and the mainland oil itself. Only in this case, the owner of the natural resources of Abkhazia – our people – will feel the effect of the article of the RA Constitution quoted above.
Recently, in connection with the acutely debated problem of oil production in the territory of Abkhazia, Norway is often cited as an example, forgetting about the main principle of the “Norwegian socialist miracle”. What is it?
In Norway, a significant part of oil revenues goes to the national fund, which, as we have already noted, is used to ensure the social rights of citizens and the growth of wages and pensions. Those. The citizens themselves are responsible for their pension and other security. At the same time, they themselves are the beneficiaries of this fund, whose funds are spent on important social needs, on development, and not just divided as cash among everyone.
The task of the state, since it operates with the property of all the people, is to distribute the available funds so that every resident of the country will feel the real benefits from the extraction of oil and other resources. We are well aware of cases in different countries where natural resources are mined and used only by individuals and companies who leave all funds received in offshore accounts.
I admit, when I hear about the amounts that calculate the wages of the heads of Russian state-owned oil companies, my hair stands on end!
Since we have touched on the topic of oil production in Abkhazia, I will state my position.
I am against oil production on the Black Sea shelf, as I fear possible catastrophic environmental consequences. But at the same time, I consider it necessary to conduct exploration of the bottom of the Abkhazian water area of the Black Sea: we need to know what reserves our country has (I agree with the director of the Institute of Ecology of the Academy of Sciences of the RSA Dbar). It may make sense to preserve the proven reserves of offshore oil as a strategic reserve, securing this by law.
I am for oil production in the mainland of Abkhazia, but on one condition: the money from the extracted oil should go not to someone’s personal account, but to a fund like the Norwegian people’s fund, and from this fund go to meet the social needs of our citizens to increase salaries and pensions. And all that is connected with the Abkhaz-Oil company is a big (by Abkhaz standards) scam involving Abkhaz politicians and private domestic business. And from this scam, the real owner of our country’s natural resources, the people of Abkhazia (Article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Abkhazia), will get “crumbs of bread”.
A small historical note. In 1926, in the third edition of the News of the Abkhaz Scientific Society, E. M. Yushkin published an article entitled “Oil on the Black Sea Coast”. I draw your attention to the subsection in this work “Abkhazia and Western Georgia in relation to oil opportunities”. The information provided in this section is based on the geological research of Butov and Kark under the guidance of Professor Bogdanovich.
Regarding forest resources, I note that since the times of antiquity, Abkhazia traded in forests. Such valuable types of wood such as boxwood, walnut and yew were removed from Abkhazia.
According to K.D. Kudryavtsev, whom we have already quoted more than once, at the very beginning of the 20th century. forestry was of great economic importance for Abkhazia.
“Forests,” K.D. Kudryavtsev wrote, “cover up to 60% of the total area of the country. Of these, Bzyb, Muravyev, Psysh, Tkvarchal, Okum and other state forest dachas, number 21, consisting of valuable forest species: boxwood, yew (ebony-tree), walnut, laurel, oak, laurel tree, linden, etc. are distinguished. From only one Bzyb dacha is estimated at 100–120 million rubles (about 9 billion rubles at the current exchange rate; for comparison, the modern budget of Abkhazia barely exceeds 6 billion rubles, of which 3 billion rubles are external subsidies). Before the war (until 1914 – approx. Of Dorotheos) from the Abkhaz ports (Sukhum, Gudauta, Ochamchira, Gagra and Anaklia) were annually exported: walnut bars and influxes, boards, oars, oak staves, boxwood and products from it ( some spoons more than 100 pounds – about 1600 kg), and others – only about a million pounds (about 16380 tons). In addition, 400–500 thousand (about 8190 tons) of wood were exported.”
As I have already noted, at the expense of revenues from the extraction of natural resources, the provision of pensions for citizens of our Republic should also occur.
According to the available statistics, about 40 thousand people work in Abkhazia and 53 thousand retirees (of which up to 36 thousand receive old-age pensions.) Therefore, a working part of the population that is in the minority cannot physically provide pensioners with tax deductions from their earnings, even if the pensions are small. About 53–70 million rubles are allocated to the 53,000 recipients of the Abkhaz pension monthly from the budget. The annual budget of the Pension Fund today reaches 1 billion 100 million rubles.
These statistics show that it is time for us to apply the Norwegian experience of achieving social justice by creating a national fund to which funds will come from using the above-mentioned natural resources, which, I’m not tired of repeating, according to our Constitution, belong to the people.
It is important to consider that forest resources are related to renewable resources. And in this case, to create, legitimize and maintain the highest environmental standards in the use of renewable resources is a priority duty of the state. As a sample you should pay attention to the experience of Finland.
Predatory consumption of forest resources, as it has been throughout the modern history of Abkhazia, must be stopped. The felled tree must be replaced by a planted tree, and consumption must not be ahead of reproduction. In other words, there is an urgent need to create an understandable and rational quota system for all, without exceptions, forest resources. I do not see any other options for correcting the situation in the existing realities.
The nature and climatic conditions of our country allow us to successfully develop the so-called. alternative environmentally friendly energy – mini-hydroelectric power stations, wind generators (wind turbines) and solar batteries, as well as use other experimental sources of alternative energy (kinetic, energy of sea waves, etc.). This direction is one of the top priorities in the modern world and in developed countries is strongly stimulated. In Sweden, for example, there are 1,350 small hydropower plants, which together produce 10% of the country’s electricity. And Denmark gained a reputation as the largest producer of industrial wind turbines – 5,842 MW (data for 2010), etc.
Almost all the mountain rivers of Abkhazia allow generating electricity through mini-hydroelectric power plants. Wind generators will be most effective for the Bzyp and Kodor gorges. And given the number of sunny days per year in Abkhazia, solar panels in our country can become the most promising method of heating.
The development of alternative environmentally friendly energy in Abkhazia does not really look so fantastic. Already today it is quite possible to purchase in bulk both small hydroelectric power stations, wind generators and solar batteries. And all this is made in China.
By the way, perhaps it is time to return to the idea of setting up the production of solar cells directly in Abkhazia at the base of SPTI. Our domestic developers already have experience in this regard.
The economic block of my thoughts turned out to be the biggest. I sought to maintain a balance between ideology (the idea of an independent state, the development of language, culture and other unique characteristics that make us an original country, in a word, NAMI) and economy (real life and the realization of the needs of specific people in a specific time interval).
I agree with R. S. Dbar that it is impossible to build a state using “ethnographic” methods, I tried to find together with you in what ways, taking into account modern realities and awareness of your own place in the world, you can realize our specific economic needs with minimal losses and benefits for all.
We remember that when it arrives at one place, it necessarily diminishes somewhere, and we understand that we are ready to spend and what to acquire in the broadest sense of these words.
Today, we cannot (and it is senseless!) Abandon the consumer model of the economy. But cars, electricity, heated floors, the Internet and other benefits of civilization somehow damage the nature (both in the places of manufacture and in the places of consumption), respectively, we face a difficult choice: either the ethnographic life in Apatskha, by the fire, in homespun clothing, or a modern consumer economy with all the ensuing consequences and costs.
Of course, it is necessary to minimize all the negative costs of a modern lifestyle, but even for this, money is needed – the garbage does not dissolve itself, does not disappear, the sea itself is not cleared, and exploration and exploitation of natural reserves in our country will not be strictly controlled . It needs money.
The basic task of ecological institutions in any corner of the world is not at all frantic protests and slogans with the only word “No!” (I must admit, I have always been against various flash mobs with restrictive slogans without reasoned explanations) of any attempt to exploit natural resources. The task is to develop ways to minimize damage, to create effective mechanisms for monitoring and correcting crisis situations in the event of their occurrence.
In addition, we should be aware that Abkhazia is part of the planet Earth. This is not about Mars, and therefore everything that happens on Earth inevitably concerns our country.
Before hitting the agriculture of Abkhazia, the marble bug, bursting out of the forests of Southeast Asia along with supplies of wood, first had breakfast in the fields and plantations of Switzerland and northern Italy, had lunch in southern France, Hungary and overseas, in the United States. We are only a link in this chain of influences and influences and will never cease to be.
Gas pipelines from Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and other countries have already been laid along the bottom of the Black Sea, Romania extracts oil and gas in our sea, and in the event of an environmental disaster in Abkhazia, its consequences cannot be avoided. How to protect your water area in such conditions?
Germany gets rid of large centralized networks in favor of autonomous production of clean energy, but economic power allows it to do so.
Most of the revenues from oil production are directed to the development of agriculture in Norway, the flourishing of which will allow it to survive the exhaustion of oil reserves without fear.
And what about us in Abkhazia? Can we count on investments – on reanimation of infrastructure, agriculture, industrialization, etc.?
My greatest concern and disagreement is the fact that the majority of the citizens of the modern Abkhaz state puts the material component at the forefront, and the ideas to the background. Of course, there are objective and subjective reasons for this. I attribute to the objective that for too long our people “fed” exclusively ideologically: they demanded that they sacrifice themselves for the sake of the idea of the Abkhaz state, for the sake of the idea of Abkhaz culture. And our people really made colossal sacrifices in order to live today in a free independent state and to preserve their ethnic group, culture, etc. However, this should not exclude the factor of economic well-being of citizens of our country.
To create conditions for their citizens so that everyone can have a good education, decent interesting work, high-quality medical care, etc. – the duty and duty of the state. Today, instead of taking care of its own citizens, providing them with decent living conditions, our state provides for the needs of officials. That is why today we all strive to occupy administrative chairs in order to quickly acquire material wealth through corruption, in essence, robbing our own future, the future of our own country.
The most terrible consequences of such an approach is that today, more than ever, the voices of people who do not hide that they are in principle ready to abandon the idea of an independent state in exchange for their own economic well-being are heard.
The danger, I would even say, the blasphemy of these irresponsible declarations is that if we just lose an independent state today, it will automatically devalue the sacrifice of thousands of our brothers and sisters who gave their lives for our opportunity to live in our state!
The Finnish statesman Väinö Alfred Tanner (1881–1966) rightly noted that “a prerequisite for preserving the independence of the country is such progress in the well-being of the people and the general conditions of their life, in which every citizen understands that it is worth all the defense costs”.
(To be continued)