Comparison Between Russia and Georgia
Comparison Between Russia and Georgia

Comparison Between Russia and Georgia

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  • Pages: 5 (2528 words)
  • Published: October 7, 2021
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Economy

Georgia’s main economic activities include cultivation of agricultural products such as grapes, citrus fruits, and hazelnuts; mining of manganese, copper, and gold; and producing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, and chemicals in small-scale industries. The country imports nearly all its needed supplies of natural gas and oil products. It has sizeable hydropower capacity that now provides most of its energy needs. Georgia has overcome the chronic energy shortages and gas supply interruptions of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by increasingly relying on natural gas imports from Azerbaijan instead of from Russia. Construction of the Baku-T’bilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the South Caucasus gas pipeline, and the Kars-Akhalkalaki Railroad are part of a strategy to capitalize on Georgia’s strategic location between Europe and Asia and develop its role as a transit point for gas, oil, and other goods. The expansion of the South Caucasus pipeline, as part of the Shah Deniz II Southern Gas Corridor project, will result in a $2 billion foreign investment in Georgia, the largest ever in the country. Gas from Shah Deniz II is expected to begin flowing in 2019. Georgia’s economy sustained GDP growth of more than 10% in 2006-07, based on strong inflows of foreign investment and robust government spending. However, GDP growth slowed following the August 2008 conflict with Russia, and sunk to negative 4% in 2009 as foreign direct investment and workers’ remittances declined in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The econo

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my rebounded in 2010-13, but FDI inflows, the engine of Georgian economic growth prior to the 2008 conflict, have not recovered fully. Unemployment has also remained high. Georgia has historically suffered from a chronic failure to collect tax revenues; however, since 2004 the government has simplified the tax code, improved tax administration, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on petty corruption, leading to higher revenues. The country is pinning its hopes for renewed growth on a determined effort to continue to liberalize the economy by reducing regulation, taxes, and corruption in order to attract foreign investment, with a focus on hydropower, agriculture, tourism, and textiles production. The government has received high marks from the World Bank for its anti-corruption efforts. Over the past year the Georgian Dream-led government continued the previous administration’s low-regulation, low-tax, free market policies, while modestly increasing social spending, strengthening anti-trust policy, and amending the labor code to comply with International Labor Standards. The government is finalizing its 2020 Economic Development Strategy and has launched the Georgia Co-Investment Fund, a $6 billion private equity fund that will invest in tourism, agriculture, logistics, energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing.

On the other hand,Russia has undergone significant changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union, moving from a globally-isolated, centrally-planned economy towards a more market-based and globally-integrated economy, but stalling as a partially reformed, statist economy with a high concentration of wealth in officials’ hands. Economic reforms in the 1990s privatized most industry, with notable exceptions in the energy and defense-related sectors. The protection of property rights is still weak and the private sector remains subject to heavy state interference. Russi

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is one of the world’s leading producers of oil and natural gas and is also a top exporter of metals such as steel and primary aluminum. Russia’s manufacturing sector is generally uncompetitive on world markets and is geared toward domestic consumption. Russia’s reliance on commodity exports makes it vulnerable to boom and bust cycles that follow the volatile swings in global prices. The economy, which had averaged 7% growth during 1998-2008 as oil prices rose rapidly, was one of the hardest hit by the 2008-09 global economic crisis as oil prices plummeted and the foreign credits that Russian banks and firms relied on dried up. Slowly declining oil prices over the past few years and difficulty attracting foreign direct investment have contributed to a noticeable slowdown in GDP growth rates. In late 2013, the Russian Economic Development Ministry reduced its growth forecast through 2030 to an average of only 2.5% per year, down from its previous forecast of 4.0 to 4.2%. In 2014, following Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, prospects for economic growth declined further, with expectations that GDP growth could drop as low as zero.

Media

Free democratic societies curb some basic rights in times of war, but never all of them. For societies that place freedom of the press high on the agenda, efforts are certainly made by governments to win over the free press for their cause, but as a rule, there is no overt censorship or hard pressure on the media. Dictatorships use an external threat as justification for controlling the media so that a real war does not change the situation very much. One would expect, therefore, that press coverage of ongoing and past wars would reflect the character of politics in a specific country. Alas, empirical evidence shows that much more is involved than just unabashed censorship or pressure on the media to fall in line with their government’s cause. The second remarkable fact about media coverage of wars is that so little systematic empirical evidence has been collected. When it comes to the US-led war on Iraq, for example, there was no systematic investigation of the elite media until 2008. Gelb and Zelmati carried out a comprehensive study of what they termed “elite media” (e.g. New York Times (NYT), Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, and Newsweek) and arrived at the conclusion that the “ultimate centurions of our democracy” failed to live up to their critical function: “For the most part, the elite print press conveyed Administration pronouncements and rationale without much critical commentary.”
It appears that when it comes to public opinion in times of war, the government’s job to convince the citizens is, as a rule, easy. The question as to why what may be the world’s freest and most independent press fell in line with a government which patently used subterfuge to get the blessing of democratic institutions and international organizations for its power projection schemes is controversial, but it may be reasonably explained by the shock which had gripped the US following 9/11. It is far more intriguing to observe the coverage of the Georgian war of such prestigious and

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