FROM THE REDACTION
Russia and WTO
Russia declares a real trade war on Georgia. A real unilateral embargo is being placed on goods that are imported from Georgia. Russia breaks all international rules but stubbornly proceeds with this matter. Firstly, it is being done with the purpose of exerting political pressure, and secondly – in order to get a green light for its entry into WTO. Which is more important for Russia?
The Speaker of Russia’s State Duma Boris Gryzlov says that Russia will not enter the WTO without securing favorable terms for the country. It is noteworthy that Russia has been striving for becoming its member for 10 years. This comment was made after the American side had declared that it would take into account Russia’s position in relation to Iran. The statement was made by the leader of American Senate’s majority Bill Frist during his visit to Moscow. Boris Gryzlov receded and said that Russia would enter the WTO only in case the organization’s terms satisfied the Russian side, otherwise their country would not apply to it for a long time. Russia has been holding unsuccessful negotiations with the World Trade Organization for a long time. Nevertheless, they are carrying out various reforms with the purpose of facilitation of the country’s becoming the WTO member.
The head of the Russian delegation in the WTO Maxim Medvedkov played safe and said that Russia has a different opinion concerning its membership in the organization. He is convinced that too much attention is attached to their vain attempt to enter the WTO. Medvedkov was sure that the negotiations would take several weeks rather than months and years.
Do the Russians Want Wine?
On April 24 Russia’s Chief Sanitary Inspector said for the first time during the period of this embargo that summit talks were necessary. At his meeting with journalists he said that they must start. The leaders cannot care for certificate issue and pesticides content, so the matter will concern giving a green light to WTO membership. As is can be seen, Anischenko implied this and permanently mumbled about Georgia’s westernized course.
May 9 is the Victory Day, but as it can be seen, this year the Russians will not fill their glasses with familiar drinks – Georgian and Moldavian wines. There is information that import of “Borjomi” mineral water to Russia will be banned from day to day (though here they show caution since it is not that easy to speak about falsification and poor quality of this product). It was officially announced that harmful substances had been discovered in poor quality wines imported from Georgia and Moldova, because of which their import was banned. They say that the matter concerns politics. There is another version – wine is not Russian national drink and there is no need in drinking it. Which of them is true? Let us consider Russian people’s opinions on this issue.
Andrei Isaev, a representative of the State Duma’s Labor and Social Policy Committee:
A ban on importing of poor quality drinks is a normal thing for a civilized society that takes care of the citizens’ health. There is a great amount of falsified Georgian wine in Russia. The price of “Kindzmarauli” like the one that there is in our country is inconceivable. Very queer are the statements of Georgian politicians that try to market their goods by forcible methods at our expense. This fact looks strange, especially in market economy conditions.
Andrei Lundin, scientist:
Banning of Georgian and Moldavian wines has nothing to do with politics, but if it does, it is really right. I maintain that any of the wines that we see in our shops, regardless of their price, have nothing in common with genuine wines of our neighboring countries. “Saperavi” and “Napareuli” that I bought because of advertisement have had a negative effect on my health. The same concerns “Borjomi” which is falsified even in drugstores. As to the amount of pesticides, their content in wine is possible in spite of modern agriculture.
Vladimer Radimov, the captain of “Zenit” football team:
Before there were no problems related to Georgian and Moldavian wines, that is why it is natural that a question arises as to why they appeared in both countries now and at the same time. It takes place for political reasons. There are people that have become accustomed to these wines and need them, though Russian people still prefer vodka.
Vladimer Perekrest, a special correspondent of “Izvestiya” newspaper;
There is no tragedy in the fact that we shall not have Georgian and Moldavian wines. The liquids that are imported from these countries to Moscow cannot be called wine.
Tina Kandelaki, the presenter of “Detali” TV program:
Wine is a part of Georgian culture, one cannot ban it. The lovers of Georgian culture will always find an opportunity of drinking Georgian wine. The wine made by old Georgian technology differs a great deal from the one that is imported here, its substitution is impossible. For me, this ban was not like a bolt from the blue, I think that the Georgian government understood the reason for it too – it is a political instrument in relations between big and small countries. Wine is only a tip of the iceberg against the background of the political problems existing between these two countries. Georgian wine is sold in Russian shops along with French, Spanish and German ones, and if we look at the prices we shall see that the Georgian government has lost more than Russian consumers. Georgian economy is not diverse to the extent that the ban on wine import would not have a profound effect on it.
Giorgi Danelia, film director:
Georgian wine has been considered in Russia as a very good one for many centuries. It cannot be said that Georgian wine is bad. One can blame some firm or company, bring an action against them, but Georgian wine cannot be blamed. The relations between the two countries should be adjusted in order to solve this problem.
It is absolutely clear that this is a political decision of the authorities, and of course Georgian falsifiers gave cause for it as well. However, this crisis will not last long since Onischenko’s methods are rough and primitive – maybe some lot is bad, but no one places, embargo for this reason, though there are a lot of this kind of examples – the trade war between America and Russia because of chicken trotters. We shall partially lose Russian market in this sphere. This is the falsified cheap market that, perhaps, was to be lost, and after this crisis Georgian wine business and its certification will rise to a high level. Georgian wine-makers will learn to do business in accordance with the new standards, will switch from words to business and will add real promotion to the name and brand of the Georgian wine. It is good that we and Russia will be real partners and the talk will be in business language with political accent, which is normal in the world.