ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

Michael Fuenfzig has not set their biography yet

Jan
17

Save Gudiashvili Square

One thing few visitors to Tbilisi fail to notice is the rich and layered architectural heritage of the city. There are medieval churches in Old Tbilisi. There are art noveau buildings in Sololaki. There is Stalinist architecture in Vake. And there are modernist experiments such as the Wedding Palace or the former Transportation Ministry Building. But at the same time this rich architectural heritage is threatened – either left to decay or destroyed or overwhelmed by new building developments. One worrying development is the proposed reconstruction of Gud...
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Dec
24

The Georgian Christmas tree

What would Christmas be without a Christmas tree? In Georgia, in Europe or anywhere else in the world. But little known to most Europeans, most trees sold in Europe can trace their origin to Georgia. It is the seeds of the Nordmann fir which are exported from Georgia to Christmas tree farms in Denmark, Germany and other countries. Why? The Nordmann firs from the mountain regions of Georgia are some of the finest in the world – what Bordeaux is for the wine world, Ambrolauri in Racha is for Christmas tree producers. Already in the 1960s Danish and Ge...
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Dec
19

Small Country, Big Ambitions

From the new issue of Investor, on Georgian film productions:  "It is not easy to cover the expenses of the film with the small number of screens that are in Georgia. The market is limited and the number of screens is also limited," he said. "If you want to make a Georgian film commercially successful, you have to expand this market, you have to go outside...either to Russia or international." There was certainly no shortage of talented Georgians who made it in the Soviet Union, or later in Russia. While we can safely assume that today there are sti...
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Dec
11

Good News for Some, Bad News for Others

From RFE/RL: Cash remittances sent home by thousands of Armenians working in Russia and other countries increased by more than 23 percent in the first 10 months of this year compared to 2010, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports. While this sounds like unambiguously good news for Armenia, it is not. Remittances can have a very similar effect as natural resources wealth – it gives rise to what is called the Dutch Disease. Both remittances and exports of natural resources result in an inflow of foreign currency into a country. While this ...
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Dec
07

At the Edges of Georgia

This weekend we visited one of the more remote parts of Georgia, the Shiraki plains at the border to Azerbaijan. After passing through Dedoplis Tskaro, the district capital and largest town in this part of Georgia, we found ourselves on a bad road going all the way to the small town of Kasritstkali. In Soviet times the road was surfaced, but these days one has to navigate mud and large potholes. By all accounts the small town of Kasritstkali is thoroughly isolated from the rest of Georgia. And for what it matters, from Azerbaijan as well. Although the bo...
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Nov
24

Jury Trials: A Step Forward

From Eurasianet: In a historic first for Georgia, 12 men and women recently passed judgment in the country’s first jury trial, a grisly murder case. But the answer to whether or not jury trials will enhance the credibility of the country’s justice system remains to be seen. A promising development, jury trials might help reduce the perception of a lack of judiciary independence in Georgia. A key aspect of well-working jury trials is a sufficiently large jury size. While it is tempting to reduce costs by having smaller juries, there is ample evidence...
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