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Archive October 2011 - March 2012

Government wants only one administrative language in Adzhatia

30 MARCH 2012 ~ Miheĺe Kaćăðei-Boħez, minister of traffic and communication, has announced a plan that should make the Cyrillic version of the Adzhatic language the only recognised administrative language in Adzhatia.

According to the minister, government information, which include official forms, but also every day things like traffic signs, should be made public in just one language, to avoid confusion. It has been daily practice since 1990 to put everything in both the Cyrillic and Latin versions of the Adzhatic alphabet, and often also a Russian translation is added for the ethnic Russians who live in our country. Due to mistranslations and –transliterations however, many administrative mistakes are made every year and in the case of traffic signs it was discovered that their multilingualism has been adding to traffic accidents.

Protests against the plan of the minister have already been announced by Russian community as well as youth organisations (who prefer the more western oriented Latin alphabet), unions and some opposition parties.

The Cyrillic version of the Adzhatic alphabet is the most original variant; the Latin version was created in the 60’s of the 20th century and became popular among younger people who related it to western freedom. After 1990 the Cyrillic alphabet remained the official alphabet of Adzhatia, but the Latin version was used considerably more often – even in the country’s politics. The minister wouldn’t elaborate on the way she is going to uphold just one alphabet, particularly in politics, as the Dume is entitled to determine itself how to write down e.g. its minutes.

Former president Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn dies in Belarus

6 FEBRUARY 2012 - Adzhatia’s former president Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn, who ruled the country from 1990 until 2004, has died of a heart attack in his dacha a few kilometres of Minsk. The Belarusian authorities confirmed this on Monday morning.

Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn was the first president of Adzhatia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but instead of paving the way towards democracy, his rule turned out to be quite autocratic. In 2004, his rule ended after a short revolution, which later turned out to have been nothing more than a large scale bribe to ensure the president stepping down from office. He then went in voluntary exile in Belarus, where he had lived until his death last weekend. After 2004, he never interfered in Adzhatian politics anymore, although the communist party Oi Vŭo Mihelun Pjotarśŭnin (‘We Want Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn’) tried to organise his return, at least to the country. The party’s leader, mr. Slava Ustić, said the former president’s death is a ‘great loss for Adzhatia’. He wouldn’t tell what would happen to the party’s name, now that its goal is no longer attainable.

Mr. Pjotarśŭn’s funeral will take place in Belarus, according to his last wishes. The current president, Ăŕva Bekina, will organise a memorial ceremony in Ashtinok in a few days. Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn is survived by his only daughter Lidije Baćkak, who is a business entrepreneur in Stockholm, Sweden. His former wife Taŕe Baćkak, Lidije’s mother, died already in 1996; their marriage had ended in divorce three years earlier. He never remarried.

Khusqaian dawdling to appoint new FICT ambassador ‘worries’ other member states

30 JANUARY 2012 - According to the Adzhatian newspaper Śaizeźiś Jatća several FICT member states are increasingly worried by the fact that Khusqaikama still hasn’t appointed a new ambassador to the organisation, after the former one, ms. Kär Nanamexyyry, was appointed ambassador to China in December last year. The reason for the delay is not very clear, but during the last few weeks the Khusqaian foreign minister has been e-mailing with the current chairwoman of FICT, ms. sSiôŋ Hau, much to the annoyance of the latter.

The ambassador of Harrawi, mr. Ury Yaranabon, was heard saying to one of his colleagues that he thought the Khusqaian attitude was downright ‘insolent’, especially the fact that it seems that the Khusqaian foreign minister is now ‘negotiating’ on behalf of his country, which merely consists however of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the proposals without taking part in the discussions. Staff members at the FICT headquarters in Purikali, Kaupelan, told the Śaizeźiś Jatća that some other ambassadors are worried that Khusqaikama might leave FICT rather sooner than later, out of disgruntlement with the way FICT has been developing since it was founded in June last year. The ambassadors of FICT are currently planning a date for the first meeting of the Council, governmental delegations of the member states.

The Khusqaian ambassador to northern Europe (including Adzhatia), mr. Kuŋ Cuƥarĭaŋ, was not available for comment.

Dume approves investigation ‘Kusk Massacre’

27 JANUARY 2012 - A majority of the Dume has approved the establishment of a special committee that will investigate the goings on in the prison of Kusk early last year. What was thought to be a series of suicides among inmates, turned out to be an organised execution of rioting prisoners, according to a ministry report that was leaked in September. The parliamentary investigation may have negative consequences for former prime minister Galine Pańńiub-Koka, who served as justice minister at the time the alleged execution took place, as well as other high ranking officials.

Iśśeŕ wants Adzhatia to join EFTA and to have more active role in FICT

31 DECEMBER 2011 - In an interview on the Adzhatian state television, dr. Ońa Iśśeŕ, the new minister of foreign affairs, outlined the government's foreign policy during the next administration. The most surprising plan is probably to investigate the possibilities of Adzhatia joining the European Free Trade Association.

'The reason for that is quite simple', explained the minister; 'If our country seriously wants to break its isolated economical position in the world, we should either join the EU or EFTA. A few years ago, accession negotiations with the Commonwealth of Independent States were already very advanced before Adzhatia decided to discontinue them. Our relationship with Moscow remains good, but seeing that several CIS countries haven't shown serious economical growth, we ask ourselves if those countries will be the right environment for Adzhatia. Becoming a member of the EU is the final goal, but that will take a lot of time to prepare. The EFTA is a far less complicated institution, although a lot of Adzhatian legislation will have to be altered nevertheless in order to turn our country into a suitable member state of it. Just to be clear: the new government wants to investigate the possibilities of our country to join the EFTA; we haven't yet made the decision to actually join.'

As for the FICT, which Adzhatia joined last June, dr. Iśśeŕ wants to play a more active role in that organisation. 'We have been a member state of FICTS since 2008 (we still are on paper, but I have been told that it will be terminated in 2012), but that was too loose an organisation. Nothing serious happened then and it wasn't very beneficial for our country. The intentions of its successor organisation FICT show much more promise, and I think we shouldn't lie back and wait for something to happen, like previous governments did with FICTS, but more actively guide the developments that could be advantageous for us. I think our current ambassador, mr. Anatoĺ Bugănskie, is the right person on the right position to do that.'

Now that Adzhatia ratified the FICT treaty last week and mr. Bugănskie is to take a more active role in the FICT Conference of Ambassadors after the end of the winter recess, the ministry of foreign affairs has decided to leave him in his position as ambassador to FICT, while an other ambassador will be appointed to Kaupelan; mr. Bugănskie was accredited for both after the dismissal of Slava Taŕvŭpa last October.

New government installed; first woman defence minister

30 DECEMBER 2011 - This morning, a new government was sworn in by the president, mr. Ăŕva Bekina. The government is made up of three political parties (Secializdźiś, AVŎD and Bloc-Ħĭnzei) and is the result of slightly more than a month of negotiations. Apart from the prime minister, Eigĕń Hameen, and the minister of economic affairs, Demitrieź Fŭĺgan (both Secializdźiś), who already served as ministers in former coalition governments, all ministers are new; the parties have tried to find a balance between technocrats and young blood and at the same time they tried to avoid making the new government look too much like any of its predecessors.

Notable figures are dr. Ońa Iśśeŕ (Bloc-Ħĭnzei), who will be minister of foreign affairs, and the new finance minister Beris Krańćuk (Bloc-Ħĭnzei). The new defence minister is, for the first time in Adzhatian history, a woman: Seńie Burćak-Vecħevei (Secializdźiś), who has the rank of colonel. She will have an expanded budget in order to modernise the Adzhatian army. The most important AVŎD minister is the one of domestic affairs, mrs. Măććeib Sokolŏv-Ăħćvei.

Three parties reach coalition agreement

28 DECEMBER 2011 - Three parties have reached a coalition agreement. This was announced this morning by Secializdźiś, AVŎD and Bloc-Ħĭnzei. At the same time the communist party NKP, who had also participated in the talks lead by former traffic minister Eigĕń Hameen (Secializdźiś), announced that it will not be part of the coalition government, due to too many differences in opinion with the other three parties. It has however pledged support on some issues, although the three future governing parties will have a clear majority of 81 seats in the Dume by themselves.

The new government is to cut down on government expenses, some social issues (unemployment benefits, child care facilities), and higher education (the two universities will be less subsidised and university tuition fees will be increased). More attention (and money) will be given to the quality of lower education, as the three parties agree that the basic education should improve to facilitate the transfer to higher forms of education. The defense budget will be expanded as well.

The parties will now divide the ministerial portfolios and start looking for ministers. Mr. Hameen himself will most likely become the next prime minister. The new government will be formed on Friday at the earliest.

Film director Eŕvćħŭn plans Adzhatian version of Monty Python's 'Holy Grail'

28 DECEMBER 2011 - The Adzhatian film director Alikśia Eŕvćħŭn (*1976) is planning an Adzhatian version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 'Menti Paiðon hă Dźev Gralcu' to be released in 2013. He announced this in the cultural television show 'Kulturiś Dziśe' last night. Mr. Eŕvćħŭn thinks that the Adzhatian landscape will do more justice to the film and said that king Arthur will be played by actor Luka Mĕśićek.

Critics claim however that mr. Eŕvćħŭn had to be joking during the show. 'If he seriously wants to spend money on this project, I wish him of course good luck, but personally I think it would be madness', says fellow film director Pekka Verieka. Luka Mĕśićek wouldn't confirm nor deny his participation in the project.

Dume ratifies FICT treaty

23 DECEMBER 2011 - The Adzhatian parliament (Dume) has ratified the FICT treaty this afternoon, after a short debate. The ratification took place almost one month sooner then expected, as the subject was planned for the parliament's first session after the recess, on 17 January. Because however other subjects were treated much faster then expected this week, acting foreign minister Jukka Bantak urged the Dume yesterday to bring forward the ratification bill.

Adzhatia is the eighth and last founding member state of FICT to ratify the Treaty of Purikali. The move comes at a moment where two of the other member states, Dhram Phá and Khusqaikama, expressed doubts upon the usefulness of the organisation.

Deranged man sets fire to Ashtinok city hall christmas trees

22 DECEMBER 2011 - A deranged man has set fire to all three of the christmas trees currently located in front of the city hall of the Adzhatian capital of Ashtinok. Fire fighters came in time to prevent the fire from spreading to the city hall itself, but one three year old girl had to be taken to hospital with severe burnings after she was hit by falling decoration. The man has been arrested. The three christmas trees have been a local tradition since 1994; each year the trees are decorated according to three themes that differ every year. The city council has announced that three new trees will be ordered as soon as possible and that the period of their presence on the city hall square will be extended to February.

Jukka Bantak urges Dume to ratify FICT treaty before recess

22 DECEMBER 2011 - Acting foreign affairs minister Jukka Bantak (Ĕrevi Śviveź) has urged the Adzhatian parliament to pass the FICT treaty ratification bill before the start of the winter recess. He did so after a bill concerning the improvement and expansion of the Adzhatian railway system was approved quicker than expected, leaving enough time tomorrow to put forward the FICT treaty ratification debate. The Chairman of the Dume, mr. Śvein Ćŭrupa, has put the proposal to change the agenda on today's agenda.

Eigĕń Hameen asked by president to form government

19 DECEMBER 2011 - Former traffic and communication minister Eigĕń Hameen (Secializdźiś) has been given the assignment to form a new government, after Bohatiŕ Ŭććaŕa (NKP) failed to do so and gave back the assignment to the president.

The fact that president Bekina chose Hameen instead of Secializdźiś-leader Ŕanije Erijeź is significant: apparently the president doesn't think the time is right for Erijeź to start her third government; Hameen (*1969) is a fresh face in Adzhatian politics, despite the fact that he was minister already in 2010 and 2011. In a press conference, Ŕanije Erijeź said that she herself advised the president to choose somebody who is not the leader of a party. Since the four largest parties are all more or less equally large, it is useful that the parties are able to negotiate as equals; the failure of mr. Ŭććaŕa to form a government has proven this.

Hameen himself told the press that he will negotiate with all parties that are seriously interested in working with the Secializdźiś to govern the country in the best possible way. Due to the difficult seat division in the current Dume, analysts say that a grand coalition of NKP, Secializdźiś, AVŎD and Bloc-Ħĭnzei has become not only more likely, but could also be 'the only way out of this mess'.

The Dume in the mean time will go on recess next Friday. Some important and less important discussions will therefore take place on or after 17 January, when the Dume members return. Among these the debate on the ratification of the FICT Treaty, which Adzhatia has signed but not yet ratified.

Ŭććaŕa fails to form government; he will visit the president later today

16 DECEMBER 2011 - NKP-leader Bohatiŕ Ŭććaŕa is expected to visit president Bekina today, after he failed to form a government coalition with the Secializdźiś and Ĕrevi Śviveź parties. Spokesmen from all three parties suggested this yesterday evening, after NKP and Secializdźiś negotiators left a meeting without having made significant results. Last week, Ĕrevi Śviveź already left the coalition talks and many didn't expect the two remaining parties to be able to form a government with any of the other parties.

Normally, after NKP has given back the assignment, the Secializdźiś party should be given the chance to form a government, although the president may deviate from this unwritten rule. The Secializdźiś after all lost almost half of their seats after the November elections; giving them the opportunity to form a government may be an awkward signal to the Adzhatian people.

Ĕrevi Śviveź leave coalition talks; Secializdźiś considering to do the same

9 DECEMBER 2011 - The pro-European party Ĕrevi Śviveź has left the coalition talks after less than a week. The leader of Ĕrevi Śviveź, foreign affairs minister Jukka Bantak, said in a reaction that there were too many differences of opinion between his party and the communist NKP, that won last November's early elections. The parties don't agree on subjects like pension reforms, European integration and how to tackle a possible worsening of the economic situation due to the international crisis. Also the NKP's refusal to adopt the new flag that was approved by the last (Secializdźiś and Ĕrevi Śviveź) government after a referendum in October has caused irritation among both Ĕrevi Śviveź and Secializdźiś members.

Ĕrevi Śviveź entered the coalition talks only last Monday after the NKP and Secializdźiś agreed on some key issues last weekend. Insiders claim that Secializdźiś is also considering to leave the coalition talks; although they share their views of the pension reforms with the NKP and are somewhat indifferent about European integration, it's the handling of the economic crisis that both parties differ most on. It is also said that the Secializdźiś think that they feel largely overshadowed by the NKP, although the latter has only one seat more in the Dume.

Spokesmen of the Secializdźiś however deny these rumours and say that government forming will continue without Ĕrevi Śviveź, but they admit that without the latter, it will prove difficult to form a government; NKP and Secializdźiś are eleven seats short from a majority. If they can't find a serious third party, NKP-leader Bohatiŕ Ŭććaŕa might have to give other parties a chance of forming a coalition.

In other political news, the Dume has passed the 2012 budget yesterday with a comfortable majority. Some minor bills could make it already before the winter recess. Among those the ratification of the founding treaty of the international organisation FICT; Adzhatia is the only country that signed the treaty last summer that has not yet ratified it.

New Dume installed; Śvein Ćŭrupa elected chairman

1 DECEMBER 2011 - The newly elected Dume has been officially sworn in today. It will now be able to vote on bills that should have been adopted by the former Dume, but the political crisis and subsequent elections prevented that from happening. According to political analysts, the passing of the 2012 budget shouldn't pose a big problem in the new Dume (disagreement about the budget within the Secializdźiś party caused the political crisis, but party dissidents such as Vadim Baścveħei, the former chairman of the Secializdźiś parliamentary group, didn't make it on the list this time); Secializdźiś, Ĕrevi Śviveź, AVŎD as well as the winner of the last elections, the communist NKP, were would have approved the budget already before the elections.

Former health minister Śvein Ćŭrupa (Secializdźiś) was elected chairman. Analysts say that the fact that NKP endorsed him as Dume chairman, might indicate that the coalition talks between NKP and Secializdźiś are going well; NKP leader Bohatiŕ Ŭććaŕa hasn't however wished to comment about possible progress that he made thus far.

Bohatiŕ Ŭććaŕa asked by president to form government

22 NOVEMBER 2011 - As expected, the leader of the New Communist Party (NKP), Bohatiŕ Ŭććaŕa, has been asked by president Ăŕva Bekina to form a government. The NKP won last Saturdays parliamentary elections by a narrow margin, but nevertheless, the president asked for the opinions of the party leaders yesterday. Apart from the leader of IGA, Rŭðe Matuś-Iŕańak, who said to have suggested a coalition government of all parties except the NKP and Secializdźiś, all proposed that mr. Ŭććaŕa try to form a government. He will start his consultation rounds tomorrow.

If the NKP fails, coalition talks will become very difficult. Only four or more party coalitions will then be possible, a theoretical coalition of Secializdźiś, AVŎD, Ĕrevi Śviveź and PDA being the one with just 72 seats in the Dume, which is normally the smallest majority a government can have - although currently, as the Dume temporarily has only 141 seats, 71 seats would be enough for a majority. The option of a 'grand coalition' of Secializdźiś, AVŎD and Bloc-Ħĭnzei (with 81 seats) is received with scepticism by Bloc-Ħĭnzei and Secializdźiś.

New Communist Party wins parliamentary elections

20 NOVEMBER 2011 - The New Communist Party (NKP) has won the early proportional elections for the Dume that were held yesterday after the collapse of the Secializdźiś (Socialists) and Ĕrevi Śviveź (Friends of Europe) government in September. Although exit polls still predicted a narrow victory for the Secializdźiś (despite the loss of one regionally elected seat last Sunday as a result of the death of MP Aliksandeŕ Dućiń), the tables turned during the evening and Secializdźiś ended up with 22+8 seats (i.e. 22 proportional and 8 regional seats) whereas the NKP got 30+1 seats; 28 more than in the last elections.

The leader of the NKP, Bohatiŕ Ŭććaŕa, claimed victory around midnight and called it a 'great day for Adzhatia'. He will likely be given the task of forming a government next Monday, although this could prove to become a difficult task: on the left side of the Dume the NKP could form a coalition government with the Secializdźiś and Ĕrevi Śviveź, but since those parties both lost significant amounts of seats, the question will be if they want to be part of the government at all. Ŕanije Erijeź, leader of the Secializdźiś, has admitted defeat and has announced that she will step down if the party wants her to do so. Jukka Bantak, leader of Ĕrevi Śviveź, on the other hand presented himself combative and mostly blamed 'external factors' for his party's loss of ten seats.

The leader of Bloc-Ħĭnzei, Ħarman Ćĕrðanei, expressed disappointment with his party's results. Instead of winning some seats, the party lost four, probably because Ćĕrðanei has been the leader of the party only for three months. Ŕedian Bŏcaneź of the liberal party AVŎD is satisfied: his party doubled its number of seats. The smaller parties PDA and PŎA both lost half of their seats, whereas the Isolationists' List (BI) lost its only seat. New parties in the Dume are the Green Party (DZ-P) with two seats, and the Union for a Glorious Adzhatia (IGA) and the Order and Justice party (ŚhS), both with one seat. The old communist party We Want Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn (OVMP) returns in the Dume with four seats.

The new Dume will be installed on Thursday 1 December. Although the current chairman of the Dume, mr. Ăŕva Tŭle, will retire and therefore won't return in the new one, he will stay on as caretaker prime minister until a new government is formed; president Ăŕva Bekina will confirm him as acting prime minister on that date. The first and most important debate in the new Dume will be that of the state budget of 2012. The proposal made by the former government still has to be passed; the former government fell because of it, as the parliamentary group of the Secializdźiś were against it. With the new seat division, a majority can probably be found in favour of the budget proposal.

Dume-member Aliksandeŕ Dućiń (Secializdźiś) dies

13 NOVEMBER 2011 - Aliksandeŕ Dućiń, one of the nine regionally elected members of the Secializdźiś in the Dume, has died in a car crash outside the capital yesterday evening. This was announced by his family today. Dućiń, who had been a member of parliament for the district of Kercei since last year's elections for the 27 regionally elected members of parliament, was driving to his house north of the city of Kercei when the accident occurred. The police are investigating what exactly happened.

Ŕanije Erijeź, former prime minister and leader of the Secializdźiś, heard the news live in the Sunday morning political talk show Ećeń Dumaisa. Polls indicate that the Secializdźiś are headed for a big loss in the parliamentary elections next Saturday; Dućiń's death means that the party has lost an extra seat, for regionally elected members are elected for one four year term, can't be re-elected in the same position and can't be replaced if they die until the next elections in 2014.

Adzhatia gets a new flag

22 OCTOBER 2011 - A referendum was held today in Adzhatia to let the people confirm the current flag or choose a new one. The proposed new flag was chosen with 49.2% of the voters in favour, whereas 47.5% wanted to keep the old flag, which - according to the former government that had organised the referendum - reminds too much of the country's communist era. Voter turnout was extremely low: only 34.8% of the people who were entitled to vote, showed up.

The acting minister of domestic affairs, mr. Ŏdvakeŕ Bogdanŏv, announced around 18h00 local time that a majority had voted for the new proposal, which will therefore be officially adopted on 1 January 2012. The new flag consists of a black bordered yellow Scandinavian cross on a bright green background. The upper left corner contains the historical cross of the Adzhatian cossacks.

Slava Taŕvŭpa criticises Adzhatian politics

21 OCTOBER 2011 - Today Khusqaikama, a member state of FICT, became the sixth country to ratify the Treaty of Purikali, the organisations founding treaty. As the treaty now officially has entered into force, the first of the FICT ambassadors may assume the rotating role of Chairman of the Conference (i.e. what used to be the Secretary General under FICTS). If all things had gone normally, this should have been our ambassador to the organisation, Slava Taŕvŭpa, but since Adzhatia has yet to ratify the treaty, the first person to become Chairwoman will be the Dhram Phá ambassador ms. sSiôŋ Hau, making Adzhatia come at the end of the list, at the earliest somewhere in 2015.

In an interview on Kaupelanese television, ambassador Slava Taŕvŭpa heavily criticised the current political situation in Adzhatia, saying that the crisis and the incompetence of the Adzhatian leaders make the country 'look bad' internationally. He claimed that FICT (or FICTS before that) never had any real interest from subsequent Adzhatian governments and mr. Taŕvŭpa wondered if our country should ratify the treaty at all.

The Adzhatian ministry of foreign affairs has not yet commented on mr. Taŕvŭpa's outburst. Some members of the Dume, who saw the interview on youtube, called for mr. Taŕvŭpa's resignation. A.V.Ŏ.D. leader mr. Ŕedian Bŏcaneź called the interview a shame. "Mr. Taŕvŭpa acts like a child that didn't get his favourite toy on his birthday. I think he is the one that makes our country look bad; mr. Bantak (the foreign minister) should replace him quickly."

Ŕanije Erijeź re-elected as chairwoman of Secializdźiś

8 OCTOBER 2011 - Former prime minister Ŕanije Erijeź has won the election for a party leader of the social-democratic party, Secializdźiś, at the party's congress in Kercei. She gained 77% of the votes, whereas her opponent, mr. Vadim Baścveħei, leader of the Secializdźiś parliamentary group, managed to secure only 16% of the votes. Mr. Baścveħei was heavily criticised by many of his fellow party members for having blown up the government of Secializdźiś and Ĕrevi Śviveź in September. Polls suggest that Secializdźiś might remain the largest party in the Dume after the next elections, although a reduced amount of seats is expected. If the Secializdźiś manage to form a new government, Ŕanije Erijeź could become the country's prime minister for the third isolated term.

In other news, the liberal party A.V.Ŏ.D. announced that it will put forward former prime minister Pekka Cirpăń as candidate prime minister if the party becomes the largest in the Dume. Mr. Cirpăń (60) was prime minister for two days in June 2005, after which he was ousted by the controversial opposition leader Ăŕva Ośŕoncei.