Russia

Google Voice lists Abkhazia as Russia

Whenever you’re abroad for a long time you look for different ways to contact your family every once in a while (Skype, landline, etc.). A Georgian friend of mine who lives in Bulgaria wanted to call home and he decided to use Google Voice (A telecommunication service from Google). But before doing so he checked call rates. By doing this he suddenly discovered that Google Voice lists Abkhazia as one of the rates for calling Russia.Google_Voice_Russia_Abkhazia

In addition to this strange fact it turns out that the fee for Abkhazia is the highest in the list. I decided to write Google Voice and ask them why do they list Abkhazia as an option for Russia. I am waiting for their answer and as soon as they reply I’ll post it here.

Google_Voice_Russia_Abkhazia_2

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Freedom House lists Abkhazia and South Ossetia as separate countries

Freedom House, Washington D.C. based democracy and human rights advocate has recently released its Freedom of Press in 2012 Findings. The report highlights key developments in global press freedom over the last year, including improvements in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and crackdowns in authoritarian states. The annual report includes findings in 197 countries and territories.

Media in Georgia, according to the report is partly free and out of all the countries it’s on 111st place, which makes it a leader in the region (Turkey is 117th, Armenia 149th, Azerbaijan and Russia 172nd).

Freedom House website gives separate findings and articles about each state. Interestingly, under the list of countries in Central and Eastern Europe/Eurasia Georgia’s breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Along with Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria) are listed as separate countries.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia are Georgia’s disputed regions that are recognized independent by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, the rest of the world considers it as a part of Georgia. With more than 200,000 IDPs, the conflict is still unresolved and Georgia officially refers to these regions as “Occupied Territories”.

Medvedev’s Facebook page blocked for Georgians

With Russian soldiers in Georgia’s breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a group of Forum.ge users proposed to mark the Defender of the Fartherland Day on February 23 by posting anti-occupation comments on Dmitry Medvedev’s Facebook page.

Cyxymu (Georgian blogger who was a target of series of attacks on social networking sites Facebook, Google Blogger, LiveJournal and Twitter, taking the latter offline for two hours on August 7, 2009) posted a photo about this campaign on Facebook that got attention of many Georgians. More than 200 Facebook users started to post comments and they still keep doing it:

“Дмитрий Анатольевич, я требую вывода российских оккупационных войск из Грузии!”

“Dmitry Anatolyevich I demand to withdraw Russian occupational forces from Georgia!” (more…)

Tourism in Georgia [Statistics]

Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has released a detailed data about foreign visitors to Georgia. Tourists from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia are leading the list and only 5% of visitors are from the EU. According to MIA, 1,793,449 foreign arrivals have been recorded in January-August, 2011 (2,031,695 people traveled to Georgia in 2010). Most of them were from Azerbaijan – 456,282, 455,611 from Turkey, 448,374 from Armenia and 176,090 from Russia.

2011* - Indicates number of tourists for the January-August period.

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Abkhazia Presidential Candidate Sergei Shamba Goes Online

Three candidates are competing this week for a presidential post in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia. The Central Election Commission predicts 70% turnout on the ballot that will be held on August 26, 2011. According to BBC:

At least 130,000 people were registered to vote but, our correspondent says, an estimated 40,000 ethnic Georgians living in the region were mostly prevented from voting because they do not have Abkhaz passports.

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Beyonce – Run The World (Girls)

Beyonce Knowles, 29, has finally released a video to her new sizzling track – Run The World (Girls), which after Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) and Diva is considered to be a continuation of her messages of female empowerment.

In the Run The World (Girls) video, Beyonce is a leader of a female-gang that takes on its male enemies with impressive and energetic dance moves. The video features Beyonce on a wild horse, on a car with Revolution written on it, in a factory and etc. Beyonce changes costumes several times and strikes with powerful poses throughout the video.

In one of the scenes the singer holds hyenas and stands in a field with a road sign in the back. The sign is from Georgia and gives directions to Tbilisi, Tskhinvali and Gori.

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Only 3 percent of Russians feel ‘Very Good” of Georgia

On January 21-24, 2011 Russia-based Yuri Levada Analytical Center (Levada Center) conducted a research and surveyed 1600 Russians in 130 settlements of 45 regions of the country. Youngest interviewees were 18 years old. The Levada center posted results of the survey on its website [RUS]. According to them, Statistical error in the data from these studies does not exceed 3,4%. Here are the results:

Results show that Russians dislike Georgia more than USA, EU, Belarus and Ukraine.