[04:19 pm] 28 April, 2006

The annual international conference which started today in hotel
`Armenia-Marriott' was devoted to the tendencies of political, social
and economic development and events in the countries of Northern and
Southern Caucasus.

Scientists, journalists and public figures from Armenia, Georgia,
Russia, Israel and other countries were present at the
conference. Only Azerbaijan was not represented. According to chief
scientific worker of the Russian Academy of Science Alexander Krilov,
the reason was the problem with security guarantees. He himself spoke
about the place of Azerbaijan in the world and the tendencies of its

According to Alexander Krilov, Azerbaijan has the lowest economic
index among all the CIS countries, although the Azeri government has a
different opinion. According to the Russian analyst, the reason of
the low economic index is the increase of the expenses of the budget
after the intensive export of oil, and the shadow economy which forms
about 20-25%. Nevertheless according to the Azeri government, this is
a normal index.

The Azeri opposition claims that the information about opening many
workplaces in Azerbaijan does not correspond to the reality. As for
democracy, all the problems in the country are solved with the special
methods of the authoritarian regime.

Lasha Bakradze, professor of the Management European School, made a
report about Georgia titled «Georgia - 2005: road to future». He
represented the situation in his country after the «rose
revolution» partly with humor, and partly with criticism. He
represented the information about the five fold raise of the budget of
the country and the twofold raise of the old-age pension which
according to him was ridiculous.

«Health examinations are not carried out in the hospitals», he
mentioned adding that the citizens of Georgia must solve their
problems on their own initiative. He said that the index of the
exposure of crimes is still very low, and the conditions in prisons
have not been improved.

Alexander Iskandaryan, the head of the Mass Media Caucasian Institute
made a report about Armenia in 2005 titled «Spiral development of
Armenia». He said hat it is difficult to speak about Armenia in
Armenia and voiced hope that he will not be criticized hard. He
mentioned that alongside with usual inner political problems in this
case the Karabakh conflict is added too. According to him, there is no
progress in this sphere, «The sides meet only in order to arrange
the following meetings».

As for the Armenian opposition, he mentioned that if we used to speak
about weak authorities and weak opposition, now we speak about weak
authorities and absence of opposition. According to Alexander
Iskandaryan, the foreign policy in 2005 lasted 14 months: it started
with the problem of Upper Lars and ended with the raise of the costs
of gas.