Just two months after announcing sweeping reforms of Georgia’s banks, 36-year-old Finance Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze looks set to become the new Prime Minister. While the country’s banks have become among the most profitable in the world, they have done so at the expense of ordinary Georgians. If Bakhtadze and his replacement at the finance ministry follow through on these reforms, they could be the first step in addressing some of Georgia’s most pressing economic woes.
On 1 March, Georgian police conducted a mass inspection of Tbilisi’s pawnshops, which resulted in the confiscation of mobile phones, TV sets, and other electronic equipment. According to an official statement from the Interior Ministry, the confiscated items had been accepted by the pawnshops without the necessary documentation.
Chechnya’s gas providers have intensified their efforts to collect debts from people who persistently avoid paying for municipal services. During inspections, new cases of illegal use of gas were found.