Notes From Hairenik
Well it seems the fears I had expressed in my previous post are coming true. The trade operations in two Georgian ports, Poti and Batumi, have ceased indefinitely due to the escalated fighting across Georgia, mostly in South Ossetia and now Abkhazia. There has also been a 30 percent reduction in the flow of natural gas from Russia to Armenia imposed by Georgia, and as of two days ago gasoline was being rationed as supplies are now limited. I could only fill 4000 dram worth, or about 10 liters, of gasoline at a time. But I was able to persuade gasoline station managers to fill fuel at two different pumps as I explained to them that I was off to Lake Sevan. Strangely enough the price was the same, 410 dram for 1 liter of gasoline, as it has been for about six weeks now. Nevertheless the cost per liter may have since gone up or else could potentially increase considerably by the end of the week.

RFE/RL reports that:

At least one of the Georgian ports, Poti, has been targeted by Russian warplanes bombing military and civilian targets across Georgia following the outbreak of all-out fighting in South Ossetia. Armenia has long been heavily reliant on its rail-ferry services with the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Ilyichevsk and Russia’s Port-Kavkaz.

According to Vladimir Badalian, a government-linked parliamentarian co-chairing an Armenian-Georgian business association, both Poti and the other Georgian port, Batumi, are standing idle now because of the worsening security situation in the country. “Because the work of the ports ground to a halt, a fairly large numbers of goods are piling up there,” he told RFE/RL on Monday.

This is not cheerful news. Hopefully most of those goods are non-food items, so it won't be devastating for deliveries of beauty products and plastic containers to be delayed for some time I suppose. However, the shortages of fuel are definitely worrisome. There are still thousands of cars on the road which are dependent on gasoline for instance rather than the more common natural gas. This will mean that most businessmen owning gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles will have difficulty delivering produce to market. The same issue applies to cargo or construction vehicles, for instance dump and cement trucks.

In the meantime Armenians vacationing or living in Georgia as well as people from other countries visiting there are moving across the border in droves.

You can read more about the crisis here and here.

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