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Georgia Sees Russian Energy Investment Boost From Visa-Free Plan

March 02, 2012

The Georgian government’s proposal of visa-free travel for Russians will boost energy investments and tourism, Economy Minister Vera Kobalia said.

President Mikheil Saakashvili called for closer economic ties between the two nations with an eye on increasing investment from Russia, which totaled $150 million last year, mainly in energy projects, Kobalia said in an interview today in Tbilisi, the capital.

“It’s a great idea and not only will it encourage more Russian investments, but also allow businesses in Russia to consider Georgia,” Kobalia said. “We are open to any investments, regardless of politics.”

Georgia, which fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008, has signed 42 agreements to develop hydropower projects as part of a plan to attract $5 billion to reduce the Black Sea country’s dependence on fossil fuels. As many as 12 hydropower projects are already planned this year, First Deputy Energy Minister Mariam Valishvili said this week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at

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