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Resume: The idea of building a deep-water seaport in Anaklia originates as far back as the previous century. This is confirmed by FactCheck’s research as well as by the Anaklia Development Consortium’s information. The first attempt to build a port in Anaklia was in the 1960s. In the 1970s, Vsevolod Zenkovich toyed with the idea of building a deep-water port in Anaklia and produced a tentative draft. In the 1980s, the first project vis-à-vis the construction of the Anaklia deep-water port was drafted (Archil Kiknadze’s project). At the beginning of the 2000s, Spartak Eragia, an engineer, drafted an alternative project for the Anaklia deep-water port. Since 2010, the idea of building a deep-water port, under the name of Lazika, resurfaced under the United National Movement’s rule. The Georgian Dream voiced criticism of the Lazika project. However, after the Georgian Dream came to power in 2013, a statement was made about building a deep-water port in Anaklia. Finally, port construction work was launched in 2017.

There is a variety of projects or proposals about building a port close to Anaklia with the general idea remaining the same – all of them envision building a deep-water port near Anaklia and using the Inguri canyon situated in the vicinity of the Anaklia shore.

Analysis

The events currently unfolding nowadays about Mamuka Khazaradze and TBC Bank are related to the construction of the Anaklia deep-water port. To remind our readers, Mamuka Khazaradze is the founder of TBC Holding which in turn is the founder of the Anaklia Development Consortium, a chief partner and project developer.

As stated by the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze, linking events around TBC Bank to the construction of the Anaklia port is enormously irresponsible. Speaking about the Anaklia port, the Prime Minister also remarked:“I would like to remind everyone that our political team is the initiator of this very important idea.”

The idea of building a port in Anaklia dates back as far as the previous century. In a 2014 article, FactCheck wrote about this topic. In 2017, the Anaklia Development Consortium published a chronological line of the attempt to build the port in Anaklia. Based on these sources, FactCheck offers a short overview of the ideas and attempts at building a port in Anaklia.

The first attempt to build a port in Anaklia occurred at the end of the 1960s when piers[1] were built but the idea did not progress beyond that phase. In the 1970s, the idea of building a deep-water port in Anaklia was actively discussed. In 1976, Vsevolod Zenkovich’s scientific work was published in the Herald of the National Science Academy of Georgia where the author explored the expected changes in Georgia’s shoreline as a result of the construction of the Inguri HPP. The aforementioned work reviews the necessity to build a port near the mouth of the Inguri River and this is also considered as a solution to problems of seashore protection.

In the 1980s, first project vis-à-vis the construction of a deep-water port in Anaklia was drafted by Archil Kiknadze, a geographer, and Giorgi Metreveli, an architect. In 1993-1995, the Government of Georgia tried to build an oil terminal in Anaklia. The idea of building a port in Anaklia has also remained relevant in the following years. At the beginning of the 2000s, Spartak Eragia, an engineer and the Director of Mshenproekti, drafted an alternative project for a deep-water port in Anaklia. In accordance with the project, the estimated capacity for the Anaklia port would have been 100-120 million tonnes.

Under the rule of the United National Movement, there was a plan to build the city of Lazika on the Kolkheti Lowlands, between Anaklia and Kulevi, where a deep-water port was also planned to be built. By 2012, the construction of the Lazika port was at its initial stage and there were several project proposals although a specific decision was not made. In addition, preparatory work and studies were still needed to process the final project.

The Georgian Dream fiercely criticised the Lazika project during the 2012 election campaign. However, after the change of government, the new ruling team took interest in building a deep-water port in Anaklia. In 2013 nearly a year after coming to power, the leader of the Georgian Dream, Bidzina Ivanishvili, announced the building of a port in Anaklia. The call to submit statements of interest to build and develop a new Black Sea deep-water port in Anaklia was announced on 5 August 2014. The deadline to name the winner company and, therefore, launch the port construction project was moved multiple times (see article 1 and article 2). Finally, the Anaklia Development Consortium was named the winner in February 2016 and the construction of the Anaklia port started in December 2017.

FactCheck’s research concluded that there is no essential difference between the Anaklia and Lazika ports. Both concepts envision the construction of a deep-water port in Anaklia’s vicinity and the use of the Inguri canyon near the Anaklia shore for that purpose.



[1] A pier is a structure in the sea to anchor ships from both sides.