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What are the obstacles faced by Kutaisi and surrounding towns?

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STORY
Imereti could prove a key test case for the Saakashvili administration. Its main town, Kutaisi, the country’s second largest city, is slotted to serve as an official magnet for business investment outside of Tbilisi and as a second capital of sorts for the government. But Kutaisi’s revival depends on more than a few changes of address. Despite Imeretians’ hopes for the future, serious problems remain.

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PROMISES vs. RESULTS
Road repairs, adequate water supplies, jobs for refugees. Has Tbilisi delivered the goods for Kutaisi's transformation?

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AT A GLANCE
Population: 407,200
Size: 6,600 sq km
Main Town: Kutaisi (pop: 241,100)
Average salary: GEL 94.7 (about $53.50) per month


One Soviet-era song described Kutaisi as the “builder of Georgian industry.” Any chance for a comeback?

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GEORGIAN VOICES
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"The only changes we have are that the governors change once every year."

Zhora Gordeladze,
Market Trader, Kutaisi

"The main advantage to the new government is that people live when they hope."

Nargiz Guleshidze,
Street Vendor, Kutaisi

"It doesn't matter who is president. He only should be for the peasants."

Zura Kublashvili,
Rural Worker, Gvakiti