For us, this country began with a small border crossing on the border with Azerbaijan (we called from this side). The border guard, having seen our Russian passports, phoned somewhere, and a smiling full man in a plaid shirt came out to meet us. Despite a broad smile, something immediately betrayed him as a representative of the special services … "Do you mind if I talk with you?" - he invited us to the table, treated us with a cold mineral water … The conversation lasted about five minutes. The officer was extremely polite, found out why we were going to Georgia, asked for permission (!!!) to make photocopies of our passports … And then he said: “Welcome!” And the border guard slapped the entry stamp in the passports.
Then we drove a little over 200 km to Tbilisi; seen with a dozen Skoda patrol cars. But our Duster with Moscow numbers did not pay the slightest attention. Miracles, and only. Then we looped through the streets of Tbilisi in search of our hotel, and again, not a single policeman looked even in our direction! But the real miracles we saw the next morning …
A small digression. When police reform began in this country 8 years ago, the first thing they did was liquidate all the structures where corruption could not be defeated: for example, the inspection system (as well as fire control and sanitary and epidemiological station). The local traffic police, once famous for bribery throughout the Union, was also dismissed. 15 thousand employees of the traffic police immediately fired; not one of them was hired back. For three months, the traffic situation was not regulated at all. It became, of course, worse, but the locals endured: they believed the new government that soon everything would be fine. And they didn’t deceive, surprisingly!..
So, the citizens suffered a couple of years, while the newly recruited employees were trained in police affairs. Before joining the service, the vast majority of newcomers had no idea about it. In principle, they did not take former law enforcement officials, or even citizens with a legal education. And now patrol officers are serving on the streets. They do not hide in the bushes, but continuously patrol roads and streets (at night they must specially designate themselves to be included in the “chandelier”). They are not afraid. We do not know how much they are loved, but certainly respected. And most importantly, trust. They deal not only with traffic problems; their responsibilities are street hooliganism, domestic quarrels and fights, petty thefts, and much, much more …
Nature is one of the most important assets of Georgia. Nature is one of the most important assets of Georgia.
They devote only about 40 percent of their time to “traffic police” functions. You have to break the rules so that you can be stopped. And they only communicated with you under a video camera. Stationary posts (there are many of them on the main roads of the country) are similar to aquariums (like the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs itself). This is how the concept of transparency is visibly realized. In general, the size of the entire police was reduced by a factor of three compared to 2004, when the reform began. Accident, you will not believe it - is declining! And now cars are not being stolen in Georgia. They say that you can pass the rights in half an hour. We decided to check it out for ourselves and went to the Service Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. This structure is responsible for all the "commercial" functions of the ministry - the issuance of rights, various permits and certificates, as well as the registration of vehicles. There are 11 such agencies in the republic (in each district), but we visited the main office - it is located in the city of Rustavi (almost on the outskirts of the capital).
… How does passing the exam for rights look like in Georgian? To do this, you need one single document: a passport. According to it, a girl inspector “punches through” a candidate in a matter of seconds in a database (were there any rights before, were there outstanding convictions, were they not registered with a narcologist, etc.). And then - welcome to the theoretical exam!
You sit down at the computer and first of all choose one of the 12 possible languages in which you will pass the exam. Naturally, we settled on Russian. Medical certificates upon delivery of rights in Georgia have long been canceled (all for the same reason - it was customary to buy them, just like ours). But the first three questions are about eye testing. Polychromatic images appear on the screen one after another - these are tests for vision and color blindness. If you correctly identify the "disguised" numbers and figures, then, consider, passed the medical examination. Good for you! It remains only in 30 minutes to answer 30 questions. However, they are not more complicated than those that are printed monthly on the pages of the magazine “Behind the Wheel”. There is a handicap: 3 errors can be made. One of the authors made 2 mistakes, the second - passed the exam perfectly.
The most transparent building of the examination department The most transparent building of the examination department
“Congratulations, you both surrendered the theory! - congratulated us the head of the Service Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Levan Sonadze. “Now you can go to the site for a practical exam.”
The site resembled a small stadium: a neat paved field with mounted poles and cones. The similarity was emphasized by a small tribune where, under a canopy, the candidates were waiting in line. However, the line moved very quickly: you do not have time to press the button of a special device and get a receipt with your number (as we have in Moscow at Sberbank branches), as you look - and they’re already calling you …
In this agency, exams are passed on exactly the same “Fabia”. You sit behind the wheel, fasten your seatbelt … Nearby is the inspector, but he is silent, does not give out comments, but only looks - first ahead, then at the tablet screen, which is fixed right in front of him. The only thing I asked was in what language are you taking the exam? I heard that in Russian, I poked at the computer screen, and then a female mechanical voice rang out: “Hello! The first exercise is to drive into the garage in reverse. Proceed!”And then there were five standard exercises (a snake, stopping and starting off on the rise, parallel parking, etc.). Nothing wrong!
The race track is fully automated; I made a mistake, hooked a cone or a stick - right there on the computer, the examiner displays penalty points (however, the cadet does not see this). The course of the exam is completely recorded on video cameras that are installed along the entire route and in the car; records can then be viewed on the site for several months. That's it, finish! It was necessary to score from 160 to 200 points. One of the authors scored just 160 (did not understand the conditions of the last exercise and “exceeded” it), the second - drove without errors. As a result, both received congratulations from the examiner - and went to the main building to receive Georgian driver's licenses. International, by the way, and unlimited!
Is it all too easy? But what about the mandatory practical exam on city streets in our country and in most countries? It was also canceled in Georgia! “You see, when we prescribed requirements for future drivers, we carefully studied the experience of the leading countries of the world,” explains Levan Sonadze, the head of the Service Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. - And they came to the conclusion that a person passes this exam under the most severe stress. Remember how they once passed such an exam? Remembered? Probably terribly worried and made stupid mistakes from this? So it was? Therefore, we decided to abandon this test. The person has already shown that he has mastered the basic driving skills during the exam on the site. Why torment him yet? Then he will have to take the main exam on the streets and roads …
You could probably argue, but to be honest, we didn't want to. Firstly, we spent a little less than an hour - and received a brand new military license. Secondly, the exams are not difficult, and maybe then the beginner will have a hard time on the road. Is it easy for our graduates of driving schools?.. By the way, passing on a license in Georgia is inexpensive - only 70 GEL …
And then Colonel Sonadze showed us how the car registration process is going. For all actions there are strict regulations (including on time).
“Our central office in Rustavi“misses”about 3.5 thousand people a day,” he said. - For example, the entire process of registering a car takes 15-20 minutes. Do not believe? Come on, I'll show you everything! Here the inspector inspects the car, checks the compliance of numbers and documents; data goes to a computer network. Another inspector-registrar has access to the tax and customs base, he conducts an audit in a few seconds. If you need to pay customs payments or there is some kind of debt - you can do it right away in the bank branch. The inspector has notary rights, so the purchase and sale transaction is certified on the spot, a document is issued. And a certified copy in any language!
If the owner wants to get a regular license plate for a car, please, a computer will choose it, and it will cost 70 GEL. You can choose a combination yourself, but it will be more expensive. The most expensive option is seven “sevens”, it costs 10 thousand lari. We don’t know, but for some reason no one has ordered it yet …
- As you say, you have called such a system? - asks the head of the Service Center. - The principle of "one window"? I don’t know … Rather, it is a conveyor designed to make people comfortable. And at first we made a working scheme, and then described it in law. That is, there is only one conclusion: it is necessary to adapt laws to a convenient service, and not vice versa.
The reform carried out by the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs is amazing. However, to be honest, it has not yet reached all the ordinary drivers, therefore they still drive “in Georgian”, not too reckoning with each other. And pedestrians in Tbilisi are simply risking their lives: stepping on a zebra habit in Moscow, one of the authors heard a squeal of brakes from an unknown Opel, and barely managed to jump to the side …