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Challenges, allegations for new Minister of Culture

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, July 24
On July 24, Mikheil Giorgadze was the last minister named by the Prime Minister. The PM’s statement reads that the selecting of a candidate on the position was quite hard due to the existing problems within the Ministry of Culture and the specific characteristics of the institution. It has also been speculated that Guram Odisharia’s dismissal from the post of the ministry was related to the Sakdrisi issue. It is still unclear whether the Sakdrisi site will be labeled as a cultural heritage site or be taken just as an area open for gold exploration. The Ministry has already got various negative assessments from NGOs and people for its statements that the site was not one of significant cultural heritages.

However, the PM denied the speculations over Sakdrisi, stating that Odisharia’s dismissal was linked to the failure of management in the Ministry.

“Mr. Guram Odisharia is a very respectable and decent person. But he probably had some flaws and errors in management. I did not want to make a hasty decision,” PM stated. He stressed that Odisharia’s substitute will deal with the managerial attitudes efficiently as he has experience in this regard.

The Director of the Eastern Promotion Company, Mikheil Giorgadze, was named by the PM to the post. Giorgadze is planning to come to the Ministry with his own team.

According to the statement released by the PM’s press service, “the development of culture needs an innovative and modern approach. This is a common opinion of the PM and the government of Georgia. The candidate was selected after long discussions and meets all the requirements necessary for new policy,” the statement reads.

As Irakli Gharibashvili stresses Giorgadze is an economist and is the author of many successful projects. “Mikheil Giorgadze is the general manager of the company; he is a member of the board of directors of the Tbilisi Concert Hall; he is a general producer of the Georgian Public Broadcaster. Mr. Mikheil is consultant to the London BPR Production Art Management Program and he is an adviser to the economic department of the Cabinet of the Minister of Georgia,” PM’s statement reads.

Current Deputy Minister of Culture Manana Berikashvili claims that Giorgadze has the essential background to deal with Ministry issues. However, art specialist Lali Pertenava states that only managerial skills and passion for music will not be enough for the Ministry’s success. “The Ministry requires good specialists as it covers different fields. I hope that the new chairperson will make a balance between management and professionalism,” Pertenava states.

On the day of nomination Giorgadze had to answer some accusations. The allegations referred to the activities of the Eastern Promotion Company in the period when the Minister of Culture was Nikoloz Rurua.

According to the National Audit Service, the conclusion of the 2013 reports the financial violations in the agreements signed between the Ministry and the company, namely, in the financial accounting carried out for Batumi Jazz Festival. The head of the Audit Service says the company was funded with GEL 1.368.000 from the budget of which the festival expenditures were only 1.104.000.

Giorgadze has already responded to the allegations, saying the company`s financial activities had been inspected several times since that festival and the corresponding offices did not express any suspicions about their activities.