Report creation date: 14.10.2008 - 10:31
Countr(y/ies): Georgia
Chapter(s): 1,2,21,22,23,24,241,242,243,244,245,246,3,31,32,33,4,41,42,421,422,423,424,425,426,427,428,429,4210,43,5,51,511,512,513,514,515,516,517,518,519,52,53,531,532,533,534,535,536,537,538,539,5310,6,61,62,63,64,7,71,72,73,8,81,811,812,813,82,821,822,83,831,832,84,841,842,9,91,92

Georgia/ 1. Historical perspective: cultural policies and instruments

After the October Socialist Revolution of 1917, Georgia became an independent democratic state - the Republic of Georgia - for a short period from 1918-1921. While short, it was a very significant one from a cultural point of view. During this time the foundation was laid for the development of a cultural policy whose main aims were the introduction of democratic processes and the preservation of national identity. A key milestone achievement of this period was the opening of the State University (1918) as a centre of scientific and cultural life in the country.View of Tbilisi

The period of Soviet influence was as dramatic in Georgia as in other Republics of the Soviet Union. The period between the 1930s-1940s, was an important time for creative freethinking intellectuals, during which "ideology" was predominant and "social realism" was developed. Stalin's period of power (1929-1953) was characterised by unconditional and implicit power over the official culture and ideology.

L. I. Brezhnev's time in office (1964-1981) was a period of stagnation for culture. Alongside the relative loosening of control from Stalin's totalitarian system and some freedom at the periphery of the USSR, Georgian culture experienced a conflict between the bureaucratic-communistic and Georgian national cultures that finally led to the end of the Soviet socialistic culture. Since the late 1980s, i.e. the period of "perestroika", this conflict had been intensified and manifested, for example, in officious and informal activity; communistic bureaucracy and the national liberation movement; and Soviet culture and Georgian national culture based on non-ideologised arts.

During this period, two events had a dramatic effect on the development and establishment of contemporary Georgian mentality and, therefore, on culture in general. In 1978, in connection with the adoption of the revised Constitution of the USSR in Tbilisi, mass marches were held and called for the protection of the Georgian language and for it to maintain its official status. These marches led to the formation of the national liberation movement which was behind the 9 April 1989 anti-Soviet demonstration which was quashed by the Soviet army and led to several tragic deaths. This event signaled the beginning of the disintegration of the USSR.

The paternalistic cultural policy pursued by the Soviet Union had some positive influences on Georgia. It created an extensive network and well-functioning infrastructure of public cultural institutions; a well-shaped and widely accessible academic system of education supporting the arts and science; "high" culture, which was understood as a neutral link in state building; and a growth in mass culture consumption.

Like any other area of activity in Georgia, culture was administered in a centralised manner through the relevant channels. The formula of Soviet official culture adopted in Georgia was "nationalist in its shape and socialist in its content". There were important creative achievements in Georgian theatre, cinema, art and music, created by outstanding artists and cultural workers, notwithstanding the ideological influences. These achievements assisted in developing a national understanding of culture as a system of values which determines and forms national identity and, as a result, unites the nation.

The post-Soviet period in the history and culture of Georgia is complicated and contradictory. Elections were held in 1990 and on 9 April 1991 the Parliament of Georgia unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence (under the first Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia) and led to the establishment of the Republic of Georgia as a new independent state.

This post-Soviet period (from 1990-1992) saw the creation of a differential cultural policy and an aggravation of international problems, particularly those provoked by outside influences. As a result, control was lost over the region of Inner Kartli, formerly the South-Ossetian Autonomous Territory. Furthermore, during the 1991-1992 period, the "Tbilisi War" broke out and the government of Gamsakhurdia was overthrown. Edward Shevardnadze came to power (March 1992) and the political situation stabilised. Peace was established in Georgia and there was an increased drive towards building a new state. This did not last long, however. Supporters of former president Gamsakhurdia engaged in successful military operations in Abkhazia. On 27th September 1993, Georgian authorities lost control over almost all of the territory of the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic.

During the period 1993-2003, Georgia faced financial restrictions and a political overhaul aimed at balancing national and liberal-democratic ideas. The cultural infrastructure that remained from the Soviet period required reform. Cultural policy in Georgia had no clear strategic focus, even though it was declared as one of the state's priorities. Support for the arts was the extent of the reach of the state's policies.

The so called Rose Revolution took place on 23rd November 2003, after which President Shevardnadze retired. Since 2004, the country has being undergoing continuous reforms, including those of a constitutional nature.

During the period 1990-2004, Georgia had 6 different Ministers of Culture. Since 2004, cultural affairs, sports and youth affairs have been combined in one Ministry. Currently there are ongoing structural changes.

Georgia has experienced many political and socio-cultural changes during the 20th century. Those which occurred over the past 15 years were the result of revolution. Given this fact, it has been extremely difficult to install a sustainable system of policy development.  In the field of culture, it has indeed prevented the creation and implementation of a long-term cultural strategy.

The November 2007 crisis in Georgia (the rally carried out by the united opposition forces demanding the restoration of the previous constitutional terms for parliamentary elections established before the amendments made in the Constitution of Georgia as of 2006, the attack pressed by the government against the people on hunger-strike, dispersal of demonstrators and closing of two independent TV companies "Imedi" and "Caucasia" and radio-broadcasting station "Imedi", implementation of the state of emergency all over the territory of Georgia from November 7-16, 2007) has revealed the post-revolution period problems. Calling pre-term presidential elections and plebiscite on restoration of constitutional terms of the parliamentary elections is the only constitutional way out of this crisis.

Georgia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.1 Organisational structure (organigram)

Ministry of Culture, Monuments Protection and Sport 

Georgia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.2 Overall description of the system

Georgia is a democratic republic divided into 9 regions, 65 territories, 2 autonomous republics - Abkhazia and Ajaria, and 5 cities. The official language is Georgian, except in the territory of Abkhazia where both Georgian and Abkhazian languages are official. The capital city of Georgia is Tbilisi with a population of 1 253 000.

The system of administration includes the following branches of authority:

Parliament - holding legislative powers; the parliamentary committee for education, science, culture and sports is responsible for legislation and supervision of the executive power (the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia).

President of Georgia - the head of the state; holds the central place in the hierarchy of the executive power. The President's Administration includes the Internal Policy Service. The Service for Culture, Science and Youth Affairs which existed at the State Chancellery before the Rose Revolution has been dismantled; only one unit in the newly formed Internal Policy Service represents Culture, Science, Social and Religious Affairs.

On the 5th September 2006, the Council for Culture and the Fund for Culture were established by the President of Georgia. The goal of the Council for Culture is to determine the cultural policy and the Presidential initiatives in this sphere; the purpose of the Fund for Culture is to finance cultural activities and international and local festivals country-wide.

Nevertheless, as of November 2007 these structures still remain superficial and do not influence the national cultural policy (for this reason the Board for Culture is not reflected in the organigram (see 2.1).

Cabinet of Ministers and its head - the Prime Minister - forms the executive power. In line with the amendments made to the Constitution since 2004, the role of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers has been strengthened.

The institutional division of authority among various levels of power in culture is as follows:

National government: The Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia is the central authority that forms and pursues cultural policy. The ministry is also the main governmental body that provides financial support to the cultural sector.

There are Reserve Funds of the President of Georgia and Government of Georgia that finance emergency programmes, including those in the cultural sphere (see 5.1.2). Such programmes are implemented together with the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport and promote more centralisation of the state policy for culture (see 2.4.2).

National institutions and organisations of culture are subordinate to the Agency for Administration at the Ministry of Economic Development. The Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia is responsible for the development of cultural policy.

Advisory bodies or councils: In the Georgian system of cultural administration there is no institute or independent arts council. Advisory bodies - branch committees - were established at the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport. These committees are composed of freelance experts. Small grants are made available to ensure public participation in the implementation of cultural policy. In 2007, the branch commissions were unfortunately inactive.

In Georgia, there are no new authorities such as special councils, committees or working groups which should facilitate the representation and participation of the national and cultural minorities or groups of immigrants in the cultural processes. The only authority which indirectly addresses these issues (in the context of the protection of the general rights of minorities) is the Centre for Tolerance at the Office of the Ombudsman of Georgia.

Local authorities: In line with Georgian legislation, the governments of Abkhazia and Ajaria Autonomous Republics have their own Ministries of Culture which are responsible for programmes within their respective administrative borders.

The local authorities of administration (municipalities) and self-government (sakrebulo - city or village councils) bear responsibility for cultural activity in the regions.

The structural units of local authorities are the departments of culture, cultural heritage and protection of monuments at the local governmental level.

Most of the institutions of culture (theatres, clubs, museums, libraries, centers and house of culture, art and music schools) responsible to the local bodies of administration and self-government have no legal status although they receive state-municipal financing.

Presidential power in the regions is realised through the institute of presidential "rtsmunebuli" (the governor / president's attorney). There are 10 rtsmunebulis throughout Georgia. The Governor's Office includes the committee for culture (institutions and programmes of regional importance. The Rtsmunebuli Office is financed from the central budget (however, the structure of rtsmunebuli (President's attorney in each region) is not defined in the Constitution of Georgia).

In many respects, the President's institutes -"rtsmunebuli"- duplicate the functions of the bodies of local administration and self-government and due to a trend of centralisation in recent years the powers of the rtsmunebuli have been further reinforced.

In some cases there are conflicting priorities and approaches taken by the national cultural policy and by the policies of local self-government which can result in the lack of a coherent system for cultural support.

One example of these inconsistencies is in relation to the autonomous republics. Until 2004, the Ajaria Autonomous Republic was not accountable to the central government. The territory of the Abkhazia Autonomous Republic is controlled by a separatist government, which for 12 years has been in conflict with the official Georgian authorities and has pursued a policy directed against the indigenous Georgian culture. The Tskhinvali Region, also known as South Ossetia, is a similar case in point.

Due to the political and economic interests of the central authorities listed above, as well as demands from both local authorities and the public, the problems of delimitation of powers and reinforcement of centralisation have become very acute.

Georgia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation

Cooperation between the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia and other ministries is determined by their participation in public cultural development. There are no special inter-ministerial agreements; co-operation is regulated under the Law on Structure and Procedures of Executive Power.

The ministries responsible for some aspects of regulation / management of culture are:

The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for the implementation of reforms in higher, vocational and secondary education, including legislative reform, and accordingly is responsible for education policies. The ministry also implements the state policy on the official Georgian language and undertakes to provide equal access to learning Georgian, especially in the regions with a high density of ethnic minorities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the development and implementation of a single foreign policy, including the foreign cultural policy. The Ministry provides coordination with foreign countries and international organisations. The National Committee of UNESCO at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia coordinates the ministries, institutions and agencies engaged in the sphere of culture. The Secretariat of the Committee is also established under this Ministry.

The Centre for the Protection of Georgian Cultural Heritage Abroad, which was established under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2004, was abolished in 2006. It was replaced by a new Department for Foreign Economic and Humanitarian Relations, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This department took over the responsibilities of the Centre for the Protection of Georgian Cultural Heritage Abroad and the Department for Foreign Economic Relations. It also includes a section responsible for Cultural Heritage and Relations with Diasporas.

The Ministry of Economic Development (Departments for Tourism, Construction and Privatisation) is responsible for the strategy on privatisation and attraction of subsidies (including for the cultural sector); for tourism development (including cultural tourism), creation of a favourable investment environment for cultural industries and provision of the official system for the preservation of cultural heritage in the areas of construction, spatial planning and cultural landscaping.

The Ministry of Finance, like the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport is responsible for execution of the budget and for regulation of the United Fund of the National Lottery.

The President's Administration cooperates with the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport in the planning, financing and arrangement of all major public cultural events inside and outside Georgia.

On the regional level, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport cooperates with the local authorities, the office of rtsmunebuli / governor / President's attorney and municipal authorities in the form of methodological consultations, concrete projects or in the context of collaboration in respect of a budget-funded institution or monument of culture. Until 2003, the Ministry of Culture had coordinators in the regions through which it provided supervision on its cultural policies and supported its powers with budgetary funds.

The Ministries of Culture of Abkhazia and Ajaria Autonomous Republics are under dual subordination - they are accountable to local governments and to the central authority. However, in view of the war and the 12-year conflict, the de-facto Abkhazian authorities independently control the cultural policy in the territory of Abkhazia. Similarly, the Ministry of Culture of the Ajaria Autonomous Republic pursues the cultural policy, in the context of the decentralisation policy, declared by the Georgian government within its administrative borders.

At present, there are no special interdepartmental or interstate systems in place for addressing intercultural dialogue in Georgia (see 2.4.5 (interstate) and 4.2.3 (intra-state).

Georgia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

Georgia has signed various agreements, in the sphere of culture, with the EU countries, CIS countries (Commonwealth of Independent States), USA, China, Israel etc. These agreements are divided into:

The first group of agreements include those between Georgia and the UK (1992), Azerbaijan (1993), Armenia (1993), Germany (1993), Spain (1993), Kazakhstan (1993), Poland (1993), Turkmenistan (1993), Russia (1994), Turkey (1992), Bulgaria (1995), Uzbekistan (1995), Romania, Greece (1997), Italy, France (1997), Kyrgyzstan (1997), Ukraine (2002), and Estonia (2004).

The second group of agreements includes intergovernmental programmes on cultural exchange with Russia (1997) and intergovernmental cooperation programmes on culture, education and science with Israel, Spain, and Greece for the 2004-2006 period.

The third group of agreements includes those between the Ministry of Culture of Georgia and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs of Armenia (1999) and between the Ministry of Culture of Georgia and the Georgian Cultural, Tourist and Trade Centre in Japan (2000) and so on.

Recently, Georgia has intensified its contacts with the Baltic countries and GUAM countries (The GUAM Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development is a regional organisation of four CIS states: Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova). The contacts with Ukraine have become especially close and many-sided.

The Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia, newly established in 2004, seeks cooperation with bodies operating international cultural funds.

Georgia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

The Department of International Relations at the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport is responsible for international cultural cooperation. The issues of cultural heritage, in the context of international cultural cooperation, are mainly addressed by the Department of Cultural Heritage and, in the context of UNESCO programmes, within the remit of the National Committee of UNESCO.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also has a responsibility for international cultural cooperation which is administered by its Department for Foreign Economic and Humanitarian Relations. This Department is responsible for some aspects of cultural policy and the protection of Georgian cultural heritage abroad.

Within the Participation Programme framework for 2007-2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia financed 7 projects in the total amount of 120 000 USD. In addition, two large projects are in the process of implementation under the aegis of UNESCO:

The President's Administration also participates in the planning of international cultural activities, e.g. the launch of Georgia's Year in the Ukraine (2005), Tbilisi Culture Days in Istanbul (2006).

On the municipal level, there are examples of international agreements between cities and regions, e.g. between the Culture Service of Tbilisi Municipality and respective services of Moscow (2000), Kiev (2001), Didim (2001), Yerevan (2003), Rome (2004) and Florence (2004).

International public cultural agencies, institutes and funds also operate in Georgia.

Significant financing and support for international cultural cooperation has been implemented through international funds and institutions, such as the Open Society Georgia Foundation (Soros Foundation), South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich-Boll-Foundation, the British Council Georgia Office, and the Alexander Dumas Centre of French Culture. As there are minimal funds allocated by the state for international cultural relations, the role of the above listed universally recognised cultural agencies and institutes are very important. Each of the listed funds contributes to the development of public participation and cultural diplomacy according to their priorities.

Examples of projects in the fields of education and culture are:

The main instruments in international cultural relations are:

As yet, there are few examples of trans-national cooperation in cultural education and training. For some years, such cooperation has been initiated by international organisations or by governmental programmes of countries that have a close relationship with Georgia e.g. Italy.

Each year, Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport provides travel grants for young artists to attend international competitions or training etc. It also co-finances a grant for a competition with the Government of Italy - the Rome Award. Within the framework of the project STAGE, a group of librarians attended training courses in Frankfurt in 2005, and 9 young musicians were sent to Frankfurt in 2005 (and 3 in 2006).

Traditionally, the state did not provide a great deal of input into the organisation of international projects. However, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport succeeded to arrange some large-scale international activities, such as:

The President's Administration also participates actively in the planning and co-financing of international cultural activities, including an allocation of GEL 150 182 towards the opening of Georgia's Year in Ukraine in 2005.

In 2005, with the co-financing of the Presidential and Government's Reserve Funds of Georgia, the following activities were organised:

The total amount of funds allocated for such international events was 2 482 370 GEL, including 120 000 GEL of the estimated budget of the State Programme for the Support of Foreign Cultural Relations of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia.

The government is planning to create a National Lottery Fund and is currently consulting with British experts. A working group has already been established.

According to the data of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia, the sum allocated for foreign cultural cooperation in 2006 was 327 000 GEL, or 0.6% of the Ministry's budget (51 177 100 GEL). This figure decreased 7.5 times in comparison with 2005 (2 482 370 GEL). Some financing of international cultural cooperation was provided by national private companies and funds (no exact data is available).

Promotion of Georgian culture worldwide and forging ties with leading international scholarly institutions are among the top priorities of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport in the sphere of cultural heritage. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2007 between the Ministry and the Max Plank Institute of Florence, which is one of the most respected institutions of this kind, to enhance cooperation in restoration and conservation matters.

Within the framework of the Memorandum, an international seminar dedicated to Georgian art was held between September 30 and October 7 with the participation of the representatives of the Max Plank Institute (M. Angar, M. Bacci, B. Fricke, A. Forman, W. Kemp, E. Maayan-Fanar, D. Maayan, K. Müller, B. Schellewald and G. Wolf) and the Giorgi Chubinashvili National Research Centre of Georgian Art History and Monument Preservation.

In 2007, support for international cultural cooperation by the state, namely by means of the reserve funds of the President and Government of Georgia, co-financed the programme "Georgian Seasons" under the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia:

International project support was also offered by the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia under its programme "International Cultural Cooperation Support Activities", totalling 379 277 GEL (158 032 euro) in 2007.

Georgia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

There are agreements in place between Georgia and international organisations such as UNESCO, ICROM (International Center for Renovation and Maintenance (of Cultural Heritage Sites: affiliate of UNESCO), ICOM (International Council of Museums) and ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).

Georgia is included in HEREIN (European Heritage Network), and the Participation Programme (UNESCO). Georgia is also a member of the BSEC (Black Sea Economic Cooperation) working group on culture and European Heritage Days (since 1999).

Since 2001, Georgia has cooperated with the project STAGE (EC Cultural Policy and Action Department, Directorate General IV - Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport (DGIV/CULT/STAGE (2003) 11)) (since 2005-2006, this project has been transformed into the Kyiv Initiative (Regional Programme: Black Sea and South Caucasus -The Kyiv Initiative is a regional and transversal programme of cultural co-operation between five countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova).

In recent years, Georgia took part in the following activities:

Georgia participates in the EU neighbourhood policy, which has a plan of actions with the following objectives:

Regarding the transnational organisations which unite large geographical regions, Georgia has executed cultural agreements with the CIS (The creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States signaled the dissolution of the Soviet Union and, according to leaders of Russia, its purpose was to "allow a civilised divorce" between the Soviet Republics), GUAM and BSEC countries. The responsibility for the provision and monitoring of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, to which Georgia has acceded, is carried out by the National Committee of UNESCO, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Georgia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.4 Direct professional co-operation

In Georgia, transnational cooperation involving institutes of fine arts and cultural heritage and local authorities for culture and trade unions are frequent. Most of the interesting and successful projects are initiated by individuals and NGOs or through the bilateral relations of various public and private organisations which have been initiated by personal contacts rather than as a matter of state policy.

One example: The Georgian Arts & Culture Centre (GACC) actively co-operates with the Concervazione Beni Culturali (Rome, Italy) in cultural heritage projects (European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, 2007). This cooperation includes consultancies, seminars, training in the international practice of conservation, modern conservation materials, microbiological and other related issues. The symposium "Georgian Culture: Past and Present" (24.04.2007) was organised by the Georgian Arts and Culture Center and supported by the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, and the Fulbright Scholar Programme.

In addition to the work carried out by the Georgian Arts & Culture Centre, there are a number of interesting projects carried out by NGOs include: Georgian Crafts Development Project; New Art Union Project "providing assistance to the development of contemporary art and to the formation of an art market in South Caucasus"; the Arts Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory AIRL project; the "Tbilisi Urban Development and Heritage Protection Public Monitoring Council" and the interdisciplinary newspaper "Iliazd" etc.

"Tbilisi-Basel-Freiburg" is a non-government international artist exchange programme which provides funds to Georgian contemporary artists to work and travel in Europe for 6 months. It started in 1998 and is supported by foreign partners: the Christoph Merian Stiftung IAAB program (Artists' International Exchange Program), Basel; Department of Culture of Freiburg municipality and the Arts Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory (AIRL).

Other significant examples of cultural transnational cooperation:

Georgia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation

A project to set up a Caucasian network of Cultural Policies in Tbilisi (Georgia), Baku (Azerbaijan) and Yerevan (Armenia) was started in 2004. It aims at analysing the main problems and determinants for cultural policy in the region and at developing joint approaches in the development of cultural policies. Round tables on the exchange of experience in the development of strategic plans took place and possible functions of cultural observatories at Tbilisi, Baku and Yerevan are under discussion.

The project "Caucasian Network of Cultural Observatories" has revealed the problems of a regional scale connected with the consolidation of the non-governmental sector and municipal structures for development of the open civil society in the Caucasus; problems related to supporting the coexistence of various cultures in the Caucasian states (these problems are typical in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia to a variable extent).

Partners from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan work together in the field of cultural industries, with special emphasis on the museum sector and traditional crafts. Round table meetings took place, and the participant co-operate in the production of case studies in the countries involved. (

Two cross-border seminars in Contemporary Art took place in 2000 and 2001: "DifferAnce 1" and "DifferAnce 2". The main purpose of the seminars was to discuss the situation of contemporary art in post-Soviet society. Experts from various arts institutions in the West and from local organisations were involved in the discussions of contemporary art in the west and possible lessons to be learned for post-soviet art in Georgia.

The contemporary art project "OUTLAW" took place in Tbilisi in 2005 and was organised by the Arts Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory ( (2005). The project was supported by IFA Stuttgart, Germany and included a workshop and exhibition. Participating artists came from Georgia, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland).

A long-term international project in contemporary art started in 2004 and curated by Daniel Bauman from Switzerland. Exhibitions included "Tuesday is Gone" (2004), Tbilisi2; "Wednesday Calls the Future" (2005); "Let us live till Monday" Tbilisi3 (2006); and Tbilisi4 (2007) (exhibition, talks, films) (

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section

Georgia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.6 Other relevant issues

The policy of support for the Georgian Diaspora is still vague and assistance from the state is very small. Organisational support for the Diaspora is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its Department for Cultural Heritage and Relations with the Diaspora.

The Georgian Center for Relations with Compatriots Residing Abroad was financed, in the amount of 102 200 GEL from the 2006 budget. The establishment of the spiritual-cultural center for Phereidan Georgians (residing in Iran) was assigned 219 600 GEL. Contacts with the Diaspora of "Georgian Hebrews" in Israel and Muslim Georgians in Turkey are under progress (see 2.4.2). The cultural activity of representatives of Diasporas is also supported by the Foundation of His Holiness and Beatitude, Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilya II - "Chveneburebi".

Georgia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.1 Main elements of the current cultural policy model

The development of cultural policy in Georgia over the past 15 years (1990-2005) can be characterised by 3 distinct stages (even though they are unequal in duration and character):

The first stage (1990-1992), was a period of rebuilding an independent Georgian state and was characterised by contradictions and dramatic events. Changes were initiated in the framework of the persisting Soviet style system. The model of cultural policy chosen by the first national government was aimed at creating a separate Georgian policy for culture.

The second stage (1993-2003), can be even further divided into: a) a period of war and devastation (1992-1994) when the entire state policy was aimed at struggling against centrifugal trends and therefore could not pursue a purposeful cultural policy; b) a period of formation of state structures in territories controlled by the state (1995-99) with a neutrally homogenous policy; c) a period (2000-2003) anticipating the foundation of a decentralisation policy. On the one hand, in 2001 amendments were made to the Law on Local Administration and Self-government (1997) which reinforced decentralisation, and on the other hand the presidential vertical power was still upheld by the "rtsmunebuli" institute. In view of these two conflicting approaches, the cultural policy model which evolved at this time was of a contradictory nature. The extension of independence for municipalities was declared theoretically. Although the state adopted the Law on Local Administration and Self-government, further laws evolving the practicalities of decentralisation were not passed, i.e. Bills on Local and Municipal Property and Budgets. Without these practical laws, the bodies of local administration and self-government found themselves without the appropriate power instruments. Institutional reform in the sphere of culture was not implemented during this period.

The third "revolutionary and post-revolutionary" phase (2003-2005) saw the recentralisation of cultural policy development supported by legislative / constitutional changes and in the extension and unification of infrastructure. This period was characterised by the need for the central government to restore the jurisdiction of the Georgian state over the entire territory of Georgia. The idea that art and culture could assist in economic growth, expansion of exports and employment and reinforce positive factors in the building of the state had not yet become popular. More recently, an entrepreneurial approach has been taken cultural policy (see 4.2.9). This does not mean that operators are to rely solely on private sources of support but rather attempts to apply some market logic to the cultural sector. There are concerns that the privatisation of culture could produce very negative results in the hands of potential unfair investors.

Georgia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.2 National definition of culture

There is no special definition of culture in contemporary Georgian legislation.

The present Georgian legislation does not provide a special definition of "culture", but there are related terms such as "cultural activity", "sphere of culture", "cultural heritage", and "cultural values".

The Law on Culture (see 5) defines "cultural work" as:

The law also defines the "sphere of culture" as the territories and objects of history and culture, buildings, movable and immovable monuments of culture, folklore, art souvenirs, crafts, art education, professional creative work and literature, education, research and development, technologies, popularisation of the cultural and creative process via mass media, cultural-entertainment programmes and showbiz. "Cultural heritage" and "cultural values" are described as products of cultural and creative work, aesthetic, artistic, scientific and technical values.

The Overview of the Georgian Cultural Policy: National Report 2001 provides the following understanding of the concept of culture: "The originality of culture is the determining factor for development of the state in the past and in the future."

The historical and confessional diversity of the Georgian state has also contributed to the concept of Georgian national culture based on diversity and tolerance.

Culture is also inseparably associated with the culture of human relations as seen through classic Georgian literature and folklore.

It may be concluded that in Georgia, the national concept of culture is understood as a system of values determining and composing the national identity, and hence, the national integrity.

Georgia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.3 Cultural policy objectives

In 2004, strategic goals for cultural policy were developed by the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport for a period of 5 years. These are:

In 2007, the Strategic Goals for the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport for the Years 2007-2010 were amended as follows:

The elaboration of these specific goals represents an important step forward in comparison to the more general ones published by the Ministry of Culture in the National Report of 2001. Reforms and programmes of both a general institutional nature and directly in the support of cultural heritage have also advanced.

However, within the context of priorities of the Council of Europe the ideas of promotion of identity and diversity declared by the government have no real material and economic basis but rather a political one, especially in some regions.

Georgia/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

During recent years cultural policy in Georgia has been influenced by the availability of financial and administrative resources. The main objective of cultural policy (before 2004) was the maintenance and support of a centralised system. The creation of a decentralised model and the redistribution of powers were supported only on a declarative level.

A systematic change in cultural policy can be seen at the end of 2003. Government priorities shifted and were focused on institutional reform, protection of cultural heritage and rehabilitation of infrastructure in the sphere of culture. Plans to optimise the public cultural network resulted in restructuring and down-sizing, and a reorganisation of public institutions of culture into other forms of ownership.

The Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia has specified four priority programmes of reform for 2004-2009:

For 2007-2010, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia highlighted the following strategic directions:

It is interesting to note that the allocation of funds from the central budget (the total budgets of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport and State Broadcasting Company and the funds allocated from the Presidential Reserve) indicated that the national priority for cultural policy is mass media-broadcasting. The other priorities indicated, in order of funds allocated, are performing arts, cultural heritage and arts education.

In practical terms, the current institutional reform has led to changes in legislation (see 5) which resulted in a strengthening of the centralised system, extension of structures and their unification, instead of diversification. The policy of state control has been reinforced, however, the problem of distinct delimitation of the authorities, typical for Georgia in the last 15 years, has not been solved yet (there are some facts of unlawful parallelism of functions of executive authority at the national and local levels). This is a result of the inexplicit functions of these structures or from the contradictions between the performance of the legislative and executive powers.

Georgia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.1 Cultural minorities, groups and communities

Georgia is a multinational country. On 1 January 2002, the total population was 4 371 535, of which 16.2% were minorities.

Table 1:     Distribution of national and ethnic minorities, 2002



% to total population

Total population

4 371 535


Total national and ethnic minorities

710 362



3 527



38 028



248 929



67 671



284 761



15 166



3 772



7 039



2 514



38 955


Source:      State Department for Statistics

Many groups of ethnic minorities have been formed historically - Abkhazians, Ossetians, Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Azeri, Kurds, Russians, and Ukrainians. One of the oldest Diasporas - the Jewish Diaspora - has had 26 centuries of peaceful existence, whereas the comparatively young Diasporas - Russians and Ukrainians - have no less than 200 years.

During the past 15 years, as a result of conflicts with the separatist authorities of the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic and former South-Ossetian Autonomous District (the Inner Kartli), a new group has been formed in the population - IDP (internally displaced persons). Currently, there are 286 643 IDPs officially registered, of which 275 096 (95.97%) are from Abkhazia and 11 546 (4.0%) from the former South Ossetian Autonomous District (the Inner Kartli).

Information about the newly formed groups of immigrants is not available, as the country still faces major emigration waves of its population.

Out of the above listed groups, the indigenous groups are Georgians and Abkhazians. Others moved to Georgia in later periods.

Various ethnic groups are geographically concentrated throughout Georgia. There are also specific settlements of Azeri, Armenians, Ossetians, Assyrians, Greeks and Russians. The Dukhobors live in Samtskhe-Javakheti, the Old Believers live on the Black Sea coast.

The Constitution of Georgia provides for the equality of all citizens regardless of their national, ethnic, religious or language background. Freedom for citizens to use their native language and to practice their culture is safeguarded. In addition to the Constitution, the rights of minorities are specified in the Laws on General Education, on Culture, and on Broadcasting. However, no special law on minorities exists.

To assist minorities to exercise their constitutional rights the state supports:

Georgia acceded to the Vienna Convention on the Protection of Ethnic Minorities and signed the European Framework Convention on National Minorities.

Some state authorities such as: the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport, the Ministry of Education and Science, the public TV and radio-broadcasting companies, the municipal culture services - have responsibilities related to minorities, though none of them have a special structure for minorities in particular.

In Georgia, there are public primary and secondary schools for minorities (Azeri, Armenian, Russian), where the Georgian language is taught as the official language (see 4.2.2). The publication of textbooks for minorities is provided by state procurement.

Under the Law on Broadcasting (Article 16, paragraph l), public broadcasting shall "place programmes in the languages of minorities, about minorities and prepared by minorities in accordance with their share in the total population". Accordingly, Georgian radio and TV have special news programmes in some languages (Abkhaz, Azeri, Armenian, Russian and Ossetian). These programmes occupy 4% of air time on public television and 2% of air time on public radio. In addition, there is special public broadcasting in Abkhaz and Ossetian languages, which covers a part of Abkhazia and the total region of "South Ossetia". Local community broadcasting companies also provide coverage of various spheres within their broadcasting, including the cultural life of minorities.

In the context of recent conflicts in Abkhazia and Samachablo (South Ossetia) the problem of territorial integrity is very acute, though the constitutional rights of minorities in the territory under the control of Georgian authorities are fully protected.

Besides Abkhazia and Samachablo, the areas with a high density of ethnic minorities are Samthkhe-Javakheti and Lower Kartli. One of the main concerns for minorities is their lack of knowledge of the Georgian language, which hinders their integration into the common national processes. Within the reform of teaching the official language, intensively implemented by the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport developed and realised a special programme for the cultural development of ethnic minorities. This programme was allocated 190 000 GEL by the state budget in 2005.

The budget of the State Programme for Cultural Development of Ethnical Minorities increases year by year, e.g. 271 500 GEL in 2006, 281 000 GEL in 2007.

In accordance with Strategy 4 - Development of Culture of National Minorities (see 4.1) - the purposes of this programme are:

Main programmes / activities under the strategy are:

One example of under this programme is the identification and protection of samples of Polish cultural heritage kept in Georgia (see 2.4.2).

The majority of issues related to minorities are dealt with on the municipal level. Tbilisi is historically a multiethnic city which is remarkable in the Caucasus for its ethnic, religious and cultural tolerance. The Tbilisi Municipality supports cultural centres (Russian, Azeri and the Caucasus House), sponsors and finances the Petros Adamyan Tbilisi State Armenian Theatre, Tbilisi State Azeri Drama Theatre and A. S. Griboedov Academic Russian Drama Theatre, which is the oldest Georgian theatre (opened in 1845) and which has promoted Georgian and Russian stage classics.

Together with the local authorities, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport carries out different cultural events, festivals, conferences and days of culture (Armenian, Azeri, Lithuanian, Israel etc.). One important cultural event in Georgia was the exhibition dedicated to the 26 centuries old history of the establishment of Jewry in Georgia (held in 1998), which covered the history of the peaceful coexistence of Georgians and Jews. (For more information on languages in Georgia see 4.2.2).

The following NGOs respresenting cultural minorities are registered in  Georgia: the Latvians Association in Georgia "Ave Sol"; "Public Movement Multinational Georgia"; Union of the Russian Women "Yaroslavna"; "Armenians Union in Georgia"; "Ossetins Association in Georgia"; "Kurds Union in Georgia"; "Armenian Youth Union in Georgia"; "Yezid Youth Association in Georgia"; "The Independent League of the Kurd-yezid Women in Georgia"; "The National Congress of the Kurd-yezids in Georgia"; "Einung" - German Association in Georgia; "Union of the Azerbaijani Women in Georgia"; "Hilel-Tbilisi" - Jewish Youth Foundation; "The National Congress of Assyrians in Georgia"; "The Ukrainians Association in Georgia"; "The Georgian Federation of the Greek Associations"; and the Polish Community.

Georgia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.2 Language issues and policies

The official language of Georgia is Georgian. In the territory of Abkhazia there are two official languages - Georgian and Abkhazian.

Language has been the most sensitive problem historically for Georgia since the period of the Russian Empire and then the USSR, which pursued the policy of Russification.

The Georgian language has been one of the main uniting factors in the formation of the Georgian state. The significant factor in the Georgian national identity is also the fact that the Georgian original written language is one of the oldest written languages worldwide (it was created no later than III-IV centuries A.D. and was used in the literary monuments dating back to V c. which have reached up to us. The Georgian alphabet is used in all dialects of the Georgian language. Only in Abkhazia has the modified Cyrillic alphabet been used since the establishment of the Soviet regime.

Two autonomous republics were formed- Abkhazia and Ajaria - which have their own language issues. Abkhazia is populated by two indigenous groups - Georgians and Abkhazs - whose linguistic difference is confirmed by the Constitution. Ajaria is populated by ethnic Georgian-Moslems, whose dialect is much closer to the literary Georgian language than the dialect of other regions and territories of Georgia, such as Mingrelia and Svanetia.

In Georgia, national minorities constitute 16.2% of the population, with the largest linguistic minorities being Azerbaijanis with 6.5% and Armenians with 5.7%. Until recently the most widespread language after Georgian was Russian.

The Constitution of Georgia obliges all departments, municipal services and users to use the Georgian language and all official versions of legislative texts must be published in Georgian. In order to promote integration of minorities and their participation in the state administration, the Ministry of Education and Science arranges intensive teaching of the official language.

The Official Language Programme implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sciences was financed in the amount of 1 531 700 GEL in 2005, 895 000 GEL in 2006, and 460 000 GEL in 2007. The programme of teaching the official language in non-Georgian speaking schools was financed in the amount of 244 100 GEL in 2005, 250 000 GEL in 2006, and 250 000 GEL in 2007.

Unfortunately, in the territories beyond the control of the government of Georgia, the teaching of the official language has been stopped and the system of education operating in Abkhazia is based on Abkhazian and Russian and in the Tskhinvali Region the education system is based on the Ossetian and Russian languages.

Although linguistic pluralism was at one time the subject of public discussion, the Official Language Law has not been adopted and the legislative activities have been considered impractical.

The issues of protection and development of language are within the terms of reference of the Ministry of Education and Science and the State Chamber for the Georgian Language. The latter has ceased to be an independent body since 2004 and now represents a part of the Ministry of Education and Science. The support and development of the literary language and language diversity as a cultural phenomenon are also the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport.

Since 2006, the R&D institutes under the Academy of Sciences of Georgia have been subordinated to the Ministry of Education and Science. Among those institutes are significant scientific and cultural centers for research and development of Georgian culture, language and literature such as the Arnold Chikobava Institute of Linguistics (in 2006 - 116 600 GEL, in 2007 - 265 800 GEL), Shota Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature (144 100 GEL in 2006, 265 800 GEL in 2007), and the Korneli Kekelidze Institute of Manuscripts (88 600 GEL in 2006, 201 800 GEL in 2007).

The Georgian language is the native language for a large number of ethnic Georgians who reside outside the country (about 5 million live in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia, Iran, Europe and the USA). Support and development of the Georgian language abroad is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via its Section for Cultural Relations and Relations with Diasporas. However, the funds assigned by the government for promotion of the language abroad are not adequate and this infrastructure requires further systematic development.

To solve this problem, the Ministry of Education and Science has implemented the Programme of Assistance for Georgian Schools Abroad (in 2006 - 45 000 GEL, and in 2007 - 45 000 GEL).

For promotion of the Georgian language within the process of globalisation and new communication networks, there is a need to create and distribute a Georgian version of software products (MS Windows and applications of Microsoft Office). This software issue will be resolved with the Microsoft Corporation by means of a working group which has prepared the Georgian version of the computer terminology (subject to further improvement). These communication issues are the responsibility of the Department for Information Development of Georgia and the State Chamber for the Georgian Language.

Georgia/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.3 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes

The Ministry of Education and Science regards the issue of intercultural dialogue as important for educational policy in Georgia. However, at the present stage, intercultural dialogue in Georgia is not considered as a priority of state cultural policy.

National Goals for Education were adopted in Georgia in October 2004, stating the development of intercultural skills for graduates of secondary education as one of its priorities.

One of the third sector unions engaged in the introduction and promotion of intercultural dialogue in Georgia is the Public Movement "Multinational Georgia".

The Centre for Cultural Relations of Georgia - Caucasian House - is a cultural, educational and peacekeeping institution (it receives state financial support). One of the priorities of the Caucasian House is to protect human rights and establish religious and ethnic tolerance, promote peaceful co-existence of different cultures, support cultural integration of and collaboration with the Caucasian people. In 1999, the Caucasian House, together with other NGOs, created - the Union - Caucasian House, which is situated in the same building and is made up of the following Departments:

There is a wealth of project supported by foundations to foster intercultural dialogue. Below is an overview of their recent activities:

Current projects supported by the Heinrich Boll Foundation:

Current projects supported by the European Foundation HORIZON:

The Democratic Commission of Small Grants of the USA Embassy provides support for the Georgian - Abkhazian public and political newspaper "Kavkazski Akcent".

The British non-governmental organisation "Conciliation Resources" provides support for the Russian language edition of the "Kavkazski Akcent" newspaper, The Life Histories publication which includes stories about the war narrated by Abkhazians and Georgians.

For more information, see:
Database of Good Practice on Intercultural Dialogue and our Intercultural Dialogue section.

Georgia/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.4 Social cohesion and cultural policies

The current public opinion polls studying values and social cohesion do not include any culture related information. However, there are many works regarding the problems facing internally displaced persons (IDP).

The state assistance to IDPs is minimal, which causes social discontent of both IDPs and other residents. The majority of IDPs (300 000) residing in Georgia are ethnical Georgians who were forced to leave their homes in Abkhazia after the ethnical cleansing executed by separatists. Since integration of IDPs in other regions has been difficult due to unemployment and inflation, the idea of the social integrity is unsteady. However, all groups of the population and, especially, the government are proclaiming the adherence of national interests to the idea of national integrity.

We may only assume (as there are no special researches or debates thereof) that the culture is not used as the instrument for reinforcement of social cohesion. At the same time the concept of national integrity has ever been supported with the national culture and the national culture has been the basic parameter of the national identity.


Georgia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.5 Media pluralism and content diversity

Adoption of the Laws on Broadcasting and on Telecommunications has initiated a new stage of development of mass media and relations within Georgia.

The Law on Broadcasting, adopted in 2004, was developed in association with the EU and Georgia acceded to the EU Directive "TV without Frontiers". It specifies three kinds of radio and TV companies:

The estimated share of domestic television programmes produced in Georgia vs. imported products is 70 to 30. (Out of 30% imported product, the major part is manufactured in the USA, followed by Brazil, Argentina and Columbia (serials); some product is from the Russian Federation. Almost all products are dubbed by TV companies in Georgian (no exact statistical data is available, the information is given in general).

In compliance with the Laws on Telecommunications (adopted in 2004), on Broadcasting (2004) and on Independent Regulatory Commissions (2005), the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) - the independent regulatory authority - issued 92 licenses for TV and radio-broadcasting, as well as 67 licenses for cable TV and radio broadcasting by the end of 2004. None of these stations specialises in culture.

The Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports promoted intercultural programmes through subsidies allocated to the TV company "MIR" (107 500 GEL in 2005). However, in 2006, the project was completed, appropriation of "MIR" was stopped and it was closed.

According to polls organised by the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC - independent regulatory authority), 46% of respondents declared a desire for the creation of a specialised cultural channel.

During the period 2000-2004 Georgia underwent market liberalisation, new competitors arrived on the market, and unauthorised channels were closed.

In the telecommunications sphere in Georgia, there are 150 operators, including 8 owned by the state. The growth of revenues in the sector and advertising income is stable.

Plans to create a special TV channel "CULTURE", using the public television Channel 2, were discussed before reorganising the State TV and Radio Committee of Georgia into a public service broadcaster (The Public Service Broadcaster is a legal entity of public law, independent of the state and accountable to the public, established under Georgian legislation, on the basis of public financing, for television or radio broadcasting. The Public Service Broadcaster does not subordinate to any state authority), however, it did not come to fruition.

The Public Service Broadcaster is funded at 0.15% of GDP from the state budget. Parliament, when planning the state budget, relies on the approved GDP from the previous year, not on the projected GDP for the following year. For example, the state obligation to the Public Broadcaster in the 2007 budget was calculated according to the GDP of 2005. Because of this, the Public Broadcaster is not fully benefiting from the GDP growth, which initially was the main idea behind this scheme. The difference in this case amounts to GEL 1.5 million. The Public Broadcaster's budget in 2006 was GEL 16.5 million, with income from economic activities nearly GEL 2 million. Economic activities include income from limited advertising, rent, and sale of property. (

In 2004-2005, public initiatives in the area of mass media also omitted the issues of culture and the need for analytical programmes related to cultural issues. In this period there was a decrease in the already small area of culture oriented programmes; in some cases this decline was caused by closing TV companies which had special culture programmes, in other cases the culture programmes were replaced with more profitable entertainment programmes, e.g. reality shows. In general, only some channels have short programmes in art and culture.

In 2007, the TV company "Iveria" was started, under the Patriarchy of the Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church, which is oriented to religious and cultural development.

Development of Internet projects combining the spheres of culture is mainly prevented due to data processing problems.

According to data from the State Department for Statistics, at the end of 2003 there were 500 000 copies of registered and 24 900 000 copies of unregistered newspapers sold in Georgia during that year (No detailed information for 2006 and 2007 is available).

The majority of national and local periodicals are privately owned.

Table 2:     Edition of books, magazines and newspapers in Georgia, 2003-2005





Circulation of books and brochures, in million copies




Annual circulation of magazines and other printed editions, in million copies




Number of published newspapers




Individual circulation of newspapers, in million copies




Annual circulation of newspapers, in million copies




Source:      Ilya Chavchavadze National Library under the Parliament of Georgia, Department of National Bibliography.

Notwithstanding the development of the media, and the high prestige attached to the field of journalism, there are no special training programmes for journalists in Georgia aimed at increasing their sensitivity to the culture-related issues and conflicts. Consequently, professionalism is an issue among those journalists who are engaged in cultural issues.

There are no special antitrust measures and legal bases for preventing media concentration in Georgia. This promotes the trend of monopolisation of mass media by the central authorities and ideologising of previously independent TV companies which has developed in 2006-2007. As a result of transfer and distribution of shares they felt in hands of the pro-governmental forces.

In early 2006, Rustavi 2 broadcasting company bought shares of Tbilisi-based TV station Mze (Sun). Currently, Georgian Industrial Group (GIG) owns 22% of shares in Rustavi 2 TV; 22% in Mze TV and 65% in Pirveli Stereo. All three TV stations are part of a holding, wherein majority stakes are owned by lawmaker Davit Bezhuashvili's Georgian Industrial Group (GIG). Davit Bezhuashvili is a brother of foreign minister Gela Bezhuashvili. ( David Bezhuashvili, who has long been known as Saakashvili's sponsor, has always preferred to remain in the shadows and has never displayed any overt political ambitions. Zaza Tananashvili, Director General of Mze, confirmed the purchase of Rustavi-2 shares by Bezhuashvili. The amount of shares reportedly varies from 22% up to 50%, giving Bezhuashvili the opportunity to serve as Saakashvili's eye in the new media holding.)

Henceforth, Mze is expected to broadcast exclusively entertainment programmes, which, according to analyst Ia Antadze, will completely support the authorities' plans to "lull the public vigilance" before this autumn's local elections. This theory is partially supported by the fact that Rustavi-2 still owes the state approximately USD 5 million, and therefore has limited financial maneuverability to assume control of Mze. (

It should be mentioned that Mze TV has a weekly Sunday analytical-informational programme "Culture".

The political crisis of November 2007 exposed most sharply the problems related to the independent mass media. The regular researches of mass media showed that the most highly rated and balanced TV Company was TV "Imedi" the main competitor of the pro-governmental TVs. Noteworthy is that TV Company "Imedi", a part of Imedi Media Holding and its management, was transferred for one year to News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdock. This TV Company covered all burning topics of the day and in November 2007 arranged the live debates with the opposition representatives.

However, on November 7, after the attack on the rally of the opposition and before declaration of the state of emergency, the state authorities occupied the TV Company building and forcibly stopped it broadcasting without any substantiating documents. By the same manner, the broadcasting of independent TV companies "Caucasia", "25th Channel" (Batumi), Radio "Imedi" were also stopped. Thereafter, the assets of the opposition TV company "Imedi", crushed by the special forces, were taken over by court decision and the Georgian National Communication Commission (GNCC) deprived the TV company of its license. Such actions of the government caused indignation inside the country and outside it. All democratically disposed people (regardless of political belonging) are demanding the re-opening of TV Channel "Imedi". The Ombudsman of Georgia appealed for the restoration of freedom of speech.

Though the state of emergency was remitted in Georgia (on November 16, 2007) "media freedom is still the matter of our concern", according to the defence and foreign ministers of EU member states at a meeting held in Brussels on 19-20 November 2007. The EU Board underlined the significance of creation of the conditions required for the adequate democratic processes prior to the pre-term presidential elections planned for 5 January 2008.

In this context, the cultural issues are of minor importance for TV channels (nevertheless some well-known representatives of Georgian culture have increased interest in various political issues).

Georgia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.6 Culture industries: policies and programmes

In Georgia, the culture industries are in the process of development and have not yet been formally established, nor properly defined and analysed. Private companies offering cultural items and services (publishing houses, periodicals, providers of audio cassettes and CDs etc.), as a rule, are independent from state cultural policy and operate without any government support. Nevertheless, there are some partnerships between the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia and some companies engaged in the publishing business, concert activity etc. but, in general, the relations of central and local authorities with public agencies may be described as sporadic. The contacts between them are limited to non-permanent cultural events and projects.

Some state programmes are open to the private sector on a competition basis, for example with regard to the publication of books, where competition is open to all publishing houses regardless of their ownership. However, the selection of a winner is not effective in all cases as the criteria for selection is not adequately specified and this affects the decision-making process. Often selection in these competitions is not transparent.

The Tax Code of Georgia specifies some preferences for the importation of scientific, creative editions and fiction, books and periodicals where the authors are citizens of Georgia as well as for the importation of Georgian classics published abroad. Guidelines are also set for the distribution, import, sale and printing of periodicals and fiction. The state supports publishing activities through governmental programmes (e.g. the programme for promoting fiction and the publishing sector had a budget of 400 600 GEL in 2005). The publishing sector is developed more effectively than the cinema and showbiz sector which require a more powerful and stable economy and larger market than is available in Georgia. Until now the attempts to introduce an industrial model of development for the folk art and handicrafts sector in the context of the development of cultural tourism have not been successful.

There is a significant need to develop Georgian film production and distribution. The leading force in Georgian cinema is the film studio "Gruzia-Film", where 90% of the production capacities and cinematography staff are concentrated, and where most national films are produced. Some years ago the film studio was privatised and today it holds a special status in that two-thirds of the shares are held by the state. Today it is recognised by those working in the film industry that the privatisation process was managed incorrectly, as it has brought no investment and the studio is in a more difficult situation than previously.

In 2001, in order to rescue the cinema industry, the Ministry of Culture established the National Cinematography Centre which, to some extent, drove the reforms in the film sphere. The Fund for the Development of Georgian Cinema was also established with the aim of joining together cinematography forces in the country. However, the state still fails to meet the needs of film production. The budget of the Cinema Centre is only 870 000 GEL (2005) although, in 2007, its budget increased to 1 477 073 GEL, it is a very small portion (1.9%) of the budget of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport.

The situation in the film distribution network is poor as well. Only 4-5 cinema theatres in Georgia meet modern standards. One of the main problems in the operation of cinemas is the piracy operating in private TV companies (which show dozens of unauthorised films each day), despite the active work of the Georgian National Communications Committee. Another issue of concern is the dominance of American films which must be addressed by developing and propagating Georgian national and European cinema with the help of public television companies.

Until now, attempts to introduce an industrial sector development model into the folklore and crafts sector (in order to further develop cultural tourism) were in vain.

However, there are single cases of the positive practice:

However, the lack of appropriate integration into the industrial process (due to the current crisis in the Georgian economy and inadequate development of the cultural industries) and inadequate practical studies in these sectors minimise the chances for postgraduate employment. The situation is aggravated with the total disintegration of the vocational training system the new Law on Vocational Education (2007) has not been put fully into effect yet (see section 5, 8.3).

Georgia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.7 Employment policies for the cultural sector

Statistical data on employment in the cultural sector is not available.

In light of the annual growth in unemployment (exact data is not available) and a lack of regulation of social protection for workers, employment issues in the culture sphere are not a current issue of importance for the state.

In Georgia, the reorganisation of the social infrastructure, including the cultural sphere, is a continuing process; in 2004 alone, the municipal service for culture was reorganised three times. The institutions subordinate to the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport are also in the process of reorganisation (see 4.1) which has reduced the number of staff employed in the cultural sector.

The highest unemployment rate is evident in the intellectual, cultural sphere. The wages of cultural workers are the lowest in the public sector (84 GEL monthly); the average wage amounts to 150 GEL (Doctors and teachers earn 100 GEL per month, street cleaners earn 200 GEL and judges earn 1 700 GEL).

Table 3:     Number of employees and remuneration in Georgia, in GEL, 2004

Number of employees in 2004





Culture, entertainment, recreation

20 700

22 000

42 700





Culture, entertainment, recreation

34 400

8 300

42 700

Remuneration in 2004





Culture, entertainment, recreation




Source:      State Department for Statistics

In 2007, employment in the sphere of culture has steadily declined, but no statistical research on this issue has been conducted yet.

Georgia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.8 New technologies and cultural policies

The general state of ICTD in Georgia may be described as "spontaneous computerisation", without any single strategy for development of the sector. The information space in Georgia, though experiencing some progress, is at a transitional stage towards democracy and requires reforms for free access and distribution, reliability of information etc.

Table 4 compares the state of development of communications in Georgia with developed countries according to the following parameters:

Table 4:     Development of communication in Georgia


Developed countries


Density of fixed telephones



Density of mobile communications



Density of PC



Density of DSL



Source:      National Communications Committee

Despite the figures outlined in Table 4, internet service is one of the fastest growing services and revenues and constitutes 4% of the total telecommunications market in Georgia.

Adoption of the Law on Telecommunications (2005) and Law on Independent Regulatory Committees (2005) initiated favourable circumstances for the development of new media.

The Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia intends to use modern technologies for the creation of a full national database of cultural heritage, although this is a project for the future. A similar programme of upgrading museums is under development, although not many museums have websites. In the library sphere the situation is more than critical. The university system also suffers from a lack of development in the ICT sector. Most of the traditional cultural institutions still cannot meet the requirements of the information society.

Development of new technologies in the cultural sphere is slow due to limited financial resources and any developments are implemented with assistance from non-governmental organisations. No detailed data for 2006 and 2007 years are available.

Georgia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.9 Heritage issues and policies

Cultural heritage has always been of great importance and pride in Georgia.

The main body responsible for the protection of cultural heritage is the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport, in particular the Department of Cultural Heritage and the Committee for Protection of Cultural Heritage. Some responsibilities are also allocated to the National Committee of UNESCO under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Georgian Academy of Sciences and the State Department of Archives under the Ministry of Justice. Natural heritage is the responsibility of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Within the last fifteen years, cultural heritage in Georgia has suffered greatly as a result of the local conflicts in Abkhazia and in the Tskhinvali Region, where monuments were destroyed and plundered. During that period there were natural disasters such as, powerful earthquakes, landslides and floods which had radical affects on cultural monuments (e.g. Old Tbilisi).

Nevertheless, the major threat for Georgian cultural heritage was the grave economic situation and the inadequacy of the law which operated until 2007. Georgia faced the parallelism of functions of state authorities and scientific institutions, for example, between the systems of permission and registration; the procedure of granting monument status was very complicated and long and, hence, many objects remain unprotected; the inadequacy of the legislation prevented the system and institutional reform required in the cultural heritage sphere. The applicable legislation also created problems for the exhibition of the museum collections abroad. A new Law on Cultural Heritage, introduced in 2007, is intended to address all of the problems in this field (see below).

The museum system of Georgia consists of 255 museums of various profiles, which are subordinated to and financed from different levels of authority. Following the adoption of the Law on Legal Persons under the Public Law of 1999 (see also 2.2) museums should obtain a new legal status. However, this process has been delayed for a number of reasons including: testing for discrepancies in the legislation, bureaucratic slowness, a lack of political will (in some cases it was disowned by local authorities / municipalities) and uncertainty regarding the ownership after adoption of the Concordat.

Some progress has been made. In 2005, three museums were registered: the National Museum of Georgia, Niko Pirosmani Museum in Mirzaani and the Historical and Architectural Museum at Dadianis' Palace in Zugdidi. In 2006, the number of registered museums increased to 15, in 2007 to 17. The process of registration of other museums is in progress.

Since the Rose Revolution, museum reform has been a priority; in particular, improvements in museum administration have been stipulated. A first step was the creation of the National Museum of Georgia (30.12.2004) which includes 11 public museums and branches.

There is currently no full database of cultural heritage available in Georgia. Training and involvement of young people, as well as the introduction of new technologies to improve the protection of cultural heritage, are major issues faced by the state requiring serious investments.

The Department of Cultural Heritage has developed a policy for the preservation of cultural heritage in Georgia and its long-term strategy to create a heritage management system with the following aims:

In 2005, 1 million GEL was allocated from the state budget for the program of rehabilitation of unique monuments. For the first time since the 1980s, the government has made effective steps to improve the diagnostics, design, rehabilitation and restoration of about 60 monuments.

In 2006, the budget of the programme for the Support of Cultural Heritage Institutes was 4 298 500 GEL, a significant increase from the figure of 2005, which was 1 784 200 GEL. In 2007, the budget amounted to 7 792 079 GEL.

This enabled the development, promotion and implementation of the policy to preserve the cultural heritage elaborated by the Department of Cultural Heritage. Consequently, in 2006 and in 2007, because of the increased financing, the intense work of registration and certification of monuments of cultural heritage was being performed. The range of archeological studies was also extended.

In 2006, the National Committee of ICOM was established.

In 2007, the new Law on Cultural Heritage was adopted (see 5.3.3) and the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia developed new strategic directions (see 3.3 and 4.1) and the state programme for the protection of cultural heritage.

Main programmes / activities under the strategy:

1. Programme for the Preservation of Historic Cities and Towns:

Activities under the programme include the rapid inventory of the historic core of Tbilisi, Tbilisi Safeguard Plan, Batumi Safeguard Plan.

2. Inventory of sites of cultural heritage interest throughout Georgia and programme for establishing protecting zones:

Activities under this programme include: The Ministry held a tender for Establishment of Cultural Heritage Protection Zones. The tender was announced for the following services:


Archaeological zones

Historical Areas

Inventory of Cultural Heritage Monuments

The Cultural Heritage Department regularly updates the list of cultural heritage monuments. The recording of monuments with the aim of their listing on a Public Register is an important mechanism that allows these properties to be legally protected.

In parallel with the inventory of immoveable monuments of cultural heritage, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport proceeded with the study and classification of moveable monuments, an assessment of the state of the collections and recording of the respective items. This will eventually allow determination of the artistic value, as well as the market price of each sample, and thus promote the formation of a legal art market. Intensive work was conducted to identify those items of cultural heritage interest which are in urgent need of conservation and rehabilitation.

The Division of Museums and Moveable Monuments and a committee of art historians specialising in modern Georgian art has been engaged in recording decorative paintings / drawings (sketches) with the aim of their being listed on a state register.

3. Programme for Rescuing Cultural Heritage Objects of Outstanding Value:

The Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport has established strategic partnership with the Fund for the Protection and Rescuing of Georgia's Historic Monuments in the realm of cultural heritage preservation. The Ministry and the Fund jointly plan schedules for the rehabilitation / restoration of cultural heritage monuments.

An additional one-million lari allocation was made from the state budget in 2005 for the safeguarding of Georgia's cultural heritage and the restoration / conservation of heritage sites. The amount was used to support design, exploration, archaeological and restoration work. The following phase, which entailed actual rehabilitation / restoration of sites badly in need of repair, was implemented in 2006.

4. Programme for Cultural Heritage Monitoring Throughout Georgia:

The collecting of information on the state of preservation of cultural heritage sites in Tbilisi and Batumi, the exercise of state control over the projects agreed upon with the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport, the processing of applications addressed to the Ministry and the arranging of working meetings with representatives of the self-governing bodies are the main monitoring tasks.

In 2006, the Division of Monitoring and Preventive Conservation conducted permanent monitoring in Tbilisi, as well as in various regions of Georgia. Photos of monuments were taken and their state of preservation was assessed on site (56 monuments).

5. Programme for the Establishment of Analytical and Information Network on Cultural Heritage:

Activities include:

1. Innovative Reorganisation of the integrated information system of Georgia's cultural heritage and adoption of contemporary tools of cultural heritage management: The project was selected through a competition announced by the Development and Reform Fund at the office of the President of Georgia within the framework of the UN Governance Reform Programme, which was aimed at capacity building of ministries and other public institutions. The project was started in 2006 with the financial support (USD 97 780) of the Development and Reform Fund. The goal of the project is to set up a renewable, easy-to-use database of cultural heritage properties integrated with GIS software.

Database of cultural heritage related archives: It is envisaged to create a model database filled with the sample data with a view to its future linking to GIS and upon conducting respective training, to make it accessible for external networks, such as those of the Patriarchate, the Tourism Department, the Customs Department, museums and local self-government bodies.

The archives of the Cultural Heritage Department of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport are of immense heritage value. Since the destruction by fire of the building of the former Chubinashvili Institute of the History of Georgian Art during the civil war of 1992 in Tbilisi, it has been the only depository keeping together research papers related to Georgian architecture, wall paintings, samples of other forms of fine arts, and photographic negatives dating from the 19th century onwards and more recent documents: several thousand pieces in all. The materials comprising the archives are essential for the proper restoration / conservation of any architectural monument.

The goal of creating the database is to digitalise the existing information, including graphical, textual and photo materials, on cultural heritage sites and allow for its regular update. It is intended to establish a proper software that will be easy to use and will facilitate the access to information.

2. Creation of Digital Topographic Maps in Georgia; participation in the joint project signed by the Georgian and Japanese governments on 21 December 2004 (from 2005 onwards).

One of the goals of the project is to facilitate cultural heritage tourism. To this end, the Cultural Heritage Department traced and processed materials on monuments in various districts of Georgia). A sample GIS model for monuments in Borjomi district was produced by JICA / PASCO experts on the basis of the mentioned data.

6. Programme for the Promotion of Georgia's Cultural Heritage:

The following publications were prepared through cooperation between the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport and the Giorgi Chubinashvili National Research Centre of Georgian Art History and Monument Preservation within the framework of the State Programme for Cultural Heritage Preservation 2006, under the aegis of the Promotion of Georgia's Cultural Heritage.

7. Programme for Museum Reform:

Georgia has more than two hundred museums of various profiles. With a view to promoting museum activities, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport, through its museum programme, supported a number of projects in and outside Tbilisi. Several publications containing methodological guidance on museum management were financed to facilitate reforms in the museum sector in order to achieve international standards.

The progress in recent years reached a climax in 2007 when with the completion of the restoration of the historic part of Signakhi (financed by Cartu Group) and the Signakhi Museum was established. This is the first museum of international standards.

8. Programme for the Promotion of Cultural Heritage Research Institutions

The data obtained will be used for developing a conservation plan for the monastery, the implementation of which will be ensured by the Cyprian side. By the initiative of the government of the Republic of Cyprus, this old Georgian monastery will be included in major tourist itineraries.

Cooperation with International Organisations

Cooperation with UNESCO and ICCROM: In 2006, protection zones of the Georgian sites on the World Heritage List were identified under the projects on cultural heritage protection zones for the historic cities of Mtskheta and Kutaisi (historic monuments of Mtskheta, Bagrat's Cathedral and Gelati Monastery). The determination of the boundaries will facilitate the further preservation of these sites. A full inventory of monuments in Mtskheta was conducted. For the first time in recent years, Georgia prepared a report on the state of conservation of monuments inscribed on the World Heritage List.

The preliminary national list of monuments proposed for inscription on the World Heritage List was updated which resulted in the number of monuments being increased from six to twelve. In 2006, work was continued for the preparation of phase 2 of the international project for stone conservation for Mtskheta Jvari (Holy Cross) Church. The project is implemented in cooperation with ICCROM, the advisory body of the International Centre of Restoration and Conservation.

Cooperation with the Council of Europe: In 2006, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport continued its cooperation with the Council of Europe within the framework of the South Caucasian regional programme - Management and Institutional Streamlining of Historic Cities and Towns, directly related to the rehabilitation of the historic core of Tbilisi. Within the same project, on the initiative of the Council of Europe, a working meeting was held in France in November 2006, with the participation of representatives of the bodies engaged in the work for the rehabilitation of the historic parts of Tbilisi and Batumi, such as the Tbilisi City Municipality, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport, the Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Autonоmous Republic of Adjara and experts from the Council of Europe.

Within the framework of the South Caucasian Regional Programme - Management and Institutional Streamlining of Historic Cities and Towns, the outcome of the cooperation in 2006 was reflected in the official recommendations prepared by the experts of the Council of Europe, which will be the basis of the planning of the next stage of cooperation between Georgia and the Council of Europe in the area of cultural heritage.

In 2006, the implementation of a new culture and heritage programme with a duration of four years was begun on the basis of the Kiev Declaration signed in 2005 by the Minister of Culture of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova. Within the framework of the programme entitled the Kiev Initiative, Supporting Democracy Through Culture, which unites the five mentioned states, a large number of important projects in the next four years will be supported.

Traditional Georgia: Projects include an inventory of Immoveable Monuments and Sites with Monument Features in the Village of Atskuri in Akhaltsikhe District and the creation of a database.

The project involved the village of Atskuri, in the Akhaltsikhe district, including students of the Georgian University of Social Sciences during their summer internship. An icon was discovered with the Crucifixion scene carved on a jasper stone set in a cloisonné enamel frame, presumably dating from the 10th-11th century. The icon was found in the grave of the Bishop of Matskveri, in the interior of the Church of the Virgin at Atskuri. This is an open search system which can be updated with information on the moveable and immoveable monuments in Georgia and abroad.

The non-governmental sector implements projects aimed at preservation and popularisation of the multinational cultural heritage. Among these are: the Project Arts Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory "Tbilisi Modernist Artistic Cafes and Their Murals - the Space of International Communication". It involves the research and conservation planning (research, analysis, documentation) of the murals of unique artistic cafes - "Argonaut's Boat" (1918) and "Khimerioni" (1919), which were the meeting places of modern artists, poets and writers. These cafes significantly expose the multinational character of Georgian Modernism. Along with the high artistic / aesthetic quality of the paintings, the conservation of these cafes is also important, as they are the only painted artistic spaces / cafes surviving from early period of modernism. The project is supported by the "Open Society Georgia" Foundation.

There are funds and non-governmental organisations in Georgia which are engaged in, and make a significant contribution to, the development of cultural heritage; these include: the Fund for the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of Georgia, ICOM, ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) Georgia, Museum Association of Georgia, Heritage & Modernity Association, E. Privalova Painting Technical Studies Centre "Betania", Georgian Cultural Heritage Information Centre (GCHIC), and the Fund for Science "Udabno".

Private funding and sponsors: The fact that there is no special legislation for charities in the field of culture frequently hampers private charity initiatives. In spite of this, some Georgian companies periodically provide subsidies, in the form of charity, for conservation-restoration works to be conducted on an individual monument. For instance, the "Cartu Group" provided 6 million US dollars for the rehabilitation of the important architectural monument - the Rustaveli State Academic Theatre building.

In recent years, the private sector has allocated approximately 28 million GEL, for the restoration and rehabilitation of the buildings of public theatres: Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi State Academic Drama Theatre, Kote Marjanishvili Tbilisi State Academic Theatre, Nodar Dumbadze Theatre for Young Spectators, Michael Tumanishvili Theatre of Film Actors, Vaso Godziashvili Theatre of Musical Comedy and Drama, and the Jansug Kakhidze Musical Centre.

In Georgia, there is only one network in the field of cultural heritage - "European Heritage Days National Office", which unites the competent institutions of this field, non-governmental organisations, diplomatic missions and cultural institutions of several countries.

Against the comparatively favorable background of development in the sphere of cultural heritage, the situation for libraries and archives is completely inadequate. The existing system has 2 089 libraries and their number is decreasing day by day (in comparison, in the Soviet period, the number of operating libraries was about 8 000). Currently libraries, with their obsolete material and technical base and methodology, do not meet the requirements of contemporary readers, whose numbers have been also decreasing. (In 2004, the number of readers decreased by 100 000, as compared with 2003, and made up 971 422).

Table 5:     Public and universal libraries in Georgia, 2001-2006








Public and universal libraries (in units)

2 170

2 160

2 123

2 090

2 056

1 726

Quantity of readers
(in thousands)

2 311.3

1 625.9

1 421.3

1 528.9

1 556.1


Average quantity of readers (per library)

1 065.1






Quantity of copies (in million)







Quantity of workers (persons)

4 278

4 044

3 819

3 730

3 727

3 408

Source:      Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports, State Department for Statistics of Georgia

Note:         Not including the data on Ajara Autonomous Republic.

Most of the libraries in Georgia are responsible to the local authorities, but their supervision, especially the central libraries, falls within the competence of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia. School libraries (2 100 units) are responsible to the Ministry of Education and Science. The financing of the library sphere is the weakest and the librarian's salary is one of the lowest nationwide. This has resulted in the outflow of personnel and complicates the inflow of new high-skilled workers.

The preservation of archival cultural heritage is vested in the National Book Chamber, which holds more than 1 600 000 titles. The Chamber's role is to prepare the national bibliography and to store, in the archives, all editions dedicated to the culture, history and achievements of Georgia.

The National Archive Fund, which was established for the extended use and improvement of the centralised register of documents created by the state authorities, is also engaged in the protection of the cultural heritage.

For more information, see
European Heritage Network: Country profile Georgia

Georgia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.10 Gender equality and cultural policies

In 1996, Georgia acceded to the International Convention on Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value adopted on 29 June 1951 by the General Conference of the International Labour Organisation, arranged by the Administrative Council of the International Labour Bureau. However, according to the available statistical data, the average remuneration of women engaged in the sphere of culture, entertainment and recreation is only 63% of the remuneration of men engaged in the same sphere. Among the Ministry staff, the number of women decreases in positions of responsibility: in 2004, out of 118 employees of the Ministry, 70 were women (59%); in 2005, out of 151 employees, only 81 are women (54%). The current Minister is male and only one of his deputies (20%) is a woman; from heads of 10 departments, 5 are women (50%). Since 2006 all deputy ministers are male.

In the 45 theatres responsible to the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia, four of the art directors are women and there are only seven women managers (24 % of the top positions). A great number of women are employed as librarians (99%). Out of total 3 325 employees of libraries 3 305 are women.

There is no more precise statistical data relating to the employment of women in the sphere of culture, nor have gender issues been examined in the context of culture.

The total unemployment rate in Georgia in 2005 was 13.8%. No detailed data for 2005, 2006, and 2007 is available.

Georgia/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.3 Other relevant issues and debates

Some cultural issues in Georgia have been systematically discussed during the post-revolutionary period, including: how to introduce political decisions in the sphere of culture which are not supported with professional research and recommendations and have not included members of the public in decision-making processes. Such issues are especially acute within the reorganisation of public spaces in the large urban areas and in connection with support for monumental objects of doubtful artistic quality.

Privatisation in the cultural sphere, especially with respect to cultural heritage, is ambiguous. Within the previous period the institutions of culture were privatised under the sole Decrees of the President (e.g. privatisation of a part of film studio "Gruzia-Film"). However, since the Revolution of 2003, privatisation policy has covered the monuments of culture that were illegally deprived of their monument status bypassing the applicable laws: Law on Culture (1997), Law on Protection of Cultural Heritage (1999) and Law on Privatisation of State-owned Property (1997). Intensification of this process is stimulated not by prestige and effectiveness of development and adaptation of cultural heritage, but by the investor's interest in the permanent growth of real estate prices, and in particular, of land.

The state has made some attempts to extend public participation in cultural life through mass cultural activities, concerts and so on, which have become more frequent following the Rose Revolution of November 2003. However, these activities have received some public criticism due to the huge cost, doubtful artistic quality and propaganda nature employed.

Finally, the Law on Public Theatres (see 5.3.2), which has demonstrated a state policy oriented towards centralisation and aversion to public and professional opinion, casts doubt on the efficiency and positive nature of current reforms in culture.

Debates on cultural issues are usually held post-factum and are not taken into consideration by the government. This excludes a wide rage of professionals in decision-making. Another issue is the "personnel" problem. Prior to the Revolution (in the unanimous opinion of experts) the system was geared towards gerontocracy, while since the Revolution, the situation has reversed (e.g. the constitutional amendment which lowers the entrance age for a judge of the Constitutional Court to 28 years; and the Law on Higher Education which deprives those over 65 years of the right to hold an academic position). There is also a deficit of professional personnel in the cultural sector.

The political crisis of November 2007 has exposed most sharply the problems related to the independent mass media (see 4.2.5).

Georgia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.1 Constitution

Under the Constitution of Georgia, which came into force in 1995, Georgia is a democratic republic where the rights and freedoms of individuals are of the highest value.

The Constitution of Georgia is a superior law and all other laws and acts of legislation shall comply with it. The following Articles of the Constitution refer to cultural issues:

According to Article 23, the Constitution of Georgia shall ensure the inviolability of intellectual property and creative freedom. Interference in creative activity or censorship in the creative sphere is not permissible. Placing a prohibition on the product of a creative work or on its distribution shall not be permissible, unless it violates the legal rights of others.

According to Article 34, "The state shall maintain the development of culture, unrestricted participation of citizens in cultural life, expression and enrichment of cultural origins, recognition of national and generic values and a deepening of international cultural relations. Each citizen of Georgia shall be obliged to protect and preserve the cultural heritage. The state shall protect cultural heritage by law. "

According to Article 38, citizens of Georgia are equal in social, economic, cultural and political life regardless of national, ethnic, religious or linguistic origin. The freedom of citizens to use freely their native language and to develop their culture is safeguarded.

Georgia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.2 Division of jurisdiction

Division of jurisdiction on cultural issues between national / federal and various regional / provincial, local / municipal levels of government is referred to in various laws and is regulated by the following laws to a different extent:

In addition to the laws above, the legal / juridical subsidiarity on culture is enforced by means of regulatory acts issued by the President and government (decrees, resolutions, and orders).

Georgia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.3 Allocation of public funds

Under Georgian legislation (The Law on Culture, Article 29) financing of the cultural sector shall be determined by the state budget:

Under the Law on the State Budget of Georgia for 2005, a total amount of 32 554 400 GEL was allocated to the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport, with culture receiving 23 492 500 GEL of this fund. These funds are dispensed among the subordinate organisations, legal entities under public law and specific state programmes for culture, cultural heritage, sports and youth affairs.

Specific programmes are designed for the various spheres of culture. In 2005, local authorities allocated 41 323 200 GEL for culture. Archives (273 900 GEL from the budget of the Ministry of Justice); National Libraries (1 021 800 GEL from the budget of the Parliament of Georgia); Chamber of Books (223 900 GEL direct financing from the state budget); TV and Radio (16 500 000 GEL direct financing from the state budget). In total the state spent 82 835 300 GEL on culture in 2005 (see 6.4); 23 492 500 GEL for the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport.

Under the Law on the State Budget of Georgia for 2007, 77 113 691 GEL was allocated to the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport, with culture receiving 41 157 246 GEL (53.37%) of this fund.

Specific programmes are designed for the various spheres of culture. In 2007, local authorities allocated 35 388 800 GEL (31.5%) for culture. Archives (1 501 000 GEL from the budget of the Ministry of Justice); National Libraries (3 908 300 GEL from the budget of the Parliament of Georgia); TV and Radio (17 400 000 GEL direct financing from the state budget). In total, the state spent 99 355 346 GEL on culture in 2007 (see 6.4), including 41 157 246 GEL for the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport.

In addition to these programmes, the state budget contains reserve funds for the Georgian President and Parliament. The funds from these reserves are held for emergencies, such as disasters or for payment of unforeseen state liabilities. The reserve funds are dispensed via the relevant ministries. In rare cases, funds from the reserves are allocated to culture (see 2.4).

In compliance with Article 14 of the Tax Code, similar reserve funds are created in the local budgets of the autonomous republics.

Under the Law on Culture the state supports donations and sponsorship of private individuals and legal entities in the sphere of culture using tax incentives and other privileges established by Georgian legislation. However, Article 14 is not supported by adequate definitions in the Tax Code or other acts of legislation.

No specified data for 2006 are available.

Georgia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.4 Social security frameworks

In Georgia, there is no definite legislation which regulates social security provision for the cultural sector, although various kinds of security are provided under other legislation.

Under the Law on Art Workers and Art Unions, Article 8, paragraph 2, social security and pension provision for artists shall be implemented under the relevant acts of legislation.

The Law on Social Security for Researchers / Scientists regulates the creation of safeguards and conditions for the work of scientists. While culture is not mentioned specifically in the legislation, it is applicable to some cultural workers.

General unemployment in Georgia is a major issue for the government to tackle and therefore the cultural sector has not yet been singled out for specific development. 

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

Georgia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.5 Tax laws

There are no legal incentives for investment in culture in Georgia. This sphere is regulated by general legislation. The Tax Code determines some tax privileges, such as exempting the following areas from tax payments: the sale and printing of tickets for theatre and circus performances, classical music concerts and museums; the import of scientific and creative books and fiction, books and magazines written by citizens of Georgia, as well as the import of Georgian classics published abroad; and services relating to the sale of, import, distribution, delivery and printing of periodicals and fiction.

There are no special tax rules or exemptions for creative individuals.

Construction of temples and churches as charities are tax exempt in compliance with Article 172 of the Tax Code. This category of buildings benefits more from the legislation than the restoration of cultural heritage for which the law was intended.

Under the Tax Code of Georgia, restoration and reconstruction work on monuments included in the UNESCO world heritage list is exempted from VAT (18%).

In spite of long debates and drafted bills, the Law on Donations and Sponsorship has not been adopted.

Georgia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.6 Labour laws

There is no definite legislation which regulates labour relations in the sphere of culture.

The new Labour Code of Georgia was adopted on 25 May 2006. It abolished the Law on Collective Agreements and Engagements, which was used sometimes in labour relations with creative workers.

The new Labour Code of Georgia supports the protection of fundamental human rights, fair remuneration, and labour safety standards.

In addition to this Code, labour issues are regulated by the Law on Public Service (see 5.1.2), which regulates the labour relations of public servants (including in the sphere of culture).

Under the Law on Art Workers and Art Unions, Article 8, paragraph 1, an art worker may work in a freelance capacity, be directly employed or work under another type of contract. However, today this law is idle.

In Georgia, there is a trade union for workers in the cultural sector but there is no trend of negotiations on agreements and contracts between employers and trade unions on working conditions.

The average monthly salary of art workers is extremely poor and is equal to 84.8 GEL, on average. This sum is 15.6 % less than the salary of teachers and doctors (100 GEL on average) and is 95 % less than the salary of judges (equivalent to 1 000 USD in the national currency).

Table 6:     Monthly salary of artists in Georgia, by gender, 2004

Salary in GEL




Average wage

Culture, entertainment, recreation




Source:      State Department for Statistics

Further statistical data on the cultural sector is not available.

After the November crisis of 2007 and substitution of the Prime Minister, the government promised to raise the salary of museum workers and teachers (it should be noted that the monthly salary of custodians of regional museums is very small - 20 GEL (equivalent to 10 euro).

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

Georgia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.7 Copyright provisions

Georgia is a party to the international agreements on the protection of intellectual property - the Paris and Berne Conventions.

In Georgian legislation, relations on copyright in the sphere of intellectual property and moral rights relating to the creation of a scientific, literary and art work are regulated by the Law on Copyright and Related Rights (1999). Copyright - the integral / essential right of work / art is the homogenous right - which includes the moral rights, economic rights and related rights - of the author. This law regulates the relations allied to the copyright of performers, phonogram and videogram makers, broadcasting and database makers. State policy in the protection of copyright and related rights is implemented and safeguarded by the National Centre for Intellectual Property, SAKPATENTI.

Copyright accrued within the creation of scientific, literary and art works is safeguarded under the law. In relation to royalties, the state has established the following guidelines: reproduction of creative products is allowed where they have been legally published or are regarded as common property due to public distribution / awareness; the sum of royalties and terms of payment shall be established under the law, on the one side, and under the contract between the parties, on the other side. In circumstances where the royalty rights are unclear, either party can request a decision from SAKPATENTI (This decision may be appealed within 2 months). 

The legislation determines copyright relating to on-air broadcasting.

The Law on Limiting Measures in Connection with Intellectual Property adopted on 23 June 1999 does not mention "the owners and objects of related rights", although audio and videocassettes and CDs are the objects of related rights. Therefore, this law loses its significance and is inefficient.

The legislative base in the sphere of copyright in Georgia is not well developed and there are often infringements of the existing laws. A number of reasons exist for violations of the legislation including: inadequate and weak infrastructure, mechanisms of protection and legislative base; a lack of culture managers and copyright specialists; and a low level of awareness of the legislation among the community and target groups.

Recently in Georgia the debates on moral rights have become more intensive as the concept of moral rights is often not understood by the authorities in relation to sculptors and architects in circumstances where their work is moved, remade or demolished within the context of reconstruction and renovation of public spaces related to the new investment policy (see 7.1).

Georgia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.8 Data protection laws

The provisions on data protection in Georgia are available within the Law on Copyright and Related Rights (see 5.1.7). The law establishes the rights of authors and owners of software and databases, enables the authorised users of original databases or their copies to make necessary changes for the normal operation of the customers' hardware without the consent of the author or a person who owns the copyright on the software and databases.

The Law on Telecommunications (2005) establishes the legal and economic principles for the operation of the electronic communication networks and resources all over Georgia. The law establishes the principles of creation and regulation of a competitive environment in this sphere. The National Communications Commission of Georgia is the regulatory authority in relation to the Law on Telecommunications (2005), Law on Broadcasting (2004), and Law on Independent National Regulatory Authorities (09.13.2002). The terms of reference of the Commission covers the drafting and adoption of relevant statutory acts.

However, data protection is recognised as a major issue in Georgia. Some efforts to resolve problems in this area were made by the State Department on Information Provision which has drafted the Bill on E-documents, E-signatures, E-agreements and E-commerce. This bill is intended to regulate the mechanisms for the production activity of electronic facilities.

Georgia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.9 Language laws

There is no special language legislation in Georgia (see 4.2.2).

Georgia/ 5.2 Legislation on culture

The legislative structure of the cultural sector in Georgia includes the following:

The legislation on culture is continually reorganised, revised and refreshed, which requires a great number of new changes to the laws and instructions.

Many laws are of a declarative nature, are ineffective and regularly violated. Some laws within the cultural sphere conflict with the fundamental laws in other socio-economic sectors. The established norms and conditions are not often observed because there is no clear responsibility and distribution of powers at different levels of authority (including inter-ministerially). In some fields of the cultural sector, especially in the culture industries, no juridical / legal base exists.

The laws determining the structures of cultural policy or declaration of principles

In order to guarantee the constitutional principles, the following laws in the cultural sector have been adopted:

The Law on Culture (1997) is guided by the Constitution and considers the centuries-old cultural tradition and world experience in the cultural sphere. The law is the legislative base for development of culture and protection and maintenance of cultural values in Georgia. Cultural heritage is defined as the main state priority in the Law on Culture.

The aim of the Law on Culture is to protect the rights of citizens in the sphere of culture; to determine legislative norms and principles for the use of cultural values and results of creative work; to determine the responsibility of individuals and legal entities for the maintenance and protection of cultural values; to ensure non-interference of the state in the creative process and free cultural activity of Georgian citizens; to promote involvement of Georgian culture into the universal system of cultural processes and to carry out international obligations undertaken by the state.

According to the Constitution, this law reinforces the right of an individual to carry out cultural activities and this is the integral and inviolable right of all citizens. All citizens of Georgia are entitled to carry out free creative and cultural work according to his / her interests and abilities.

The legislation determines a creative worker as an author, reproducer or interpreter of cultural values in the development of intellectual and creative process (see 4.2.6).

The laws determining the domain, operation, management structure and financing of culture institutions are:

The public laws that determine the legal status, rules of activity and terms of reference of the state institutions of various levels:

Legislation on financing:

Georgia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.1 Visual and applied arts

Information is currently not available.

Georgia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.2 Performing arts and music

The Law on Public Theatres (adopted in the first reading at the Parliamentary Committee in 2005) was approved and signed by the President on June 9, 2006.

The purpose of the law is to support the activity of theatres and theatre organisations, to promote national dramatic art, to protect the literary language by means of the art of theatre, to revive and develop traditions, to propagate universal human ideals and to integrate Georgian theatre art into the world cultural space. The law regulates the legal, social, economic and financial relations regarding the creation, operation and re-organisation-liquidation of professional and amateur organisations engaged in theatre activity and determines the rights and obligations of natural and legal entities engaged in this sphere.

The law provides a new mechanism for setting up a public theatre and defines its organisational and legal status. All theatres financed from central and local budgets shall be founded as legal entities under public law by the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport under its own initiative or on the recommendation of local governments. In the Abkhazia and Ajaria autonomous republics, the respective governmental institutions can recommend new theatres under their own initiative and / or on the recommendation of bodies of local administration in the territories.

The right to establish a municipal theatre under the initiative of bodies of local administration and self-government will be provided in a new law, to comply with the Law on Legal Entities under the Public Law.

The state is not permitted to interfere in or control the creative process in theatres. However, the Law on Public Theatres provides for the centralisation of the management of theatre structures through concentration of responsibilities in a theatre director (supervisor / administrator). The theatre directors are solely accountable to the state authority for the general control of theatres, including administrative, economic, routine and financial control. The position of "art director" has lost its responsibilities as the legislation lacks the levers supporting and ensuring decision-making in the creative sphere. This provision has produced a discrepancy in the distribution of responsibilities between the director and art director and infringes the rights of the latter.

The Law on Public Theatres does not provide a clear definition of a theatre which allows the state to avoid responsibility for supporting non-public theatres in Georgia.

The new Law on Public Theatres does not extend to any private theatres such as those which are limited companies, non-governmental theatres (NGOs), theatres of mixed type and amateur theatres, which can be founded in compliance with the Civil Code of Georgia and the Law on Entrepreneurs.

Georgia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.3 Cultural heritage

Cultural heritage in Georgia is regulated by the Cultural Heritage Law which was adopted on 27 June 2007, the Museums Law and the Law on Export-Import of Cultural Objects in Georgia. The old Law on Protection of Cultural Heritage adopted on 25 June 1999 has been invalidated.

The purpose of this new law is to protect the cultural heritage of Georgia and regulation of legal relations arising in this sphere. Georgia is also keen to protect Georgian cultural heritage abroad.

The procedure of taking the cultural heritage and cultural values from Georgia and their bringing in Georgia (that means the export and import of cultural items as well as taking of cultural heritage abroad for exhibitions) and regulation of professional activity in the cultural heritage sphere is specified by the certain legislative act.

Consequently, amendments were made to the following laws in order to protect Georgian cultural heritage.

The Cultural Heritage Law (2007) provides the ground for protection of the richest cultural heritage of Georgia; it defines the terms and general mechanisms that will protect the cultural heritage against any encroachment.

Protection is provided to all immovable monuments, movable parts of immovable monuments, movable monuments as well as to the objects with monument signs and immovable monument protection zones in the whole territory of Georgia, irrespective of the form of ownership.

As compared with the old Law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage (1999), the Cultural Heritage Law covers wider activities, is more specific in determination of the rights and obligations related to the cultural heritage, and is more rigorous in the formulation of principles for establishment of monument status.

On 2 September 2005, the government of Georgia passed the Resolution on the Rules of the Issue of Permits for Execution of Works on Monuments of History and Culture and Archeological Digs. Work carried out on monuments of history and culture is regulated at state level. The new revision of this Law is aimed at the perfection of the applicable legislation.

The control of permits / requirements is provided through the Law on State Control of Architecture and Construction Activity. State supervision of compliance with the terms of permits / requirements in the heritage field is undertaken by the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport.

As these heritage protection acts have not long been in place, it is difficult to assess their success, although the acts of legislation and regulatory norms on the issue were available before the Rose Revolution of November 2003. New statutory acts reinforced and strengthened delimitation of responsibilities regarding protection and control of the monuments of history and culture.

The Law on Museums was passed on 22 June 2001 and takes guidance from the Law on Culture and the Law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage (25.06.1999); the aims and purposes of the law are to determine the basic principles of museum activity and use of museums; to provide state guarantees for museum activity; and to develop administration and financing principles for the system of museums. The law determines categories of museums, regulates non-state involvement in museum activity and determines the rights and obligations of legal and natural persons in the sphere of museum activities. In line with this law, the Ministry of Culture has developed Instructions on Accounting and Protection of Museum Objects in Georgia. This document is not a statutory act, but a manual for protection and accounting and restoration of museum objects.

The Law on Import-export of Cultural Objects was adopted on 22 June 2001, to determine the universal rules for importing and exporting cultural objects.

One of the most disputable issues in the protection of cultural heritage is the relationship between the state and the Georgian Orthodox Church within the context of the concordat signed in 2000 (see 5.3.10).

Although the process of forming a legislative base in the sphere of cultural heritage is almost completed, in reality the laws will be brought into line with international and European standards. The laws are of a declarative nature; there are some discrepancies both in the legislation regulating the sphere of cultural heritage and as compared with the general laws, e.g. contravention to the Law on Legal Person under the Public Law which in turn contradicts the Law on Local Administration and Self-government (see 2.2).

After the adoption of the Concordat (with the church), the legislation regulating the heritage sector has suffered a legal vacuum as no laws and acts of legislation interpreting the principles determined in the Concordat and delimiting the rights on the property of the state and the church have been passed (see 5.3.10).

The Law on the National Backlog regulates the activity of the National Archives.

Georgia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.4 Literature and libraries

The Law on Library Management regulates the general issues of library organisations. It defines libraries as cultural-educational, scientific-informational institutions, whose main social function is to effectively and fully apply its funds and other library resources to benefit the users.

The universal library network includes public and non-public, local and departmental library networks. The library system covers the National Library, training libraries, public libraries, children's libraries, school libraries and special library networks.

The main library of the public network is the National Library of the Parliament of Georgia, and special libraries also operate in the republics of Abkhazia and Ajaria.

The public library network is established according to the territorial and departmental principles.

The lack of tax exemptions in the law prevents the development of private libraries. Instead, there are efforts to own the premises where the libraries are placed and thereby to stop their operation.

Georgia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.5 Architecture and environment

Georgia is a country with rich architectural traditions which requires a well balanced and stable legal base to support and develop this sector. The following laws are applicable:

The Law on Architectural Activity was passed on 14 April 1998 to create and develop an adequate, eco-friendly, aesthetic environment and to promote architectural art in Georgia.

Under the law, the following areas are subject to state assessment: architectural designs financed by central or local budgets, or budgets of autonomous republics and other territorial units; by the state reserve or special state funds; and by the state or by construction credit allocated under state guarantee.

The environmental assessment of architectural design is carried out in compliance with the Law on State Environmental Assessment.

Together with the Architecture and Construction Inspection Agency, state supervision of the monuments of culture is undertaken by the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport. The law also allows participation in architecture and construction activity by foreign legal and natural persons equated to resident legal and natural persons.

The significant Law on Spatial Management and Urban Planning Principles, passed on 2 June 2005, regulates the process of spatial management and urban planning in Georgia. As well as being responsible for private development, this law regulates the process of accommodation, development of settlements and infrastructure in compliance with the requirements of protecting the cultural heritage and environment, and establishes in this sphere the rights and responsibility of governmental institutions and natural and legal persons.

In the cultural sector, environmental protection is regulated by the general legislation regardless of the field - by the Law on Environment Protection and the Law on State Control of Environmental Protection.

In spite of the state supervision which has been implemented in this sphere there are some violations of the law. The main reasons for the violations are:

Georgia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.6 Film, video and photography

The Law on State Support for National Cinematography was passed on 5 December 2000. As well as determining the legal mechanisms for state support to national cinematography, the law establishes the status of a national film, the legislative base for financing its production and distribution, the legal status of a respective institution / organisation operating in the film sphere and outlines the basic principles of state support for film-making. These basic principles are expressed in creation of guarantees for creative activity and creative freedom, in protection of copyright and concerning integration of Georgian cinematography in the world film process etc. The law takes into consideration the Laws on Culture and on Protection of Copyright and Related Rights.

Georgia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.7 Culture industries

See chapter 4.2.6.

Georgia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.8 Mass media

The Law on Press and Other Mass Media was passed on 10 August 1991 which declared freedom for the mass media. By this law, the constitutional principles were reinforced through the concrete relationship of the press and other mass media with the public.

The Law of Georgia on Broadcasting was passed on 23 December 2004, which was drafted with the expert support of the EU. This law determines the obligations of public broadcasting to protect the public interest in the sphere of news, public and political, educational, cultural and sport programmes. Public broadcasters are also obliged by the law to create some programmes that reflect the ethnic, cultural, language, religious, age and gender diversity of the population.

Provisions on protection of data are also available within the applicable Law on Copyright and Related Rights (see 5.1.7).

The Georgian National Communication Commission (GNCC) operates under the Law on Telecommunications (2005), Broadcasting (2004), Independent National Regulatory Authorities (2002), and on Independent Regulatory Commission (2005).

In compliance with the Law on Telecommunications, the GNCC allocates licenses to companies engaged in telecommunications.

When the Laws on Telecommunications and on Broadcasting came into effect, the legal status of broadcasting companies radically changed.

Under the Law on Broadcasting three types of companies were recognised - public, community and private. The State Broadcasting Company was reorganised into a public television company and its status, content obligations, programme priorities and other issues were to be regulated by the Law on Broadcasting (see 3).

The GNCC performs the function of monitoring the execution of the Law on Protection of Minors from Detrimental Effect. The State Department for Youth Affairs is entitled to determine the criteria of the films released and the GNCC monitors the protection of minors' rights. The Commission also monitors compliance with the Law on Protection of Copyright and Related Rights in the broadcasting sector.

Georgia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.9 Legislation for self-employed artists

Information is currently not available.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section.

Georgia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.10 Other areas of relevant legislation


Subject to the Constitution of Georgia, the state recognises the historical role and independence from the state of the Georgian Apostolic Autocephalic Orthodox Church.

The Georgian Apostolic Autocephalic Orthodox Church had obtained the status of independence, the Autocephaly, since 488 and was deprived of it within the period when Georgia was within the Russian Empire (the independent status of the Georgian Orthodox Church was abrogates in 1811). It restored the Autocephaly on March 12, 1917. The complete rehabilitation of its rights took place in 1990 - in the Diptych of the World Orthodox Churches the Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church holds the 6th place.

The relationship between the state and the church is specified in the constitutional agreement - the Concordat adopted on 14 October 2002.

Under this Concordat, the state recognises all Orthodox temples, monasteries (both open and closed), their sites and land where they are located, as the property of the Church.

The state also recognises, as the property of the Church, the ecclesiastic cultural objects kept in the National Museums, stocks and depositories, except for the objects which are kept in private collections. However, this principle does not comply with Article 8, paragraph 2 of the Concordat which recognises the joint ownership of the state and the church to the ecclesiastic objects as part of a single national heritage. In spite of the legal discrepancy regarding this clause the state preserves a level of regulation and supervision over the ecclesiastic objects.

The Concordat outlines the obligations of the state and the church in respect of the joint trusteeship, protection and defence of the ecclesiastic cultural objects. Under the agreement with the church, the state shall establish the legal conditions of ecclesiastic objects kept in the museums and depositories, as well as the terms and conditions of the projects of restoration, conservation and maintenance of temples of cultural and historic importance.

The state also assigns the funds from the central budget for the needs of the Georgian Apostolic Autonomous Orthodox Church (1 290 100 GEL in 2005, 2 114 600 GEL in 2006, 3 395 000 GEL in 2007).

Georgia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.1 Short overview

Culture in Georgia is financed by both the state and local budgets.

In 2004, the Ministry of Culture was merged with the Departments for Sports and Youth Affairs. Along with a sharp growth in the state budget, the budget of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia and regional expenditures for these spheres was also increased.

In 2005 the total budget of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport was 32 554 400 GEL, which amounted to 1.74% of the state budget (282 407 300 GEL). In comparison with the budget of the Ministry for 2004 which totaled 28 906 700 GEL, or 3.02 % of the overall state budget (151 321 720 GEL), the total for 2005 represents a decrease of 1.28% in respect of the state budget.

It should be mentioned that the draft budget of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport for 2005 amounted to 32 554 400 GEL, unlike the actual budget which amounted to 34 433 200 GEL. There is also the difference between the draft budget and actual budget for 2007: the draft budget for 2007 amounts to 65 380 000 GEL and the actual amount is 77 113 691 GEL.

According to the Ministry of Finance data, from January-June 2007, as compared with the same period of the previous year, the actual gross domestic product increased by 12.5% and exceeded 7.5 billion GEL in nominal terms. The significant share in the growth of GDP belongs to the industry, trade and transport. These three branches provided the growth of GDP by 5.5%, or 44% of the total rise in GDP.

In June 2007, as compared with December 2006, the general rate of customer prices increased by 4.1%. During the twelve-month period (from June 2006 to June 2007) the inflation rate was 7.3%.

In 2006, the adjusted assignment for the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport amounted to 53 984 400 GEL, or 1.4% of the payments to the state budget, and the expenses - 53 757 300 GEL. In the first six months of 2007, the adjusted assignment amounted to 43 485 300 GEL, or 2% of the payments to the state budget, and the expenses - 39 224 400 GEL.

In the operational context, the estimated expenses to be spent from the state budget for the culture, sport and religion sphere in 2006, and the first six months of 2007, was determined as follows - 72 779 900 GEL and 52 428 800 GEL accordingly. The actual expenses for the same periods amounted to 71 935 500 GEL and 48 060 600 GEL accordingly. The estimated expenses to be spent in this sphere from the local budget in 2006 and the first six months of 2007 amounted to 69 940 200 GEL and 35 388 800 GEL and the actual expenses for the same periods - 67 421 900 GEL and 28 824 500 GEL accordingly.

In 2006-2007, the state expenditures in the sphere of culture per inhabitant amounted to 15.6 GEL and 20.5 GEL accordingly, that is 0.5% of GDP per inhabitant. (Source: Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports).

According to data for 2003 from the State Department for Statistics, recreation and culture represented 1.8% of the total personal consumption in households, which is half of the 2002 figure of 3.9%.

Georgia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.2 Public cultural expenditure per capita

Table 7:     Public cultural expenditure per capita in Georgia, in GEL, 2000-2007




% of GDP


Expenditure per capita


29 482 900

6 015 500 000


4 435 200



29 435 600

6 647 100 000


4 401 400



39 815 500

7 459 400 000


4 371 535



41 453 500

8 564 700 000


4 342 600



69 067 900

9 969 800 000


4 315 200



73 877 600

11 600 900 000


4 289 100



123 888 600

65 625 000 000


4 401 300



112 502 500

75 000 000 000


4 401 300


Source:      Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports.
*                 The data for 2000-2003 has been calculated for culture only, since 2004-2007 - for culture, sports and youth affairs.

In comparison to other European countries, public culture expenditure per capita in Georgia is very low: GEL 17.22 (or 7.8 euros) in 2005 against GEL 16 in 2004, and corresponded, respectively, to 0.63 % of the GDP in 2005 and to 0.69 % in 2004. An increase in per capita spending is related to the general growth of GDP in 2005.

Table 8:     Public cultural expenditure per capita in Georgia: Ministry of Culture,
in GEL, 2000-2007




% of GDP


Expenditure per capita


7 527 000

6 015 500 000


4 435 200



7 882 700

6 647 100 000


4 401 400



11 483 400

7 459 400 000


4 371 535



9 732 300

8 564 700 000


4 342 600



28 906 700

9 969 800 000


4 315 200



32 554 400

11 600 900 000


4 289 100



53 948 400

65 625 000 000


4 401 300



77 113 700

75 000 000 000


4 401 300


Source:      Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports.
*                In 2000-2003 - Ministry of Culture. Since 2004 - Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports.

Table 9:     Public cultural expenditure per capita in Georgia: Local authorities,
in GEL, 2000-2007


Culture expenditure

Share of total


21 955 900



21 552 900



28 332 100



31 721 200



40 161 200



41 323 200



69 940 200



35 388 800


Source:      Ministry of Finance

Georgia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.3 Public cultural expenditure broken down by level of government

Table 10:   Public cultural expenditure: by level of government, in GEL, 2007

Level of government

Total expenditure

% share of total

State (federal)

77 113 700


Regional (provincial, Länder)



Local (municipal)

35 388 800



112 502 500


Source:      Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports.

Georgia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.4 Sector breakdown

Table 11:   State cultural expenditure in Georgia: by sector, in GEL, 2007*

Field / Domain / Sub-domain

expenditure and
State programmes



% of

Cultural Goods





Cultural Heritage

9 880 900


9 880 900


Historical Monuments

1 978 821


1 978 821



7 792 079


7 792 079







Libraries and literature***

110 000


110 000



13 388 611

3 386 513

16 775 124


Visual Arts (including design)





Performing Arts



16 775 124


Music (including folk)

4 756 732

1 746 513

6 503 245


Theatre and Musical Theatre

8 631 879


8 631 879


Ballet art


1 640 000

1 640 000



1 477 073


1 477 073


Books and Press















Audio, Audiovisual and Multimedia






1 477 073


1 477 073













10 345 859

2 678 291

13 024 149








1 495 200


1 495 200


Cultural Relations Abroad

379 277

2 678 291

3 057 568



1 947 500


1 947 500


Educational Activities

6 523 881


6 523 881


Not allocable by domain



35 956 445





  77 113 691


Source:      State Budget of Georgia, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports.
*               The data for sectors is only available for the national budget; the data for municipalities is not available.
**                Archives - 2005- 273 900 GEL; 2006: 899 000 GEL; 2007: 1 501 000 GEL (within the budget of the Ministry of Justice).
***              Libraries (National) -2005: 1 021 800 GEL; 2006: 3 908 300 GEL; 2007: 3 908 300 GEL (within the budget of the Parliament of Georgia).
****           Chamber of Books - 2005- 223 900 GEL (direct financing from state budget) No data for 2006-2007.
*****         TV and Radio - 2005: 16 500 000 GEL; 2006: 16 500 000 GEL; 2007: 17 400 000 GEL (direct financing from state budget).

Georgia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.1 Re-allocation of public responsibilities

According to Georgian legislation, cultural organisations (as for other organisations) may have three types of legal status - state, private profit making legal entities and non-profit making (non-state) organisations.

Division of financial liabilities between the state and municipalities is still an on-going issue; this is a good example of an unstable process in the current grave economic conditions. There has been a systematic transfer of various organisations from the control of central government to municipal control and vice versa. There have been many such shuttle movements in 2004-2005 for the following reasons: the imbalance of the legislative base requiring permanent and radical changes (new Law on Public Theatres, ongoing amendments to the Laws on Local Administration and Self-government etc.) and the system of delimitation of references in the making.

For many years the funds of municipal budgets were regular while the allocations from the central budget were less regular. This regularity of municipal allocations would indicate that perhaps municipalities should support the organisations of national importance in their own territories. Tbilisi Municipality would be particularly suitable in this regard in that it operates under its own legislative regime - The Law on the Capital City of Georgia - Tbilisi.

However, the situation is different in the Autonomous Republics. After the establishment of separatist power in Abkhazia and the forcible expatriation of 300 000 people (1993), cultural life is ideologically influenced and does not conform to the cultural policy pursued by the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia.

From 1990-2004 in Ajaria Autonomous Republic there was a political and socio-economic situation which influenced the development of culture. Ajaria did not participate in the wars of the 1990s and therefore preserved the cultural infrastructure of the Soviet period. The Republic had full autonomy of executive power over its own budget, which meant that it did not have to pay taxes to the central budget of Georgia. In light of this healthy budget and in virtue of the political problems, the Ajarian government also avoided the ideological control of the central authorities. Instead, Ajaria developed its own centralised and ideological cultural policy, using strict censorship over the mass media. From 1990-2004 the Batumi Institute of Arts and Batumi State Conservatory were established. The local authorities were most favourable to the development of opera. Performances of the local Theatre of Opera and Ballet involved famous Georgian performers from Tbilisi and from abroad.

However, cultural activities were irregular and were concentrated on the performing arts. No cultural events reached the poor, agrarian regions of Ajaria, as attendance at cultural events were unaffordable for this section of the population whose living standards were extremely low, even compared with standards in Georgia.

In May 2004 after the Rose Revolution, the governing system in Ajaria Autonomous Republic changed. Constitutional reforms were carried out and central Georgian control was enforced in the region. As a result of this central control, the cultural policy of Ajaria started to conform more to the policy pursued by the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia.

No independent councils of culture exist in Georgia.

The comparatively poorly developed private and non-governmental cultural sector (including art galleries, theatres, publishing houses) acts more or less independently from the governmental cultural policy because they are financed either by donors (mainly via international grants) or depend on the market, which is also poorly developed.

As for the mass media, the role of the state was very clear in the period 1990-2004. Prior to the Rose Revolution in November 2003, the government channels were tightly controlled, but private companies operated freely. The post revolutionary period is characterised by a decrease in the mass media market, especially in the regions. Along with the creation of public broadcasting there was a reduced polarisation of the mass media - all companies, with rare exceptions, maintain a policy of political correctness.

In 2007 the situation in mass media was revealed and aggravated in kind of the opposition between independent TV companies "Imedi" and "Caucasia" and pro-governmental TV companies "Rustavi-2", "Alania", "Public Broadcasting", "Mze" ended with the closing of TV company "Imedi" on November 7, 2007 (see 4.2.5).

Since 2005, the Georgian state has supported private investments in the cultural sector. However, there are some issues in relation to the investment climate for culture, especially in respect of cultural monuments; the majority of investors are not interested in and do not want to protect and defend the national values advocated by the state. Under the Law on Culture, the Law on Cultural Heritage (2007) and the Law on the Privatisation of State-owned Property, the cultural heritage of Georgia, as well as other cultural values specified by the law, are excluded from privatisation.

Some cultural values may be "privatised" in accordance with the law and with the consent of the relevant ministry, provided that the cultural activity will be preserved for a specific term: for example, the co-owner-entrepreneur intends to build a cinema-city on a part of the territory by restoring the film studio in the centre of Tbilisi.

Recently, there has been a tendency to allow the long-term lease of a part of public spaces and the sale of objects regarded as cultural monuments. Until now, because of the inadequacy of legislation on the protection of cultural heritage, the state has not had the regulating levers to guarantee an investor's liabilities and protection of the cultural heritage. This issue has attracted healthy public protest. The Cultural Heritage Law adopted in 2007 is intended to create such levers and guarantees (see 5.3.3).

These "infringements" have resulted in protests from the public.

Georgia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.2 Status/role and development of major cultural institutions

Since 1999, in compliance with the Law on Legal Entities under the Public Law, the main institutions of culture have been re-registered and established as legal entities. However, this law has failed to fully regulate all those legal relations which determine the status of organisations under the control of the local bodies of administration and self-government (see 2.2).

Most institutions under the control of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia were established as legal entities under public law, including:

The funds of state status do not exist in Georgia. Though it is the urgent need in the state funds which will accumulate the assets for development and support of culture, no adequate legislative activities have been held in spite of the permanent debates on this issue. All private donations pass the funds with the status of non-governmental, non-profit organisations.

All private donations for the public organisations and institutions - legal persons under the public law subordinated to the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia pass through the funds with the status of non-governmental non-profit organisations.

Georgia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.3 Emerging partnerships or collaborations

The long-term cooperation between public institutions of culture and private sponsors is somewhat irregular and unofficial. One of the few sponsors regularly cooperating  with key organisations of national importance is the Georgian fund "Cartu", which has financed large projects such as the restoration and repair of Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi State Academic Drama Theatre, Kote Marjanishvili Tbilisi State Academic Theatre, M. Tumanishvili Municipal Film Actors' Theatre-Studio etc.

Other important examples of cooperation between the state (the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport s and international funds are the Soros Foundation and the British Council in Georgia etc. These initiatives often encourage participation of NGOs and cultural societies to cooperate in projects with central or local authorities as a third partner (e.g. sometimes as the contractor in a joint project, e.g. with the Soros Foundation. In 2006, the Programme for Culture and Art in the Georgian branch of the Soros Fund - The Open Society Georgia Foundation - was closed.

Two examples of public-private partnerships or collaborations (involving state, municipalities and NGOs) which have been very successful are the traditional international film festival "Prometheus" and Tbilisi Jazz Festival, which attract many visitors and sponsors.  

Georgia/ 8. Support to creativity and participation

8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

Until 2004, the state supported artists through art unions. Unlike during the Soviet period, indirect support to artists is not currently available in the form of distribution of space for studios and low rent for shops, distribution of tools and materials etc. At the state level, the cultural creative potential is indirectly supported as follows:

The state programmes of development and support for 2007 are:

The division of fund for the Presidential National Programme is as follows:

There are no special programmes to provide pensions or health contributions for freelance artists.

Georgia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.1 Special artists funds

Information is currently not available.

Georgia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.2 Grants, awards, scholarships

A special programme of state awards in literature, art and architecture (2 878 800 GEL in 2005), as well as a programme for the support of gifted children and teenagers, now operates in Georgia.

Art workers awards are as follows:

These awards are given for exclusive achievements in various fields of culture and art. The candidates are nominated by the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport. Decisions on awards are made by the State Committee for Honor Awards at the President's Administration.

The following awards are given by the Committee for State Awards in literature, art and architecture:

Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport gives the following awards in drama and music - for vocal ensembles, opera and Estrada singers and folklorists.

In addition to the State Awards, there are awards given by the Union of Theatre Workers - K. Marjanishvili Award and S. Akhmeteli Award (every 2 years); by the Artists' Union - the award for the best piece of the year, the prize for the best gallery of the year; by the music society - Z. Paliashvili award (every 4 years) and the S. Tsintsadze award for the best music ensemble (every 4 years).

Georgia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.3 Support to professional artists associations or unions

The Law on Art Workers and Art Unions regulates relations between artists' unions and the government, provides governmental subsidies for support of those organisations as legal entities under public law and guarantees their participation in the development of cultural programmes and decision-making. However, it was only until 2000 (prior to the Rose Revolution) that the state budget of Georgia assigned governmental funding to the main cultural unions of national significance - the Artists' Union, Writers' Union, Composers' Union, Theatre Workers' Unions. From 2001 until 2003, governmental funding was assigned to the Writers Union only and, since 2004, state subsidies to arts unions have been stopped.

However, the state and municipalities support associations and organisations indirectly by financing events, festivals and exhibitions which are arranged by the unions.

Georgian art unions are:

After the Rose Revolution the art unions, which represented a rather powerful authority in the Soviet period, found themselves almost on the level of newly established NGOs, though they still obtain some capital and human resources to maintain and rehabilitate their function of support to artists. Legislative amendments have enabled this once powerful ideological structure to change in order to meet the needs of the contemporary free community. However, these unions need some indirect but effective measures for state support and, through the unions, for support of artists.

Under Georgian law, art unions are trade associations, with the status of a legal entity under the public law, which unite at least 5 art workers in literature or art.

The entrepreneurship aimed at profit-gaining in concrete cases specified by the law (Law on Non-profit Organisations) may be of subsidiary character for support of the activity of non-profit organisations. However, this provision is idle and creative unions suffer the financial crisis.

The legislation in this sphere is adequate however there are some problems in the execution of the acts of legislation and their administration. The Tax Code provides no benefits for art unions.

Recently, Georgian real estate has become the object of active interest from investors. This interest has led the state to sell the assets of some creative unions. In spite of their protests and attempts to restitute their property through the court, the unions are not winning. One example is sale, by the Ministry of Economic Development of Georgia, of the holiday home for composers located in the resort-city Borjomi (reported by news agency Reuters), with a starting price of 4.5 million USD.

Georgia/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.1 Trends and figures

For the past 15 years (1990-2005) systematic research and polls in the sphere of culture have not been held in Georgia due to the extremely dramatic and dynamic political life aggravated with the socio-economic crisis. The exception was the sociological research carried out on focus groups for the Conception of Development of Culture and Tourism in Tbilisi, held by the Fund for Culture Salvation under the order of the Service of Culture and Sports of Tbilisi Municipality in 2004.

As the research was targeted only at the detection of specific urban trends, nationwide data on participation of various social groups, distinctive by gender, age or educational level, in cultural activity, is not available.

Data on culture from the State Department for Statistics is not useful either as in the majority of cases cultural information was compiled with education or recreation, entertainment or even religion. The differential indicators in the sphere of culture cannot be separated.

Unfortunately, in 2004-2005 the amount of statistical data on culture has further decreased.

In November 2007, the newly designated Prime Minister of Georgia announced the need to separate the State Department of Statistics from the Ministry of Economic Development, and on granting sovereignty to this Department, because in the majority of cases the data submitted by the Department was embroidered to conform with the ministry's policy. As development of culture is not among the priorities of the policy implemented by the Ministry of Economic Development, the statistical data on culture for 2006-2007 "dissolved" in the data on education or the data on the social sphere.

However, the general trends of participation are as follows: the trends of cultural participation, which had been constantly growing since 1995, reached a peak in 2003. In 2004-2005 participation figures have stopped growing and have decreased in some spheres. In general, the trend of participation is much lower than in the 1980s.

There are many reasons for the low figures: living standards are lower; comparatively lower range of cultural services, in some cases obsolete (as in museums and libraries) and some have disappeared (e.g. cinemas which don't operate and there has been almost a total stoppage of film production). In 2007, state assistance in the cinema sphere is still insignificant - 1 477 073 GEL (1.9% of the budget of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport); there is no real film production in Georgia.

During the past ten years the number of public libraries in Georgia reduced from 8 000 in 1990 to 2 160 in 2004. This decrease is most notable in the regions. However, for the last five years, the situation has stabilised to some extent.

Due to serious financial problems museums, archives and libraries are not able to maintain their infrastructure, to purchase new displays, publications, equipment etc. At the same time, for the past ten years the number of professional theatres has increased, although this increase took place at the expense of small theatres such as "Sardapi" or mobile troupes based on enterprise principles.

A decrease in visitor numbers was caused by the closing for repair of the largest academic theatres, on the one side, as well as the radically reduced average family income - only 1.8% of family incomes have been spent on culture, education and recreation jointly, with culture receiving 0.6%.

Table 12:   Data on cultural participation in Georgia, 2000-2006







Public and universal libraries
(quantity in units)

2 208

2 170

2 123

2 056

1 726

Book fund (in million copies)






Museums (quantity in units)






Visitors of museums (in thousand)






Theaters (quantity in units)

37 000

40 000

40 000

41 000

46 000

Spectators of theatres (in thousand)






Source:      State Department for Statistics of Georgia.

There are some research studies and opinions on the monitoring of the participation of representatives of national minorities in the cultural life of the community, carried out by the Public Movement "Multinational Georgia" ( One of the recent efforts is the Alternative Report on Implementation of the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe on the Protection of National Minorities, but this report has not been published yet. No other information is currently available.

Georgia/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.2 Policies and programmes

There is no coordinated or strategically developed governmental programme for the promotion of participation in cultural life, no state policy for extended civil participation, civic belonging, or development / solidarity in the civic community.

However, there are some projects financed from the Presidential Fund and arranged by the Youth Department of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia. These projects are partially aimed at developing solidarity in the civic community, e.g. the annual project PATRIOT (which was introduced for the first time in 2005) involves the integration of youth from various regions in summer camps; it also facilitates intercultural dialogue between representatives of different nationalities residing in Georgia and with foreign student groups, namely from the Ukraine.

There are also some initiatives to promote the sale and distribution of season tickets by Zachariah Paliashvili State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet and project "Dmanisi" of the National Museum - which is a summer camp for children on archeology.

Some activities organised by the state could be considered as promoting participation in cultural life e.g.:

These events form part of the regular cultural policy framework as they are financed from the reserve funds of the President and the government.

Georgia/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.1 Arts education

Arts education in general and in particular higher vocational art education (as is the higher education system as a whole) has always been prestigious in Georgia. The academic art education system created in the Soviet period provided the stability and admissibility of high-quality education, on the one hand, and guaranteed the strictly centralised and ideology driven control on the other. From the 1960s, ideological pressure slackened, especially in the art institutions of higher education resulting in an abundance of courses supported by a large cultural market.

When Georgia regained its independence in 1991, the country had an extended network of public music schools, children's art schools and folklore ensembles with access to studios and amateur arts groups. Tbilisi had a high concentration of the specialised institutions of higher education - Tbilisi State Academy of Fine Arts, Tbilisi State Conservatory and the State Institute (now University) of Theatre and Cinema. In the early 1990s the trend of a high number of arts students continued and new institutes of higher education were established - Batumi State Conservatory, Batumi State Institute of Arts and the Tbilisi State Institute of Culture and Arts. New departments majoring in art specialties were opened in traditional institutes.

The period of economic crisis and civil wars has drastically influenced the general state of art education both from the material, technical and professional human aspects. This period is characterised by the outflow of gifted young professionals, especially in the performing arts - music, ballet, opera singers and artists. The issue of ageing educational specialists became very acute.

The arts education field suffered also due to the lack of a system of social insurance, extremely low wages in education and scarce budgetary funds in the institutions of cultural education. Reforms were required from both institutional and curriculum aspects. In 2003 the status of teachers of the secondary art schools was equated to the status of teachers of general secondary schools whereby their wages have been increased and the outflow of professionals has stopped.

The art education system (similar to the general education system) consists of three main stages:

Stage I: primary education, including art schools (music, fine arts, dance etc.) According to data from 2005, there are 258 of these schools in Georgia.

Stage II: secondary vocational education, including art colleges (of art, music, dance, cultural education). In 2006 there are 26 of these secondary colleges in Georgia.

The Ministry of Education and Science drafts the Law on Vocational Education in Georgia based on the concept of vocational education in Georgia approved under Resolution N150 of 31 August 2005. The amendments to be made to the applicable law provide separation of the comprehensive component from secondary vocational education, whereby establishment, reorganisation and liquidation, state control etc. of a vocational art college will come under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport.

Stage III: higher education in culture is regulated by the Law on Higher Education which provides for specifics on art education in some issues. Today there are 9 institutions of higher education in Georgia.

Within the annual state programme of art education of Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport funding is assigned for the following activities:

In 2004, after a long debate, the Law on Higher Education was drafted by the reformed Ministry of Education and Science. Following this law, the first Universal National Exams were held in 2005. Difficulties have been created for art institutions, however, in that the unified system of assessment cannot cater for the specifics of practical art specialties. Consequently, discussions have been held between the Ministry of Education and Sciences and the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport to resolve the issues in arts education.

At present the Ministry of Education and Science has no clear concept of educational reform in the sphere of culture or any policy on cultural issues. Delimitation of responsibilities of the two ministries is specified in the Law on Higher Education (Chapter III, Article 2, paragraph 2). Under the Law on Higher Education, Chapter 8, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia is the central body for the formation and implementation of policies in education, art and cultural heritage.

However, the institutional and curriculum accreditation of an art institute of higher education shall remain within the competence of the Ministry of Education and Science.

In May 2005, Georgia acceded to the Bologna process. The new Law of Georgia on Higher Education binds the institutes of higher education of Georgia to pursue the main priorities of the Bologna process, such as transferring to the three-step system of higher education, quality assurance and accreditation, European Credits Transfers and Storage (ECTS) system, mobility, involvement of students in the decision-making process, compatibility of curricula with the European system etc.

Since 2005, a new model entitled "Money Follows a Student" has been in operation. Two phases of institutional accreditation have also been carried out under the Universal National Examination system, which has secured assessment of entrants by the unified methods and elimination of corruption in this sphere. The cooperation of the Ministry of Education and Sciences with the civil community is in progress.

Under Order N 407 of the Minister of Education and Sciences of Georgia of May 3, 2006 was established the national team for support of the Bologna process. The goal of this team is to set the concrete objectives for the effective implementation of the reforms under the Bologna process in Georgia and to promote the activities determined within the Bologna process. Two members of this team are representatives of the institution of higher art education.

On April 3-5, 2006 under the support and financing of the Ministry of Education and Sciences of Georgia at Shota Rustaveli State University of Theatre and Film was carried out ELIA regional conference - The Higher Art Education and Bologna. The conference was attended by the representatives of various institutes of higher art education. This conference was a significant contribution in making the significant changes in the institutes of higher art education in the light of the Bologna process.

In the autumn semester of 2006, several higher education institutions in Georgia introduced performance based indicators / targets, according to the Bologna process. As the new Law on Higher Education is not fully operational till 2007, there will be some universities adopting the quality management systems at a later date.

Among the institutes of higher art education Tbilisi Vano Sarajishvili State Conservatory and Tbilisi State Academy of Fine Arts have been transferred to the three-step system of education. In 2005-2006 was introduced the ECTS system as well. At Tbilisi Vano Sarajishvili State Conservatory 23 curricula are built on the credit system and at Tbilisi State Academy of Arts - 24 curricula. In 2006 in both institutes a new form of the Transcript to Diploma was issued to the graduates. This form was approved under Order N 149-e of the Minister of Education and Sciences of Georgia (05.04.05) On Approval of the Form for Transcript of the Higher Education State Certificate - Diploma.

Shota Rustaveli State University of Theater and Film has also been transferred to the tree-step system of higher education. For the University students of the first and second years has been introduced the ECTS system, 114 curricula is built on the credit system. Consequently, at this University the transcripts of diploma will be issued in 2006-2007.

The full reform of education is an urgent and necessary process. However, the ongoing reform of education initiated by the Ministry of Education and Science cannot be defined as adequate. The methodology of transition from the Soviet academic system of education to a new system is underdeveloped; the proposed educational system for culture is inadequate and eclectic; and there is a manifest lack of co-ordination of the respective ministries. In spite of the general declaration of priorities of the Bologna process, the system of reorganisation of art institutions is inclined towards unification, but not diversification.

In 2007, the Law on Higher Vocational Education was adopted which creates the conditions for development of the higher educational system in line of specialties attributed to the practical qualifications. The higher vocational education in Georgia is divided into artisan and artist education, where the artisan education covers the applied specialties and artist education - the art specialties.

In accordance with the new law, the Georgian higher schools announced admissions to various professional specialties, including creative ones, for the 2007-2008 academic years.

In the same context is foreseen the implementation of Strategy 5 declared by the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia (see 3.3 and 4.1).

Main programmes / activities under the strategy:

Expected Outcome:

Georgia/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.2 Intercultural education

The Ministry of Education and Science, which is leading a reform of education in Georgia, is responsible for promoting intercultural education. National goals for education have been adopted in Georgia in October 2004, stating that the development of intercultural skills for graduates of secondary level education is one of its priorities. The Law on Secondary Education, which followed in April 2005, grants rights to all schools to teach in minority languages and to teach the history of minorities without any discrimination regarding the content or the financial support offered.

Intercultural education is a part of the National Curriculum of Georgia and is integrated into teaching, mainly in the subjects of the social sciences and of foreign languages.

The national goals of education state that some of the other goals of education in Georgia are to educate a tolerant citizen who knows how to effectively communicate with diverse individuals and groups.

There are several topics included into the teaching of the arts / music through the general school curriculum covering the artistic experiences from different parts of the world and of the minorities in Georgia.

One of the aims of the introduction of the separate subject, "Civic Education in Georgia" was to increase the student's sensitivity towards the knowledge of human rights, citizenship, world religions and influences of various cultures on the society.

The public movement "Multinational Georgia" has developed an alternative package of recommendations and has introduced intercultural education as a part of the general school curricula, within the civil education discipline.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section

Georgia/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.1 Amateur arts

The amateur arts in Georgia are divided into two groups: a) folklore and b) all other art-forms. There is a strong affection among the population for folk songs and dances in which Georgians hold great pride. Folk ensembles, in particular, of vocalists, are plentiful throughout Georgia. The culture of preservation, study and development of folklore in Georgia has been raised to the professional level. Moreover, the Georgian vocal polyphony of folksongs and chorals is regarded as important at the international level. Consequently, many villages and towns have their own folk ensembles, which reflects the diversity of Georgian music folklore and, on the other hand, supports continued interest in the training of young people in this field. Large ensembles often have groups for young people where the future generations of singers are encouraged. Folklore ensembles are also popular among the national minorities.

The crafts sector is not as widely developed. In comparison with the performing arts, the craft field requires special programmes of support for preservation and maintenance. This is especially important against the background of the critical socio-economic situation in the countryside where ceramics, carpet weaving, embroidery etc. are practiced.

All other types of amateur arts are less popular than folklore and are mainly urban based (e.g. people's theatre and fine arts). Recently groups for teenagers in large cities have become more involved in modern genres of amateur art related to new technologies and social development - multimedia, graffiti, e-music. This subculture has yet been developed does not receive state support, though some municipal initiatives related to mass culture are touching on this type of amateur art, although only in the performing arts sector.

After the Rose Revolution, the interest of the state in folklore has increased greatly, whereby many projects in this sphere are organised and funded. The most significant are: the International Folklore Festival "Chveneburi", ART GENE, and the Presidential Programme "National Voice".

Georgia/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.2 Cultural houses and community cultural clubs

Within the last 15 years the network of former cultural houses and clubs of the Soviet period has been trimmed down. In general, these centres of culture have been privatised and only a small number have preserved their main profile. Unfortunately no statistical data is available as these cultural houses and clubs were always under the control of the regional or municipal authorities, which provide no detailed reports on cultural data. Nevertheless, to some extent these cultural centres have been replaced with new associations and unions.

Georgia/ 9. Sources and Links

9.1 Key documents on cultural policy

Bogouta, Gregor: Overview of Georgian Book Policy, Recommendations. Project STAGE, 2002.

Cultural Policy and Action Department, November 2003. Project STAGE Directorate General IV - Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport, 2003.

European Commission: Overview of Georgian Cultural Policy. Brussels: European Commission, 2002.

Georgian National Communication Commission: The 2004 Report. Tbilisi: Georgian National Communication Commission, 2004.

Gunia-Kuznetsova, Nino: On Urgent Measures for Implementation of Cultural Policy. Materials from Conference "Cultural Policy - Priorities and Strategy". Tbilisi: YTA Union, 2001.

Gunia-Kuznetsova, Nino; Shatirishvili, Zaza; Kipiani, Nana; Arabuli, Koba; Baliashvili, Marina; Gegenava, Theona: Tbilisi Culture and Tourism Concept. Tbilisi 2004. Tbilisi Municipality, Tbilisi City Municipality Service for Culture and Sport, Fund for Saving Culture.

Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Research and Art Development: Materials from conference Cultural Policy - New Art - Exhibitions - Debates - Documentation - Interactive. Tbilisi, 2003.

Landry, Charles: Tbilisi City Cultural Strategy: The Next Steps.

Ministry of Culture of Georgia: National Report 2001. Tbilisi: Ministry of Culture of Georgia, 2001. 

Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia: State Programmes. Tbilisi: Ministry of Culture, Protection of Monuments and Sports of Georgia, 2004.

National Report on Cultural Heritage Policies. 2003.

Periodic Report on the Application of the World Heritage Convention. 2004.

Project Strategic direction of management plan for historical part of Tbilisi. Tbilisi: National Committee of ICOMOS, 2003.

Georgia/ 9. Sources and Links

9.2 Key organisations and portals

Cultural policy making bodies

Parliament of Georgia / Committee for Education, Sciences, Culture and Sports

Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia

President's Administration of Georgia

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Education and Sciences of Georgia

Professional associations

Union of Architects of Georgia

Young Theatrical Artists Union (YTA UNION)

Grant-giving bodies

Cartu Group-Cartu Bank

Georgian Fund of Protection of Monuments of History and Culture

Open Society Georgia Foundation (Soros Foundation)

Goethe Institute

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Representative Office in Georgia

South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich-Boll-Foundation

British Council Georgia Office

Eurasia Foundation Georgia Office

SOCO Foundation

Cultural research and statistics

State Department for Statistics of Georgia

Georgian Academy of Sciences G.Chubinashvili Institute of History Georgian Art

National Committee of UNESCO at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

ICOMOS Georgian national Committee (International Council on Monuments and Sites)

Fund for the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of Georgia

Restoration Centre of Architectural Heritage of Georgia

Centre for Archaeological Research, TransCaucasus Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

Heritage & Modernity Association

Georgian Cultural Heritage Information Centre (GCHIC)

Fund of Science "Udabno"

Stichting Caucasus Foundation (SCF)

Fund for Saving Culture

Arts Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory

Georgian Arts & Culture Center

Caucasian House- Center for Cultural Relations of Georgia

Intercultural Relations Centre (IRC) Georgia Office

Public Movement Multinational Georgia

Culture / arts portals

Georgian National Museum

National Gallery of Georgia

National Center of Cinematography

Tbilisi State Academy of Arts

Tbilisi V. Sarajishvili State Conservatoire

Center for Traditional Polyphony of Tbilisi V. Sarajishvili State Conservatoire

Shota Rustaveli Georgian State University of Theater and Cinema

Zachariah Paliashvili State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet

Folklore State Centre of Georgia

Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili State Academy Troupe of Georgian National Ballet

Georgian Voices

Arts and Culture Centre

New Art Union


Internet Academy

Georgian International Festival of Arts in honour of Michael Tumanishvili - "Gift"

Tbilisi International Film Festival

Eastern Promotion

Tbilisi State Concert Hall

League of Professionals

Georgian House


The Council of Europe/ERICarts "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 9th edition", 2008