PM confirms splitting culture ministry into separate entity, promises gov't help for commercialising field

State Ballet of Georgia is one of theatre troupes that have had limited opportunities to stage shows under the pandemic, but have released plans for returning to full-scale seasons after the crisis. Photo via State Ballet of Georgia., 25 Dec 2020 - 16:21, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Ministry of Culture will again become a separate entity from the current joint structure with education, science and sport administrations, with the government poised to help commercialise the field, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia told the parliament earlier today.

In his address to a plenary session of the lawmaking body Gakharia announced he expected formalities for separating the culture ministry to be completed no later than February, after his team had made the decision following "long discussions".

The move will see the ministry return to the pre-2018 organisation when it operated under its own structure before being merged with the three other bodies that year. Gakharia said the last two years, and particularly the pandemic reality, had shown the culture field needed its separate entity.

Our culture and cultural heritage are invaluable and we should all understand that a separate ministry is necessary for developing [the field of] culture and further commercialise [it]."

A separate approach is needed in this regard - unfortunately we still live in a poor country and there is a need for more focus for the "social state" responsibility towards the field of culture," the PM told members of the parliament.

The head of the government expanded on the latter point by telling MPs creating "conditions, infrastructure and ecosystem" for commercialising the culture field was "necessary for economies" similar to Georgia's, in order to reduce its dependence on the state.

The PM called a "failure to commercialise the culture [industry]" in three decades since Georgia's gaining of independence from the Soviet Union a "problem" and said it was "one of the challenges" in the topic of supporting professionals of the field.

Gakharia nevertheless cited the government's assistance to the industry during the pandemic and promised the government would work to ensure "keeping employment figures at least at the current level" as the COVID-19 crisis continued.