Georgian Culture Ministry dismisses allegations as “fake” on cancellation of concerts from pro-Ukraine Russian artists

 The Georgian Culture Ministry said on Friday that the old Sports  Palace in central Tbilisi, where pro-Ukraine Russian artists have been scheduled to hold performances next month, was under private ownership. Photo: Culture Ministry press office, 03 Sep 2022 - 12:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Culture Ministry on Friday dismissed the allegations as “fake” on its alleged interference in the cancellation of performances from pro-Ukraine Russian artists Andrey Makarevich and Maksim Galkin, scheduled in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi in October. 

In response to the allegations by early on Friday, the largest online ticketing platform in the country, that the performances were canceled on “political grounds”, the Ministry said that the venue where the event was planned - old Sports Palace of Tbilisi - was under private ownership. 

The information [on the Government’s involvement in the cancellation of the event] is fake and misleading as the old Sports Palace [in central Tbilisi] has been owned by certain individuals for many years on, with the Ministry having no lever to interfere”, said the statement of the Culture Ministry. 

In further details, the state body noted that a new Sports Palace, called Tbilisi Arena, “was built and managed by the Culture Ministry” and has been currently hosting an ongoing EuroBasket tournament. 

The organisers of the performances [referring to those by Russian artists] have not contacted the management of Tbilisi Arena at all”, said the Ministry.  

In their comments on the reasons for cancellation, the leadership of the old Sports Palace cited “ongoing repair works” which have lasted “longer than expected”. 

Galkin, who left Russia in protest shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February,  was expected in Tbilisi for a concert on October 15, while the sales of tickets started on July 25.