Giorgi Amilakhvari, the Georgian Education Minister, on Tuesday pledged “no university” project funded by Russia would be hosted in Georgia, following media reports on plans for a launch of a Russian-Georgian university in Tbilisi.
The comment came after Russian online media Sova on Sunday cited Dimitri Lortkipanidze, the Director of the Moscow-funded Primakov Georgia-Russia Public Centre, as saying his organisation was looking for a “proper venue” for launching a university of this profile in the Georgian capital.
The report caused reactions through the controversy of the possibility of an educational project funded by the country that is occupying two of Georgia’s regions launching in Tbilisi.
In his press comments, Amilakhvari reaffirmed a statement by his body on Monday that “no official application” had been submitted to the National Centre for the Development of the Quality of Education, and added no educational institutions could operate in the country without the body’s authorisation.
Describing the reports as “damaging propaganda and lies”, Amilakhvari claimed “no consultation or agreement” had been made over the question and “will never be”.
He alleged the Government's opponents had used “unverified information or someone’s assumptions” to discredit the authorities and the country’s education system, and added the Government would “act based on national interests over this topic”.
Sova cited Lortkipanidze as saying the university would be “free” and “fully funded” by the Russian Government, adding it would be a “unique university completely staffed by the Russian side”. He also said a “clearer picture” around the project would be revealed by late September.