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Georgia/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.1 Main features of the current cultural policy model

The development of cultural policy in Georgia over the past 20 years (1990-2010) can be characterised by 4 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  chapter 4.2.2). 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.

The period from 2008-2010 (from the presidential elections of 5 January 2008) is marked by an intensification of centralised power, a weakening of self-governing institutions, self-censorship of the mass media and, consequently, a growth in the role of the state structures (Ministry of Culture and Cultural Heritage) in financing and administration of cultural policy.

Chapter published: 20-01-2016

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