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 chapter 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 chapter 4.2.6).