Municipalities of Georgia represent the lower level administrative units in Georgia, where local self-government is exercised. As of 2020, there are 69 municipalities in Georgia, which are united in 9 provinces, which in turn are de facto units.
Five municipalities have been occupied by Russia since 2008 and it is not possible to implement the state cultural policy on their territory.
The local authorities of administration (municipalities) and self-government (sakrebulo – city or village councils) bear responsibility for cultural activity in the regions.
The structural units of local authorities are the departments of culture, cultural heritage and protection of monuments at the local governmental level.
Most of the institutions of culture (theatres, clubs, museums, libraries, centres and houses of culture, art and music schools) responsible to the local bodies of administration and self-government have legal NGO-status although they receive state-municipal financing.
Presidential power in the regions is realised through the institute of presidential “rtsmunebuli” (the governor / president’s attorney). There are 10 rtsmunebulis throughout Georgia. The Governor’s Office includes the committee for culture (institutions and programmes of regional importance. The Rtsmunebuli Office is financed from the central budget (the role of the rtsmunebuli – governor (the president’s confidant in each region) is defined in the new Constitution of Georgia of 15 October 2010). In many respects, the President’s institutes -“rtsmunebuli”- duplicate the functions of the bodies of local administration and self-government and due to a trend of centralisation in recent years the powers of the rtsmunebuli have been further reinforced.
In some cases there are conflicting priorities and approaches taken by the national cultural policy and by the policies of local self-government which can result in the lack of a coherent system for cultural support.
Due to the political and economic interests of the central authorities listed above, as well as demands from both local authorities and the public, the problems of delimitation of powers and reinforcement of centralisation have become very acute.
Following the amended Constitution of Georgia, the institute of presidential “rtsmunebuli” (plenipotentiary) has been changed and turned into the institute of governmental “rtsmunebuli”. Now it is subordinate to the Government and not the President but maintains the same function of the centralised administration. Presidential power in the regions, realised through the institute of presidential “rtsmunebuli, is now being subsumed under government control in changes to the Constitution.
Local authorities lacking legislative and financial levers for implementation of their own cultural policy instead implement the cultural policy of the national government.
To further the centralisation of cultural management in the regions, so called centres of culture (with the legal status of LEPL) were created. Institutions of culture (theatres, clubs, museums, libraries, centres and houses of culture, art and music schools) subordinate to the local administrations and self-governments are united in the so called centres of culture – the umbrella organisations with specific status and state-municipal financing.
The Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection promotes initiatives in cultural animation in the regions in the framework of the cultural support programme; the programme provides support for traditional folk holidays, restoration and popularisation of national holidays, and promotion of tourism.