Modern Culture And Society In Georgia

Exploring The Intersection Of Politics, Culture, And Freedom In Georgia’S Evolving Landscape

Georgia, a country with a rich cultural history, has been navigating a complex socio-political landscape in recent years. This article delves into the current state of its culture and society, focusing on the reforms and challenges it faces in modern times.

Cultural And Political Landscape

Since regaining independence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Georgia experienced a flourishing of its cultural sector, respected both nationally and internationally. However, recent developments suggest a troubling shift. The Georgian government continues to aspire for European Union membership, a process that demands adherence to certain democratic standards, including media freedom and de-oligarchization. Yet, the European Commission has noted limited progress in these areas, indicating a lack of political will to fully meet the EU's demands, most of which pivot around human rights issues.

Experts on Georgian politics argue that trust is a foundational element of political culture, which is defined by indigenous traditions, values, and a psycho-social environment. The stability of any political regime is thought to depend on its political culture aligning with its national cultural and political structures. This includes roles in determining the nature of citizenship, political stability, preparedness for change, welfare policies, and the formation of public opinion.

Challenges To Cultural Freedom

A major concern in recent years has been the increased government interference in cultural institutions and freedom of expression. Since March 2021, when Tea Tsulukiani was appointed Minister of Culture, Sport, and Youth Affairs, there has been a marked change. The ministry began to actively undermine the independence of national cultural institutions. This has included the appointment of individuals without relevant expertise to decision-making roles in major cultural institutions and interfering in previously transparent processes. Such actions have limited the influence of independent, qualified professionals in the cultural sphere, signaling an effort by the government to control cultural life and free expression in Georgia.

The PEN America report "Taming Culture in Georgia" highlights the growing intimidation, harassment, and interference in the work of critical voices in the cultural sector. This pattern reflects a broader chilling effect on freedom of expression and participation in cultural life, crucial components of a democratic society.

Impact On The Arts And Media

The cultural sector in Georgia has been notably affected by these political shifts. From the literary world to cinema, museums, and other spheres of art and culture, there have been significant changes. Theaters, for example, saw the appointment of new directors without competition or with directors known for their loyalty to the ruling party. National museums and the National Book Center underwent reorganization, leading to dismissals and restrictions on employees. The film industry has also faced controversies, with the Georgian National Film Center experiencing interference from the Ministry of Culture.


The current trajectory of Georgia’s culture and society reflects a tension between the desire for European integration and the challenges posed by internal political dynamics. The government's influence over cultural institutions and the media is a worrying sign for the country’s democratic progress. As Georgia continues to shape its modern identity, the preservation and nurturing of a vibrant, independent cultural sector remain essential for its overall socio-political health and progression towards a more open and democratic society.

The intricate relationship between the political and cultural realms in Georgia underscores the importance of maintaining a balance between government influence and cultural independence, which is vital for the nation's continued development and alignment with broader democratic values.

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