Amid Critical Report on Gelati, Fellow Party Members Voice Support for Culture Minister

Shortly after the Giorgi Chubinashvili National Research Center for Georgian Art History and Heritage Preservation, an entity under the Ministry of Culture, released a critical report on restoration work at the Gelati Monastery Complex near Kutaisi, some members of the public and opposition politicians placed full responsibility for the shortcomings identified on Culture Minister Tea Tsulukiani and criticized the government and the majority lawmakers for negligence. In response to the opposition’s criticism, Tsulukiani’s fellow party members voiced their support for her.

Presenting the 2022 report on the performance of the Parliament on February 8, Speaker Shalva Papuashvili said that it was only after Tsulukiani’s investigation and research that many things became clear about the nature of violations committed at the monument.

He also noted that those people who really think about this issue “have no better ally than Tea Tsulukiani.” “When everyone was silent, Tea Tsulukiani was the first to speak out, to investigate and prove certain issues with documents,” Papuashvili said.

Mikheil Sarjveladze, chairman of the Committee on Human Rights and Civil Integration, also expressed his support for the Culture Minister, saying that the problem related to Gelati is not new, and that it was under the Tsulukiani’ leadership that the Parliament began to openly investigate the issue.

“That is when the attacks on Tsulukiani began,” he said, adding that “the measures being taken by the government will definitely help to save the Gelati Monastery Complex.”

Lelo’s rally in front of the Parliament

The remarks in support of the Culture Minister came after the opposition party “Lelo for Georgia” held a rally outside the Parliament, where MP Ana Natsvlishvili said that Tsulukiani bore “a very serious responsibility” for the developments around Gelati.

“The silence of the parliamentary majority and the negligence of the government towards Gelati is very serious and nothing can overweigh it,” she said, adding that this rally “is a reminder to act.”

MP Natsvlishvili also focused on the Gelati issue at the opening of the spring session of the Parliament on February 7, calling on the Speaker and MPs to visit the Gelati Monastery Complex. “History will remember everyone – those who tried to do something and those who did nothing. The complex is being demolished and it will be your responsibility, not only Tea Tsulukiani’s,” she said, addressing the Georgian Dream lawmakers.  

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