Mar 05 2014

Georgia’s Minister of Culture Dismissed

by The Editors

Georgia’s first Deputy Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, Marine Mizandari, has been dismissed on the grounds of alleged “disobediance.” Courtesy Agenda.

On February 10, Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has approved of the dismissal of Marine Mizandari, the nation’s first Deputy Minister of Culture and Monument Protection. This order to step down came after a meeting with the Cultural Heritage Protection Council on January 27 where Mizandari proposed to reinstate the heritage status of the Sakdrisi gold mine, a 5400-year-old mine in central Georgia that was previously protected under heritage laws, which were lifted in 2013.  

The Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, Guram Odisharia, first brought forth the appeal for Mizandari’s resignation on February 5, after the deputy minister’s proposal to preserve the mine received the council’s support. Mizandari’s dismissal was charged based on an alleged “gross violation of official duties” and “disobedience.” But Mizandari believes she was let go due to her stance regarding Sakdrisi, an area where the mining company RMG is excavating gold.

The Sakdrisi gold mine was only discovered a few years ago by Georgian and German archeologists and has since been found to possess thousands of ancient artifacts. At a press conference in Tbilisi on February 11, Mizandari voiced her concerns over its preservation. “Our body, which has responsibility to protect this field of cultural heritage, wasn’t able to protect it and isn’t able to protect it today,” she said.

Mizandari is currently filing a lawsuit to combat her dismissal. As the Deputy Minister since 2012, she was commissioner for Georgia at the Venice Biennale in 2013.