MINELRES: Georgian Ministry of Culture Ignores Problems at the Azerbaijan Theatre

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Jun 24 17:56:54 2005

Original sender: Ucha Nanuashvili <hridc@internet.ge>


Azerbaijan Theatre – the Problem to Be or Never to Be Solved

Georgian Ministry of Culture Ignores Problems at the Azerbaijan Theatre

Georgian Ministry of Culture has refused to react to the illegal
machinations occuring at the Azerbaijan theater. The actors have
appealed for help to the Ministry, but all in vain. Azerbaijan actors
speak openly about the violations, pressure and even blackmail on the
part of theater leaders and the Georgian Ministry of Culture’s
unwillingness to act. 

The Theatre of Azerbaijan was founded in Georgia as a result of an
agreement made several years ago between the presidents of Azerbaijan
and Georgia. Ten Azerbaijani students were admitted to the Shota
Rustaveli State Institute of Theatre and Arts and were prepared for the
theater. Anzor Dolenjashvili, who was originally chosen as the theater’s
art director, was, by decision of the Cultural Department of Tbilisi
Mayor’s Office, unexpectedly switched with Irakli Azikuri. Actors say
Azikuri, who is unknown within Georgia’s cultural world, is completely
lacking in professionalism. The actors further suspect that the theater
management is engaging in illegal financial activities. Specifically,
individuals registered as employees of the theater appear to be “ghost”
employees—no one knows anything about them. Of the 52 actors registered,
only 15 of them are known to the theater staff. The actors of this
theatre are inexperienced performers who don’t even speak Azerbaijani.
The actors high dissatisfaction with their art director has resulted in
some illegal dismissals and others refusing to work. The Ministry of
Culture of Georgia knows all of this, and Human Rights Information and
Documentation Center has sent them a letter specifically requesting that
a special commission be established to study the situation. 

In 2004, the students applied to the Ministry demanding Irakli Azikuri’s
dismissal. Two actors were subsequently dismissed from the Theater –
Namig Gajiev and Namik Muraev - who consider their dismissal was
conducted illegally and are calling for the financial police to inspect
the theater’s financial records.

The art director exercises various forms of coersion on the actors who
remain in the theatre. Azikuri demanded from actor Viugar Mashov to
write a letter confirming that he did not sign a statement demanding the
art director’s dismissal. If Mashov refused, he would loose his job. 

Azerbaijan Diaspora applied to the ministry of Culture to solve the
mentioned problem. The statement was delivered to Deputy Minister
Kvariani but after a long wait in vain, Azerbaijanis demanded to take
the case away from Kvariani and deliver it to someone else. It is
noteworthy that this letter was also delivered to Tamar Kvariani.  As a
result, the case has been frozen in Ms. Kvariani’s hands.

The Human Rights Information and Documentation Center appealed to Ilgar
Japarov, the head of the Culture Department of the Embassy of Azerbaijan
to investigate the problem further. Mr. Ilgar Japarob stated that the
existing leadership of the theater is completely unprofessional. “The
director has confrontations with actors and that’s why no performances
are prepared at the theater,” stated Japarov. He demands a concrete
decision from the Ministry of Culture. According to him, he spoke with
the Minister of Culture on this problem as well as with theater
management, dismissed actors, and members of the Azerbaijan
intelligentsia. Despite efforts of the NGOs and Azerbaijan Diaspora, the
leadership of the theater continues to ignore their appeals. Mr. Ilgar
considers that this problem is that of the Georgian Ministry of Culture.
But despite the efforts of the Human Rights Information and
Documentation Center, the Georgia’s Ministry of Culture still refuses to
address the problems. The Center demands from the Ministry act promptly
and appropriately to investigate the charges against the Azerbaijan


Best wishes,

Ucha Nanuashvili
Executive Director

Human Rights Information and Documentation Center (HRIDC)
89/24 Agmashenebeli Ave., 12th floor
Tbilisi, 0102 Georgia
Tel./Fax: (+995 32) 95 10 03
Cell: (+995 99) 50 80 36
Email: hridc@hridc.org
Web: www.hridc.org


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