Another refusal to increase the subsidy for the state repressed people

News | Memory and Disinformation Studies | Article 27 August 2021

The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and the Society "Memorial" received a reply from the Ministry of Finance of Georgia on August 18, 2021 to the letters sent by the organizations to the Parliament of Georgia, the Prime Minister of Georgia and the Ministry of Finance. In the letter, the Ministry of Finance responded to the organizations: "Given the existing macro-fiscal parameters and the volume of social payments in the country, we do not consider it appropriate to further increase social payments."


One of the types of direct financial assistance provided by the state is the household subsidy - a monthly cash disbursement to cover household and utility needs - for those people belonging to different social categories. It is issued in three different amounts:


- 44 GEL - for the participants of the Second World War, for the children of those who died in a fight for the territorial integrity and independence of Georgia, as well as for the spouse, who was no longer married after and the disabled parents (per family);


- 22 GEL - for persons equal to the participants of the Second World War; Victims of the dispersal of a peaceful demonstration in Tbilisi on April 9, 1989- those who were demanding the independence of Georgia. Also for participants of armed conflicts on the territory of other states as well as participants of the  struggles for the territorial integrity, freedom and independence of Georgia;


- 7 GEL - for persons who are  recognized as victims of political repressions and their families;  also for those who have lost the family provider as the result of the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power plant. [1]


IDFI and Memorial have asked the government to increase the household subsidy for the repressed  already for the fourth time (letters of June 24, 2020; July 27; and December 11 2021; June 20, 2020),. The following arguments ground the demands of the organizations:


- Among the amounts of household subsidies provided by the state for different social categories, the lowest household subsidy of 7 (seven) GEL per month, not only does not meet the actual needs of the people, but this amount is even more offensive to people who have been unlawfully harassed and repressed by the state;


- The number of repressed people living in Georgia is less than 10,000 and as of December 2020 has decreased to 9,751 people. Noteworthy that the number of repressed people in 1 year (December 2019 - December 2020) had decreased by 700 people;


- Based on the above-mentioned statistics, it is estimated that in case of equalization of household subsidy to 44 GEL from September 2021 (which is provided for World War II participants, people with disabilities as the result of April 9 raid, etc.), the total cost of the year would be approximately 2.13 million GEL (increase of 1.35 million GEL) and for the expenditure in 2022, it would be around 4.57 million GEL (an increase of 3.85 million GEL compared to the planned amount).


The letter sent by the Ministry of Finance also states: "In addition, the issue may be discussed within the framework of a unified social policy with the engagement of relevant agencies." These letters are sent to the Ministry of Finance of Georgia, the Government of Georgia,  personally to the Prime Minister, the Parliament of Georgia and other agencies that have a leverage to resolve this issue for the fourth time, but the answer is always standardized – “no increase in household subsidies is foreseen”. Therefore, it is not clear what kind of review mechanisms the Ministry of Finance implies in the above proposal.


It is noteworthy that on June 25, 2021, during a hearing in the Parliament of the Prime Minister, one of the MPs asked him if there was a plan to increase the pension of 22 GEL for veterans to 100 GEL:  "You know how humiliating 22 GEL is for the people who, when the homeland needed them, went and depended  Georgia with their own bodies? We value their hard work and effort for only 22 GEL. Are you going to increase it to 100 GEL (even though, that too is a shame)? The Veterans Service has estimated that $ 37 million is needed. Are you going to change that? ”  To the question, the Prime Minister answered that the 2022 budget will include an increase in pensions for veterans. It should be noted that both the Prime Minister and MP, who asked the question allegedly meant a household subsidy, insofar as the Georgian Law on State Pension stipulates a monthly cash benefit for persons of retirement age, while the household subsidy is devoted to the people who took part in the fight for the territorial integrity and independence of Georgia and other states – in this case, the subsidy is really of 22 GEL. [2]


Given that the repressions encompassed mass shootings, deportations and, in most cases, the complete seizure of the property of the repressed, the stigmatization and harassment of the families of the repressed, as well as unequal social conditions, the amount of the household subsidy is disproportionate to the damage suffered by the repressed persons and their descendants. Increasing the household subsidy for the repressed will be a significant assistance  and illustration of state support to up to 10,000 citizens, who are victims of political repression in Georgia.





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