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Burchuladze Slams Those Criticizing Him for ‘Singing for Putin’

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, December 20
Georgian Opera singer and politician Paata Burchuladze has slammed those who have criticized him for singing in Saint Petersburg at the concert which was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Burchuladze stated that he participated in the concert which was dedicated to his many-year friend, well-known Russian conductor of Circassian origin Yuri Temirkanov.

“I was invited there to participate in the event which was dedicated to the 80th anniversary of my old friend Yuri Temirkanov.

“Yuri, unlike many of his colleagues, came to Georgia in 2013 to hold a charity concert for Georgian children. I have never thought to have received such hatred in Georgia,” Burchuladze said.

Burchuladze recalled that Temirkanov was in Georgia in 2008 after the Russia-Georgia war, participating in his birthday event and the concert was also attended by then-President Mikheil Saakashvili.

“Despite the tense relations with Russia that time no one said that Temirkanov and his orchestra were playing for Saakashvili,” Burchuladze said.

He also recalled his participation in a concert in Russia in 2009, for which he received a backlash.

“I participated in a charity concert that time,” he said.

Members of the opposition parties have demanded explanations from Burchuladze for his participation in the concert, as Burchuladze is among the opposition politicians who supported the united opposition presidential candidate Grigol Vashadze.

Burchuladze stopped his opera career in May 2016 and formed a political party, State for People, prior to the October 2016 parliamentary elections.

Following this, Burchuladze formed a coalition with three other opposition parties to establish the State for People Movement. His coalition failed to pass the five percent election threshold and was left without seats in Parliament.

After the race, Burchuladze declared that he quit politics. However, during the presidential race this year he was again involved in politics to support Vashadze.

Burchuladze has also been summoned for questioning by law enforcing agencies for alleged misspending of the funds of the charity foundation Iavnana, which he established several years ago.