New Minister of Defense, Dimitri Shashkin, has appointed new deputies with two of them serving as Shashkin’s aides during his previous tenure as Education Minister, one was brought in from the Interior Ministry and the fourth deputy was promoted from within the MoD’s ranks.
Koka Seperteladze was appointed as the First Deputy Defense Minister, replacing Nodar Kharshildze, who was appointed as new Deputy Interior Minister. Seperteladze was Shashkin’s deputy when the latter served as the minister in charge of prison system and then minister of education until the recent cabinet reshuffle last week.
Maia Siprashvili-Lee, another new deputy defense minister, was Shashkin’s aide when he was the minister in charge of prison system and then served in the Education Ministry as head of international relations department, where she was in charge of Teach and Learn with Georgia program.
Data Akhalaia, who is brother of Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia, also became a new deputy defense minister. He led the Department of Constitutional Security (DCS) at the Interior Ministry. He was nominally suspended from this post in 2006 following a high-profile murder case of Sandro Girgvliani, but was then restored on this position. He quit the post after his brother Bacho Akhalaia became the new Interior Minister.
Another high-profile former Interior Ministry official, who has moved to the Defense Ministry, is Soso Topuridze, who was deputy head of Department of Constitutional Security at the Interior Ministry. Topuridze is now appointed as new head of the administration of the Joint Staff of the Armed Force.
The fourth new deputy defense minister is Davit Nardaia, a rector of the National Defence Academy.
The new minister has also appointed new heads of six out of thirteen departments and introduced a new department for information technologies. New heads were appointed in departments in charge of internal audit; public affairs; finances; procurement; defense policy and planning, as well as in the department for military-technical issues.