Back Monday | 25 January, 2010
Obstacles for Civil Society Development in the South Caucasus
What are the reasons for low public engagement in the South Caucasus? Why, despite the large number of non-government organizations, civil society remains weak in all three countries?
Marc Howard gives one of the most convincing explanations about the weakness of civil society in the post-communist countries.
According to Howard, three factors contribute to the weakness of civil society: citizen distrust towards formal institutions; general dissatisfaction with economic and political conditions; and the persistence of strong pre-transition social networks.
While Howard concentrates on the post-communist Europe, CRRC’s Data Initiative and EBRD’s Life in Transition survey data support the relevance of Howard’s argument to the South Caucasus. Read the full article in a recent issue of Development&Transition here.
02.08.2015 | Sunday
Citizenship is a difficult concept to define as its definition changes over time, depending on social, legal, and political contexts. Importantly, it not only encompasses structural (legal and institutional) aspects, but also the everyday practices through which people relate to the state and other citizens. This blog post examines some of the perceptions as to what makes a good citizen across the South Caucasus and the extent to which people’s actions match up with their stated opinions on good citizenship.
27.04.2015 | Monday
This blog post provides a snapshot of which issues Georgians think NGOs actually address and compares it with what Georgians think NGOs should be doing more of.
20.04.2015 | Monday
While many Georgians do not know if a large number of organizations are or are not NGOs, many also recognize this fact by saying that they have either never heard of or do not know if an institution is or is not an NGO.
12.05.2016 | Thursday Following the first ever peaceful transition of power in Georgia’s 2012 parliamentary elections, the country improved its position in the Freedom House and Polity IV democracy rankings. Results from the latest polls, however, show that public support for democracy in Georgia has declined over the past few years.
22.02.2013 | Friday
The Georgian parliamentary elections in October 2012 attracted much international interest and ushered in an important turn in Georgian politics. In 2012 CRRC conducted four waves of a Survey on Political Attitudes in Georgia for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) (funded by the Swedish International development Cooperation Agency-SIDA) in order to track changes in public opinion associated with these major political events.
08.08.2016 | Monday This blog post describes a number of tendencies that might be related to the declining public support for democracy in Georgia, using the CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey data.
07.10.2014 | Tuesday
A recent CRRC regional blog post analyzed the presence of fatalism in Georgia. The post cited CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) data which shows that in 2013, 28% of Georgians agreed that “everything in life is determined by fate.” While the CB findings demonstrate that a sizeable portion of the adult population is fatalistic about the future, Georgians are increasingly likely to see that future in a positive light, whether it be determined by fate or not.
13.11.2013 | Wednesday Ann Bennett Lockwood, an American attorney, politician and author once said that, “If nations could only depend upon fair and impartial judgments in a world court of law, they would abandon the senseless, savage practice of war”. For many, the credibility of a government is judged by the fairness of itsjudicial system. For instance, Michel Rosenfeld (2001) argued that a fair justice system creates respect and faith in government by saying that, “If a citizen implicitly or explicitly endorses a law or legal regime, the latter can be considered subjectively fair.”
12.01.2012 | Thursday
In the wake of Russian protests for free and fair elections— one of the hallmarks of democracy— the international community has again turned its attention on democratization in the post-Soviet region. Democracy, in its various forms, represents something different to everyone. So what does it mean for Georgians? Do Georgians consider Georgia to be a democratic state in its present form? What are their perceptions of democracy?
15.02.2012 | Wednesday
Widespread apathy and a general disbelief that good can come from joint effort is a major factor hindering social capital in Georgia. One indicator of apathy can be fatalism, meaning the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable. This blog explores the level of political fatalism in Georgia and how it is connected to Georgians’ perceptions of the country’s current political course and democracy.
22.02.2012 | Wednesday
We have previously worked on social capital, and this issue recently was taken up by the Caucasus Anylatical Digest. The issue discusses the concept of social capital and its relevance to the societies of the South Caucasus.
24.02.2012 | Friday
Most CRRC users know about our Online Data Analysis tool, ODA. It is easy to use, continues to be popular, and in less than a year we have had nearly 70.000 charts generated.
03.03.2011 | Thursday
In 2009, Counterpart International Armenia was given the rights by CIVICUS to use their methodology to conduct a public opinion survey and measure the Civil Society Index (CSI) in the Republic of Armenia. On February 22nd, Counterpart International Armenia presented the respective report.
19.03.2011 | Saturday
How do multimedia phones affect the way media is consumed and circulated? Katy Pearce lays out interesting findings for the case of Armenia in the International Journal of Communication (5, 2011, pp. 511-528).
23.03.2011 | Wednesday
Can more available public information on Georgian governmental websites promote institutional trust and enhance faith in democracy in Georgia? This is the topic of a recent book called “Electronic Transparency in Georgia” by the Institute for Freedom of Information (IDFI).
07.04.2011 | Thursday
What are the social, political and economic attitudes of people in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan? Do Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis think employment or territorial integrity is the most important issue facing their respective countries? How do they judge the fairness of elections or media independence? How trusting or supportive are they of the European Union, NATO membership or local institutions?
10.05.2011 | Tuesday
CRRC is happy to announce its new Online Data Analysis (ODA) program! Crunching numbers from CRRC surveys is now easier than ever.
13.06.2011 | Monday
We have previously highlighted the research on social capital that CRRC has undertaken with the generous support of USAID. As we said at the time, and have argued in subsequent presentations, social capital is a missing link in Georgia. Its absence impedes social, economic and political development.
21.06.2011 | Tuesday
A joint seminar on May 10th by Clingendael Institute and the Eurasian Partnership Foundation (EPF), and co-sponsored by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, debated the state of the rule of law and democracy in Georgia, and the possible application of a “Georgian model” in the wider region.
07.10.2011 | Friday
Using data from the Caucasus Barometer, Ken Roberts and Gary Pollock argue that ...
14.10.2011 | Friday
Last year, Ani Navasardyan asked, “Why do so many Armenians leave Armenia?” Migration is also an issue in Georgia and Azerbaijan. Data from the CB 2010 reveals that around half of the respondents in Georgia (47%) and Azerbaijan (52%) are interested in temporary migration. Still, Armenia stands out since 64% of the adult population is open to the idea of temporarily leaving the country.
16.10.2011 | Sunday
CRRC’s report “How Does the South Caucasus Compare?” aims to put attitudes towards gender in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the three countries of the South Caucasus region, into a global context.
02.11.2011 | Wednesday
Continuing to explore standards of living in the South Caucasus, this blog looks at the between four sources of household income and material deprivation using data from the 2010 Caucasus Barometer. Each of the four sources of income (salaries, pensions or government transfers, sales from agricultural goods, and remittances) are categorized by their importance to the household and then cross tabulated with material deprivation. The findings suggest that families reliant on salaries and remittances are better off, while families receiving pensions and government transfers, or those who sell agricultural products as their primary source of income have higher than average rates of material deprivation.
07.12.2011 | Wednesday
The 20th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union is upon us, and US-Russian tensions have risen as Russia contemplates terminating the NATO supply route through Russia. International news reports such as The New York Times detail the threat as a “death blow” to the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan and indicate that this could be a blessing in disguise for NATO hopeful Georgia, as well as for Azerbaijan.
14.01.2010 | Thursday
How are Georgians doing financially, how much do they earn and what do they spend on? CRRC’s Data Initiative allows for an in-depth analysis of these and similar issues on the economic status of the population across the South Caucasus.
31.05.2012 | Thursday During the last 25 years Georgian capital has experienced a diverse history of political meetings in its central areas including peaceful demonstrations, rallies with radical political demands, “tent towns” and so forth. The higher the attendance, the more legitimate the protests are often seen to be. As a result, the figures themselves usually are contested, sometimes in significant controversy.
10.02.2010 | Wednesday
Wondering what Georgians do in their free time? Do they read, listen to music, go to cinemas and theatres, stay at home and spend time with their families, watch TV, or just sleep?
12.02.2010 | Friday
It is often stated that life in a city is fundamentally different from that in rural areas. In the West, village life is said to be more intimate, and its inhabitants more caring about their peers, with strong ties between neighbors and family members. Can this also be said in the South Caucasus? After all, family relations and friendships are supposed to be strong in countries like Georgia. Do these ties reach into the cities, erasing the difference between strong social networks in rural areas and the more anonymous, independent urban setting?
15.03.2010 | Monday
Migration is a major factor in Georgia. Many Georgians live abroad, and by some estimates the money they send back accounts for nearly 10% of Georgia’s GDP. Did you know that households in rural areas who receive such aid are less likely to be poor, but that in Tbilisi, the opposite is true?
03.05.2010 | Monday
During the last two decades, Georgia has created new government institutions designed to serve as the tools and safeguards of democracy. But do Georgians believe that these institutions live up to their mission statements? How much do Georgians trust government institutions, and which factors influence the public’s attitudes toward them?
18.05.2010 | Tuesday
The CRRC’s annual Data Initiative Survey will be renamed into the Caucasus Barometer starting from 2010. At CRRC, we think that the new name better reflects the essence of the survey and is more understandable for the general public and the journalists.
16.06.2010 | Wednesday
In winter 2008, CRRC together with the American Councils conducted some research on the ways foreigners learn languages in Georgia. Hans Gutbrod and Malte Viefhues have recently published a paper in CRIA, analyzing the results and providing interesting insights into incentives to language learning and the importance of Georgian and Russian for foreigners in the country.
17.06.2010 | Thursday
By Jesse Tatum and Vazha Burduli
From environmental catastrophe to violence, our world currently faces serious challenges with long-term consequences. In this context, what do people in the Caucasus consider to be the most acute problems?
From environmental catastrophe to violence, our world currently faces serious challenges with long-term consequences. In this context, what do people in the Caucasus consider to be the most acute problems?
Regarding the greatest threats to the world today, the spread of nuclear weapons and poverty are foremost on the minds of people in the South Caucasus, according to the 2009 CB.
02.07.2010 | Friday
Freedom House has just released its Nations in Transit report for the year 2010. The report attempts to quantify democratic development in Central European and Eurasian states by observing 8 separate factors – for instance, Electoral Process and National Democratic Governance - which affect the level of democracy in a given country. Each category is graded on a score of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress, and 7 representing the lowest. Much of the media attention has typically focused on Russia.
22.07.2010 | Thursday
Following an article on Georgians’ attitudes toward Russia, CRRC Fellows Therese Svensson and Julia Hon have written a new piece for CAD, entitled “Attitudes toward the West in the South Caucasus”. Their article looks at citizens’ views on three areas of relations — political, economic and cultural — between the South Caucasus and the West, in particular NATO, the US and the EU. The data were derived from the South Caucasus–wide 2007 and 2008 Data Initiatives (DI), as well as from the 2009 EU survey that was conducted in Georgia.
08.08.2010 | Sunday
What are the patterns in how the respondents are rated by the interviewers? The relevance of this question is beyond doubt, as patterns in such ratings allow for an idea of the reliability of the data as well as for more general insights into the settings in which interviewers are gathering data. Relevant data has been gathered in the Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey for years, enabling us to analyze the impressions that interviewers have gained during their work in the South Caucasus.
12.04.2012 | Thursday In September 2011, CRRC on behalf of Eurasia Partnership Foundation and EWMI G-PAC conducted a nationally representative survey on Volunteerism and Civic Participation in Georgia. Georgians were asked how often they get together and discuss private problems and politics with their friends and relatives (who do not live in their houses).
25.08.2010 | Wednesday
When presenting our work, or talking about it informally, we are asked fairly similar questions: do you do your interviewing in all of the country? How do you select the respondents? How do you know they are not lying to you? Are people willing to say things critical of the government? How do you design a questionnaire?
08.10.2010 | Friday
A particularly intriguing talk at TEDxYerevan was given by Tim Straight, Honorary Consul of Norway and Finland to Armenia. Is the Caucasus in Europe or in Asia? Tim highlighted that there are five countries that defy easy categorization: Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and also Turkey. Tim explores how the dividing lines fall according to corporations, mapmakers and values.
19.11.2010 | Friday
Ambassador Dieter Boden, a distinguished German diplomat who has served both as German Ambassador to the OSCE as well as UN Special Representative to the Secretary General, spoke at the Europe House about conflict resolution in the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
01.02.2008 | Friday
The alpha version of our Data Initiative data set, broad household data, covering lots of household data, but also political attitudes, social development, some health, education, migration, and social capital questions (and more) is online now. We interviewed more than 8000 people, so this really is the single largest dataset that is available on developments across the South Caucasus.
10.03.2008 | Monday
Admittedly we forgot to post this earlier, but we believe it is even more important with the upcoming elections in Georgia.
31.03.2008 | Monday
Brookings Index of Regime Weakness | State Rebuilding or State Collapse in the Caucasus | The Annals of Data
Yet another index was released recently -- Brookings Index of State Weakness in the Developing World. One professor of mine in graduate school, who was a veteran hot spot worker, related that all of the conflict professionals keep their eye on this map to see where they are going next. In this year's version of the index, however, it's where they already are: Somalia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq top the list.
02.05.2008 | Friday
Quite some time ago, Georgia has opened up the party archive of the Soviet period to researchers. This is a pretty unique resource for researchers. Georgia deserves particular praise for making that history accessible. Few countries of the CIS have made this important step.
03.05.2008 | Saturday
21.05.2008 | Wednesday
With today's elections in Georgia, various themes come to mind. Certainly, elections have come a long way: by now, the Georgian government employs a series of highly qualified consultants, including Greenberg Quinlan Rosner of Clinton-fame, plus a Brussels-based PR firm, as well as working with experienced teams from the Baltics. This, then, is no longer the game of the 1990s, or 2003. Election observers know that they in turn will be observed, and maybe that's how it should be.
22.05.2008 | Thursday
So the preliminary report on yesterday's Parliamentary Elections which ODIHR has just released again notes that the count had problems.
27.05.2008 | Tuesday
Recently, the Georgian Times published an article on a poll recently conducted by GORBI of Georgian Troops in Iraq. According to the article, this is the first poll conducted amongst these soldiers.
18.06.2008 | Wednesday
Data snapshot: how do religious practices compare across the Caucasus? In our Data Initiative, we included questions on religion, and we tried to unpack the concept further: rather than only asking about the importance of religion, we linked it to practice. Thus, we asked how often people attend religious services, how often they pray, and how often they fast -- since these are comparable components across Muslim and two separate orthodox religions.
24.06.2008 | Tuesday
Last week we gave a snapshot of religious practices across the South Caucasus in general. The CRRC DI gives us an opportunity to explore this topic further and see whether religious practices are only country specific, or whether there are other factors influencing them. Let’s see if gender is a defining factor in religious practices in the South Caucasus.
30.06.2008 | Monday
Given the recent craze over UEFA football and the large number of diehard football fans across the Caucasus, I think the question about the politics of support is worth addressing. It can provide interesting insights into both cultural and political affinities -- much like Eurovision support -- except with a different demographic. We have limited information here, so the blog cries out for help!
07.07.2008 | Monday
Explore issues - handle data - satisfy your curiosity - get published - generate opportunities
CRRC is offering a round of research fellowships. Are you curious about a social issue? Do you have some ideas or hypotheses that you want to explore further? This fellowship could be the perfect opportunity for you!
09.07.2008 | Wednesday
Recently, we happened upon an article that talks about the use of Russian across the Caucasus. Is Russian becoming obsolete? According to the article, some Georgian politicians suggest this is the case. At the same time, the article points out that the uptake of English is too slow to replace Russian as a lingua franca.
22.07.2008 | Tuesday
The CRRC Data Initiative (DI) gives people an opportunity to do interesting cross-country comparisons of the South Caucasus (SC) people’s attitude toward their neighbors. This subject is quite sensitive and complex when thinking of the fact that the SC stands out for its sequence of ethnic conflicts.
04.08.2008 | Monday
Women’s participation at all levels of elections in Georgia is diminishing. As the Caucasus Women’s Network (CWN)reports, women inGeorgia were less represented in terms of candidates in the last parliamentary elections than in any previous parliamentary elections inGeorgia’s democratic history. On the other hand, women’s low political participation in elected bodies belies women’s activeness in civil society institutions, where females appear to be very active.
03.10.2008 | Friday
Recently, as a result of the football diplomacy between Armenia and Turkey, an opinion poll was conducted in both Turkey and Armenia to gauge the reaction to new gestures in the Turko-Armenian relationship. The poll was carried out by MetroPoll in Ankara (Turkish only website) and by the Armenian Center for National and International Studies -- run by Rafik Hovannisian an American Diaspora Armenian now resident in Yerevan and involved in Armenian politics.
09.10.2008 | Thursday
Unemployment clearly is one of the pressing issues in the South Caucasus. But there is a lack of reliable data on people being without and looking for a job. This blog, based on CRRC’s Data Initiative 2007, provides a snapshot on these numbers.
20.10.2008 | Monday
What's the level of engagement in the three countries of the South Caucasus? Are people involved? Are they staying abreast of what goes on? Again, our Data Initiative provides insight, since we asked people whether they had engaged in various activities over the last six months
27.10.2008 | Monday
Yet another index, and one with little happy news. How does world press freedom look? Reporters Without Borders, an advocacy group founded in 1985 ("investigate, expose, support"), has just released an international ranking. A total of 173 countries are ranked, and the Caucasus is in the bottom third.
22.11.2008 | Saturday
One of the most impressive recent survey efforts, measuring attitudes about different countries in transition, has been undertaken by EBRD. Called Life in Transition Survey (LiTS), this is an attempt to look at how 29 'transitioning' countries have developed following 1989. The survey tracks "public attitudes, well-being, and the impact of economic and political change".
28.11.2008 | Friday
What's the balance sheet of the Rose Revolution so far? There is agreement that there has been tremendous progress in some fields. The economy has grown, street-level corruption has evaporated, and in many other instances the state functions for the people.
05.12.2008 | Friday
In June Freedom House released its 2008 annual Nations in Transit Report covering January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007. The Nations in Transit Report covers the democratic performance of the former Soviet Union, the former Soviet satellite states and the former Yugoslavia.
02.11.2006 | Thursday
Nani Chkhaidze compared the 1990s election programs of parties that won the elections in the South Caucasus.
04.12.2006 | Monday
Anastasia Kitiashvili used CRRC's 2004 Data Initiative to study attitudes to education. Unsurprisingly, a higher education degree is not a guarantee for employment. In Georgia, about 27% of those with higher education remain unemployed. In Azerbaijan, it is about 18% and in Armenia 17%.
21.08.2007 | Tuesday The study and analysis of civil society and civic participation is a fundamental way of better understanding a region and its processes of development and democratization. Researcher Babken Babajanian has studied civil society and civic participation in post-Soviet Armenia.