Back Friday | 03 October, 2008
Polling Data on Turkish-Armenian Bilateral Relations
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.
Unfortunately, the original questions asked or the sample size are not available online. However, the findings are indicative of the opinions of countries that are winners and losers (Turkey -- winner, Armenia -- loser).
In Turkey, almost 70 percent of the population found the Turkish president Abdullah Gül's trip was successful and presumably supported the normalization of relations with Armenia. What would have been more interesting to ask, however, was Turks view of the importance of normalizing relations with Armenia. I would hypothesize that the majority of Turks, particularly those who live far from Eastern Anatolia do not see the current position as hurting their economic interests and do not see the issue as vital -- particularly if it would require any change of Turkey's stance on the genocide issue. With Armenia's limited purchasing power, Turkey stands little to gain economically from opening its border. Furthermore, Turkey already export to Armenia through Georgia, and it is presumably Armenia that pays the higher costs for goods, not Turkey.
Interest in Armenia may be more pronounced for those Turks who live in Kars and other settlements bordering Armenia. However, while these places stand to gain most from cross-border trade, they also may have much stronger feelings about how the opening of the border may affect their lives and have potential worries about attempts of Armenians to reclaim or purchase property in the area.
Given the deep and continuing melancholy that permeates much of Armenian society's consciousness as a result of the slaughter and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Armenians from Eastern Turkey and the central role that genocide plays in Armenian political culture, the Armenians show much more skepticism towards normalized relations with Turkey -- though the news is not all bad. Only 11 percent of respondents said they were against all cooperation with Turkey -- albeit 76 percent were only willing to normalize relations after certain preconditions were met. Ostensibly, preconditions revolve around the recognition of the Armenian genocide.
However, we would expect that more thorough plumbing of Armenian citizens' perceptions may reveal a more nuanced understanding of the policy trade-offs involved in preconditions. Likely, many more Armenians may be willing to engage in some compromise, if it meant more sustainable economic growth. Unlike Turkey, Armenia stands to reap large economic benefits from the opening of the border with Turkey. Transport costs would drop significantly for the many Turkish products that already wend their way through Georgia to Armenia; moreover, Armenia would have a more ready export market for finished goods they produce -- particularly if the Caucasian Tiger becomes more of a reality than a simulacrum.
Whatever the future for relations between Turkey and Armenia may hold, it is important to continue to provide open and reliable data on the process.
05.10.2015 | Monday [Editor's note: This is the third in a series of blog posts co-published with On Think Tanks. The views expressed within this blog series are the authors alone, and do not represent the views of CRRC-Georgia.]
By Yevgenya Jenny Paturyan
By Yevgenya Jenny Paturyan
Think tanks are considered to be an important part of civil society: providers and keepers of expertise on important social, economic, environmental, political and other issues. Organizations like Chatham House and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace come to mind. In addition to ‘pure’ think tanks, there is a plethora of organizations that combine research with advocacy and action, Transparency International being a prominent example.
29.09.2015 | Tuesday [Editor's note: This is the second in a series of blog posts co-published with On Think Tanks. The views expressed within this blog series are the authors alone, and do not represent the views of CRRC-Georgia.]
Interview by Dustin Gilbreath
Interview by Dustin Gilbreath
Dustin Gilbreath: You recently recently pointed out that think tanks in the South Caucasus have come a long way in recent years, but that they still face challenges on some of the fundamentals – quality of research, policy relevance, funding, and operational acumen. At the national rather than regional level, what are the relative strengths of and challenges before the think tank sector of each country?
28.09.2015 | Monday
By: Dustin Gilbreath
[Editor's note: This is the first in a series of blog posts co-published with On Think Tanks. The views expressed within this blog series are the authors alone, and do not represent the views of CRRC-Georgia]
By: Dustin Gilbreath
Starting from similarly troubled slates at the turn of independence, the South Caucasus countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia – have diverged over the last 25 years, and the region is an interesting case of divergence despite similarity. While in Azerbaijan the government is squeezing the last bit of free expression from the country, Georgia is having its problems but is by far the freest place in the region. Armenia still has space for engagement, but it is not as open as Georgia.
27.07.2015 | Monday This blog post looks at the World Bank’s STEP data for Armenia and Georgia, which CRRC collected in 2013, to see how people are finding work, their confidence that they have the skills needed to find work, and how they feel their education prepares them for work.
30.06.2015 | Tuesday
CRRC’s third annual Methodological Conference: Transformations in the South Caucasus and its Neighbourhood
The third annual CRRC methodological conference took place on June 26 and 27 at Rooms Hotel, Tbilisi. With over 50 participants and a packed program of presentations, workshops, and speeches the conference drew together policy practitioners and researchers from the South Caucasus and beyond.
02.06.2015 | Tuesday
Georgia’s media was once again ranked the most free in Eurasia in Freedom House’s 2015 Freedom of the Press report, released on April 28, 2015. On Freedom House’s scale, in which countries receive a score from 0 (the most free) to 100 (the least free), Georgia’s rating of 48 places it firmly in the ‘partl...
16.03.2015 | Monday
If Kundera’s statement is taken as a hypothesis and generalized from the individual to the societal level, it could be argued that the unhappier people are, the more they will long to leave their countries, emigrating either temporarily or permanently.
31.12.2012 | Monday Values and traditions can shape the ways in which people behave and perceive themselves and others within and across societies. Drawing on data from the 2012 Survey on Social Capital, Media, and Gender in Azerbaijan and the 2011 Survey on Social Cohesion in Armenia, this blog explores different values that, according to Azerbaijanis and Armenians, characterize contemporary Azerbaijani and Armenian...
16.12.2012 | Sunday From 2009 to 2011, Gallup conducted surveys in over 150 countries to compare how people feel about their lives and what emotions they experience during the day. Based on these surveys, Singapore was considered as the least emotional society (ranked 1st) out of 151 countries surveyed, while the Phil...
28.11.2012 | Wednesday This blog looks at public attitudes on whether or not speaking the titular language, belonging to the predominant religion or sharing national values are perceived as necessary to be a member of Armenian or Azerbaijani society. Data from the 2012 survey on Social Capital, Media and Gender conducted in Azerbaijan and the 2011 survey on Social Cohesion conducted in Armenia show that sharing nati...
05.11.2012 | Monday According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year about 1.3 million people die as a result of road accidents worldwide. In 2011, the UN launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. A year later, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution A/66/L.43 to improve road safety conditions wo...
26.10.2012 | Friday Corruption and paying a bribe was not uncommon in the former Soviet Union. However, following the collapse of the USSR, rampant corruption began to permeate virtually every aspect of daily life in newly independent Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia (Sandholtz and Taagepera 2005). Reports by international organization...
25.02.2014 | Tuesday The Olympics in Sochi, Russia, took place about 30 kilometers from Russia’s border with the separatist region of Abkhazia in Georgia. As a security precaution, the Russian government has temporarily moved its border 11 kilometers into Abkhazia to create a “security zone,” at which travelers entering will have to show identification before proceeding to the actual border with Russia.
05.01.2015 | Monday This blog post draws upon official electoral statistics and public opinion survey data from the CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey to analyze expressions of civic engagement in Armenia and Georgia.
28.04.2014 | Monday
21.07.2014 | Monday
On 1 April, 2014 the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET) published a blog which described a future Transcaucasian Confederation agreement signed by the three South Caucasian states. Despite the fact that the blog was an April Fool’s Day joke, it provoked significant interest and reader response.
11.08.2014 | Monday
The three countries of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) are geographically, historically and politically bound closely together. Nevertheless, these countries often find themselves in disagreement when faced with broader geopolitical questions regarding alliances, threats and visions about the future of the region.
15.09.2014 | Monday
Authors Rahmato and Kidanu (1999) use the phrase “We live only for today” to describe a feeling whereby a person gives up on life and does not know or does not want to think about what will happen the next day. This phrase describes a state wherein people live day-to-day without hope for the future. This sense of helplessness or hopelessness with regard to the future is known as fatalism.
29.09.2014 | Monday
Optimism abounds with regards to the recently signed Georgia-European Union Association Agreement (AA). Most Georgians, however, lack information about the EU and its relation to the country, including the details of the agreement which directly concern the future of Georgia’s economy. The AA covers many areas including national security, migration, human rights and the rule of law but is primarily a free trade agreement with potentially major implications for employment.
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.
28.03.2016 | Monday
While territorial integrity was named by the majority of the population as the most important issue facing Georgia in late 2008 and 2009, in the aftermath of the 2008 war with Russia, the focus has since shifted to economic issues and, first of all, unemployment.
20.10.2014 | Monday On September 3rd 2013 Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan surprised many observers, including some in his own government, when he announced that Armenia would sign an agreement with Russia to join the Eurasian Customs Union (ECU) and spurn a long-negotiated Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union. The move has been dubbed a “U-Turn” as well as a “sudden shift in policy,” although it was predated by landmark Armenian-Russian agreements in 1997 and 2006.
03.11.2014 | Monday
The recent history of the South Caucasus as seen by the world’s media – Part 1, Armenia and Azerbaijan
History has been a qualitative discipline and has often been considered part of the humanities, well, historically, but the emergence of big data is likely to extend the use of quantitative methods in historical research in the long run. Big data projects have aimed at everything from finding out where to pick fruit in your city to mapping the prevalence of AIDS in the United States, but a recent project, Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT) has compiled a massive database of print media coverage in over 100 languages including Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian. Originally created by Kalev Leetaru and Philip Schrodt at Georgetown University, the GDELT database contains about a quarter of a billion uniquely coded units starting from 1979.
27.11.2014 | Thursday
The CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey results demonstrate that Georgians exhibit relatively high levels of interpersonal and institutional trust when compared to their Armenian neighbors. Trust is an important component of “social capital,” which is widely perceived to be a necessary condition for a thriving entrepreneurial class and small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
04.12.2014 | Thursday
As discussed in the first blog post of this series, the results of the CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey show that Georgians demonstrate higher levels of interpersonal and institutional trust than Armenians. These types of trust are important indicators of social capital, which is often taken as a necessary condition for the presence of a robust, productive entrepreneurial class and small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
09.11.2015 | Monday
After the collapse of the Georgian economy in the 1990s, the country slowly started to recover, and between 2000 and 2014, the gross national income grew from $3.4 billion to $16.7 billion (in current USD). According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the official unemployment rate in Georgia was 12.4% in 2014, but according to numerous surveys the rate is much higher.
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?
06.02.2012 | Monday
As the New York Times reports, on January 23, 2012 the French Senate “approved a bill […] criminalizing the denial of officially recognized genocides, including the Armenian genocide begun in 1915.” The bill has fanned tensions between Turkey and France, emphasizing the complexities of politics and perceptions.
18.02.2012 | Saturday
David Gale, who had served as Political Officer at the British Embassy since 2007, recently wrote down some of his thoughts upon leaving Georgia, after covering a turbulent time. It was refreshing to read a direct and evenhanded take on a number of issues, from a diplomat who has been following events very closely.
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.
02.03.2012 | Friday
For the last few months, CRRC Armenia has been doing a survey for the European Training Foundation (ETF).
This is a major undertaking, with 4.000 respondents, and a specialized sampling procedure (basic details here).
14.03.2012 | Wednesday
Why hasn’t the economic crisis in Europe deterred Georgia’s desire to join the European Union? The majority of Georgians (and the Georgian government) want to join the EU despite crisis in the Eurozone. Yet, the continued crisis, including the Eurogroup’s recent (and second) rescue of Greece’s economy and Hungary’s harsh austerity measures, illustrates that the crisis is not isolated to the Eurozone.
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).
24.03.2011 | Thursday By Ben Bronstein
On March 15th 2011, the ‘Yerkir’ Union and the Caucasus Institute held an international conference on Building Awareness of Turkish Society Regarding the Armenian Genocide. Speakers included Armenian experts as well as Cengiz Aktar and Ali Bayramoğlu, two Turkish experts who initiated the ‘I Apologize’ campaign in Turkey. The ‘I Apologize’ campaign was launched in 2008 by a group of Turkish intellectuals, allowing Turks the opportunity to personally apologize for the Armenian Genocide by signing an online petition. At present, approximately 70,000 people have signed the petition.
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?
13.04.2011 | Wednesday
Scholar Katy Pearce recently published an article on Epress News (http://www.epress.am/) revealing some interesting points about internet penetration in Armenia. Using information from CRRC's 2010 Caucasus Barometer, Pearce writes that internet penetration tripled from 2009 to 2010 within Armenia. According to Pearce, the most likely reason for this is increased access to mobile internet.
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.
07.06.2011 | Tuesday
The South Caucasus Social Protection and Social Inclusion regional conference was held in Tbilisi, Georgia on May 19th and 20th. Both the CRRC-Armenia and CRRC-Azerbaijan offices presented country reports on these issues.
23.06.2011 | Thursday
TESEV’s Foreign Policy Programme recently published a report entitled ‘Foreign Policy Perceptions in Turkey’, which analyses Turkish attitudes towards international relations with several countries, including Armenia. The main finding of their survey regarding attitudes towards Armenia is that Turks are more supportive of undergoing various kinds of rapprochement with Armenia than they are of fully re-establishing diplomatic relations and opening the border.
28.07.2011 | Thursday
This past summer, Freedom House launched the 14th edition of its Nations in Transit (NIT) report. The publication comprehensively monitors democratic developments in 29 countries from Central Europe to Eurasia, amongst them Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. CRRC is represented in the report with data from the 2010 Corruption Survey in Armenia.
01.08.2011 | Monday
Material deprivation is a non-monetary measure of poverty which measures ownership of durable goods considered valuable by a society for a good standard of living. The CRRC’s 2010 Caucasus Barometer provides a limited assessment of material deprivation by measuring household ownership of nine durable goods in South Caucasian homes: TVs, DVD players, washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners, cars, landline telephones, cell phones, and computers.
29.06.2012 | Friday In 2011 CRRC conducted a survey on Volunteering and Civic Participation in Georgia. A part of this survey aimed at exploring relationships between neighbours. The results indicate that the relationships between neighbours in Georgia can be a promising starting point for building social capital and achieving improved housing conditions through collaboration.
29.09.2011 | Thursday
In a recent datablog, the Guardian published a map visualizing how the former Soviet countries are doing 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. The map compares the 15 former Soviet countries in terms of economic development, demographics and democratic transition. It also divides the countries into five regions: Russia, the Baltic countries, the EU borderlands, Central Asia and the South Caucasus.
07.10.2011 | Friday
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the “Iron Curtain” opened new prospects for migration for people in the South Caucasus. Comparing data from all three countries in the region shows a tendency that Armenians have a greater interest in both temporary and permanent emigration than Azerbaijanis and Georgians. The blog covers different aspects which may influence the emigration. These are: number of trips abroad, education level, unemployment, average monthly income, family members and close friends currently residing abroad.
07.10.2011 | Friday
Using data from the Caucasus Barometer, Ken Roberts and Gary Pollock argue that ...
13.10.2011 | Thursday
During the 20th anniversary of Armenian independence from the Soviet Union on September 21, 2011, the Armenian news service Hetq reported that the organizers of celebratory events were delivering commemorative T-shirts made in Turkey – which has had closed borders with Armenia since 1993. Despite the fact that trade between Armenia and Turkey flourishes via Georgia, the border between the two countries remains closed. What does the population of Armenia actually think about opening the border with Turkey?
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.
08.10.2011 | Saturday
The Mobilizing Action Against Corruption (MAAC) effort in Armenia, led by Casals, has come to an end. We undertook four surveys for this USAID project, three household surveys and one business survey. Unfortunately it proved impossible to do a survey among civil servants. The surveys showed that Armenia made practically no progress against corruption, over the three years.
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.
26.12.2011 | Monday
Survey data shows that there is a strong preference for male children over female children throughout the South Caucasus. As mentioned in the March 4, 2010 edition of The Economist, after 1991 there has been an increase in the ratio of boys to girls in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The sex ratio rose from 103-106 boys to 100 girls in 1991 to 115-120 boys to 100 girls by 2000. The 2010 Caucasus Barometer (CB) indicates that gender preferences in the South Caucasus remain skewed in favor of males with 54% of Armenians, 27% of Azerbaijanis and 46% of Georgians prefer to have male children if given a choice.
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.
25.01.2010 | Monday
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?
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?
19.03.2010 | Friday
Earlier this month The Economist published two articles (article one, article two) on imbalances in gender. In all societies there is, at birth, a sex ratio slightly biased in favor of boys: 103-106 boys to 100 girls. The number evens out later on as male babies have a higher mortality rate than female babies. In some parts of the world, however, there currently is an abnormally high number of boys being born.
30.03.2010 | Tuesday
In 2007 we wrote a blog post on the Big Mac Index, an index published by The Economist as an informal way of measuring purchasing power parity (PPP). The idea is that a dollar should buy you the same amount in all countries, and as a Big Mac is assumed to be produced in the same way everywhere it can serve as a point of comparison. You can thus determine how far off the exchange rate is between countries, in terms of citizens’ ability to buy the same “basket” of goods and services (in this case a Big Mac hamburger).
19.04.2010 | Monday
Last month we wrote a blog post on gender imbalance in the South Caucasus showing that there is an abnormal high number of boys being born in the region. Several comments were posted on the blog site that brought attention to abortion rates in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
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.
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?
10.09.2010 | Friday
While writing his PhD, Aleksey Hovakimyan was a regular user of CRRC-Armenia, often working in the computer lab or the library. We therefore were delighted to hear that his PhD thesis has now been published, and wanted to support him in spreading the word of his book's release.
05.10.2010 | Tuesday
The recently updated database of the World Governance Indicators (WGI) shows an improvement in Armenia’s ranking in political stability, fight against corruption, government effectiveness and regulatory quality. A project of World Bank and Brookings Institution, WGI provides governance ranking of over 200 countries since 1996 on six indicators: Voice of Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption.
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.
11.10.2010 | Monday
With ever-increasing globalized societies, ethnically homogeneous states are fewer and fewer. Increased mobility has resulted in freer movement for migration and travel, and advances in technology have made constant communication easy across the globe. No doubt, these developments have made friendships between different nationalities more common, and even taken for granted in many places. Yet traditional values persist, and by examining attitudes towards this phenomenon, we can gain an understanding of a country’s social dynamics as well as predicting potential conflicts.
15.10.2010 | Friday
While attitudes toward interethnic friendship can give an idea of how people feel about others in their personal lives, the Caucasus Barometer survey probes further into core beliefs by asking about attitudes toward interethnic marriage. In analyzing their replies, we gain an insight into how different ethnicities come into play in the context of marriage and the formation of a family.
26.10.2010 | Tuesday
Saferworld has released a report this month titled Life on the boundary line: the future of security in Shida Kartli. The report is based on the qualitative and quantitative research conducted by CRRC, and aims to assess the security needs of the communities living along the administrative boundary line (ABL) between Shida Kartli and South Ossetia/the Tskhinvali region in Georgia.
29.10.2010 | Friday
On October 26 Transparency International released the results of the 2010 Corruption Perception Index (CPI). The CPI is a measure of domestic, public sector corruption in 178 countries, rating them on a scale from 10 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt). Nearly three quarters of the countries in the index score below five and the South Caucasus countries are no exceptions.
05.11.2010 | Friday
CRRC hosted a presentation on October 27 by Onnik Krikorian, a British journalist of part-Armenian descent and the Caucasus editor for Global Voices, entitled “Overcoming Negative Stereotypes in the Caucasus: New and Social Media in cross-border communication and conflict reporting.”
14.11.2010 | Sunday
Written by Arpine Porsughyan. Re-posted from the Caucasian Knot.
Many academics argue that the influence of the media is especially strong in environments where citizens depend on a limited number of news sources. In contrast, when citizens have alternative sources of information they are less subject to the potential effects of media.
10.12.2010 | Friday
According to Transparency International’s recently released 2010 Barometer, rates of corruption in the world are rising. Six out of ten respondents say that corruption has gotten worse over the past three years, and most alarmingly, rates of bribe-paying to the police have nearly doubled since 2006.
17.12.2010 | Friday
Our 300th post is by Ani Navasardyan, from the Civilitas Foundation in Armenia, who was working with our Georgian and Regional office for a month.
11.01.2008 | Friday
Many social researchers working on the Caucasus bemoan the lack of good scholarly works on the region. However, one recent book, which is both excellent and readable, seems to have fallen under people's radars -- Mathijs Pelkmans' Defending the Border: Identity, Religion, and Modernity in the Republic of Georgia, which came out in 2006 with Cornell University Press.
21.01.2008 | Monday
According to CRRC's 2007 Data Initiative 2007 (visit www.crrccenters.org), around 3% of the population have Internet access at home in Georgia; nevertheless, we were curious to know how fast these people’s Internet speed is across the Caucasus.
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.
22.02.2008 | Friday
Many of our readers know of both our quibbles with indexes, but also our steadfastness when it comes to posting about them. The Bertelsmann Foundation released its trademark index, the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) (PDF), which according to its producers, is "the global ranking of the quality of democracy, the market economy and political leadership in 125 developing and transformation countries."
27.02.2008 | Wednesday
Readers here may not be aware that actually our Armenian CRRC also runs its own blog, to announce and describe CRRC's events. One of the most recent events was a lecture by the IMF Resident Representative in Armenia, Dr. Nienke Oomes.
03.03.2008 | Monday
Book Review | The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict and Nationhood in the Caucasus | Christoph Zürcher
The earliest books that came out about the Caucasus after the collapse of the Soviet Union were firsthand accounts of events. Now, a second spate of books, which attempt to apply analytical frameworks to the turbulent events that occurred have the breakup of the Soviet Union are beginning to appear.
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.
11.04.2008 | Friday
A previous blog entry on Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Meta-Index, as you may recall, presented Georgia’s performance. For those who do not know, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) uses data from the research of various organizations such as the IFC, the World Bank Institute, UNESCO, Freedom House and others. Millennium Challenge Corporation recently released an assessment through its annual scorecard, which has three main policy categories: Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Economic Freedom.
15.04.2008 | Tuesday
A slightly specialized topic: what's the cost of tourism? Often suggested as a way of developing parts of the South Caucasus, especially Georgia, quickly, it's interesting to take a quick look, since in tourism many factors interact: business, environment, architecture, urban planning, societal habits, local versus national government, local and foreign expectations, and the challenge of reconciling all of those.
03.05.2008 | Saturday
06.05.2008 | Tuesday
Sometimes it's worth clicking on those Gmail links. "Ask 500" is a website in beta, the web version of a straw poll. Polling? Surveys? Obviously I wanted to know more. To say it up front: it's about as unrepresentative as you can get, since it assembles those that suffer from terminal curiosity.
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.
21.05.2008 | Wednesday
One way of tracking how organised migrants abroad are is simple -- just check the web. During a less exciting conference presentation, we browsed how the people from the Caucasus represent themselves -- checking Germany and Switzerland, since these are less likely to offer a plethora of sites. As you might have guessed, Armenia stands out with the most organised webpresence. Let's look at what they are up to.
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.
06.06.2008 | Friday
At first glance it may seem that trade between the Georgian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti and the neighboring Armenian region of Shirak should provide a natural basis for development in both regions. However, the main border crossing point in Samtskhe Javakheti is under-utilized and trade is not creating stimulation for growth in either region.
12.06.2008 | Thursday
Yet another survey has been sent around as a PDF in Georgia. The survey attempted to measure the postelection mood in Tbilisi. According to the information provided in the PDF, 503 respondents have been selected randomly and interviewed by telephone. According to the results 46.92% of respondents say they "fully disagree with the announced results of the 2008 parliamentary elections". 25,65% say they totally agree with the announced results. We have been asked to comment, and some of the things we have to say will sound pretty obvious.
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!
03.07.2008 | Thursday
What is the average Armenian secondary school student’s competence in Maths and Science? Is Armenia doing fine, or is it time for the education policy makers to review the secondary school curricula. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) proposes an answer to these questions. TIMSS is an international evaluation of the mathematics and science knowledge of fourth and eighth grade students around the world.
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.
14.07.2008 | Monday
Difficulties with socio-economic integration – unemployment and a feeling of being “a society within a society,” are some of the examples from the list of problems Diaspora Armenians face when immigrating to Armenia. CRRC-Armenia fellow, Anahit Mkrtchyan, researched why these issues are problematic for the Diaspora Armenians and made policy recommendations.
18.07.2008 | Friday
For those who have been far from Armenia or who have not actively followed the plethora of developments that have occurred in the country for the past six months, the report encompassing a nearly full picture of the current situation in Armenia has finally become available. “Armenia’s 2008 Presidential Election: Select Issue an Analysis” is a report recently released by Policy Forum Armenia (PFA), a newly founded association
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.
05.09.2008 | Friday
Georgian IPResearch (first time we heard of them, actually) conducted a phone poll between Aug.25 and Sept.2. 450 respondents were questioned countrywide. While we have our strong reservations about these telephone polls (they are biased towards people with phones, picking up calls from strangers, and bored enough to chat), they may serve as a preliminary indication.
12.09.2008 | Friday
Results of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2009 project, claims to present "objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 181 economies and selected cities at the sub-national and regional level", were made public today.
12.09.2008 | Friday
Over the past year questionable lending practices by major banks and lack of consumer education about credit risk in the United States among “sub-prime” borrowers caused a credit crunch that in turn erupted into a major financial crisis that threatens to lead to a recession and an international economic downturn.
01.10.2008 | Wednesday
Gender issues in Armenia are currently under-evaluated and are interpreted predominantly as women's issues. Most of the recommendations drawn from different research suggest special policies to support and reinforce women's integration into traditionally male-dominated areas.
02.10.2008 | Thursday
In Georgia, attention now turns towards sorting out the impact of the short August conflict. How plausible is the reporting we are seeing? Do the journalists get it right?
18.12.2007 | Tuesday With the election in Georgia approaching fast, polls are beginning to appear every week. Unfortunately, many of these polls are taken at face value. The reality is that at this point there is not a single pre-election poll that has demonstrated credibility. This does not ...
03.10.2008 | Friday
The IMF has recently published its analysis of the developments in non-oil tax policy, administration and revenues in Azerbaijan. Non-oil tax policy could be an important tool in stimulating the development of non-oil sectors of the country’s economy.
07.10.2008 | Tuesday
So what plagues local business? In many cases it's the same problem we have in politics as well: there simply is the wrong paradigm. It is self-centered, rather than being other-centered. Or, if that sounds too much like marriage counseling, let's put it this way: too many sellers try to solve their own problems, rather than those of other people. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not how you can succeed in a market. After all, who likes to spend their money on other people's problems? Charity is not a business model, at least not in retail.
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.
11.12.2007 | Tuesday The World Resources Institute, a global environmental think tank based in Washington DC, is providing maps that allow a visual comparison of data for the countries in the South Caucasus. Called "Funnel the Money", it seeks to chart development within countries, and also track allocation of resources from the central government by providing regional comparisons.
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
23.10.2008 | Thursday
So here's something that we are a little puzzled about. The Economist is undertaking a poll to see which American Presidential candidate is favored by the world. In a very blue worldwide map, rooting for Obama, two noticeable yellowish spots, Macedonia and Georgia. McCain, of course, is popular in Georgia for having said "Today we all are Georgians" during the recent conflict.
31.10.2008 | Friday
Public schools in Yerevan face serious problems of restructuring. Most of the schools have not been renovated since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Does economic well-being affect the level of social capital in the neighborhood? Are the neighborhoods with higher social capital more likely to be willing to participate in school renovations?
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".
19.12.2008 | Friday
TIMSS, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, has released their report for 2007. TIMSS is conducted every four years and it reports on mathematics and science education for 4th and 8th graders in 59 countries. In 2007 Georgia participated for the first time in the study. Armenia participated again in 2007 (you can read our previous blog posting about Armenia in TIMSS 2003 here).
02.11.2006 | Thursday
Nani Chkhaidze compared the 1990s election programs of parties that won the elections in the South Caucasus.
23.11.2006 | Thursday
The Economist observes that, being caught in complex cross-tensions, it would help if the three countries of the South Caucasus cooperated on some minimally shared interests.
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%.
05.12.2006 | Tuesday A special issue of the Armenian Journal of Public Policy (published by AIPRG, with CRRC's Heghine Manasyan as one of the Editors) is devoted to Financial Sector Development. All the papers are engaging for non-specialists.
05.12.2006 | Tuesday
According to a 1999 Reproductive Health Survey, Georgia has the highest abortion rates in the former Soviet Union (possibly in the world, though I haven't checked). In Georgia there are 3.7 abortions per woman (per life).
07.12.2006 | Thursday
Foreign students officially registered in Germany, 2004
08.12.2006 | Friday
Earlier this morning some observations that in themselves can almost serve as indicators:
27.11.2007 | Tuesday
In May 2007, the World Bank released a two volume report on Armenia's labor dynamics (click here for the overview page). Unfortunately, most of the report is based almost wholly on Armenian National Statistical Service (NSS) data from 2003 and 2004. Given the problems with Armenian statistical data and the fact that the statistics may already slightly outdated, the results should be read critically.
15.12.2006 | Friday
In the South Caucasus, the question of investment from Diaspora communities has become increasingly important. With the largest and most well developed Diaspora network, the dynamics of Diaspora investment in Armenia is of special importance.
18.12.2006 | Monday
22.12.2006 | Friday
Diana Ter-Stepanyan evaluated the effectiveness of the civic education training program implemented in Armenian high schools (upper grades of secondary schools). She conducted a quantitative (questionnaire based) survey among 494tenth grade schoolchildren from all of Armenia’s regions to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of “Human Rights,” “Civil Society” and “State and Law” courses offered since 2001 in the scope of the civic education program in the schools.
27.08.2007 | Monday
Two years ago, Tigran Sargsyan, the Chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia, wrote a brief paper looking at various facets of the economies of the countries of the South Caucasus from four different vantage points including an evaluation of compliance with the Maastricht Treaty, the relationship between each country’s economic processes and the creation of human capital, macroeconomic effectiveness, and the actual sustainability of development.
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.
20.08.2007 | Monday Economic free zones in Georgia are no longer a necessary, helpful, or even relevant option for Georgia’s economic development according to a GFSIS article written by Vladimer Papava. A free economic zone is a discreet area of a country’s economy designated by the government and bestowed with certain benefits and privileges.
16.01.2017 | Monday Intense public debate usually accompanies the publication of survey findings in Georgia, especially when the findings are about politics. The discussions are often extremely critical or even call for the rejection of the results. Normally criticism of surveys would focus on the shortcomings of the research process and help guide researchers towards better practices to make surveys a better tool to understand society. In Georgia most of the current criticism of surveys is, unfortunately, counterproductive and mainly driven by an unwillingness to accept the findings, because the critics do not like them.
08.05.2017 | Monday In Georgia, where, according to the World Bank, a third of the population live on under USD 2.5 per day, poverty and unemployment are consistently considered the most important issues facing the country. For those who are struggling financially, borrowing is a widespread coping mechanism. While access to credit can have benefits, debt can also have psychological costs, such as increased stress and anxiety. CRRC’s 2015 Caucasus Barometer (CB) data show interesting patterns about having personal debts in Georgia. The first part of this blog post focuses on the characteristics of those who report having personal debts in Georgia, while the second part looks at the money lending patterns, as well as reported well-being of people who are owed money or who borrow it
15.05.2017 | Monday The first part of this blog post showed that people who report being in a worse economic situation are more likely to have debts in Georgia. In the second part of this blog post, a new variable is added to the analysis, “Does anyone owe you any money?”
09.10.2017 | Monday In general people are primarily interested in their own lives, rather than in social or political events. In other words, social and political events will, most probably, be overshadowed by events in one’s personal life. CRRC’s 2015 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey data provides more detailed insights on this. In this blog post, we compare answers to two CB questions: “When you get together with your close relatives and friends, how often do you discuss each other’s private problems?” and “When you get together with your friends and close relatives, how often do you discuss politics / current affairs?” in Armenia and Georgia.
06.11.2017 | Monday
Taking partly free voters seriously: autocratic response to voter preferences in Armenia and GeorgiaDo voters in less than democratic contexts matter or are elections simply facades used to create a veneer of democratic accountability for domestic and international actors? Within the Autocratic Response to Voter Preferences in Armenia and Georgia project, funded by Academic Swiss Caucasus Net, CRRC-Georgia and CRRC-Armenia aimed to help answer this question, at least for Georgia and Armenia. On October 27, Caucasus Survey published the results of the project in a special issue, available here.
05.12.2017 | Tuesday On 15 November, the Ministry of Culture announced it would give ‘Georgian tolerance’ the status of intangible cultural heritage. Historically, Georgia may have exhibited relatively high levels of tolerance, with many pointing to the reign of King David the Builder in the 12th century. David is celebrated for presiding over the start of the country’s golden age, and many point to his encouragement of other ethnicities settling in Georgia as a good example of Georgian tolerance.