Back Tuesday | 21 August, 2007
Civil Society in Post-Soviet Armenia
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. He uses these two terms interchangeably but they refer to the ways individuals and groups relate to one another, organize into collectives, and pursue their political and social objectives.
Babajanian asserts that not enough attention or credit has been given to the significance of the role of civil society and that its function is too often contextualized by its relationship to the processes of democratization. Scholars have generally referred to two types of civil society (not necessarily mutually exclusive): the neo-liberal model, and the communal model. In the late 1980s and then in the post-Soviet context, the Western perspective (and especially Western donors with civil society-related programs) defined civil society as a neo-liberal concept associated with modernity, the creation of the nation state, and the people-led promotion of liberal political values. Conversely, others assert a second form of civil society existed throughout the Soviet period, a more inclusive and communal concept rooted in a vast history of traditional cooperation, mutual assistance and localized decision-making. Communal civil society consists of more informal methods of interaction, discourse and collective promotion.
According to Babajanian this communal form civil society better describes civil society in post-Soviet Armenia, which promotes both political and social objectives but is circumscribed by structural inhibitors like poverty and poor (and/or corrupt) governance. Thus the role of civil society is especially important given its role as an alternative mechanism in ensuring services that the state is either unwilling or incapable of providing.
Babajanian analyzed qualitative research conducted between 2001 and 2003 that utilized conversational and semi-structured interviews, focus groups and discussions with local government officials and informal leaders within the community. His analysis indicated that mutual assistance (small amounts of cash, labor assistance, psychological support, etc.) is an important resource, despite many individuals stating they knew that reciprocation wasn’t always possible given widespread poverty and pronounced social inequality. In rural areas shops sell goods for credit, and debtors often repay their debt only after they sell their crops, or receive remittances or social assistance. As a sign of solidarity communities will often pitch together and provide voluntary labor for communal infrastructure and environmental maintenance. This, too, is constrained by limited time and resources, so solutions are often only temporary.
This is why the actions of formal authorities on the local level are so essential, because of their potential to mobilize communities and lobby on their behalf to donor agencies, NGOs and the government. Local informal leaders (e.g. school directors) also act as social entrepreneurs when they leverage their personal networks and pursue informal channels to advocate for their communities. This leveraging ability is frequently based on pre-existing forms of patronage (which can also be problematic when bureaucrats and persons with influence are corrupt and take advantage of the lack of rule of law). Many of the study’s respondents expressed the belief that only those who have solid contacts, financial resources and high social status could succeed in private entrepreneurial activities, thus reinforcing a general feeling of helplessness.
In post-Soviet Armenia, local communities do regularly cooperate with one another and initiate solutions in an effort to manage local development. However these actions are frequently limited by pervasive poverty and the institutional legacies of the socialist system. Rural communities rely heavily on area leaders to help facilitate development but as a result this constrains the scope and capacity of citizens’ self-promotion and participation in decision-making processes. Babajanian strongly recommends that donor and development agencies better understand and acknowledge these extant forms of civic participation and tailor their programs correspondingly so as to maximize the effect of their assistance.
The citation for the paper is “Civic Participation in post-Soviet Armenia,” Central Asian Survey 24 No. 3 (September 2005), pp. 261-279.
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...
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.
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...
04.02.2014 | Tuesday
Following the world financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the global recession of 2008-2009, GDP growth slowed and unemployment increased in many countries. From a peak of 12.34% GDP growth in 2007, Georgia’s GDP contracted by 3.78% in 2009, leveling out to an average of 6.4% GDP growth over 2010 to 2012. Official unemployment in Georgia also worsened over that period, starting at 13.3% in 2007, peaking at 16.9% in 2009 and falling down to 15% by 2012.
04.03.2014 | Tuesday
With the recently concluded Olympics in Sochi and the controversies surrounding them, one might be interested in understanding how populations in the South Caucasus think about health and sport. What factors are related to perceptions of health in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia?
26.01.2015 | Monday The world population is getting older, and this trend will likely continue as a result of decreasing mortality and declining fertility. International organizations predict that the aging of the population will cause economic problems in countries that already have difficulties in providing proper welfare for the elderly. The countries of the South Caucasus are no exception in this regard.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
13.07.2012 | Friday The 2011 Caucasus Barometer asked the Georgian population, “Relative to most of the households around you, would you describe the current economic condition of your household as very good, good, fair, poor or very poor?
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.
29.09.2011 | 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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
29.01.2018 | Monday This week, 2017 Caucasus Barometer survey (CB) data will become publicly available on CRRC's online data analysis portal. CB is the longest running survey project in the South Caucasus region, with data available from 2008 to present. It enables the comparison of trends in the region over time. Caucasus Barometer 2017 was carried out in Armenia and Georgia in Fall 2017. To view the data for both countries or download the data sets, check our online data analysis platform from February 1.
12.02.2018 | Monday What are the factors that help one get a good job? The question is important around the world, and arguably even more important in countries with high reported unemployment, like Georgia and Armenia. While it would require an in-depth study of the labor market of a given country to find out what actually helps a person get a good job, what people think about this issue is also interesting. CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey asked the population of Armenia and Georgia which factors where important for getting a good job in their country.
26.02.2018 | Monday According to CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey, 46% of the population of Georgia report having personal debt. Although having debt is not necessarily a bad thing, since it can enable investment to help improve a person’s economic conditions, a close look at the CB 2017 data suggests that many people in Georgia take on debt to cover basic expenses.
30.04.2018 | Monday
During Sargsyan’s incumbency, dissatisfaction with government grew and support for protest increasedSerzh Sargsyan, formerly the President and then Prime Minister of Armenia, resigned from office on April 23rd, 2018, following 11 days of peaceful protest. Over the past 10 years, which coincide with Sargsyan’s time in office, Armenians were increasingly dissatisfied with their government. At the same time, the country witnessed growing civic engagement, with “youth-driven, social media-powered, issue-specific civic activism,” referred to as “civic initiatives”. CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data from 2008 to 2017 reflect both these trends.
07.05.2018 | Monday Scholarship points to a number of factors that contribute to an individual’s willingness to emigrate, either on a temporary or permanent basis. Political, economic, and social conditions are all important variables in the emigration equation. This blog post uses data from CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey to see whether or not people who express a willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia differ from others in terms of the reported belief that people shape their fate themselves. Those who believe so may be more inclined to consider actions such as temporary emigration.
16.05.2018 | Wednesday Five years ago, on May 17, 2013 a homophobic riot took place in Tbilisi in response to a small LGBTQ rights demonstration on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Thousands of protestors, including frocked priests, chased the demonstrators through the streets of Tbilisi as police struggled (some say facilely) to protect the demonstrators from violence. In the time since, LGBTQ rights have remained on the agenda in Georgia, with an anti-discrimination law passed in 2014, which gives some protection to LGBTQ people, and the first openly homosexual candidate running for office in the 2017 local elections. Despite this progress, homophobic and transphobic violence still occurs in the country (for example, see here, here, and here). Five years after the events of May 17, 2013, this article presents five findings from CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey about homophobia in Georgia.
04.06.2018 | Monday A previous CRRC blog post showed how people’s willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia varied according to their belief in whether everything in life is determined by fate or people shape their fate themselves. The blog post concluded that compared to people who are not interested in temporary emigration from these countries, those who are tended to believe slightly more often that people shape their fate themselves.
11.02.2019 | Monday Over the last decade, people in Georgia have reported rather low levels of trust toward NGOs. At the same time, when asked during surveys to assess specific aspects of NGO activities, the answers have usually been positive. This blog post is based on the findings of a survey on attitudes toward NGOs collected by CRRC-Georgia in fall, 2017 for the Georgian Civil Society Sustainability Initiative (CSSIGE). The first part of this blog post looks at the most up-to-date data on knowledge of NGOs in Georgia and reported levels of trust toward them. The second part explores the inconsistency between low trust toward NGOs in Georgia, on the one hand, and quite positive assessments of their activities, on the other hand.
18.02.2019 | Monday As discussed in the first part of this blog post, the results of CRRC-Georgia’s survey conducted for the Georgian Civil Society Sustainability Initiative (CSSIGE) project in fall 2017 confirmed that both knowledge about NGOs and trust toward them is quite low in Georgia. This blog post looks at the inconsistency between low trust toward NGOs, on the one hand, and quite positive assessments of their activities, on the other hand.