Back Tuesday | 05 April, 2011
Presentation Summary | Georgian-Abkhaz ‘Dialogue through Research’
On March, 30 2011 Archil Gegeshidze and Ivlian Haindrava presented findings on the politics of non-recognition as well as results from a forthcoming study on the de-isolation of Abkhazia. Abkhaz and Georgian researchers compiled their findings after conducting interviews and focus groups analyzing the perceptions of each side. The results revealed some interestingly ambivalent attitudes amongst respondents: Abkhazians expressed reluctant feelings towards the West through a rejection of democratic values. At the same time, there was a fear of being absorbed by Russia.
Both scholars concluded that the current Georgian ‘Law on the Occupied Territories’ is a counterproductive policy approach towards the breakaway regions – even in light of Georgian national interests. The current situation carries a danger of further alienation that might cross the threshold of non-reconciliation. Georgia, however, faces a serious trade-off in tailoring its strategy adequately; while the necessity to engage with Abkhazia eventually is acknowledged, engagement would somewhat dilute the ultimate goal of reintegration. Hence, both scholars emphasized the mediating role of the European Union. The EU, while being engaged in the process, follows no clear strategy yet. In contrast, the US has a strategy but refrains from engagement. Such sluggish policies by the West are further alienating Abkhazia and leave the breakaway province with no alternative to closer cooperation with Russia. The possibility of rapprochement is thereby increasingly jeopardized.
Conflict mitigation is the path to take instead of conflict resolution. This means providing the conditions for the de-isolation of Abkhazia and stimulating political debate in the breakaway province. Working successfully with Abkhazia could provide an opportunity for the EU to exemplify its protection of minorities. However, for now Abkhazia is left with few options other than further cooperating with Russia all while fearing its loss of sovereignty, self-preservation and distinctiveness.
07.09.2015 | Monday
On July 18, 2015 thousands of Georgians gathered in Tbilisi protesting Russia’s “creeping occupation” as South Ossetia based Russian troops continue to draw the border along the Administrative Border Line between Georgia and the occupied territory of South Ossetia. The unresolved territorial conflicts over South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Nagorno-Karabakh are major sources of instability in the South Caucasus.
25.05.2015 | Monday
Although from 2011 to 2014 there was a slight increase in the perception that in Georgia everyone is equal before the law, almost half of the population still does not expect the courts will treat the rich and the poor equally.
01.05.2015 | Friday
While Georgia’s closer ties with the EU represent the views and beliefs of a large majority of Georgian citizens, support for the Euro-Atlantic path is notably weaker among the country’s ethnic minority citizens than among the ethnic Georgian population.
09.03.2015 | Monday
Public opinion polls consistently show that the majority of Georgians want to be a part of the European Union. Young people in Georgia are especially pro-Western, often claiming to share the same values as their peers in the West.
23.02.2015 | Monday
Unified Entry Examinations scores portray a larger problem with the education system in Georgia – regional inequality of access to quality education. Applicants coming from regions and especially ethnic minority applicants are less likely to score high on exams even though they provide everyone with an equal chance.
08.10.2012 | Monday The results of the October parliamentary elections in Georgia have raised questions regarding the future trajectory of Georgian foreign policy. One of the priorities of Georgian foreign policy has been European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Will the new Georgian government initiate major changes and redirect Georgia’s foreign policy that has been supported by the National United Movement? Will Ge...
24.04.2016 | Sunday Over time, the Georgian population thinks that citizens of the EU as well as the EU governments are less inclined towards integrating Georgia into the Union. More clarity and realism concerning Georgia’s potential for EU membership certainly could help to avoid a slow backslide towards less EU support for strong relations between Georgia and the EU in the years to come. The public should be aware that EU membership is a long-term prospect at best rather than an immediate future.
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.
10.03.2014 | Monday
On December 30, 2013 Davit Usupashivili, Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, declared that Georgia’s top priority for the year was the signing of an Association Agreement with the EU. If signed, the association agreement will enable closer ties between Georgia and the EU.
25.01.2016 | Monday
The visa liberalisation agreement between Georgia and the EU is expected to enter in force in Summer 2016, allowing Georgian citizens holding biometric passports to enter and stay in Schengen area countries without a visa for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.
14.07.2014 | Monday
When is a war not a war? While it may seem commonsensical that a country cannot simultaneously be at war and at peace, the prevalence of several ‘frozen conflicts’ in the post-Soviet space defies simple categorization. If we take the conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia or South Ossetia as an example, a quick internet search shows that there was a five-day war in 2008 that ended on the 12th of August with a preliminary ceasefire agreement.
18.07.2014 | Friday
Today's blog post is published in collaboration with civil.ge. One may also read the post on civil.ge here.
On June 27, 2014 Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine signed EU Association Agreements. In Georgia, the signing has been celebrated as a step towards Euro-Atlantic integration, and a number of events were held in Tbilisi to celebrate the signing. The Association Agreement (AA) itself is wide ranging with some portions pertaining to human rights and the main focus on economic cooperation between the EU and Georgia.
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.
18.08.2014 | Monday
So far, 2014 is shaping up to be the year that Georgia might begin to reap the benefits of its pro-EU and pro-NATO foreign policy. In June, Georgia signed the EU Association Agreement despite fears over Russian agitation. NATO has indicated its readiness to discuss a “substantive package” for Georgia, if not a Membership Action Plan. However, despite these gestures towards closer cooperation, some elements of the decision to sign the Agreement have caused friction.
01.09.2014 | Monday
Since independence, Georgia has been on what has often looked like a quixotic quest towards joining the EU. Multiple wars, a resurgent Russia, breakaway territories and a consistently difficult economic situation which has gone through hyper-inflation and has had consistently high unemployment and underemployment over the last 25 years must, at the minimum, make prospects for EU integration seem distant at best to many in Brussels.
08.09.2014 | Monday
On September 1, 2014 new rules and regulations came into force for foreigners interested in visiting Georgia. Under the previous visa regime, citizens of 118 countries could stay in Georgia without a visa. Many with visa free travel privileges could receive a visa stamp at the airport that would be valid for 360 days, and simply renew their visa by crossing an international border and returning to Georgia.
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.
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.
25.11.2015 | Wednesday
The Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia 2015 survey report was presented today by Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF) in Tbilisi.
27.11.2015 | Friday
The June 27, 2014 initialing of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, a wide reaching, largely economic treaty, was marked with celebration in Tbilisi as the fruit of a long running diplomatic effort to tighten ties with the European Union over the course of three Georgian administrations.
29.11.2015 | Sunday
If a referendum were held tomorrow, a majority of the Georgian population (61%) would vote for the country’s membership in the European Union, according to the fourth wave of the Knowledge and Attitudes towards the EU survey carried out by CRRC-Georgia for the Eurasia Partnership Foundation in May of 2015. But anyone familiar with the situation in Georgia and the politics of EU enlargement understands that EU membership is, at best, a long term prospect for Georgia.
16.12.2015 | Wednesday [This post originally appeared in investor.ge]
By Nino Zubashvili
By Nino Zubashvili
Following the June 13, 2015 flood in Tbilisi, hundreds of volunteers helped to clean the disaster-affected zones of the city, which stirred the hope that volunteerism is on the rise in Georgia. In the past, studies on volunteering in Georgia conducted by non-governmental organizations (such as Helping Hand and the Civil Society Institute) claimed that volunteerism had not taken root in Georgian society, and CRRC-Georgia surveys have consistently shown a mismatch between attitudes and actions regarding volunteering in Georgia.
22.12.2015 | Tuesday
By Dustin Gilbreath
[Editor's Note: This post was originally published on the Washington Post's Monkey Cage on Monday, December 21, 2015. The original post is available here. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC-Georgia or any of the sponsors of the survey which this article is based on. The data on which this article is based is available here.]
By Dustin Gilbreath
Last Friday, after years of diplomatic wrangling over the course of two administrations, the Republic of Georgia received a report from the EU green lighting visa free travel within the European Union in the near future. Yet, media accounts from earlier this year suggested that Georgia was undergoing a “Russian turn”.
18.01.2012 | Wednesday
On January 16, 2012 the Eurasia Partnership Foundation and CRRC presented a report entitled “Knowledge and Attitudes toward the European Union in Georgia” based on nationwide surveys conducted in Georgia by CRRC in 2009 and 2011. The 2009 survey was the first comprehensive study of Georgian attitudes towards the European Union. Koba Turmanidze, Country Director of CRRC-Georgia presented the report.
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.
24.02.2011 | Thursday
The internal workings of the European Union (EU) are notoriously yawnsome matters. However, in a survey from 2008, CRRC aimed to give an overview of Georgians’ understanding of and attitudes to the EU - including some hot topics concerning orientations towards such activities as sex before marriage, infidelity, dishonesty, and tax-paying.
17.03.2011 | Thursday
Under which conditions would IDPs be willing to return to Abkhazia? Should past injustices be addressed or left alone? What do IDPs consider the main reasons for the outbreak of the war in the early 1990s? The research project “IDPs in Georgia”, conducted by CRRC for Conciliation Resource (CR) with the financial support of the European Commission’s Instrument for Stability, provide insight to these questions and many more.
21.03.2011 | Monday
By Sonya Kleshik
One of the previous CRRC blogs discussed some results from CRRC’s recent survey called “IDPs in Georgia” which gauged the opinions and attitudes of IDPs displaced from Abkhazia during the 1992-1993 conflict towards return, conflict resolution and justice. CRRC’s annual survey, the Caucasus Barometer (2010) also included a series of questions on Georgia-Abkhazia relations asked to the non-IDP population of Georgia.
05.05.2011 | Thursday
In March, Conciliation Resources (C-R) has published a report on IDP attitudes to conflict, return and justice, which we have already highlighted in a previous blog-post. As you may recall, this report was based on a survey of IDPs which CRRC undertook for C-R in the summer of 2010.
21.06.2011 | Tuesday
A joint seminar on May 10th by Clingendael Institute and the Eurasian Partnership Foundation (EPF), and co-sponsored by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, debated the state of the rule of law and democracy in Georgia, and the possible application of a “Georgian model” in the wider region.
25.07.2011 | Monday
The Abkhaz and South Ossetian conflicts did not emerge in the 2008 August war. However, they escalated in the early 1990’s when both territories engaged in wars of secession and there are different approaches to the resolution of these conflicts. For the EU, these are regional issues with broad security implications.
29.08.2011 | Monday
CRRC has just completed a second wave of the survey entitled “Knowledge and Attitudes toward the European Union (EU) in Georgia” (2011). Just over half of the Georgian population thinks that Georgia will actually join the EU at some point in the future and they have high expectations from EU membership. Many Georgians also support membership in the European Union (EU) despite uncertainty over whether or not European citizens share the same views about Georgian accession. This new survey also lets us compare data with the first survey conducted in 2009.
12.09.2011 | Monday
A recent New York Times article argues that the failure of Western governments to recognize the latest presidential elections in Abkhazia on August 26, 2011 may hamper conflict resolution. According to the authors, Cooley and Mitchell, Western governments have a “counterproductive disdain” of developments in Abkhazia and isolating Sukhumi will reduce prospects for conflict resolution.
21.09.2011 | Wednesday
The Institute for Democracy and Saferworld recently published a report entitled “Isolation and Opportunity in Eastern Abkhazia. A Survey of Community Security” (2011). This blog focuses on four aspects from the report: most urgent problems facing communities in Eastern Abkhazia, perceptions of personal safety and the role of security actors, potential increased tension, and contact between ethnic groups.
18.01.2010 | Monday
What do Georgians think about Russia? What relationship would they like to have with their northern neighbor? And what do they think about the August conflict? Our data allows a nuanced answer to these questions: although Georgians have a very critical view of Russia’s role in the August conflict, they continue to desire a good political relationship with their northern neighbor, as long as this is not at the expense of close ties with the West.
01.05.2012 | Tuesday As Georgia seeks a course of European integration and eventual membership in the European Union (EU), it is important to examine the Georgian population’s understanding of its own identity. CRRC data from a 2011 survey entitled Knowledge and Attitudes toward the EU in Georgia shows that a majority of Georgians (88%) think Georgia should be in the EU.
30.05.2012 | Wednesday The presence of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within Georgia is testimony to its internal and cross-border conflicts. IDPs often face a life in limbo, unable to return to their homes and reliant on friends, family and the generosity of strangers to get by. To address this issue, and also in fulfillment of obligations to the Council of Europe, Georgia has developed policies on the integration and rehabilitation of IDPs.
07.12.2009 | Monday Georgia's government openly seeks greater cooperation and, eventually, convergence with the EU. The CRRC and the EPF have recently released the results of their "Attitudes Towards European Integration" survey, along with its summary report. The results show that Georgia's population seemingly strongly supports its government's drive toward Europe.
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.
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.
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.
20.08.2008 | Wednesday
On July 29, just before the tensions in around South Ossetia began to escalate, Alexander Rondeli gave a talk at the Tbilisi Summer Seminars, a weekly lecture series which we were organizing with GFSIS and American Councils. Alexander Rondeli runs the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (which he also set up), has the rank of an ambassador, works closely with the Georgian government, and teaches International Relations.
01.09.2008 | Monday
In the current situation, one issue facing Georgia is what to do with and for the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) that are now coming from South Ossetia and the Kodori Gorge, in Upper Abkhazia. A friend with significant experience in development work posted a candid analysis in an e-mail group. We thought that the analysis is worth sharing since this issue affects the region.
17.09.2008 | Wednesday
How do urban Russians view the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia? From September, 5th-8th, 2008 the Analytical Center of Yuri Levada conducted a survey in ten big cities of the Russian Federation, interviewing 1000 Russian respondents. We have translated the results into English here, as they are only available in the original Russian on the Levada website.
26.09.2008 | Friday
And here is an update on Russian views, made available by the Levada Center on the 22nd of September. As previously stated, this indicates that Russian public opinion generally supports the government's course.
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?
16.10.2008 | Thursday
The Russian community is the most institutionalized ethnic community in Azerbaijan, according to the research of Ilham Abbasov, a CRRC 2007 Fellow. This is due to the quite diverse nature of this community, some support from the kin state, and the demand for the social communication space among mostly urban Russian speaking actors.
12.12.2006 | Tuesday
Rusudan Velidze analyzed the living conditions of the Georgian population living in Gali, in Abkhazia. For those unfamiliar with the circumstances, these mostly are (Georgian) Megrelians, and the area is under control of the de facto Abkhaz authorities.
26.09.2007 | Wednesday The Urban Institute, with the help of IPM, just finished a summative survey of their "Georgia IDP Voucher Program," funded by the US State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. (N.B. a voucher is a promised subsidy towards the cost of purchasing a home).
16.10.2017 | Monday
Visa liberalization: How much do people in Georgia know about the conditions of visa-free travel to the EU?CRRC’s previous blog posts have shown that the population of Georgia had rather moderate expectations of the recent visa liberalization with the Schengen zone countries, especially when it comes to the question of how much ordinary people will benefit from it. Europe Foundation’s latest survey on Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia, conducted in May 2017, provides a more nuanced understanding on how people in Georgia feel about this process and to what extent they are familiar with the conditions of visa liberalization.
30.10.2017 | Monday As much as 81% of the population of Georgia doesn’t know what the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) does, according to the 2017 Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia survey funded by Europe Foundation and implemented by CRRC-Georgia. This lack of knowledge has increased over time, as has the prevalence of incorrect information about the EUMM’s mission. This represents a missed opportunity for the EU’s communications in Georgia.
13.11.2017 | Monday Georgian parliament recently adopted constitutional amendments. Among the many changes were those regulating the sale of agricultural land. According to the amendments, “Agricultural land, as a resource of special importance, can only be owned by the state, a self-governing entity, a citizen of Georgia, or a union of Georgian citizens.” While the constitution allows for exceptions, which should be regulated by a law yet to be written, it is expected that foreigners will not be allowed to buy agricultural land in Georgia as freely as Georgian citizens. This blog post looks at public opinion about foreigners owning land in Georgia.
08.01.2018 | Monday The introduction of visa free travel to the Schengen zone countries for Georgian citizens was one of the most prominent news stories in Georgia in 2017. It was also highly publicized and presented by the country’s government as a significant achievement on the way to European integration. Do people in Georgia agree with this assessment? And which groups of the population does the public think will actually benefit from the opportunity? CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey results shed some light on these questions.
05.02.2018 | Monday Studying abroad can offer students the opportunity to learn new languages, travel, experience different cultures, and form relationships in addition to studying. The Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union survey (EU Survey) implemented by CRRC-Georgia for Europe Foundation provides information about what share of the population in Georgia would like to go abroad to study, and the demographic characteristics of those who would like to.
09.04.2018 | Monday In the 2017 wave of CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey, 40% of the population of Georgia named Russia as the main enemy of the country. Turkey and the United States garnered the second highest share of responses with 3% each. Yet, no particular animosity towards ethnic Russians is observed in answers to a question about people’s (dis)approval of individuals of their ethnicity doing business with Russians. This blog post examines how answers differ by people’s opinions about whether or not Russia is the main enemy of Georgia.
16.04.2018 | Monday A lot changed in Georgia between 2011 and 2017, including the government. New promises and new regulations have been made and new priorities set by politicians. A visa free regime with the Schengen zone countries came into force. An ultranationalist ‘Georgian March’ was organized. A Georgian priest was charged with conspiracy to murder the Secretary of the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the most trusted institution in Georgia. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does raise questions about whether and how public opinion has changed against the backdrop of these and other events.