Expectations and the EU Association Agreement
People who said they had heard about the Association Agreement were asked what they thought the agreement could bring to Georgia. Survey respondents were asked to select one answer from a list provided on a show card. Looking at the results of this question by age group shows an interesting trend. Half of young people (18 to 35) stated that the agreement would result in political closeness and tight economic integration with the EU - the stated purpose of the agreement. In contrast, those aged 35 to 55 were more likely to report EU membership for Georgia as a result of the agreement. This outcome is not ruled out by the agreement, and in some instances, the agreement has served as a stepping stone on the path to EU membership. However, it is not an explicit or likely near-term result of the signing. Notably, a number of countries which are highly unlikely to want or be considered for EU membership have signed Association Agreements, including Algeria and Chile among other countries.
The graph below shows trust in the EU over time in Georgia. In 2008 trust in the EU was at 64%, followed by a slight decrease in trust which remained stable from 2009 to 2012. Interestingly, in 2013, a decrease in the level of trust occurred with trust responses dropping 16 percentage points, distrust increasing by seven, and neither trust nor distrust increasing by eight percentage points. Thus, a more ambivalent attitude towards the EU appears to have emerged in 2012 and 2013.
Note: Respondents were asked “Please tell me how much do you trust or distrust the European Union?” In the graph above, ‘fully trust’ and ‘somewhat trust’ are combined to form “Trust” and ‘somewhat distrust’ and ‘fully distrust’ are combined into “Distrust”.
This post has shown that awareness of the Association Agreement in Georgia is lower among ethnic minorities than ethnic Georgians in Georgia, likely due to lack of access to Georgian-language media and knowledge of Georgian. It has further discussed expectations among different age groups for the agreement, showing that young adults in Georgia expect closer ties from the agreement, while 36-55 year olds are more likely to believe that the agreement will lead to EU membership. Finally, the post looked at trust in the European Union over time. While distrust has not increased, ambivalence does seem to be spreading among Georgians, particularly in 2013. To further explore issues related to international organizations and the EU in Georgia, and the South Caucasus more generally, we recommend exploring our datasets here or using our Online Data Analysis Tool here. Readers may also be interested in the blog, Can’t get no satisfaction. Who doesn’t want to join the EU? published in March 2014 on the CRRC blog.
The Georgian public on journalists
Internet and social media usage in Georgia
Who trusts the police in Georgia?
Trust in institutions in the South Caucasus – generating a combined score
How does press freedom in Georgia compare to Eastern Europe?
Perceived (in)equality in the courts in Georgia - the poor in trouble
Ethnic minorities, Georgians, and foreign policy orientation
NGOs and the Georgian public's expectations
In the know about NGOs in Georgia
Georgian youth: EU aspirations, but lacking tolerance
Tracing regional inequalities in the Georgian education system (Part 1)
On courts and trust: Perceptions of the judiciary in Georgia
Trust and Distrust in Political institutions in AzerbaijanThis blog post is based on research on (dis)trust in political institutions in Azerbaijan. Internationally, levels of trust in political institutions often reflect how well these institutions perform in relation to citizens’ expectations.
Freedom of Press in the South CaucasusFreedom of press is one of the indicators of a free society (e.g., immunity of communications media from censorship or governmental control). Freedom House’s 2012 analysis of Freedom of Press found that only 14.5% of the world’s population live in countries with a free press, while 45% have a partly free press, a...
The Modalities of Azerbaijan's Islamic RevivalIslamic revival on the societal level has become a much-touted subject in Azerbaijan in recent years. Ongoing controversy over an informal state ban on hijabs in the country's public education institutions, along with a number of recent gove...
Trust and Agency in Azerbaijan: Personal Relationships versus Civic InstitutionsCivic engagement in the former Soviet Union has been - with some exceptions - quite low since the breakup of the USSR. Data from the 2012 Social Capital, Media and Gender Survey suggest that Azerbaijanis' trust and membership in civic groups and social organizations remain low, while efficacy in personal and local relationship...
Georgian Foreign Policy: Continuity or Change?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...
How the EU sees Georgia: The Georgian population's perceptionsOver 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.
Can’t get no satisfaction. Who doesn’t want to join the EU?
The Georgian public’s awareness of visa liberalisation with the EU: Facts and expectations
Trust in Institutions in the South Caucasus
Finding a good job in Georgia
Trust in local government in Georgia
Friends and Enemies in the South Caucasus
One step forward, two steps back? European integration in Georgia after the Association Agreement
A Tangled Path to Europe: A review of Bittersweet Europe
Is xenophobia on the rise in Georgia?
Georgians Have High Hopes but Little Information about the Association Agreement with the EU
Perceptions of Court System Fairness in the South CaucasusAnn Bennett Lockwood, an American attorney, politician and author once said that, “If nations could only depend upon fair and impartial judgments in a world court of law, they would abandon the senseless, savage practice of war”. For many, the credibility of a government is judged by the fairness of itsjudicial system. For instance, Michel Rosenfeld (2001) argued that a fair justice system creates respect and faith in government by saying that, “If a citizen implicitly or explicitly endorses a law or legal regime, the latter can be considered subjectively fair.”
Do Armenians Still View Integration with the EU as Part of a Positive-Sum Game?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.
The recent history of the South Caucasus as seen by the world’s media – Part 1, Armenia and Azerbaijan
The recent history of the South Caucasus as seen by the world’s media - Part 2, Georgia
Trends in the Data: Changes in the level of trust in social and political institutions in ArmeniaAccording to an earlier CRRC blog post, which looked at the changes in the level of trust in social and political institutions in Georgia from 2011 to 2015, trust in a fair number of institutions in Georgia declined. This post provides a comparable review of the situation in Armenia, using CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey data.
2015 EU survey report: Major trends and recommendations
Awareness of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement in Georgia, one year on
Public opinion on Georgia’s EU membership prospects in 2015
What We Know About Volunteering in Georgia[This post originally appeared in investor.ge]
By Nino Zubashvili
No, Putin is not winning Georgia away from Europe. Here are the facts.
By Dustin Gilbreath
EU Survey Report Released: Knowledge and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia
Georgia and the EU’s Economic Woes
Sex, Lies and EU Red Tape
Spreading the News: File Sharing through Mobile Phones in Armenia
Presentation Summary | Georgian-Abkhaz ‘Dialogue through Research’
Follow-Up Media Landscape SurveyBy Tamar Zurabishvili
Seminar Report: Perceptions about Georgia: Leading or Loosing the Struggle for Democracy
Caucasus Barometer: Unpacking Public Trust in the President
New and Old Media: Trends in AzerbaijanDespite some international criticism on media freedom, nationwide survey data shows that Azerbaijanis seem to be generally satisfied with certain forms of national mass media—although with a few exceptions. The overall picture that emerges from the 2011 Caucasus Barometer in Azerbaijan is that 44% of the population thinks TV journalists inform the population well, 32% are neutral, and 16% say TV journalists do not inform the population well (7% don’t know).
Rule of Law in Georgia - Opinions and Attitudes of the Population
Georgia's EU aspirations
The Level of Trust in Government Institutions in Georgia: The Dynamics of the Past Three Years
Levels of trust in the banks in Georgia: Changes over the past two years
Ethnic versus European Identity: The Case of GeorgiaAs 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.
More News & Numbers from CRRC
CRRC's Media-Monitoring Project: TV Coverage of the Election Campaigns
Georgian Media as Business | Data Snapshots
In terms of the business findings, CRRC's Media Survey (undertaken in September/October 2009) generated extensive data that is available to help media make good business decisions. One recent presentation, summarized here, focused on showing the diversity of data that is available.
The "Attitudes Towards European Integration" SurveyGeorgia'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.
The Media in Armenia and Azerbaijan: Effective or Affective?
Ambassador Dieter Boden Speaks at Europe House
Book Review | The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict and Nationhood in the Caucasus | Christoph Zürcher
The August Conflict | Economic Impact on Georgia?
Institutionalization of Ethnic Communities in Azerbaijan
Freedom House Report | Democracy in the Caucasus
Framing the South Ossetian conflict
Three months before the 2016 Parliamentary elections: Trust in the Central Election Commission and election observers in GeorgiaThe June 2016 CRRC/NDI Public attitudes in Georgia survey, conducted three months before the Parliamentary elections, provides interesting information about trust in the Central Election Commission (CEC) and election observers, both local and international.
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.
Georgian public increasingly unaware of what the European Union Monitoring Mission doesAs 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.
Who should own land in Georgia? How attitudes changed between 2015 and 2017Georgian 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.
Was the population informed about the constitutional reform in Georgia?After 10 months of discussions, the parliament of Georgia adopted amendments to the constitution of the country on September 29th and overrode the president’s veto on October 13th, 2017. The most widely discussed amendments are about rules for electing the president, self-governance principles, the definition of marriage, the sale of agricultural land to foreigners, the minimum age of judges and the country’s foreign policy orientation. Because of the importance of the amendments, one would expect a high level of awareness among the population. However, despite the public meetings held and media coverage of the issue, according to the CRRC/NDI survey from June 2017, a majority of the population of Georgia was not aware of the constitutional reform process.
Gender (in)equality on TVStereotypes are an inseparable part of every society, and present in many parts of everyday life. Georgian society is no exception in this regard. For example, some professions like teaching are stereotypically thought of as “women’s professions” while others like being a soldier are considered “men’s professions”. The media is considered one of the strongest means through which stereotypes are strengthened or broken. In Georgia, TV is the most important media, given that according to CRRC/NDI data, 73% of the population of the country name television as their primary source of the information. In order to understand the dynamics around gender-based stereotypes on TV, CRRC-Georgia monitored the main evening news releases and political talk shows broadcast during prime time (from 18:00 to 00:00) on five national and three regional channels from September 11 to November 12, 2017 (Channel One of the Public Broadcaster, Adjara, Rustavi 2, Imedi, Maestro, Trialeti, Gurjaani, Odishi) with the support of the UN Joint Program for Gender Equality with support from UNDP Georgia and the Swedish government.
Visa liberalization: Which groups in Georgia are expected to benefit most from it?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.
Who in Georgia wants to study abroad?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.
Partisanship and Trust in TV in GeorgiaOne of the outcomes of the stark polarization of news media sources globally is that people tend to align to the media outlets which resonate most with their ideological beliefs. In most cases, consumption of a particular ideological media source can only reinforce one’s beliefs, which might lead to an even further polarization of the audience. These patterns can be characteristic of mass media in contexts as different as, for instance, the United States and Lebanon. As the data from the December 2017 wave of CRRC/NDI survey shows, people in Georgia also appear to be selective in trusting media that aligns with their political beliefs as well.
People in Georgia approve of doing business with Russians, despite interstate hostilityIn 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.
Changes in public opinion between 2011 and 2017A 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.
Disinformation in the Georgian media: Different assessments for different media sourcesIn Georgia, supporters of the government and opposition often express contrasting opinions about the independence and reliability of specific news outlets. Based on the CRRC/NDI December, 2017 survey findings, this blog post looks at whether people think or not that the Georgian media spreads disinformation, which groups tend to think so, and how this opinion differs by type of media. “Disinformation” was defined in the questionnaire as “false information which is spread deliberately with the purpose to mislead and deceive people,” and the questions about it were asked separately about TV stations, online media, and print media.
The EU, USA or Russia: Who is believed to be able to support Georgia best?In recent years, Georgia has benefited from EU and US assistance, with around €400 million indicatively allocated for the EU’s projects in Georgia in 2017-2020, and the US government increasing assistance to Georgia in the 2018 Spending Bill. In contrast, Georgia’s relationships with Russia are tense, with diplomatic relations terminated in 2008.
Is Georgia’s Orthodox Christian population losing (trust in) their religion?Surveys conducted in Georgia have repeatedly shown that the Georgian Orthodox Church’s leader Patriarch Ilia II is the most trusted public figure in the country. Yet, CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey data from 2008 to 2017 suggests that both the share of Orthodox Christians in Georgia that trust the Church and the degree to which they trust the Church is on the decline. Although the survey does not provide direct evidence, the scandals surrounding the church in recent years could have contributed to this. For instance, in 2017, a priest was convicted of attempting to poison the Secretary of Ilia II. The government has sold land to the Church at symbolic prices on numerous occasions, often leading to negative media coverage. In 2013, priests were involved in an anti-LGBT rights riot.
Georgians have more negative attitudes towards the Chinese than other foreigners in Georgia
NGOs in Georgia: Low trust, high expectations? (Part 1)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.
NGOs in Georgia: Low trust, high expectations? (Part 2)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.
The election environment in minority areas of Georgia is getting worsePost-election polling by CRRC-Georgia suggests that not only are elections most problematic in Georgia’s ethnic minority regions, they are also getting worse.
The 2018 presidential elections, and particularly, the events surrounding the second round, have come to be considered a setback for Georgia’s democratic trajectory. Between the first and second round, it was announced that 600,000 voters would have debt relief immediately following the elections, leading some to suggest this was a form of vote buying. A number of instances of electoral fraud were also alleged. The use of party coordinators around election precincts was also widely condemned.
It’s the economy stupid: An experiment on Georgian support for the European Union
Georgians are enthusiastic in supporting the country’s accession to the European Union. Since 2012, when the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and CRRC-Georgia started tracking attitudes, three quarters of Georgians approved of the government’s goal of joining the EU, on average. What motivates Georgians to support the Union, or alternatively, to abandon support? A survey experiment included in the latest CRRC/NDI poll suggests potential economic burdens have a modest yet significant effect on support for membership. Results do not support the common belief that a potential military threat from Russia dampens Georgians’ support for the EU.
Georgian language proficiency and perceptions of government performance among minorities in GeorgiaIntegration of ethnic minorities into Georgian society is a significant challenge. As a result of ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis’ linguistic separation from ethnic Georgian compatriots, some research suggests their ability to participate in government has been low. Indeed, programming aimed at minority integration in Georgia often focuses on language skills. But, the question remains, how do ethnic minorities that are proficient in Georgian perceive the government? The April 2019 CRRC and NDI data suggest that, while ethnic Armenians that speak Georgian at an advanced level have worse attitudes towards government performance in Georgia, ethnic Azerbaijanis that speak Georgian at an advanced level have better attitudes.
What divides and what unites Georgian society?The last year has seen a number of conversations about polarization in Georgia. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, even commented on the issue in his Batumi speech. One of the components of polarization, though not the sole factor, is division in society over actors, issues, and institutions.
While many things could divide the public, what do the people think and which groups report more and fewer sources of division? The April 2019 NDI-CRRC poll suggests that there are fewer perceived reasons for division in rural areas and among ethnic minorities.
Selection of Supreme Court judge candidates: What people in Georgia know and think about the processFollowing the constitutional amendments and changes to the organic law of Georgia on common courts, the minimum number of judges at the Supreme Court increased to 28. At the same time, 10-year appointments were changed to lifetime tenures, and the High Council of Justice was given the authority to nominate candidates for parliamentary appointment. Following these changes, the High Council of Justice started the selection of Supreme Court judge candidates and in the beginning of September 2019 provided a list of 20 candidates to be submitted to the Parliament of Georgia for approval. Interviews with candidates were live streamed and the process enjoyed wide media coverage.
Knowledge of visa-free requirements falls since launch of schemeGeorgian citizens have been able to travel visa free within the Schengen zone for approaching three years, the result of several years of complex dialogue and policy reform. Despite the elapsed time, and a major EU-funded public information campaign, the results of the 2019 Survey on Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia (EU Survey) suggest that public knowledge of requirements for visa free travel have fallen since the scheme launched. Similarly, the same period has seen a large rise in the number of Georgian citizens being denied entry to EU countries, with Eurostat reporting over four thousand such cases in 2018 alone, up over a third since 2017.
Optimism Regarding EU membership is decreasingGeorgia is not a candidate for membership in the European Union (EU), but the government has the stated goal of joining the EU when the country is ready for it. According to the Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the EU in Georgia survey (EU Survey) CRRC-Georgia conducted in spring 2019 for Europe Foundation, 71% of the population of Georgia would vote for EU membership if a referendum were held tomorrow. Only 10% would vote against it and 7% would not vote at all. While support for joining the EU is clearly high, people are increasingly pessimistic about how long it will take Georgia to join.
Georgia’s Foreign Policy Trilemma: Balance, Bandwagon, or Hedge? Part 1Georgia is a small, partly free democracy in a tough neighbourhood, and NATO membership remains an unfulfilled promise. While Russia is widely perceived as the main threat to Georgia’s security, the appropriate strategic or political response to the threat is not obvious. What options does Georgia have when faced with a powerful rival on its border, and what public support is there for these options?
Georgia’s Foreign Policy Trilemma: Balance, Bandwagon, or Hedge? Part 2The first part of this blog post discussed evidence of an association between perceiving Russia as the main threat to Georgia and a preference for a foreign policy that balances against that threat through alliances with the West. The relationship between threat perception and hedging, defined as attempting to maintain good relations with both Russia and the West, is less clear.
Trust in institutions continues its steady decline in GeorgiaTrust in institutions has been on the decline in Georgia for a decade now. For instance, the level of trust in religious institutions declined from 86% of the public reporting trust in 2008 to 71% in 2019, with the decline being particularly prominent among Orthodox Christians, the main religious group in the country.
Church scandals have hurt trust in the Georgian Orthodox Church
Georgian TV and the political framing of foreign actors
No matter their political stripes, TV channels in Georgia frame association with Russia as politically condemnatory and association with Western countries as praiseworthy.
The preliminary statement of the OSCE/ODIHR international election observation mission, published on 31 October, assessed the Georgian media environment as ‘highly polarised’. The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics came to a similar conclusion, highlighting that polarization in television news increased as the election campaign wore on...
Past wars have taught Georgians both to fear and be tolerant of minoritiesSince the beginning of the 1990s, Georgia has gone through a number of ethnic conflicts that have not been resolved to this day. Given that Georgia has always been a multi-ethnic country, and the traumatic experience of unresolved conflicts, attitudes towards ethnic minorities matter. Recently released data from the Future of Georgia Survey looks at links between Georgia’s conflicts and the Georgian public’s attitudes towards ethnic minorities.
The data suggests that although the wars have led many in Georgia to see a potential threat of ethnic minorities to the country’s security, people are also conscious of the need for tolerance.
How different are people who trust different TV channels in Georgia?
The Georgian media landscape is often described as pluralistic but ‘extremely polarised’. But does the media merely reflect the prevailing political polarisation or cause it?
The majority of sizeable TV channels in Georgia are politically biased. At the same time, for seven in ten Georgians, TV remains the main source of information.
While this is a classic chicken and egg problem, arguably, causation flows both ways. Nonetheless, it has been documented that partisan media can polarise consumers and radicalise partisan voters.