Georgians and other ethnic groups: understanding (in)tolerance (Part 1)
Overall, the population of Georgia reports supporting inter-ethnic business relations. Yet, CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) longitudinal data show this support is declining. In 2015, Georgians were less likely to report approval of doing business with representatives of all ethnicities asked about than they were in 2009. Interestingly, only (dis)approval of doing business with Russians did not change. These trends are presented in this blog post.
While there is a general downward trend in approval of doing business with non-Georgians between 2009 and 2015, the largest drops were observed between 2009 and 2010 and then between 2013 and 2015. In 2015, the highest level of approval was for doing business with Russians (76%, discussed below separately) and Americans (72%). The lowest reported level of approval was for doing business with Kurds (55%). The relative positions of different ethnicities have been largely stable over time.
Note: Only the shares of ethnic Georgians answering “Approve” are shown on this chart. CB was not conducted in 2014.
CB survey results show that Georgians’ support for doing business with other Caucasians is also declining. In 2015, the highest reported level of approval of doing business with other Caucasian groups was with Abkhazians (69%), while the lowest was with Armenians (60%). Both of these levels of approval are much lower than in 2009. The biggest drops between 2009 and 2015 are in approval of doing business with Azerbaijanis and Armenians, which declined by 15 and 17 percentage points, respectively.
At the same time, clearly stated disapproval of doing business with all the above ethnicities is increasing. In other words, an active substitution of disapproval for approval is observed.
Of the ethnicities CB asked about, only (dis)approval of doing business with Russians has been steady between 2009 and 2015, exhibiting only minor fluctuations.
The decrease in approval and increase in disapproval of Georgians doing business with other ethnicities over the past six years is considerable. Except Russians, approval of doing business with even the most liked ethnicities CB asked about is declining. In addition, data measuring (dis)approval of doing business with Greeks, Italians, and Iranians, which only exists for some years, also shows a decline in approval over time. Importantly, the rates of approval for doing business with non-Georgians are already systematically higher than rates of approval for Georgian women marrying non-Georgians.
Explore more about attitudes towards non-Georgians in Georgia here.
What are young people’s values and how are these different from older generations’ values in Georgia?As Georgian society is going through social and cultural changes, it is important to understand people’s beliefs and values. Comparing the values of young people to those of the older generations is also important. This blog post summarizes the findings of a study that examined the values of young people aged 18 to 25, and analysed how these values are different from the values of older people in Georgia, based on both quantitative (World Values Survey, 2014) and qualitative data (40 in-depth interviews conducted in 2016). The study looked at values, perceptions, attitudes and tolerance towards different minority groups in Georgia. It concludes that in many cases, the younger generation shares more modern views and values, while the older generations are more inclined to support traditional values and hold conservative points of view.
Surveys carried out in Georgia and in Armenia in 2009 and 2019 asked respondents if they approved or disapproved of doing business with or marriages with people of 12 other ethnicities. So, are Georgians and Armenians becoming more or less tolerant?
Data from the Caucasus Barometer has consistently suggested that Georgians and Armenians are more tolerant of doing businesses with other ethnicities than they are of inter-ethnic marriages.
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.
The social and political integration of ethnic minorities remains a challenge for the long-term democratic development of Georgia. But could ethnonationalist sentiments be hindering such integration?
Considering that one in seven Georgian citizens is of non-Georgian ethnic descent, ethnonationalism has the potential to estrange significant sections of society, presenting barriers to social cohesion and stability.
Although the failure to address this problem can be partially attributed to government and political institutions, the public’s attitudes and beliefs also likely serve as an impediment.