The lay of the land: An interview with Hans Gutbrod on think tanks in the South Caucasus
Interview by Dustin Gilbreath
Hans Gutbrod: The think tank sector is most relevant in Georgia, since Georgia is a context in which ideas are being worked out, and where there is an interest in policy solutions. Citizens have come to expect that the government delivers. So that, in principle, is a great opportunity for institutions in Georgia.
In Armenia, by contrast, policymaking is fairly closed. There are a few elite pockets of discussion, often involving the Central Bank and some other institutions, but in my view, the space for discussion is narrower. There are some bright spots, such as the Civilitas Foundation and CRRC Armenia. Both of those (and I have worked with both, to be clear) can contribute ideas, but the political system offers fewer access points.
Civilitas Foundation, interestingly, has developed into providing even more content and media, and that is a sensible approach, as it can be hard to transmit messages through traditional media that often has an insufficient institutional and financial basis for quality journalism. CRRC Armenia has been active on issues involving social protection for a long time, and has a good network and contacts in that field. Yet, overall, Armenia is punching way below its weight as a country, with only a limited effort to make it an attractive country to live, work and stay in. This limits the role of any research organization. Perhaps indicative of that situation is that even a Prime Minister whose appointment was greeted with at least some optimism, such as that of ex-Central Bank Director Tigran Sargsyan on balance delivered fairly little. When Prime Ministers can't deliver, there's not that much that think tanks can do.
In Azerbaijan, there isn't any think tank scene to speak of. The government typically has tried to solve any problem by throwing money at it, and by throwing any independent voice into jail. The results are mixed, at best. Yet, ironically, an investment in think tanks might be even more important, just for that reason. Ultimately it's possible, but unlikely, that the regime of Ilham Aliyev will last long. The most remarkable aspect about Ilham Aliyev really is how utterly incompetent his government is. They were handed huge amounts of money, and mostly blew it on themselves and a few prestige objects, instead of actually modernizing the country, its universities, and establishing alternatives to oil and gas. While the regime looks solid now, it has so little management capacity that it could unravel quite quickly in a crisis.
The key question is what alternatives will then be available. Given that there is no opposition to speak of, who can be ready to run things? You need to train people who understand the policy issues so that they can deliver results within the first six months of taking over. If you do that, a post-Aliyev government has a good chance. Conversely, if there is no viable alternative things could turn grim quickly, as Libya illustrates. I know this sounds far out right now, but it's important to hedge against downside risks, and thus policy research would be a good investment.
Coming back to Georgia, policy research organizations haven't really caught up with the new realities. The previous Saakashvili government was brimming with ideas. Some of these ideas were harebrained, but others also proved remarkably successful and even visionary. With the government hatching so many ideas, research organizations often struggled to keep up and had limited opportunities to contribute new suggestions.
This has now changed. Most people agree that the current government is much more receptive to outside input and ideas, partially because they produce fewer of their own. Yet we don't see that much input from research outfits. Many policy research organizations, have settled into a comfortable routine of criticizing the government, along with the society. That's understandable, but there is a missed opportunity of bringing in new ideas. Take one example: when the mayor of Tbilisi promised to plant 1 million trees, this would have offered an extraordinary opportunity. Research organizations could have jumped at this issue, coming up with ideas on how to plant these trees, talking about urban planning, reviving parks, greening the city, bringing in excellent ideas that worked elsewhere. Here and there this may have happened, but I haven't really seen a sophisticated paper by anyone that advanced the discussion.
So what's the biggest missing ingredient, for policy research organizations to succeed? In my view, it's curiosity. I myself have been to many events which are interesting, engaging, and where new ideas are being discussed. It's regrettable that often not a single policy researcher is there, even if the event happens close to their office. Improving ideas doesn't happen in isolation. It's a result of intense discussion. It also often requires sifting through lots of less relevant material. Of course, I understand that all these organizations have many other things to do: other projects, administration, other obligations.
Yet research outfits aspiring to be think tanks do need to ask themselves whether at the end of the day they really are passionate about policy. If you have not read Nudge, what are you doing at the table of a policy discussion? I know this is an extreme view, but I do think it needs to be brought into the discussion.
To be a good lawyer, to be a good practitioner, to be a good policy professional – for all of that you need to keep up with what's happening in the field, you need to connect with the community you work in. I wouldn't want my heart to be operated on by someone who is fumbling along, without having checked in with what's happened in the field in the last 20 years. Why should we demand less from think tanks? In the most extreme case, they're involved in open-heart surgery of entire societies.
Donors, too, should be discriminating in that regard, and hold local research organizations to a much higher bar. Asking for more transparency is just one of those aspects -not sufficient, but certainly necessary. We all need to ask more, to get better results, better policy proposals, and ultimately, better policies.
Ultimately I'm fairly optimistic that this can succeed, though think tanks may be dragged into the future rather than leading into it, and existing institutions may be sidelined. The playing field is now better for those that are agile. Ray Struyk has put forward a great book on how to manage think tanks, and this can help ambitious institutions get it right, if they take the materials seriously.
Another reason, to end on a plug for something that I put together, is that now journalists and ordinary citizens no longer need to take anything on faith. They have access to some of the best think tank research through tools such as www.findpolicy.org. So new ideas may come in, though not necessarily from formalized organizations.
The key challenge for all of us is how to accelerate a better understanding of policy. The best think tanks should be ahead of this process, not behind.
DG: In Azerbaijan, given the recent crackdown and shuttering of organizations which could provide just the training you mentioned, where are there (if there are) opportunities to invest in think tanks either from the side of donors or domestically?
HG: I think in Azerbaijan, the key is to invest in organizations that may work on the outside, that help to clarify what really is going on, that use innovative tools, that collect data that highlights how official data just isn't right. In a way this would be a research outfit that could feed into discussions via social media, a kind of research version of the original version of Radio Free Europe. I know that this is difficult, but you really need to invest into thinking precisely when times are particularly difficult. The case for such external research organizations has also been made by Emin Milli, a dissident who spent significant time in jail for daring to speak up.
DG: You noted here as you have noted elsewhere that donors need to push for higher quality research outputs from local organizations. Do you have any concrete recommendations of how to do so?
Well, there are many measures, and not so many have been tried. I would hope that donors engage substantially with this question. Here are some key measures that come to mind.
- Finance: there should be more core financing to start with. Many research organizations are totally projectized, and this makes it harder for them to invest into quality.
- Nudging: at the point of application, ask about quality assurance mechanisms. Some key questions could include what are you actually doing, with whom, how? Can you put this on to your website, to indicate your commitment to such quality assurance? That would be a good start.
- Checklists: use and encourage the use of checklists. For example, does a policy proposal include a budget? Or is it just a wishlist?
- Comparison: encourage and finance small public reviews and comparisons. For example, does an organization make its old reports accessible, or does it lose all materials when updating a website? Unfortunately the latter still happens way too often, and is a great loss. Many organizations barely think of that, and knowing that you will be reviewed could encourage more attention on that issue.
- Network: create access to constructive external peer review. You could potentially encourage the formation of a network of quality review. This would be an experiment, but if it works it could have a transformative impact.
- Transparency: there are many reasons for transparency, but an additional one is that having full financial information on a grantee website helps donor coordination. Donors should not just be transparent themselves, their quality can also be measured by the transparency of their grantees.
I think there might be many more ideas, and that is why we need a debate on these issues.
DG: Any final thoughts?
The development of Azerbaijani think tanks and their role in public policy discourse
By Zaur Shiriyev
Think Tanks in Armenia: Who Needs their Thinking?[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
Thinking about think tanks in the South Caucasus
By: Dustin Gilbreath
Online data analysis (ODA)
The Georgian public on journalists
The public on the conflicts in the South Caucasus
Home appliances in the South Caucasus: Purchasing trends, 2000-2013
Internet and social media usage in Georgia
An interesting implication of the 2014 census: Georgia is likely an upper middle income country
What do CB interviewers’ ratings of respondents’ intelligence tell us?
Citizenship in action in the South Caucasus
Finding work in Armenia and GeorgiaThis 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.
The population of Georgia on the ideal number of children per familyIn this blog post, we shall have a look at whether Georgians’ views about the ideal number of children per family meet the reality, and how these views differ according to people’s sex, age and settlement type, using data from CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey in 2013.
How do Georgians spend their leisure time?
How's your internet?
Perceptions of court proceeding transparency
Perceived happiness and the strength of social ties
CRRC’s third annual Methodological Conference: Transformations in the South Caucasus and its Neighbourhood
Who trusts the police in Georgia?
Finding divorce hard to justifyBy Maya Komakhidze
[Note: Social Science in the Caucasus is publishing the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015. This is the third blog post in the series. Click here to see the first and second blog posts in the series.]
Georgia’s e-government – who is it for?By Davit Mzikyan
[Note: Social Science in the Caucasus is publishing the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015. This is the second blog post in the series. Click here to see the first blog post.]
Connections or education? On the most important factors for getting a good job in Georgia
Junior Fellows at CRRC-Georgia: Facing new challenges[Note: Over the next two weeks, Social Science in the Caucasus will publish the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015.]
CRRC’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) was launched in 2009 as a Carnegie Corporation initiative within the CRRC, with the goal of providing on-the-job training opportunities in applied research for young social scientists.
Trust in institutions in the South Caucasus – generating a combined score
How does press freedom in Georgia compare to Eastern Europe?
What do children and young people in Georgia need to be well and happy?
Attitudes reported by Georgian parents and the qualities they find important for children to learn
Under surveillance: Public perceptions of safety while talking on the phone in Georgia
Ethnic minorities, Georgians, and foreign policy orientation
NGOs and the Georgian public's expectations
In the know about NGOs in Georgia
The political climate in Georgia, 2012-2014: Increased nihilism or room for new political actors?
Gender roles in Azerbaijan: A cross-generational continuum
Neighborhoods and neighbors in urban and rural Georgia
The CRRC’s 500th post and thoughts about the future of social research
Kundera revisited: Are Armenians longing to leave their country because of unhappiness?
Georgian youth: EU aspirations, but lacking tolerance
Deserving to be beaten and tolerating violence: Attitudes towards violence against women in Azerbaijan
Tracing regional inequalities in the Georgian education system (Part 2)
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.
Getting to the streets: Who is more inclined to protest in Georgia?
Premarital sex and women in Georgia
Islam in Azerbaijan: A Sectarian Approach to Measuring ReligiosityAzerbaijan is arguably one of the most secular countries in the Muslim world. Nearly seven decades of official atheist policy as part of the Soviet Union, along with isolation from the rest of the non-Soviet Muslim world, diminished Islam's position in the country. According to many, including .salamnews.org/ru/news/read/39100/gadi-shaxin-gasanli-laquoprivyazannost-lyudey-k-...
Attitudes towards Homosexuality in the South CaucasusLGBTQ issues are difficult to discuss throughout the South Caucasus. For example, this year’s International Day against Homophobia on May 17th was not without challenges in Georgia. An anti-homophobia rally in Tbilisi was violently met with thousands of anti-g...
Museum Popularity in the South CaucasusIn the South Caucasus there is a tension between the desire to leave the Soviet past behind and the desire to re-evaluate history. Museums are one of the arenas in which the past, culture and history of any country (or nation) are captured. The International Council of Museums defines a museum as “A p...
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...
Georgia’s Workforce Development StudyBy Ana Diakonidze
In August 2012 CRRC launched the study of Georgia’s Workforce Development system, commissioned by the World Bank. Document review and key informant interviews have been used as main research methods in this study. On 19th of December, the World Bank office in Tbilisi hosted a workshop which aimed at presenting and validating the preliminary finding...
Comparing Societal Values in the South CaucasusValues 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...
Exploring Emotions and Life Satisfaction in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and GeorgiaFrom 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...
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...
Armenia and Azerbaijan: Language, Ethnicity, Religion, and National ValuesThis 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...
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...
Roads and Safety in the South CaucasusAccording 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...
Corruption in the South CaucasusCorruption 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...
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...
Youth and Politics in GeorgiaSince 2011, CRRC has been involved in the Memory, Youth, Political Legacy, and Civic Engagement (MYPLACE), a four-year project funded by the European Commission. The project aims at exploring young people’s social participation in Georgia influenced by historical contexts of totalitarianism and populism in Europe. Among others, the objectives of the MYPLACE project include (1) conceptualization of...
To Vote or Not to Vote? Civic Participation in GeorgiaBy Milena Oganesyan
As Georgians prepare for parliamentary elections set for October 1, 2012, political parties have entered the final stage of the pre-elections race. One of the important attributes of active citizenship and civic engagement is voting in elections. This blog explores Georgians’ attitudes toward voting in elections based on age group and gender differences. In this r...
Education in Georgia: Results of the 2011 Caucasus BarometerEducation is considered to be a crucial factor for social development. According to the 2011 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey, much of the Georgian population considers education to be an important factor to get a good job in Georgia. Public interest in education is high and many Georgians think that the quality of secondary education has ...
Getting information from the internet – how does it affect Georgians’ views?Many characteristics of the Georgian population are changing, but perhaps none as drastically as internet usage.
Georgia—AbkhaziaThe 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.
Can’t get no satisfaction. Who doesn’t want to join the EU?
Russia, Georgians, and the State
The Georgian public’s awareness of visa liberalisation with the EU: Facts and expectations
Well-being of the elderly in the South Caucasus: A problem today, a bigger problem tomorrowThe 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.
A taxi driver’s tale, Part 1: Social status in the Georgian labor market
A taxi driver’s tale, Part 2: The poverty of social status in GeorgiaThis blog post examines how social status is associated with individual and household well-being
How to buy votes when you can’t buy votes
Voter Participation and Civic Engagement in Georgia and ArmeniaThis 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.
Before and After the Elections: Shifting Public Opinion in Georgia
Aspects of Georgian Nationalism
Environmental issues in Georgia: a concern for all?
This land is my land and this land is your land
Alternating Pasts, Changing FuturesNote: This blog is re-posted from the MYPLACE project's blog. The original MYPLACE blog can be found here.
Happiness in Georgia
Second Languages in the South Caucasus and Georgian Education Policy
Knowledge of Russian in Azerbaijan
Trust in Institutions in the South Caucasus
Abortion Rates in Azerbaijan
Common Challenges Facing the Elderly in Georgia
Paternalism in Georgia
Smoking in the South Caucasus and tobacco policy in Azerbaijan
Finding a good job in Georgia
Divorce rates in Azerbaijan
Electoral Notes- Municipal Elections, 2014
CRRC Methodological Conference on Measuring Social Inequality in the South Caucasus and its Neighborhood
Facebook usage in Azerbaijan
When is a war not a war?
Friends and Enemies in the South Caucasus
Trends in the Data: Public support for democracy is slowly waning in Georgia (Part 2)This blog post describes a number of tendencies that might be related to the declining public support for democracy in Georgia, using the CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey data.
Are more educated women in Georgia choosing not to have children?
A look at (in)Justice in Georgia as charges are brought against ex-President Saakashvili
What can CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey tell us about internal migration in Georgia?According to existing estimates, the stock of internal migrants is much larger than the stock of international migrantsworldwide. In Georgia, however, internal migration is largely overlooked and there is very little data available on the number and distribution of internal migrants. Several indicators of internal migration in Georgia can be found in CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey. This blog post discusses one such indicator: whether, at the time of interview, adults in Georgia lived in the same settlement where they were born. Results of the latest, 2015 wave of CB are presented in this blog post.
In the South Caucasus, the Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend
One step forward, two steps back? European integration in Georgia after the Association Agreement
Emigration, Language, and Remittances in Georgia
Is xenophobia on the rise in Georgia?
Living day-to-day: How are fatalism and economic prosperity interrelated in Georgia?
Changing issue salience in Georgia after 2008
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.
Don’t worry, exercise, and be happy
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
Exploring Homophobia in Georgia: Part 1
Exploring Homophobia in Georgia: Part 2
Exploring Homophobia in Georgia: Part 3
Exploring Homophobia in Georgia: Part 4
Exploring Homophobia in Georgia: Part 5
SME Performance in Georgia and Armenia: Part 1
SME Performance in Georgia and Armenia: Part 2
State capacity in the South Caucasus: How do you measure how much the state can do?
Georgia in a turbulent world: 2014 in review
Employment and income in Georgia: Differences by educational attainment
Do Think Tanks in Georgia Lobby for Foreign Powers?
By Till Bruckner
Common challenges, common solutions
By Dustin Gilbreath
Nine things politicians should know about Georgian voters
Household income and consumption patterns in Georgia
Making energy matters matter: entering the electoral field
Educated parents, educated children?
Public opinion on Georgia’s EU membership prospects in 2015
Parenting, gender attitudes and women’s employment in Georgia
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
People to rely on - Georgians and their social networks
Democracy in Georgia
EU Survey Report Released: Knowledge and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia
The French Senate Bill and Armenian Perceptions on Turkey
Fatalism and Political Perceptions in Georgia
ETF Migration Survey in Armenia | Update
Perceptions of Good Citizenship in Georgia
Brookings Event - Internally Displaced Persons and Host Communities: The Limits of Hospitality?
Blood Donation in Georgia: Obstacles and Opportunities
Subtitling foreign films on Georgian TV? Thanks, but no thanks!
Third Stage of the Junior Research Fellowship Program at CRRC-Azerbaijan Launched!
Sex, Lies and EU Red Tape
Armenia Civil Society Index | 2009 Findings
IDPs in Georgia – Attitudes towards return, conflict resolution and justice
Spreading the News: File Sharing through Mobile Phones in Armenia
Georgians on Abkhazia: What Is to Be Done?
Transparency International Georgia launches platform to fix your street
Conference Summary | "Building Turkish Awareness of Armenian Genocide"By Ben Bronstein
CRRC-Azerbaijan Junior Research Fellows Compete for the Best PowerPoint Presentation
The Caucasus Barometer 2010 Dataset Is Available!
Internet Penetration in Armenia
C-R Policy Brief on IDP Attitudes to Conflict, Return, Justice
Public Attitudes in Georgia: CRRC Polling Results
ODA – CRRC Data Analysis Online
Follow-Up Media Landscape SurveyBy Tamar Zurabishvili
If You Were Asked What Everyone Else Thought of Your Country...
Blood Donation in the South Caucasus: Refill, Please!
CRRC Starts Youth Engagement Research | European Project
Conference on Social Protection and Social Inclusion in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia
Seminar Report: Perceptions about Georgia: Leading or Loosing the Struggle for Democracy
Foreign Policy Perceptions in Turkey | new TESEV report
Caucasus Barometer: Unpacking Public Trust in the President
Carnegie Research Fellowship Program | Winners Announced
PERCEIVED POVERTY IN GEORGIA: RESULTS OF THE 2011 CAUCASUS BAROMETERThe 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?
Georgia Adopts Law on the Status of Religious Minorities
Engagement without recognition?
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
Upswing of Transition in Georgia
Material Deprivation in the South Caucasus
Georgia and Russia: Can positive relations between the populations overcome the political turmoil?
Exploring Neighbourhoods in Georgia: Promises and Challenges for CollaborationIn 2011 CRRC conducted a survey on Volunteering and Civic Participation in Georgia. A part of this survey aimed at exploring relationships between neighbours. The results indicate that the relationships between neighbours in Georgia can be a promising starting point for building social capital and achieving improved housing conditions through collaboration.
Georgia's EU aspirations
How Does Gender Determine Roles and Behaviors of Women in and outside of Georgian Families?
Does Refusal to Recognize Elections in Abkhazia Reduce Prospects for Resolution?
Georgia's desire for NATO membership
Is the South Caucasus a homogenous region?
Migration from the South Caucasus
Armenian attitudes towards opening the border with Turkey
Fancy Living Abroad? 39% of Young Armenians Say "Preferably Forever"
Armenian Corruption Survey Retrospective | still relevant
Graduation Ceremony for the Junior Fellowship Program in Azerbaijan
Can a Cut NATO Supply Route Through Russia Benefit Georgia and Azerbaijan?
Boy or Girl? Child Gender Preference in the South Caucasus
Georgia & Russia | Russian Analytical Digest
Top Ten Leisure Activities in Georgia
Social networks in rural and urban Georgia
Women in Parliament: How Do Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan Compare to Other Countries?Expanding on the topic of a previous blog, this post compares statistics on the number of women in national parliaments in the South Caucasus and other areas of the world. The countries of the South Caucasus rank low on women’s participation in parliament compared to many other countries.
New Policy Advice on Migration and Development in Georgia
Gender imbalances | The South Caucasus on the top of the list
2010 Big Mac Index | Increased differences between Baku and Tbilisi
Research on Education of IDP Children in Georgia
Abortion rates in the South Caucasus among the highest in the world
South Ossetia: Enhancing the Public Debate
Public Opinion about Women in Parliament in GeorgiaSince Georgia’s independence in 1991, the participation of women in Georgian politics has been very low. The number of women in government has diminished since 2004 and currently women comprise only 6% of the Georgian parliament. The reasons behind such statistics can vary from cultural to institutional factors.
The Level of Trust in Government Institutions in Georgia: The Dynamics of the Past Three Years
Caucasus Barometer | A New Name for the CRRC's Data Initiative
Levels of trust in the banks in Georgia: Changes over the past two years
Demographic statistics in Georgia | Results from international research
Language Learning in Georgia
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.
Who is Russia's Enemy? | Pew Research Center Data
Post-Soviet States’ Democratic Decline: Results from Freedom House Report
Attitudes toward the West | Caucasus Analytical Digest
The Public's View of Constitutional Reform in Georgia
Respondent Evaluation | A Great Tool for Looking into Survey Interviews
Georgian get-togethers: Private Problems versus PoliticsIn September 2011, CRRC on behalf of Eurasia Partnership Foundation and EWMI G-PAC conducted a nationally representative survey on Volunteerism and Civic Participation in Georgia. Georgians were asked how often they get together and discuss private problems and politics with their friends and relatives (who do not live in their houses).
Ask CRRC: what does the public actually know?
CRRC's Media-Monitoring Project: TV Coverage of the Election Campaigns
Aleksey Hovakimyan on Rural & Economic Development in Armenia
Winners of the First Stage of the Junior Research Fellowship Program-Azerbaijan Announced
The CRRC Georgia TeamThese are the CRRC Georgia team members who work hard on the numbers we usually present!
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.
Armenia’s ranking in the World Governance Indicators
DRC & CRRC's Migration Report
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.
Is the Caucasus in Europe or Asia? | Tim Straight at TEDxYerevan
Will You Be My Friend? Gauging Perceptions of Interethnic Friendship in the South Caucasus
Forbidden Love: Attitudes Toward Interethnic Marriage in the South Caucasus
Junior Research Fellowship 2011 announced! The Chance of a Lifetime
Getting Your Message Through in a Sea of Information
Report release - Life on the boundary line: the future of security in Shida Kartli
Small changes in corruption rates in the Caucasus
Friends Are Hard To Come By: Friendship Divides by Gender in Azerbaijan
Overcoming Negative Stereotypes in the South Caucasus
Dr. Ronald Suny Lectures in Tbilisi
Award Ceremony of the JRFP-Azerbaijan
The Media in Armenia and Azerbaijan: Effective or Affective?
Ambassador Dieter Boden Speaks at Europe House
Food Safety in Georgia: views from retailers, producers and consumers in Tbilisi and Samtskhe-Javakheti
PISA 2009 | Results for Azerbaijan
Policy Attitudes towards Women in Azerbaijan: Is Equality Part of the Agenda?
TI: Corruption Reigns Worldwide; Georgia Comes Out on Top
Why do so many Armenians leave Armenia?
Georgian Borderlands | Mathijs Pelkmans
The Global Broadband Speed Test
Bertelsmann Transformation Index | Using a New Interactive Tool to Analyze the Caucasus
Inflation in Armenia? | Lecture by IMF Representative
Book Review | The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict and Nationhood in the Caucasus | Christoph Zürcher
USAID Political Party Assessment of Europe and Eurasia
Intravenous Drug Users in Tbilisi | Survey Data
PISA in Azerbaijan | Take 2 | great maths scores
Philanthropy in Georgia
Brookings Index of Regime Weakness | State Rebuilding or State Collapse in the Caucasus | The Annals of Data
Focus Groups | some basic local lessons
Here are some basic tips and tricks we found useful.
Armenia and Azerbaijan’s Performance | Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Meta-Index
Tourism: Structure and Cost-sharing
Migration in Georgia: Launching the "Development on the Move" Project
Book Review: Georgia Diary: A Chronicle of War and Political Chaos in the Post-Soviet Caucasus | Thomas Goltz
Georgian Party Archive: extraordinary Soviet History
Exit Polls | Take Two
Parliamentary Elections in Georgia | ODIHR Observation
Diaspora Internet Presence | Switzerland and Germany
Study of Economic Relations Between Georgia and Armenia
Georgia post-Election Phone Survey | Quick Review
Religious practices across the South Caucasus | Take two
European Cup Craze : Who Supports Whom in the Caucasus?
Maths in Armenia | comparing through TIMSS
Diaspora Armenians in Armenian Society: the Problem of Adaptation
PFA Report on “Armenia’s 2008 Presidential Election”
Caucasus Data: Tolerance towards Others
Cuil for the Caucasus? A quick test!
Russian-Georgian Relations | Alex Rondeli on July 29
Housing IDPs | Lessons Learnt
Georgia Post-Conflict Phone Survey | may be a first glance?
Doing business in Azerbaijan: easy in theory
What do Russians think about the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia? -- Data Snapshot
Baku's Urban Change | Commentary and Photography
Vouchers for Childbirth | A Field Study
No Adult Male Role Models: Distorting Armenian Male Teenager’s View of Masculinity
The August Conflict | Economic Impact on Georgia?
Polling Data on Turkish-Armenian Bilateral Relations
Focus on non-oil tax policy as oil revenues predicted to decline
South Caucasus Data 2007 on Unemployment
Policy Think Tanks | A Skeptical Assessment
Institutionalization of Ethnic Communities in Azerbaijan
PISA Test | how are Azerbaijani schools doing?OECD has just published their 2006 PISA results, which stands for "Program for International Student Assessment". In PISA, 15-year olds are tested for basic abilities in various fields. The 2006 round focused primarily on science learning. A little more than 60 countries participated, including Azerbaijan. Georgia and Armenia did not take part.
McCain vs Obama: Caucasus preferences
Public Opinion on the Parliament in Georgia
Restructuring Schools in Armenian Neighborhoods: Does Social Capital Matter?
World Public Opinion: Azerbaijan in Focus
World Economic Forum Gender Gap Index | a few surprises
Migration Impact Research in Georgia | Update
Iakobashvili on the Current State of the Conflict
CRRC-Azerbaijan Past Events Summary
Weak State Institutions | Weak Social Capital?
Exploring Azerbaijani Views on Alternative Energy
Freedom House Report | Democracy in the Caucasus
Math and Science in the South Caucasus | TIMSS 2007
Reading in Georgia | PIRLS International Student Achievement in Reading
Labor Snapshot - how does one live?
Caucasus Election Programs in the 1990s
Douglas North, and his relevance to Azerbaijan
History vs Public Policy
Framing the South Ossetian conflict
Migration from Georgia: capturing data
Snapshots on Attitudes towards Education
Financial Sector Snapshot - ArmeniaA 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.
Reproductive Health in the Caucasus
Student Migration from the South Caucasus
Snapshot: Border Crossing Armenia-Georgia
Drugs Use Survey of Georgian Students, 2003The Georgian Research Institute on Addictions (GRIA) in 2003 conducted a survey of about 700 students in Tbilisi's universities.
Gabala Radar Station -- local health awareness
Migration between Georgia and Azerbaijan
Labor Dynamics in Armenia | Youth Unemployment
Asylum applications by Georgian citizens -- 1990-2005
Georgians living in Gali
Unemployment in Azerbaijan: Beyond the Economic Consequences
HIV/AIDS: Azerbaijanis' Attitudes and Knowledge Explored
Georgia's Performance? | Millenium Challenge Corporation's Meta-IndexWith all the attention on Georgia, it may be interesting to revisit Georgia's most recent performance as seen by international organizations. As it happens, the Millennium Challenge Corporation offers a such an assessment through its annual scorecard, just released last week. This scorecard is a meta-index, drawing on data from the World Bank Institute, Freedom House, IFC, WHO, UNESCO and a few other organizations.
Labor Migrants Who Returned to Georgia
The Dynamics of Diaspora Investment in Armenia
Barriers to Cooperative Ventures in Rural Georgia: Feisty Farmers
Political Events in Georgia | Source of Dissatisfaction?We normally leave political analysis to the many other qualified commentators. However, given current events, it is interesting to see that our Data Initiative shows that ever since 2004 there was a powerful trend of disenchantment in Georgia. Below, see the responses we received when asking "Do you think that things in our country are moving in the right direction?" Blue is positive, yellow negative. The data is for Tbilisi.
Schoolchildrens' Attitudes in Armenia: What Kind of Impact Has Civic Education Had?
Results from the Georgia IDP Housing Voucher ProgramThe 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).
International Survey of Think Tanks | Zilch in the CaucasusThe Foreign Policy Research Institute does an international survey of think tanks. Apparently they mailed 3,025 surveys to 126 countries. Of these, 817 responded in 96 countries.
"The Economic Dynamics of the Countries of the South Caucasus"
Civil Society in Post-Soviet ArmeniaThe 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.
Free Economic Zones in GeorgiaEconomic free zones in Georgia are no longer a necessary, helpful, or even relevant option for Georgia’s economic development according to a GFSIS article written by Vladimer Papava. A free economic zone is a discreet area of a country’s economy designated by the government and bestowed with certain benefits and privileges.
The Open Budget Index | Georgia, Azerbaijan and the WorldThe Open Budget Index, a project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, released the first-ever independent and non-governmental Budget Transparency Ratings in October 2006. The index endeavors to provide the practical information needed to analyze the transparency and accessibility of a government’s budgetary processes—and thus better equip citizens and legislators in lobbying for governmental accountability and targeted, effective policymaking.
The state procurement system in Georgia: Companies’ views (Part 2)This post provides an overview of companies representatives’ assessments of the state procurement system and how these assessments differ depending upon the company’s participation or non-participation in the state procurement process.
Reported attitudes towards domestic violence in GeorgiaRecently, there have been reports of homicides of spouses, children, siblings
Private tutoring and inequality in GeorgiaAccording to the March 2016 CRRC/TI-Georgia survey, roughly 4 in 10 households with school-aged children reported hiring a private tutor at the time of the survey for at least one subject that a child in their household was studying at school. While, as has been noted before, private tutoring reflects economic inequalities in Georgian society, it also contributes to furthering these inequalities. This blog post looks at how the frequency of hiring private tutors in Georgia differs by settlement type and level of education of the interviewed household member.
Prioritizing the personal: People talk more about personal issues than political eventsIn 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.
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.
Survey incentives: When offering nothing is better than offering somethingWhy do people take the time to respond to surveys in Georgia? A telephone survey experiment CRRC-Georgia carried out in May 2017 suggests that small financial incentives may actually discourage people from participating in surveys. This finding suggests people may respond to surveys for intrinsic (e.g. because they are curious or want to help) rather than extrinsic reasons (e.g. doing something for the money).
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.
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.
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.
Perceptions of professionalism, corruption, and nepotism in local governmentProfessionalism, honesty, and fair competition are important in any institution. Yet, incidents involving corruption, nepotism and/or a lack of professionalism are sometimes reported in the Georgian media when the work of local government bodies is covered. How does the public perceive local government? This blog post describes data from the June 2017 CRRC/NDI survey, which show that a majority of people in Georgia thought that there were problems with nepotism and a lack of professionalism in local government. Moreover, roughly half of the population thought that their local government also faces a problem with corruption.
Are Georgians as tolerant as they claim to be?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.
Evaluation of the Impact of the Agricultural Support ProgramCRRC-Georgia carried out a quasi-experimental, post-hoc, mixed methods impact evaluation of the Agricultural Support Program (ASP) between December 2016 and April 2017 in collaboration with the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Agricultural Support Program took place in Georgia between 2010 and 2015. It consisted of two components: 1) Small Scale Infrastructure Rehabilitation and 2) Support for Rural Leasing. For the infrastructure component, the project aimed “to remove infrastructure bottlenecks which inhibit increasing participation of economically active rural poor in enhanced commercialization of the rural economy” according to project documentation. Within the infrastructure component, three types of infrastructure were rehabilitated or built: 1) Rehabilitation of primary and secondary irrigation canals; 2) Rehabilitation of bridges used to bring cattle to pasture; 3) The construction of drinking water infrastructure.
The perceived importance of history and civic engagement: Recent MYPLACE publicationIn 2011-2015, CRRC-Georgia was involved in an EC-funded project MYPLACE: Memory, Youth, Political Legacy and Civic Engagement. Sixteen academic partners from 14 countries (see the map below) investigated the forms and causes of young people’s civic (dis)engagement across Europe.
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.
New Year twice, even if you don’t believe in SantaDecember. Cold. Christmas decorations in the streets. New Year. Champagne. Satsivi and gozinaki. Presents. Santa Claus. December 25. Or January 7? Then New Year once again, but the old one. Resolutions for the New Year and the wish on New Year’s Eve that is bound to come true.
On December 1-13, 2016, CRRC-Georgia asked the population of Georgia about their New Year’s plans. Unsurprisingly, people mostly follow established traditions. A large majority (73%) plan to ring in the New Year at home. Nine per cent will meet it in a friend’s or a relative’s home. Meeting the New Year in the street or in a restaurant or a café is not yet common, and only one per cent of people in Georgia plan to do so. Another 15% had not decided in the first half of December where they would celebrate the New Year.
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.
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.
2017 Caucasus Barometer Data ReleaseThis 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.
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.
What factors help to land a good job? Views in Armenia and GeorgiaWhat 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.
As many Georgians think the West spreads propaganda as RussiaOn 13 February, the United States released its Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community. In it, the significance of Russian influence operations in Georgia were highlighted. Just eight days earlier, on 5 February, a coalition of Georgia’s leading non-governmental organisations made an official offer to support the Government of Georgia, the EU, and NATO in their efforts to counter anti-Western propaganda.
Debt in Georgia: People living in worse-off households report having personal debt more oftenAccording 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.
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.
Dissecting Attitudes towards Pre-Marital Sex in GeorgiaMany in Georgia embrace conservative attitudes about premarital sex, as a previous CRRC blog post highlighted. Attitudes are different, however, depending whether it’s a male or a female having the premarital relationship. This blog post uses data from CRRC’s 2017 Knowledge of and attitudes toward the EU in Georgia survey (EU survey) conducted for Europe Foundation to describe how justified or unjustified people of varying ages, genders, and those living in different types of settlements believe pre-marital sex to be for men and women.
Temporary emigration intentions from Georgia: Do migration networks count?The UN estimates the number of international migrants worldwide to be on the rise. Academics and policy makers continue to pay considerable attention to drivers of international migration, i.e. the factors that cause people to move from their home country, either temporarily or permanently. While a significant body of scholarship exists on the structural ‘push’ factors of international migration, such as limited economic opportunities, poverty, poor governance, or war in migrants’ home countries, interpersonal factors are no less important in shaping migration. This blog post investigates the latter, seeking to examine how individuals in Georgia with and without close friends and family living abroad differ in their willingness to emigrate from the country temporarily.
Women Significantly Less Likely to Go Out to Eat in GeorgiaBusy restaurants and cafes are a common sight in Georgia, and CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data suggest that restaurants and cafes have become busier over the last five years. While 27% of Georgia’s population reported going to a restaurant in 2012, five years later 50% did. There is an upward trend for both men and women, yet the data also suggests there is a significant gender gap. Taking into account other social and demographic characteristics, women are significantly less likely to go to restaurants than men.
Which foreign language should children learn in schools in Georgia?Since Georgia is a small country with a language that people outside the country rarely know, it is not surprising that people in Georgia want their children to know a foreign language. CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey has regularly asked about a foreign language which, in people’s opinion, should be mandatory in secondary schools in Georgia. Since 2009, a majority of people in Georgia have named English as such foreign language, followed, with a large gap, by the Russian language. Other languages were named by less than 2% of the population and less than 10% said that no foreign language should be mandatory.
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.
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.
Willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia: Does fatalism matter?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.
Five data points about homophobia in Georgia five years after the IDAHOT riotFive 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.
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.
Perceptions of the problems faced by women in GeorgiaPeople in Georgia consistently name unemployment as the main problem the country faces. Women, compared with men, report having a job less often. Based on CRRC/NDI December 2017 survey findings, this blog post presents the population’s perceptions of some of the issues that women in Georgia face that may partially explain women’s lower labor force participation rate.
Willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia: Does education matter?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.
Air pollution in Georgia: Available data and the population’s perceptionsLung cancer, strokes, and heart attacks can all be caused by air pollution, a problem that affects millions of people daily. How aware is the population of Georgia about this problem, and how important do people find the issue?
In the December 2017 CRRC/NDI survey, pollution was the second most commonly named “infrastructural” issue, with 23% of the population choosing it in the respective show card. Only roads were named more often, by 33%. Approximately equal shares of men and women named pollution: 25% of women and 20% of men; similarly, there was no difference in the frequency of naming this issue by age.
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.
Do people in Georgia see the government as a parent or as an employee?Based on CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey data, this blog post describes how people in Georgia see the government, as a “parent” or as an “employee”, and how this differs by settlement type, gender, and education level.
The Caucasus Barometer survey regularly asks people, “Which of the following statements do you agree with: “‘People are like children; the government should take care of them like a parent’ or ‘Government is like an employee; the people should be the bosses who control the government.’” Approximately half of the population of Georgia (52%) agreed in 2017 with the former statement and 40% with the latter. Responses to this question have fluctuated to some extent over time, but overall, attitudes are nearly equally split.
Murder on Khorava Street: The public’s knowledge and attitudes towards the Court decision
In early December 2017, two schoolchildren were killed on Khorava Street in Tbilisi. On May 31st, 2018, Tbilisi City Court announced the decision on the Khorava Street murder case. The announcement caused mass demonstrations led by Zaza Saralidze, a father of one of the murdered children.On June 19-26, 2018, within the EU-funded project “Facilitating Implementation of Reforms in the Judiciary (FAIR)”, CRRC-Georgia conducted a phone survey on people’s knowledge about the Court decision and their evaluation. The survey resulted in 1005 completed interviews, and is representative of the adult Georgian-speaking population of the country. The average margin of error of the survey is 2.8%.
Livestock care and livestock-related decision making in rural Georgia: Are there any gender differences?CRRC-Georgia’s survey conducted in August 2017 for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) asked about livestock owned by rural households in Georgia, including cows, bulls, buffalo, pigs, sheep, and goats. Cows and bulls were reported to be owned most commonly. Some of the questions the project addressed the division of tasks between men and women in taking care of livestock, while other questions tried to find out whether there were gender differences in making major decisions related to livestock and livestock products.
People’s views about who should pay for health insurance in GeorgiaA previous CRRC blog post explored attitudes in Georgia towards the role of the government, and specifically, whether people think the government should act as a parent or as an employee with regards to its citizens. One very specific aspect of this issue is reflected in opinions about how much the government should be involved in coverage of health insurance expenses.
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.
Views on marital (in)fidelity in GeorgiaAccording to 86% of adults in Georgia, cheating on one’s spouse can never be justified, according to CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey findings. Another 12% also reported disapproving of cheating, but refrained from a radical “never” answer and choose relatively softer options. Only about 2% openly agreed, albeit with different strength of agreement, with the position that cheating on one’s spouse can be justified. While these answers are expected to be influenced by social desirability bias, they are still interesting indicators of views on marital (in)fidelity in Georgia. Importantly, the distribution of answers has been quite stable since 2011.
Pension reform is underway in Georgia, but only about half of the population is aware of itOn July 21, 2018 Georgian legislators approved an accumulative pension scheme, after years of discussion. As one of the requirements of the new law, employees with contracts who are under the age of 40 have to contribute 2% of their remuneration to the state-run pension fund, on a monthly basis. Although other employees are not legally required to do so, they may participate in the scheme voluntarily. This law is a first step in a larger reform of Georgia’s pension system. Opposition politicians have criticized the new law citing that it counters the country’s constitution as it introduces a new tax without a referendum. Several civil society groups also expressed criticism of the reform, questioning its legitimacy.
Which questions do people tend to respond “Don’t know” to?On surveys, sometimes the questions asked are hard for some people to answer. As a result, the answer option “Don’t know” is a regular part of any survey dataset. But are some questions particularly likely to elicit these responses? This blog post uses un-weighted 2017 CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey data for Georgia to look at this question.
Budget priorities are similar to people's spending prioritiesGeorgia’s state budget amounted to GEL 12.5 billion in 2018. The Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs; Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure; and Ministry of Education and Science had the largest appropriations at 28.2% (GEL 3.528 billion), 14.5% (GEL 1.815 billion), and 9.5% (GEL 1.186 billion) of the budget, respectively. In the 2018 June CRRC/NDI survey, respondents were asked, “What are your top three priorities for spending, understanding it means cutting elsewhere?” Respondents were provided with a show card and allowed to name up to three answers. This blog post looks at whether responses match up with actual spending, and how priorities vary among different demographic groups.
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.
Selection of Supreme Court judges: The public’s knowledge and attitudes about the processOn December 24th, 2018, High Council of Justice (HCoJ) of Georgia nominated ten candidates to the country’s Supreme Court. The nomination caused controversy among the representatives of civil society organizations as the nominated judges were either leaders or close associates of a group of judges (so called “clan”) exercising an informal power over Georgia’s judiciary. The HCoJ was enabled to make the nominations due to recent constitutional changes that shifted the right of nomination from the President to the HCoJ...
Are there predictors of not knowing and refusing to answer on surveys in Georgia?Are there variables that predict who is likely to report “Don’t know” or to refuse to answer survey questions more often in Georgia? This blog post looks at this question, using un-weighted Caucasus Barometer 2017 (CB) data for Georgia.
Georgians support technical inspections of motor vehicles, even given the financial burdenIn 2018, the Government of Georgia decided to resume mandatory periodic technical inspection of vehicles, which was partially suspended in 2004. From January 2019, all cars are required to pass technical inspection. In 2018, heavier vehicles were required to do so. The change was spurred on by the Association Agreement with the European Union, under which Georgia took responsibility to resume inspections. More practically, the government also began inspections as Georgia’s private vehicle fleet has been recognized as the main source of air pollution in the country. A June 2018, CRRC/NDI survey finds people in Georgia overwhelmingly support the decision.
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.
Georgians are split over the Prosecutor’s Office in GeorgiaOn November 3, 2018 Rustavi 2 broadcasted an investigative film created by the Studio Monitor and Radio Liberty about a suspended investigation of the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia. The film How to subjugate a judge? focused on accusations against prosecutors and judges related to the abuse of power, seizure of real estate, and giving of land to private individuals.
Who doesn’t want democracy for Georgia?After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia adopted western-style democratic institutions. They have never functioned in a fully democratic manner, fluctuating between more liberal and authoritarian tendencies. That is, Georgia is and has been a hybrid regime.
But what do people want?
Pessimism about Georgia’s direction hides room for optimismWhile a large number of Georgians think the country is going in the wrong direction, the fact that they are judging the country’s performance based on issues rather than political partisanship alone is a good sign.
Men report doing more at home than they likely do in Armenia and GeorgiaIn Armenia and Georgia, traditional gender roles continue to define the division of labour within families. Although a few tasks are within men’s domain and a few others are more or less equally shared, for the most part, women hold the primary responsibility for household duties.
Grit among young people in GeorgiaAngela Duckworth’s concept grit has gained a great deal of attention in recent years. Grit, described as some combination of perseverance and passion, has gained this attention, because the data suggest it is associated with a number of positive outcomes like employment and completion of education. In 2018, CRRC-Georgia measured the grit of over 2500 young people (15-35) within a baseline evaluation for World Vision’s SAY YES Skills for Jobs project (funded by the European Union within EU4YOUTH program) which is taking place in Mtskheta, Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni, Kutaisi, Zestaponi, Bagdati, Senaki, and Zugdidi. The data suggest that grit is good predictor of positive outcomes in Georgia as is it is in other contexts.
Does our algorithm still work?Within the Russian Propaganda Barometer Project, funded by USAID through EWMI’s ACCESS program, CRRC-Georgia created a model, using a k-nearest neighbors algorithm, which attempts to predict whether a person falls into one of three groups: consistently pro-Western; anti-Western; or neither and potentially at-risk of being influenced towards an anti-Western foreign policy position. The model used data from NDI and CRRC’s polling between 2008 and July 2018. It included variables for age, education level, settlement type, and when the survey was conducted.
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.
Do Georgians understand what gender equality means?The terms ‘gender equality’ and ‘feminism’ are increasingly used in public discourse in Georgia. In 2010, Georgia passed a law on gender equality. Popular TV shows often discuss the topic, and Georgia’s Public Defender reports on the issue. Yet, survey data shows that Georgians often appear not to understand what gender equality means.
How is memory about Stalin kept in contemporary Georgia?On May 12, 2019, the Joseph Stalin museum hosted a public lecture in his hometown, Gori, dedicated to the “Day of Georgia’s Allotment to the Virgin Mary”, a holiday that the parliament of Georgia minted into the calendar a week prior in special session. Rather than a scene from a postmodern farce or satire, this is Georgian reality. In that reality, memory is bifurcated. As Nutsa Batiashvili has argued, this bifurcation in collective memory presents Georgia as glorious or heroic and wrong or inadequate at the same time. Memory of the legacy of Joseph Stalin in Georgia is no exception to this broader pattern, and the Stalin Museum in Gori is a clear manifestation of this.
Judges in the criminal justice system: A new studyWhat is the role of judges in the criminal justice system? Are there obstacles that judges face to providing fair, impartial, and human rights oriented justice? A new study on the role of judges in the criminal justice system collected the opinions of city court and court of appeals judges and lawyers in February-March 2019. The report was released on June 26th.
The direction Georgia’s headed inThe most recent NDI polling showed a decline in the direction the country was heading. Though not the direct cause by any means, the growing sense that Georgia is going in the wrong direction was likely an enabling factor for the protests that erupted in June and have continued through July in Tbilisi. The CRRC-NDI survey has tracked the direction people think the country is headed over the last decade. While numerous factors affect people’s perceptions of where the country is going, a number of events including elections and the devaluation of the Georgian Lari against the US Dollar appear to show up in CRRC-Georgia and the National Democratic Institute’s data. This blog provides an overview of how views of the direction the country is headed in have changed over time.
Perceived Threats to Georgia’s SecurityRussian aggression is a key security issue for Georgia. In August 2008, a war broke out over the South Ossetia region with Russia party to the war. Since the war, there have been attempts to restore economic and diplomatic relations between the two countries. Some in Georgia support a policy of having closer ties with Russia. Still, the April CRRC/NDI 2019 survey shows that the public continues to see Russia as a threat.
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.
Attitudes toward politicians are related to evaluations of institutional performanceHow citizens evaluate the performance of the state is often a reasonable proxy for its performance. In Georgia, evaluations of public institutions are mixed. While a number of social and demographic variables are associated with people’s perceptions of state performance, so too are people’s attitudes towards political parties and politicians. This shows once again how politics is personalized in Georgia.
Internal Displacements’ Impact on Attitudes towards Gender RelationsAs a result of the conflicts in the 1990s and in 2008 in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, nearly 6 percent of Georgia’s population is internally displaced. Previous studies have suggested that internal displacement from conflict can alter attitudes towards gender relations, and specifically perceptions of women’s household authority, tolerance of domestic violence, and attitudes towards women earning money.
The Easterlin Paradox and Happiness U-curve in GeorgiaTwo of the more prominent findings from the study of happiness are that money does not buy it (up to a point) and that young and old people are happier than those in between. That money does not buy happiness is often referred to as the Easterlin Paradox. It highlights that between and within countries happiness increases with wealth, but only up to a certain point, at which increases in wealth are associated with marginal gains in happiness. That the elderly and young are happier is referred to as the happiness U-curve. This finding has been found to hold in the West, but not in the former Soviet space, where the elderly are the least happy. This blog looks at these phenomenon in Georgia.
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.
Young people are learning English in GeorgiaA common sentiment when discussing foreign languages in Georgia is that young people know some English, older people know Russian, and those in between are mixed. Previous CRRC Georgia analysis from 2014 supported this claim, showing that knowledge of English was on the rise among young people.
The 2019 survey on Knowledge and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia which CRRC Georgia carried out for Europe Foundation suggests that this trend is continuing in Georgia.
Public Opinion in Georgia on Premarital Sex for WomenConservative traditions are deeply rooted in Georgian society, particularly when it comes to premarital sex. The 2019 Knowledge and Attitudes towards the EU in Georgia Survey, which CRRC Georgia carried out in partnership with Europe Foundation, shows that as in the past waves of the survey, people think that it is more justified for men than women to have pre-marital sex. Between the 2017 and 2019 waves of the survey, the shares of people thinking it is justified has not changed significantly.
How many cars are there in Tbilisi’s streets?People in Tbilisi often talk about the growing number of vehicles and problems associated with them. According to NDI and CRRC public opinion surveys, every third Tbilisi resident considers traffic, every fifth parking, and every other pollution among the most important public goods related issues in the city. These issues clearly relate to the cars on Tbilisi streets. Yet, a basic fact that could help inform policy to address these issues – how many cars drive on Tbilisi’s streets – is unknown, with different data sources indicating sharply different estimates.
Drugs for desert? Biggest monthly household expenses in GeorgiaThe economy remains the main concern for people in Georgia. Together with the consumer price index and USD-GEL exchange rate rising, average household expenditures also have increased over the last couple of years. Meanwhile, according to recent data only 10% of the population has any savings. Although household expenditures have increased, what are people spending money on? The most recent CRRC-NDI survey from summer 2019 asked questions about household expenditures which provide a sense about what people spend money on in Georgia as well as who spends more on different categories of goods and services.
People are divided over the independence of the Prosecutor’s Office of GeorgiaOn February 23rd, 2019, Rustavi 2 broadcasted an investigation that Studio Monitor and Radio Liberty carried out titled “8 Years in Search of Justice”. The film focused on the Georgian Railway not paying a fair price to citizens when buying lands from them to build a railway bypass. The film also covered the court case about the issue. On March 7-15, 2019 CRRC-Georgia conducted a phone survey to find out whether people watched the film and what their attitudes were towards the issues raised in it. The survey also contained questions measuring attitudes towards the Prosecutors Office of Georgia (PO). The data suggest that people are divided over the PO and that those with experiences with the PO have more negative attitudes than those that have not had interactions with the PO.
Survey experiment: more than a quarter of people in Georgia think that Prosecutor’s Office fulfills its duties non-objectivelySeveral blog posts (see here and here) on Social Science in the South Caucasus have shown that the population of Georgia is split in their views of the Prosecutor’s Office (PO). In the phone survey held in March 2019, carried out for the Promoting Prosecutorial Independence through Monitoring and Engagement (PrIME) project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, CRRC-Georgia carried out a survey experiment to better understand under what circumstances people trust and do not trust the Prosecutor’s Office.
Government employees assess the work of the government better than the general publicThe outlook in Georgia continues to be increasingly pessimistic, with more people reporting that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Similarly, performance assessments of government institutions have been on the decline in recent years. As recent CRRC analyses have highlighted, party identification, attitudes towards individual politicians, ethnicity, and Georgian language proficiency among ethnic minorities are associated with attitudes towards government. Analysis of the July 2019 CRRC and NDI survey suggests that working for the state is also associated with performance assessments. However, government employees in poor households and those in Tbilisi rate government performance significantly worse.
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.
Attitudes towards the new banking regulationsThe share of the public with loans from formal financial institutions doubled from 2011 to 2016 according to World Bank Group’s analysis based on Integrated Household Survey in Georgia. The July 2019 CRRC/NDI survey data suggests that about half of the population has a loan. To address perceived over-indebtedness, on 1 January, 2019 the National Bank of Georgia introduced new regulations, restricting lending without more extensive analysis of a consumer’s solvency. The analysis includes looking at an individual’s income, expenses and total obligations, and determination of debtors’ capacity to service their loans without significant financial difficulties.
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.
Perceptions of healthcare quality in GeorgiaAffordable healthcare remains one of the main national issues for people in Georgia: 18% of people considered it one of the most important issues in the July 2019 CRRC and NDI survey. The salience of this issue was at its highest in 2012 (35%), and has decreased over the years, particularly in light of the passage of the universal health insurance program. Nonetheless, affordable healthcare remains one of the most important issues for the public and particularly the cost of medicine, which is one of the three largest costs for over a third of families in Georgia. In this regard, it is unsurprising that over half of the population name the cost of medicine or the cost of care/doctor visits as the largest ones facing the healthcare system in Georgia. The second most common issue, which 24% of respondents named on the question about issues in the healthcare system, was a concern over the lack of professionalism of doctors and medical personnel, something associated with the quality of care.
Who believes Georgia will regain its territorial integrity?Territorial integrity is frequently cited by Georgians as one of the most important national issues, but the relative salience of Georgia’s territorial conflicts has declined since the 2008 Georgian-Russian war. Evidence from the 2013 Caucasus Barometer suggests that there is a high level of uncertainty about when or if the conflicts will be resolved and that there is little public support for any type of settlement involving less than the full restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity (such as high levels of autonomy for Abkhazia or a confederation state).
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.
The economic and educational consequences of child marriage in GeorgiaWidely condemned as a violation of human rights, child marriage is associated with negative health outcomes — both physical and psychological. Aside from these clear issues, a growing body of research suggests child marriage also has economic consequences for both the women who marry under the age of 18 and society at large.
In a sea of pessimism, who is optimistic about Georgia?The CRRC and NDI survey released two weeks ago showed a pessimistic picture – half the public thinks Georgia is going in the wrong direction, 24% that nothing is changing, and only 19% think it is going in the right direction. A majority (59%) think the country is not a democracy for the first time since the question was asked on the survey in 2010. Moreover, performance assessments of government, parliament, the courts, and most ministries declined.
Despite large drop in son preference, a third of Georgians still prefer having a boy to a girlPreferences for the gender of children has a long history around the world and Georgia is no exception. CRRC-Georgia examines how attitudes have changed over the last decade.
In Georgia, having a boy has traditionally been desirable as sons are often considered the main successors in the family line, and they stay at home to take care of their parents as they age in contrast to women who traditionally move in with their husband’s family.
Grit in GeorgiaGrit, the idea that passion and perseverance are important determinants of success aside from intelligence, has gained widespread attention in recent years. This stems from the fact that grit is a strong predictor of a number of outcomes like employment and income in life. Previous analysis on this blog suggests that the grit scale is also a strong predictor of employment in Georgia among young people in a select number of rural areas. Whether this works on a nationally representative sample is however an open question. So too is the question what predicts grit in Georgia. This blog uses data from CRRC Georgia’s January 2020 omnibus survey to address these questions.
Who’s thinking about temporary and permanent migrating?
How widespread is homophobia in Georgia?Homophobia is widespread in Georgia. The homophobic riots that occurred on the International Day against Homophobia in 2013 and the bedlam that took place surrounding the planning of the 2019 Pride Parade exemplify this.
What kind of electoral system do Georgians actually want?On 8 March, Georgia’s political leaders agreed on a new electoral system under which 120 seats will be allocated via proportional elections and 30 seats will be allocated via direct election of candidates.
The long-fought-over electoral reform was a compromise which represents two steps forward after three steps had been taken back.
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.
Know English and how to use a computer?A slightly jeering expression in Georgia when speaking about employment prospects suggests that to get a job, you need to know English and how to use computers. Data from Caucasus Barometer 2019 shows there’s a bit of truth in the jest.
Air pollution in Tbilisi nearly halved by COVID-19 measuresParticulate matter in Tbilisi’s air has fallen by as much as 45% following the introduction of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, according to analysis of air quality data by CRRC Georgia.
The findings reflect broader global trends which have seen dramatic decreases in air pollution levels in China, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
Appointment of Supreme Court Justices: What people in Georgia know and think about the processIn the beginning of September 2019, the High Council of Justice provided a list of 20 Supreme Court Justice candidates to the Parliament of Georgia for approval. In September-November 2019 parliament conducted the hearing process for candidates, and on December 12th 2020 14 candidates were appointed to Supreme Court. The Georgian media covered the process extensively.
But, what does the public in Georgia know about the process of appointment of the Supreme Court Justices, and what is their attitude towards the newly appointed justices and judicial institutions? A phone survey conducted on January 30 - February 10, 2020 suggests that people in Georgia are divided between trusting and distrusting judicial institutions...
Who trusts the healthcare system in Georgia?Trust in healthcare institutions is important, especially during a pandemic like the current COVID-19 outbreak. In the name of public health, numerous individual freedoms and economic activities are restricted.
Without trust in the messages of public health officials, measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus are less likely to be complied with, exacerbating the spread of the virus.
Perceptions of the Prosecutor’s Office
On March 4-23, 2020, CRRC-Georgia conducted a phone survey to find out attitudes towards the prosecutor’s office and whether people watched the film. The survey specifically focused on:
- How much people trust or distrust the Prosecutors Office of Georgia;
- How often people think prosecutors abuse power and make deals with judges or government;
- To what extent the restoration of justice investigations were accomplished.
Why are Georgians Nostalgic about the USSR? Part 1Several surveys in recent years suggest that close to half of the Georgian public considers the dissolution of the USSR a bad thing. After nearly 30 years since gaining independence, why do so many Georgians look back with nostalgia towards the Soviet Union? Reasons for Soviet nostalgia in other contexts are usually associated with how people experienced transition from state socialism to capitalism. The economic hypothesis explaining nostalgia argues that a perception of being part either “a winner” or “a loser” of the transition is associated with nostalgic feelings towards the Soviet Union. Other hypotheses introduce politics into the equation. According to this explanation, those who reject democracy on ideological grounds are more likely to be nostalgic as are those who think that democratic institutions are too feeble in delivering state services. Are these explanations true for Georgian Ostalgie? This series of blog posts explores these and other potential explanations to Soviet nostalgia.
Why are Georgians nostalgic about the USSR? Part 2Georgians are equally split in their evaluations of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. While younger, more educated, and wealthier Georgians are more likely to think it was a good thing, those with negative attitudes towards democracy, and those that prefer Russia over the West have more negative feelings. Although respondents named multiple factors to explain their dissatisfaction, these categories can be broken into broader constructs such as economic disarray and the political turmoil occurring after the collapse. This post further explores factors associated with positive attitudes towards the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Are Lion’s Whelps Equally Lions?!In Georgia, tradition has it that a son stays in the family and is responsible for taking care of his parents in their old age. Consequently, tradition also gives parents’ property to their sons. This limits women’s access to economic resources. New data from Caucasus Barometer shows that regardless of whether people think that a son or daughter or both equally should take care of their parents in their old age, many believe the son should still get the inheritance.
Lost in the census: Mingrelian and Svan languages face extinction in Georgia
Attitudes towards policing and the judiciary in Georgia
The most important issues facing Georgia, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak
Georgians’ perceptions about equality at court
Are Georgians and Armenians becoming more or less tolerant?
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.
War in Nagorno-Karabakh went unnoticed for a quarter of Georgians
The recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh resulted in thousands of deaths and the displacement of tens of thousands. Yet despite there being a brutal war near its borders, many in Georgia were unaware of the conflict.
Data from the Caucasus Barometer survey indicate that awareness of the conflict’s existence increased shortly after the war in 2020 compared to 2013, but only slightly. In 2013, when the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was ‘frozen’, 66% of Georgians reported they had heard of it. Around a third of the population was not aware of it. In December of 2020, shortly after the 44-day long war, 74% of Georgians reported they had heard of it. A whole quarter (26%) of the population, meanwhile, was not aware of military operations between the country’s two direct neighbours.
How do Georgians assess the parties involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh war?While polling suggests that 26% of Georgia’s population had not heard of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh last autumn, for those who had, opinions were difficult to gage. So how did Georgians view the roles of the belligerents, outside actors, and indeed their own country?
Democratic hypocrisy in TbilisiA CRRC Georgia survey found that people living in Tbilisi were more willing to accept democracy-eroding policies if they believed that their preferred party was in power.
Shifting tides: changing dynamics of social capital in Georgia and ArmeniaBoth Georgia and Armenia are known for being close-knit, but levels of social ties and trust vary both between the countries and between demographics. And while levels of trust have increased in Armenia in the last decade, in Georgia, the opposite is true.
Life satisfaction and what people teach their childrenData from the European Values Study (EVS) of 2017 suggests that values commonly taught to children in different countries appear to be linked to how satisfied communities are with their lives. CRRC Georgia has compared the results between Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and a handful of European countries.
What do the ‘tragic consequences’ of colour revolutions actually look like?While Russia regularly warns against the supposed negative consequences of ‘colour revolutions’, data from the Varieties of Democracy project suggests that anti-regime protests leading to changes of government in former Soviet countries have led to lower corruption, cleaner elections, and more vibrant civil society.
What makes people feel insecure in Georgia?A CRRC analysis found that Georgians who feel insecure in Georgia mostly attribute this to economic insecurity, but also express concern about a wider array of harder security issues.
Georgia has faced numerous crises in recent years; from the pandemic, to the results of the war in Ukraine, via political controversy and uncertainty.