If You Were Asked What Everyone Else Thought of Your Country…

By Sarrah Bechor

CRRC recently completed its 8th annual Caucasus Barometer survey, gathering data about perceptions of trust, livelihood and social realities during face-to-face interviews in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Some of the results from these countries have been compared to results from 22 other countries that were surveyed as part of the 2010 Pew Global Attitudes Project Survey.

One question asked members of these 25 countries whether or not they believed their countries were generally liked or disliked. Results show that well over half of the population of the South Caucasus countries believed that their respective countries are generally liked: 76% of Armenians, 68% of Georgians and 52% of Azerbaijan agreed with the statement. 

The percentages of don’t know/refuse to answer (DK/RA) responses are also quite interesting. Nineteen percent of Georgians, 25% of Azerbaijanis and 10% of Armenians responded that people did not know about their respective countries. It might be interesting to understand why certain populations such as Pakistanis, Azerbaijanis or Russians have a rather large percentage (10% or more) of people who say they don’t know what others think of their country, as opposed to other populations such as the French, Indians or Americans who have very little percentages of don’t know responses. We can identify a few patterns by breaking up the list of 25 countries into different groups:

Western Europe: Britain, France, Germany and Spain Hubs of Tourism/History of Interaction: Indonesia, India, Jordan, Egypt, Argentina, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Brazil, US and Turkey Politically Contentious: China, Lebanon, Pakistan, Russia Isolated South Caucasus: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan (These countries could also fall under the politically contentious category due to the presence of frozen, past or potential conflicts)

Many of the Western European countries on the list are either hubs of tourism or have a history of international interaction (e.g., history of colonial, economic or political prominence). These countries have lower percentages of DK/RA responses. Politically-contentious states such as Russia and China are either overshadowed by regional conflict such as in the case of Lebanon in the Middle East, South Korea which is often related to issues involving North Korea, or China, Russia and Pakistan. The South Caucasus region could also fall into the politically contentious category and they are relatively isolated from the international arena.

In this way, citizens who said that they didn’t know or refused to answer have also provided interesting information just as those who said that they perceived their country to be generally liked or disliked.

Please visit CRRC’s webpage for the 2010 CRRC Caucasus Barometer and the webpage for the Pew Global Attitudes Project to get more information about the surveys, or to access the original questionnaires and datasets.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this theme as well!

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