How do Georgians feel about the influx of Russians?
Recent CRRC data shows that a large majority of the Georgian public is concerned about the migration of Russians to Georgia.
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, at least 1.2 million Russian citizens have entered Georgia, equivalent to roughly 30% of Georgia’s population. While the number of Russian citizens who have decided to stay in Georgia remains unclear, the impact of this mass migration is strongly felt in rising rents and concerns over the country’s security.
[Read more on OC Media: Suitcases and shattered dreams: fleeing Russians bring crisis to the Caucasus]
This has manifested in political conflict, with the opposition and the ruling Georgian Dream party arguing over the introduction of entry restrictions for Russian citizens.
A recent NDI and CRRC survey from December 2022 shows that this elite-level partisan difference mirrors a policy divide between everyday voters.
According to the findings, Georgians appear to be concerned about Russians entering their country: two-thirds (69%) think that the large number of Russian citizens entering Georgia since the war will likely have a negative impact on Georgia.
On the other hand, every sixth Georgian (17%) thinks it will have a positive impact, while 8% say that they do not know, and 6% think the recent influx of Russian citizens will have no impact on the country.
After controlling for other socio-demographic variables, Georgian Dream supporters were slightly more optimistic about Russians coming to Georgia than supporters of the largest opposition group, the United National Movement. However, supporters of the ruling party were not different from supporters of other opposition parties or voters who do not support any party in particular on this issue.
Approximately a third of the public (29%) approve of how the government handled the influx of Russian emigrés, while a majority of the public (57%) disapprove — the remaining 13% do not know what to think about the government’s handling of the emigration.
Regression analysis suggests there is a sharp partisan divide between those who support and do not support the authorities’ approach, with Georgian Dream supporters being much more likely to approve of the government’s Russian migration policy, as shown in the graph below.
Slightly more than two-thirds of the public (69%) were also in favour of introducing a visa regime for Russian citizens — including the majority of Georgian Dream’s supporters.
The above data shows two things clearly: a large majority of the public is concerned about the migration of Russian citizens to Georgia, but supporters of the ruling party are more likely to be satisfied with the government’s approach to the Russian influx.
Beyond partisan lines, however, the data also shows that the majority of Georgians are concerned and want the government to do something about Russian migration.
შიდა მიგრაცია საქართველოში: რა ვიცით მის შესახებ CRRC-ის კავკასიის ბარომეტრის მონაცემების საფუძვლეზე?არსებული შეფასებების თანახმად, მსოფლიო მასშტაბით შიდა მიგრანტთა რაოდენობა ბევრად აღემატება საერთაშორისო მიგრანტთა რაოდენობას. სამწუხაროდ, საქართველოში ძალიან ცოტა მონაცემი არსებობს შიდა მიგრანტების რაოდენობისა და მათი გეოგრაფიული განაწილების შესახებ. საქართველოს სტატისტიკის ეროვნული სამსახურის შინამეურნეობების ინტეგრირებული გამოკვლევები რეგულარულად აგროვებს ინფორმაციას ქვეყანაში შიდა მიგრაციის შესახებ. სახელმწიფო სერვისების განვითარების სააგენტო კოორდინაციას უწევს მოსახლეობის რეგისტრაციას საცხოვრებელი ადგილის მიხედვით.
By Nino Zubashvili
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.
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While personality in politics matters greatly for the Georgian public, data from this year shows that for Georgian Dream and United National Movement voters, policy is still important.
A recent CRRC Georgia policy brief argued that what was really dividing Georgians politically was personalities rather than policies. Data from the August 2020 CRRC and NDI survey provides further evidence for this idea.
However, the data also shows a difference between Georgian Dream (GD) and United National Movement (UNM) voters in terms of policy preferences and that economic policy is the most important issue for a plurality of voters.
With the pandemic still raging and accompanying economic restrictions still in force, Georgians are unsurprisingly pessimistic about their economic future. This holds true especially for supporters of the opposition United National Movement Party, above all other party supporters.
COVID-19 restrictions have impacted people’s economic activity heavily. This is reflected in key economic indicators such as GDP, which declined by 5.9% year on year between January and November 2020.
It is also reflected in employment, with fewer people reporting starting new jobs and more people reporting having lost one, according to the 2020 Caucasus Barometer.
Війна Росії з Україною шокувала світ. Вона також шокувала Грузію, а нове опитування від CRRC Georgia викриває ступінь наявних політичних наслідків.
Наслідки війни, що стосуються зовнішньої та внутрішньої політики Грузії, виявилися доволі масштабними. Офіційна позиція Грузії щодо війни була суперечливою: в той час як прем’єр-міністр Іраклі Гарібашвілі категорично заявив, що Грузія не приєднається до санкцій, накладених Заходом проти Росії, президент Грузії Саломе Зурабішвілі почала медійний та дипломатичний бліц у Європі, висловлюючи рішучу підтримку Україні.