Monday, November 30, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
However, the results show some differences between the three countries with regard to two types of control variables-trust in secular institutions and socioeconomic factors. Georgia is the only country in which interpersonal trust is a significant indicator of trust in religious institutions. Residence in the capital is only significant in Azerbaijan. Armenia is the only country in which both education and age are significant.
To read the actual paper, which also tests two theories of trust in institutions, click here.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Transparency International (TI) released its 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) on 17 November, and Georgia’s score rose slightly to 4.1, compared to 3.9 in 2008, which marks a minor improvement. The CPI uses a scale where "0" equals highly corrupt and "10" denotes not at all corrupt. New Zealand, for instance, came in first with a score of 9.4, whereas Somalia came in last with a score of 1.1.
The methodology behind the CPI reportedly includes a combination of surveys and assessments from over the last two years of both resident and non-resident experts and business leaders from ten different independent institutions. For a country to be included in the index, at least three different sources must be available, and, according to the index, seven surveys were used for Georgia.
According to TI, the CPI is meant to be a "snapshot," not an indicator of progress over time, to gauge perceptions of corruption in the public and political sectors. A degree of caution should therefore be used when interpreting the CPI results, as they do not necessarily reflect the views of the wider public but the expert opinions of a small group (a third party) of public sector analysts.
The scores, however, are inevitably used to compare countries, and individual scores from the prior year are always mentioned in the media, i.e whether they have risen or dropped.
On a regional level, Georgia's scores are rather positive. Armenia scored 2.7 and came in 120th place, which was a slightly negative decrease from last year (2.9). Azerbaijan received a score of 2.3 (143rd place), a fair improvement from its mark of 1.9 in 2008.
Overall, Georgia's ranking places it 66th out of 180 countries. Interestingly, that score puts Georgia above EU Member States Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania, all of which scored 3.8 (tied for 71st place). Moreover, Georgia's score ties that of EU candidate Croatia and is above FYR Macedonia (3.8, 71st place), another EU candidate. Georgia also scored better than Montenegro (3.9, 69th place), Serbia (3.5, 83rd), Moldova (3.3, 89th), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (3.0, 99th). (Note that though the confidence intervals overlap substantially in the index, Georgia’s point estimate was still higher than in these other countries.)
For the 2009 CPI results and the methodological brief, go here.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
It is therefore noteworthy that public opinion plays a key role in a recent article by Anar Valiyev, entitled “Victim of a ‘War of Ideologies’ - Azerbaijan after the Russia–Georgia War”. Because of the war, Valiyev argues, Azerbaijanis have become less supportive of Western-style “unmanaged” democracy, preferring instead a more controlled and Moscow-backed “sovereign democracy”.
Interestingly, he asserts that the Russia-Georgia war “significantly changed Azerbaijanis’ perceptions of the democratic West and negatively impacted their perceptions of the United States and the European Union. Georgia’s defeat and the subsequent political turmoil demonstrated the viability and stability of the sovereign democracy and made the Russian model of governance more attractive to the people of Azerbaijan.”
In order to illustrate this premise, Valiyev places a great emphasis on public opinion polls, including CRRC’s Data Initiative. He emphasises the value of these statistics, noting that they are almost the only method enabling to track the political development and the perceptions of the Azerbaijani society before and after the South Ossetia crisis.
For one, surveys held by CRRC show an interesting change in Azerbaijani public support for NATO membership. Whereas about 60 percent of the population supported NATO membership in 2006 and 2007, only 48 percent of the respondents supported the military block in November 2008. At the same time, the share of the population that was neutral on the question rose significantly. To Valiyev, this increasing undecidedness about joining NATO is a direct result of the West’s failure to effectively engage with Russia during the South Ossetia war.
Azerbaijani public support for EU membership was characterised by a somewhat similar development. The year 2008 saw a sharp increase in the percentage of people taking a neutral stance on potential EU membership for Azerbaijan (from 37 to 48 percent), while there was a decline in both the percentage of people supporting and the percentage of people not supporting EU membership. This shift indicates, Valiyev concludes, an increasing confusion among the Azeri public about the role of the EU in the Caucasus.
Other CRRC statistics used by Valiyev demonstrate how public trust in the Azeri armed forces dropped from 81 to 68 percent between 2007 and 2008, and how President Aliyev’s popularity rose to a record 82 percent after the war. Some additional survey material refers to popular support for enhancing economic relations with Western countries and Russia.
There is no conclusive answer as to whether the developments in public perception are a direct result of the Russia-Georgia war. However, Valiyev’s article makes for an engaging read, and highlights the value of survey data to expose the ideological dimension of conflict.
We recommend you to read the article at: http://heldref-publications.metapress.com/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&backto=issue,4,4;journal,1,23;linkingpublicationresults,1:119920,1
Alternatively, it can be found in Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization (Issue: Volume 17, Number 3 - Summer 2009).
Monday, November 09, 2009
The Caucasian Review of International Affairs’ (CRIA) Autumn issue has arrived.
Since 2006, the non-profit, quarterly academic journal has been publishing works from a wide array of international scholars, analysts, and researchers. Committed to providing a better understanding of regional affairs, the CRIA is unique as a free, peer-reviewed online academic journal devoted to covering the
In the interest of promoting an exchange of ideas and dialogue on this fascinating part of the world, the CRIA publishes papers, comments, book reviews, and interviews, as well as its weekly Caucasus Update, all of which provide in-depth analysis on affairs in the
Representing several different academic institutions, the CRIA’s international advisory and editorial boards lend their expertise and experience to the journal, and its readership continues to grow. Further, the CRIA was recently added to Columbia International Affairs Online, and is now included on a large list of international citation indexes and research databases, and in numerous universities’ e-journal catalogues. Several mutually beneficial partnerships have been established as well, including one with the CRRC.
Kartvelophiles will find plenty to pique their interest. The headline paper for the Summer ’09 issue analyzes patterns of balance and bias in several international newspapers’ coverage of the 2008 Russia–Georgia war. The current autumn issue includes a paper by Alexi Gugushvili on the reform of the old-age pension system in
And do not forget to browse the back issues, too, and check out Aaron Erlich’s review of Magnarella’s “The Peasant Venture” for a fascinating look at a work that goes beyond standard political and economic themes. In addition, other noteworthy pieces by Dr. Papava of the GFSIS, Lasha Tchantouridze, and Till Bruckner’s paper on the government’s efforts to house IDPs can also be found in the back issues.
Finally, for all who are interested, the CRIA accepts papers, comments, and book reviews on a rolling basis (see our submission guidelines for further details), and all manuscripts are carefully considered. Submission deadlines for the Winter 2010 and the Spring 2010 issues are