Monday, November 28, 2016

Georgians and other ethnic groups: understanding (in)tolerance (Part 1)

Overall, the population of Georgia reports supporting inter-ethnic business relations. Yet, CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) longitudinal data show this support is declining. In 2015, Georgians were less likely to report approval of doing business with representatives of all ethnicities asked about than they were in 2009. Interestingly, only (dis)approval of doing business with Russians did not change. These trends are presented in this blog post.

While there is a general downward trend in approval of doing business with non-Georgians between 2009 and 2015, the largest drops were observed between 2009 and 2010 and then between 2013 and 2015. In 2015, the highest level of approval was for doing business with Russians (76%, discussed below separately) and Americans (72%). The lowest reported level of approval was for doing business with Kurds (55%). The relative positions of different ethnicities have been largely stable over time.

Note: Only the shares of ethnic Georgians answering “Approve” are shown on this chart. CB was not conducted in 2014.

CB survey results show that Georgians’ support for doing business with other Caucasians is also declining. In 2015, the highest reported level of approval of doing business with other Caucasian groups was with Abkhazians (69%), while the lowest was with Armenians (60%). Both of these levels of approval are much lower than in 2009. The biggest drops between 2009 and 2015 are in approval of doing business with Azerbaijanis and Armenians, which declined by 15 and 17 percentage points, respectively.

Note: Only the shares of ethnic Georgians answering “Approve” are shown in this chart. CB was not conducted in 2014. 

At the same time, clearly stated disapproval of doing business with all the above ethnicities is increasing. In other words, an active substitution of disapproval for approval is observed.

Of the ethnicities CB asked about, only (dis)approval of doing business with Russians has been steady between 2009 and 2015, exhibiting only minor fluctuations.

The decrease in approval and increase in disapproval of Georgians doing business with other ethnicities over the past six years is considerable. Except Russians, approval of doing business with even the most liked ethnicities CB asked about is declining. In addition, data measuring (dis)approval of doing business with Greeks, Italians, and Iranians, which only exists for some years, also shows a decline in approval over time. Importantly, the rates of approval for doing business with non-Georgians are already systematically higher than rates of approval for Georgian women marrying non-Georgians.

Explore more about attitudes towards non-Georgians in Georgia here.

Georgians and other ethnic groups: understanding (in)tolerance

From the events of May 17th, 2013 when Orthodox priests and their supporters attacked demonstrators at an International Day Against Homophobia rally, to more recently when “sausage-wielding nationalists” attacked a vegan café in Tbilisi, various forms of intolerance have put Georgia into headlines internationally in recent years.

The coming posts on Social Science in the Caucasus will use CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data (CB) to explore indicators of ethnic (in)tolerance in Georgia. Specifically, we use two questions:

  • Can you please tell me whether you approve or disapprove of people of your ethnicity doing business with an [ethnic group]?
  • Would you approve or disapprove of women of your ethnicity marrying an [ethnic group]?

The blog posts in this series only report the answers of ethnic Georgians.

The data reveals a number of interesting trends and patterns. Today’s post looks at which ethnicities Georgians approve of doing business with and how (dis)approval has changed over time. Diving further into this issue, the second post looks at how (dis)approval of doing business with other ethnicities differs by age and settlement type. The third post mirrors the second, looking at (dis)approval of Georgian women marrying non-Georgians by age, settlement type, and education level.

Part 1 of this series is available here.
Part 2 of this series is available here.
Part 3 of this series is available here.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Georgian parliamentary elections 2016 - Gender and ethnic minority representation on party lists

[This post was co-published with our partner,]

The results of the 2016 Parliamentary elections in Georgia reveal some interesting patterns about the representation of women and ethnic minorities in Georgian politics. In the run-up to the election, lawmakers considered instituting gender quotas to come closer to the United Nations’ target of 30% of seats in parliament filled by women. Civil society organizations also lamented low ethnic minority participation in elections in Georgia. In this election cycle, women won 24 out of 150 seats (16.0%) in the upcoming parliament, and ethnic minority candidates won 11 seats (7.3%). While these figures still fall well short of international recommendations, Georgia’s next parliament will have the highest share of women and ethnic minorities that it ever has.

However, substantial roadblocks to the inclusion of women and ethnic minorities in electoral politics still exist. After the 2012 elections, the European Center for Minority Issues assessed party list composition as one of the major factors preventing women and representatives of ethnic minorities from being represented fairly in the parliament of Georgia. The infographic below shows the top six vote-getting parties in the 2016 election, ranked by shares of women and representatives of ethnic minorities on their party lists.

Not surprisingly, in the two parties that are led by women (Nino Burjanadze - Democratic Movement and the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, chaired by Irma Inashvili), women tend to be better represented throughout the entire list, in spite of the fact that these two parties are generally seen as conservative by international observers. Importantly, the party that won a constitutional majority, the Georgian Dream (GD), had the lowest share of women on its party list (11.6%) of the top six parties. However, female candidates’ average number on the GD party list was 14 positions higher than that of male candidates (respectively, 65.7 and 79.7).

In terms of ethnic minorities, the upcoming parliament will include representatives of several ethnic groups, including Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Ossetians, Abkhaz, and Yezidis. Of the top six parties, the United National Movement (UNM) had the most ethnic minorities on its list, including Samira Ismailova, the first Azerbaijani female majoritarian candidate in Georgia’s history. Election results show that GD and UNM are still dominant in districts heavily populated by ethnic minorities, although a few other parties have made efforts to include similar or even greater shares of ethnic minority candidates on their party lists.

To explore this subject further, take a look at our Online Data Analysis platform, which has a number of surveys which asked about attitudes towards ethnic minority and gender representation in parliament. Also, take a look at CRRC blog posts on the representation of women in Georgia’s parliament compared to Armenia and Azerbaijan and public opinion about women in parliament in Georgia.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Books in Georgia

Monday, November 07, 2016

Who watches foreign television news in Georgia?

Foreign influence in Georgia's media is a popular topic of discussion for the press, academic researchers, politicians, and press freedom watchdog groups alike. However, they focus mainly on media sources’ countries of origin, content of news reporting, and the effect(s) on public opinion in Georgia. Missing from the conversation is an understanding of who actually consumes foreign media in Georgia. This is an important piece of the puzzle. A link between foreign media consumption and voting behavior in Georgia is a popular supposition, but is impossible to test without an understanding of who foreign media’s audience is. The June 2016 CRRC-NDI survey Public Attitudes in Georgia provides interesting information about some characteristics of foreign language TV viewers in Georgia. Notably, the survey results show that while more viewers of news programs on foreign language TV channels reported that they would vote if elections were held tomorrow, there are not large differences in support for the four major political parties in Georgia between those who watch news on foreign TV and those who only watch Georgian-language news programs.

TV is the main source of information about politics and current events for a majority of Georgia's population—77% pick TV as their primary source, and an additional 12% choose it as their secondary source. However, only 23% of the population of Georgia, irrespective of whether they name TV as their primary or secondary source of information, reports watching programs on politics and current events on foreign TV channels. Four out of the five most frequently mentioned foreign language TV channels watched by these 23% broadcast in the Russian language (Russia Channel One, RTR, Russia 1 and Russia 24), while the fifth (Euronews) broadcasts in both English and Russian.

How does the 23% of Georgia’s population that watches programs on politics and current events on foreign TV channels compare demographically and politically to the rest, who report only watching news on Georgian-language channels? Some characteristics of the former group are intuitive. For example, about half of the population of ethnic minority settlements (52%) report watching the news on foreign language TV channels. In contrast, only a quarter of the population in urban settlements outside of Tbilisi report watching the news on foreign language TV channels, while those living in Georgia’s rural non-ethnic minority settlements report the lowest viewership (14%).

A larger share of viewers 36 and older tend to watch foreign (especially Russian-language) TV channels for information on politics and current events than younger viewers. This likely reflects the patterns of knowledge of the Russian language in Georgia. According to the CRRC’s 2015 Caucasus Barometer survey, 40% of Georgia’s population 35 and younger report either not having any knowledge, or a beginner’s level of knowledge of the Russian language, compared to only 19% of the population between 36 and 55, and 27% of the population who are 56 and older.

On the other hand, some characteristics of foreign news program audiences in Georgia are not as obvious. For example, a slightly higher share (25%) of those who reported that they would vote in parliamentary elections if they were held tomorrow watch foreign language news programs than likely abstainers (19%). Twenty-eight percent of decided voters also reported that they follow programs on politics and current events on foreign channels, compared to 20% of undecided voters.

Note: A 10-point scale was used to record the answers to the question, “If parliamentary elections were held tomorrow, would you vote or not?”, where option 1 corresponded to the answer “Certainly will not vote”, and option 10 corresponded to the answer “Will certainly vote”. For this blog post, the original scale was recoded, so that those choosing option 10 were coded as “Likely voters” (67%), while all those choosing options were grouped into “Likely abstainers” (33%).

If viewers of foreign TV news report slightly more often that they are likely to vote, and that they have made a decision regarding who to vote for, the question emerges – are their political affiliations any different from their counterparts who only watch domestic TV news? Interestingly, the party preferences of the two audiences show no statistically significant differences between them. Even when the data are separated further to distinguish between viewers of Russian-language TV and other foreign language TV, there is no difference in reported party preferences between the groups.

Hence, watching programs on politics and current events on foreign TV channels does not appear to tilt voters towards particular parties. Deciding which political party to vote for in Georgia is a complex process. Understandably, voters take into account a large number of individual, social, and political factors when making decisions at the voting booth. While viewers of foreign TV news may be slightly more willing to vote, and surer of their voting choices, the choices they make are similar to those who watch domestic TV channels.

To explore the data in more depth, try CRRC's Online Data Analysis tool. If you are interested in the landscape of popular media in Georgia, check out CRRC's earlier blog posts on the role of the Georgian Public Broadcaster, Georgia's press freedom ranking, and Russia's influence on Georgia's media.