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.