Monday, July 16, 2018

Murder on Khorava Street: The public’s knowledge and attitudes towards the Court decision

In early December 2017, two schoolchildren were killed on Khorava Street in Tbilisi. On May 31st, 2018, Tbilisi City Court announced the decision on the Khorava Street murder case. The announcement caused mass demonstrations led by Zaza Saralidze, a father of one of the murdered children.


On June 19-26, 2018, within the EU-funded project “Facilitating Implementation of Reforms in the Judiciary (FAIR)”, CRRC-Georgia conducted a phone survey on people’s knowledge about the Court decision and their evaluation. The survey resulted in 1005 completed interviews, and is representative of the adult Georgian-speaking population of the country. The average margin of error of the survey is 2.8%.

The vast majority of people in Georgia (96%) have heard about the Khorava street murder. However, only 17% of those who have heard about the case know what the Court decision was: the sentencing of one defendant for murder and the other for attempted murder. The majority of people in Georgia (61%) did not know what the Court decided. Others had inaccurate or partial information. Nine percent thought the Court found one defendant not guilty and sentenced the other for murder. Five percent thought the Court found both defendants not guilty, and two percent thought the Court found both defendants guilty of murder. Tbilisians were slightly more aware of the decision than people outside Tbilisi (a 7-10% difference).




Those who had heard about the Court decision on the Khorava Street case were asked to evaluate its fairness. Only eight per cent evaluated the decision as fair. The majority (77%) said the decision was not fair. People who thought the case was unfair were asked why they thought it was unfair. The three most frequent answers included 1) The Prosecutor’s Office was covering for influential people’s relatives (28%); 2) The low quality of the investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office (8%); and 3) Influential people were covering for people close to them (7%). 




General injustice in the country was named by 3% of the population. In Tbilisi, the Court decision was evaluated as fair more than in other locales (a 5-7% difference).

When asked, “Which of the following is the responsibility of the Courts, prosecutor’s office, Ministry of Interior or other actors/bodies?”, 7% said the Courts were responsible for collecting evidence to prove the defendant is guilty and 12% said the Court was responsible for collecting evidence to prove the defendant is innocent. Large shares of the population responded ‘Don’t know’ to these general knowledge questions about collecting evidence (33% and 38%).

Following the mass street protests led by Zaza Saralidze, the government took two major steps in their political response: the Prosecutor General Irakli Shotadze resigned and a temporary investigative commission was established in the Parliament of Georgia to study the process of investigation of the case. Half the population (50%) support Shotadze’s resignation, about one fifth (19%) do not support the decision, and about one third (30%) don’t know what to think. People who have heard about the murder case were divided over the parliamentary commission: 28% said the Commission would manage to establish the truth and 32% said it would not manage to do so. One third (33%) did not know whether the temporary investigative commission would establish the truth about the case and seven percent knew nothing about the commission at all.




In Georgia, the vast majority of people have heard about the Khorava Street murders. Yet, they lack knowledge about the Court decision. Nevertheless, they evaluated it as unfair and blamed the Prosecutor’s Office for the most part. The political responses to the murder – the resignation of the Prosecutor General and the establishment of a parliamentary investigative commission – were generally supported by those who were aware of them. However, many were uncertain about these responses.

This blog post has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of CRRC-Georgia, EMC, and IDFI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Monday, July 09, 2018

What predicts foreign policy preferences?

[Note: This article was co-published with OC-Media on July 9. It was written by Koba Turmanidze. Koba Turmanidze is the President of CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in this article do not necessarily represent the views of CRRC-Georgia or any related entity.]

Georgia’s population has consistently expressed strong support for European Union and NATO membership while approval of membership in the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has been quite low. A recent RAND Corporation publication challenges these observations, suggesting that the population of several post-Soviet states — including Georgia — fear Russia and therefore, prefer equally good relations with Russia and the West.

Whether this is a viable option for Georgia is beyond the scope of this writing. Instead, it focuses on a key claim within the RAND report: that a rational calculus about potential punishment from Georgia’s northern neighbour undergirds a preference for neutrality. Further inspection of CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer survey, which was used by RAND, suggests the data do not support this argument. Rather, the data suggest that the key difference between people who support Western-oriented, Russia-oriented or neutral foreign policies in Georgia is values.

The RAND report discusses balance of power during and after the Cold War, arguing that the most significant disagreement between Russia and the West stems from their contest to exercise influence over the ‘in-between states’, i.e. states which Russia has geopolitical interests in and which have not been accepted into the EU or NATO. These countries include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. According to the report, in these states people fear that tensions between Russia and the West are detrimental to their national interests, and therefore, they prefer neutrality over alignment with any political or economic bloc.

Fear of Russia does not influence people’s preferences
Do perceptions of tensions between Russia and the West have implications for popular support for Western or Russia-led alliances? Examination of the same data RAND used shows no statistically significant relation between fear of tensions between Russia and the West and support for Georgia’s membership in either Western or Russia-led alliances. Moreover, fear of those tensions does not influence people’s preferences for either of the neutral options they could have named on the survey (having equally good relations with both alliances or joining neither).



Note: Predicted probabilities are based on a multinomial logistic regression model. 

Rather than fear of Russia, people’s foreign policy preferences reflect a deep value-based division in Georgia, which the RAND report fails to acknowledge. To demonstrate this, consider the impact of a question on whether people endorse democracy as ‘the only game in town’.

The 2017 Caucasus Barometer asked respondents to select one of three different statements about democracy. Approximately half (52%) agreed with the statement that ‘Democracy is preferable to any other kind of government’. These supporters of democracy are significantly more likely to support Georgia’s membership in Western organisations compared with those who do not think that democracy is preferable to any other kind of government. Importantly, support for democracy has no significant impact on other answer options: it neither changes the level of support for membership in Russia-led organisations nor influences neutral options such as ‘both’ or ‘none’.


Note: Predicted probabilities are based on multinomial logistic regression models as above.

A similar analysis on attitudes towards the role of the government (i.e. whether the government is expected to be like a parent or like an employee) re-affirms that values rather than a fear of punishment by Russia are at the heart of foreign policy preferences in Georgia. Those who believe the government should be work for the people are more likely to support the country’s membership in Western organisations compared to those who think the government should be like a parent. At the same time, attitudes towards the government have no significant impact on popular support to Russia-led alliances or to neutral choices.

Supporters of a pro-Western orientation in Georgia are a coherent group: they have clear values such as believing that the government should work for the people rather than act as a parent, and they support democracy over other forms of governance. Such coherence is less pronounced among supporters of neutrality and totally absent among supporters of Russia-led alliances.
Public opinion in Georgia follows the logic of ‘where you stand depends on where you sit’: people’s foreign policy preferences are not merely driven by fear of Russia’s potentially violent reactions to the geopolitical manoeuvres of a neighbouring country. Instead, a pro-Western orientation is deeply rooted in people’s values.

The replication code for this blog post is available here. The data used in this article is available from CRRC’s online data analysis portal.

Note: Predicted probabilities in the above charts are based on multinomial logistic regression models where the dependent variables have five options: join EU/NATO, join EAEU/CSTO, have equally good relations with both, join none, or don’t know. Key independent variables are (1) support to democracy, (2) support to neutrality vs alignment with a bloc, and (3) (dis)agreement with the statement whether the tensions between Russia and the West are detrimental for Georgia. Control variables include basic demographic characteristics such as age, gender, settlement type, perceived economic rung, employment status, and household’s economic conditions measured as monthly spending and borrowing of money for food or utilities.

Monday, July 02, 2018

The population of Tbilisi on street dogs

Street dogs are a common sight on the streets of Tbilisi. How do people’s attitudes towards them vary by age, gender, and whether or not someone lives in the center or outskirts of the city? Results of a November 2017 phone survey CRRC-Georgia carried out for a British charity Mayhew provide some answers to these questions.

Forty per cent of Tbilisi’s population reported positive attitudes towards street dogs, 39% neutral, and 20% negative. Women and men and people in central and non-central neighborhoods of Tbilisi report positive and negative attitudes at similar rates. People over the age of 56 report negative attitudes slightly more often than people under this age.




Why do the 20% of the population who report negative attitudes not like street dogs? Their majority (67%, although margins of error are higher for this relatively smaller subgroup) report a “general fear of dogs” as the main reason. The data suggests that women fear dogs more than men, which is not a finding unique to Tbilisi. Research from other contexts (e.g. see here and here) also indicates that women in general are more likely to report fearing dogs than men.

To explore the data in this blog post, visit our Online Data Analysis portal.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Do people in Georgia see the government as a parent or as an employee?

Based on CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey data, this blog post describes how people in Georgia see the government, as a “parent” or as an “employee”, and how this differs by settlement type, gender, and education level.

The Caucasus Barometer survey regularly asks people, “Which of the following statements do you agree with: “‘People are like children; the government should take care of them like a parent’ or ‘Government is like an employee; the people should be the bosses who control the government.’” Approximately half of the population of Georgia (52%) agreed in 2017 with the former statement and 40% with the latter. Responses to this question have fluctuated to some extent over time, but overall, attitudes are nearly equally split.



 Note: For the charts in this blog post, answer options “Agree very strongly” and “Agree” were combined for both statements. Answer options “Agree with neither [statement]”, “Don’t know” and “Refuse to answer” were also combined.

Opinions about the role of government differ by gender and settlement type. More women tend to agree with the paternalistic opinion about a government, while men’s opinions are equally split. As for people living in different settlement types, the population of Tbilisi answer more often that government should be like an employee.



People with higher than secondary education agree more often that people should control the government. A majority of those with secondary or lower education report that government should take care of people like a parent.



Note: Answer options “No primary education”, “Primary education”, “Incomplete secondary education”, and “Completed secondary education” were combined into the category “Secondary [education] or lower”. Answer options “Incomplete higher education”, “Completed higher education (BA, MA, or Specialist degree)”, and “Post-graduate degree” were combined into the category “Higher than secondary [education]”. 

In Georgia, opinions about the role of government are divided. Women, people living outside the capital, and people with lower levels of education agree more often that a government should be like a parent.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The EU, USA or Russia: Who is believed to be able to support Georgia best?

In recent years, Georgia has benefited from EU and US assistance, with around €400 million indicatively allocated for the EU’s projects in Georgia in 2017-2020, and the US government increasing assistance to Georgia in the 2018 Spending Bill. In contrast, Georgia’s relationships with Russia are tense, with diplomatic relations terminated in 2008.

In the 2017 wave of Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia survey (EU survey), a question was asked: “Who can currently best support Georgia – the EU, USA or Russia?” A third of the population (35%) answered the EU, while equal shares named the US and Russia (23% and 24%, respectively). According to 8%, none of these three actors can support Georgia, and 9% either responded “Don’t know” or refused to answer the question. Importantly, the distribution of answers did not change compared to earlier waves of the EU survey in 2013 and 2015.

Ethnic Georgians were more likely to report the EU can best support Georgia. Education and age also matter. People with tertiary education and people under the age of 56 said more often that the EU can best support Georgia. Ethnic minorities, on the other hand, named Russia much more often.



Note: For the question, “Which ethnic group do you consider yourself a part of?” original answer options were recoded. Options “Armenian”, “Azerbaijani”, “Abkhaz”, “Ossetian”, “Russian”, and “Other ethnicity” were all combined into the category “Ethnic minorities”. For the question, “Who can currently best support Georgia – the EU, USA or Russia?” original answer option “Other” (1%) was excluded from the analysis. 

Almost half (47%) of those who reported trusting the EU also reported that the EU can best support Georgia, while 49% of those who reported distrusting the European Union also said that Russia can best support Georgia.


Note: For the question, “How much do you trust or distrust the EU?” original answer options “Fully trust” and “Trust” were combined into the category “Trust” on the chart above. The original answer options “Fully distrust” and “Distrust” were combined into the category “Distrust”.

Many in Georgia trust the European Union and believe that the EU can best support Georgia. People with tertiary education, ethnic Georgians and those who are younger than 56 years old are more likely to say that the EU can best support Georgia.

To learn more about the population’s attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia, read the following blog posts: Awareness of EU aid and support for EU membership in Georgia and One in six in Georgia think the country is a member of the EU. To explore the data in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Air pollution in Georgia: Available data and the population’s perceptions

Lung cancer, strokes, and heart attacks can all be caused by air pollution, a problem that affects millions of people daily. How aware is the population of Georgia about this problem, and how important do people find the issue?

In the December 2017 CRRC/NDI survey, pollution was the second most commonly named “infrastructural” issue, with 23% of the population choosing it in the respective show card. Only roads were named more often, by 33%. Approximately equal shares of men and women named pollution: 25% of women and 20% of men; similarly, there was no difference in the frequency of naming this issue by age.

Settlement type does make a difference, though. While 42% of people living in the capital reported in 2017 that pollution was the most important infrastructural issue, 26% of people living in other urban settlements did. This option was chosen much less often by the rural population (11%) and by people living in predominantly ethnic minority settlements (5%).  Perceptions of the importance of this issue have been consistent  both nationally and in different settlement types since CRRC and NDI have started asking the question.


The public’s concern with pollution makes sense. Levels of air pollution in Georgia are higher than what is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). PM2.5 is particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 µm. By comparison, the average diameter of a human hair is 50 to 70 µm. PM2.5 is considered the deadliest type of pollution as it is smaller than other types and can do much more harm to the human body. According to the latest available information, PM2.5 was recorded at 25 in Tbilisi in 2015. The level that the WHO recommends is 10. Anywhere from 12.1 to 35.4 is considered to be in the moderate range.

The government of Georgia has not ignored the problem. The Law of Georgia on Ambient Air Protection was adopted in 1999 to deal with air pollution, and was amended a number of times since. Recently larger, more environmentally friendly buses have been integrated into Tbilisi’s public transport system, a step toward a greener city. In addition, the excise tax on older cars, which cause a greater amount of pollution than newer ones in general, have increased, thus encouraging the import of greener vehicles. Moreover, vehicle inspections for large vehicles started again this year after a 10 year hiatus, and it is planned that these will become mandatory for all vehicles from 2019.

More can be done, and there are some potential improvements that can lead to a decrease in the number of cars on the roads, and therefore improve air quality. Public transport should be more efficient, which can be, in part, accomplished through optimizing routes and timetables. Making cities more pedestrian and bike-friendly, and increasing awareness of the benefits of walking and car sharing could also ameliorate the situation. Clearly, the government would have to back many of these changes.

While the government has taken some steps to reduce air pollution, quite radical steps are still needed in Georgia before it reaches a healthy level by WHO standards. The issue is important to the Georgian public, and particularly to the population of Tbilisi.

To learn more about CRRC surveys, visit our Online Data Analysis portal.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia: Does education matter?

A previous CRRC blog post showed how people’s willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia varied according to their belief in whether everything in life is determined by fate or people shape their fate themselves. The blog post concluded that compared to people who are not interested in temporary emigration from these countries, those who are tended to believe slightly more often that people shape their fate themselves.

There are a number of factors that contribute to an individual’s willingness to emigrate including political, economic, and social circumstances. Using data from CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey, this blog post looks at whether or not people who express a willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia differ from others in terms of their educational attainment. Importantly, though, this question does not measure actual emigration, but rather reported intentions that may or may not result in action.

In both countries, the share of people willing to temporarily emigrate is the highest among those who have tertiary education. Importantly, this finding is consistent over time.


Note: The answer options for the question, “What is the highest level of education you have achieved to date?” were grouped as follows: options “No primary education”, “Primary education (either complete or incomplete)”, “Incomplete secondary education”, and “Completed secondary education” were grouped into the category “Secondary or lower”. Options “Incomplete higher education”, “Completed higher education (BA, MA, or specialist degree)”, and “Post-graduate degree” were grouped into the category “Tertiary”.

People with either a close friend or a close relative living abroad at the time of survey fieldwork also report more often that they would leave Georgia for a certain period of time to live somewhere else. The findings are similar in Armenia. Importantly, when looking at this indicator of migration networks, there are, again, differences by level of education. As the chart below shows, in 2017, people with higher levels of education reported having close friends abroad more often than those with lower levels of education. This finding is also consistent for CB waves through the last decade.


As the findings presented in this blog post show, in both Armenia and Georgia, people having tertiary education report an interest in temporary emigration more often than those with lower levels of education. Importantly, a larger share of people with tertiary education also have relatives and/or friends living abroad. Thus they can rely both on relatively advanced knowledge, including knowledge of foreign language(s), and on the opportunities provided by migration networks.

To learn more about CRRC surveys, visit our Online Data Analysis portal.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Perceptions of the problems faced by women in Georgia

People in Georgia consistently name unemployment as the main problem the country faces. Women, compared with men, report having a job less often. Based on CRRC/NDI December 2017 survey findings, this blog post presents the population’s perceptions of some of the issues that women in Georgia face that may partially explain women’s lower labor force participation rate.

During the survey, several issues were evaluated from the point of view of whether these represent a problem for women in Georgia or not. Approximately half of Georgia’s population considers a lack of kindergartens to be a problem for women, followed by bad maternity leave conditions, which are perceived to be slightly worse in the private sector than in the public sector. Quite a large share of the population (39%) reports that in their opinion, employers prefer to hire men over women, although 50% do not think so. Similarly, more people disagree than agree with the opinion that women are not being hired in Georgia for leadership positions. The chart below lists both the issues and the assessments.



Note: Distribution of answers “Don’t know” and “Refuse to answer” is not shown in the charts through this blog post. 

Interestingly, men and women answer very similarly regarding kindergartens and employers’ gender preferences. There are, however, some differences when it comes to maternity leave conditions and women not being hired for leadership positions. Slightly more women than men name these as problems.



Note: Only the share of positive answers is shown in this chart. 

People living in different settlement types answer these questions slightly differently. A lack of kindergartens is perceived to be much more problematic in Tbilisi than in rural settlements. Compared to the urban population, a slightly larger share of people living in villages and ethnic minority settlements report that employers prefer to hire men over women as a problem. Women not being hired for leadership positions is also more often perceived as a problem in villages and ethnic minority settlements.


Note: Only the share of positive answers is shown in this chart. 
This blog post illustrates some of the potential obstacles for women’s employment in Georgia, as perceived by the population. Do you think that these issues help explain why relatively few women participate in the labor force in Georgia? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Disinformation in the Georgian media: Different assessments for different media sources

In Georgia, supporters of the government and opposition often express contrasting opinions about the independence and reliability of specific news outlets. Based on the CRRC/NDI December, 2017 survey findings, this blog post looks at whether people think or not that the Georgian media spreads disinformation, which groups tend to think so, and how this opinion differs by type of media. “Disinformation” was defined in the questionnaire as “false information which is spread deliberately with the purpose to mislead and deceive people,” and the questions about it were asked separately about TV stations, online media, and print media.

The majority of the population of the country (60%) agreed with the opinion that “Georgian TV stations often spread disinformation.” When asked about online media and print media, 51% and 43% agreed, respectively. Interestingly, 59% of those who named TV as their main source of information for politics and current events agreed with the opinion that Georgian TV stations often spread disinformation. The respective share was, however, much higher with online media (75%).


People living in the capital agreed with all three of these opinions more often than people living in the rest of the country. The same is true for people with tertiary education. People living in ethnic minority settlements, on the other hand, found it most difficult to answer these questions, with a majority responding “Don’t know” to all three questions.

Thus, opinions about different types of Georgian media spreading disinformation are reported rather unevenly by the population of different settlement types and by people with different levels of education. There seems to be a rather strong consensus, though, that Georgian TV stations often spread disinformation. 

To have a closer look at CRRC/NDI survey results, visit our Online Data Analysis portal.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Five data points about homophobia in Georgia five years after the IDAHOT riot

Five years ago, on May 17, 2013 a homophobic riot took place in Tbilisi in response to a small LGBTQ rights demonstration on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Thousands of protestors, including frocked priests, chased the demonstrators through the streets of Tbilisi as police struggled (some say facilely) to protect the demonstrators from violence. In the time since, LGBTQ rights have remained on the agenda in Georgia, with an anti-discrimination law passed in 2014, which gives some protection to LGBTQ people, and the first openly homosexual candidate running for office in the 2017 local elections. Despite this progress, homophobic and transphobic violence still occurs in the country (for example, see here, here, and here). Five years after the events of May 17, 2013, this article presents five findings from CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey about homophobia in Georgia.

1. Would people rather live next to a criminal, a drug addict, or a homosexual? On Caucasus Barometer 2017, CRRC asked which group people would least like as neighbors.  About one in four said they would least like criminals as neighbors (27%) and another quarter would least like to live by drug users (22%). A similar share (23%) reported they would least like to have homosexuals as neighbors. Taking into account survey error, these three shares are statistically indistinguishable. The latter answer serves as a proxy for homophobia.

2. While religiosity might be thought to be tied to homophobic attitudes, it does not appear that those who report fasting or attending religious services regularly are any more homophobic than those who do not. Importantly, though, of the many possible measures of religiosity, only two were measured on CB 2017. Hence, the results are suggestive rather than definitive.
 


Note: Those who reported having no religious affiliation, answered “Don’t know” or refused to answer what their religion was, were not asked the question about frequency of fasting or religious service attendance. For the question about frequency of attending religious services, original answer options “Every day”, “More than once a week” and “Once a week” were combined into the category “At least once a week” on the chart above, and options “At least once a month”, “Only on special religious holidays”, “Less often”, and “Never” were combined into the category “Less often or never”. For the question about frequency of fasting, original answer options “Often” and “Always” were combined into the category “Often or Always”. Answer options “Sometimes fast”, “Rarely fast”, and “Never fast” were combined into the category “Less often or never”. Those who reported that fasting was not required in their religion were not included in the analysis, as well as those who answered “Don’t know” or refused to answer the questions about the frequency of attending religious services or fasting. 

3. The young are more likely to be homophobic than the elderly, at least on the measure of homophobia used here. While an 18 year old has a 29% chance of reporting that they would least like a homosexual as a neighbor, an 85 year old has only a 16% chance, when controlling for gender; settlement type; level of education; religion; frequency of fasting and attending religious services; whether a child lives in the same household; and household well-being, measured by the number of durables a household owns.




4. Men are more likely to be homophobic than women. When controlling for the variables mentioned above, men have a 26% chance of responding that they would least like homosexuals as neighbors compared with a 17% chance for women.

5. While Georgia has had highly-publicized, homophobic incidents, the level of homophobia is not unique to the country. The same question was asked on Caucasus Barometer 2017 in Armenia, and the results are similar: 21% of Armenians report they would least like homosexuals as neighbors, 27% drug addicts, and 21% criminals.

A more comprehensive measure of homophobia would, of course, provide a better understanding of the issue. The CB question discussed in this blog post only helps to identify people who are extremely homophobic, to the point that they would least like to live next to a homosexual, rather than a criminal. This may suggest that homophobic attitudes are more wide spread in the country.

To explore the data used above, click here. To view the replication code for the analysis used in this article, click here.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia: Does fatalism matter?

Scholarship points to a number of factors that contribute to an individual’s willingness to emigrate, either on a temporary or permanent basis. Political, economic, and social conditions are all important variables in the emigration equation. This blog post uses data from CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey to see whether or not people who express a willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia differ from others in terms of the reported belief that people shape their fate themselves. Those who believe so may be more inclined to consider actions such as temporary emigration.

In Georgia, beliefs of whether or not individuals shape their fate themselves have changed a bit over the years. In 2011, 31% of the population tended to believe that “People shape their fate themselves.” In 2017, this share increased to 43%. Similarly, a slightly greater share of the population of Armenia expressed the opinion that people shape their fate themselves in 2017 than in 2011.


Note: A 10-point scale was used during the interviews to record answers to the question about fate, with code ‘1’ corresponding to complete agreement with the opinion, “Everything in life is determined by fate” and code ‘10’ corresponding to a complete agreement with the opinion, “People shape their fate themselves.” The original scale was recoded for the charts in this blog post. Codes ‘1’ through ‘4’ were combined into the category, “Everything in life is determined by fate.” Codes ‘5’ and ‘6’ were combined into the category “In the middle.” Codes ‘7’ through ‘10’ were combined into the category “People shape their fate themselves.” 

The share of the population in Georgia who report wanting to temporarily emigrate has slightly increased since 2011, while it does not seem to have changed in Armenia. In Georgia, the share has been consistently lower than in Armenia, at between 42% and 48% of the population. 




In both countries, though, those who are interested in temporary emigration also tend to believe slightly more that people shape their fate themselves rather than everything in life being determined by fate. This finding is consistent over time.



Thus, people who are interested in temporary emigration from Armenia and Georgia tend to believe slightly more that people shape their fate themselves than those who do not report such an interest. The finding points to a more general consideration: people who feel they possess agency over their lives may feel more empowered to pursue actions that directly affect their life’s course, such as temporarily emigrating from their home country.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.

Note: The 2017 data for Armenia presented above makes use of preliminary population weights. The final population weights were not possible to complete in time for publication of this blog post. Hence, the figures for 2017 may change slightly, once the 2017 Caucasus Barometer Armenia survey weights are calculated. The weights for Georgia, on the other hand, are final. 


Friday, April 27, 2018

During Sargsyan’s incumbency, dissatisfaction with government grew and support for protest increased

Serzh Sargsyan, formerly the President and then Prime Minister of Armenia, resigned from office on April 23rd, 2018, following 11 days of peaceful protest. Over the past 10 years, which coincide with Sargsyan’s time in office, Armenians were increasingly dissatisfied with their government. At the same time, the country witnessed growing civic engagement, with “youth-driven, social media-powered, issue-specific civic activism,” referred to as “civic initiatives”. CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data from 2008 to 2017 reflect both these trends.

While in 2008, 53% of the Armenian public thought that people were not treated fairly by the government, 74% did in 2017.

Note: For the chart above, original answer options “Completely agree” and “Somewhat agree” were combined into the category “Agree,” and answer options “Completely disagree” and “Somewhat disagree” were combined into the category “Disagree”. 

Moreover, trust in political institutions declined precipitously over the years. For example, distrust in executive government increased from 38% in 2008 to 59% in 2017.

Note: A show card with a 5-point scale was used during the survey. For this chart, original answer options “Fully trust” and “Trust” were combined into the category ’Trust,’ and answer options “Fully distrust” and “Distrust” were combined into the category ’Distrust’. 

Throughout this period, only 3%-6% of the population of Armenia reported that they thought Armenia was a full democracy. A further 11%-18% thought the country was a democracy with minor problems. At the same time, approximately half of the population believed democracy to be preferable to any other kind of government.



As dissatisfaction was on the rise, so too was Armenians’ support for the idea that people should engage in protest actions against the government to show that the people are in charge. While in 2008, 59% of the population of Armenia agreed with this statement, 70% did in 2017.

Although CRRC data could surely not have predicted this week’s events in Armenia, it does demonstrate the growing dissatisfaction with government and increased willingness to protest that developed over the course of Serzh Sargsyan’s time in office.

To explore Caucasus Barometer data further, visit CRRC’s online data analysis portal, here.

Note: The 2017 data presented above makes use of preliminary population weights. The final population weights were not possible to complete in time for publication of this blog post. Hence, the figures for 2017 may change slightly, once the 2017 Caucasus Barometer Armenia survey weights are calculated.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Which groups name Russia as Georgia’s main enemy?

In 2017, 40% of the population of Georgia named Russia as the main enemy of Georgia. Yet the opinion that Russia is the main enemy of the country is not equally present in different demographic groups. This blog post uses data from CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer survey to gain a better understanding of the characteristics of those who report Russia is the country’s main enemy.

Nearly equal shares of women and men (42% and 39%, respectively) named Russia as the main enemy of Georgia. Opinions of younger and older people varied only a little, with young people between the ages of 18 and 35 responding slightly more often that Russia is the main enemy of Georgia. When it comes to settlement type, the population of Tbilisi responded more frequently that Russia is the main enemy of Georgia than those living in other urban and rural settlements.


Note: The question “In your opinion, which country is currently the main enemy of Georgia?” was open-ended. For the charts in this blog post, the answers other than “Russia”, including responses of “None”, were grouped into the category “Not Russia”.  

People who reported knowing English at an intermediate or advanced level named Russia as the main enemy of Georgia more frequently than people with a beginners’ or no knowledge of the language. On the other hand, almost equal shares of individuals with different levels of knowledge of Russian named Russia as Georgia’s main enemy.


Note: Original answer options “No basic knowledge [of English]” and “Beginner” were grouped into the category “No knowledge / Beginner,” and options “Intermediate” and “Advanced” were grouped into the category “Intermediate / Advanced knowledge”.

Going beyond purely demographic characteristics, people who believe that Georgia’s domestic politics are going in the wrong direction tended to name Russia as the main enemy of Georgia more often than those who think politics is going in the right direction.


Note: The original answer options, “Politics are definitely going in the wrong direction” and “Politics are mainly going in the wrong direction” were combined into the category “Politics are going in the wrong direction,” and options “Politics are definitely going in the right direction” and “Politics are mainly going in the right direction” were combined into the category “Politics are going in the right direction.” 

The findings presented in this blog post enable a slightly better understanding of the characteristics of individuals who report Russia to be the main enemy of Georgia. Younger individuals, people residing in the capital, and individuals with intermediate or advanced knowledge of English responded more frequently that Russia is the main enemy of Georgia, as well as those who think that Georgia’s domestic politics are going in the wrong direction.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Changes in public opinion between 2011 and 2017

A lot changed in Georgia between 2011 and 2017, including the government. New promises and new regulations have been made and new priorities set by politicians. A visa free regime with the Schengen zone countries came into force. An ultranationalist ‘Georgian March’ was organized. A Georgian priest was charged with conspiracy to murder the Secretary of the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the most trusted institution in Georgia. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does raise questions about whether and how public opinion has changed against the backdrop of these and other events.

Using data from five waves of CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017) and four waves of EF/CRRC’s Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the EU in Georgia survey (2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017), this blog post highlights five of the many important changes in public opinion between 2011 and 2017. We do not, however, attempt to explain or link these changes to specific events, leaving the interpretation to the reader.

CRRC’s time-series data show that:

1. Between 2011 and 2017, Georgia’s population became more aware of their rights and powers as citizens. There is an 11 percentage point increase in the share of those who think that people like themselves have the right to openly say what they think, while the share of people who think that it is important for a good citizen to be critical towards the government increased by 14 percentage points. Moreover, the share of those who agree with the statement that “People should participate in protest actions against the government, as this shows the government that the people are in charge” doubled since 2011, reaching 62% in 2017. 

2. People in Georgia acknowledged the importance of volunteering and started practicing it. The share of people who think that it is important for a good citizen to do volunteer work meeting the needs of the community without expecting any compensation increased by 38 percentage points since 2011. The share of those who report having volunteering experience themselves increased as well, although less impressively.

3. People became less trustful of other people, and of major social and political institutions. The share of people who report trusting parliament and executive and local government decreased by more than 10 percentage points in each of these cases. Distrust is on the rise not only towards government institutions, but also towards businesses and religious institutions. The share of people who report trusting banks decreased by 20 percentage points and the share of people who report trusting the religious institutions to which they belong decreased by 18 percentage points. People report less trust towards each other as well: the share of those who think that one can't be too careful in dealing with people increased by 19 percentage points.

4. Georgia’s population became less optimistic about domestic politics and more doubtful about Georgia’s prospects for EU integration. Compared to 2011, there is a 25 percentage point drop in the share of people reporting that Georgia’s domestic politics is going in the right direction, and less people now report trusting the EU. Moreover, the share of people who think that the EU threatens Georgian traditions increased from 29% to 41%. Considering the high importance people attach to respect of traditions, which has remained unchanged in Georgia during these years, this trend once again indicates decreased support for the EU in Georgia.

5. People’ assessments of their economic situation and health became worse, but they report being slightly happier overall. The share of people who report having personal debts increased by 12 percentage points, while the share of those who rate their overall health as good decreased by 10 percentage points. At the same time, the share of people who report that, overall, they are happy increased by 10 percentage points during the last seven years.

We’ve highlighted only some of the many changes in the public opinion between 2011 and 2017. To explore the data more, try CRRC’s online data analysis tool and the datasets available from caucasusbarometer.org, and share what you find with us.

People in Georgia approve of doing business with Russians, despite interstate hostility

In the 2017 wave of CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey, 40% of the population of Georgia named Russia as the main enemy of the country.  Turkey and the United States garnered the second highest share of responses with 3% each.  Yet, no particular animosity towards ethnic Russians is observed in answers to a question about people’s (dis)approval of individuals of their ethnicity doing business with Russians. This blog post examines how answers differ by people’s opinions about whether or not Russia is the main enemy of Georgia. 

Seventy-seven percent of the population of Georgia report approving of people of their ethnicity doing business with a Russian, which is one of the highest approval rates of the 14 ethnic groups asked about in the survey.  It is important to note, though, that answers to this question are subject to ‘social desirability bias,’ which is the “tendency of some respondents to report an answer in a way they deem to be more socially acceptable than would be their ‘true’ answer.


Only a slightly greater share of people who named Russia as the main enemy of Georgia report disapproving of their co-nationals doing business with a Russian, compared to those who did not name Russia as Georgia’s main enemy. These findings suggest a rather tolerant attitude towards ethnic Russians in Georgia, amidst a sizeable backdrop of opinions that identify Russia as the main enemy of Georgia. They also suggest that people in Georgia distinguish between attitudes towards “Russia” as a state and “Russians” as a people.  


Note: The question, “In your opinion, which country is currently the main enemy of Georgia?” was open-ended. For this chart, the countries other than “Russia” were combined into category “Not Russia.”

Given the antagonistic relationship between the political elites of Georgia and Russia, the evidence that interstate hostility does not necessarily equate to negative attitudes on a micro-level is important.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform

Monday, April 02, 2018

Which foreign language should children learn in schools in Georgia?

Since Georgia is a small country with a language that people outside the country rarely know, it is not surprising that people in Georgia want their children to know a foreign language. CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey has regularly asked about a foreign language which, in people’s opinion, should be mandatory in secondary schools in Georgia. Since 2009, a majority of people in Georgia have named English as such foreign language, followed, with a large gap, by the Russian language. Other languages were named by less than 2% of the population and less than 10% said that no foreign language should be mandatory.

In 2017, 69% of the population named English and 22% Russian as the foreign languages that should be mandatory in the secondary schools of Georgia. Even though English has consistently been named as the most wanted language, the share of the population naming this language decreased from 68% in 2011 to 52% in 2012, and then rebounded to 69% between 2012 and 2017. In 2012, the share of the population that named Russian as the most desired foreign language in secondary schools doubled compared to previous years and reached 32%. However, it decreased again by 10 percentage points between 2012 and 2017.



People of different ages and living in different settlement types have slightly different language preferences: 73% of people living in the capital or other urban settlements named English, while the share is lower (64%) in rural settlements. Moreover, young people tended to name English more often than older people.



The data also show that people who know English tend to suggest English should be a mandatory language in secondary schools more often than people who do not know English: 83% of those claiming to know English at an intermediate or advanced level said that this should be a mandatory language, compared to 63% of those who reported not to have basic knowledge of the language.



Despite the decline in 2012, the preference for English as a mandatory foreign language in Georgia’s schools is on the rise again. Those who know some English, live in the capital, and young people are more likely to support English being mandatory in Georgian schools.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.


Monday, March 26, 2018

Women Significantly Less Likely to Go Out to Eat in Georgia

[Note: This post was published with OC-Media. The post was written by CRRC-Georgia's President, Koba Turmanidze.]

Busy restaurants and cafes are a common sight in Georgia, and CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data suggest that restaurants and cafes have become busier over the last five years. While 27% of Georgia’s population reported going to a restaurant in 2012, five years later 50% did. There is an upward trend for both men and women, yet the data also suggests there is a significant gender gap. Taking into account other social and demographic characteristics, women are significantly less likely to go to restaurants than men.


Note: According to the instructions to this question, restaurants included pizzerias, khinkhali houses, McDonald’s, etc.

A number of factors including settlement type, age, social status, economic condition, and gender influence whether an individual goes out to eat. The findings are hardly surprising in many respects: residents of Tbilisi are more likely to go to restaurants compared to the residents of villages. Irrespective of whether a person reports being employed or unemployed, he or she is more likely to go to a restaurant than individuals who are outside the labor force, i.e. those who do not work and are not looking for a job either. Likewise, people living in households with low reported expenditures per month (250 USD or less) are less likely to go to a restaurant. Also unsurprisingly, age is negatively related with eating out: the older a person the less likely is he or she to go out to eat. Actual and perceived social status show the opposite effects of age: the more years a person spent studying in formal educational institutions, the higher are his or her chances to have gone to a restaurant. In the same manner, the higher along a hypothetical ten step ladder representing the society a person places him/herself, the more likely they are to visit restaurants.



Note: The chart displays the effect of each factor on an individual’s probability of reporting they went to a restaurant during the past six months. ‘Diamonds’ are point estimates, whereas lines show 95% confidence intervals. The further the ‘diamond’ is from the red dotted line, the larger the effect. The few ‘diamonds’ right on the red dotted line are reference categories for a variable. Rural settlements, males, individuals who do not belong to the active labor force, and individuals who did not report household spending are reference categories. Every other category should be interpreted in relation to corresponding reference category (e.g. capital residents in relation to rural residents, females in relation to males, etc.)

While all the above factors influence whether a person goes to a restaurant, gender has the largest effect of all: all else equal, women are about 10 percentage points less likely to go to a restaurant than men. Further analysis shows that more educated women are no more or less likely than less educated women to go to restaurants, women from relatively wealthy households are not different from women from poorer households, and so on.

When looking at the impact of other socio-demographic factors across the two gender groups, women are worse off in terms of going to restaurants simply because they are women. The chart below demonstrates that if we pick a male and a female of the same age between the ages of 20 and 78, the male will always have a higher chance to have reported going to a restaurant.

Similarly, if we take two people of a different gender, but identical years of education, the man will still be more likely to have eaten at a restaurant in the last six months than a women. Notably, the significant difference in terms of years of education is maintained in the group who studied for 10 to 16 years, which constitutes 84% of the population according to the 2017 Caucasus Barometer survey.



Employment status and a household’s expenditure do not entirely diminish the impact of gender either: while both males and females are equally likely to go to a restaurant if they do not belong to the active labor force, in the unemployed and employed groups, females are disadvantaged. Moreover, females from households that spent up to USD 400 in the month prior to the survey are also less likely to have eaten in a restaurant in the past six months. Interestingly, there is no gender difference in the group of relatively high spending (more than USD 400) as well as in the group which did not report their household expenditure.


The findings of this analysis suggest that gender is the single most important factor that predicts whether an individual will go to a restaurant in Georgia. Regrettably, females are disadvantaged in this regard compared to males of the same age, education, social-economic standing and settlement type, demonstrating yet another form of gender inequality in Georgia.


To explore the data used in this blog post, visit CRRC’s Online Data Analysis platform. The code used for data analysis is available here.


Koba Turmanidze is CRRC-Georgia’s President.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Temporary emigration intentions from Georgia: Do migration networks count?

The UN estimates the number of international migrants worldwide to be on the rise. Academics and policy makers continue to pay considerable attention to drivers of international migration, i.e. the factors that cause people to move from their home country, either temporarily or permanently.  While a significant body of scholarship exists on the structural ‘push’ factors of international migration, such as limited economic opportunities, poverty, poor governance, or war in migrants’ home countries, interpersonal factors are no less important in shaping migration.  This blog post investigates the latter, seeking to examine how individuals in Georgia with and without close friends and family living abroad differ in their willingness to emigrate from the country temporarily. 

Studies have been conducted that demonstrate the impact of personal networks on migration behavior.  One central theory guiding these studies is the ‘migration network theory,’ which posits that the reduced social, economic, and emotional costs of migration stemming from existing contacts who are able and willing to help new migrants ultimately ease migration, and, to a certain degree, promote it. Understanding migration networks permits a more comprehensive view of migration as a dynamic process, rather than a mechanical outcome of economic or political deprivation.  Migration networks include family, friends, neighbors, and former colleagues — essentially anyone an individual can rely on and share information about opportunities abroad, including settlement assistance.

Emigration has been an important coping strategy for the population of Georgia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey data from 2010 through 2017 indicates that the share of people in Georgia willing to temporarily emigrate has increased slightly.  In CB 2017, 55% of the adult population of Georgia responded ‘yes’ to the question: “If you had a chance, would you leave Georgia for a certain period of time to live somewhere else?”  In 2010, this share was 47%.


CB also asked two questions that can help see individuals’ temporary migration intentions in light of the migration networks they might have.  Of those who had a close relative living abroad at the time of the survey, 59% responded that they would leave Georgia temporarily to live somewhere else.  In contrast, only 40% of those without close relatives living abroad responded that they would emigrate temporarily. Similarly, individuals who reportedly had a close friend abroad were more likely to report a willingness to temporarily emigrate than those who did not. It is still important to mention, though, that about 40% of those not having a close friend or relative abroad still report willingness to temporarily emigrate from the country.


The findings presented in this blog post suggest, in accordance with the migration network theory, that social networks may play a role in people’s willingness to temporary emigrate from Georgia. Individuals with a close contact who was living abroad at the time of the survey were more likely to respond that they would leave Georgia for a certain period of time to live somewhere else.  It should be emphasized, however, that CB does not present data on actual emigration, but rather reported intentions that may or may not result in individual actions.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Dissecting Attitudes towards Pre-Marital Sex in Georgia

Many in Georgia embrace conservative attitudes about premarital sex, as a previous CRRC blog post highlighted. Attitudes are different, however, depending whether it’s a male or a female having the premarital relationship. This blog post uses data from CRRC’s 2017 Knowledge of and attitudes toward the EU in Georgia survey (EU survey) conducted for Europe Foundation to describe how justified or unjustified people of varying ages, genders, and those living in different types of settlements believe pre-marital sex to be for men and women.

In 2017, when asked, “In your opinion, how justified or unjustified is it for a woman to have a sexual relationship before marriage?” 71% of people in Georgia reported that it is ‘never justified.’  In contrast, only 38% responded that it is ‘never justified’ for a man to have a sexual relationship before marriage. Both men and women are more conservative towards women engaging in pre-marital sexual relationships than men.  However, women report that it is ‘never justified’ for a man to have pre-marital sex slightly more often than men.


Variations in the level of justification of male and female pre-marital sex can also be observed by age group and settlement type. Unsurprisingly, older people (56+) hold more conservative attitudes toward pre-marital sex than younger individuals, responding more frequently that it is ‘never justified’ for both men and women to have a sexual relationship before marriage. Nonetheless, people above the age of 55 exhibit much greater acceptance of a man having a sexual relationship before marriage than of a woman.



Both men and women in the capital and other urban settlements are more liberal than those residing in rural and ethnic minority settlements.  However, men and women in Tbilisi generally demonstrate greater acceptance of premarital sex than those in other urban settlements of Georgia. While people living in rural and ethnic minority settlements hold the most conservative attitudes in general, they are more strongly opposed to women having pre-marital sexual relationships than men, further highlighting how standards of ‘justifiable’ sexual behavior are applied to men and women differently.



The data presented in this blog post highlights a number of findings.  First, a majority of individuals in Georgia believe that women should adhere to conservative standards of sexual ‘purity,’ while men are granted greater liberty in this regard.  Secondly, even within populations that are more liberal toward pre-marital sex — men and women aged 18-35 and those residing in the capital — most people still report it is never justified for a woman have a pre-marital sexual relationship, while they are more liberal with men.  The fact that women tend to respond more frequently that it is ‘never justified’ for a woman to have a pre-marital sexual relationship than responding the same about a man demonstrates the extent to which women have internalized gendered norms regarding sexual behavior.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Partisanship and Trust in TV in Georgia

[Note: This post was first published on OC-Media. The post was written by David Sichinava, a Senior Policy Analyst at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in this blog do not represent the views of CRRC-Georgia, the National Democratic Institute, or any affiliated entity.]


One of the outcomes of the stark polarization of news media sources globally is that people tend to align to the media outlets which resonate most with their ideological beliefs. In most cases, consumption of a particular ideological media source can only reinforce one’s beliefs, which might lead to an even further polarization of the audience. These patterns can be characteristic of mass media in contexts as different as, for instance, the United States and Lebanon. As the data from the December 2017 wave of CRRC/NDI survey shows, people in Georgia also appear to be selective in trusting media that aligns with their political beliefs as well.

The two largest TV networks in Georgia, Imedi TV and Rustavi 2, tend to support different political parties in their coverage of current events. A long-term media monitoring project which was funded by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) unveiled that throughout the 2016 parliamentary and the 2017 municipal election campaigns, Imedi TV allocated more airtime to and provided positive and neutral coverage of the governing Georgian Dream (GD) party. The network dedicated less airtime to and had more negative coverage of the opposition United National Movement (UNM). In contrast, Rustavi 2 covered the ruling party negatively, while covering the UNM with neutral or positive tones. The UNM also received more airtime on Rustavi 2.

Unsurprisingly, those who name the Georgian Dream as a party closest to their views were more likely to trust Imedi TV for accurate information on politics and current affairs in Georgia than were those who named the United National Movement on the December 2017 CRRC/NDI survey. At the same time, those who named the UNM as a party closest to their views were more likely to trust Rustavi 2. No specific preference could be seen in the case of those who answered “No party”, “Don’t know”, or refused to answer the question (i.e., non-partisans).

This tendency persists across the population of different settlement types and endures even when controlling for major demographic characteristics, such as gender, age, and ethnicity. Tbilisi residents who reported either of the two political parties as being closest to their views were the most polarized: those identifying themselves with the UNM in the capital had a relatively small probability (27%) of trusting Imedi TV, while those who identify themselves with GD had a comparably low probability of trusting Rustavi 2 (32%).


Note: Points on the chart display predicted probabilities of trusting Imedi or Rustavi 2 by settlement type and party preference, while bars correspond to 95% confidence intervals. For example, the probability for a person who identifies with Georgian Dream and resides in Tbilisi to trust Imedi is about 63%, while the probability for a UNM supporter in Tbilisi to trust this TV channel is as low as 27%. These probabilities are calculated using logistic regression models. Replication data and corresponding R code can be found here.

Unsurprisingly, those who report any of the two major Georgian political parties to be closest to their views tend to trust the TV network that favorably covers their party. In contrast, the non-partisan population does not systematically differ in trusting either TV network.

To have a closer look at CRRC/NDI survey results, visit our Online Data Analysis portal.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Debt in Georgia: People living in worse-off households report having personal debt more often

According to CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey, 46% of the population of Georgia report having personal debt. Although having debt is not necessarily a bad thing, since it can enable investment to help improve a person’s economic conditions, a close look at the CB 2017 data suggests that many people in Georgia take on debt to cover basic expenses.

In addition to the question about personal debt, CB 2017 asked whether households borrowed money to buy food and to pay for utilities in the past six months. Those who reported their household borrowed money to buy food reported having personal debt more often. The same is true of people who reported their household borrowed money to pay for utilities in the past six months. Importantly, the comparison of variables measuring personal-level and household-level information has methodological limitations and the results should thus be treated with caution.

Note: Answer options to the questions “In the past 6 months, how often has your household borrowed money to buy food / to pay for utilities?” were recoded for this chart. Options “Each week”, “Each month”, and “Every other month” were combined into the category “At least every other month”. For all questions, answer options “Don’t know” and “Refuse to answer” (less than 3% if combined) are not shown on the charts in this blog post. 

Another CB question asked respondents to place their household on an imaginary 10-step ladder reflecting the economic standing of all households in the country. Similar to the above, those who indicated lower rungs reported having personal debt more often. Interestingly, approximately a third of those reporting better economic conditions of their households also reported having personal debt.



Note: A 10-point scale was used for the question, “Let’s imagine there is a 10-step ladder reflecting the economic standing of all households in Georgia today. The first rung of this ladder corresponds to the lowest economic position in society, while the 10th rung corresponds to the highest position. On which rung of this ladder do you think your household currently stands?” For this chart, the original scale was recoded into a 3-point scale, with codes ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, and ‘4’ combined into the category “Low”; codes ‘5’ and ‘6’ combined into the category ”Middle”; and codes ‘7’, ‘ 8’, ‘9’, and ‘10’ combined into the category “High”. 

People living in worse-off households report having personal debt more often than those living in better-off households. However, people living in better-off households are not debt-free either.

To have a closer look at CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data, visit our Online Data Analysis portal.

Monday, February 19, 2018

As many Georgians think the West spreads propaganda as Russia

[Note: This article was co-published with OC-Media, and written by Dustin Gilbreath. The views presented in this article do not necessarily represent the views of CRRC-Georgia, the National Democratic Institute, or any related entity.]

On 13 February, the United States released its Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community. In it, the significance of Russian influence operations in Georgia were highlighted. Just eight days earlier, on 5 February, a coalition of Georgia’s leading non-governmental organisations made an official offer to support the Government of Georgia, the EU, and NATO in their efforts to counter anti-Western propaganda.

While few experts would argue that Georgia is not a target of Russian propaganda, or that Russian propaganda is not a threat to the country, those aiming to fight it should base their efforts in fact. Otherwise, they too may be thought of as sources of propaganda. Indeed, as a December 2017 NDI-CRRC survey suggests, just as many Georgians already think Western powers spread propaganda as the share who think Russia spreads it.

In the December 2017 National Democratic Institute and CRRC-Georgia survey, respondents were asked whether they thought Russia, the European Union, and the United States spread propaganda in Georgia. The survey shows that 53% of the public think that Russia spreads propaganda in Georgia. In contrast, 45% of the public think the European Union spreads propaganda in the country, and 44% think that the US does.

While fewer people think either the EU or US alone engages in propaganda than Russia, when taken together, just as many Georgians think that the West is a source of propaganda. On the survey, 51% of the public reported that either the EU or United States engages in propaganda, a statistically indistinguishable share from the 53% that think Russia does so.

Note: In the chart above, individuals who reported that the United States spreads propaganda in Georgia or the European Union spreads propaganda in Georgia were coded as “agree” in the either US or EU bar. Individuals who reported some combination of disagree, don’t know, and refuse to answer on the two questions were coded as other. Respondents were told that propaganda is the spreading of distorted or inaccurate information with the goal of improving a country’s image or hurting an opposing country’s image. 

The believed channels of propaganda for Russia and the West are largely similar. The survey results suggest that Georgians think the most common source of foreign propaganda is Georgian language television. When it comes to European and American propaganda, the internet and social media comes in second place. In contrast, political parties are the second most commonly believed source of Russian propaganda.


The data suggest that exposing Russian propaganda could potentially lead to increased support for Euro-Atlantic integration. While the perception that the west is engaged in propaganda does not appear to impact whether Georgians support the country’s European aspirations, the perception that Russia is engaged in propaganda does. While 54% of people who think the West is engaged in propaganda support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, 50% of those who do not think the West is engaged in propaganda report the same. In contrast, people who think Russia is engaged in propaganda are 20 percentage points more likely to support Georgian integration into the European Union compared with those who don’t.

Russian propaganda clearly represents a threat to stability in Georgia, as well as the wider world. For actors to counter it, they should base their activities in fact to avoid being viewed as sources of propaganda themselves, something which the US and EU have failed to do in Georgia. While it appears this has yet to impact attitudes towards Euro-Atlantic integration, it could, just as the belief that Russia engages in propaganda is associated with higher support for European integration. Importantly for those engaged in debunking misinformation, the exposure of Russian propaganda may lead to the strengthening of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic orientation.