Thursday, September 27, 2012

Youth and Politics in Georgia

Since 2011, CRRC has been involved in the Memory, Youth, Political Legacy, and Civic Engagement (MYPLACE), a four-year project funded by the European Commission. The project aims at exploring young people’s social participation in Georgia influenced by historical contexts of totalitarianism and populism in Europe. Among others, the objectives of the MYPLACE project include (1) conceptualization of youth civic engagement and youth activism in national, regional, and European frameworks; (2) understanding and measuring cross-regional political participation of the young generation based on ethnicity, class, and gender differences; and (3) studying populist and radical youth activism in order to contribute to policymaking and the management of youth political extremism across Europe. 

This project research is based on a mixed method approach consisting of survey data, including the CRRC data, interviews, and ethnographic research instruments. This methodology aims at not only generating fresh data within the pan-European context but also measuring different levels of participation as well as understanding the meanings that young people attach to it.        
MYPLACE team members from CRRC have recently published a blog about youth political participation and interest in the upcoming October parliamentary elections in Georgia. To access the blog, click here

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

To Vote or Not to Vote? Civic Participation in Georgia

By Milena Oganesyan

As Georgians prepare for parliamentary elections set for October 1, 2012, political parties have entered the final stage of the pre-elections race. One of the important attributes of active citizenship and civic engagement is voting in elections. This blog explores Georgians’ attitudes toward voting in elections based on age group and gender differences. In this regard, CRRC conducted a countrywide survey in 2011 on Georgians’ attitudes about volunteerism and civic participation in Georgia. The survey revealed that 75% of Georgians living in the capital think that voting in elections is a very important characteristic of a good citizen. Over half of those living in urban (68%) and rural (57%) areas also believe that a good citizen should participate in voting. However, Georgians in the capital seem to be more engaged in political processes in the country than those in urban and rural areas.

When survey respondents were asked whether they would vote if the parliamentary elections were held next Sunday, up to 64% said they would participate. At the same time, about 12% of Georgian citizens did not intend to cast their votes.

When split by age groups, the data show that Georgians aged 36 or older are more willing to participate in parliamentary elections (up to 66%) than the younger age group. Thus, the older generation seems to be more actively engaged in voting.

However, there are no significant differences in Georgians’ decisions to vote in parliamentary elections, when split by gender. In conclusion, based on the 2011 Volunteerism and Civic Participation survey, more than half of those surveyed in Georgia said that they would vote if parliamentary elections were held next Sunday and most Georgians agree that voting is an important element of civic participation.

You can explore these and related questions regarding Georgia and the wider South Caucasus region by visiting CRRC’s interactive Online Data Analysis tool online at

Monday, September 03, 2012

Nagorno-Karabakh: Prospects for a Difficult Reconciliation (Armenia)

This blog focuses on public opinion in Armenia regarding the Nagorno Karabakh conflict using data from the 2011 Caucasus Barometer (CB). This follows a similar blog on the same set of questions asked in Azerbaijan. The results show some interesting similarities and dissimilarities between the two neighboring countries. Both populations show a great deal of uncertainty about when the conflict will be resolved. Over half of the Armenian population believes that a resolution can be found by peaceful negotiations. Also, most of the population thinks Russia, rather than Turkey, should be involved in the conflict resolution process. Finally, over half of the Armenian population favors recognizing Nagorno Karabakh as a formal part of Armenia, and over half say they would also accept Nagorno Karabakh as an independent country.

Source: CB 2009, 2010, 2011
The figure above shows that unemployment continues to be the most important issue in the country (44% in 2011)—compared to Azerbaijan in which unemployment is the second most important issue (after territorial integrity). With respect to perspectives on conflict resolution, 38% of Armenians have no idea about when the conflict will be resolved and 24% think Armenia and Azerbaijan will never be able to find a solution. 4% think that the territorial conflict has already been resolved, and 3% believe there will be a resolution within the next year. Finally, 18% are confident that a solution will be found within 10 years, and 12% say this will occur in more than 10 years.

Source: CB 2011
Despite this widespread uncertainty, Armenians are more confident about there being a possible peaceful resolution to the conflict rather than a resolution by force. Just about 61% believe that a solution can be found within the next 5 years by peaceful negotiations. About 21% consider the recourse to force very and rather likely (taken together) within the next 5 years.

With regard to favored solutions to the conflict, 60% of Armenians favor recognizing Nagorno Karabakh as a formal part of Armenia. Just over half of the population (58%) says they would also accept Nagorno Karabakh as an independent country. As in the results from Azerbaijan, very few Armenians think joint governance of the region by Armenia and Azerbaijan is a good idea (76% of Armenians say they would not accept this). Finally, the majority say they would never accept Nagorno Karabakh being within Azerbaijani boundaries without autonomy (74%), even if the region were granted a certain degree of autonomy (77%).

Source: CB 2011
 Finally, when asked which countries or groups should be involved as a third party in the peace dialogue, 72% of Armenians favor Russia, followed by 49% who favor France, and similar figures as found in Azerbaijan for the European Union (43% compared to 40% in Azerbaijan) and the United States (36% compared to 35% in Azerbaijan). Only 8% of Armenians favor Turkey being involved in finding a solution. However, it is worth noting that a large number of respondents from both Armenia (72%) and Azerbaijan (53%) would welcome greater involvement from Russia.

Source: CB 2011
Taken together, Armenian and Azerbaijani populations both display uncertainty about when the conflict will be resolved. In Armenia more than half of the population believes that a solution can be found within the next 5 years by peaceful negotiations. More Armenians prefer Russia to Turkey as the main third party to be involved in the conflict resolution process. Finally, with regard to possible solutions, over half of the Armenian population would welcome formal recognition of Nagorno Karabakh as a formal part of their country and 58% say they are ready to accept it as an independent country.

Interested in knowing more about these survey questions and how they differ with respect to socio-demographic groups in Armenia? Visit CRRC’s fun and easy Online Data Analysis tool online at