EU and NATO support rises in Georgia, Russia viewed as threat – NDI
The results of a public opinion survey conducted in Georgia in 2017 by the National Democratic Institute and the Caucasus Research Resource Centers, indicates that EU support increased from 71% to 80%. It also revealed that NATO support is still strong, with 68% in favor of the organisations’ membership. Similar to the EU, this support is relatively low among the elderly and minority communities.
Supporters of NATO membership believe that it will increase the country’s security (71%), with 30% saying that NATO membership will benefit the country’s economy. However, the survey also shows a lack of information about NATO in the population. For example, a quarter of the population (23%) thinks Georgia is already a NATO member. The majority of the population (78%) thinks that Russia is a threat to neighboring countries. Nearly half of the population thinks Russia has had a negative impact on Georgia’s economy (41%), safety (41%) and politics (42%) in recent years.
47% of the respondents argue that there is Russian propaganda in Georgia, distributed through Georgian TV channels, political parties and social media. The NDI Georgian office Director, Laura Thornton, said that the results of the misinformation campaign are evident in certain parts of the population.
“There are remarkable views, such as one suggesting the EU and NATO leading to Russian aggression and being harmful to Georgia’s culture and identity. It’s important that the country’s leaders and various responsible parties dedicate greater effort and information to vulnerable groups such as elderly people, the rural population, and regions densely populated by ethnic minorities. They should continue to spread efficient and preventive messages in response to the misinformation.”
Opinions regarding the outcome of the collapse of the Soviet Union are somewhat divided: 48% considers it good while 42% bad.
Opinions on national security is divided as well. About half of the population (52%) believes that Georgia is a safe country, while the other half disagrees.