Georgians Are Not Satisfied with Democracy

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The FINANCIAL — In 2010, Georgians were happier with the way democracy was developing in their country than most other CIS or soviet bloc countries polled; 40% of those asked said they were satisfied with their democracy. 


Not surprisingly, they were still much less satisfied than the rest of the established democracies in Europe, who had an average satisfaction of 62%. Georgians were, however, the most likely of all countries in this analysis to favor gradual societal change through reforms, and the least likely to favor radical change through revolutionary action. 


As part of the last European Values Survey wave, GORBI polled 1500 Georgians on their attitudes toward democracy and political action.  Respondents in Georgia and elsewhere were asked, “On the whole, are you satisfied with the way democracy is developing in our country?” Predictably, citizens of the ex-soviet countries included in this analysis were all less likely to express satisfaction than their western counterparts.  


Unique Cases — There was one outlier, Kosovo, that was far more satisfied than even most established democracies, with a full 70% saying they were either very or rather satisfied. Only one country, Luxembourg, had a more satisfied democracy (75% satisfied).  There are a couple of possible explanations for this. First, Kosovo only very recently won its independence, in 2008; the people of the country may still be experiencing a nationalistic bump in approval.  Alternatively, this recent independence may mean that Kosovars, who certainly have had their share of troubles in recent history, have not yet experienced the growing pains that seem inseparable from, and most easily attributable to, being a developing democracy.  Finally, Yugoslavia’s relationship to the USSR was quite different from the other countries included in this analysis.  This may have played a role as well, but I was unable to get access to EVS polls conducted in the rest of the Yugosphere at the time of this article’s writing, so these explanations cannot be discussed in depth.

See also  Time Shifting 


The other notable case in this data is Greece.  The economic crises of the early 2000s and of 2008, and subsequent austerity measures, have affected this country’s character greatly.    Of those established democracies included, Greece was by far the least happy with their democracy.  Their satisfaction ratings in these polls were virtually the same as Georgia’s, the variation falling within the margin of error. This survey was conducted in Greece between April and June of 2010, and the first of the most recent major strikes and demonstrations began May 5th.  This undoubtedly colored the respondents’ opinions on civic engagement; Greeks were the least likely to prefer gradual change through reforms (66%), and were the most likely to say that their “present society must be valiantly defended against all changes (20%)”


There were 1500 Georgians included in this analysis. The error margins for studies of this kind are +- 3.5% at a 95% confidence interval. This summary is exclusively provided to The FINANCIAL.



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