Over the last 15 years, Georgia has undertaken drastic reforms in various sectors with some of these reforms becoming a beacon of changefor our neighbors. The most notable example has been the Traffic Police reforms that replaced what was a terribly broken and corrupted system. Before these reforms, corruption was a lifestyle in which bribing underpaid, undisciplined, and completely unqualified officers 3 or 5 GEL was the norm for every single driver. This particular corruption has now been completely eliminated.
However, corruption still exists on the ground level in all of Georgia’s neighboring countries on various levels. In Russia, for example, there have been many cases of police corruptionbeing caught on dashboard cameras.
Recent Levada/GORBI polls in Russia and Georgia asked several questions to populations of both countries with the aim of assessing the knowledge of police reforms in Georgia and how feasible it would be to enact the same reforms in Russia.
While the absolute majority of Georgia respondents are aware of police reforms in Georgia, only one third of Russians are well aware or even “heard something” about these reforms. 62% of Russian respondents have not heard about them at all.
Interestingly, in both countries the demographic of people who have never heard of the reforms are younger (18-24 years old) or older (65 and over).The large number of younger people who are unaware of the reforms canbe explained because the respondents were quite young or had not beenborn yet when the reforms were indorsed.
The overwhelming majority of Georgian citizens (87%) believe that police reforms had a positive effect on the quality of services provided by the police,while significantly fewer Russians believe the same (38%). Only 3% of surveyed Georgians thought that after these reforms no changes had been made, the same is believed by almost quarter (23%) of Russians.
Chart 2:Q. 1. How the reforms have affected the quality of police (job) performance in Georgia?
Survey also asked respondents if it is possible to hold reforms with the same positive results in Russia?Both Russians and Georgians think that the same positive results could be feasible for Russia as well (66%), and slightly more Georgians (22% )than Russian respondents (16%) don’t believe in that possibility.
The bottom line is that hopefully and slowly Russians will become more aware of the fact that Georgians have lived for 15 years in a corruption-free society and will start pushing their own government to do the same. While the process will be slow, it’s the only possibility given the current state of Russian politics. I hope that we can export these ideas alongside our wine and vegetables.
GORBI is a regional hub for partner organizations and international clients. Since 2003, GORBI remains an exclusive member of Gallup International research network for its two decades of experience in survey research in post-Soviet Union countries, as well as Mongolia and Iraq. This data was provided exclusively to the Financial.