In 2008 Georgia fought a short international war with Russia which resulted in the occupation of the Tskhinvali region by Russia. Although the war ended quickly it did not lead to a peace agreement between the two countries. The security situation has since normalized although tensions between Russia and Georgia erupt time and again in diplomatic exchanges. In our country study we concentrate on how the population overall and in the border region assess the quality of peace and security and how the media might influence the perception.
In April 2018 we surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2158 people in 74 settlements (see map). The survey included a wide range of questions on the perceptions of security and stability and on media consumption. It was implemented by the Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) Georgia.
The survey was supplemented with 11 semi-structured interviews with government officials, journalists and civil society representatives.
When asked about whether the country was heading towards peaceful times or political instability, the respondents were fairly evenly split between these two options, irrespective of whether they lived close to administrative border lines or were harmed in the war of August 2008.
The respondents were also equally split on the question of a peaceful agreement regarding the status of South Ossetia, if they voiced an opinion. About half of the respondents thought that such an agreement was likely or very likely during the next five years, while the other half thought it was unlikely or very unlikely. About 27% replied with “don’t know”.
When asked about a possible clash of Georgian and Russian armed forces at the South Ossetian administrative border line, about one third of respondents reported to don’t know. Another 30% thought that such a clash was likely or very likely in the next five years.