05 April 2011, 23:30

Most respondents in Kvemo-Kartli and Samtskhe-Dzhavakheti believe that ethnic minorities are protected

The rights of ethnic minorities in Georgia are duly protected, said 60.4 percent of respondents in the region of Kvemo-Kartli region, populated by Azerbaijanis, and in Samtskhe-Dzhavakheti, populated mostly by Armenians. This figure was voiced out on March 30 at presentation of the sociological study conducted in these regions last December.

The poll was conducted by the Rustavi-based NGO named "CiDA" (Civil Development Agency) and covered both the minorities and the Georgian population of the above regions. 500 residents of Kvemo-Kartli and Samtskhe-Dzhavakheti each answered the questions. The results are posted on the website of the "CiDA" and were printed out as a 1000-copy magazine.

Most of the respondents considered Georgia as their homeland; only 6.2 percent of non-Georgian respondents named it the place of residence; and 3 percent - the place of birth. While in Kvemo-Kartli only 3.5 percent of respondents named Azerbaijan as their birthplace of, in Samtskhe-Dzhavakheti 28.3 believe that Armenia is their homeland.

The "Caucasian Knot" correspondent was told by Giorgi Andguladze, an activist of the NGO "Democratic Union of Meskhetians", that within the last 3 years only 5 percent of the respondents had heard about interethnic conflicts in the region. According to his story, the problem of ethnic conflict has lost its relevance; however, we need to work harder not to worsen the situation.

"However, not everything is so smooth: while there are no conflicts between Georgians and Armenians in Samtskhe-Dzhavakheti, there are problems, for example, with resettlement of Meskhetian Turks. The local population has prejudices against mass resettlement," said Giorgi Andguladze.

The study also reports that for 14.7 percent of non-Georgian respondents the Georgian language is their mother tongue; and 37 percent said that they are fluent in Georgian. On the other hand, 26.6 percent of non-Georgian respondents in Samtskhe-Dzhavakheti and 30 percent in Kvemo-Kartli do not know the Georgian language. According to the similar survey in 2009, 42 percent of the population of these two regions could not speak the state language of Georgia.

According to Tamar Kintsurashvili, Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of Georgia, these figures indicate the correct state policy of integration.

Zaur Khalilov, Chairman of the Foundation for Civil Integration of Georgia, said that in Samtskhe-Dzhavakheti and Kvemo-Kartli most of the respondents trust the president. According to the published data, the president was supported by 81.7 percent of the respondents. For comparison, in 2009 the figure was about 80 percent.

He noted that democratic institutions are poorly developed in these regions; therefore, in his opinion, people trust in the president, and least of all - in political parties.

As compared with the previous study, the respondents' trust level went down in the army (from 86 percent to 79.5 percent), the police (from 84 percent to 79 percent), being low in political parties (26.2 percent), business organizations (33.2 percent) and mass media (40.5 percent).

Besides, according to the poll, 65 percent of respondents trust in religious institutions.

Author: Beslan Kmuzov Source: CK correspondent

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