30 Apr

Political change in Armenia

Armenia experienced its most profound political change since becoming independent when former President and briefly Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigned. Sargsyan served two terms as president of Armenia, but in 2015, he changed the constitution which moved Armenia from a semi-presidential system to a parliamentary one. Then, despite promising otherwise, he was elected Prime Minister by his party immediately after his last presidential term ended this month.

This sparked a protest organized by opponents to Sargsyan, opposition coalition Yelk (Way Out), but mostly the Civil Contract Party. These efforts were lead by charismatic multilingual 42-year-old opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan. Pashniyan is no newcomer, he has been battling Sargsyan for a decade.

I’m writing about the protests in other venues, but one of my main points is that Armenians were READY for this. Here are some analyses from the Caucasus Barometer to support this. (The CB has some nice online data analysis tools, but I made my own graphics to show some points better visually).

Armenians don’t trust Sargsyan [link to CB].

This line graph shows that the trust/distrust threshold was crossed in 2010 and for the past few years, very few Armenians trusted Sargsyan and many distrusted him.

This is a bar graph version of above. You can see that trust basically swapped.

Similarly, people were unhappy with the direction that politics were going on [link to CB].

Although don’t knows and refuse to answers were high, in the past few years, very few Armenians felt that the country was going in the right direction.

Armenians have been fairly consistent in their opinion about Armenia being a democracy [link to CB].

Election fraud and manipulation was widely connected with Sargsyan and the CB shows it [link to CB].

Additionally, Armenians are pretty keen on criticizing their government and protesting against it. [Link to CB on being critical] [Link to CB on protest]

Also, compared to Azerbaijan and Georgia, Armenians are especially keen on these things. (These are from the 2013 CB, the last that compared all 3 countries – critical, protest).

….

Added May 1 – trust toward Parliament [link to CB]

06 Jan

IDPs and religiosity

ISIS/L is on everyone’s minds nowadays. Some people are concerned that IDPs in Azerbaijan are especially vulnerable to ISIS recruiting because of their marginalized position in society. (I did a blog post on attitudes toward IDPs in Azerbaijan in 2013.)

Some colleagues asked if there was any evidence that Azerbaijani IDPs are more likely to be Sunni or Shia and how religious they are. I took to the 2011 Caucasus Barometer (the most recent that asked about IDP status) and looked at IDPs versus non-IDPs and religion.

I should mention here that measuring religiosity is incredibly difficult and especially so in post-Soviet societies where there is a complicated historical blip, so to speak. With religion being suppressed during the Soviet period, certainly some religious actions were lost. As such, one needs to look at a variety of measures of religiosity. Robia Charles has some great work on this here and here.

Respondents were asked to name their religion.

This is for official IDP status. Note that most respondents named “Islam” not Sunni and Shia Islam as their religion. Also there are slightly more respondents saying Shia within the IDP population than the non-IDP population. 6% isn’t a huge different though. And, importantly, no IDPs (in this sample) said Sunni Islam. This isn’t surprising given that IDP regions are traditionally Shiite anyway.

namedreligion

I looked at other measures of religiosity including self-report, frequencies of fasting, attendance of religious services, importance of religion in life and differences between IDPs and non-IDPs, and then Sunni/Shia/Islam IDPs and non-IDPs were quite insignificant. There were small thinks like IDPs are less likely to fast, but hey, IDPs also might have greater hunger problems, right?

This is by no means a sample of the entire IDP population and I’m certain that there is great variance among IDPs. But this analysis shows that IDPs being more likely to be Sunni is erroneous at least.

08 Oct

Caucasian attitudes toward joining international organizations

There is so much discussion about Armenia’s possible membership in the Eurasian Economic Union. Today I was in the 2013 Caucasus Barometer for other reasons and noticed that the EEU came up in a question. I’ve also posted the results for EU and NATO.

nato

eu

eeu

I’m a little annoyed that EEU wasn’t asked about in Azerbaijan. This is sort of a proxy question for attitude toward Russia.

21 Apr

Material Deprivation 2013 update

Material deprivation

Although many studies use income as a single indicator of socioeconomic status, certainly income is not a complete or direct measure of total economic wellbeing (Falkingham, 1999; Ringen, 1998). We use a consensual poverty measure, where the greater the number of consumable items absent, the greater the degree of material deprivation (Demirchyan & Thompson, 2008; Menchini & Redmond, 2009; Nolan & Whelan, 1996; for an extensive review, see Ouellette, Burstein, Long, & Beecroft, 2004), or what Boarini and Mira (2006) call objective satisfaction of basic needs. These have been shown to be most appropriate in the post-Soviet context (Falkingham, 1999; Kandiyoti, 1999; Rose & Mcallister, 1996), as income is low, irregular, and often not official. The scale used here (described by Rose, 2002) asked “what phrase best describes your family’s financial situation” and provided five choices.

Here’s the past.

And here’s some comparison over time (not comparing means, just giving frequencies.

MDyears

 

08 Apr

Trust and Relying on Others in the Caucasus

I’m working on a project right now that looks at trust, so I wanted to share some results from the 2013 Caucasus Barometer.

Here’s some work on trust from 2012. And more from the EBRD Life in Transitions study.

First, the generalized trust question – there is scholarly debate about how people interpret this question, but it seems like many people think that this means other people in the street and thus is tied up with sense of safety.

trust

In this case, Armenians are the least trusting, Georgians the most. (In an ANOVA, all these differences reported here are statistically significant).

 

But then when people are asked about their family/friends/neighbors helping, things change.

money

ill

reapir

In all of these, Azerbaijanis are far less likely to believe that their family/friends/whomever would help them.

Without a doubt, “help” isn’t the same as trust, but it does say something about being able to rely on others for help. And it looks like there are some very different patterns in these states.

01 Apr

Facebook in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia

Number of Facebook users in the Caucasus is a popular topic. I did this analysis with data from Facebook itself.

From the 2013 Caucasus Barometer, we see that 20% of Armenian adults, 16% of Azerbaijani adults, and 26% of Georgian adults use Facebook at least once a week. (Also provided are the percentages out of Internet users.) This matches up pretty well with the Facebook information that had the following for those older than 14 in the countries: Armenia: 25%, Azerbaijan: 19%, and Georgia: 34%.

facebookusers

The Caucasus Barometer also asked about number of friends. This is always difficult because people aren’t sitting at their computers/phones and often have a hard time estimating.

friends2

The Caucasus Barometer asked about most frequent Facebook activities this year. See the chart above. I would have loved to have seen all activities asked about separately, as it is hard to really pin down one activity on Facebook, but oh well.

Interestingly, newsfeed reading is the most popular activity in Armenia and Georgia, whereas there is much greater variance in Azerbaijan. I suspect that the variance is due to the use of Facebook as a “free”(ish) space for deliberation in Azerbaijan whereas in Armenia and Georgia there are other places for free discussion.

fbactivities

 

15 Mar

Voting in 2013 – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia

The new Caucasus Barometer is out and I did some analysis on voting behaviors. (Here’s 2011 and Here’s 2012.)

vote

These voting rates seem to match up with the official reported rates.

fairness

Wow – this is all over the place. Georgia isn’t a surprise, Armenia is interesting, and Azerbaijan is depressing.

pARTICIPATE

Interesting with regard to the reported turn outs.

04 Mar

Azerbaijan and gender online 2013 sneak peek

Okay okay okay… a sneak preview.

Previous posts on Azerbaijan and gender online for context…

* Gender online, Azerbaijan, 2012, Caucasus Barometer
* Regional and gender Internet activities, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 2012, Caucasus Barometer
* Internet infographic, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 2012, Caucasus Barometer
* Social networking sites, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 2012, Caucasus Barometer
* All technology, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (with gender and regional), 2011, Caucasus Barometer
* All technology, Azerbaijan (with gender), 2011, Caucasus Barometer

And here’s one sneak peek at what’s going on in Azerbaijan with women getting online in 2013.

sex

04 Mar

2013 Internet Penetration – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia

My favorite day of the year is here! No, not Fat Tuesday – but new Caucasus Barometer data day!

I’ll be posting a variety of analyses over the coming weeks, but here’s the one everyone loves – percent of adult Internet users in each country.

First, let us all acknowledge that I hate talking about Internet penetration because I think that it is meaningless to talk about percentage of users without contextualizing the economic, social, political, and cultural environment in which Internet use exists.

And here are dozens of other posts about technology use in the Caucasus.

This is data from the Caucasus Barometer, which is a trustworthy source. Read more about it at the link or check out their page and play around with the data. These results are all for adults.

First, this year’s distribution:

freq3

You can see that a large percentage of Caucasians aren’t using the Internet. Again, I’d rather be talking about who those people are (poorer, older, rural, less educated, women) than just percentages, but alas, this is what you all want, isn’t it? 😉 You can also see that most Internet users are online daily, although in Azerbaijan, they’re fairly divided between daily and once a week.

Now, on to the trends over time:

Next, those who ever use:

ever

Ever used – this is a bit meaningless, as the benefits of Internet use are certainly relative to how often one is using it. Getting online less than one a month is an entirely different experience than being online daily (or all day long as is often the case.) But again, people are really interested in this. Each country saw some growth, but certainly the growth will  slow down as time passes.

Daily use trends:

daily

In my eyes, daily use is the most meaningful measure here. Those who are online daily are getting the most out of their Internet use. Once again, you can see that there is a huge gap between Armenia and Georgia with Azerbaijan. I’ve discussed this at length, but one reason for this is the lower percentage of Azerbaijani women online. But there are other reasons too. In the coming weeks I’ll elaborate on this.

For those that wonder if these Azerbaijan numbers are legitimate, I point you to this blog post.

Coming soon with be posts on:

gender differences
social networking site use
ownership of technology

I’m happy to answer questions!