19 May

Attitudes toward homosexuality in the Caucasus

There has been a lot of activity related to homosexuality in the Caucasus this week. Armenia’s favorite LGBT-friendly bar was firebombed, Azerbaijan is hosting Eurovision, and Georgia has had some LGBT activism and negative responses.

So, in light of this, here is some analysis of CRRC data on attitudes toward homosexuality in the Caucasus to get a sense of how the public feels about homosexuality.

Respondents were asked, on a scale of 1-10, how justifable is homosexuality.

I must add though, that all of these responses should be taken with a grain of salt. If one were to really try to measure attitudes toward homosexuality (or more likely measuring homonegativity) in the Caucasus, there would be totally different ways to go about it – like using vignettes or some other more detailed measurement like this one or this.

I don’t think that asking people if homosexuality is justified is an appropriate way to get at this topic. CRRC asked a lot of different questions about values in the Caucasus and I’m glad that they included this, but as a social scientist, I cannot stand behind this sort of jumping into a topic without a lot of work put forth on measurement. (That being said, if anyone is interested and wants to fund this research, please let me know! It’d be a great project.)

But something is better than nothing, so, here it goes…

(This infographic is quite boring, as there isn’t much to say.)

Link to full version

15 May

Azerbaijan and Eurovision

After a long love affair with Europe’s campiest song contest, I’m very excited to see it be hosted in the Caucasus this year. However, there are of course many challenges here.

Sarah Kendzior and I have a piece in Slate about Azerbaijan’s demonization of the Internet in light of Eurovision.

07 May

Internet Freedom exists in Azerbaijan?

From Interfax

January 17, 2012 Tuesday 2:04 PM MSK

President Aliyev backs unrestricted Internet access in Azerbaijan

LENGTH: 170 words


Unhindered access to the Internet should help bolster freedom of speech in Azerbaijan, the country’s President Ilham Aliyev said.
“Azerbaijan supports freedom of speech and freedom of information. It has a democratic society. And we need to further reinforce democratic foundations. Unrestricted access to the Internet and freedom of speech naturally go hand in hand,” Aliyev said at a government session, which addressed the results of Azerbaijan’s socioeconomic development in 2011.

The president welcomed the growing number of Internet subscribers in the country, saying that international telecommunication companies’ reports place Azerbaijan among the leading Internet user countries in the CIS.

“The telecommunication sphere is key to scientific and technological progress. Telecommunication technologies are a leading sector in the world. It will determine a ratio of forces in the future. That is why we are paying great attention to it,” Aliyev said.

01 May

Azerbaijan Internet Penetration – conflicting stories

I stumbled across this article from Trend News out of Azerbaijan (I can’t link because it is from an academic news search service). I’m going to take this apart line by line. Blue is the original, my text is red.

Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan

April 7, 2012 Saturday

Internet penetration level among home users in Azerbaijan hits 69 percent

BYLINE: H. Valiyev, Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan

April 07–Internet penetration level among home users in Azerbaijan is 69 percent, the analysis on the current state of information technologies in the country conducted by the Azerbaijan Marketing Association said.

What is a home user? Do they mean how many households in Azerbaijan have an Internet connection?

According to my analysis of CRRC data, only 11% of households have a PC with Internet and another 5% have mobile Internet – so sort of home Internet.

According to the association, about 73 percent of households in Baku have at least one user of the global network. This index by regions hits 59 percent.

Again, according to my analysis, this is just not true. 27% of Baku households have some sort of Internet. 15% of regional cities and 7% of village households have some sort of Internet.

Even if they meant a user – someone that has ever used the Internet, only 26% of all Azerbaijanis have ever used according to the CRRC.

Dial-up share in the republic is 23 percent. About 16 percent of Internet users of the capital and 28 percent of the population in the regions have the access to the Internet via this technology.

This I do believe. It is possible that 23% of Internet users are on dial-up. I don’t have this data from Azerbaijan, but in neighboring Armenia dial-up users are about 14% of all Internet users, so it is possible.

ADSL broadband market share is 42 percent. This type of connection in the capital market is 44 percent, the regional market — 39 percent.

This is possible. 11% of all Azerbaijanis use a PC to get online, so it is feasible that 42% of those users are on ADSL.

The share of users having access to the Internet via mobile phones (3G technology) is 20 percent in the republic (in Baku — 20 percent, the regions — 21 percent).

This is possibly close to the truth. 5% of Azerbaijanis have mobile Internet only and another 5% have both mobile and PC Internet. 16% of people in Baku have mobile Internet of some sort.

About 16 percent of the population get access to the Internet via other types of wireless access. The share of the capital market on this index is 19 percent, regional market — 9 percent.

Not sure on this one.

The satisfaction of end-user with Internet service provider’s services is insufficient. Such factors as reliability of service, technical support, access speed and quality of services were evaluated on a five point scale. The evaluation of the respondents was 3.8 points for all these criteria. Only the cost of providers’ services was estimated at 3.9 points.

This isn’t written (or translated?) very well, but I imagine it could be true.

Despite the relatively high customer satisfaction with Internet providers’ services, about 23 percent of consumers are willing to change the provider of Internet services, and only 15 percent are loyal to their provider.

Four percent of respondents are willing to change Internet service provider. About 19 percent of users also consider this opportunity. There is no difference for 30 percent of users where they get access to the Internet, 26 percent of respondents faced the difficulty with a choice, 15 percent are loyal, and only 7 percent are not prepared to choose Internet provider.

Okay, whatever.

The vast majority of respondents (65 percent) have access to the Internet at home, 25 percent — at work, 28 percent — in the Internet clubs, 36 percent — in any place (via mobile phones), 8 percent — at schools.

Here’s my analysis of CRRC data – this is just of Internet users, mind you. Their numbers sort of match up with these but sort of don’t.

At home from my computer / laptop 38%
At work 18%
From my friends’ computer / laptop 8%
From my cell phone 10%
In Internet cafes 23%


About 51 percent use the Internet daily, 38 percent — several times a week, five percent — once a week, four percent — more than once per month, one percent falls to users having access to the Internet once a month, one percent — once in three months.

Here’s my analysis of the CRRC data on this, which doesn’t really match up does it?:

Never 62.20%
Less than monthly 6.3
Monthly 2.5
Weekly 5.9
Daily 6.7


About 63 percent use the Internet to download multimedia content (music, video, internet radio), 52 percent — send and receive e-mail, 40 percent — receive information about products and services, 39 percent — online-games, 21 percent — telephone calls, 19 percent — receive information from the electronic media (to download e-books), and 18 percent — to download the software.

I don’t have these exact activities, but here’s what I do have – and again, this is JUST Internet users. Doesn’t match up with their stuff:

Search info 58%
Email 38%
Facebook 35%
Music/video 27%
News 24%
Other SNS 19%
Games 15%
Skype 10%
Dating sites 9%
Forums 7%
Shop 3%
Read/write blog 2%
Bank 2%


The vast majority of users of desktop and laptop computers pays special attention to the protection of personal data. Antivirus solutions are installed in 94 percent of desktop computers (in Baku — 94 percent, in the regions — 96 percent) and in 93 percent of laptops (in Baku — 92 percent, in the regions — 96 percent).

I don’t have anything on this.


So, my assessment? This marketing firm probably did not engage in the proper sampling techniques to make inferences about the Azerbaijani population (like CRRC does) and also probably lied about the Internet rate — maybe to generate more business? Maybe because they were paid to?

What do I say?

o rly?



ETA: here’s another similar crazy news story

Internet penetration rate in Azerbaijan double world average (PHOTO)


LENGTH: 201 words

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 6 / Trend H.Veliyev /

The Azerbaijan Marketing Association has presented on Friday the results of research into IT in Azerbaijan. The results were presented on Friday by Rahim Huseynov, the chairman of the association.

The association conducted a study of reforms implemented in recent years.

Studies have shown that in 2011, 56 percent of Azerbaijan’s population has at least one personal computer. On average, there are 22 computers for every 100 people.

The rate of Internet penetration, according to the association, was 68 percent, or double the world average.

As noted at the presentation, according to the World Economic Forum, Azerbaijan’s rating has improved by nine points and the country ranked 61 among 142 countries.

The event also provided an overview of the ICT market of the CIS countries over the past five years.

Some 5,868 respondents participated in the social survey on the rate of use of ICT in Azerbaijan, conducted by the Association of Marketing.

“During the survey, we were primarily interested in the use and attitudes to ICT,” Huseynov said.

The association believes the results will help the business sector take appropriate steps and build their investment policy.