TBILISI, DFWatch–42 percent of Georgians think that Russia is a threat to Georgia, but that the threat is exaggerated. 26 percent think Russia is a real threat to Georgia, while 23 percent think Russia is no threat to Georgia. 9 percent don’t know, while one percent refused to answer the question.
This is a finding of a new survey conducted by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in March of 2013.
38 percent of those questioned says that they like Georgia’s current relations with Russia. 49 percent don’t like it, while 12 percent don’t know.
In November, 2012, only 12 percent said they were satisfied with the current relations with Russia, while 79 percent said there weren’t and in June, 2012, NDI’s survey showed that 5 percent approved relations with Russia then and 87 percent disapproved.
The questionnaire included separate issues about Georgia’s relations with Russia. People were asked whether they approve of negotiations about returning Georgian wine on the Russian market, which 84 percent approved, and 4 percent did not.
At the same time, 76 percent supports Georgia’s declared goal to become member of the EU against 5 percent, who says it is not acceptable. The rest don’t know or do not answer. In November, 2012, 77 percent supported government’s stated goal to join the EU against four percent. In June, the same year 70 percent were positive to Georgia’s goal to join the EU.
73 percent supports Georgia’s goal to become member of NATO, against five percent who are against. In November, 2012, 71 percent were for Georgia’s goal to join the NATO. 8 percent were against. In June, 2012, 62 percent of the questioned supported Georgia joining NATO, while 10 percent were against.
16 percent believe that Georgia will become a member of NATO in the next four years; 17 percent think this will happen after 16 percent. 12 percent thinks Georgia will never join NATO, but the rest 55 percent doesn’t know.
In November of 2012 22 percent of the questioned believed that Georgia would join NATO before 2016. 17 percent thought it would happen after 2016, while nine percent it would never happen. 51 percent then didn’t answer to this question.
In October of 2012 the Georgian Dream coalition defeated Mikheil Sakashvili’s party in parliamentary election and formed the new government, which declared unchanged foreign policy direction to join the EU and NATO, but the Prime Minister and the government officials also said that Georgia should get in order relations with Russia.
The two states started negotiations to bring Georgian wine and mineral waters back to the Russian market, as Russia blocked them in 2006 giving official explanation that the product quality ‘was poor.’
Shortly after coming to power Bidzina Ivansihvili, Prime Minister appointed specials representative for Russian relations, who already held two meetings with the Deputy Foreign Affair Minister of Russia.
About 3 000 Georgians were questioned.