Staunton, Dec. 6 – The attitudes Russians have to other countries varies in many ways; but one that is important although rarely discussed is regionally. People in some regions have much more positive or negative views of some of their foreign neighbors than do Russians as a whole.
A new survey conducted by the Institute for Comparative Social Research for the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung finds that residents of Russia’s North Caucasus republics have far more positive attitudes toward the Republic of Georgia than do Russians elsewhere in the country (gfsis.org/files/library/pdf/-Attitudes-and-Perceptions-Towards-Georgia-in-Russia-3088.pdf and kavkazr.com/a/zhiteli-severnogo-kavkaza-otnosyatsya-k-gruzii-i-ee-narodu-luchshe-chem-rossiyane-v-tselom/31600187.html).
Only 38 percent of Russians overall have a good or very good attitude about Georgia; but in Chechnya, that figure is 63 percent; in Ingushetia, 61 percent; in Daghestan, 51 percent; in Kabardino-Balkaria, 50 percent; and in North Ossetia, 47 percent. Residents of Adygeya and Karachayevo-Cherkessia were not surveyed.
North Caucasians also had a more positive view of the prospect that Georgia would become a member of the EU and NATO. Forty-two percent of them supported Tbilisi’s membership in the EU and 24 percent backed its entry into NATO, compared to the 30 percent and 14 percent respectively among Russians as a whole.
But on the question of whether Abkhazia and South Ossetia would be returned to Georgia, the North Caucasians had attitudes roughly the same as Russians as a whole. Only two to nine percent of North Caucasians expect that to happen, while four percent of Russians as a whole do, according to this survey.