Staunton, Dec. 29 – Perhaps appreciative of the penumbra of security that membership in Western alliances can provide them, people in the North Caucasus are more supportive or at least less opposed to the Republic of Georgia becoming a member of the European Union and NATO than are Russians as a whole, according to a new telephonic survey there.
Conducted by the Moscow Institute for Comparative Social Research for Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the study found North Caucasians to be more positive about Georgia than are Russians generally (gfsis.org/files/library/pdf/-Attitudes-and-Perceptions-Towards-Georgia-in-Russia-3088.pdf, civil.ge/archives/460703 and ekhokavkaza.com/a/zhiteli-severnogo-kavkaza-otnosyatsya-k-gruzii-i-ee-narodu-luchshe-chem-rossiyane-v-tselom/31601251.html).,
While only 38 percent of Russians as a whole had good or very good attitudes about Georgia, 63 percent of Chechens, 61 percent of Ingush, 51 percent of Daghestanis, 50 percent of residents of Kabardino-Balkaria, and 47 percent of North Ossetians did. No one from Adygeya or Karachayevo-Cherkessia was polled.
The figures regarding possible Georgia accession to the EU and NATO are even more striking. While only 30 percent of Russians as a whole support Georgia becoming a member of the EU and only 14 percent back the idea of its becoming a member of the Trans-Atlantic alliance, North Caucasians are much more positive about both.
For example, 42 percent of Chechens support Georgia’s aspirations to join the EU, and24 percent, its future membership in NATO. Only in North Ossetia were the figures on these two issues lower than the all-Russian ones.
The results of this survey call attention to two important things: On the one hand, opinions about the membership of former Soviet republics in the EU and NATO vary widely among the regions and republics within the Russian Federation, with those closest to where the new lines would be more supportive than those further away.
And on the other – and this is especially important now given Russian pretensions against Ukraine – many nations recognize that if their neighbors are members of these institutions, that in itself provides them with a certain amount of security because it acts as a constraint on Moscow, something that matters until they themselves are able to join such groupings.