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Georgia’s foreign policy preferences

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, May 7
The National Democratic Institute’s polling results released on May 5 highlighted different trends in the attitudes of the Georgian society with regard to Georgian-Russian relations, as well as other foreign policy issues.

The results of the survey showed certain controversies in the vision of the Georgian population about the relations of the country towards Moscow.

The number that considers Russia a real threat to Georgia has increased, though some believe this threat is exaggerated.

The number of Georgian citizens who dislike Georgia’s current relations with Russia has increased. There are mixed attitudes towards the regulation of relations with Russia. However, the improvement of Georgian-Russian relations should not take place at the expense of concessions towards Moscow.

In this context 72% believe that it is possible to arrange a meeting between the presidents of Georgia and Russia. At the same time, the participants of the polling welcomed the fact that the goal of Georgia is to become a member of NATO and the EU.

The polling revealed that the majority of Georgians do not support Russia’s policy towards Ukraine and, in particular, Crimea. Moreover, Russia is mostly responsible for the developments in Ukraine. Most of those interviewed do not accept Crimea’s integration with Russia. They support the Georgian government’s position, which condemns Crimea’s occupation. They also support applying economic sanctions against Russia and think that Ukraine needs humanitarian support.

The concern of the respondents was clear in regards of provocative actions around the Russian occupied territories of Georgia.

NDI’s polling made it clear that most of the Georgians support the idea of Georgia’s integration into the European Union, whereas the number of those who support the idea of the country’s integration with the Eurasian Union led by Moscow is low.

Analysts are trying to determine which should be the main points of negotiations between Georgia and Russia if the presidents of the two countries meet one day.

It is essential to put the territorial integrity of Georgian on the agenda as the first precondition for negotiations. At the same time, the steps for starting the process of reintegration of its breakaway territories should also be made.

Overall, the position of the Georgian population is clear – they do not want to return to Russia or integrate with the federation in any form.

Georgians realize that such a position irritates Moscow. They are aware that Russian President Vladimir Putin will always oppose any steps made by the former soviet states for escaping from Moscow’s orbit.