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The News in Brief

Friday, May 6
How many people use the internet in Georgia?

More people are using the Internet on a daily basis in Georgia, shows latest research by the Caucasus Research Resource Centres.

The results of a survey of 2,032 people carried out earlier this year by the organisation showed that 40 percent of respondents said they use the Internet every day.

This result was higher than last year, when 35 percent of respondents said they used the Internet daily.

At the same time, the number of people who had never used the Internet has reduced slightly year-on-year (y/y). Research showed that 43 percent of respondents said they never used the internet, while in 2015 46 percent of people had the same answer.

As in 2015, only one percent of those surveyed said they did not know what the Internet was at all.

Research showed that most people use the Internet to visit social network sites. The second most common reason for using the Internet was to search for new jobs online.

Facebook was the most popular social network in Georgia, showed the research. Forty percent of respondents said they used Russian social network Odnoklasniki, while Twitter had very few users in Georgia.

The Caucasus Research Resource Centres carried out the survey in March 16-28 2016 with help from Transparency International Georgia. (

Ethnic and religious minorities affected by population decline: Census

The 2014 census sheds light on issues related to ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities in Georgia.

The size of all ethnic minorities fell drastically.

While Georgia has lost 15% (658,000) of its population since the 2002 census, the number of representatives of ethnic minorities declined at a much higher rate, namely 31%.

Azerbaijanis are still the largest ethnic minority making up for the 6.3% of the country’s population, although their number declined by 18% (52,000).

The regions with the highest concentration of ethnic Azerbaijani are Kvemo Kartli, Kakheti, and Tbilisi.

Armenians are the second largest ethnic minority making up 4.5% of the population, although their number declined by an alarming 32% (81,000).

The majority of ethnic Armenians live in Samtskhe–Javakheti, Tbilisi, and Kvemo Kartli.

The number of Russians declined by 61% (who currently make up 0.7% of the population), Ossetians by 62% (0.4% of the population), Yazidis by 33% (0.3% of the population), Greeks by 62%, Kists by 20%, Assyrians by 26%, and Jews by 20%.

Surprisingly, the only minority that became more numerous were the Abkhaz. The 2014 census reported over 1,000 more ethnic Abkhazians living on Georgian-controlled territory than in 2002 — a 29% increase.

However, linguistic data suggests that the number of self-reported ethnic Abkhazians (4600) might be inflated, which can be related to the fact that some Georgians consider themselves Abkhaz by the virtue of being born in Abkhazia. Only 272 people in Georgia proper declared Abkhaz as their mother tongue.

Neither the 2002 nor 2014 census took into account the population living in the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are considered under Russian occupation by Georgian law.

Ethnic minorities still struggle with proficiency in Georgian

Azerbaijani is the first language of 213,000 in Georgia and corresponds roughly to the number of people who declared having Azerbaijani ethnicity.

Only 19% native speakers of Azerbaijani declared that they spoke Georgian.

Armenian is the first language of 145,000 people, and of these only 40% can speak Georgian.

Russian is the first language of 46,000 people; 64% of them can speak Georgian.

A total of 5700 people declared Ossetian as their mother tongue (who have an 85% proficiency in Georgian) while only 272 declared Abkhaz as their mother tongue (with a 60% proficiency).

Orthodox Christianity and Islam strengthen their positions

83.4% of Georgia’s population is Orthodox Christian. The only religious minority which did not decline at a faster rate than that of the general population were Muslims. The relative percentage of Muslims in Georgia rose from 9.9% in 2002 to 10.7% of the population.

Georgian Muslims are mostly concentrated in Kvemo Kartli, Adjara, and Kakheti.

43% of the population of Kvemo Kartli is Muslim (mostly ethnic Azerbaijanis), 40% in Adjara (mostly ethnic Georgians), and 12% in Kakheti (mostly ethnic Azerbaijanis with a significant minority of 5600 Kists).

According to the 2002 census, only 31% of the population of Adjara were Muslims.

The third biggest religious group are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, who make up for 2.9% of the population. They also make up for 40% of the population of Samtskhe–Javakheti.

Additionally, there are 19,000 Catholics in Georgia, 12,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses, 8600 Yazidis, 2500 Protestants, and 1400 Jews.

Catholics live compactly in small pockets in Samtskhe–Javakheti where they constitute 9% of the population. (

Georgia’s Annual Inflation Dropped to 3.2% in April

According to the latest published data from the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat) food, non-alcoholic beverages and medical-related costs dropped, while the cost of tobacco and alcohol increased in April.

Georgia’s monthly inflation rate for April dropped to 0.6 per cent, down from 0.3 per cent in March, while the year-on-year annual inflation rate for the month rose 3.2 per cent.

The annual average for the Consumer Price Index has risen 17.0 per cent since 2010.

Geostat said the monthly inflation rate was mainly influenced by price changes for food and non-alcoholic beverages, health, and alcoholic beverages and tobacco.

The prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages decreased 0.7 per cent last month, which contributed a 0.23 percentage point decrease to the overall monthly inflation rate. The change was mainly attributable to a 6.0 per cent price drop for milk, cheese and eggs and vegetables 2.2 per cent decrease for vegetables.

Health and pharmaceutical prices posted a 1.9 per cent decrease, contributing to a 0.19 percentage point hike to the overall inflation rate. Prices were substantially lower - 7.2 per cent - for medical products, appliances and equipment.

The 1.6 per cent increase in price for alcoholic beverages and tobacco contributed a .10 percentage point upward adjustment to the overall index change as tobacco prices jumped 2.5 per cent in April.

The overall annual inflation rate rose on the back of price increases for the same groups of products and consumer goods. Alcoholic beverage and tobacco prices rose to 14.7 per cent; health prices to 7.5 per cent; food and non-alcoholic beverages to 1.9 per cent on the year. (National Statistics Office)

The Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister met the Ambassador of Qatar to Georgia

On 4 May 2016, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister David Jalagania met Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Qatar to Georgia Mubarak bin Nasser Mubarak Al-Khalifa.

Talking points included issues on the agenda of bilateral relations between Georgia and Qatar and prospects for further enhancement of co-operation. The sides underlined the recent active partnership in various different directions and expressed the readiness to promote the deepening of the fruitful co-operation.

They also discussed the importance of holding the first round of political consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries in the near future and agreed to work actively in this direction. The issues of exchanging high-level visits were also discussed, including the visits of the Qatari Minister of State for Defence Affairs and Minister of Environment due to be paid in May. (