March 25, 2013

CRRC Presents Caucasus Barometer 2012 Results

By Valeria Sargsyan

On March 20-th, at Congress Hotel, Heghine Manasyan, the Director of CRRC-Armenia, gave a presentation on the recently released results of the Caucasus Barometer 2012 survey. She presented new questions regarding Joseph Stalin and the Armenian Genocide and new year-to-year changes in previous questions to an audience of over 70 people. Also part of the presentation were Drew Loizeaux, from CRRC, and Astghik Mirzakhanyan, the Head of the Social Affairs Department within the Government of Armenia.

Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan from the Eurasian Partnership Foundation introduced Heghine and began the presentation by mentioning that the International Day of Happiness had just been celebrated the day before. After that, the topic of happiness in Armenia came up as an interesting point that requires more study. While a number of indicators on people’s views, like trust in the parliament, have grown more negative over the last few years, happiness has increased, which shows to be not a paradox anymore, but a persistent trend.

Astghik Mirzakhanyan stated that the Government ought to learn from the Caucasus Barometer and from other surveys and studies to develop better policies. This developed into a discussion over how the Government is structured and whether it could have an internal analytical department to help secure, develop, and promote balanced public policy decisions .

This year, the annual survey was enriched with several new questions regarding respondents’ views on Joseph Stalin. The questions were asked across all there Caucasian countries and—for the first time—Russia, with the support of the Levada Center in Moscow. A majority of people in Armenia (55%) and Georgia (68%) believe that Stalin was a wise ruler who brought power and prosperity to the Soviet Union, but a vast majority in all three Caucasian countries (72% in Armenia, 73% in Azerbaijan, and 63% in Georgia) would not like to live and work in a country ruled by someone like Stalin. When asked to select the word best describing one's attitude towards Stalin, Armenians primarily selected “indifference” (25%), Georgians selected “respect” (27%), while 22% of Azerbaijanis said they do not know who Stalin is, which the presentation audience found funny.

The 2012 survey also had new questions solely for Armenia on the Genocide and Armenian-Turkish relations. When asked about opening the border with Turkey nearly half of respondents (49%) believed it would be beneficial to the economy, while almost an equal share (47%) believed that it would harm national security.

The Caucasus Barometer is an annual cross-border project aimed at studying public opinion on social, political and economic processes in the South Caucasus region. The survey instruments: questionnaires, show cards, the detailed sampling methodology document, the survey databases (in SPSS format) and some findings can be found on the CRRC regional website at, as well as on the website of CRRC-Armenia

March 11, 2013

Women in Armenian Society: Adding CRRC Data to the Discussion

By Gabriel Armas-Cardona

Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank Group, recently made a call for improving the lives of women all around the world. He said that one of the ways the World Bank is helping is by “collecting better data that measure equality for women and girls.”
Caucuses Research Resource Center (CRRC) recently conducted two significant surveys. The first is the latest iteration of the flagship Caucasus Barometer, which is an extensive annual survey in all three Caucasian countries. The second survey is the Armenian portion of the latest wave of the World Values Survey. These two surveys give us recent information about the status and perception of women and their rights.
This will be the first post of a series on the subject, and thus we’re going to start broadly examining the situation of women. Other people have begun to study this issue. Katy Pearce, who has worked with CRRC and the Caucasus Barometer data for a long time, has a post that covers the work satisfaction felt by women in the Caucasus.
From International Women’s Day until Motherhood and Beauty Day on April 7th is women’s month in Armenia. As all Armenian women deserve happiness, we suggest a preliminary look at the picture of happiness and satisfaction by gender. The graph below evidences some growth of happiness in Armenia, especially for women during the last three years.

Women also report slightly more overall life satisfaction than men, even if the level of satisfaction is only at the middle part of the graph.

Delving further into what other factors may make women more or less happy or satisfied finds differences in age, marital status and education level. The charts for life satisfaction look similar to the charts for happiness, so only the happiness charts will be reviewed below.

Marital Status


For both happiness and life satisfaction, women that were 18-35 years old, either never married or currently married, or completed higher education or held a Ph.D. tended to score higher than other women. From 2011 to 2012, women that were 36-55 years old, never married, or hadn't completed secondary education showed the most significant improvements in happiness and life satisfaction. No difference was found in happiness between women based on settlement type (capital, urban or rural), and only a small difference in life satisfaction with women in the capital being more satisfied than urban or rural women.
Even without knowing if there are causative factors, recommendations can be made based on the strong correlations presented. The first is for women to obtain the highest amount of education possible; education lasts a lifetime and is well correlated to higher levels of happiness and satisfaction. The second is for women to be willing to delay getting married until they really want to; unmarried adult women report only a tiny amount more happiness compared to married women but significantly more life satisfaction.
Happiness and overall life satisfaction cover only the broadest aspects of women’s lives in Armenia. Yet, these two subjective scores demonstrate that women overall feel that their lot is improving, even if only a little bit. There are many challenges Armenian women face, including lack of economic opportunities, gender-based violence, expectations for boys and girls, etc. These challenges will be developed in future blog posts.