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December 21, 2004

ACNIS Releases Opinion Polls on Armenias
Political Agenda

Yerevan —The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) today issued the results of both a public survey and a specialized questionnaire on “Urgent Issues on Armenia’s Political Agenda,” which involved 2002 citizens and 100 experts from Yerevan and across Armenia. The poll addressed patterns and priorities in European integration, Armenia-Diaspora relations and Armenian foreign policy, as well as education, youth, and minority affairs.

ACNIS founder Raffi Hovannisian greeted the invited guests and public participants with opening remarks. “This comprehensive survey covers a broad range of items on the national agenda, and revisits a number of urgent policy questions broached by ACNIS over the year past. It is our hope that the findings will provide a solid basis for recording, evaluating, and interpreting public attitudes in the light of more specialized opinions,” Hovannisian said.

ACNIS legal and political affairs analyst Stepan Safarian presented the results on European integration, comparing in detail the conclusions of the expert and public opinion polls. Accordingly, 64% of citizens surveyed and 92% of experts are in favor of Armenia’s accession to the European Union, 11.8% and 7% respectively are not, while 24.2% and 1% find it difficult to answer.

Public Survey
Yes
64%

No
11.8%

Difficult to answer
24.2%

 

Expert Survey
Yes
92%

No
7%

Difficult to answer
1%

29.4% of citizens first and foremost expect improvements in the economic situation from Armenia’s accession to the European Union, whereas 49% of experts anticipate the establishment of irreversible democracy. 16.7% of citizens and 3% of experts look forward to a just resolution of the Karabagh issue, 9.7% and 5% respectively to development of education and science in accordance with European standards, 8.7% and 6% to a decrease of corruption, and 7.3% and 14% to raising the level of national security. 11.9% of respondent citizens and 6% of experts do not expect anything. 31.3% of citizens view the foreign and domestic policies pursued by Armenia’s authorities as the major obstacle to Armenia’s policy of European integration, 29.4% regional conflicts, and 13.6% the Armenian people's “mindset.” Among the experts these figures are 65%, 13%, and 11%, respectively. 16.7% of citizens think it will take Armenia up to 15 years, 15.6% up to 20, 10.2% up to 25, and 14.8% up to 50 years, to fulfill the criteria of the European Union and become its member. Among the relative optimists, 11.1% think it will take 5 years and 20.8% 10 years. 13% of experts believe it will take 5 years, 21% 10 years, 10% 15 years, 27% 20 years, 14% 25 years, and 8% 50 years. 9.7% of citizens and 6% of experts predict that Armenia will never become a member of the European Union. 28.7% of citizens and 61% of experts are in favor of Turkey’s accession to the European Union, 52% and 22% are not, while 19.3% and 16% find it difficult to answer. 30% of surveyed citizens and 8% of experts are concerned about losing attributes of national identity and statehood as a result of accession to the European Union. 52.9% and 87% respectively are not concerned about this.

Public Survey
Yes
28.7%

No
52%

Difficult to answer
19.3%

 

Expert Survey
Yes
61%

No
22%

Difficult to answer
16%

Refused to answer
1%

ACNIS economic and diaspora affairs analyst Hovsep Khurshudian referred to the poll results on the Armenia-Diaspora agenda. 50.2% of citizens assert that the potential of the Diaspora has been sufficiently employed for the establishment and development of Armenia , 23.6% think it has been employed little, 12.5% very little, 6.9% fully, just as 1.8% are of the opinion that it has not been employed at all. Among the experts 14% opine that the potential of Diaspora has been sufficiently employed, 32% little, 36% very little, 5% fully, and 5% think it has not been employed at all. Among the broader public the major expectation from the Diaspora is its work toward international recognition of the Armenian Genocide (35.1%) and its making investments in Armenia (27.7%), whereas a plurality of experts will be satisfied if their compatriots in dispersion simply remain Armenian (22%) or focus on making investments (22%). Next on the expert list at 18% is the combining of efforts to facilitate Armenian membership in the European Union, with another 18% noting the priority of working toward international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. 3% of citizens and of experts do not have any expectation of the Diaspora. It is noteworthy that 5% of citizens and 8% of experts underscore the importance of the Diaspora's participation in Armenia’s state administration. 20% of citizens and 16% of experts are in absolute favor of dual citizenship. Another 42.6% and 44% respectively favor it on condition that dual citizens also perform military or alternative service, and that only those who are permanent residents of Armenia exercise the right to elect and be elected. 24.1% and 19% are against dual citizenship.

Public Survey
Yes, without reservations or restrictions on dual citizens’ rights, such that they will have the same and equal rights with those having solely Armenian citizenship
20%

Yes, on condition that dual citizens also perform military or alternative service, and that only those who are permanent residents of Armenia have the right to elect and be elected
42.6%

No, under any condition
24.1%

Difficult to answer
13.2%

Other
0.2%
  • So that Diaspora Armenians long remain in Armenia

 

Expert Survey
Yes, without reservations or restrictions on dual citizens’ rights, such that they will have the same and equal rights with those having solely Armenian citizenship
16%

Yes, on condition that dual citizens also perform military or alternative service, and that only those who are permanent residents of Armenia have the right to elect and be elected
44%

No, under any condition
19%

Difficult to answer
10%

Other
6%
  • The second part of the second answer
  • The prospect of prevalence of citizens of neighboring Muslim and other countries

Refused to answer
5%

The majority of both citizens (70.5%) and experts (67%) are ill disposed to Armenia’s dispatch of a 50-member military group to take part in reconstruction works in Iraq . Only 15.6% of citizens and 24% of experts are in favor of it, whereas 13.9% and 9% find it difficult to answer.

Public Survey
Yes
15.6%

No
70.5%

Difficult to answer
13.9%

 

Expert Survey
Yes
24%

No
67%

Difficult to answer
9%

As for the current stage of the Karabagh peace process, only 1.6% of citizens and 0% of experts are completely satisfied with it, 11.4% and 5% are satisfied, 41% and 30% are concerned, while 21% and 49% are very much concerned.

Public Survey
I am completely satisfied
1.6%

I am dissatisfied
11.4%

I am concerned
41%

I am very much concerned
21%

I am not interested in it
5.2%

I cannot answer for lack of sufficient information
16.2%

Difficult to answer
3.6%

 

Expert Survey
I am completely satisfied
0%

I am dissatisfied
5%

I am concerned
30%

I am very much concerned
49%

I am not interested in it
2%

I cannot answer for lack of sufficient information
14%

Difficult to answer
0%

51.3% of citizens and 38% of experts are positively disposed toward the fact that European structures are more frequently referring to the regulation of the Karabagh conflict, 12% and 32% respectively express a negative opinion, 19.3% and 14% are neither concerned nor satisfied with it, and the rest find it difficult to answer.

Hranush Kharatian, chairperson of the National and Religious Minorities Board of the Government of Armenia, offered a comment on what the figures reveal upon the minorities agenda in Armenia . 69.6% of citizens and 40% of experts think that sects and other religious minorities constitute a danger for Armenia . As for the national minorities, the majority of surveyed citizens and experts reject the notion that they threaten the republic. 70.5% of citizens and 90% of experts look favorably upon their compatriot Yezidis, 51.1% and 68% Kurds, 66.4% and 95% Assyrians, 53.4% and 84% Jews, 71.7% and 97% Greeks, 79% and 86% Russians, 53.9% and 91% Georgians, 65.6% and 97% Germans. 10.8% of citizens and 3% of experts find signs of danger among the Jewish community, 7.3% and 3% the Kurds, 6.8% and 1% the Georgians, 2.2% and 0% the Germans, 2.1% and 0% the Yezidis, 0.8% and 8% the Russians. As for sexual minorities, 61.1% of citizens and 30% of experts do not accept and are intolerant toward them, 24.3% and 56% do not accept but are tolerant of them, and only 8.3% and 11% respectively think it is natural and bear a normal attitude toward them.

Public Survey
I do not accept them and am intolerant toward them
61.1%

I do not accept them but am tolerant toward them
24.3%

I think it is natural and my attitude is normal
8.3%

Difficult to answer
6%

Other
0.3%
  • They are not normal
  • There is no such thing in Armenia

 

Expert Survey
I do not accept them and am intolerant toward them
30%

I do not accept them but am tolerant toward them
56%

I think it is natural and my attitude is normal
11%

Difficult to answer
2%

Other
1%
  • Individual cases of sexual or pathological deviation are not sufficient to be considered a minority; we do not and will not have such a problem, as Armenians merely laugh at this absurd subject

In his corollary intervention entitled “Tolerance or Intolerance,” Avetik Ishkhanian, chairman of Armenia’s Helsinki Committee, continued the deliberations on the minorities issue by expressing his satisfaction with the high level of tolerance toward national, religious, and even sexual minorities, which testifies to the gradual deepening of progressive views in Armenian society. “Another major achievement is the public's precise awareness of its own rights,” noted Ishkhanian, attaching importance to this trend as a positive step toward establishment of a civil society.

Nouridjan Manoukian, chief of the Control Department for the Board of Secondary Education of the Ministry of Education and Science, presented the survey results on education matters. 4.3% of respondent citizens and 0% of experts assess Armenia's current educational system as gratifying, 42.1% and 11% as good, 47% and 81% as unsatisfactory, with 6.6% and 8% finding it difficult to answer.

Public Survey
Gratifying
4.3%

Good
42.1%

Unsatisfactory
47%

Difficult to answer
6.6%

 

Expert Survey
Gratifying
0%

Good
11%

Unsatisfactory
81%

Difficult to answer
8%

16.6% of citizens and 4% of experts are concerned about bribery in public schools and universities, 7.7% and 5% about protectionism, 10.8% and 22% the content of educational programs, 15.2% and 0% the unjustified optimalization of schools, and 7.8% and 3% the scale of state financing for educational institutions and other circumstances.

The pivotal issues for Armenia's youth have recently assumed a new appearance and new substance—lack of jobs, insufficient wages, absence of equal conditions and opportunities for career advancement, and so on. The poll results on youth concerns are especially alarming, as the majority of citizens (65.5%) and experts (78%) do not see a future for young people in Armenia . Only 18% and 13% are of the opposite opinion, while 16.5% and 9% find it difficult to answer.

Public Survey
Yes
18%

No
65.5%

Difficult to answer
16.5%

 

Expert Survey
Yes
13%

No
78%

Difficult to answer
9%

33.7% of citizens view the absence of jobs as the main reason for a lack of confidence in the future and 26.4% mark insufficient wages for normal living, whereas the majority of experts (46%) point to the moral-psychological atmosphere in the country and 27% to unequal conditions and opportunities for progress and career. As for the measures to be taken to stop youth emigration and to overcome the problems they face, 50.7% of citizens and 29% of experts find it necessary to provide jobs to educated young people through a close cooperation among universities, enterprises, and organizations, 23.7% and 24% respectively are for the encouragement of entrepreneurship among young people through allocation of government loans, and 15.3% and 24% hold that the educational system should be modernized in correspondence with the modern demands of the labor market.

The formal presentations were followed by contributions by National Press Club chairperson Narine Mkrtchian; Artashes Ghazakhetsian of the Armenia 2020 Project; Anahit Bakhshian, principal of Derenik Demirchian High School; Ruzan Khachatrian of the People's Party of Armenia; Spartak Seyranian of Yerkir weekly; Tamar Gevorgian of the United Labor Party; Yerevan State University professor Vardan Khachatrian; Hovhannes Hovhannisian of the Liberal Progressive Party; former Yerevan mayor Vahagn Khachatrian; Vardan Vardanian of Aib-Fe weekly; and several others.

Among the 2002 citizens polled, 43.1% of them are male and 56.9% female; 16.3% are 16-20 years of age, 24.8% 21-30, 21.5% 31-40, 21% 41-50, 9.3% 51-60, 5.5% 61-70, 1.6% 71 or above. 43.9% of participating citizens have received a higher education, whereas 22.1% incomplete higher, 17.4% specialized secondary, 14.6% secondary, and 1.9% incomplete secondary training. 53.6% are actively employed, 19.2% are not, 5.5% are pensioners, 1.6% welfare recipients, and 20% students. Urban residents constitute 59.6% of public respondents, and rural residents make up 40.4%. 33.5% hail from Yerevan, the rest from all of Armenia’s regions.

All 100 professionals who took part in the specialized poll are from Yerevan . 73% of them are male, and 27% female; 22% are 21-30 years of age, 29% 31-40, 27% 41-50, 18% 51-60, 4% 61 or above. All of the experts surveyed have received a higher education: 2% are full professors, 20% are candidates of science (PhD), and 78% hold a Master's degree. The principal profession of 16% of the expert pool is political science, 13% journalism, 9% engineering and architecture, 9% history, 9% Near Eastern studies, 8% linguistics, 6% economics, 6% international relations, and so on. 29% of them work in state-run institutions, 57% in non-governmental associations, and 14% at international organizations.


Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi K. Hovannisian, and supported by the Lincy Foundation and a global network of contributors, ACNIS serves as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy challenges facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet world. It also aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic thinking and a wider understanding of the new global environment. In 2004, the Center has focused primarily on public outreach, civic education, and applied research on critical domestic and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information on the Center and its activities, call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; e-mail root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am

 
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The Armenian version of the press release:

Armenian version


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“ Public Opinion And Urgent Issues On Armenia’s Political Agenda ”
Presentation of Expert and Public Poll Results
(PDF-format, 2,05 MBytes)



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