The Dispatch

The Daily Dispatch – July 28

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THE NUMBERS ARE IN The latest installment of the much-awaited NDI/CRRC public opinion poll are in and we have a detailed write-up for you. This part of the survey focuses on Covid-19 and (dis)information that surrounded its onset. One big takeaway is that the doctors and the government were overwhelmingly trusted on pandemic-related matters and that Georgians were obedient when following the rules.

PANTS ON FIRE! Russia lost ground in Georgia when sowing ground about the Lugar Lab (a medical research facility affiliated with the National Center for Disease Control), but then again, the Georgian public was probably not the main target of this anti-US propaganda. One focus group respondent spoke for many Georgians when he said he heard Russia saying that the Lugar Lab is cooking something against it, and while he did not believe that, he would not have minded if it were true.

FAITH NO MORE According to the same poll, Georgians proved pious, but pragmatic – 53% said they believe faith may help against a virus, but only 10% went to Easter mass (a 90% drop).

NEEDLE PANIC Curiously, 46% of the surveyed said they would not vaccinate themselves or their children even if COVID-19 jab was available. Let’s hope that the above-mentioned pragmatism holds once that vaccine really hits the shelves.

HORSE TRADING We wrote yesterday that the United National Movement (UNM) decided to go it alone while nominating the majoritarian MPs in Georgia’s regions. Today, the European Georgia upped the public pressure by disclosing what was on the table – the united opposition (which UNM backs in Tbilisi) was asking for the UNM to back its four widely known candidates in return for backing UNM’s 8 in major cities. The deal is still on the table for a day or two, said Giga Bokeria. With the government’s approval ratings getting a likely post-COVID bump, can opposition afford to split the vote?

SHAMBA’s BACK Abkhazia’s political survivor is back as the “secretary of national security council”, local sources reported. The appointment is consistent with the tone of Aslan Bzhania’s administration which seems more open to direct dialogue with Tbilisi. Partly this is caused by the gaping hole in the budget, as cash-strapped Russia is reportedly withholding aid. In the meantime, Georgia’s post of the State Minister for Reconciliation is still vacant, after its former occupant took an ambassadorial post. Seems like a good time to send a signal back with an appropriate appointment.

That’s full lid for today!


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