Foreign policy priorities of the Muslim (ethnic Azerbaijani) population of Kvemo Kartli in the prism of Sunni-Shia divide, religiosity and economic status


  • Lasha Tughushi
  • Malkhaz Gagua
  • Alexandra Kalatozishvili


Ethnic Azerbaijanis, Kvemo Kartli, Shiite-Sunni dichotomy


The article describes the foreign-political priorities of the ethnic Azerbaijani population of Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia. In the paper, a special emphasis is placed on highlighting the characteristics that weigh on the attitudes of the research population towards NATO, EU, Russian-led Eurasian Union, USA, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and some other countries in the region. In particular, these attitudes have been studied in relation to Sunni-Shia dichotomy, degree of religiosity and economic status of the population in question. The need for such an effort was determined by the fact that previous studies have shown the foreign-political priorities of the ethnic minorities in Georgia are somewhat different from those of the ethnically Georgian population - there is relatively more skepticism towards the West in general. Research has shown the foreign-political preferences of Kvemo Kartli Muslim population is strongly related to religiosity and economic status, and less dependent on denomination (Sunni-Shia) affiliation. The study also explicitly manifested the acute lack of information about expected benefits of Euro-Atlantic integration and such international actors as the USA, EU and, particularly, NATO


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