Armenians Still Skeptical About Government Fight Against Corruption

Varuzhan Hoktanian of the Armenian branch of Transparency International in December 2012

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Most Armenians remain skeptical about their government’s declared efforts to combat endemic corruption in the country, according to a fresh survey released by Transparency International on Tuesday.

The Berlin-based watchdog’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer gauged popular perceptions of graft with opinion polls conducted around the world. It said 53 percent of some 1,000 respondents in Armenia believe that ongoing crackdowns on corrupt practices are “ineffective” or “very ineffective.” Only 21 percent of them are satisfied with the government efforts.

These findings reflect Armenia’s position in another closely watched Transparency International survey, the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Armenia ranked 129th of 183 countries covered in the most recent CPI last fall.

The authorities in Yerevan have repeatedly pledged to tackle bribery, nepotism and other corrupt practices in earnest. Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian announced a new anti-corruption drive last November, urging civic and opposition groups to get involved in it. The latter dismissed the offer as unserious, however. They claim that President Serzh Sarkisian is not prepared for a genuine fight against corruption because it would endanger his hold on power.

According to the Global Corruption Barometer, 43 percent of Armenians think that the scale of government corruption in their country has actually increased in the last two years. Only 19 percent feel that the situation has improved, with the remaining 38 percent seeing no major changes.

The judicial system, police, healthcare and civil service were rated as the country’s most corrupt institutions, with at least two-thirds of respondents saying they are seriously affected by graft.

Varuzhan Hoktanian, the director of the Transparency International branch in Armenia, described the survey’s findings as “very worrisome.”

“The bodies that are supposed to be at the forefront of the fight against corruption – notably the police and judiciary – are the most corrupt ones, not only in Armenia but in other CIS countries,” he said at a news conference.

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4 Comments

  1. Alex Postallian said:

    Unless Armenia gets rid of the CROOKS….they will always be little people……

  2. facts said:

    NO surprising! One sees in Armenia almost everywhere Casinos , Who is visiting all these Casinos? and where the money comes from ? One get the impression that in the country more Casino being built than schools- As if every street , city district and region has to have its own group of Casinos

    State officials, Governors and head of villages (including there close relatives) have a good and easy life- even each portion of irrigation water and revers has a “owner ”

    Nor Yerevan as the biggest city neither the country has a transportation system (forget it,SORRY, but people being transported the way , where in Europe animals being transported in a very more conformable and secure way !- Would transport minster with his family travel to one of this “buses or GAZEl ” to Ejmijazin or other city ? The transit road to Iranian and Georgian border needs argent repair and almost no traffic signs at road-, warning of hazards at night but we can sure the money was there and it is gone…

    NO surprising! Customer offices (not all but still , not a hidden fact) at Georgian/Armenia border and Iranian/Armenian border destroying the trust in state institution this include the road police.

    The construction works carried out in Yerevan ( asphalting and constructions) are of a poor quality and so on

    Nobody is asking why need Armenia such a big parliament and such a big city council for Yerevan?

  3. Rifat said:

    Oligarchs are not only a problem in Armenia, Russia, Former Soviet Union, but Turkey too, via the AKP.

    • gabe korajian said:

      We do not have to worry about the level of corruption in neighboring countries. It sounds as if you are saying… it is fine if we are corrupt because our neighbors are also corrupt. As mentioned, where there is rampant corruption, public services like education, health, the judiciary transportation and all other public utilities disintegrate. Evil habits such as addiction to alcoholism, drugs and gambling will become preoccupation for its citizens, including prostitution in and outside Armenia expanding at an alarming rate. The bottom line is… corruption is like a flesh eating disease, it will eventual devour the whole body if not stopped. Be aware, President Sargsyan, it is not a joke any more. Do something about this before it is too late! Of course, easier said than done.

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