“Debate: Regress or Progress? The Measures of the Government to Combat Corruption”
The fight against corruption in Armenia is not possible to combat simply by legislative amendments and developing anti-corruption strategies. We need a political will to set up the adequate environment for implementing serious structural changes. The speakers spoke about this during the debate entitled “Regress or Progress? The Measures of the Government to Combat Corruption” and live streamed at “A1 +” TV with the initiative of Media Center.

According to the results of Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 published by “Transparency International” Global Anti-Corruption Organization (TI) recently, Armenia recorded regress both in the global rankings of Corruption Perception Index and in the perception index in 2016. “If Armenia’s index was 35 in 2015 on the scale from 0 to 100, now it is 33. The more the index seeks to 100, the less corrupted the country is. The two-point reduction is not viewed as the decline of the rating in terms of statistics but if you compare it with 2014, the decline is already 4 points. The concern is that there has been a tendency of the decline of corruption perception indexes since 2013-2014,” Varujan Hoktanyan, Project Director of Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, said.

The other concern of Hoktanyan is that Armenia dropped by 18 points in the global corruption rankings last year compared to 2015. "This means we stay in the same place, while other countries make progress,” he said.

Suren Krmoyan, RA Deputy Minister of Justice, referring to the report of the Corruption Perception Index results published by Transparency International, said that the government studied the document in detail, and they see some political components in the assessments. "It is not only about economic, social and legislative issues but also about the political processes. Although we say that the fight against corruption in Armenia is far from being ideal. An unprecedented amount of activity was launched by the Government during the last couple of years. We try to present the issues openly, discuss and give solutions. Our goal is to enable businesses, citizens feel the improvement of the environment,” Krmoyan said.

Aram Manukyan, ANC Faction Secretary, MP, believes that it would be better if the government does not do anything in the fight against corruption a few years. "There is a situation in Armenia when the most odious people in the government have become pioneers in the fight against corruption. This is absurd. This is ridiculous when Gagik Khachatryan, Gagik Beglaryan or Hovik Abrahamyan fight against corruption. Now is the same. No result can be achieved, and the current situation is very normal now,” he said, adding that corruption is not a part of the system, that can be fought locally but it is the essence of the whole system. 

“This includes the monopolies, the absence of free elections, the judiciary, the shadow economy, economic liberalization and investment protection issues, and so on,” he said, adding that according to the global trends, the most corrupted countries are the states having conflicts. “If the generals make decisions, elections are not free, fight against corruption is impossible. This is a political problem. Corruption in Armenia is a politically protected phenomenon,” Aram Manukyan said.

Karen Zadoyan, Head of “Armenian Young Lawyers Association” NGO, highlighted the importance of the development of state and civil society institutional capacities and raising citizens' awareness. “The first task is to overcome the administrative corruption and to invest mechanisms for reducing corruption in politics,” he said.

To watch the video, follow the link.  

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to arshaluismghdesyan@pjc.am.

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