CORRUPTION IN ARMENIA IS OF SYSTEMIC NATURE, OSCE YEREVAN OFFICE HEAD
Posted 12 December 2011 - 10:15 AM
20:23, December 11, 2011
By Dr. Audrey Selian
Nothing could have made more a mockery of the Armenian `justice' system
than the recent arrest of Nareg Harutunian in Yerevan this past
week. Indeed, it would be difficult to render the words `Armenian justice'
more oxymoronic, as in essence Nareg is the 'perfect guy' to charge with
counts of `money laundering' and/or `tax evasion'. The unadulterated, pure
irony of Nareg's arrest will serve as a powerful tool in undermining the
status quo of the system of governance in today's Armenia. This irony is
not lost on those of us who know him and his work, and who will do
everything in our power to communicate our knowledge.
As someone whose personal track record in the venerable Motherland is so
overtly philanthropic and well-meaning, the very notion that this
particular man is capable of involvement in an illicit pursuit of cash is
outrageous. Could a more patriotic and devoted individual have been
wrongly accused? On the other side of the equation, could the
counterparties be more unsavory and shady? This simply begs the question
whether those in the justice industry actually conduct real investigations
before they arrest, indict and sentence people? Or are those acting in the
name of justice rather simply following the orders of the corrupt Mafioso
`du jour'? Since the former is unlikely, the latter appears to be the
depressingly realistic possibility. It appears this `investigation' has
been on-going since earlier this year. Commissioners, could you really not
figure out who was at the bottom of this problem all these months? Or is
the real guilty party making that harder to see, somehow. That's an
intentionally rhetorical question.
As a long-time fan and supporter of Naregatsi Art Institute,years ago I
attempted in various ways to help the organization fundraise. Much of the
financial burden of the organization in both Yerevan and Shushi was carried
by the Harutunian family, with the help of a small number of sponsors and
donors from within their network of friends and family. Much as I would try
to suggest alternative and more commercial routes to fundraising, Nareg
would be adamantly against commercializing his work; he has never intended
to squeeze a penny out of the distribution of any of the artists or
performers whose work he has tirelessly supported and disseminated. Even
when the burdens of running multiple projects in both Armenia and Karabagh
got heavier, even when I would ask questions about how on earth one handles
the kinds of challenges of operating in Armenia - he told me, `you have to
care for the Motherland as you would care for your sick child whom you are
helping to make better'. This attitude assuaged my concerns. Until now.
To be sure, with corruption rankings from multiple international
institutions that paint a bleak picture, and with rumours of rampant
impropriety in the vast majority of Diasporan-related investments (whether
for-profit or not), the Armenian government might want to consider taking a
more pro-active hand in managing the unfriendly image projected to the
international philanthro-investment community. Whether the issue is in
attracting investors or grant-makers, we can be sure that stories like
this, in tandem with the fiasco faced by the likes of George and Carolann
Najarian from Boston, Ma., or even my own experience with deeply
questionable local partners in the case of MER DOON NGO at its inception
all of these present a real and present danger for the nature of Armenian
relations with its Diaspora.
This is in effect what some could term the beginning of a serious crisis of
public diplomacy - not at high political levels - but rather at the levels
of seemingly trite, colloquial exchange. But these are also the levels at
which ordinary people talk to eachother. And thus on a viral basis, we as a
collectivejust might think twice before opening our checkbooks next time to
support projects in Armenia without deep, comprehensive due diligence. If
that due diligence is not happening on an organization we support, it
better be happening on the local partner we have chosen. To date, every
penny that has been usurped, misallocated, intentionally subverted or
outright stolen from the coffers of private philanthropists, corporate
investors or donor agencies working in Armenia is the responsibility of
those who have made the choice to give, send or invest it. That's a LOT
OF PENNIES. That's right; the corruption of Armenia is as much the
responsibility of us lazy Diasporans and one-eyed development finance
institutions as it is that of the unsavoury local few who abuse rank and
Naturally, the case of Nareg Harutunian's arrest has taken all of this
issue of corruption in aid, charity and investment to the next level. The
one error many might agree was committed by Nareg in all of this was one
based on trust; to have had too much faith in the nature of those he may
have called `friends' or `brothers', and not enough foresight to imagine
the consequences in the event of fall-out or disgruntlement. The moral of
the story appears to be something along the lines of: never extend `power
of attorney' to a local Armenian partner. Is this really the image we want
to live with moving forward? Is this really what is going to help the
people of Armenia?
Once again, the very nature of the illegal activity with which Nareg is
being charged is antithetical to his very person, and this is what will
galvanize us most effectively within the borders of Armenia as well as in
Diaspora to stand up and fight this ridiculous injustice. Had those who
executed upon their orders to arrest Nareg conducted even the lightest
proper due diligence in scratching the surface of his character and of this
case, they would have foreseen the international tsunami of dissent that
was about to hit them. Brace yourselves, bitches! We have a new battle
cry for you and it's one that only Nareg and his friends will
Posted 16 December 2011 - 02:25 PM
The injustice of what happened to me is a consequence of some people's
greed and insatiability, said founder of the Naregatsi Art Institutes
in Yerevan and Shushi and GH Storage Enterprises LLC Director Nareg
Haroutunian today at a press conference in the Armenian capital.
Recall, on Dec. 9, Haroutunian was arrested on tax evasion charges.
Within the course of a day, he was indicted, tried and found guilty
without proper due process. He was later released, but made to pay
a fine of 110 million drams (approx. $287,800 USD).
"We've never seen any profit in Armenia; there have been only
investments and this was all done on patriotic grounds. We've trusted
people who today not only are not standing beside us, but also
gave false testimonies and wrote unfounded deeds against us. It's
been about a year that I, GH Storage Enterprises Deputy Director Ani
Mnatsakanyan and chief accountant Artur Galstyan have been constantly
dealing with red tape. In the last 5 days, the investigators engaged
in such barbaric, inhumane activities against us that it was simply
unacceptable," he said.
According to Haroutunian, one who invests millions of dollars into
the homeland could not have evaded taxes.
"A fine of 110 million drams was absurd. Beginning from the
investigators to the judges, if they judge fairly, if they determine
that we have tax debts, we won't avoid responsibility," he said.
The diaspora Armenian entrepreneur was insulted by the fact that he
was detained on the 40th day since his father's death (a day marked
by Orthodox Christians which sometimes includes a memorial service
to commemorate the deceased person).
"Isn't it perhaps unjust that they're took me to the investigations
division where I spend an entire day then they drag me to court,
issue an unfounded and unjust ruling and they put Ani, Artur and I in
prison? All this was ordered from the upper echelons. Those sitting
on high positions also have to realize that you can't misuse your
authority and live with lies, because we all know that those days
are numbered. This is a problem for all of us - we together have to
fight against all injustice," he said.
Haroutunian is convinced that there is one purpose behind all the
instances of persecution and defamation - to seize all that he has
and claim it for themselves. As to who wants to do this, Haroutunian
Posted 17 December 2011 - 10:43 AM
16:35:04 - 16/12/2011
As it was found out the arrest of the Armenian from Diaspora Nareg
Hartunyan was connected with a banal try to seize the property of
While Serzh Sargsyan was calling on the Armenian investors of
Marseilles and Venice to invest in the economy of Armenia, the law
enforcers of the country were ordered to frighten Hartunyan with the
aim to force his brother sell the assets of their watch factory.
Hartunyan yesterday stated at a press conference.
Perhaps, no one would expect such a public reaction, and the whole
civil sector and press supported Hartunyan. Nobody expected that Nareg
would say about the true reasons of persecutions either. Most likely,
the customers of this arrest thought the benefactor would be offended,
as the tradition goes, and would sell his property and leave Armenia.
Many Armenian businessmen did like this, who tried to invest in their
motherland. Clashed with the barbed wire of the Armenian economy, many
simply left, someone tried to fight through the courts, but in vain.
On these days, a press conference of lawyers representing the
interests of Diaspora businessmen, who bunked, took place. The
authorities reacted in no way to this press conference, neither to
Delivering a speech in Venice, Serzh Sargsyan suddenly described the
Armenian identity. He said that Armenians have the rare feature to
catch and develop all the progressive in the world. Actually, the
President of Armenia thinks Armenians are unable to give something
new to the world, and their historic mission consists in developing
But even this mission is not fulfilled properly. Ephraim Sevella
made a sad comparison of his people, Jews, with manure: when it is
spread all over the world, it is a fertilizer, when it is gathered,
it is just a pile of manure.
Posted 19 December 2011 - 08:55 AM
13:51, December 18, 2011
Nareg Hartounian's case is just another example of serious and
widespread violations of human rights in Armenia. What makes this
case particularly troubling is the fact that it may also stand out as
a serious violation of property rights. Well, let's hope that it
will not be the outcome.
Property rights are central to the legal and political order for
societies. Without such rights, it is not feasible to have a
democratic society that can guarantee freedom for its citizens. It
is this unconditional protection that the court systems must provide
to all. This is the right that propels societies into economic growth
by providing favorable and secure environment for investments. As
Harvard historian Niall Ferguson argues in his latest book,
Civilization: The West and The Rest, the system in the United States
is based on property rights, and it is one of the main reasons why
North America has been more successful than Central/South America.
It is hard to explain to US or European investors the bizarre cases
where several parties claim ownership of the same property in Armenia.
Or the moment that you become a land owner in Armenia, it is wise to
build a high wall around your property so that you can physically stop
others from claiming ownership. It is also hard to explain the case
with Nareg, who has arbitrarily become the subject of abuse and
extortion. This sends a very unfortunate yet clear signal to the
world investment community which shows that property rights are not
respected in Armenia and foreign properties and investments may be at
Freedom does not only include freedom of speech and religion. It is
also freedom to own. And let's not forget that this freedom is
protected by the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia.
Everyone shall have the right to freely own, use, dispose of and
bequeath the property belonging to him/her.
I admire Nareg and the fight that he and his family put out. It is a
fight to preserve the most fundamental principal upon which a true
democratic society is built on, one that is based on guaranteed
protection of human rights and property rights. Nareg is clearly the
underdog in this fight. I do hope and pray that the judges in
Armenia take this high-profile case very seriously, protect Nareg and
his family's properties in Armenia, and do not make a mockery of the
Posted 29 December 2011 - 11:37 AM
December 28, 2011
Mikayel and Marina Sardaryan, a couple who had been living in Russia
for 20 years, decided to return to Armenia in 2008.
With their modest savings, they wanted to open a small store in
Through real estate broker Samvel Ghazaryan, they met with Karen
Beglaryan who was selling his store on Shiraz Street. The couple
agreed on a selling price of $48,000 and gave Beglaryan a euro 5,000
deposit. They paid the balance a few months later after taking out
It was Beglaryan who told the couple to go to the bank for financing.
The couple put up their apartment in Yerevan as collateral. Beglaryan,
after convincing the couple of his good intentions, also availed
himself of the loan and took out more than the original loan amount.
"Beglaryan tricked us. After being paid he ducked out of sight and
was hard to reach. The paperwork for the store remained in limbo,"
says Marina Sardaryan.
It later turned out that Beglaryan didn't own the store. He had
transferred the title to Seryozha Dallakyan, a resident of Russia,
as payment for a $30,000 debt in 2007.
Beglaryan, caught in a lie, promised the couple that he would pay back
their money when he could. He never did and was constantly coming up
with excuses. Beglaryan even went so far to say that he was on the
verge of selling one of his kidneys for cash.
The couple sued Beglaryan in civil court. In October, 2009, the court
found in favour of the Sardaryans but couldn't seize Beglaryan's
funds simply because the guy was dead broke.
In the fall of 2010, the couple went to the police and a criminal
case of fraud was launched. Beglaryan was arrested but he was released
after 1.5 million AMD in bail was paid.
The case went to court. In a surprise verdict, Judge D. Badalyan of the
Ajapnyak and Davtashen Jurisdictional Court found Beglaryan innocent
and free of debt and apparently neglected the prior court's ruling.
The RA Court of Appeals also left the verdict stand, arguing that
there was no evidence of a crime being committed and the existence of
There are many looking for Karen Beglaryan in Armenia but he seems
to have disappeared.
We tracked him down to an airline ticket agency on Paronyan Street.
Workers at a neighboring store told us that the ticket agency had
closed about one year ago.
The owner of a nearby pool hall told us that Beglaryan owes him $1,000.
The store on Shiraz Street, in the name of Dallakyan, has recently
closed its doors. Neighborhood shop owners told us that it had been
operated by a couple from Aparan, but that they returned to their
The Sardaryans now find themselves in a tight squeeze and don't have
the money to hire a lawyer.
In order to pay off the loan on the apartment, Mikayel has been forced
to return to Russia to work.
His wife Marina says they are preparing to file a case with the Court
of Cassation in Armenia.
Posted 29 December 2011 - 01:19 PM
hodvatci HAyeren orinaki vernagir@ hetevyaln e -
Հայրենադարձ հայերին «քցելու» եւս մեկ բանաձեւ. դատարաններն աջակից են
Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:12 AM
PM SARGSYAN: GOVERNMENT WILL USE "SURGICAL METHODS" TO ROOT OUT CORRUPTION
13:38, November 1, 2012
At today's cabinet session, Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan
said the government would employ surgical procedures in its
PM Sargsyan said he had conferred with President Serzh Sargsyan and
the two agreed that the present campaign to root out the country's
endemic corruption was failing and had to be ratcheted-up.
The Prime Minister said that he would be convening a session of the
anti-corruption council tomorrow
Sargsyan emphasized that the government had to get the public more
actively involved in order for the anti-corruption campaign to register
Edited by Yervant1, 01 November 2012 - 08:12 AM.
Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:49 AM
Law - Wednesday, 31 October 2012, 11:27
Recently, Varuzhan Hoktanyan, executive director of Transparency
International NGO, has said that the Armenian elite should not be place
themselves above law. But the question is if most corrupt spheres of
life still remain education and the judiciary or whether the picture
According to V. Hoktanyan, the most corrupt spheres of life in the
CIS members remain the judicial system and education, unlike the
West. In the West most corruption is in the parties. New notions of
corruption have originated in the world, such as "elite corruption".
Studies in 2010-2011 have revealed that by "elite corruption" Armenia
is 129-133 among 180 countries. Hoktanyan says this is an issue but
not a tragedy.
Research shows "elite corruption" cases are revealed by the next
government. Elite corruption is based on systemic corruption in the
so-called hierarchic expression. Hoktanyan brings the example of the
former head of the state pension fund Vazgen Khachikyan.
According to him, the worst expressions of elite corruption are budget
misuse and kickbacks.
There are no certain data but elite corruption is supposed to be
formed around in 2005 when the businessmen intervene in the legislative
activities and adopted laws stemming from their business interests.
In the world, the post-Soviet countries are considered the most
corrupt ones in the region.
According to Hoktanyan there are two ways of eliminating corruption,
authoritarian and democratic. Armenia, if it follows the example of
Singapore which has fought down the level of elite corruption being an
authoritarian country, should punish all the high-ranking officials,
their friends and relatives engaged in corruption.
Posted 02 November 2012 - 12:58 AM
Armenia, if it follows the example of
Singapore which has fought down the level of elite corruption being an
authoritarian country, should punish all the high-ranking officials,
their friends and relatives engaged in corruption.
Edited by Armenak, 02 November 2012 - 12:58 AM.
Posted 02 November 2012 - 08:25 AM
It's hard to believe, they mean what they say!
What they mean is that they are going to use surgical methods to attach PAP controlled ministries only...
Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:38 AM
Detection of corruption must be followed by observable punishment - Armenian PM
November 03, 2012 | 17:01
YEREVAN. - Armenian Premier Tigran Sargsyan chaired session of the
council on the fight against corruption, the Government press service
informs. The participants exchanged views on this matter, and made
proposals toward eliminating the current shortcomings and problems.
`We ourselves must expose the existing corruption. If the authorities
do not expose it, the society loses confidence in the authorities.
Subsequently, there must be observable punishment,' the Premier said,
and underscored the civil society's engagement in the decision-making
and implementation oversight.
The PM extended his thanks to representatives from the NGOs and
political forces for their attendance to the session, and expressed a
hope that they will submit their proposals, in written form, which
will become topics of discussion.
`We are unsatisfied by the situation created in the fight against
corruption. The President requires decisive steps from us [in this
respect], which can be taken solely by joint efforts. We cannot
succeed in combating corruption unless we cooperate,' Tigran Sargsyan
In the Armenian PM's words, assistance by international donor
organizations likewise will be of great importance in terms of
increasing the potential of the ongoing reforms.
Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:17 AM
I admire this brave German guy, am following this story now since quite a while (and its not easy to follow because no newspaper really notices it except this hetq which I look at only from time to time). I even admire him more that he still seems to believe in Armenia! While I admire this guy - on the other hand it really really gives a bad picture on the country. I mean, look: What shall the world think of Armenia? If organzsations such as this ADA is so heavily corrputed and in Tsarukyans hands, where shall a foreigner go to? If you read a bit in the comments further down below, e.g. what Samvel wrote, there is mentioned that a lot more business people from Europe got expelled.
Brr. Ugly! We Armenians are friendly and honest people, I think it is time to do something agains Dody Gagik and his crew that just ruins our country.
What´s your opinion on such stories?
Edited by Mher100, 16 November 2012 - 10:19 AM.
Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:09 AM
We need a strong fair minded pro homeland DICTATOR for a duration until law and order is rule of the land.
Wake me up please because I know I'm in dreamland!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted 17 November 2012 - 11:58 AM
Country - Friday, 16 November 2012, 11:32
The independent citizens of Armenia have decided not to rely on the
state bodies and political parties anymore and have initiated the
formation of a new state. They have set up the Pre-parliament which
is to work out the necessary conditions for the formation of the
Constituent parliament of the new republic.
The idea of forming the forth republic of Armenia has been discussed
since Sardarapat Initiative appeared. This version was chosen as
something in between the evolutionary and revolutionary transformation
of the state. The government speaks about evolution, but prefers its
own stability to the development of the country. Some civil figures
consider revolution but even the representatives of the ARF admit
that they will not allow bloodshed in Armenia.
So the third option appears: alternative elections, alternative
parliament. It is true that the electoral mechanisms and the methods
of the parliamentary activities are not clear yet. Sardarapat, as we
know, formed a parliament a few years ago but it became clear after
several meetings that it was impossible to move forward without civil
levers. Alhough, Sardarapat did one thing: it raised the topic of
emigration forcing the society to speak about it and the government
to assume the responsibility for it.
The only precondition of the alternative parliament and the government
may be the ability to initiate civil disobedience. Only such a
civil or political force which will be able to convince masses to
disobey, namely boycott the dependent courts, not pay raised taxes,
not to work more than 8 hours per day, not to use the crowded buses,
not to borrow loans with high interest rate from banks, not to buy
products in the supermarkets run by oligarchs, not to emigrate but
to stay and seek work, can talk about alternative government.
Otherwise, everything will end up in a next show which may produce
certain results but it cannot correct the systemic vices of the current
state institutes. Moreover, the current strategy of the ruling party
is declared to be national and social priorities, as the one of the
established Pre-parliament. So, it's not a new concept of state but
it's about breaking the current perverse mechanisms through civil
It should be disobedience and not demonstrations. The authorities
have immunity against rebellions in the whole world. Recent crowded
protests in the European countries did not anyhow affect the activities
of their parliaments. Protests are not banned, people are even allowed
to "let the steam off" and set on fire a couple of shops.
Even in democratic countries, there is no link between political
decisions and street actions.
So, street protests will not lead anywhere unless the majority of
the population takes to the street. Only civil disobedience may force
changes, only sabotage of the main sources of income of the current
regime, namely the banks, the mining sector and imports.
Perhaps, it is necessary to start with boycott of elections. If the
authorities ensure a high turnout in this election, alternative civil
movements can forget about their goals for another 5 years.
Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:17 AM
ARMENIA'S CORRUPT ELITE HAMPERS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: REPORT
10.21.2013 13:13 epress.am
A report published today by an international think tank finds that the
negative impact of corruption on Armenia's economy is "substantial"
and major companies are involved in that process.
The Washington-based think tank Policy Forum Armenia (PFA) announced
the publication of its State of the Nation Report on "Corruption in
Armenia". Note, Karo Yeghnukyan, a member of the Pre-Parliament civic
initiative, is also a member of PFA's Board of Directors.
According to a press release issued by the think tank, the report's
main finding is that corruption's negative impact on Armenia's
economy is substantial. For example, the report, in the section on
corruption faced by companies, finds that "with an estimated cost to
large companies of approximately five percent of sales per year-the
highest among the comparator countries-corruption in Armenia erodes
productivity and competitiveness of firms."
Furthermore, "On the policy side, the report makes a compelling case
that the design and implementation of public policy in Armenia often
serve the interest of the entrenched corrupt elite and not the country
or its citizens.
"PFA's Executive Board member, Dr. Zaven Kalayjian, noted: 'By its
nature, corruption is very difficult to detect, which is why the choice
of methods and areas of study was made carefully to maximize the value
added of the report. The team employed both quantitative techniques
and case studies to help effectively gauge the extent of corruption
and bribery taking place in various segments of the economy and public
life in Armenia, from the judiciary and military to money laundering
and petty crime. The most striking finding was that corruption in
Armenia is highly concentrated and puts in place insurmountable
barriers for economic development and progress in the country.'
"The overarching message of the report is that 'an effective handling
of challenges facing Armenia should begin by forming a legitimate
authority to oversee the new policy course on behalf of the people.
This can be achieved only by a political power with incentives and
capacity to spearhead a systemic change. At the moment, the feedback
mechanism between power and people is broken in Armenia. This makes the
country's ruling regime immune to any pressures from the electorate to
perform better and fundamentally changes the incentives of individuals
at the top of the ruling pyramid.'
"Daron Acemoglu, Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology and the author of a recent bestseller Why Nations Fail:
The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty noted: 'Some say that
Armenia is doomed to fail economically because of its geography or
location in the world. But like so many other countries around the
world and throughout history, its failure is due to corruption,
unscrupulous politicians and weak institutions. It's not lack of
opportunities but squandered opportunities that are at the root of
Armenia's ills, and it can make progress only by confronting this
fact and holding accountable those responsible for the failures. This
wonderful report is a first step'," reads the press release.
Posted 21 June 2014 - 09:13 AM
CORRUPTION: SOLUTIONS AND THE DIASPORA'S ROLE
Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, 1 June 2014
Close to 200 people attended Armenian Renaissance's day-long
"Corruption in Armenia: Solutions and the role of the Diaspora"
symposium at Toronto's Westin Prince Hotel on May 31, 2014. The
gathering comprised of speakers from Armenia and from the Diaspora.
Dr. Zareh Ouzounian, founding member of the Toronto chapter of Armenian
Renaissance (AR), opened the gathering and outlined the aims of the
gathering and specifically the objectives of the speakers--human
rights, governance, and corruption in Armenia.
Dr. Ouzounian described how, despite many difficulties, the Diaspora
has kept the Armenian cultural heritage alive, and aided the fatherland
during emergencies such as the earthquake. He then focused on the
"catastrophic" depopulation of Armenia and concerns rising from that
dismal trend. Aiding Armenian coalitions of forward-thinking groups
and individuals to bring about positive change in Armenia is a key
mission of the AR, he said and repeated his group's role to inform,
engage, and act.
Dr. Berge Minassian, another founding member of the Toronto chapter
of the AR, talked about the challenge AR and Armenians in general face
in putting an end to corruption in the fatherland. He then introduced
famed film director Atom Egoyan who screened the world premier of his
personal short feature ("The Illuminator) about Armenia and Armenians.
Bronwen Best of Transparency International spoke in lieu of Varuzhan
Hokanyan who didn't attend because he couldn't obtain a visa from
Armenia. Ms. Best said corruption undermines a government, results
in the misallocation of assets, harms the private sector and hurts
She said corruption in Armenia is systematic and covers many levels
of the government and society. Corruption is rooted in a sense of
entitlement, authoritarian style of decision making in business and
in politics, in lack of political will and absence of autonomy on the
part of the police, the judiciary and other public servants. Loopholes
in legislation are other shortcomings which contribute to corruption.
Finally, the web of patronage and the networks of monopoly lead to an
informal government which actually makes decisions in Armenia. Armenia
is in 94th place on the international corruption index. Australia,
with the least corruption, is number one. Canada is in ninth place.
Human rights defender Dr. Artak Zeynalyan, a former deputy minister
of health in Armenia, tackled the subject of the independence of
judges as a means to fight systematic corruption. He argued that
anti-corruption institutions and agencies will not be able to counter
systematic corruption as long as the resources of the people are
significantly lesser than the resources of the corruptors.
Policy Forum Armenia (PFA) founding member Vladimir Shekoyan of
Washington presented the latest corruption findings of his group.
Titled "State of the Nation Report on Corruption in Armenia", the
survey offers the concrete costs of corruption at macroeconomic,
business and household levels.
During her 50 trips to Armenia to provide medicine and medical
relief to Armenia and to Artsakh, Dr. Carolann Najarian of Boston has
witnessed a great deal of corruption. Indeed, her and her husband's
property in Armenia was stolen by local criminals. She talked about
the difficulties in obtaining fair and unbiased trial to regain title
to their property and to prosecute the wrongdoers.
Dr. Najarian described corruption as "the use of encrusted power for
personal or private gain." She then cited that sometimes parents in
Armenia can't even obtain birth certificates for their newborn unless
they paid a bribe.
Kamo Mailyan of Toronto, study co-coordinator of "Depopulation
in Armenia" survey, focused also on corruption and the inefficient
judicial system, lack of government accountability and the high level
of poverty in Armenia. Citing a 20% decline in Armenia's population
in the past two decades, Mr. Mailyan said the most important factor
influencing depopulation is lack of hope.
The final speaker was Garegin Chugaszyan, a founding member and
coordinator of Pre-Parliament democratic and progressive organization
in Armenia. His speech was titled "Is There a Road Map from Deadlock?"
He described Armenia as a post-Soviet colonial society and a
dictatorship. He said that because of the current dismal situation
in Armenia there's "real fear that we might lose the last Armenian
presence in the last portion of Armenia."
During the Q &A, which was moderated by Dr. Dikran Abrahamian of
Keghart.com, Mr. Chugaszyan said that while Armenia can't ignore
the importance of Russia (supplier of gas at discounted prices), it
doesn't mean Armenia should be dictated by Moscow. He stressed that
the post-Soviet young generation is the nation's hope for progressive
change. Mr. Chugaszyan added that dictatorship makes pre-Parliament
a necessity. He also said that the primary assistance Armenia needs
from the Diaspora are in the educational and economic fields.
When Mr. Chugaszyan was then asked by an attendee, during Q & A,
whether pre-Parliament members considered the perils involved in
their anti-corruption activism, Mr. Chugaszyan said: "If you enter
the forest, you must be prepared to encounter wolves."
Posted 31 July 2014 - 10:45 AM
Death of Armenian Oligarchy
Haikazn Ghahriyan, Editor-in-Chief
Comments - 29 July 2014, 17:06
Vahakn Hovnanian told Radio Liberty the oligarchs have taken the
economy of Armenia in their hands, and if the situation does not
change, it will be the death of the economy.
I might sound tough but I want someone to hear, this is the right
hour, it is high time. People have lost their hope, people must awake
and regain hope," the businessman said.
What is the so-called Armenian oligarchy? It is a group of people who
have usurped the government and economy and reached their current
positions through destruction of constitutional electoral mechanisms,
neutralization of electoral constitutional mechanisms, public rights
and righteous demands and many other crimes.
In the long run, this is not oligarchy and not even criminal oligarchy
but a criminal gang which has grabbed all the financial and economic
opportunities of the country. It does not have any ideology and
ideals, public and national issues are not advisable for them.
This gang lives on the state budget and people's income, does not make
any investment in the future of the country. It does not even invest
in its own businesses because it is not interested in the political,
technological, educational systems.
Having captured the system of government, this class "shapes" its laws
and legal acts in accordance with its own interests, trying to
transform in accordance with the "new conditions". Besides, it has
given away the country's sovereignty, trying to keep its positions
eternally with the help of a foreign sponsor.
Hence, the death of the economy, as Vahakn Hovnanian put it, is not
the only result of the oligarchy's activities.
The oligarchic system must die to save the country and economy from
death. In addition, there is such demand not only inside the country.
It is a so called international trend. The Armenian oligarchs have got
away with this thanks to the lack of public focus and venal parties.
This situation may last long, and people may not wake up. However, the
Armenian oligarchy showed that it is unable to change its nature and
transform at another level. This is going to be its death.
And for the time being it may hand all its possessions and property to
the country and people which would be the best way out ahead of future
- See more at: http://www.lragir.am...h.sKAaYOxi.dpuf
Posted 21 September 2014 - 09:01 AM
Diaspora politician: Many Diaspora investors are scared off by
corruption in Armenia
by Ashot Safaryan
Saturday, September 20, 14:55
Many investors from Diaspora, which are ready to invest in the economy
of Armenia, are scared off by the corruption in Armenia, a
representative of the social and democratic "Hnchakyan" party in
Lebanon, Aleksan Keshkeryan, told ArmInfo correspondent.
He said that unfortunately a businessman which makes investments in
the economy of Armenia is not confident that he will be able to work
within the frames of the law. "We are well aware that corruption is
spread in Armenia and this affects the decision of many businessmen
from Diaspora, which simply scare doing business in Armenia. Besides
the patriotic intentions, an investor should be sure that he will not
be deceived here and he will be able to work in normal competitive
conditions. I think that with such conditions Armenia still is not
ready to the flow of investments from Diaspora", - Keshkeryan said.
Touching on effectiveness of the Armenia-Diaspora conference being
held in Yerevan, he said that the given event is a good opportunity to
discuss the accumulated problems, to listen to and understand each
First of all, we should think how to help our compatriots in Syria. In
Lebanon we feel this problem every day, as it is very much close to us
in all senses. Our country directly suffers of the consequences of the
war in Syria. So, the adequate measures should be taken. In this
context, Armenia's Foreign Ministry has to play a serious part. It is
necessary to find funds to show aid to the Syrian Armenians. I think
that the conference will let us find the mutually acceptable
solutions",- he concluded.
Posted 29 August 2015 - 10:01 AM
DEMOGRAPHER: ARMENIA ECONOMY MONOPOLIZATION TAKES PEOPLE ABROAD
YEREVAN. - People are emigrating from Armenia not only because of
unemployment, but low salaries, said demographer Ruben Yeganyan,
at a press conference on Friday.
As per Yeganyan, this emigration will not stop even if, miraculously,
jobs are created tomorrow in Armenia as much as the number of people
that are able to work, since people want decent salaries.
According to the sociologist, this kind of thinking comes from the
Armenian families' mindset, which has not changed even in the 1990s
that were difficult for Armenia.
"People [in the country] have become poorer, but they have not adapted
to the thinking of the poor," noted the expert. "They, just like
before, want as better conditions as possible for their children."
Ruben Yeganyan added that more opportunities for good earnings are
needed in Armenia's private sector.
"But, under the conditions of monopolization of our economy, no
chance for development is given to private initiatives," concluded the
demographer. "And therefore people don't link their future to Armenia."
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