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September 16, 2004

ACNIS Releases Public Opinion Results on Corruption in Armenia

Yerevan—The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) today issued the results of a public survey on “Corruption in Armenia” which it conducted among 1956 citizens from Yerevan and all of Armenia’s regions.

ACNIS director of administration Karapet Kalenchian greeted the invited guests and public participants with opening remarks. “It would be illusory to hope that discussions and debates on corruption could solve the problem. However, we must carefully examine the issue in order to clarify the directions, strategy, conception, and practical priorities of our common campaign. Corruption is a public evil, and each of us, alone and together, should struggle against it,” he said.

ACNIS legal and political affairs analyst Stepan Safarian focused in detail on the findings of the opinion poll. Accordingly, a majority of surveyed citizens (62.4%) assert that corruption in Armenia exists in all spheres and at all levels, 29.9% think it exists in some areas, 3.7% can identify it in but a few categories, while 4% find it difficult to answer.

All spheres and levels


Some spheres and levels


Very few spheres and levels

Difficult to answer

42.8% of citizens think that corruption is a political phenomenon, that is, authorities that come to power through election fraud and bribery are forced to sponsor or give privileges to those who supported their “election.” 19.4% believe corruption to be an economic phenomenon, as it is the most effective way of amassing money, 19.7% assert it is a social function, and 12% explain it as a cultural matter.

A political phenomenon:
Authorities that come to power through election fraud and bribery are forced to sponsor or give privileges to those who supported their election


An economic phenomenon:
Corruption is the most effective way of amassing money


A social phenomenon:
A variety of social problems forces people to take steps to solve them quickly

A cultural phenomenon:
Solving problems illegally is a characteristic feature of Armenians

Difficult to answer

Refused to answer

14.8% of respondents have given bribes because they were forced to do it, 39.5% have done it to solve a problem quickly and easily, while 45.2% have never given bribes. A plurality of surveyed citizens think that the health care system is the most corrupt in Armenia (19.4%), 10.6% point to the army, 17.5% the courts, 5.2% the prosecutor’s office, 7.5% the educational system, 7.7% tax and 1.7% customs agencies, 4.4% the state transport inspection, and 4.7% the police. 23.2% are convinced that the most corrupt branch of the Armenian government is the executive, while 15.6% blame the judiciary and 5.7% the legislature.

Among the surveyed public, 37% were offered a bribe during the presidential or parliamentary elections of 2003. 32.5% of these actually took it, whereas only 66.4% did not take it.

As to the principal factor fostering corruption in Armenia, 35.9% pinpoint the arbitrariness and unaccountability of the authorities, 20.7% the prevalence of private and group interests, and 12.8% a tolerance toward unlawfulness in people’s consciousness. 25.3% of respondents do not believe in the success of the Armenian government’s program against corruption, only 4.9% are optimistic on this score, and 69.3% find it difficult to answer. The main reason for the inefficiency of the campaign against corruption, in the view of 49.1%, is that corrupt authorities cannot struggle against themselves. 14.8% think it is hampered by clans and oligarchs, and 14.3% say it is adversely affected by the fact that society is not engaged in the struggle.

Authorities are not professional and adept


Corrupt authorities cannot struggle against themselves


Clans and oligarchs are the obstacles

Society does not take part in that campaign

Difficult to answer


  • All of the above
  • National and human mindset
  • Inability to surmount socioeconomic difficulties
  • Inoperability of laws
  • The imperative for struggle is dictated by Europe, not from within

Refused to answer

The second item on the day’s agenda was a presentation by economist Ashot Tavadian on “The Aims of the Campaign against Corruption.” “I am convinced, and the survey proves it, that Armenia’s substantive development is possible only by way of a serious campaign against corruption, whereas the aims of the government’s program are declarative and unclear. In reality, the program must persuade us that over time Armenia will achieve an internationally recognized benchmark on the existence or non-existence of corruption. It also should be composed based on the consensus of a large number of political forces,” he underscored.

The formal presentations were followed by contributions by Edward Aghajanov of the “Armat” center; law professor Hrair Tovmasian; Ruben Torosian of the Supreme Council Deputy Club; Yerevan State University professor Gagik Galstian; Artsrun Pepanian, political analyst for AR television; Gayane Markosian of the Harmonious World NGO; economist Gegham Kiurumian; Armen Ktoyan of the Institute of Management and Economic Reforms; Haroutiun Khachatrian of Noyan Tapan news agency; National Press Club chairperson Narine Mkrtchian; and several others.

42.7% of participating respondents are male and 57.3% female; 11.9% are 18-30 years of age, 23.6% 31-40, 21.4% 41-50, 12.7% 51-60, and 23.4% 61 or above. 48% of the citizens surveyed have received a higher education, 11.1% incomplete higher, 20.5% specialized secondary, 17.1% secondary, and 3.1% incomplete secondary training. 9.8% are pensioners, 0.9% welfare recipients, and 6.1% students. 32.4% hail from Yerevan, the remainder from all of Armenia's regions.

Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi K. Hovannisian, and supported by the Lincy Foundation and a global network of contributors, ACNIS serves as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy challenges facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet world. It also aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic thinking and a wider understanding of the new global environment. In 2004, the Center focuses primarily on public outreach, civic education, and applied research on critical domestic and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information on the Center and its activities, call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; e-mail root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am

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