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Corruption to become a taboo for Armenia

PanARMENIAN.Net - It's an open secret that corruption in Armenia (and not only in Armenia) is a widespread phenomenon, AIPRG Executive Board member and CRRS Director Heghine Manasyan told journalists Tuesday, during the presentation devoted to the problem of corruption in Armenia. It is mostly developed counties (Australia, Canada and Scandinavian states) that have low level corruption, whereas in post Soviet countries the problem has rather deep roots, the speaker finds. "The most perplexing factor is that our society perceives corruption as an inseparable part of our everyday life, and does not therefore express willingness to combat the problem," she noted.

A recent survey reveals that 86% of population considers corruption a very serious problem, says the report issued by Caucasus Centre. In the meantime, corruption level in Armenia has decreased since 2006. Manasyan says. "Contributing factors are the publication of and access to any kind of material concerning recent years' studies. As shown by comparison between 2006 and 2008, there is certain decrease of corruptive practices in all spheres with the exception of law enforcement bodies. The level of corruption is perceived commonly in the sphere of healthcare (61% of respondents), education (58%), electoral system (66%), custom services and road police (66%)."

Besides, public awareness of the problem has been raised. Each 5th citizen in 2008 was aware of the government's anti-corruption programs in comparison with the 1/3 part of society recorded in 2006.

The survey, according to Manasyan, was conducted among 1549 adults from all regions of Armenia. The range of questions in survey forms varied broadly. There questions concerning possible methods of combating corruption or respondents' personal experience in the sphere (if any), Director said. "Respondents were also required to answer the question concerning the amount of bribe they might have offered within the past 12-month period," she noted. The survey was conducted in September-October 2008. But there are no exact data on the sums offered, as there are very few people who confessed to being engaged in corruptive practices.

Georgia is one of Caucasian countries that seems to have overcome the obvious manifestations of corruption, Manasyan said. "The general opinion is that the country has made more serious progress in comparison with Armenia," she noted.

The survey aims to raise awareness in public and private sectors. "The more we speak about corruption, the more it will become a priority problem. People will start to realize the importance of joining efforts to combat it. Corruption is a taboo that should be constantly touched upon," she said.
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