Thursday, May 05, 2005

I drove into Yerevan today after a 10 day stay in Martuni, for the most part working on getting rid of a stubborn flu.

On the way in, our taxi who was being driven by Arthur, the former military police officer who was fired for striking his commanding officer, was stopped by the police.

I guess Arthur was speeding (though I was not looking at his speedometer) and the cops were waiting for him around a blind corner with a laser speed gun.

After a 3 minute conversation and Arthur reaching into his pocket of money which he gave the cop, he got back in the car and drove off.

It seems that they cops claimed that they stopped him not because he was speeding, but because they were conducting a raid to make sure that the car and documents were in order.

I asked him if that was the case, why then did he give them a bribe?

Arthur said that first of all, they wanted from him 15,000 dram, to which he talked them down to 3,000 dram.

He went on to say that if he didn’t give them the bribe, then they would have checked his car and found something wrong, even though there was nothing wrong with his car.

Last year when I was driving into Yerevan, I got stopped by the same cop in the same spot and after arguing with him, he let me off with a warning, though I had done nothing wrong.

The cops in Yerevan today were out in force, all along the road leading into the city center. I guess the chief’s birthday is coming up or his money is running out, thus the shake-down.

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