Monday, March 20, 2006



In Stepanakert the survey "Corruption and Conflict in the South Caucasus" was evaluated. The survey, which was funded by International Alert, is based on the results of surveys conducted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Nagorno Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Osetia. The initiator of the survey, Natalia Merimanova stated that the aim was to study the impact of corruption on the settlement of the conflict and vice versa, the impact of the conflict on the rate of corruption. The initiators had also tried to find out the difference between the rates of corruption in recognized and unrecognized countries.

The survey revealed that people in all these countries insist that governments are always corrupt. And if the government is corrupt, it cannot be legitimate, and therefore it cannot have a positive impact on the peace settlement. On the other hand, corrupt governments prefer a status quo to resuming war.

Valery Balayan, the head of the cultural center Avanduyt, said the rate of corruption in Karabakh is too high due to several reasons. The businessmen participating in the debate said it is difficult to run a business in Karabakh without breaching. If a businessman is not giving a bribe, it means he has good connections. It was mentioned that there is no equity in business.

The Scottish benefactor Robin McLarry, working at the Rehabilitation Center of Stepanakert, participating in the debate, said many international organizations, including Disaporan Armenian organizations he had turned to refused to work with the governments of Armenia and Karabakh because they are corrupt. These organizations prefer working with individuals.

The participants of the debate concluded that traditions of corruption persist in the entire post-Soviet space and are modernizing, acquiring a "democratic" form. Although there is legislative basis for equal competition, those who want to run a "clean" business, leave Karabakh for other countries.

The participants of the debate set forward proposals to involve the civil society in the struggle against corruption. First, it is necessary to have independent mass media. It is also necessary to extend legal information to people and to involve the civil society in law making.

The survey has been translated into English, and soon will appear in Russian.

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