Transparency International has published its annual report on global corruption - the countries of the South Caucasus have little to be proud of
The report’s authors attribute this to the attack that the authorities of the republic are leading against non-governmental organizations (including the local branch of Transparency International) and independent media.
“It is difficult for civil society to access foreign funding. The government of Azerbaijan undermines the possibility of independent control over their activities and the ability of citizens to express their opinions,” the report said.
The report also notes that in September 2017, an international investigation was published which stated that the Azerbaijani authorities removed and laundered about $2.9 billion from the country. A part of this sum was used to improve the country’s reputation abroad.
With a score of 58 (56 in 2017), Georgia is the leader in the South Caucasus.
However, the authors of the report note that the country is experiencing a crisis of democratic institutions.
This is primarily reflected in the lack of accountability of law enforcement agencies, political interference in the activities of the courts and pressure on the institutions of civil society.
The report specifically noted that according to a recent sociological survey, 36 per cent of Georgian residents believe that the authorities abuse their powers for personal gain (in 2013, this number stood at just 12 per cent).
Over the past three years, Armenia has had the same score – just 35 points.
According to the authors of the report, Armenia faces problems typical of all post-Soviet countries, and suffers from an imbalance between executive and legislative branches, a weak judicial system and the citizens’ lack of understanding of the value of civil society institutions.