Corruption remains rampant in Eurasia, suggests Transparency International survey

By bne IntelliNews November 16, 2016

Corruption remains rampant in the Caucasus and Central Asian countries, while the governments are doing a poor job in fighting graft, a survey by Transparency International showed on November 16.

This survey shines a light on how extensive citizens from across Europe and Central Asia perceive the corruption problem to be and what actions they consider to be effective in order to address it. Among Eurasian countries, Kyrgyzstan stands out as the one with the highest percentage of citizens thinking corruption is one of the key problems facing their country.

Some 47% of Kyrgyz respondents mention corruption as one of the biggest problems. Armenia and Kazakhstan come next with 37% of their population seeing corruption as one of the top problems of their countries. Next in line are Uzbekistan (23%), Azerbaijan (21%), Tajikistan (18%) and Georgia (12%).

What’s more worrying is that people perceive as highly corrupt the members of parliament and government officials, the ones that have enormous influence over the way countries are run. Half of Kyrgyz respondents said most or all lawmakers are corrupt, while in Armenia 42% of the polled shared that view. Not surprisingly, many people say their governments are doing bad job in fighting graft. In Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, their share is especially high – at 65% and 57%, respectively.

Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer also showed that bribery rates across Eurasia stay high. Tajikistan is topping the list with every second household having paid a bribe to access basic public services over the past year. In Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan 38% of the households, who had accessed public services, paid a bribe over the past 12 months. With a bribery rate of just 7%, Georgia is a positive exception in the region, putting it at least on a par with EU member states.

Tajikistan also has the highest bribery rate for road police of all the countries surveyed: 64% of Tajik households, who have come into contact with the road police in the last 12 months, paid a bribe. Bribery to the road police is also very common in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan: 47% and 48%, respectively.

The general perception is that the most effective actions to help fight corruption are “reporting corruption incidents” and “refusing to pay bribes”. Still reporting rates are low, especially in Armenia and Azerbaijan, where fewer than one in 10 of those who had paid a bribe subsequently reported it. The most common reason why people don’t report corruption is that they are afraid of the consequences.  

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