Monthly Archives: June 2013

Blatant Nepotism

Corruption is a well-known long-term problem in Armenia. While Armenia has been making incremental improvements, the amount of blatant nepotism, especially in the regions, is astonishing. Hetq recently publicized multiple instances of no-bid contracts being given to family members of the people in power. This obvious conflict of interest is exactly what Armenia needs to fight against.

In the first link, the mayor’s brother’s company got the no-bid contract because his company was “one of the biggest road construction companies around and best capable to get the job finished on time.” First, if you primarily give contracts to only one company, then of course they’ll be one of the biggest company. Second, even if they are the best to get the job finished on time, require documented proof, especially when there is a clear conflict of interest. Here’s the list so far:

In yet another setback, the police have not investigated another small town mayor six months after Hetq reported on the 1.2 million AMD spent on gas on a car that doesn’t run, among other petty embezzlements. The media can only do so much, it’s up to the police and prosecutors to act to stop this blatant corruption.

To end on a positive note, the Freedom of Information Center of Armenia (an NGO that I just recently learned about, but I believe does great work) helped organize the Open Government Partnership Conference here in Armenia. The Partnership is an international agreement between a number of states to “promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and use new technologies to strengthen governance.”

2 Comments

Filed under Corruption

Necessity is the Mother of Equality

To zero fanfare, the Minister of Defense just ended one of Armenia’s long-standing formal discriminations: women can now apply to military schools. The lack of analysis or discussion stuns me as an American, something like this would have occurred only after significant public discourse in the US. Here, it seems like it’s just a side note.

My guess is this change occurred through the need for more soldiers, thus the title of this post. While the Government is saying that it’s simply part of education reform. If it was purely educational reform, then why was it announced by the Minister of Defense?

1 Comment

Filed under Women's Rights

Slowly Thawing Hibernation

Dear Readers,

I want to apologize for the apparent abandonment of this blog. This blog is not dead. What happened is that I became very busy focusing on my projects here in Armenia that I wasn’t even able to keep up with the news, let alone write professional commentary on current events. I finished my fellowship at Caucasus Research Resource Center, and as of today, extended my time here in Armenia to focus on the projects I’m working on and to find a job here. In the mean time, I plan on slowly start posting again to this blog. If I land a permanent position here in Armenia, then I can commit to continuing this blog indefinitely.

Best,
Gabe

2 Comments

Filed under Personal