Armenia has regressed in its progress against corruption, according to the latest data from Berlin-based Transparency International. Armenia ranked 63rd out of 180 countries in the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), as compared to 58th last year. It received a score of 46, 100 being “very clean” and zero being “highly corrupt.” “After years of improvement, this CPI brings worrying signs as Armenia drops three points,” the report reads. “While not yet statistically significant, this downturn reflects the breakdown in maintaining checks and balances, ensuring integrity in law enforcement, securing judicial independence and protecting civic space.”
Azerbaijan was ranked 157th out of 180 countries in the CPI and was among the worst performers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It has dropped seven points since 2021 and received a score of 23. “Power in Azerbaijan is largely held by the president—who has been in this role since 2003—and his family,” the report from Transparency International reads. “Corruption in the country is widespread, and effective opposition to the government has been weakened by years of crackdowns on rival politicians and civil society.”
Transparency International has named Georgia a “country to watch” in its 2022 CPI. Georgia ranked 41st out of 180 countries and received the best score in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. However, Transparency International lamented that the “current government is effectively killing any momentum to fight” corruption. “The governing Georgian Dream party—which is widely believed to be controlled by Georgia’s richest man and former prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili—has captured key state institutions, the judiciary and law enforcement, meaning abuses of power at the highest levels go largely unpunished,” the report reads. The report says that Georgia is becoming a kleptocracy, where “officials systematically use political power to appropriate the country’s wealth and undermine all critical voices, including political opposition, media and civil society.”
Levan Khabeishvili has unseated Nika Melia as the head of the opposition United National Movement (UNM) party in an internal election held this Monday. Khabeishvili, who received 53-percent of the vote to Melia’s 40-percent, based his campaign on his promise to free former president and party founder Mikheil Saakashvili from prison. Saakashvili was arrested in September 2021 on charges of abuse of power while in office. The UNM called internal party elections amid criticisms that Melia, who became party chair in December 2020, was not doing enough to free Saakashvili. This week, Khabeishvili proposed removing UNM from parliament and city councils and transferring ownership of the UNM headquarters to Ivanishvili in exchange for Saakashvili’s freedom.
Pashinyan’s “savior” administration is doing a really good job, unfortunately.