Armenian Perspective: THAT COMPLICATED THING CALLED “CORRUPTION”

by Anna Astvatsatryan

I was driving home and talking on the phone with a friend, so the police stopped me. I know, I know, you shouldn’t use mobile devices while driving. So I was completely ready to answer for my “crime” and pay the fine, which in my country you are able to pay on spot.

Anyhow, after parting ways with the police officer, I remembered that usually you need to sign a receipt of payment, which he never asked me to do. All of a sudden, I found myself in the middle of a bribery act, that I didn’t even realize.

Corruption is a very tricky matter. It can halt the development of a whole country and destroy democracy. It can help people avoid useless regulations and paperwork, therefore save a lot of time and money. For example, a study showed that in countries with high number of regulations, corruption actually helps new entrepreneurs to start a business and enter the market. It also has a so-called “greasing” effect for importers, when they can avoid a line and paperwork at the customs by just paying a bribe.

If we dig deeper, corruption is in a way compensating the lack of trust between the government and people. It helps businesses have at least some kind of a guarantee from the government official. If there was more trust in justice and equal opportunities for every business or individual, the power of corruption would decrease significantly.

But how can you build trust with an official that would rather take a bribe?

Well you could try by these:

  1. Build trust with your partners, competitors and other citizens
  2. Know your rights (I could have avoided paying a bribe if I remembered the official fine payment procedure)
  3. Ask for advice. There actually are people called lawyers that know what you can and cannot do, your rights and responsibilities, the Constitution of your country and a lot of other very useful and extremely important information, and you don’t always have to pay for their services.

Corruption can still be harmful or beneficial, depending on the case. Nevertheless, building trust will help decrease a lot of the harmful and unnecessary corruption and create a civil society that does not need any corruption at all.