By Rashid Shirinov
After the April fights in 2016, when the Azerbaijani Armed Forces defeated the Armenian army, the government of the latter began trying to figure out the reason for its failure. No wonder it turned out that the Armenian army was thoroughly imbued with corruption, fraud and theft.
Consequently, Armenia’s then Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan lost his post. However, the new minister Vigen Sargsyan, who seemed to be the personification of law and order to the Armenian government, did not change anything significantly in the army.
In his recent interview with 1in.am, Armenian lawyer Norayr Norikyan noted that since Vigen Sargsyan was appointed the defense minister, there has been a constant attempt to make it look like there is a struggle against corruption and corrupt officials in the Armenian army. “Those are only beautiful words, but the reality is completely different,” he said.
Norikyan stressed that all the fight against corruption is imitation: only low-ranking officials are punished, but the high-level ones are mired in corrupt schemes and are members of the corruption pyramid.
“They really undermine the effective functioning of the state system. Rather than being held accountable, these people continue to hold their posts and remain the architects of corruption schemes,” the lawyer noted.
The most the Armenian government does is punishing investigators, judges or prosecutors of lower ranks, but the system of corruption cannot be defeated while those who really manage it remain at large.
“I believe that the political establishment has no task to get rid of these all-powerful individuals, since it is clear that they cannot arrest themselves. Therefore, systemic changes must occur so that we can talk about qualitative changes,” Norikyan said.
Of course, the terrible corruption exists not only within the Armenian army but also in the state system itself. Corruption was called as the key problem of Armenia's agreement with the EU, which demands from the country to fight corruption and build an effective judicial system.
The fact of destructive corruption in Armenia was also repeatedly pointed out by foreign representatives in the country. Last year, the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills noted that if Armenia does not manage to solve the problem, it will affect the relations between the two countries in specific areas – for example, in investments.
Thus, it is quite obvious that the fight against corruption in the Armenian army is only a fiction. The new minister in the person of Vigen Sargsyan and the new staff are in fact just an illusion of systematic changes in the army. The situation remains the same and those who made money through this system before the April clashes, presently continue to do so.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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