Large-scale corruption deal on evasion from army service revealed in Armenia

21 August 2018 14:55 (UTC+04:00)

By Rashid Shirinov

The facts of arbitrariness regarding army service continue to emerge in Armenia. A large-scale corruption deal on evasion from military service has been revealed by law enforcement agencies of the country.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has filed a criminal suit on the abuse of official power, illegal release and bribe-taking in the amount of $15,000. It was established that a former employee of the National Security Service (NSS) assisted an official in his  illegal actions.

In particular, with the aim of releasing a conscript from army service, the former employee of NSS and the official demanded $15,000 from his father, after which the conscript received a draft deferment for 2017-2018. On August 13, the former employee was detained, and the next day the father of the conscript was detained too.

During the preliminary investigation it was also revealed that the head of department of a military commissariat demanded and received $19,000 from the father of another conscript in order to release his son from army service. As a result, the conscript received a draft deferment for 2018. The head of department was detained, and the former employee of the NSS was also involved in this corruption deal.

The same person was involved in yet another corruption story. With his assistance, an official demanded and received $2,000 from a young man to release him from service.

These stories are only a drop in the ocean of corruption deals related to evasion of Armenian young men from military service. It is easy to guess what is their cause – the poor state of the Armenian armed forces.

First, soldiers of many military units do not receive even the minimum of the necessary ration. They are fed with poor-quality food, while unsanitary conditions prevail in military units, and contagious diseases, especially the infectious ones, are wide-spread there.

Secondly, the Armenian army officers often abuse their soldiers, as well as steal and sell their clothes and food. There are also many death cases when Armenian soldiers die in ‘mysterious’ circumstances in non-combat conditions.

It is worth noting that at the beginning of the year, the Dialogue for Peace organization prepared a report on the deaths in the Armenian army in 2010-2017. It revealed that while 235 Armenian servicemen died as a result of violations of the ceasefire, the death of 296 servicemen was mainly due to internal factors. They included the climate of impunity in military units, murders and suicides as a result of arbitrariness, as well as accidents and conscription of young men having health problems.

These statistics scare Armenian parents and therefore they try to find any opportunity to keep their sons far from that horror. Many youth flee abroad so that not to serve in the Armenian army, while others pay bribes in order to evade from military service.

Therefore, it seems that the new Armenian authorities will be long surprised by the huge scale of corruption in the armed forces of the country. The most effective way to eradicate it is to put in order the situation of the army, which, of course, will take a long time.

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Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov

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