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2010 Jan

Freedom House 2010: Armenia made no progress

Freedom House 2010: Armenia made no progress

On January 12, 2010, Freedom House released Freedom in the World 2010 survey. According to the survey findings Armenia has made no progress in the development of democracy for 8 consecutive years, being considered as a Partly Free country with limited respect for political rights and civil liberties, which frequently suffers from an environment of corruption, weak rule of law, in which a single political party enjoys dominance despite the facade of limited pluralism. Armenia received 6 and 4 points in the "political rights" and "civil liberties" categories respectively.

In the opinion of Varuzhan Hoktanyan, Executive Director of Transparency International Anti-corruption Center (Radio Liberty, "The Caucasus Crossroads", 17.01.2010) it is obvious that democracy has made no progress in Armenia for years, as it is reflected in the survey. Such surveys need to be treated more seriously now that we face real reforms to carry out in view of the convergence of business and politics in Armenia as main reason causing this situation. However such surveys, in the best case, are taken under advisement by the authorities and no measures are taken to change anything. So far as political and economic pyramids are converged in Armenia, no progress is expected regarding political liberties, viability of civil society, as well as proper conduct of elections and fighting corruption.

The problem is in the qualitative and not some quantitative changes. A country, like Armenia, may have 70 parties but be unable to conduct proper elections or it may no longer be considered as a poor country but a country with lower middle income, however, its economic model may not be changed into knowledge-based hi-tech model. It has not turned into a brain exporting country. As a rule financial aid for various projects has been reduced. These data are included in the sources for Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and impact the country's eligibility for funding. In June 2009 MCC held on funding of road construction in Armenia. US aid to Armenia has been reduced year after year.

Progress may be achieved in case of changes in the present system of administration. In the opinion of Varuzhan Hoktanyan Armenia is more like the countries of Latin America. The majority of juntas in 1970-s (Argentina, Chili, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru) are free now; others are partly free but, in far a better situation than Armenia. It inspires optimism in this respect. However, Armenia faces serious problems which this system is unable to solve. The current economic model is also the derivative of this system.

For full information on Freedom in the World 2010 Survey Release please visit Freedom House website at http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=505