Report: Corruption Choking 5 Eastern European Countries

Published: 06 July 2015

Photo: Transparency International

By Beth Lacy

A new report by corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) warns that corruption threatens economic and democratic development in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The report analyzes 60 anti-corruption bodies in these countries.

It says that while some progress has been made in adopting anti-corruption laws in the region, the influence of powerful elites on important institutions seriously undermines the enforcement of these laws.

One of the report’s key findings is that a lack of checks and balances means that the executive branch of government can maintain a tight grip on power, limiting accountability and increasing the likelihood of corruption.

The watchdog organization also expressed concern over weak judicial systems in the five countries, saying that judiciaries’ lack of independence from executive power undermine the fight against corruption.

While civil society in the region remains weak, the report notes that Georgia and Ukraine show promising signs of growing civil activism. However, civil society conditions in Armenia and particularly in Azerbaijan have deteriorated over the past few years, with activists persecuted in both countries and increasingly restrictive laws on civil society organizations implemented in Azerbaijan.