ArmInfo. The 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released today by Transparency International reveals that corruption remains rampant in Eastern Europe and Central Asia as many countries reach historic lows.
The average score for Eastern Europe and Central Asia is 35 - well below the global average of 43. While improvements in a handful of countries offer hope, the region has a long way to go to turn the tide against long-standing corruption.
Across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 2022 has underlined how high-level corruption is closely linked to political instability, weakened institutions and - in the most extreme cases - violent conflict. Across the region, governments undermine democratic processes, crack down on civic space and restrict media freedoms in a vicious cycle of corruption and authoritarianism, leaving Eastern Europe and Central Asia the second lowest performing region on the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).
Armenia's 2022 score has significantly decreased compared to the previous year and is equal to 46. It is 3 points less than the score of the previous two years (49 points) on a scale from 0 (absolutely corrupt) to 100 (absolutely clean). The standard error of measurement of Armenia's 2022 CPI is equal to 2.47 (in 2021 it was equal to 3.76). As it is mentioned in the Transparency International's 2022 Eastern Europe and Central Asia regional analysis: "After years of improvement, this CPI brings worrying signs as Armenia drops three points. While not yet statistically significant, this downturn reflects the breakdown in maintaining checks and balances, ensuring integrity in law enforcement, securing judicial independence and protecting civic space."
Top scorers in the region are Georgia (CPI score: 56), Armenia (46) and Montenegro (45). Tajikistan (24), Azerbaijan (23) and Turkmenistan (19) are the worst performers.
Russia's (28) brutal invasion of Ukraine (33) shook the world and made obvious how entrenched corruption threatens regional security and stability. President Vladimir Putin has tightened his grip through the power of the purse, including by granting lucrative business deals to his close associates - and persecuting those who deny him. Now, he can exert influence over other nations and pursue his geopolitical ambitions without internal opposition. The consequence for the rest of the world is immense: the attack on Ukraine has caused enormous new political, economic and security challenges across Eastern Europe, and threatens progress to protect the rule of law, fight against corruption and support the healthy functioning of democratic institutions.
Although it still scores low, war-torn Ukraine is one of few significant improvers on the CPI, having gained eight points since 2013. The country has long struggled with systemic abuse of power, but has taken important steps to improve oversight and accountability.
Russia's war of aggression has disrupted some of the reform processes and exacerbated corruption risks. Reconstruction and recovery efforts can be drastically undermined by wrongdoers pocketing funds, both during the war and after. Such a case was discovered in mid-January when investigations exposed war profiteering by the defence and the communities and territories development ministries. The scandal clearly underscores the need for reforms to prevent such violations in the future, from both domestic and global actors. As foreign aid will play a vital role in rebuilding Ukraine, the international community must support the Ukrainian government in strengthening its national anti-corruption agencies and civil society. Only independent oversight can ensure the effective and accountable distribution of the development and reconstruction aid the country so desperately needs.
After years of improvement, this CPI brings worrying signs as Armenia drops three points. While not yet statistically significant, this downturn reflects the breakdown in maintaining checks and balances, ensuring integrity in law enforcement, securing judicial independence and protecting civic space.
Kazakhstan (36) was rocked by massive civil unrest in January 2022. Triggered by a spike in fuel prices, the demonstrations were fed by public outrage over inequality and corruption, resulting in more than 200 deaths, many of which have not been properly and transparently investigated. Protestors highlighted the former Kazakh ruling family's allegedly ill-gotten wealth, causing current President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to prioritise recovering stolen assets. To move forward from this turmoil, the country must empower anti-corruption agencies and ensure transparency in the asset recovery process.
Meanwhile, power in Azerbaijan is largely held by the president - who has been in this role since 2003 - and his family. Corruption in the country is widespread, and effective opposition to the government has been weakened by years of crackdowns on rival politicians and civil society.
Kyrgyzstan (27) is among the weakest performers in the region. While it used to be a democratic outlier among its neighbours, the country has slid towards autocracy. The resulting weakening of checks and balances is making it increasingly easy for those with power to abuse it without accountability. To make matters worse, the government cracked down hard on freedoms of expression and civil society last year, arresting protesters and partially shutting down the internet after demonstrations against the government's secretive border demarcation deal with neighbouring Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan (31), on the other hand, has been a steady improver on the CPI, gaining 14 points since 2013. In recent years, the country has prioritised preventing corruption, establishing an anti-corruption agency as well as a mandatory online public procurement platform to enhance transparency. Despite these important measures, Uzbekistan remains an authoritarian state where activists and civil society face persecution, interrogation and dismissals. Until the country opens up civic space, it cannot fully address its issues with corruption.
Fore more information visit: https://www.transparency.org/en/news/cpi-2022-eastern-europe-central-asia- growing-security-risks-authoritarianism-threaten-progress-corruption