According to Transparency International, much of Eastern Europe and Central Asia is failing to make progress in reducing perceived levels of public sector corruption, posing a threat to regional democracy. More than two-thirds of the 180 countries included in the Berlin-based watchdog’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2018, released on January 29, scored below 50 on a 0-100 scale.
The lower the number, the more a country is thought to be corrupt. Afghanistan was rated 172nd in the world with 16 points, while Pakistan was rated 117th with 33 points. The average score for Eastern Europe and Central Asia was 35, putting it only one point ahead of Sub-Saharan Africa, which had a score of 32. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan make up the Eastern Europe and Central Asia grouping. With an overall score of 88, Denmark came out on top, followed by New Zealand with an 87.
The average score on the index, which ranks countries and territories based on experts’ and businesspeople’s perceptions of public-sector corruption, was 43. The report stated, “With practically every country [in Eastern Europe and Central Asia] scoring 45 or less out of 100, there has been virtually little progress in combating corruption.” “A general lack of political will, poor institutions, and limited political rights create a climate in which corruption thrives with little pushback,” the report continued. ‘Democracy in Crisis’ The bigger picture isn’t much better, according to the research, as most countries’ continuing failure to effectively manage corruption is contributing to a global “democratic catastrophe.” Turkmenistan ranked 161st out of 158 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with a score of 20, followed by Uzbekistan (23), which ranked 158th.
Russia’s score dropped to 28 from 29 the previous year, putting it in the same position as Iran at 138th rank out of 180 countries. Georgia, which ranked 41st on the list, led the way for the entire area with a score of 58. Transparency International’s research on corruption perceptions has a graphic representation. The more red a country is, the more corrupt it is thought to be. Transparency International’s research on corruption perceptions has a graphic representation. The more red a country is, the more corrupt it is thought to be. While neighboring Armenia was ranked 105th with a score of 35, the group expressed optimism about improvements proposed by President Nikol Pashinian’s government.
Pashinian, a former anti-corruption journalist and opposition lawmaker, came to power last year following nonviolent mass protests spurred by fury over widespread corruption. Transparency International singled out Armenia, saying, “Judicial reform should be at the top of the priority list; a true separation of powers, as well as the appropriate checks and balances, will go a long way to ensuring these changes are a success.” It went on to say that civic society had an important role as well.
The organization also warned that elected officials should remember voter dissatisfaction with corruption, which has transformed the politics of various nations, including Armenia, in recent years. Romania and Bulgaria, both members of the European Union, were rated 61st and 77th in the world, with scores of 47 and 42, respectively. With a score of 71, the US slipped four points from last year, falling to 22nd position and out of the top 20 countries on the index for the first time since 2011. The low rating comes as the US “faces threats to its system of checks and balances, as well as a degradation of ethical norms at the highest echelons of authority,” according to the organization.