The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development urged Armenia to crack down on a "tradition of bribe-giving" in a report on Monday which passed severe judgment on the handling of corruption.
The OECD said: "To tackle the pervasive tradition of bribe-giving in Armenia, the leadership of the country needs to lead and support anti-corruption efforts through a combination of law enforcement, further legal reform and public education campaigns."
Armenia had taken several steps to improve action against corruption, the OECD said, but "the number of convictions for corruption is low, especially for high-ranking officials, and more efforts must be made to investigate allegations and bring cases to court". Agencies responsible for enforcing the law and for controlling financial activities had to improve their co-operation and measures were needed to "cut abuse of the system for declaring gifts and assets by public officials".
However, the report, by the OECD anti-corruption network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said that since 2004 Armenia had taken steps to improve its criminal laws, adopting a broad definition of who was a public official and making bribery a criminal act.
Controls on money laundering had been strengthened. Procedures for the award of public-sector contracts had been improved.
"However, many of the above measures are only initial steps in the right direction and much remains to be done to ensure integrity in the civil service and to reduce the burden of corruption in various spheres of public and business life."