The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) insisted on Friday that a parliament deputy representing the pro-government party was misunderstood by media when he objected to the introduction of a legal framework for whistleblowing in Armenia.
The lawmaker, Andranik Karapetian, said Armenians must not be encouraged to report corruption among their superiors or colleagues to law-enforcement authorities during this week’s parliament debates on this and other anti-corruption bills drafted by the government.
“The institution of whistleblowers does not befit us, Armenians,” Karapetian said. He said the practice would run counter to “Armenianness” and spread mistrust between co-workers in the country.
The remarks prompted criticism and ridicule from Armenian media outlets as well as social media users. Commentators also wondered whether they reflect Dashnaktsutyun’s position.
Armen Rustamian, Dashnaktsutyun’s parliamentary leader, claimed that Karapetian merely warned against reviving the Soviet-era practice of false denunciations by citizens which was particularly widespread during Josef Stalin’s long rule. “There is such concern because [whistleblowing] will be introduced for the first time,” he said.
“It’s just that [Karapetian] used vocabulary that has been the main theme of the last two days,” Rustamian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He argued that Dashnaktsutyun’s parliamentary faction voted for this and other anti-corruption measures passed by the National Assembly this week.
The new mechanism officially called a “system of whistleblowing” will enable citizens to report corruption cases known to them. They will be able to anonymously file such reports through a special website.
Dashnaktsutyun holds 7 seats in the 105-member parliament and is represented in the government by three ministers.