Hey, policeman, where’s your stick ?!

Our car stops at a busy intersection some 100 meters away from Garegin Njdeh Square in Yerord Mas. The traffic lights do not work. The cars are near to fling over. The drivers do not want to make way for each other. Everyone steps on the gas and almost overrunning each other slow down causing a major pile up. Fortunately we are able to pull up in time and not to run those vehicles. After some attempts to move to the right or to the left, being at bay and already mad of the loud noise of signals, we finally struggle forward.

The car has hardly passed 100 meters and we notice a police car in a nook of the main street, so that the cars coming against can’t notice them from the distance. Certainly they are stopping the angry drivers who are racing along at top speed just having been caught in a traffic congestion and late of their work. And certainly the easiest way to get rid of those policemen is to pay 1000 dram which is not the price of the fine, but that of the bribe.
As we pass by, I say that I’d like to warn the policemen that there’s a problem with traffic lights at the intersection of which probably they are not aware, so that they have better practice their stick there giving directions to the drivers. “We are already late of our meeting, secondly, do you really think they don’t know about it, then why have they chosen exactly this place for settling down? There’s a point there: more productive way to take bribe”,- said my mum. Well, she knows better, I’m not a driver. But I still hoped that they don’t know about the problem.

The next day our car reaches the same intersection. The lights do not work again. The same messy situating. We are all but run by a lorry, but thanks God, we survive again. Now I admit that it was naive not to take my mum’s words for granted. No police car this time. So I suppose thе traffic lights haven’t been working for a long time and no one cares a dime.

The same day. I’m in a van which is driving up Tigran Mets Street.

Part of the carriageway is restricted into single lane working because of repairs and resurfacing causing another traffic congestion. It takes the driver 15 minutes to reach G.U.M. market where the situation is even worse because of another intersection. While the van slowly tries to fight its way and while the passengers make sounds of fear, I look through the window where on the sidewalk two policemen are arguing with one of the car drivers instead again demonstrating their skills with their sticks. More ten minutes and getting over the risk of being run by other cars the passengers take deep breath.

f the policemen do not bother to lift their sticks except bribery cases, isn’t it better to give it to those who at least will try to lift it in cases like these? Oh, yeah, I forgot, other cases are not lucrative, as the drivers for who they clean the way won’t pay them 1000 dram for their service.

A suggestion – let the motorway patrol be taken to a magician for gaining practice. At least the latter knows how to work their sticks.

4 Responses to “Hey, policeman, where’s your stick ?!”

  1. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    Related story for you:



    Asked about the corruption in road police, Sargsyan said he does not
    know any such case and “no road policeman has ever been dismissed
    from work for such reason.” Interestingly enough, Andranik Margaryan,
    Armenia prime minister, was interviewed by Haikakan Jamanak newspaper
    in which he said, “You may apply to the Road Police and learn that
    hundreds of policemen have been dismissed because of corruption
    on roads.”

    Obviously either road police official or the prime minister does not
    tell the truth.


  2. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    Of course, and I’m really sorry to use the dreaded “G” word, but it can’t be avoided. When there is the political will, corruption in the traffic police can be addressed — as was done in, ahem, Georgia.

    First, for a month in Georgia there were almost no traffic police at all, a condition that led one Russian visitor to declare that in the summer of 2004 it was as if the White Guard had left the city, but the Red Guard had not arrived. According to Mr. Saakashvili, the accident rate held steady, which says more about the ineffectiveness of the former traffic cops than about the defensive driving habits of Georgian drivers, such as they are.

    The second and more lasting change is that Mr. Saakashvili appears to have struck a decisive blow against one of the most loathed figures to emerge from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    With pale-blue shirts and epaulets, garish hats and flashlights, the traffic police officers – who stand hip-deep in traffic and point and nod at passing cars – are a perennially unpleasant presence through much of Moscow’s former sphere of influence.


    Georgia’s problems were of a type. It had become impossible to drive any distance without being stopped. Mr. Saakashvili said that was so because every traffic cop was expected to pay his supervisor a regular cut, and every supervisor paid his senior officer, up the chain of command. “It was like a pyramid,” he said in an interview in his office in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital. “The police were the biggest headache in this country.”

    For Mr. Saakashvili, who has taken to fighting corruption with vigor, the traffic police, known here as GAI (pronounced ga-EE), were the perfect opponent for his fight card – flabby, unpopular and crooked, ready-made for a quick knockdown.

    From The New York Times

    Armenia could follow suit, but it doesn’t because as Transparency International says, it is not even playing a game of pretending to have the political will to tackle corruption or a “flabby, unpopular and crooked” road police.

    When I was in Tbilisi towards the end of last year every Georgian I spoke to had confidence in the new police force, and that even included those most critical of Saakashvili. New Eurasia puts the level of trust in the Georgian police at 75 percent. I would be surprised if it even made 7.5 percent in Armenia.

  3. Zarchka Says:

    As I mentioned in one of my posts I immensely admired the Georgian police. Incidentally I was there right after the change of their police system and the whole stuff. It is something to be taken for a model, indeed. But I deeply admit and lament the fact that we are far far behind the Georgian example. Again having a look at today’s corrupted police system I get once more assured that we take one step forward and two steps back.

    Interestingly two days ago a young girl from Transparency International knocked at our door for public opinion poll. Certainly I let her in and answered to her questions with pleasure. My conclusion was that corruption exists in every field and each of us willy-nilly supports to its increase as far as laws exist but do not function in Armenia. And for getting for example proper treatment or proper job people see no other way but giving bribes, or as it is said “additional money for proper service”.

  4. Go for the Petition! « Life around me Says:

    […] This is something that I tackled over not once and it requires definite attention from everyone’s part. We all know how traffic laws function in Armenia, i.e. there are no traffic rules at all and people do not feel secure and under the patronage of the government. And this results to accidents and death of people. It’s high time that we took over the situation and made a change by ourselves. […]

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