Giving a bribe in Yerevan

SevanoDC has posted a video on Youtube of an attempt to get pulled over a give a bribe of 1000 drams to a police man:

Alex and I driving in Yerevan. Alex was trying to get pulled over so I can record him giving a 1,ooo Dram bribe (about $2.50). Usually the cops pull him over for nothing, but this time he was running red lights and everything. We did not get pulled over but he explains how to deliver a bribe in Armenia.

Although the attempt is failed, the issue of police bribes is longstanding and a difficult one.
Interestingly, the number of police on the streets and taking bribes has been greatly reduced in the recent months. This has followed adoption of the new traffic regulation. One of the improvements of the new regulation was noted by Narjan a week ago:

The fact, that I’m noticing several drivers with fastened seat belts is a great plus.

Speaking of driving, cars and regulations, Notes From Hairenik has a post about “The power of the seal” in the South Caucasus:

Last week a friend of mine and I planned to jump into my Niva and journey towards Tbilisi, Georgia. [] I made a road trip to Samtskhe-Javakheti or Javakhk several years ago and admired the beautiful landscape, so I wanted to travel Georgia again but this time drive in my own car.


I gave him the official registration/title of the car, which looks like a credit card, followed by the transfer of ownership which was typed in Armenian. He glanced over it, turning it over a couple of times, then asked, “What is this?” I told him but he protested. “This isn’t stamped with a seal. Why are you showing this to me? This is basically useless and besides, you don’t have a sealed Russian or English translation. Go back, you can’t cross with your car.”


Anyway, I finally learned my lesson after all this time living here. Very few can do anything if their papers are not stamped with approval. Apparently very few things in this country rival the power of the seal, which in my experience was ultimate.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. What Armenian American organization do these two work for, I want to know. They are
    driving around Armenia running red lights trying to give bribes while they are the ones who are breaking the law. What if they kill someone in a accident while they are running red lights? All this to give a $2.50 bribe? Would they do this in America?
    You think American cops don`t take bribes?

  2. well said Hovik. I can’t approve this type of stupid behavior, even if its for youtube or whatever.

  3. i definetly agree! This kind of idiotic reporting by young amateur tourists should not have its place on this site. This video needs to be banned from this site for various reasons. I might have seen the driver at an AGBU or ACYOA event…

  4. […] Более подробно о взятках вы можете прочитать в Armenian Blog Review […]

  5. OMG! Give them a break! They were just experimenting… It would have been better if they did end up getting pulled over and their hypothesis was proven 🙂 Yes, this is our sad reality and instead of arguing with each other maybe we could do something to stop the corrupt behavior of our law enforcement… As a matter of fact, this video is some form of an action to fight corruption. I understand that these cops are collecting their “daily bread” but I am sure that there is a way for them to make “honest” money. And you know what? They would feel better about themselves as human beings!

  6. These two should certainly be burnt on a fire on a hot summer day and their dust shoud be fed to rats!

  7. I was sitting in the passenger seat. I took the video and put it online. Come on folks, have a little sense of humor about this. We were not trying to put Hyeastan down. Both myself and the driver love Hyeastan more than anything, more than we love America, where we were born and raised. The driver lives there now and does not want to come back to America. I was there for 3 months and I did not want to come back.
    We were merely experimenting and at the same time making fun of corruption in Armenia. Why are some of you SO offended by that? Do you condone bribery and get upset when people make fun of it? At least videos like this one, as stupid as you may think it is, show that it happens there and it is a problem that needs to be solved for the good of our Homeland. By who? I don’t know. But hiding the fact that it happens will NOT help the people who actually live in Hyeastan and are burdened by the corruption of the government at every level. I wish we did get pulled over that night.

  8. By the way Ashot, VERY mature remarks there buddy!

  9. loooooooooooool 🙂
    Sevan – you have to agree, that it’s not morally justified to fight the cases of breaking the law (giving/taking bribes) by breaking even more laws! However, seeing the discussion your video has generated on YouTube, my blog and the Armenian blog, I have to state, that you have reached your goal of bringing up the subject, so thank you on that.

  10. Yeah I see what you are saying and I know you dont approve of our tactics, but sometimes you must break the law to expose the greater evil. We didnt get a chance to expose the greater evil so we made fun of it instead.
    I just want to assure you that it was late at night and we were actually being very careful, looking out for other cars and pedestrians, and it was not in a very crowded part of Yerevan. We were being much more careful than those mafia guys who drive the cars with the special numbered license plates who know they will never be pulled over by the police. Those guys almost ran me over every day crossing Nalbandian in broad daylight!
    By the way thank you for not wishing death upon! Although Ashot’s comment was very eloquent.

  11. no – I don’t approve execution with fire… I prefer gas cameras 🙂 loooooooooooooooool!!!

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