Country Listing

Armenia Table of Contents



Three major prisons are in operation, at Sovetashen, Artik, and Kosh. Local jurisdictions also have jails. All prisons and jails are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Soviet prison system remains intact in Armenia. That system includes two general categories: labor colonies, and prison communities similar to Western prisons. Prison system reforms call for establishment of general and high-security reform schools for teenagers; general and high-security prisons for women; and four grades of prisons for men, from minimum to maximum security. The death penalty is applicable for military crimes, first-degree murder, rape of a minor, treason, espionage, and terrorism.

In 1993 Armenia remained a weak state with powerful regional and family clans running much of the local administration and economy. Criminal gangs operated with impunity, corruption was rampant, and assassinations of political figures occurred on occasion. In the absence of a secure rule of law, the stresses of war and material privation, uncertainty about the future, and widespread suspicion about the legitimacy of the ruling elites destabilized the infant republic.

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For general historical and cultural narratives on the Armenian nation and people, two books by David Marshall Lang are of special value: The Armenians: A People in Exile and Armenia: Cradle of Civilization. Ronald G. Suny's Armenia in the Twentieth Century covers that period with an emphasis on social change. The Economic Profile of Armenia volume of the United States Department of Commerce's Business Information Service for the Newly Independent States and Armenia, an economic review by the International Monetary Fund, provide a picture of Armenia's economy after 1991; the latter source also includes tables on a variety of economic performance indicators in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods.

Current information on Nagorno-Karabakh and conditions in Armenia is provided in the Monthly Digest of News from Armenia, published by the Armenian Assembly of America, and the Foreign Broadcast Information Service's Daily Report: Central Eurasia. These two publications emphasize political, economic, and national security topics. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of March 1994