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The State Duma received an official response from the government, which Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov signed, to a bill, which offers a total ban for the public servants to possess real estate and accounts abroad. The government demands the document should be cardinally finalized, but “generally supports” the anti-corruption initiative.
The government is concerned that “additional bans” will hamper “highly qualified specialists from the private sector” to enrol in the public service, the Kommersant daily reported with the reference to an official response, which Deputy Prime Minister and head of the governmental staff Vladislav Surkov had passed to the State Duma.
In early August the group of the deputies headed by chief of the staff of the All-Russian People’s Front Vyacheslav Lysakov moved in the bill, under which the public servants and their close relatives should not possess accounts, real estate and securities abroad, the newspaper recalled. The amendments are to enter in force starting from January 1, 2013. After the enrolment on the public service the public servants will be given six months “to take measures to close their accounts and get rid of foreign real estate.” A fine and a term in prison are possible as the punishment for the non-fulfilment of the law.
The official response also noted the need “for a detailed finalizing” of the issue of foreign real estate, “It should be taken into account that a substantial number of such facilities, which are located in the CIS states, can be inherited by the foresaid persons over close relationship with citizens of these countries, but are not linked with corruption crimes.” Surkov recalled that on June 6 the State Duma approved the first reading of the package of the anti-corruption amendments, which Dmitry Medvedev initiated and “does not envisage any restrictions on the purchase of real estate, if its cost corresponds to the legal incomes of the family of the public servant.”
Before this the disagreements between the positions of the Kremlin and the Russian White House emerged in the public statements of the Russian top officials. For instance, Vladimir Putin supported definitely the new bans. He said in an interview with the Russia Today television channel that he does not see “anything extraordinary” in the initiated restrictions for Russian realities. At a meeting with the United Russia activists in Penza Dmitry Medvedev called “senseless” a ban for the public servants to have any foreign real estate.
A source in the governmental staff told the Kommersant daily that this response means that the Kremlin and the Russian White House “are seeking to find a compromise, though it is clear that the government is against it.” “This is a governmental conclusion, therefore, it is made in line with Medvedev’s views,” the source said.
The government told the authors of the bill headed by deputy Valery Trapeznikov that the development of the anti-corruption legislation should be aimed at a higher responsibility of the public servants not for possession, but for the concealing of the information about their incomes and property, the RBC daily reported, recalling that the bill on the control over the expenditures of the public servants had already been approved in the first reading last June. Under the bill the public servants are to report about the acquisition of the land plots, real estate, transport, securities and shares. Particularly the public servants are to report about their financial sources for major acquisitions.
Deputy Valery Trapeznikov told the newspaper that he personally opposes a more lenient bill. “Some 66% of Russians support our bill, the farer they live from Moscow, the stronger they support it. I can agree that the text can be elaborated, but not in the way the government recommends it,” the United Russia deputy underlined.