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Kremlin seeks to lead war on corruption

December 04, 2013, 11:53 UTC+3

Moscow-based newspapers widely comment on the information concerning the creation of an anti-corruption department in the presidential administration

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MOSCOW, December 04. /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow-based newspapers widely comment on the information concerning the creation of an anti-corruption department in the presidential administration.

“In the Kremlin anti-corruption functions are divided between several departments,” an official close to the Kremlin told the Izvestiya daily. “The control department and the state legal department were partially in charge of this issue. The domestic policy department was also responsible in some way.”

Russia needed ‘a united coordination centre” by analogy with the world experience, the director of corruption watchdog Transparency International’s Moscow office, Elena Panfilova, was quoted by the Kommersant business daily as saying. “Now 12 federal departments in Russia control the fight against corruption,” she said, adding that in the whole world “such centers are organizations that do not depend on power structures.” “It will soon become clear, after the nearest campaign for submitting income declarations,” whether the presidential administration’s department can act as an independent centre.

“If demonstrative punishment of certain officials begins, this would mean that the anti-corruption fight will be selective and that a new department will only enhance law enforcing powers of the presidential administration,” president of the St. Petersburg Politics Fund Mikhail Vinogradov told Kommersant. If a new structure sees corruption reasons “not in bad officials, but in excessive functions of the state,” this will be “a positive moment,” the analyst said.

Lev Gudkov, who heads the Levada Center, Russia’s only independent polling agency, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that such restructuring that was rejected in every possible way in the Kremlin several days ago was a reaction, among other things, to sociological surveys demonstrating lower support for the authorities, which means “the growing discontent.” In addition to clear social claims to the authorities one of components of this growth was corruption, he said. “In general, daily corruption scandals have already created an irreversibly negative background for all actions taken by the country’s authorities.”

“The creation of the anti-corruption department in the presidential administration can be considered tacit recognition of the fact that officials responsible for this sector failed in their mission and the head of state tries to take the initiative,” Vedomosti wrote. The new department’s regulations remind of international anti-corruption conventions and recommendations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “However, some provisions of this decree make us doubt efficiency of the proposed measures,” the daily wrote. “The department is not an equivalent of independent anti-corruption agencies. The department created by the Kremlin is just the administration’s unit that relies on a certain official of this nonpublic body.”

Itar-Tass is not responsible for the material quoted in these press reviews

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