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Half of Russians view economy minister’s arrest as ‘show for public display’ — poll

November 25, 2016, 12:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Former Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was detained on November 14 while receiving a $2 mln bribe

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Former Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev

Former Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev

© Artiom Korotaev/TASS

MOSCOW, November 25. /TASS/. More than half of Russians (54%) consider that the arrest of former Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev earlier this month is a mere show for public display rather than a genuine crusade to clean up corruption, a poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center indicated.

"Russians tend to consider the arrest of now ex-member of the cabinet as a public display and score settling (some 54% believe so) rather than a display of the authorities’ real fight against bribery (30%)," the pollster said.

The arrest of Ulyukayev has raised eyebrows nationwide: some 78% of Russians have heard about this news.

Ulyukayev was detained on November 14, while receiving a $2 mln bribe in exchange for the Economic Development Ministry’s consent to give the go-ahead to the oil major Rosneft’s acquisition of a 50.08% stake in another oil company, Bashneft, and was put under house arrest. On November 15, President Vladimir Putin dismissed Ulyukayev from his high-ranking post citing loss of trust.

"This is the first time that a federal minister has been indicted. Russians view this as an internal political feud rather than the result of a systemic campaign to eradicate corruption. According to the public’s assessment, we don’t see that this incident has had any impact on the reputation of the Russian government or the efficiency of the cabinet’s work," the Chairman of the Board of the Russian Public Opinion Research Center Konstantin Abramov said.

The pollster said that nearly half of Russians (46%) picked up on the authorities’ efforts in combatting corruption. However, Russians are split on assessing the efficiency of the measures. Only 13% of respondents said there are significant results of the anti-corruption policy. One-third of Russians (33%) said they are trivial, another 25% said they don’t see any changes and 22% noted the deteriorating situation with bribery worsening countrywide.

The poll was conducted on November 19-20, 2016, among 1,600 respondents in 46 Russian regions, having a margin of error of 95% certainty that does not exceed 3.5%.

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