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Tula's Governor Richest to Declare So Far

Tula Governor Vladimir Gruzdev announced his earnings as the campaign to reveal governors' incomes begins.

His family, whose earnings surpassed 3.8 billion rubles ($130 million) in 2011, will most likely be ranked among the top earners.

According to their income declaration, the governor earned 3.7 billion rubles while his wife, Olga Gruzdeva, made 182 million rubles. In 2010, when Gruzdev served as a State Duma deputy, he and his spouse earned 2.2 billion rubles, but at that time Olga Gruzdeva's share consisted of 1.8 billion rubles.

Gruzdev told Vedomosti last year that in 2010 his family sold 21.3 percent of their shares in the Sedmoi Kontinent chain of supermarkets to the company's controlling shareholder Alexander Zanadvorov. Experts have valued the deal at $400 million. The deal was structured in such a way that Gruzdev's wife received 1.7 billion rubles in 2010, while he obtained only 300 million rubles, with the largest portion to be paid in 2011.

Gruzdev said his largest source of income had been profits from the sale of 1.6 billion rubles in stocks as well as real estate in Moscow and profits from other investments.

After he was appointed governor in August 2011, he sold a 1230-square-meter apartment on Ulitsa Ostozhenka with 99 square meters of parking space for 1.5 billion rubles.

The campaign to declare governors' incomes goes until April 30, and three other governors have so far announced their incomes.

Krasnodar Governor Alexander Tkachyov and Belgorod Governor Yevgeny Savchenko declared incomes of 1.8 million rubles, with Alexander Kozlov of the Oryol region at 3.7 million rubles.

Gruzdev is among the group of high-ranking officials with a business background and whose high income doesn't raise any questions, Transparency International Russia director Yelena Panfilova said. This is in contrast to the sharp rise in wealth for the families of bureaucrats with an extensive period of service.

Apart from this, the declaration procedure itself doesn't make the bureaucracy any more transparent. The declarations are not published in a single electronic form, so it is difficult to compare them, Panfilova said. The incomes of close relatives are unknown and, most importantly, the declarations sent to the commission on conflicts of interest are not public. If we do not know exactly what governors and their relatives invest in, then we cannot judge whether they used their position for their own benefit, she said.

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