Medvedev Puts Pressure on Officials to Reveal Sources of Income

Sergei Porter

The Kremlin wants to add teeth to a requirement that government officials declare their sources of income when they buy big-ticket items like houses and cars, news reports said Wednesday.

President Dmitry Medvedev submitted the anti-corruption bill to the State Duma on Tuesday that would affect items that require registration, including purchases of shares, vehicles and real estate, Vedomosti reported.

These items are already subject to declaration, but the new rules would add several requirements. Officials would have to publish information about sources of income for purchases greater than three times their yearly family income on the websites of their department or ministry, and they would also be subject to disciplinary action for overly expensive purchases.

Under the bill, if purchases are deemed beyond an official's means, he would have to explain himself before a special commission or leave his post.

It was not clear whether commission findings would be turned over for subsequent criminal investigations.

The bill would apply to civil servants, the leadership of state companies, employees of the Central Bank and municipal employees, as well higher officials like the president, members of the State Duma, and governors.

Yelena Panfilova, head of anti-corruption group Transparency International's Russia office, questioned the need for a law that does not require officials to declare all major expenditures.

"Gold bullion, Faberge eggs and Arabian horses" are not cheaper than real estate and securities, she told Kommersant.

Medvedev has made the fight against corruption a hallmark of his presidency. At his initiative, government officials started filing annual income declarations, although the figures provided by some officials have been criticized as false.

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