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Russians Doubt Effectiveness of Anti-Corruption Drive, Poll Says

A small fraction of the population believes that the government's efforts to reduce corruption are successful, according to a poll released Friday.

Just 6 percent of respondents told the Public Opinion Foundation at the end of March that corruption is decreasing, with 43 percent saying it is on the rise and 40 percent saying it remains unchanged.

Out of 1,500 respondents in 43 of Russia's 83 federal subjects, 68 percent called fighting corruption the government's main task, while 64 percent doubted whether officials could successfully eradicate corrupt behavior.

A wave of corruption-related scandals has recently swept through the State Duma, besmirched Sochi Winter Olympics bureaucrats and ousted former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

Among measures to tackle corruption, respondents expressed the most support for harsher punishments for bribe-takers (17 percent), confiscating property from those convicted of corruption (15 percent) and imposing stricter controls on officials (12 percent).

Eighty-three percent of those surveyed backed draft legislation being amended by lawmakers ahead of a second reading that would ban officials from holding foreign bank accounts and overseas financial assets, although only 44 percent said it would reduce the level of corruption on the whole.

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