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Shuvalov Sees Anti-Corruption Drive as Risk for Government Staffing

Overzealousness in the fight against corruption could drain the civil service of many valuable cadres, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

Speaking at the Russia 2013 business forum on Thursday, Shuvalov said corruption is present around the world, but in Russia it has been blown out of proportion, Vedomosti reported.

"We are beginning to accept irrational rules of behavior concerning any kind of foreign property," he said. "The next step will be that because you worked in business for a year, you must have stolen something, and that excludes you from being a State Duma deputy, or a minister. You can't go around thinking all the time that you are surrounded by crooks," he added.

"People who have money will not be allowed to be involved in finding solutions to problems, … then who is going to solve problems?" Shuvalov said.

The deputy premier, who is one of the wealthiest Russian government officials, has opened his family's blind trust registered on the British Virgin Islands and begun moving his assets back to Russia in connection with recent legislative changes aimed at improving transparency of officials' income and expenditures.

Shuvalov's spokesman said Friday that the deputy premier did not call for a halt in the fight against corruption but to prevent it from going overboard.

A high-ranking government official who owns property abroad told Vedomosti that he agrees with Shuvalov. He said that if anti-corruption measures got stricter, he would be forced to leave government service in order not to put constraints on his family. Another official said restrictions on foreign property for government officials could result "in the loss of many qualified people."

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