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Russia's Prime Minister Says Arrest of Top-Ranking Economic Official ‘Weighs’ on Him

Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Alexei Ulyukayev Russian Government Press Service

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told reporters that the arrest of Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev on bribery charges is weighing on him heavily.

The scandal “affects the whole system of power throughout the country,” Medvedev said on Tuesday at a federal-budget meeting with United Russia party members. “I’m talking about corruption. [...] This is, of course, a difficult event. It’s beyond my comprehension,” the prime minister said.

For more on reactions to this scandal, see: 'What the Hell Is Going On?' Russia Reacts to Shock Detention of Economy Minister

Medvedev’s audience reportedly applauded him when he said firmly, “No minister, no deputy, and no governor has immunity if they commit criminal offenses,” adding that it’s up to the courts to determine guilt.

Medvedev said he has discussed Ulyukayev’s arrest with President Putin, who he says shares his views on the matter.

Ulyukayev was detained in the early morning hours on Tuesday for allegedly accepting a $2-million bribe to approve a bid by the state-controlled oil giant Rosneft to acquire government shares in Bashneft, according to federal investigators.

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