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Watchdog Says One in Three Russian Officials Is Corrupt

Russia is still struggling to free itself from the legacy of the 1990s and 2000s. Denis Abramov / Vedomosti

The head of an anti-corruption watchdog said Tuesday that one in three Russian officials still accepts bribes, undermining top officials' claims of success in the fight against endemic corruption.

"About 30 percent of officials … are corrupt," National Anti-Corruption Committee head Kirill Kabanov said in an interview with Russian News Service radio.

Russia is still struggling to free itself from the legacy of the 1990s and 2000s, when officials with measly public salaries and little oversight profited off a plethora of corrupt practices.

According to Kabanov, the real problem now is "corrupt business" — enterprises built to extract money from the state.

"Unless we eliminate corrupt business itself, the fight with corrupt officials is just mowing the lawn. The more you mow, the more professional the people who engage in corrupt business become," Kabanov said.

Just one day before Kabanov's statement, presidential administration chief Sergei Ivanov declared progress in the fight against corruption, saying Russian officials are increasingly reporting on people who offer them bribes.

More than 3,000 such complaints have been received this year, which speaks to a rising sense of responsibility among officials, Ivanov said.

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