Medvedev extends list of state officials to disclose income and spending
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MOSCOW, July 22 (RIA Novosti) – Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed on Monday a resolution obliging officials of nearly 30 state companies to report their incomes and expenditures, in an apparent bid to crack down on corruption.
“I have signed a government resolution defining 29 state companies and corporations, budget-financed organizations, unitary enterprises and funds that must comply with the requirements that apply to civil servants,” Medvedev said at a meeting with his Cabinet on Monday.
Government Chief of Staff Sergei Prikhodko said those companies included railroad monopoly Russian Railways, the Sochi Olympics state corporation, the Fund of Assistance to Housing and Utilities Reformation, the ITAR-TASS news agency, the Agency of Strategic Initiatives, the Higher School of Economics and the Rosatom civilian nuclear power corporation.
“Under this resolution, the heads of all these organizations, their deputies and chief accountants must annually submit data on their incomes, expenditures, property and obligations related to property and, correspondingly, similar data on their spouses and underage children,” Prikhodko said, adding that the government would carefully check and verify that information.
The government resolution follows decrees signed by President Vladimir Putin in April to help implement laws obliging state officials to declare their incomes and expenditures.
Those decrees oblige state officials to submit information concerning their acquisition of real estate, land, cars, valuables and shares and explain the sources of the income used to finance such acquisitions.
Putin also signed into law a bill in May that bans Russian officials from keeping their money in foreign banks, but allows them to own property abroad, which must be declared and the sources of funding for its acquisition explained.
Russia ranked 133rd of 174 countries in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index by the Transparency International watchdog, alongside Iran, Kazakhstan and Honduras. Corruption has been cited by the government itself as one of the principal threats to Russia's national security.
The government’s resolution to add officials of 29 state companies to the list of civil servants obliged to declare their incomes and expenditures evoked criticism from Yevgeny Yasin, former economics minister under late President Boris Yeltsin and currently scientific head of the Higher School of Economics. Yasin slammed the measure as completely absurd.
Instead of creating such mechanisms, the government should continue the policy of selling off state assets, he told the Prime news agency. “And then those people who become owners or represent owners, they themselves arrange corresponding accounting, control and so on,” he said.
The attempts to set control over the incomes and expenditures of state companies will be shouldered by Russian taxpayers, Yasin said. “This will be shouldered by us [taxpayers] because there will be more officials who will control everything. Who needs this?” he said.
Bureaucracy and bribery can be reduced only by reducing the role of the state in the economy, Yasin added.
“You [the government] should give more possibilities to the market,” he continued. “If you are not ready for this, then you may do any foolish things but desirably without us [taxpayers], at the expense of which this is done.”