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MOSCOW, April 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged on Thursday to continue the Kremlin’s much-vaunted campaign against corruption.
Putin said that corruption on an everyday level is particularly pervasive in Russia and "presents a threat to society."
“We will fight against it no less stubbornly than against inflation. We will kill it off,” he added, speaking at a live Q&A session with the Russian public.
The Transparency International global watchdog estimated the cost of corruption in Russia at $300 billion in 2012, placing Russia 133rd out of 174 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index last year.
Putin also defended the investigation into a high-profile case of suspected fraud totaling over 13 billion rubles ($433 million) at the Defense Ministry. The case saw the dismissal of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who has been questioned, but not charged, by investigators.
“The investigation is objective, and will be seen through to the end,” Putin said.
The Kremlin campaign against corruption saw parliament approve in its third and final reading on Wednesday a law that bans state officials, lawmakers and judges from keeping their money in foreign bank accounts.
“[If people] want to work for the state, then they should transfer their money here – no one will take it away from them,” Putin said, adding that foreign bank accounts make people “dependent” on the government in the country where the money is kept.
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New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.