Russian bureaucrats see their right for freedom of speechtrampled upon. According to recommendations issued by the Ministryof Labor, civil servants should not say anything like:- “The problem is challenging, but we could solve it”- “Thanks don’t put food on the table”- “We’ll have to discuss the options”- “So what are we going to do?”These idioms have long been used by Russians as hints at theneed to sweeten a deal.Bureaucrats are advised not only to be careful choosing theirwords, but selecting topics for conversation as well, the ministrystated on its official website on Monday.Among the ‘corruptogenic’ ones are officials’ low incomes, theirwish to acquire something expensive, problems their relatives haveor the need to send their children to schools.Whether the devil of Russian corruption disappears if he is notspoken of is a big question though. The country’s civil servantshave so far secured the country its 133rd place out of 176 in theCorruption Perceptions Index (the less corrupt a country, thecloser to the top of the list it is).And this leads to the belief that Russian bureaucrats mightprove inventive enough to comply with the recommendations and atthe same time continue to extort money from people who need theirhelp.President Vladimir Putin – as well as his predecessor DmitryMedvedev – have for some time championed tackling corruption as oneof their top goals.“Citizens’ trust in the government largely depends on howwell we [tackle the corruption problem]. And that, in turn, isprojected on the stability of the state and its efficiency,”Putin said on Tuesday, at a meeting of the board of the ProsecutorGeneral’s Office. In a bid to further clamp down on abuses of power, the presidentproposed a bill that bans officials from having foreign bankaccounts or shares. The idea of prohibiting civil servants fromowning real estate abroad is also being mulled over. Top officialsand MPs have already been forced to declare not only their personalincomes but also that of their spouses and children.The Kremlin’s war on corruption has already claimed some highprofile scalps. In November, following a major corruption scandal involving Russian firmOboronservis, Putin fired Defense Minister, Anatoly Serdyukov.Over the past several months, Russia has been hit by a wave ofhigh-profile graft scandals, in which billions of roubles wentmissing from the budget. Back in February, police announced theyahd uncovered the embezzlement of over $33mln in state funds fromRusHydro, one of the nation’s biggest power generatingcompanies.
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