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3 Jul, 2008 11:30

Russian bureaucrats' take $US 125 billion a year

Ruling party United Russia has held a special congress in Moscow to promise business leaders that it will stop interfering in their work. It follows President Medvedev's criticism of bureaucrats' influence on the Russian economy.

Russian officials steal a third of the national budget, $US 125 billion a year, according to the Prosecutor General’s office.

That is why this week the Kremlin will start adding professional businessmen to the boards of state-run firms.

President Medvedev’s economic adviser said they are now taking the first practical moves to replace bureaucrats with professional managers.

“This week the Prime Minister will name the first independent directors onto the boards of 100% state-owned firms. Initially each company will get up to four independent directors,” Arkady Dvorkovich, the Head of the President’s Experts Directorate, said.

A top government lobbyist revealed to RT that the next session of the Parliament would see tough new bills to fight corruption.

“The first 6 laws to streamline business will go to Parliament this autumn. Police will no longer be in charge of consumer market regulation. Regular company licenses will be renewed automatically, and product certification will be streamlined,” assured the president of the Association of small and mid-sized businesses Sergey Borisov.

The moves are expected to slash paperwork by 60% and tackle the corruption that goes with it.