Putin pledges to fight corruption in Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to fight against corruption and stunned high-level officials by proposing restrictions on their ability to possess Western bank accounts and own real estate abroad.
Putin, in his first state-of-the-union speech since returning to the presidency, focused largely on domestic issues, saying that fighting corruption is one of the key priorities of his third presidential term and that Russia should look for guidance in its own history.
"How can a bureaucrat or a politician be trusted if he says loud words for the sake of Russia's good while trying to take his funds, his money abroad?" Putin said at a gathering of government ministers, lawmakers,
When, after a short pause, the audience began to applaud, Putin interrupted, telling them they might not like what he had to say.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Putin said the limitations should apply to the highest officials, including presidential staff and parliament, government officials and managers of state-owned companies, and their relatives.
He also said that the prosecutor's office has the right to seek confiscation of illegally acquired property, the report said.
According to the paper, Putin, who returned to office in May, also vowed to support Russian business development, continue to build a powerful army, enhance spiritual and patriotic values in the young and promote democracy.
He rejected 'direct or indirect interference' in Russian politics, the paper added.