Russia's new president, Dmitry Medvedev, launched a drive against corruption on Monday, following a tradition established by his Kremlin predecessors.
Less than two weeks after taking office, Medvedev said he would sign a decree on new anti-corruption measures on Monday, according to a speech posted on the Kremlin.ru website.
Medvedev, a 42-year-old former corporate lawyer, was elected in March with the help of his popular predecessor Vladimir Putin on promises to modernise the Russian economy and give Russians decades of social stability.
"It is obvious that corruption is a threat to any state," Medvedev told security and judicial officials in the Kremlin.
"It damages the business environment, weakens the state and hurts its image. But the main thing, corruption undermines popular trust in the government."
Corruption has been a Russian evil for many years.
Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin, rallied popular support in his struggle against the Communist leadership by promising to root out corruption.
In fact, corruption mushroomed after he took office, following the collapse of the Communist empire in 1991.
Putin has presided over eight years of unprecedented economic growth. But his initial promises to crack down on corruption have failed to materialise.
"The level of corruption remains extremely high," Medvedev said. "In 2007 alone, 10,500 criminal cases involving corruption were launched, and we understand perfectly well this is only the tip of the iceberg."
In one of Medvedev's first moves after his inauguration, he ordered an end to arbitrary inspections of small firms by officials, a typical way for officials to extort bribes.
On Monday, he said he wanted to modernise legislation to close loopholes used by corrupt officials and to make government purchases more transparent, as well as campaigning to change Russia's widespread tolerance of bribe-taking.
Russian news agencies said Medvedev's chief of staff, Sergei Naryshkin, would head a committee to coordinate the new campaign. But they also quoted Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika as saying he did not precisely what measures were planned.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Mayıs 2008, 18:00