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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will head an anti-corruption council
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will head an anti-corruption council to be set up in Russia in the near future, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin said after a presidential conference on Monday.

Naryshkin said he had been appointed with heading an interdepartmental anti-corruption working group, while the Prosecutor's General Office would coordinate its activity.

"The determination with which the president is set to fight corruption inspires optimism," Naryshkin said, adding that "Corruption is not just a Russian phenomenon, it exists everywhere...but the extent and depth of the problem varies."

Medvedev also gave instructions to draw up a national action plan to counter corruption.

"We need a package of measures, not pin-point decisions; we need a national anti-corruption program," Medvedev said, singling out three major sectors.

First, he said, anti-corruption laws should be updated. Secondly, the national program should include measures to fight economic and social corruption, as well as preventive measures. Thirdly, Medvedev said, anti-corruption behavior needed to be encouraged in the country, and people needed to be educated on the legal aspects of the issue.

Medvedev, who won the March 2 polls and was inaugurated as president on May 7, focused on corruption in his election speeches. He first voiced the idea of drafting a national anti-corruption program at an economic forum in Siberia's Krasnoyarsk in mid-February.

Medvedev announced in late February that a program would be ready within several months, and held a special conference in early April to discuss its organizational and legislative aspects.

According to research carried out by the Indem Foundation, led by Georgy Satarov, a former aide to Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin, corruption in Russia robs the national economy of $2.8-3 billion annually.


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