Friday, December 28, 2012

President Putin Stages Highly Visible Battle against Corruption

First the defense minister had to go, and now Vladimir Putin's agriculture minister is being pushed out on suspicion of corruption. State-run television has begun an aggressive hunt for "thieves, traitors and enemies of the people." The main target, however, seems to be that of improving the Russian president's approval ratings.

The latest stage of the fight against corruption is illustrated by Russian state television with footage from the Côte d'Azur, images of wild parties with black caviar and diamond-encrusted Kalashnikovs. Then the correspondent approaches Hollywood star George Clooney's villa in a helicopter before more villas come into view. Here is where "Moscow's government officials go to be pampered," the show intones.

The station devoted 70 minutes to portraying the country's chronically corrupt and notorious civil servants. They are a "force in gray jackets who can sabotage reforms and are boycotting laws," moderator Arkady Mamontov says.

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