A mere twenty five percent of Russians believe that President-elect Vladimir Putin will be able to significantly reduce corruption in the country before the end of his presidential term of office in 2018, an opinion poll revealed on Tuesday.
Five percent of the 1,600 respondents quizzed by the independent Levada Center pollster on March 16-19 said they were certain Putin would be able to “lower the level of corruption by at least 2-3 times.” Twenty percent said this was “likely.”
Putin takes office on May 7 after securing a landslide victory at last month’s presidential polls. His triumph was marred however by allegations of electoral violations.
The findings come on the day that prosecutors said $84 million of federal funds destined for the volatile North Caucasus had been embezzled in 2011. In a separate development, police reported that $6 million intended for nuclear weapons development had also gone missing.
And, also on Tuesday, a senior police accountant was charged with stealing over $200,000 in payroll money in Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region.
Outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev has made the fight against corruption one of the cornerstones of his four years in office, but admitted in January that he had achieved “almost no success.”
"The law enforcement system is affected by corruption no less than the state officials are," Medvedev said. "We created anti-corruption laws but they failed to achieve their objectives."
Russia rated 43rd out of 182 countries in Transparency International's 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index.
Public anger over corruption has been enflamed by online activism, in particular the work of blogger Alexei Navalny, whose Rospil website seeks to expose official fraud.