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    Medvedev signs decree on measures to counter corruption

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    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree on measures to counter corruption, the Kremlin said on Monday.

    MOSCOW, May 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree on measures to counter corruption, the Kremlin said on Monday.

    The decree envisions the establishment of an anti-corruption council subordinate to the president.

    Speaking on Monday during a presidential conference, Medvedev said it was necessary to draw up a national action plan to counter corruption, and appointed Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin to head an interdepartmental anti-corruption working group. The Prosecutor's General Office will coordinate its activity.

    "We need a package of measures...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, a mentality of anti-corruption needed to be encouraged in the country, and people needed to be educated on the legal aspects of the issue.

    Medvedev, who 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 also 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 annually deprives the national economy of at least $2.8 billion.

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