Medvedev Seeks to Alleviate War Worries

Remember how we posted that Nezavisimaya Gazeta translation which reported on a big shift in attitude among some groups within the Kremlin to forge better relations with the West? Remember when Alexander Lebedev openly complained about Putin’s childish Cold War games costing him 60% of his net worth? Or any other comment by Russia’s titans of finance pointing out that the war in Georgia has completely scared away foreign investment? Well, it looks like President Dmitry Medvedev is trying to change his tune in order to lure back business and start repairing relations with the West – by focusing on his earlier crusade against corruption. If he’s at all successful in any of these plans, that would of course be a great thing. But for now, it’s just talk. From the Moscow Times:

Speaking at the first meeting of the Anti-Corruption Council, formed in May, Medvedev called graft “a grave disease that eats away at our economy and corrodes the whole society,” adding that the four bills being sent to the Duma were aimed at rooting out corruption by protecting property rights, strengthening the country’s law enforcement and court systems, and eliminating myriad barriers faced by businesses. Medvedev used the speech to answer critics who have said the war over South Ossetia buried all hope for a more liberal course for the government, saying that reforms would continue. “Voices can now be heard saying that after events like the August crisis in the Caucasus, for example, Russia will put this work aside and won’t act,” he said, referring to anti-corruption measures, in comments released by the Kremlin. “On the contrary, we’ll be undertaking this just as energetically.” Under the plan, the prime minister, deputy prime ministers, federal ministers and their family members would be required to make public declarations of their assets and income. The legislation would require state officials to inform their superiors of any known cases involving corruption and would also require officials who leave government jobs to get permission from their former bosses before accepting jobs with companies they dealt with while in office, Sergei Naryshkin, Medvedev’s chief of staff, said after the meeting.