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Putin vows to fight rampant corruption

MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's president has said low wages for state and government officials who make financially significant decisions are a factor in the country's rampant corruption.

"The level of income in the public sector so far does not match the scope of decisions that civil servants make - that is to say, the level of compensation they receive, on the one hand, and the importance of decisions they make, on the other, are incomparable," Vladimir Putin said.

In an interview with Time magazine on December 12, Putin admitted that the government has so far failed to wipe out corruption.

In his public statements, Putin has repeatedly urged for a crackdown on corruption, while law enforcement agencies have recently launched a series of high-profile cases against senior government officials, including at the federal level.

Commenting on the reporter's remark that many officials from the presidential entourage could be involved in corruption, Putin said all cases should be reported to law enforcement agencies for investigation.

"If you are so confident about this, you must have names and details of the type of corruption. I can assure you and all those that hear, watch or read this interview the reaction will be quick, it will be swift," Putin said.

Rankings of 180 nations studied by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International for its annual Corruption Perceptions Index 2007, placed Russia 143rd.

The index score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and country analysts and ranges between zero, which is highly corrupt, and 10, which is very clean.

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