Moscow, 10 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin today vowed to root out corruption and promised to reign in crooked government bureaucrats.
In a nationwide address, Yeltsin said corruption is undermining people's trust in the authorities, hampering efforts to establish order in society and threatening Russia's security.
Yeltsin said punitive measures would not reverse the situation and that a reform of the whole system of state management is needed. Yeltsin, who ordered a government reshuffle last month, said he counted on young people to lead the charge against corruption.
Yeltsin said his administration would cancel "unfair tax and customs privileges" and that beginning May 1 the government would buy goods and services only through open bids from which no companies would be excluded.
Yeltsin also announced that officials will soon be ordered to declare their and their families' income and assets and that by November 1 a list of service regulations and ethical rules for civil servants would be drafted.
Yeltsin acknowledged widespread doubts his aim could be achieved but said he had the political will and the peoples' backing to root out corruption.
Gennady Seleznyov, speaker of the opposition-dominated State Duma, later today said he welcomed Yeltsin's political will to fight graft and that the anti-corruption campaign would find full support in the lower house.