MOSCOW -- Russia's Prosecutor-General's Office says it has registered a sharp increase in the filing of corruption cases across the country since the start of the year.
According to the office's latest report published on August 30, there were some 24,500 cases of alleged corruption officially registered in Russia between January 1 and June 30, the highest figure in the last eight years.
The report says that almost half of the cases were related to bribes, of which one-third were for amounts of 10,000 rubles ($135) or less.
Most bribe-related cases were registered in President Vladimir Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg, the southwestern region of Stavropol Krai, and the Perm Krai region in the Volga-Urals area.
The report says that in comparison to 2020, the level of corruption in Russia, as measured by cases, in the first six months of this year was 16.5 percent higher. The report also notes that the damage expected to be caused by corruption this year is estimated at 40 billion rubles ($544 million), which is 7 billion rubles higher than in 2020.
The amount of cash frozen in corruption cases in the first six months of 2021 was around 45 billion rubles, which is three times higher than the amount frozen in the whole of 2020.
Earlier this year, the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office reported that the most frequent cases of alleged corruption had been registered among law enforcement officers, followed by Defense Ministry officials.
In March, the Russian parliament's lower chamber, the State Duma, approved in its first reading a bill on "accidental corruption," which would free officials and law enforcement officers from prosecution for corruption committed in circumstances they could not control, such as natural disasters, military actions, fires, pandemic, terrorist acts, and other similar events.