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Russia's Putin, Medvedev to declare their wealth

MYT 8:02:51 AM

(Updates with Putin, cabinet revealing incomes)

MOSCOW, March 24 (Reuters) - Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will fully declare their income and property holdings as part of an anti-corruption drive, government spokesmen said on Tuesday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) speaks with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a meeting of the Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in Sochi March 23, 2009. (REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Pool)

Medvedev, who made fighting graft a campaign pledge when running for election last year, will be the first Russian president to make his full property declaration public.

Senior officials in his administration, including Putin and members of his government, will also be obliged to report property by an April 1 deadline.

"Declarations of the president and his wife will be posted on the Kremlin website," spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said.

"Members of the cabinet -- the deputy prime ministers and ministers -- will be led by the prime minister in declaring their 2008 incomes as well as the property they own by April 1," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, Interfax reported.

Corruption is deeply embedded in Russian society and successive leaders have tried, unsuccessfully, to stamp it out. In its 2008 index ranking countries from the cleanest to the most corrupt, Transparency International placed Russia equal 147th, alongside Kenya, Syria and Bangladesh.

Legislation proposed by Medvedev and passed in December bars officials from accepting gifts worth more than 3,000 roubles ($90) and force bureaucrats to inform state bodies if they plan to join commercial firms in which they may have vested interests.

Last year Medvedev complained that official jobs were often simply put up for sale to the highest bidder.

(Reporting by Oleg Shchedrov and Simon Shuster; Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Alison Williams)

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