Russian lawmakers call for branding of bribe-takers

19th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian nationalist politicians called Monday for people convicted of corruption to be branded on the hand, in the latest extreme proposal to solve the country's perennial problem with bribery.

Two lawmakers from the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party submitted a draft bill that specifies a punishment reminiscent of Soviet-era concentration camps for those convicted of giving or taking bribes.

The bill's authors suggest "a brand on the back of the left hand, sized 3x2 centimetres (about two square inches) in the shape of the letter 'K'," to stand for the Russian word for corruption -- korruptsiya, they said in a statement.

Branding would "allow employers to refuse to accept such citizens for certain positions," they said.

The bill has yet to be debated in parliament. It would have to be passed in three readings by the parliament's lower house and by the upper house before being signed into law by President Dmitry Medvedev.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin suggested in his characteristic bold style even more drastic measures for curtailing corrupt bureaucrats in comments to his United Russia party earlier this month.

"We should hang them probably," Putin said stony-faced, before grinning and adding: "But that's not our method."

Medvedev, who has made the fight against corruption a key goal of his presidency, complained last week that graft pervaded everyday life in Russia.

He said he did not see "any significant success" in the campaign to crack down on crooked officials.

"As we know, corruption always has two sides. It's not enough to blame bribe-takers, bribers are no less guilty. And unfortunately a very large amount of people in our country belong to the latter group," Medvedev said.

© 2010 AFP

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