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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poll: 1 in 4 Businessmen Tied To Criminal World

Forty percent of Russia's new millionaires admit to having engaged in illegal business practices, and one in four still has ties to the criminal world, according to a survey released by the Institute of Socio-Political Research.

In reality, however, the figures are much higher than that, said one businessman who, with a less-than-clean record, wished to remain anonymous. "No businessman is going to tell the truth about where his money comes from, no matter how anonymous the survey."

"It is impossible to be an honest businessman in Russia," says Viktor Levashov, deputy director of the Institute of Socio-Political Research, a branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences that conducts frequent surveys about Russia's emerging monied class. "People are constantly being pushed toward the criminal world."

According to the new poll published this week in Argumenty i Fakty, more than 18 percent of the entrepreneurs surveyed said that mafia money plays a big role in all business dealings, and more than 20 percent said they had at some time been indicted on criminal charges.

The weekly did not cite the number of people surveyed and Levashov only commented that it was a "scientific sampling."

"I cannot say that the remaining 80 percent are angels," added Levashov.

The Institute's findings were backed up by Olga Kryshtanovskaya, who studies Russia's new elite at the Institute of Sociology.

"The statement that one in four businessmen are connected to the criminal world is particularly close to the truth," said Kryshtanovskaya, adding that this new survey's results were very similar to those her institute published last fall in Izvestia.

According to Levashov, the purpose of such surveys is to acquaint those responsible for carrying out reforms with changes in society.

He and his colleagues were not surprised by the results of their recent survey.

"This confirmed our hypotheses," the deputy director said.

These statistics may grace the desks of State Duma deputies and government offices, but they are of little use when it comes to fighting crime, according to one police spokesman.

"These statistics have nothing to do with us -- they are more political in nature," said Igor Tsirilnikov. "It isn't our job to determine who is a New Russian and who isn't."