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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-Aide: Government Jobs for Sale

Government posts can be bought and sold, and aides to senior officials sometimes charge fees for access to their bosses, leading anti-corruption crusader Georgy Satarov said.

Satarov, head of the Indem think tank, told TV Center television this month that the post of a deputy minister could be bought for $500,000, while the post of deputy prime minister costs "several times more."

Satarov, who served as an aide to then-President Boris Yeltsin from 1994 to 1997, said by telephone Monday that his figures were based on interviews with people who had encountered state corruption. He would not identify the people. "I also know it from personal experience, as I was an aide myself," Satarov said.

He said senior officials may be unaware of the problem because he himself only accidentally learned about it when a subordinate in the Yeltsin administration tried to extract a bribe for arranging a meeting with him.

Satarov said bribes for top posts and meetings were first made in the latter years of Yeltsin's presidency and corruption has not declined under President Vladimir Putin.

Three national newspapers, including government-run Rossiiskaya Gazeta, have run front-page stories about Satarov's allegations. The coverage, however, has not prompted any response from the government.

Interestingly, government and law enforcement officials have not contacted Satarov to see whether he has evidence to back up his claims, Satarov said. He said the lack of interest suggests that fighting corruption is not a priority for the government.

Calls to the government press service went unanswered Monday.

A corruption report, released by Indem, Transparency International and Monitoring.ru last October, found that the executive branch of power had the most corruption and was set to take in 350 billion rubles ($11 billion) in bribes in 2002.

The local media has reported at least one instance of a businessman offering a bribe for a meeting. Vyacheslav Aminov was convicted in September of offering a Federal Security Service official at least $50,000 to meet with FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev. Aminov had hoped to lobby for the FSB's support of the appointment of an unnamed person to a senior Interior Ministry post, Gazeta reported.