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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Study: Bureaucracy Bigger, More Corrupt Under Putin

Bureaucracy has significantly expanded and is perceived as more corrupt under President Vladimir Putin, according to a study released Tuesday.

The research conducted jointly by the Russian Academy of Sciences' Sociology Institute and Germany's Friedrich Ebert Foundation was based on a nationwide poll in July of 1,500 Russians selected randomly and a parallel survey of a focus group of 300 civil servants.

"The image of bureaucracy is horrible and keeps getting worse," said Vladimir Ryzhkov, an independent State Duma deputy who attended the presentation.

In the opinion poll, some 38 percent of respondents said Putin's era saw the biggest expansion of officialdom since the tsarist times, while 22 percent said the rule of President Boris Yeltsin witnessed the biggest bureaucracy increase.

Russia currently has some 1.3 million civil servants, as opposed to about 660,000 for the whole of the Soviet Union, Ryzhkov said, adding that bureaucrats consider themselves a "privileged caste." "This study irrefutably proves that our officials are a class — a class which drastically differs from the rest of society," he said.

The study found that an average official was much more likely to be satisfied with his income, living conditions and health care than the rest of the population. Asked about the efficiency of state officials' work, 71 percent of respondents said bureaucrats were hampering Russia's development, while only 27 percent said their activity was indispensable for the country's functioning. Two percent were undecided.