Russian president orders civil service cuts

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The Independent Online

Dmitry Medvedev has asked the government to draw up plans to cut the number of state officials by 20 per cent in a fresh attempt to reduce Russia's bloated budget and curb endemic corruption.

The number of civil servants, who often enjoy more perks than their private-sector counterparts, has grown by almost 50 per cent to 1.67 million since the economy began to take off in 2000.

Mr Medvedev, who is half-way through his four-year presidency, has repeatedly vowed to tackle corruption. His critics say little has changed so far and bureaucrats are curbing economic development by demanding bribes.