Moscow: Outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev laid blame for the failure of his anti-corruption drive on tightly knit world of bureaucrats who resist change and outside interference.
Medvedev said that the problem was ingrained in the system, and will not be solved only by firing those who are corrupt but it requires a change in mentality.
Corruption has grown to be a national problem in Russia, penetrating every level of the society — from traffic police to senior government officials.
Despite Medvedev`s pledges to fight corruption, figures show that citizens don`t stop paying bribes and have been paying more. One study estimated that Russia`s 143 million people paid about 164 billion roubles (USD 5.5 billion) in "everyday" bribes in 2010.
Medvedev said that no one has "the patent to fight corruption”, and in a clear reference to an anti-corruption crusader and a rising political star Alexei Navalny, said that "some activists" do their investigations only to gain a political reputation.
Navalny has gained prominence last winter during anti-Putin protests following the country`s parliamentary elections that independent monitors have described as fraudulent, and has emerged as one of the key opposition leaders.
Medvedev said that the very fact that people could go out and protest last year shows that Russians "feel the freedom”.
Medvedev is due to step down in less than a month to hand over the presidency to his mentor and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.