Independent execs to replace government officials at Russian state firms

Government officials sitting on board of directors in Russia's state-owned companies will be replaced by independent directors in the near future, a Kremlin aide said on Wednesday.

"This will be carried out in 100% state-owned companies in the next few days, while in other state-controlled firms the process may take a few months," Arkady Dvorkovich, the president's economic adviser, told reporters in Moscow.

In the past few years Russia has dramatically expanded state control over the economy, which has led to a sharp increase in corruption among government officials.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a former lawyer, has made the fight against corruption one of his main goals since taking office in early May. He has headed a new anti-corruption council and has also given instructions to draw up a national action plan to counter corruption. Kremlin administration chief, Sergei Naryshkin, who heads the anti-corruption council's board, presented on June 25 a draft national anti-corruption program. The new federal law is set to be drafted by October 1.

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