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RUSSIA/CORRUPTION
RTR2YO6U
March 01, 2012
Former Russian special serviceman Sergei Vasilenko poses for a photograph in the centre of Moscow February...
Moscow, Russia
To match Insight RUSSIA/CORRUPTION
Former Russian special serviceman Sergei Vasilenko poses for a photograph in the centre of Moscow February 20, 2012. Wounded in Afghanistan and an 18-year veteran of Russia's elite Alfa counter-terrorist forces, Sergei Vasilenko considers himself a patriot. Which is why, when his bosses at the Federal Security Service - successor to the Soviet KGB - asked him in 2010 to investigate corruption, he jumped at the chance. The problem, Vasilenko now says, was that his new chiefs at the Federal Tax Service didn't want him to do his job properly. Vasilenko's experience opens a window into what even Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, bidding for a third Kremlin term, calls Russia's "systemic" corruption. It's a malaise that Putin's political opponents say has flourished during the prime minister and former president's 12 years as Russia's most powerful leader. Vasilenko says his probe, into suspected fraud involving tax officials in Moscow, met a wall of silence and he was soon out of a job. The Federal Tax Office said it had investigated Vasilenko's allegations but declined further comment. Picture taken February 20, 2012. To match Insight RUSSIA/CORRUPTION REUTERS/Mikhail Voskresensky (RUSSIA - Tags: CRIME LAW BUSINESS)
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