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Russian beauty queen puts spotlight on Russia's official corruption

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In October, Russian media reported that investigators were looking into the alleged theft of $427-million in the preparations for September's summit of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), which was hosted by Russia in the far eastern port of Vladivostok at a mind-boggling cost of $21-billion.

Planning for the APEC summit was overseen by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, a close protege of President Vladimir Putin, who has been implicated in corruption allegations before.

And last week the head of the presidential administration and another close Putin protege, Sergei Ivanov, admitted that more than $200-million had been misappropriated from Russia's ambitious Glonass space program, which Moscow hopes will become a full-scale satellite-based Russian alternative to the US GPS network and the European Union's future Galileo positioning system.

"The struggle against corruption was necessary because at some point it became clear to the leadership that corruption is a threat not only for the society but for authorities as well," says Kirill Kabanov, head of the nongovernmental National Anti-Corruption Committee.

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