MOSCOW, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday government and businesses share responsibility for rampant corruption in the country.
Commenting on a letter to Putin, published Tuesday in the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets from rock singer Andrei Makarevich, saying "If no dramatic changes take place, this situation may lead to a total catastrophe," Putin suggested a similar letter should be addressed to Russian businessmen.
"The fact that the state should step up its anti-corruption efforts is evident. A second letter should be addressed to entrepreneurs, because to a similar degree, they provoke such situations," Putin said, adding that businessmen "choose this path when trying to get a competitive advantage over their rivals."
In his letter Makarevich said and average kickback in Russia has reached 70 percent, sometimes as high as 95 percent, or a business deal, and that courts "are either an instrument for punishing undesirables or a mechanism for taking money from plaintiffs."
Corruption has been a pressing problem in Russia for years. The country ranks 143rd or 182 countries in Transparency International's 2011 Corruption Perception Index, the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti noted Tuesday.