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Russia's Political 'Weaknesses' Curb Growth, Shuvalov Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil'sMarch 16 (Bloomberg) -- Russia's political system has "some weaknesses" that weigh on the economy and hinder growth, said Igor Shuvalov, one of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's two first deputies.

"Some weaknesses in the political system" slow expansion, Shuvalov said at a Moscow conference today, adding that the shortcomings relate to institutions, the judicial system and the ability of political parties to promote their programs.

President Dmitry Medvedev vowed to fight corruption, attract foreign investors and modernize the economy to wean the country off its dependence on commodities. U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden said in Moscow on March 10 that Russia needs to change its political and legal system, protect property rights and uphold the rule of law to lure foreign capital.

The world's largest energy exporter is the most corrupt of the Group of 20 economies, Transparency International said in its annual survey in October. Medvedev said in January that his anti-corruption drive has produced "almost no success."

'Considerable Transformation'

"We have to ensure in the next few years a considerable transformation of society but without any shakeups," Shuvalov said, adding that Russia should avoid upheaval similar to recent events in North Africa. "These countries face poverty, huge shakeups and personal tragedies. We had all this 20 years ago."

Russia will hold parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections in early 2012.

Medvedev wants to run for the top position again, Arkady Dvorkovich, the president's top economic adviser, said last year. Putin, who handed over the presidency to Medvedev, his protege, in 2008 because of a constitutional ban on three consecutive presidential terms, also hasn't ruled out taking part in the election.

"People vote for personalities and not for principles" in Russia, Shuvalov said.

©2011 BLOOMBERG L.P. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED; article first appeared at

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