- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Russia President Vladimir Putin has brought forth a bill to prohibit Cabinet members from owning foreign stock and having accounts in overseas banks.

The Associated Press reports he first hinted at such a bill in December in a state-of-the-nation speech that posed the question: “How can you trust an official or a politician who rants about Russia’s benefit but tries to keep his money abroad?”

The bill, if approved, also would ban the government officials’ family members from the same, the AP said.

The Kremlin is touting the measure as a means of “ensuring national security, establishing order in lobbyist activities, increasing investment in the national economy and raising efficiency of anti-corruption efforts,” the AP reported.

Russia has been trying to overcome its image as playing loose and easy with corruption and, in so doing, boost economic opportunities with the West. Critics of the bill, however, see it as more evidence of Mr. Putin’s move toward isolationism, and say that it could lead to divisions among Russia’s elite, AP reported.