St Petersburg International Economic Forum

Putin's business chief: Russia is tackling corruption

Corruption in business in Russia is on the way out, but sanctions-hit entrepreneurs are still struggling to gain access to finance, Russian president Vladimir Putin's business commissioner told CNBC.

Around two-thirds of business leaders in Russia are seeing that corruption is not getting worse, while one third admitted that business practices were actually improving, the presidential commissioner for entrepreneurs' rights, Boris Titov, said.

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Russian gas monopoly Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.
Alexei Nikolsky | AFP | Getty Images

Titov, who reports directly into Putin on the health of the business sector in Russia said while the "battle had not been won", corruption was "steadily moving out".

Russian has a particularly poor track record when it comes to corruption in business and consistently scores poorly in international business environment rankings.

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Regulatory red-tape and a lack of access to easy financing, rather than corruption, were the biggest challenges facing Russian business at the moment, Titov said.

"Administration pressure, bureaucracy is still very powerful. More than half of the people said it is becoming worse," he said.

EU member states agreed this week to extend economic sanctions against Russia by six months over the Ukraine conflict. Current sanctions expire at the end of July and foreign ministers are expected to sign off on the extension next week.

International sanctions were first imposed against Russia in July of last year in response to Russia's annexation of the Ukraine region of Crimea and its support for pro-Russian separatists.

Titov said while sanctions had made it harder for Russian businesses, access to credit has always been an issue for entrepreneurs in Russia.

"This (raising capital) is one of the main problems in Russia but I can say that it was before as well. The sanctions have maybe made it a little bit worse, but it was always a problem. Compared with other countries, the volume of credit and general crediting was always lower than even in developing counties. We are trying to face this problem," he added.