Russian government looks to buy golden bed

Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:21am EDT
 
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's government has issued a tender for luxury furniture, including a gilded bed, triggering an outcry Wednesday in a country where the economy shrank 10.9 percent in the last quarter.

The interior ministry said it wanted a cherry wood bed and that the "the decorative elements of the head and footboards must be covered with a thin layer of 24 carat gold."

The total value of the furniture tender was 24.4 million roubles ($755,900), according to the procurement agency's site zakupki.gov.ru

"I cannot imagine the need to purchase expensive items during such a difficult financial situation for the country," wrote blogger here shortly after the details became public.

The tender announcement said the bed should be sent to the ministry headquarters. Other items must be delivered to an address in an exclusive dacha district on Moscow's outskirts.

According to Russian newspaper Vedomosti, this is where several senior officials in the interior ministry reside in state-owned homes.

"Golden toilets would be more logical...and a negotiating table should be made of bulletproof and shock resistant material," wrote one comment on the Vedomosti website.

The publication of the tenders comes as part of Russian efforts to improve transparency and boost public confidence in efforts to cut corruption by holding public competitions for state purchases.

(Reporting by Conor Sweeney; Editing by Matthew Jones)