As the Investigative Committee in June announced the arrest of Nikita Belykh, the now former governor of the Kirov Oblast, it shared photographs of him at a restaurant, impish-faced and sporting a suit, as investigators shined ultraviolet flashlights at wads of cash -- an alleged bribe of 400,000 euros.
"Only then will it produce results and secure conscious, broad support from society," Putin added.
Kremlin critics are skeptical that authorities have the political will or even desire to mount a real campaign to eradicate corruption and see the series of showy arrests as a simulation of antigraft measures aimed at placating voters.
The quips online were soon to follow after Putin's comments.
"It was probably difficult to say this and not burst out laughing," wrote Aleksei Navalny, a leading opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner.
The now former Economic Development Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev was taken into custody on November 15 on suspicion of trying to extort a bribe from state oil giant Rosneft, and police footage has since been broadcast widely on television showing him being escorted to and from questioning:
State pollster VTsIOM on November 25 said that 54 percent of Russians saw the arrest of Ulyukayev as a bold settling of scores. Only 30 percent of respondents said the minister was placed under arrest in a bid to weed out graft.