Every Sixth Russian Believes That The Authorities Have Begun To Work Better

According to a poll carried out by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre, 17% of the Russian citizens believe that during the period since May last year the local bodies of power in the country have begun to work better. The poll was timed for the anniversary of Vladimir Putin's first initiative to strengthen the power vertical in the country. We will recall that on May 13, 2000, President Putin issued a decree setting up the institution of his plenipotentiary representatives in the federal districts. It was followed by a package of laws on changes of the procedure of the formation of the Upper Chamber of Parliament -- the Federation Council -- and on raising the responsibility of the regional and local authorities, which was also adopted on Putin's initiative. Judging from the results of the poll, most of the citizens (64%), however, did not notice any changes in the activities of the local authorities. Commenting on these figures for RIA Novosti, Sergei Samoilov, adviser to the President of Russia, expressed satisfaction over the fact that "positive results of the changes were felt by every sixth Russian, despite the short time that has passed." In his opinion, there is no doubt that the general boost of the country's economy had led to an improvement of the people's lives, and that is precisely the index according to which most of the population judge of the authorities' efficiency. The improvement of the work of the local authorities, says the Presidential adviser, is connected with the fact that as a result of the Federation Council reform the leaders of the regions began to pay more attention to settling the concrete tasks of their territories and regions, and to better control the work of the subordinate bodies of power. The Kremlin spokesman considers it normal that most Russians so far have not felt any changes. In his opinion, at the initial stage of the changes in the power system the President's plenipotentiary representatives settle tasks that are "less noticeable for the population," than for the officials. At the next stages of the reform of state power in Russia, declared Putin's adviser, steps will be taken, the results of which should directly lead to an improvement of people's lives.

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