Author`s name Olga Savka

Life Cannot Get Worse in Russia!

It is important to regulate discipline and stop putting the blame on external enemies
Scandalous assassinations, thieving and arbitrary bureaucrats and the flourishing of the shadow economy are still evident. Is it possible to establish order in the country, so that people will not be afraid to go out of doors in the evening? A PRAVDA.Ru correspondent discusses the issue with Russian parliament Deputy Yaroslav Shvyryayev.

What should the authorities do first to make not only ordinary people but deputies feel safer? I certainly mean the recent killing of Deputy Sergey Yushenkov.

On this problem, I have my own point of view. I think that we should seek criminals among people interested in having political disorder in the country. Killings of this kind are not just an attempt to scare the high legislative authorities; it was also done with a view to scare the military bloc and to exert direct pressure upon the president. Right after the killing of Deputy Sergey Yushenkov, some people started saying that it was necessary to dismiss the FSB, the Ministry for Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor General. However, it is right now that we see measures being made in connection with machinations over fish and woods; an edict was issued for holding investigations of the executive authorities. Some results were achieved in connection with the killing of Magadan Governor Vladimir Tsvetkov and with machinations implicated with the crime.

People in ancient Rome said, "Es fecit cui prodest" (which means, “look for the person to whom it is advantageous”). First, it is an open secret that leaders of the military structures are appointed by the president. Second, they are the support. Third, they are also the political support. Let's take Minister for Internal Affairs Boris Gryzlov: A reaction immediately followed after his harsh statements concerning establishing order in the country.

I am often asked when life will be better in this country. I think that our life won't get worse, that’s for sure. The mechanism of state management is very much rusty, and lots of different methods and measures need to be applied to improve the situation. It is important to regulate discipline and to stop putting the blame on external enemies; it's time to learn to work. The crisis has basically been overcome. The government has started gradual fulfillment of its obligations to people who are in the service, although some problems, the housing problem for instance, are still unsettled. Slight growth has been also registered in agriculture- 24% in the past three years - but it is necessary to achieve better results in the rural areas. I understand that everyone must work hard.

Who is letting the president down in reforms of this kind?

It is a fault of the department responsible for social problems. However, finances are gotten from some other vice-premier; so, realization of plans requires coordinated action. If a governmental official cannot cope with the responsibilities, he must resign.

Do you think that the prime minister is managing his responsibilities? It sometimes happened so that he missed sessions in the parliament.

First of all, the political culture today leaves much to be desired. Our ministers can also miss sessions explaining that they are busy. It is often said that there is no scheme of government management. This scheme, the mechanism of governmental work, the hierarchy of ministries and the principle of subordination must be confirmed in the legislation. A special mechanism of appointing people to governmental positions must be developed. This work should be also performed on the order of document presentation. At present, there are three institutions that can dismiss the prime minister: the president, the prime minister himself and the State Duma.

Who actually has authority in the country?

Certainly, the president holds the maximum of authority. He is the commander-in-chief, and he considers the issue of appointing people to governmental positions.

Probably, the influence of "Yeltsin's Family" and oligarchs filling their pockets with the state’s money is still great?

This may be. Sometimes they ask why the president passes this or that law. I would ask the opposite question: Do we need this Duma, which passes such laws? Why do people shift all the blame onto one man? As we know from history, people used to shift the blame onto Tsar Ivan the Terrible, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Today, we have a democratically elected Duma. Why doesn't it assert its position when it thinks that some law is bad for people? If a businessman lobbies his interests and says this or that law is to be passed to allow him to increase his profits legally instead of stealing, it is clear that he wants to earn money with legal methods. Probably this is an element of progress. But the president and the State Duma mustn't pursue the interests of this single businessman; they must consider interests of the state first of all. It is important to consider every intention of the lobby, to what extent it is useful for the whole state and if it is favorable for ordinary people. It is important to count social and economic consequences of such laws against the background of the domestic and foreign policies. This is what is called a governmental way of thinking. In cases when we see ministers expedite certain lobby interests, they demonstrate not the governmental way of thinking but a mercantile psychology.

Is it right to appoint staff on the basis of people’s devotion?

Many men means many minds. The principle of personal devotion is one of the basic elements of forming and arranging staff. I mean that the man by your side mustn't have the intention of stabbing you in the back. Remember the time after the 1996 elections when lots of people from Yeltsin's milieu abandoned him. Some came to business, others created their institutes. These people retreated into the shadow; they show up only now from time to time on TV. They used the president. The principle of personal devotion is the basic characteristic determining the appointment of presidents in American corporations. Knowledge can be taught, which cannot be done with devotion. Management principles are unified.

What is your opinion about corruption in the country? Is it on the decline? Many tragic accidents have happened recently - hostage taking, the killing of Deputy Yushenkov - but none of the governmental officials quit their posts.

The problems of personnel training and unbalance of management are certainly evident. I say once again that the system of government management must be approved legislatively. The system of administrative-personnel training is being perfected.

Yaroslav Shvyryayev was interviewed by
Ilya Tarasov