Russian Political Elite Experience Administrative Deficit

Unsuccessful politicians obtain responsible state positions still

When there is a lack of something in a country, life becomes more peaceful at once.  There was even a joke about the deficit in Russia - who is a respectable person and who is not, if there is no deficit at all, because there is no person, who is responsible for  distribution or sales, whether it is the power or the goods. Luckily, Russia has a certain deficit - the country experiences a strong lack of professional administrators.

President Putin gave a press conference on June 20th.  V.Terekhov from Interfax news agency asked the following question: "Mr. Putin, there is an impression that you, as well as Russia as a whole, experience a deficit of administrative personnel. Probably, this is the reason why unsuccessful politicians often manage to obtain responsible state positions. Am I right?"

On the one hand, the president did not agree upon the fact that an official gets a higher position, if he or she does not cope with their previous goals. On the other hand, Putin had to acknowledge that "we have a lot of people who administer, but we have few modern administrators."

The newspaper Argumenty I Fakty (Arguments And Facts) has recently published an article about Russian politicians' careers, analyzing their past and present positions. Below is a short  list of Russia's politicians and their appointments.

Vladimir Rushailo - was the Interior Minister, became the Security Council Secretary;

Yevgeny Nazdratenko - was the Primorye governor, became the chairman of the State Fishing Committee;

Igor Sergeyev - was the Defense Minister, became assistant to the president.

Igor Shuvalov - was the chairman of the governmental administration, became an assistant to the president.

Valentina Matviyenko - was the Vice Prime Minister, became the presidential envoy in the North-West administrative district of Russia.

Vladimir Yakovlev - was the St.Petersburg governor, became a vice prime minister.

Pavel Borodin - was the chairman of the presidential administration, became the Unified State secretary (Russia-Belarus).

Alexander Bespalov  - was the chairman of the United Russia party council, became a chairman of the Gazprom department.

The Russian Security Council is one of the unluckiest departments among Russian governmental bodies. It looks like the council plays the role of an interior decorator: it has not initiated or developed any strategic documents that would determine Russia's response to challenges of the up-to-date reality, both external and internal ones. Instead of the Security Council, documents are developed by such organizations as the council for foreign and defense policy or the council for the national strategy.

The shortage of professional administrators has given birth to a strange phenomenon in Russia - qualified administrative personnel is ready to work in various fields that do not have anything in common with each other.

The government, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, to be more precise, still does not know the answer to the question - who is going to be responsible for the administrative reform, because there is no progress in the reform at all. Vice Prime Ministers Aleksey Kudrin and B.Aleshin are the two Russian officials, who struggle for the administration over this process. Kudrin is responsible for the state budget, Aleshin is in charge of the Russian industrial policy, the real sector of economy. It seems that the two ministers have a lot of things to do, taking into consideration Russia's problems with the budget, the GDP and the competitive ability of the Russian economy. However, both Kudrin and Aleshin are determined to reform the entire state administration system.

The Russian State Humanitarian University and its rector, Yury Afanasyev, became the pioneers of another administrative experiment,  which had been launched in the field of education. On June 17th, the university elected its new rector - Leonid Nevzlin, Vice President of the Russian oil giant Yukos. Yury Afanasyev became the president of the university. The president's responsibilities include administering educational and scientific activities, whereas the rector of the university controls administrative aspects of the university's life.  In addition to it, a special council will be formed at the university to control the spending of $10 million, which Yukos is going to invest in the development of the university every year during the decade. All these steps are about to be approved by the Russian Ministry for Education.

Leonid Nevzilin's career was rather active during recent ten years: he chaired bank Menatep, he took a senior position at ITAR-TASS news agency, he was the president of the Russian Jewish Congress, a senator from the Mordovia republic.  In 1996, Nevzilin became the vice president of the oil company Yukos. More importantly, one should not consider the administrative system of a higher educational institution as something that does not have any ideology at all. Graduates of the Russian State Humanitarian University will be determining Russia's development as a certain social and cultural society, not as a successful economy only. Needless to mention that investments in education are a lot higher that the state funding in foreign countries. One should welcome the business participation in the Russian educational field too, although one should keep in mind the fact that Russia has not found its way to go yet, so to speak.

Furthermore, the preservation of the social and cultural identity is an extremely important national security factor in the up-to-date world against the background of the globalization trend. One should not forget the sad experience with text books of Russian history, provided to Russian schools and universities with the help of Soros Fund: Russia looked very unnatural in those books. One may only wonder, when the administrative personnel deficit in Russia is over.


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Author`s name Olga Savka