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#7 - JRL 7035
January 27, 2003
Peter's Rank Table reincarnated in Putin's new bill
By Anton Brazhitsa

Despite the sabotage from the Agrarian-Communist factions, the State Duma
has passed at its first reading one of the bills of primary importance to
President Putin the draft law on the system of civil service in the
Russian Federation. Adopting this bill is the first stage in creating a
fundamentally new hierarchy, similar to the 18th century Rank Table,
introduced by Peter the Great.

According to the explanatory note attached to the bill, it must determine
the legal and organizational foundations of the civil service system in the
Russian Federation. It is suggested that the country will have four types
of civil service a federal civil service, a military service, a law
enforcement service and also a state civil service in the subjects of the

The definition of a civil servant will be unified this will be a term
describing everyone receiving a salary from the federal or a regional budget.

The term state civil service is described in the new draft law for the
first time ever. This is the ''professional activity of Russian citizens
aimed at providing the execution of powers of the Russian Federation,
federal bodies of power, bodies of power of the subjects of the Russian
Federation, persons taking constitutional posts in the federal centre and
the positions instituted by constitutions, statutes and laws of the
federation subjects''.

The bill, approved after the first reading on Friday is just the first step
in the realization of the federal program called 'Reform of the civil
service in the Russian Federation in 2003-2005' signed by Putin on November
21. It is obvious that after the framework draft law is approved, the Duma
will face the major task of adjusting the already existing laws in
particular the bill on the police force and the bill on military service.
The minimum and maximum age of joining and leaving the civil service must
also be determined.

Apart from that, for the first time since the 1917 revolution the law
divides all civil servants into class and diplomatic ranks. In other words,
Putin intends to recreate the famous rank table established by Peter the
Great. It is interesting that the obvious parallel has not been drawn by
the journalists but by the deputy chief of the presidential administration
Dmitry Medvedev.

Approval of the framework reform bill has met no serious objections from
the Duma deputies. Only the communists and agrarians voted against the
bill. They did so together and communist deputy Vasily Ivar has expressed
their unanimous opinion on the subject: the proposed bill does not match
the populations demands. The deputy then said that there is only one
document today that is demanded by the people and this is the Code of the
Builders of Communism, the one used in Lenins personnel selection, and
thus, the communists voted against the new initiative out of ideological
prejudice. The return to the class rank system for them is almost the same
as returning to monarchy. Not every mind can contend with the table of
ranks and the double-headed eagle together with the Soviet anthem, red
stars on the Kremlin towers and Lenins mummified body in the Mausoleum.

In any case, the votes cast by the communists and agrarians proved of
little consequence for the approval of the bill after the first reading. It
was supported by 260 deputies, with just 104 voting against. Satisfied
representatives of the Kremlin administration have told the press that the
draft law On the Fundamentals of the State Civil Service in the Russian
Federation, describing in detail one of the four fields of official
activity, would be submitted to the parliament in the nearest future. The
bill is now in the development stage. The other three bills have not yet
been formulated in an acceptable way for the parliamentarians.

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