#12 - JRL 7171
May 6, 2003
DMITRY MEDVEDEV ON STATE SERVICE REFORMS
An interview with Dmitry Medvedev from the presidential administration
Author: Marina Volkova
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
DMITRY MEDVEDEV, FIRST DEPUTY HEAD OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION, DISCUSSES PROGRESS ON REFORMS TO STATE SERVICE IN RUSSIA. HE SAYS NO REFORMS CAN POSSIBLY PLEASE EVERYONE, AND STATE SERVICE REFORMS ARE BOUND TO HAVE MANY OPPONENTS AMONG THOSE WITH AN INTEREST IN THE STATUS QUO.
Question: How has it come about that many supporters of public service reforms have become critics, and some of them have become opponents?
Dmitry Medvedev: No reform, including this one, can please everybody at once. Any reforms in this sphere will provoke, on the one hand, some interest and, on the other hand, sharp criticism. It is natural that the level of criticism will increase as much as the reform will advance. I don't think that any fierce opponents of the reform have appeared lately. We tried to discuss of the conceptual questions by means of the open discussion from the very beginning of the work of the interdepartmental working group. Any member of this group could easily assert any point of view. Of course, we reach some decision after the debates - however, it can't suit everybody.
Question: Nevertheless, the critics contend that there are too many things in the framework law, which are over to other standard right acts that will be created by the same officials. However, according to the critics, the level of requirements, concerning the professional skill of an official, was reduced in the bill of the state civil service. The dependence of the fee level on the results of the service is withdrawn as well as the principle of the contest.
Dmitry Medvedev: The reproaches, concerning the competitive contest, are groundless. If the law on the system of the state service should be common, the bill of the state civil service is quite detailed and concrete. So, the bill runs that the employment of a citizen to the state service as well as the substitution of some other post of the state service should be realized due to the results of the competition, if nothing else is established by the law.
Question: When Sergey Kiriyenko became the presidential envoy, he announced different vacancies. Enough time slipped by to think over if this method effective or not.
Dmitry Medvedev: The experience of Privolzhsky federal district proves that the content is effective, however, it concerns only the concrete posts. We will have to appoint people to the unattractive positions but not to choose them according to the results of the contest.
As for the dependence of the officials' fees on his effectiveness, there is no problem. The sufficient rules remained in the bill of the state civil service and they let attach the fee level to the professional skill of an official and his personal effectiveness. It's quite another matter that we don't have precise methods that can make it possible to qualify the contribution of some concrete official to the common work. I don't consider it reprehensible to run in the program of attachment of a state official's fee to the effectiveness of his work on basis of the pilot drafts.
Question: What drafts do you mean?
Dmitry Medvedev: These drafts are connected with the activity of the concrete ministries and departments as well as with the federal state officials, working there.
With a view to perfect the activity of the state officials, it is planned to introduce a new system of activities and criteria of their activity assessment, use of the official contracts, creation and use of the system of the professional development, manpower training and retraining, working through the mechanisms of conflicts' detection and resolutions in the sphere on interests on the state service and the legislative regulation of the professional ethics of the state officials. It is necessary to use several methods of assessment of the effectiveness of the state official. It is too early to discuss if one or another method meet a success.
Question: Will there be less questions concerning these bills in the State Duma than concerning the bill of the civil state officials?
Dmitry Medvedev: The deputies have always had a lot of questions and they will ask them. This is the very sense of power sharing and advantage of the parliamentarism. However, as for the military officials, officials of the law-enforcement sphere, there are some documents that have been already in force. As for the law on the state civil officials, such a full-fledged document appears for the first time. That's why there are more questions concerning this law.
Question: Including the part concerning the conflict of interests. For example, URF offers its own variant of an officials' behavior.
Dmitry Medvedev: A state official really should feel as a full and responsible member of the state apparatus. At that, the apparatus, as a corporation of the officials, should be transparent. It should reflect not only the outward demonstration of the public functions, but also its problems, including the personal conflicts of the officials' interests. However, one shouldn't construct any juridical utopias, clutching everything into the standard and right frame. URF questions are not a subject of the right regulation. Such rules don't exist on the level of the law. These are the questions of the corporative ethics. We have a presidential decree that determined the behavior rules of the state officials.
Question: According to different estimations, about 80% of the officials are bribable somehow or other.
Dmitry Medvedev: There is a significant part of the officials that have to resort to different unlawful forms of providing of their financial interests. For example, bribery traces its roots back to hoary antiquity. There is a stereotype of thinking: it serves it right, this state, if it can't provide me with everything necessary for me. It is obvious that the bribery is not only a rightful but also a social and economic and moral problem.
Question: All the same, there can't be fees, coming to the bribe amount in its level.
Dmitry Medvedev: That's not the point. It is obvious that neither in Russia nor in some other countries the situation is possible when an official earns more than a head of some decent commercial structure. Even the presidents of some developed countries get $150- 200 thousand a year as a top-manager of an ordinary company. Those, who choose the state service, choose stability - long-term, relations with the state that are conservative enough. The value concludes in the long-term character of these relations. Finally, the point doesn't conclude only in the difference between bribe and lawful material stimulation of an official. A state official, getting a normal fee, should make his choice in case of some complicated situation. He should decide what is more important for him - a normal calm work or risk that can throw him to the curb of life.
Question: While students and businessmen are realizing that it is profitable for them to work for the state, where from can we take the "democratic nomenclature"? Can the parties become "the bench" that, as one likes to speak, is very short?
Dmitry Medvedev: When one says that "the bench" is short, one means the heads of the federal departments. Their number is about 100- 150 people. In any case, there is no lack of high-skilled state managers in this sphere. The state official is wider as a social stratum. I think that the parties can become "a catalyst" of a personnel growth, creating a personnel reserve in accordance with the party characteristic. In this case, a periodic substitution of the heads, representing one party, for the people form the other party, will take place. However, this is the point of the future. The question is what aims one or another party will purpose, when it send its members to the state posts.
Question: Do you think that the main task of this reform was resolved: the optimization of expenditure for the officials, the society's comprehension of what it pays the officials for and the officials' comprehension of what they are responsible for?
Dmitry Medvedev: The main task of the reform is not that. The president formulated it in his message to the Federal Assembly: it is to create the effective service that can rule over the country in accordance with the high standards. The task of optimization of the expenditure is subordinate. If an effective service, although more expensive, is created in our country, I am sure that the population will be ready to pay for it. We grudge spending money for nothing, when a citizen understands that his funds were appropriated for the imitation of the government.
Question: When the bill of the state civil service will be introduced in to the State Duma?
Dmitry Medvedev: We suppose that it will happen in May. I hope that the bill will be considered as a priority by our parliament. (Translated by Gregory Malutin)