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BBC Monitoring
Radical measures needed to curb bureaucracy in Russia - Putin
Source: RTR Russia TV, Moscow, in Russian 0800 gmt 16 May 03

In his State-of-the-Nation address broadcast by Russian TV on 16 May, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about the need for radical measures to curb bureaucracy and limit the functions of state bodies. He promised "an extra impetus" to help the government carry through the administrative reform.

"The powers that our bureaucracy has are still vast. But the number of powers that it possesses does not match the quality of government. I have to stress that the source of this is nothing other than superfluous functions of state government bodies. And yet, despite the huge numbers of functionaries, there is a severe dearth of personnel in the country, at every level and in all structures of government. There is a dearth of modern managers, of efficient people.

"The above constitutes the background against which an administrative reform, which the country badly needs, has to be carried out. As you know, the government has compiled an inventory of functions of ministries and departments. It counted up to 5,000. In the course of this work, however, it turned out that nearly every department believes that its own functions should be expanded rather than limited, at the expense of other, neighbouring departments in particular.

"But even if we understand the complexity of this task and all the difficulties that have already shown themselves, the administrative reform is still taking too long. It looks as though the government needs help. Evidently, an extra political impetus is required. It will certainly come.

"I believe that rather than trying to persuade bureaucracy to curb its appetites, it should be curbed by directives. Radical cuts must be made in the functions of state bodies. They certainly need to be well thought out, but it looks as though there is no other way for us to solve this problem," Putin said.

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