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#10 - JRL 7254
BBC Monitoring
Putin sees cutting bureaucracy as essential for development
Source: RTR Russia TV, Moscow, in Russian 1300 gmt 17 Jul 03

[Presenter] The Russian president held a meeting in the village Staraya Ladoga, in a way the first capital of [9th-century Varangian ruler] Rurik's old Russia, to discuss small town development. [Passage omitted.] Our special correspondent Dmitriy Melnikov reports from Leningrad Region.

[Passage omitted: history; Putin on a sightseeing tour and a walkabout]

[Correspondent] The meeting on the problems of small towns was held in the building that used to be called a club and is now a leisure centre. Municipal authorities are the keepers of the country's history, the president said.

[Vladimir Putin] This is our historical memory. One has to note, however, that we unfortunately have a very short memory span. We do not pay enough attention to it, and this, I believe, is one of the roots of our problems. You see, if we know very little about our history, we are then unclear what to aim at in our development.

[Correspondent] The meeting is attended by mayors, headmasters, chief doctors and businessmen. Each one talks about his own problems.

The mayors are concerned about the lack of jobs. They should be created,

Vladimir Putin says, by developing private enterprises rather that multiplying bureaucrats.

[Putin] Every five to seven years we can make drastic cuts in the staff of budget-funded institutions. And yet they keep swelling relentlessly. You make the cuts, and three years later it is back to square one. Why? Because these jobs are the easiest to create. This is a simply a budget-funded freebie.

[Correspondent] Businessmen complain, saying they would love to develop, but there are too many administrative barriers. Well, I am sorry, says the president, but there is even more bureaucracy in the provinces than in the centre.

[Putin] Our common task is to cut bureaucracy wherever we can, at the federal, regional and municipal levels, to stop giving orders, to stop having to give permissions for the air we breathe, for - for everything, including the world we live in.

[Correspondent] The president and municipal authorities' representatives

confer for over two hours. At the end someone says that we should actually promote patriotic education better. The president replies that patriotism should be fed by present-day successes.

[Putin] It is not enough to recall how good-looking, talented and great we used to be. We should be all of that now. We need the living standards of our people to be increased now, so that people can feel the results of our work - at the federal level, which is the level of the president and the government, as well as at the regional and municipal level.

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