#7 - JRL 7263
Argumenty i Fakty
July 23, 2003
MINISTERS OPEN THEIR WALLETS
An overview of top Russian government officials' assets and earnings
Author: Maria Kakturskaya
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
A YELTSIN DECREE OBLIGED CIVIL SERVANTS TO PROVIDE STATEMENTS OF THEIR INCOMES AND ASSETS AT THE REQUEST OF THE MEDIA. HERE IS AN OVERVIEW OF SUCH STATEMENTS. COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS YEAR, OFFICIALS' ASSETS DID NOT INCREASE BY MUCH IN 2002, BUT THEIR INCOMES DID.
Do you know how much your best friend earned last year? Probably not. However, now you have a chance to learn how much Russia's senior officials earn: from Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov to all the key ministers. We note that in 1997, Yeltsin issued decree No. 484: at the request of the media, all civil servants should declare their revenues and property to the people. In accordance with a longstanding tradition and that very same presidential decree, we have collected data on the ministers' incomes and assets.
So, let's start with government ministers. Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov made 979,200 rubles in 2002. This is his salary and revenues from deposits at one of the Russian banks. It is not specified how much the prime minister has in his account. However, he told us last year that he had 2.4 million rubles and $33,000 in his bank account.
The annual income of his deputy, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, amounted to 1,098,559 rubles in 2002. During the year, his incomes grew almost sevenfold (in the previous year he declared 161,000 rubles). The deputy prime minister also has two credit cards. One with 41,523 rubles. The other with 63,364 rubles in foreign currency. Alexei Leonidovich has his travel expenses transferred to these cards.
The new deputy prime minister on social affairs, Galina Karelova, was one of the first to send in her statement. Last year, she worked as senior deputy labor and social development minister. Her annual earnings are 206,872 rubles.
The salary of Ilya Klebanov doubled after he had had to part with the post of deputy prime minister to become a simple science minister. He declared 420,232 rubles for last year. Incomes of Victor Khristenko, the government "old-timer" responsible for the fuel and energy sector, grew by approximately the same amount - there is the figure 385,504 rubles in his statement. And Alexei Gordeyev, deputy prime minister and agriculture minister, earned about as much - 394,199 rubles.
The new person in the government who replaced Iliya Klebanov as deputy prime minister, Boris Aleshin, earned 184,290 rubles last year (which is 15,357 rubles a month). Economic Development and Trade Minister Herman Gref 356,900 rubles. Energy Minister Igor Yusufov 226,800 rubles.
It should be mentioned that our officials' salaries grew en masse. Particularly, the deputy prime ministers' - twofold on average. Probably, the decision to raise their salaries was sensible, since it turned out that simple ministers got more than deputies of the head of government. For example, two years ago, in 2001, Valentina Matvienko as a deputy prime minister had an annual salary of 161,106 rubles, while minister Igor Yusufov earned 188,600 rubles.
Besides salaries, many officials had revenues on the side. Iliya Klebanov's bank interest made up an amount comparable to his salary - 449,314 rubles. (Last year, the minister claimed he had sold shares in an enterprise for more than 3 million rubles and a summer cottage for 141,000 rubles. Probably, this is the money that account for such fair interest.)
Research activities yielded Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev 19,800 rubles. In the meantime, Galina Karelova worked part-time as a teacher, for 55,346 rubles a year. (By the way, just a while ago Education Minister Vladimir Filippov personally handed a reader certificate to her). Pedagogical activities yielded Boris Aleshin 21,836 rubles in 2002.
As for Victor Khristenko, he quit teaching: this time his statement did not mention teaching revenues. He often had to travel about the country though, so he was paid 321,343 rubles of travel expenses.
Things are not the best with our officials' assets. Most of them, according to them, do not even have an apartment of their own. For example, Victor Khristenko, Galina Karelova, Boris Aleshin, and Herman Gref. And even the prime minister. His assets as at January 1, 2003, comprised land (625 square meters in the Kaluga region) and a dacha (90 square meters). By the way, he did not declare either the 600 square meters or the dacha last year. However, he owned a garage (18 square meters).
Others took time to acquire something though. Alexei Gordeyev has an apartment, 150 square m. Iliya Klebanov has his apartment in St. Petersburg (219.9 square meters); he also has a country-house in the Moscow region (210 square meters) that stands on a plot of 58 hundred square m. Herman Gref has a garden in the Leningrad region and a dacha in the Moscow region. Igor Yusufov owns a 645.3 square meter home in the Moscow region and a 171 square meter four-room apartment in the capital with half of it owned by his spouse. Victor Khristenko has a 57.2 square meter home and a plot of 2,300 square meters, but far away, in the Chelyabinsk region.
Last year, we collected our officials' statements and were happy for them: most of them had larger apartments and bank accounts. No particular changes have happened during the year to the assets of the powers-that-be. Their revenues have grown though. Here, probably, it is up to the Taxes and Levies Ministry to be happy: the national authorities have started to withdraw from shadow.
We would like to note the authority the prime minister enjoys with his subordinates. Many who at first had not want to open their wallets to the people agreed right off having learnt that Kasianov submitted to the presidential decree. Duma members to whom we also applied for information were often capricious though (next time we will tell about their revenues and property). By the law, they are not civil servants, so they are not liable to submit statements. For example, the press secretary of Vasily Ivanovich Shandybin told us the presidential decree was "no authority" to him.
Do not think we seek to poke our nose in others' business. And we are perfectly aware of the certain relative nature of the declared revenues. But, let's agree, officials should set a personal example of how to "withdraw from shadow." The people have the right to know what those who rule it have. After all, by a voluntary submission of statements, the powers-that-be in the first place show they have nothing to hide.
(Translated by P. Pikhnovsky )