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Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

Putin threatens lazy bureaucrats

Vladimir PutinPrime Minister Vladimir Putin had some tough words for lazy bureaucrats ­ cut the red tape or pay up to 30,000 rubles ($1,075) in fines.

The premier's anti-bureaucracy drive started earlier this year, and Thursday's announcements saw officials handed administrative responsibility for their work ­ and face potential fines if their efforts are lacking.

"There are still refusals, formal write-offs, requests to bring in unnecessary paperwork," a stern Putin told ministers Thursday during a cabinet meeting.

"Officials still keep sending citizens around in circles. There will be administrative responsibility for the violations. We need to break the vicious circle."

According to new amendments the government is introducing into the Duma, officials demanding unnecessary paperwork will be held personally responsible and could be subject to up to 5,000 rubles ($180) in fines. But officials who refuse to consider citizens' complaints about them within a 10-day timeframe could face up to 30,000 rubles in fines.

The suggestions have been made before, but Putin was particularly adamant about working out administrative mechanisms to punish bureaucrats.

Drawing blood

Reporting on another point of order at Thursday's meeting, Health Minister Tatyana Golikova announced plans for a nation-wide blood drive starting June 13.

"I want to invite everyone here to give blood on the 14th," a smiling Golikova told the cabinet.

But Putin didn't seem to be amused. "Ok, thank you. How much money has been spent on this?"

"5 billion rubles," Golikova replied.

"That's a lot of money," Putin said.

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