Russia » Economics
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Russian Officials on the Edge of Nervous Breakdown

Governmental officials get worried about Putin's coming speech to the Federal Assembly

Russian senators, deputies and media outlets got rather concerned after it became known that President Vladimir Putin would deliver his speech to the Federal Assembly a lot later. People started talking that Putin probably does not know, which way Russia goes. Some deputies wished to explain to the president, what they wanted to hear in his speech.

However, when the date of the presidential speech was exposed, governmental officials worried too, particularly in the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade. The head of the ministry German Gref is still on the sick-list, so his subordinates will have to be responsible for their activities themselves.

German Gref's deputy for strategic planning of the Russian economy, Arkady Dvorkovich, told reporters that the government of Russia submitted changes in the medium-term program of the country's social and economic development. The official specified that basic projected indexes remained the same, although it turned out that the program was 1,5 times shorter after amendments were made. The short variant of the program was sent to the president's office to be signed.

One should point out two relevant aspects in this respect. First of all, what is the point of the work, if this work is changed and cut within a couple of days? The Ministry for Economic Development and Trade is the largest ministry in Russia, and it took the ministry several months to develop the mentioned program. If it is not shameful to present the edited document to the head of the state, one shall assume that hundreds of officials wasted their efforts, that the ministry hardly knows anything about the real perspectives of Russia's development.

Second of all, as Mr. Dvorkovich said, the program was changed in the part of the administrative and court reforms. Changes touched upon the field of natural resources as well. It just so happens that these are the factors, which helped Vladimir Putin to become the president, to obtain a large credit of people's trust, which was an incredible credit in the history if New Russia. In addition to that, one shall acknowledge that there has not been progress achieved in any of those fields. The deputy minister for economic development and trade stated that the mechanism to implement the medium-term program was cut from the document. The government will find some time to determine that mechanism later on.

This makes it obvious: officials are trying to avoid being punished by the president. This gives a reason for another conclusion: governmental officials have no idea of what Putin is going to tell them on May 16th. Therefore, the government stews in its own juice indeed, without any coordination with the presidential administration, for instance. Officials try to get rid of every precise things - dates and time, figures and numbers, and so on. It just so happens that a government's program is not a piece of a serious analytical work.

Instead of certain tendencies, development stages, program targets and methods of their realization, governmental officials want to present the president a list of the Russian economy branches that are most attractive from the investment point of view. Well, in winter, Putin set out his discontent about the low level of investments. Reporters that interviewed Arkady Dvorkovich might have an impression that the official was not sure, if the changed program would lead to something good. However, the deputy minister for economic development and trade is supposed to be the first man to know that the government is not aware of the country's further way.

This vagueness has been growing recently, especially after German Gref (the Minister for Economic Development and Trade) preferred to keep the diplomatic silence after Putin criticized the government for being not ambitious. It is worth mentioning here that Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov responded that stability was more important than ambition.

Now German Gref, the main reformer, is resting, saving his energy for the future. His deputy states that the program of Russia's social and economic development will be added with more corrections after the president delivers the speech to the Federal Assembly. Most likely, some changes will take place in the government too.

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