October 24, 2014 08:04

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Editorial: apologia of the caste

24.10.12 12:26    By Gazeta.ru editorial

Editorial: apologia of the caste

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Russia's government is not planning to fire bureaucrats, reports the deputy head of the government, Vladislav Surkov. In an interview to the Vedomosti newspaper he admitted that the number of government official would grow even more. "One can make any number of revolutionary and evolutionary changes, but the number of officials will still grow," Surkov said.

Surkov's frankness is truly surprising taking into consideration that two years ago Surkov's boss, then-president Dmitry Medvedev, demanded the number of officials be reduced by 20%.

One can only guess what was the reason for Surkov's confession, especially now, when the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev does not have practical influence in the state. But what is more interesting is that Vladislav Surkov spoke out about a problem which is one of the most important problems in Russia.

First of all, he is absolutely right about the general assessment of the number of government officials in Russia. It grew even after the first president Boris Yeltsin demanded it be reduced in 1997, when Putin demanded the number of bureaucrats be reduced by 10% in 2000, and even after he adopted a reform which required a reduction of government staff. It is unclear how this could be done now.

Researchers, by the way, note that the using a quantitative measurement of the bureaucracy in Russia, we are not the most numerous. We are slightly ahead of China, but we are behind the U.S. and France.

It's worth mentioning though that the quick growth of government officials after the collapse of the Soviet Communist party was explained by the need to take over managing functions, which had been done by administrative structures.

But Surkov spoke not about the number of officials. He spoke more about the quality of Russia's bureaucracy. He called the critics of bureaucracy " blabbers" who are trying to turn it into "a hated caste." He called government officials "very intelligent," but after thinking a while he added that sometimes he is haunted by the "elementary illiterateness" of Russian officials.

Getting into the caste of officials has become a dream for many Russians. According to numerous polls by the VTSIOM polling agency one fifth of Russians dream of civil service. At the same time, the common Russian does not always think positively of government officials.

It is evident that it is hard for a government official to win sympathy of the common people, because they mostly do not trust them. If so, then the people should be informed that bureaucrats are made of another crop, and that they have been carefully chosen. Well, that is one way to announce one's rights.

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