[home page][map of the server][news of the server][forums][publications][Yabloko's Views]

The Moscow Times, April 17, 2003

Duma Votes to Rank Civil Servants

By Oksana Yablokova

The State Duma on Wednesday approved a Kremlin-sponsored plan to rank civil service workers the same way military officers are ranked in the army. But promotions will be tied to how long the bureaucrats have worked in the government, not to their job performance.

"We have made a mistake. We have created a bureaucratic police state," Boris Nadezhdin, deputy head of the Union of Rights Forces, told reporters.

His faction, Yabloko and the Communist Party had pushed to amend the bill Wednesday but were outvoted by pro-Kremlin factions led by Unity. Deputies passed the bill 243-148 in a second reading. There were two abstentions.

The draft law on the system of government service, which would replace a 1995 law, is part of a Kremlin effort to streamline bureaucracy and shed thousands of jobs.

The legislation spells out the rules of employment in Russia's bloated army of bureaucrats. It allows vacancies to be filled on a competitive basis but effectively allows bureaucrats serving in state agencies to stay on until they reach retirement age regardless of their performance, opponents said.

The new legislation identifies three types of state workers -- bureaucrats, military personnel and law enforcers -- who are hired under contract.

Civil servants will be awarded ranks like in the military and police, making it easy for those in the army and police to find jobs as bureaucrats when they retire and for regional officials to find federal jobs, said Fatherland-All Russia Deputy Viktor Grishin, who heads the Duma's regional policy committee.

Other deputies complained that while the bill is designed to slash the number of notoriously corrupt bureaucrats and make their work more transparent, the end result might be that the remaining workers aren't properly qualified for their jobs.

Nadezhdin said the bill completely overlooks professionalism and competence in deciding who gets promoted.

"I guess we will end up with State Fisheries Committee or Culture Ministry officials wearing epaulets," he said.

Union of Rights Forces Deputy Vladimir Yuzhakov, who with Nadezhdin submitted dozens of amendments to the bill, called the version passed Tuesday a lost opportunity.

"We could have created a basis for reforming government service with this bill but instead have created the brakes for the reform," he said.

The Communists also lashed out at the legislation, saying it will create a caste of bureaucrats.

"The bill places them above the law," Deputy Nikolai Kolomeitsev said.

Minutes before the vote Tuesday, deputies took out a clause that bureaucrats could not be affiliated with a political party.

The bill still needs to be passed in a final reading before it can be sent to the Federation Council and President Vladimir Putin for their approval.


See also:

the original at

The Moscow Times, April 17, 2003

[home page][map of the server][news of the server][forums][publications][Yabloko's Views]