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Matviyenko says Kremlin envoys need new functions or have to be replaced

December 29, 2011, 6:02 UTC+3

Matviyenko earlier suggested abolishing the institution of presidential representatives

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MOSCOW, December 29 (Itar-Tass) —— Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said the institution of presidential plenipotentiary representatives in regions either has to be filled with new substance or replaced with other bodies.

Matviyenko earlier suggested abolishing the institution of presidential representatives.

“I believe the institution of presidential envoys in regions has become obsolete,” she said.

In her opinion, representative offices of the Ministry for Regional Development, for example, should be set up or ministers for territorial affairs should be introduced.

She believes that they could deal with the implementation of federal target programmes in regions, investment programmes and regional development.

At the same time, the ministers must not interfere in the jurisdiction of the regional authorities. Each must be responsible for its own area. Otherwise, responsibility will become vague.

“Perhaps, not all will like the proposal. Other decisions are also possible. But it is clear that the existing system is not efficient any longer. It is a fact,” she added.

Matviyenko believes there can be two solutions to the issue. The first one is “to fill the institution of presidential representatives with new substance, new powers, functions and responsibilities, thus giving them more possibilities”.

The second solution would be “creating new bodies, for example government representative offices or ministers for territorial affairs”, she said, adding that they should have “very clear functions and powers”.

Such ministers could “prepare proposals on the basis of objective analysis of the situation in regions and lobby them in the federal government”, Matviyenko said.

“They will act as a link between regions and the federal government,” she said.

Matviyenko noted that “the gap between rich and poor regions is eight times. It’s unacceptable. These ministers for territorial affairs will have to prepare and submit proposals on how to ensure more even development of regions and distribute resources and productive forces more evenly” but “they must not interfere in the jurisdiction of the regional authorities. Otherwise responsibility will be diluted”.

She linked her proposal to the decentralisation of power in the country to transfer more functions from the federal to the regional level.

At the same time, she understands that “it’s not an indisputable proposal and many will probably disagree with it … but I think the issue needs to be discussed, it is ripe and all governors say so”.

President Dmitry Medvedev said the question of abolishing the institution of Kremlin representatives in regions would be discussed, but no decision has been made so far.

“We should think about how to organise the management of regions in terms of a nationwide approach,” Medvedev said.

He referred to the suggestion to “vest the presidential representatives with more functions or appoint ministers for territorial affairs”.

“No clear decision has been made so far,” the president said. “But it is clear that the time has come to change some of the political approaches.”


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