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Putin says government work satisfactory, ministers’ high salaries reasonable

December 19, 2013, 14:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, December 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the government copes with its work satisfactorily on the whole.

“I cited economic figures (at the beginning of the news conference), some figures are obviously problematic, but on the whole I consider the work of the government satisfactory,” the president said at the annual ‘grand’ news conference on Thursday.

The president said the outgoing year “was difficult for the global economy, and when the European economy which accounts for more than 50% of our trade had already diminished, and was in fact stagnating, we still held the bar rather high”. “It also affected us a bit, but on the whole I believe the government’s work was organized rather professionally,” the president summed up.

“Professionals of highest level must work at such a high governmental level, at key posts in State Duma committees,” he continued. “But it is difficult to recruit such people from the labor market if they get rather high salaries in the banking or energy sectors, for example,” he added.

“It is a difficult matter to gain them over, nobody can be forced and be made to sit here,” Putin noted. However, “we are taking measures to fight corruption in the state administration - it is necessary to declare incomes, to inform about purchases, and there is also a ban on having accounts and real property abroad,” he added, saying rules would be tightened further.

“But if we don’t pay to win over good specialists, experts of the highest, global scale — and we need exactly such people in government agencies - we will have no results in our work,” Putin said.

“And if we have setbacks, people engaged in the production sector and people getting social allowances, pensioners will be affected,” Putin explained. “An overall success of the economy depends on the quality of work of people of this level,” the president said.

Commenting on reporter’s query why the salaries of the president and prime minister had not been raised of late although salaries of top state officials were geared to them, Putin said “we have quite enough”. Putin admitted problems “connected with the fact that salaries of a big group of officials are linked to our salaries”. “But we will sort that out somehow, this is not the most important thing,” the president added.

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