In the course of a conference with ministers over implementation of his strategic decrees last Friday, President Vladimir Putin again criticized the government. He warned that nobody would avoid personal responsibility in case his decrees were not implemented. He gave the government two or three weeks to correct its errors. Experts are not yet expecting the resignations meant to make an example of the officials who are not up to the job.
Real results are needed; you should not work for the sake of reports or documents, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta quoted the Russian president as saying. The plans should spell out concrete events: laws, built factories, hospitals and housing, not the reports or meetings of working group." "It's routine information for which citizens absolutely don't care," Putin aptly remarked, according to the newspaper.
The head of state did not like the five-year plans drawn by departments: they contain few details and no names of the officials who will be responsible, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. The ministries were given several weeks for correction of mistakes. The intrigue is whether or not the ministers will be able to come up with the documents which the president finds adequate. They have been unable to do it so far. Putin rebuked practically all ministers, warning that that they would bear public, political and personal responsibility.
Political analysts polled by the newspaper saw in this decision the elements of direct presidential rule introduced over the whole federal government, not an individual crisis region.
"It seems Vladimir Putin is deliberately decreasing the significance of the Cabinet, showing that it is him, and nobody else who controls the ministers," political scientist Konstantin Simonov said. But this mode of control is fraught with certain risks. "If you regularly convene meetings and publicly analyze their work and then state that the May degrees are not implemented, people might have questions for the president," Simonov said.
He does not believe however that we should expect a tough reaction to as far as firing the ministers who are at fault. Resignations will surely follow, but this will happen in the future. "The country will not avoid economic upheavals in the next five-year period. In that case, the government may play the role of lightning conductor. So far, the ministers suit Putin. He keeps them on the hook for the difficult-to-implement May decrees, the expert underlined.
"It was a routine development," a government official told the Vedomosti, "you should not seek politics in this meeting."
Ministries and departments have annually reported on their work since 2004, assistance professor at the Higher School of Economics Pavel Kudyukin reminded to the newspaper; these reports continue objectives with clear indicators.
But presidential decrees set many unfeasible and mutually exclusive tasks, therefore reporting on their implementation is becoming unrealistic. "Criticism for the work on the degrees is a good pretext for reshuffle," Kudyukin believes.
"You can draw any plans, or you can tell them off, but it is difficult to find reserves with current economic growth rates," the Novye Izvestia cited deputy director of the RANKhiGS department for state regulation of the economy Vladimir Klimanov as saying, "in this connection, the risks are quite high, and the statements about insufficient resources which regional politicians make within the framework of implementing "May decrees" are largely justified."
Recently, former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said that in order to meet the election promises, the regions will have to cut investment projects and withdraw the funds which could be use to raise provinces and the national economy in general, the newspaper reminds.