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Putin castigates state bureaucracy for ‘playing the numbers game, tweaking statistics’

The president mentioned situations when specialists are transferred to a shortened work schedule, or get half or quarter pay while the work load does not decrease

NOVO OGARYOVO, February 10. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has excoriated the bureaucracy for playing the statistics game regarding official figures, with some state agencies engaging in tweaking indicators.

"In 2018, the government reported on the implementation of the May decree to increase the salaries of state employees. Meanwhile, in the 2019 address, particular attention of the federal and regional authorities was drawn to the fact that the achieved level of salaries must not decrease, and that no chicanery would be permitted here," the head of state said during the video meeting with the government, adding that "this requirement still stands."

"However, at times, we see a lot of changes to small details as far as the substance of this goal is concerned," Putin noted. "The point is not about the reports, but about providing worthy salary levels to healthcare, education, culture, social services employees - the most vital sphere for society and the country. However, we see very often - it happens from time to time in any case, so let’s put it carefully - that some of our agencies play the numbers game, and we see some tweaking of official indicators," the president pointed out.

"And what do we have as a result? Based on the reports, everything seems to add up. Oftentimes, it adds up thanks to various gimmicks, when specialists are transferred to a shortened work schedule, or get half or quarter pay. At the same time, the work load does not decrease, and even sometimes it increases," the head of state revealed.

Putin raised this issue in the wake of the recent meeting with the Presidential Council on Science and Education, where one attendee complained about low wages and being placed on half-pay.

"She indicated the amount of her salary: 25,000 rubles [about $339] and bonus of 6,000 rubles [about $81]," the head of state specified. "We all understand, and I even mentioned it then, that this does not look like the goals, laid out in the 2012 May presidential decree," Putin underscored.