In this issue of OZ we address the daunting challenge
of the administrative reform of the civil
service and public administration. For Russia, the
need to reform its system of public administration
is at least two-sided. First, it originated as
a response to the country’s internal crisis and
transitional problems, and, secondly, Russia has
been involved in the global process of governance
Reformers have already proclaimed a division
of legislative, controlling, and managerial
functions of state offices and introduced resultoriented
budgeting. About a thousand laws and
regulations, revising the functions of state government
in economic, public, and political spheres
have been adopted between 2000 and 2004.
A number of the state administrative functions
have been legally privatized.
Who are the objects of these reforms and
what purposes are being served? What policies are
being developed and by whom? How will the
reformers seek to regulate behavior of civil servants
and functioning of the Civil service? Is the
governing role of the State going to end and be
replaced with one of sub-national and supranational
governments, networks, and the global
market? Our authors debate on the philosophy
and goals of the transformation. They speculate
on and attempt to identify trends behind the
changes from different, and, indeed, opposing
ideological and political stands.
Andrei Medushevski argues that confining
administrative reform to solving particular problems
of the civil service and public administration
not only fails to solve the problem at large but also
obscures its understanding. Medushevski views
the conflict behind the reform as a structural conflict
of a transitional society. He articulates measures
to alleviate the situation, from the liberal
point of view.
The ideology of governance reform is identical
to that of the Soviet-time khozraschet (selfsupporting)
ideology. It will ultimately lead to the
deterioration of the state authority and economic
crises in the “budget” sector. Yuri Kuznetsov
argues against newspeak “liberal” mistakes of
reforming the civil service and for a non-commercial
Vitaly Kurennoi aims to identify the main
trends of the transformation. Whereas other
countries involved in governance reforms have
redefined the relationship between the state and
society, Russia has focused on relations between
the state and business. Other social groups are not
included in the bargaining process. Its designers
claim that the reform is a liberal transformation
within the framework of building new public
management. Kurennoi is doubtful about whether
the reformers will be able to live up to their own
principles. He points to improvement of the civil
service as a cornerstone of the transformation. No
structural modifications will solve the problem of
unscrupulous public servants. Is the notorious
merit system a cure-all for the absence of diligent
functionaries or is it merely wishful thinking?
Kurennoi examines alternatives.
B. Guy Peters of University of Pittsburgh in
his paper on globalization, institutions, and governance
argues that state today remains a viable
actor in the governance of society. Peters calls for
a broader conception of the processes of managing
societies and economies by various actors at
a national, sub-national, and supranational levels.
It would not be entirely accurate to claim
that there was no market in the Soviet Union:
there was one of a specific sort. Neither would it
be incontestable to say that Russian bureaucracy
is corrupted: only that can be called corrupted
whose actions are unequivocally defined by law.
Judgments on Russian phenomena and developments
depend a lot on a viewer’s attitude. Simon
Kordonsky in his interview with Vitaly Kurennoi
tells about the reform goals and risks.
The governance reform has become a way to
total social transformation in Russia. Olga
Anchishkina overviews reform stages from 1997 until
present. Reform objectives have changed from solving
unique Russian problems of transformation to
problems common to many other countries, i. e.
those targeted at government optimization.
Traditionally, the form of change in Russia is ahead
of its meaning. Bureaucracy remains the reform
locomotive power. It is up to the government managers
to decide, how far the government is going to
restrict itself while preserving state sovereignty and
Tatyana Arkhipova overviews the history of
governmental changes in Russia. To present a critique
of the current administrative reform, one
would need to see not just good intentions but also
its fruit, Arkhipova reminds.
In a “round table” discussion conducted by
Simon Kordonsky, reform researchers and experts
debate transformation issues.
Alexander Kovalev sums up the accomplishments
of the government’s administrative reform
commission headed by former Deputy Prime
Minister Boris Aleshin and describes the status of
the reform. Some of the initial reorganization
goals have not yet been achieved by the new government,
and others are being neglected, according
World Bank’s Senior Public Sector
Management Specialist Neil Parison’s paper is on
developing a “world class” public administration
in Russia. Parison assesses the state of public
management in Russia in the beginning of the
restructuring and progress made since then, based
on international criteria.
Mikhail Krasnov and Georgii Satarov chronicle
creation of the public service development
project that they authored during the Yeltsin presidency.
The project was never realized; however,
it did have a tangible impact on intellectuals and
the political elite who came to realize the need to
alter the organization and functioning of the
domestic civil service.
OZ publishes an excerpt from The Global
Public Management Revolution by Donald F. Kettl
of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kettl analyzes
reform characteristics shared by a number of
countries and the forces that have prompted
Mikhail Afanasiev analyzes social and
administrative transformations in Post-Soviet
Russia and defines the major trends of national
development. Afanasiev bitterly criticizes today’s
state of Russian public management and appeals
to the President for choosing between a radical
administrative reform and stagnation.
The inconsistency in appointing officials in
Post-Soviet Russia and the use of public services
by some politicians for their personal benefit has
caused certain social and official discomfort. It
has also constituted valuable material for a societal
analyst. Vladimir Shmelev writes about active
linguistic processes that reflect social developments
of the 1980s and their perceptions by various
Russian elite groups.
Vladimir Kagansky states that Russian society
and administrative reformers share poor knowledge
of the country they live in. They realize neither the
burden nor the potentialities of the Russian terrain.
Federal management of the country has to carefully
and considerately complement local self-organization
with sound and competent policies based on
an authentic knowledge of local reality.
Alexander Kramchikhin considers federal
restructuring a most complicated element of
administrative reform. What federal policy will
prevent deterioration and strengthen Russian federalism?
Khramchikhin warns against absolute
bureaucratic power and creating potent constituent
entities within the Federation.
Boris Rodoman presumes that Russia had
been called a Federation by pure accident: it had
been conferred a rank prepared for a constituted
state of the Soviet Union it became established
in 1922. Indeed, Russia’s parts and districts had
not been equal. The word generated the meaning,
and constituent entities of the Federation came to
life. Rodoman speaks of the problems of the existing
administrative division. He finds it effective
not to oppose a federalist state to a unitarian one
but to properly distribute powers among administrative
institutions at various levels, including the
One of the priorities of the administrative
reorganization is developing and implementing
effective anti-corruption policies.
Georgy Satarov and Konstantin Golovshinsky
describe two strategies of transforming public
service: enhancing bureaucracy and introducing
new public management. Will Russia succeed in
Andrei Chuklinov views the ‘administrative
resource,’ a concealed and hence especially dangerous
form of political corruption. Administrative
reformers ought to pay special attention to officials
who take advantage of their employment status
and create effective anti-corruption policies.
Is today’s Russian system of public service
headed towards democracy or towards creating
a new nomenklatura? Sergei Zemlianoi maintains
that, to understand the development, one would
need to understand the history of Russian bureaucracy.
In 1917, Lenin claimed that an average wage of
a government official should not exceed that of
a trained industrial worker. As early as in
January 1918, this pursuit was abandoned, and
Bolsheviks gradually started to augment a long list of
privileges of Soviet nomenklatura. By adding stick to
the carrot, Joseph Stalin created an effective bureaucratic
machine reminiscent of a cloistral order.
Liubov Pisarkova describes everyday life and
economic conditions of Russian civil servants from
the end of 17th to the middle of 19th century.
Russian czar Peter the Great viewed police
service as “a soul of citizenry.” Olga Kosheleva is
skeptical of Peter’s perception. She gives a historical
account of the police role and conduct during
Olga Edelman traces the history of administrative
reform by focusing on the Ministry of
Internal Affairs created in 1802.
Marina Arzakanian observes the history of
France’s Fifth republic and its founder and
President General Charles de Gaulle.
Although the state serves as a cover for actual
power relations, it can be and must be, according
to Roman Ganzha, a regulative idea of real political
praxes. It should not be a fictitious and lifeless
state but a mass and spontaneous State/Being,
a collective performance, a staged utopia.
In the Besides section, OZ continues its earlier
discussion of land-related issues.
Tatyana Nefedova speaks of migrant workers
in the remote agricultural areas. Migrants can
solve the labor problem of local rural entrepreneurs.
Sadly, they are often not welcomed by
a degraded environment.
Alexander Nikulin reports on the visit of the
World Bank’s experts and consultants to three
rural areas of Ivanovo region. The visit was a first
step in implementing the organization’s project of
supporting rural local self-government. The
beginning of the work on the project coincided
with the new law on the basic principles of local
self-government enacted on October 6, 2003 by
the President of the Russian Federation. Nikulin
describes social types and the most pertinent
problems of the region.
Vitaly Kurennoi analyzes Soviet films of the
Stalin era about peasant and kolkhoz life.
Besides being a cultural artifact, the cinematography
also provides a valuable historical material
that helps researchers to understand the peculiarities
of the time.
Sociologist Elena Chikadze has been monitoring
everyday life of some few Novgorod villages
for the last fifteen years. Her essay combines the
author’s personal experience with statistical data
that reflects complex social processes going on in
the Russian country.
V. Bobrobnikov and M. Roshchin’s analyze
a private-archive protocol of a community meeting
of one of Nagorny Dagestan villages in 1904. The
authors comment on the legal document and conclude
that, contrary to a popular simplistic misconception,
the local common law (adat) and the
Muslim law (Sharia) are far from being in an
absolute conflict but rather successfully complement
In the Capitals’ cultural geography section,
Alexander Panchenko writes on the phenomenon of
St. Petersburg becoming a hub of the Russian skoptsy
sect in the 19th century, and Marina Chernykh
about Catholic episodes in the city’s history.
In the Invitation to discussion section, Leonid
Polyakov speaks on paradoxes of Russian conservatism
and contrasts Russian conservatism to an
“authentic” European one. Unlike the latter, the
former has never had solid ground under its feet
since the state authority itself has been constantly
engaged in deep and radical reforming of all
aspects of social life.