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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Wage growth will prepare an elite to fight corruption

The growth of salaries of top officials should prepare the elite for tougher fight against corruption

3 October 2013, 08:51

Text: Peter Akopov


The increase of salaries of a narrow circle of top managers conducted by the presidential decrees on Monday, as accidentally coincided with the expiration of the verification of declarations of expenditure, which this year for the first time was filed by Russian officials. This symbolic convergence confirms that the fight against corruption and to increase legal incomes of officials are manifestations of the same political line.

Before October 1, the head of the presidential administration Sergei Ivanov had to report to Vladimir Putin on the execution of its decrees in April on the fight against corruption. Including the results of the inspection one of the main innovations of the Declaration of expenses of officials. Although official information about the report is not received, it is clear that Ivanov fulfilled the order of the head – just the message about the results of the inspection coincided with the planned end-of-month meeting of the presidential Council for countering corruption.

Will talk about anything although the structure of the administration the President checked only some of the filed returns, mainly those who were appointed by decrees of the President (Deputy Minister level and above, chiefs of regional managements of power structures, etc.), it has identified several cases of providing government officials with a high enough level (including law enforcers) false information. On the same Monday when expired check and Ivanov once again confirmed the existence of such officials, and signed the decrees on increasing salaries. They relate to officials of the highest level – in particular, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, Secretary of the security Council, the Prosecutor General and the head of the Investigative Committee, members of the CEC.

The news that dozens of people were held the salary increase, some commentators have met the duty to accusations that the authorities are inconsistent – the government talks about spending cuts and the budget proposes to freeze the indexation of salaries of Federal civil servants, and the Kremlin increases the members of the government salary. But in fact we are talking about completely different issues – the increase of salaries of top officials should be considered as part of the anti-corruption campaign and the establishment of new work rules in the state.

“All links in a chain – establishing order within the public service, – said the head of the Center for the study of elites of the Institute of sociology Olga Kryshtanovskaya. – The process, which is not write and which the authorities themselves do not advertise. The process of “whitewashing” salaries, which consisted of “gray” and “white” part. “White”, the official income of the heads are formed of salary, multiplied by the appropriate rate – at someone it is equal to 4, some senior officials he reached 12. The official salary attached to the tariffs, which approves the state Duma. And in the latent, the hidden part of the “white” salary includes those factors, premiums and payments that are accepted by the internal regulations of departments, including the presidential administration. In sum, all of this is “white” the salary of the official.”

In the decree, Putin said, for example that the remuneration of the foreign Minister will be from September 1 this year, 53 of 492 rubles. So, before it was even less. While personal income Sergey Lavrov over the past year is not a little more than half a million roubles (as it would be, given the 13 percent tax) and $ 4 million, and they all received at main place of work. That is, Lavrov was earning slightly more than 300 000 rubles per month – and before any increase. Same situation with the security forces – the FSB Director Bortnikov reported for 5 million rubles of income, then he has left about 400 thousand per month. And it all allowances for ranks, the secrecy and so on.

The fact that the salaries of the security Ministers are not mentioned in the current Putin’s decree, due to the fact that their salaries he raised in may. Then Bortnikov cash rewards increased to 65 thousand per month. However, now the security forces received a boost – only from 1 September next year. A separate decree stipulated that the ratio of “monthly monetary encouragement” will rise from 3.9 to 5.6 salary.

“Raising wages to a narrow group of senior officials confirms the fact that the President believes and is confident that these people don’t take bribes,” says a member of the presidential Council for civil society development and human rights, the Chairman of National anticorruption Committee Kirill Kabanov. “When we talk about high wages, this means that in case the President can ask the official – you have a high salary, great benefits package, and what you missed? When us officials received a small salary, we were told – and how you want them to not steal? We have obtained that wages of top managers of the same state-owned companies or state monopolies are higher than the salaries of those Ministers who supervise them. Here violated the anti-corruption logic. And now the situation is trying to bring into a match. Imagine, for example, the FSB. This service under the operational control is a set of state corporations, and the Director may ask his environment – and why Miller in Gazprom’s salary is so big and I so small?”.

The policy of increasing of salaries of senior managers will get rid of the “gray” component, says Kryshtanovskaya. “In addition to all of these coefficients and allowances within the state machine was still “grey” envelope payments – you can call them bonuses or additional payments. And in the last two years significant efforts have been devoted to their “whitewashing”, although it is sometimes very uncomfortable – for example, taxes gets bigger. And the current increase is just in this direction.”

Why not just set a high salary for top officials, freed from the coefficients and the envelopes? Interfere with public opinion, says Olga Kryshtanovskaya.

“How can you make a big salary senior officials in a country where the average salary – 20 thousand? It is impossible to explain to people – how we increase the salaries of these bastards, who are all corrupt? Because I believe that Ministers have a small salary, but they are rich, because they steal. Now in society there is an opinion that once the official has a good car and the house, that means he is corrupt. Because as much as possible with a salary in 55 thousand to build his luxurious mansion? But it is not corruption when you consider that in reality he gets paid much more. In order to overcome this attitude, you need to explain to people that the work of the senior officials requires enormous skills, experience and knowledge in various industries, full commitment. This work sometimes ruin people’s health, and it was never written, while Americans are constantly making movies about the travails of their own leaders.”

Society must gradually understand that governance is a very difficult job, he said. The government and society must agree on how much needs to get a man that works, not sparing himself from morning to night, should be a consensus, says Kryshtanovskaya.

“Now this is not explained to people, but needs to be a discussion on this topic. And it is necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff ruthlessly to plant and to punish corrupt officials and to speak about fair officials. Because our society is established mythology that all officials are thieves, and if at first to raise salaries, and then explain why it is done, thereby effectively given a trump card in the hands of the opposition. The current increase was not preceded by an explanation of what the work of the higher official”.

In our society, the huge gap in income, so of course it will be dissatisfied with the salary increase, according to Kirill Kabanov:

“But high salaries of senior officials are not major irritant, because we have a sacred attitude to power. And what with the fact that their salaries are gods? Someone is angry, someone will say that maybe there will be less stealing.”

According to Kryshtanovskaya, the current rise is only the first step – we must dramatically increase the salaries of senior officials. Or rather just the legalization of the costs so borne by the state:

“Launch into the light of the large salary is not enough, because you haven’t monetized their benefits: flats given to the officials and after a year, privatized, public transport with all its services, medicine, resorts, room service. In the framework of the General process of democratization, the government wants to eliminate the antagonism between people in power and people out of power, and this power became ours, it should be all transparent. That is monetized. After all, the government itself announced this, said let’s make everything transparent, that there was not some abstract sanatoriums, and it was counted the money.

Two years ago I calculated all this out and published – I have worked out that the average salary for officials of the highest rank should be around 2 million per month. This amount is the result of the monetization of everything – including apartments. Take the average cost of elite apartments, which he receives and to privatize and divide by the average number of years that the official works. Then I was subjected to terrible criticism, though now we are actually talking about the movement in the same direction.”

To monetize the benefits difficult, although gradually this is all, says Kirill Kabanov:

“We have gradually reduced the property management Department of the President, which is service that provides the character – for example, various healthcare facilities. But if you just monetize, what to do with these objects? According to the plan of state property management by 2017 these Federal will not – then, apparently, it will undergo the process of monetization. Now, in some institutions, for example in the government of Moscow, it is already gradually happening.”

Monetization bureaucratic benefits still will not put on a par the representatives of different social groups: even in the present government the income of its members in 200 different times – due to the fact that some of the Ministers came from the business and sell shares or property, or their wives make a lot of money.

“We have capitalism, says Olga Kryshtanovskaya. – And what now, not to allow people who have successful and talented children or wife to work in the civil service? The state should deal with the image of officials and businesses, to explain to people what is a fair inequality. There is inequality, people are prepared to accept – if a person gets the Nobel prize, people are not indignant even though they understand that the winner gets a million dollars.”

The whole system of the civil service, we are experiencing seismic shifts – changing the feeding system, we have introduced in the 15th century, says Kryshtanovskaya. “If Medvedev just talked a lot about the fight against corruption and did nothing, Putin returned to the Kremlin, began to take concrete steps to combat corruption, – said the expert. – The power of now really uses a systematic approach in developing new rules for civil servants”.

“The authorities face a difficult task – but if we start now all punished under the new rules, we find ourselves without any officials? The danger is there, so you need to gradually change the rules of the game “whitewash” revenues, put the new framework – that the Declaration of income and expenditure, that the prohibition on the possession of property and accounts abroad. Earlier was an open field, and now the corridor – not to make it too narrow, and that no one through it will not.”

While it is clear that society expects Putin’s new decisive steps in the fight against embezzlement of public funds. “Case Serdyukov”, initially served as a renewed determination to restore order, now begins to work against the government.

The “case Serdyukov,” the government gave a sense of hope and then that hope disappeared and were disappointed, ” says Kabanov. – People are waiting for practical steps to fight corruption. Although in reality the fight against corruption is the fight against the seen, and only then with the corrupt officials. But people can not explain it, and for too long you have to fight, and people want blood now. It is in any society, not just us. Therefore, the furnace is periodically you have to throw sticks.”

Propaganda support from the anti-corruption campaign almost there, and this tactic was chosen President, believes the Boars:

“Putin understands the threat of corruption more than anyone, especially because it’s potentially a threat to him personally. And he sees two threats from society, who are dissatisfied with corruption and an even greater threat is from the corrupt part of the bureaucracy, kleptocracy, which rocks the opposition and uses it to attack Putin under the anti-corruption slogans. So he walks through a minefield, so not all steps are done as dramatically as we would like.”

The government is trying to fight corruption, not just among officials, but also in business, says Kabanov and gives a number of examples: “for Example, in “Rostelecom” appoint a person with impeccable reputation, who doesn’t play in anyone’s team, although there were many contenders. Significantly reduced the volume of procurement actions in Gazprom, and they were also the source of many corruption cases. But it’s not loud, not public steps on them, many do not know, that’s the impression that nothing is being done. Although done, just without the noise. Because you can’t frighten the swamp – they foolishly unable to do anything, we have seen”.

For the upcoming end of the month the meeting of the presidential Council on combating corruption preparing various proposals for improving the fight against embezzlement of public funds. Kirill Kabanov, head of the profile Commission of the Council on human rights, which is also preparing its recommendations, says they are aimed at strengthening various forms of corruption (including criminal) and measures the return from abroad of stolen corrupt ownership. Kabanov said that faced with resistance – “there is a lobbying from the side of the bureaucracy, including from the state Duma and other authorities, which does not want tougher measures on practical anti-corruption”.

Earlier in the first place, it was necessary to punish corrupt officials, and that was enough, says Kryshtanovskaya, is more important to display honest officials from the mythology of “crooks and thieves”, to talk about the work and merits of decent people. Should be systematic work in this direction – alas, still no such action, the state is very bad explain to people their policies.

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