Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 51

It would be unwise to expect any radical breakthrough from this commission. Krasnov said last month that the reform must be carried out "very carefully and slowly," and might not be fully operational until 2005-2007. As opposition deputy Aleksei Podberezkin observed, "The ministries have been reorganized five or six times, and each reorganization was only a waste of time." (Argumenty i fakty, March 9) The government’s response to bureaucratic inefficiency is, typically, to create new bureaucracies. For example, the job of supervising the spending of an $800 million World Bank loan for pension reform has been given to a nongovernmental agency — the Russian Foundation for Social Reforms. The foundation was set up in parallel to the Ministry for Labor and Social Development, with twenty-one officials and a $1.5 million budget. The creation of a separate foundation gives the World Bank tighter control over the program, and enables it to pay officials an average of $2,000 a month — ten times the average for ministry civil servants. The World Bank project budgets $28 million for technical advice, and a recent newspaper report question the wisdom of such spending. For example, a single senior advisor from France will be paid $220,000 a year in salary and expenses. (Komsomolskaya pravda, March 12)

Yeltsin Impeachment Threat.