Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin, who is also a deputy prime minister, claimed yesterday that the government has over the last three years reduced the total number of state bureaucrats. Kudrin, however, was contradicted by a member of the State Duma, who provided figures of his own. The finance minister, who was invited to address a Duma plenary session on the issue of the size and effectiveness of the state apparatus, claimed that the number of state bureaucrats was reduced by 13-15 percent last year and that more than 800 people have been cut from the central apparatus of the federal government and the territorial organs this year alone. Kudrin said that the resulting savings went toward raising the salaries of the remaining officials. State bureaucrats, according to him, currently number some 333,232 (including 24,904 officials who work for the central state apparatus), for whom 39.727 billion rubles (some US$1.42 billion) have been allocated in the federal budget, 25.43 billion rubles (nearly US$1 billion) of which goes toward salaries and other forms of financial upkeep.
Kudrin’s numbers, however, were flatly contradicted by Yegor Ligachev, a Duma deputy with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) faction and a former member of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee. Ligachev claimed that at the start of this year, the number of state bureaucrats totaled 1,340,000, not including members of “power agencies” like the army, the Interior Minister and the Federal Security Service (FSB). He also claimed that the number of state officials had grown by 10,000 this year alone and that spending on maintaining the state apparatus had increased by a factor of nine between 1995 and 2000 (Izvestia, June 28; Russian agencies, June 27).
While there was no way of knowing whether Kudrin’s or Ligachev’s figures were more accurate, it is worth noting that Ligachev’s would appear to correspond to figures given by Sergei Kirienko soon after he became prime minister. Kirienko told the Duma in April 1998 that the state bureaucracy had grown by 1.2 million employees from 1992-1997 and that public expenditures for the upkeep of the bureaucracy had grown by 62 percent in 1997 alone (see the Monitor, February 28).
AUDIT CHAMBER DESCRIBES LAVISH SPENDING BY RAILWAYS MINISTRY.