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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Friends, colleagues, I wish you all welcome.
We are here today to open a series of discussions as part of our work on developing the Open Government concept. Our main subject today is one of the biggest issues facing the state authorities, namely, the human resources shortage.
On the one hand, it would seem that everything is fine. We have plenty of well-educated people after all, and our country is considered to have a high level in training specialists. Our universities are not among the world’s top ten, but do have a solid reputation nonetheless, be it in the humanities or technical fields. But at the same time, no matter where we look, we see a dearth of good personnel, especially in the civil service, which, regrettably, is far from always able to attract promising young people to its ranks.
The civil service employs quite a large number of people, around 1.65 million, I think. I am talking about the purely civilian agencies and not the security-related and law enforcement agencies, which are part of the state service too, but on the law enforcement side of things. Of course, how effectively public administration in general works depends a lot on who is working in this civil service and who is represented at all of the different levels, starting from the federal government and going right down to the municipalities.
Speaking from my own experience, when you start going through the actual names to decide who to appoint to this or that position, including senior appointments, you start to realise that there are not so many suitable candidates after all. Certainly there are young people with a modern outlook, but they do not always have experience. Of course, lack of experience is not always a minus, indeed, it can sometimes be a plus in that it gives you the chance to see things from a completely different angle. And then there are experienced people who have proved their worth but are no longer fit to take the pilot’s seat so to speak and need to move on to other work. I am sure that everyone in a position of responsibility in this country, from the president right down to the municipal heads, has had similar experiences.
The human resources issue is thus crucial for the civil service and the country as a whole. I want us to discuss human capital today, to use the scientific term, look at it in all its aspects, and ultimately decide how we should organise recruitment and human resources work in the civil service. The current system clearly does not work. Indeed, we do not even really have a system. We have remnants of the Soviet system mixed with some innovations of our own, but we have not yet developed a normal system of social lifts and normal selection system. I propose that we discuss these and other issues now.