Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
I am glad to greet you at this first meeting of the Commission. A large and complicated job—a true job for statesmen—is ahead. Precise delineation of responsibilities between federal government agencies, the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, and municipal agencies is among the prerequisites for successful settlement of many social issues. It might even be the main prerequisite.
This is the first Commission meeting. State Council Presidium members and presidential envoys to federal districts are present. The tasks facing the Commission demand the close teamwork of all agencies, guaranteeing cooperation between federal and regional administrations. That is why I have requested such attendance.
I want to stress one point, and I expect many to agree with me. We have been too slow building a balanced, effective and functioning system of our federal state—a system in which the administration of every level should know precisely its responsibilities and their extent. Unregulated and non-transparent as they are today, relations between those administrations all too often hamper national economic development and the progress of the state and the law.
Now, please allow me to outline the basic approaches to this job.
First, we must put an end to the bad habit of the power tug-of-war. Let us realise that power is in this country not a privilege but a duty to the nation. Another basic principle stems from that—the superiority of duty and public needs over political and administrative ambitions at whatever level, federal or regional. Last but not least is delineation of responsibilities. It does not imply anything like the Great Wall of China rising between the federal centre and the regions. On the contrary, it promises to create all the currently missing conditions for closer and more civilised cooperation between all government and managerial bodies.
Now, I would like to say a few words about the Commission’s tasks that lie on the surface, so to say. First of all, it is a detailed practical analysis of the available regulatory environment for delineation of responsibilities. The State Council Presidium has tackled this matter at many of its meetings. We even established an ad hoc commission, led by Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, on whose initiative the present Commission was established.
We must also take stock of implementing responsibilities delineated for now. We must take stock of all blank spots and obscure passages in the related legislation. We must know what responsibilities have not been delineated, and which need only to be specified, supplemented and supported with finance and organisation. I must stress that the federal laws alone can properly settle these issues. We must see which functions should belong to federal agencies, which to regional and which to municipal. Meanwhile, much is ambiguous here, and many issues have not been fully formulated yet. The resources under-pinning responsibilities are insufficient to guarantee their implementation. Allocations to particular government agencies must necessarily correspond to responsibilities delegated to the relevant government or managerial level.
There is also much to do to eliminate contradictions between the numerous responsibility delineation agreements and the acting federal legislation. These agreements did much good in their time, and we said so on many occasions. Russia possibly could not have done without them during a particular period in its history. Those who insisted on concluding those agreements and signed them were taking full stock of the situation, and displayed the flexibility necessary at that time. Now, the majority of those agreements don’t work anymore, and the system of agreements even increases the inequality of constituent entities between themselves and to the federal centre.
This situation has its objective roots, as I have said. The federation is not ossified. On the contrary, it is developing. What was necessary yesterday is not working today as effectively as we expect. There are qualitative changes, too. All this is understandable in the changed situation.
In this connection, the Commission must take stock of suggestions coming from many parts of Russia—the Republic of Mari El, the Komi-Perm Autonomous Region, the Omsk, Perm and Ulyanovsk regions, and elsewhere.
The Commission has another duty—to delineate rule-making responsibilities as a whole so as to bring into accord the interests of government at all levels in legislation and in drafting executive decisions.
I have highlighted only the crucial approaches and basic tasks of the Commission. Its duties are much more extensive. I don’t think the Commission will omit any.
I wish you every success.