Public Administration in Russia

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Challenges to the Reforming of Public Administration in Russia

It can be argued that effective public administration is perhaps the most important post-communist structural reform priority in Russia. Without effective reform in this arena, other types of reform are not viable or would be ineffective in its implementation. While reform in the public sector has been made in many areas the progress has been slowed significantly by various cultural, ideological and other barriers. Volumes can be, and indeed have been, written on the barriers to reform. Here we will discuss a few of these hindrances that have been challenging for Russia in its implementation efforts.

Fortunately for Russia, " the conditions for successful reform have improved because of the increasing consistency in reform substance" (Institutional Reform, 2006). Some of these attempts at reform have included the following: The drafting of the Russian constitution in 1992; the federal law "On the basic principles of the Civil Service in the Russian Federation" in 1995; The elaboration of "new Concept of Administrative reform" in 1998; and President Putin's call for administrative reform in 2000, which included budgetary reform. Some reform measures are small, calling for incremental changes, others call for broad, sweeping changes in the processes of government. In either case the "soviet legacy" which Barabashev and Straussman elaborate upon in their paper on public service reform, consists of three elements: "Negative public opinion toward the bureaucracy, low salaries of public servants, and a lack of transparency in administrative systems" (2006) has hindered successful reform in Russia. Let's look briefly at these elements.

The communist era in the USSR produced a very specific mindset about government in the general populace which has proven to be very hard to change. Mistrust of government is very common across the populace and "citizens perceptions of public service are hardly...
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