Growth of the Russian Government

This from my Sitrep of 24 Sep 2010 bears repeating, I think. Many many people say Russia’s government is bigger today than it was, usually as part of a bill of indictment against Putin. The statement involves a considerable misunderstanding.

BUREAUCRACY. The Finance Minister said the other day that the number of federal bureaucrats was to be reduced by 100,000 over the next 3 years. World experience shows that this is much easier to say than to do. By the way, one of the many wrong things repeated by the Kommentariat is that Russia’s bureaucracy is bigger than it was in the Communist days. Not so: they forget the enormous CPSU structure that paralleled and directed the government structure. The overall total of state functionaries is surely much lower today. There was a sort of coup that took place in the 1990s in which the local GorIspolKoms (ie “government”) took over the local GorKom (CPSU) building. This can be seen in towns all over Russia if you look: the huge building on Lenin/October/Revolution Square that used to be the local Party HQ is now the City government. Vide Smolniy in St Petersburg.