The Government report made it possible to see how much has been done

The Government report made it possible to see how much has been done


Mishustin’s report in the Duma was praised

On April 3, for the fifth time, Mikhail Mishustin reported on the activities of the Government in the State Duma. In the fifth report – and in the discussion that unfolded after the prime minister’s report – much was said not for the first time – both about how effectively this government managed the fight against the Covid pandemic, and how successfully the government coped with adapting the economy and, more broadly, the entire life of the country to an unprecedented sanctions pressure. These repetitions were summarized in the last speech at this meeting by the highly experienced deputy Andrei Makarov: “the Government’s report made it possible to see how much has been done.”

Was there anything fundamentally new in the report – except, of course, the current figures and facts of the functioning of the country’s economy and the work of the executive branch: high – 3.6% GDP growth rates, even more impressive – in the manufacturing industry, reaching the volume of foreign trade did not lower than four years ago (naturally, with the changed geography of commodity flows), numerous and working mechanisms of social support for citizens, families with children, and much more? I dare to highlight as new the fact that improving the quality of public administration is becoming key in the work of the Government. The point is not only that the prime minister, at the beginning of his speech, identified this as one of the two main tasks in the work of the cabinet – along with the implementation of the socio-economic development program. The problem is much broader.

For a long time, not without alarm, I have been following the gap observed in the Russian government between what in English is called politics and politics – the adoption of key political decisions and the management of their implementation. The reasons for this phenomenon are complex and multifaceted, but one of the most important is the insufficient quality of the public administration machine, which is unable to solve these problems in such a way that their political goals are achieved. And it is Mishustin’s government that is consistently working to solve this problem. Because the tasks facing the country are increasingly large-scale – the Prime Minister repeatedly referred to the long-term development goals and national projects set by President V. Putin. Without quality management, they cannot be solved, and this would no longer become a managerial, but a political problem.

The simplest example is the digitalization of management, which has long been recognized as the “corporate style” of Mikhail Mishustin. But “digital” for him is not an end in itself, but a powerful, effective and modern management tool. Digitalization also helps to “get to know the country” – to obtain unprecedented amounts of information about what is happening in it, and to effectively use this information to solve complex management problems. Manifestations of this digitalization are in the creation of a modern Government Coordination Center (rave reviews of which were heard in the speeches of deputies), and the launch of the “social treasury” – a system for assigning and paying numerous social benefits in the most convenient way for recipients. This is a verified, but steadily implemented “shift of emphasis” (quote from the prime minister’s speech) from business inspections to “prevention”, a “risk-based approach” to monitoring its activities – it is digital mechanisms that make such control effective. What is it for? And, as the prime minister said, so that business “is in a good mood” – in other words, so that the country has a favorable climate for investment.

Are these efficiency efforts paying off? It is necessary to judge by the results achieved – both in the economy and in the level and quality of life of people, and on this issue in the Duma discussion there was much more positivity than criticism, although there was a lot of it. What is natural: the Duma – people’s representatives – this is another expression of the prime minister – “feedback from the people.” And this is another and quite healthy link between politics and management.

Let us remind you: annual government reports on Okhotny Ryad were not always present – they were introduced by an amendment to the Constitution in 2008 – before that, this form of “feedback” – regular direct communication between the prime minister and deputies – simply did not exist. Let us recall another amendment to the Constitution – already from 2020: the Duma received the right to appoint members of the government (except for ministers of the “power bloc”). And already in May of this year – after the inauguration – the President will present to the Duma a candidate for prime minister for a new term, and the Duma will have to approve both him and the members of his cabinet.

Therefore, it is worth paying attention: commenting on M. Mishustin’s speech, State Duma Speaker V. Volodin began by saying that “a different format of work between the Duma and the Government” has emerged, more constructive and meaningful, and therefore more fruitful. This happened, let us allow ourselves to develop this thought, both because the scale of tasks has grown, the relevance of which is recognized by both the Government and all factions of the Duma, but also because the formation of such a construct is facilitated by the businesslike, serious and well-researched approach of the government team – generated by the attitude on quality management as the only possible way to solve political problems.


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