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Toni Schönfelder
A lifetime of innovation

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Toni Schönfelder
A lifetime of innovation

Corruption poses a major threat to the operation of the entire system of civil service and government, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev has told an audience of the Interior Ministry’s administration academy.  
He pointed out that one of the most important tasks of the police force was to “ensure comprehensive and reliable protection of the economy from outside criminal pressures.”  
Organized crime still remains a major challenge, he warned.  
“Organized crime is ever more sophisticated and cynical. The damage it causes to society and the state numbers billions of dollars,” Nurgaliyev said.  
The Interior Minister pointed to a number of unresolved problems facing the migration service.  
“Uncontrolled migration is a favorable environment for many criminal manifestations,” Nurgaliyev said.  
He specifically urged his subordinates to be extremely polite and considerate in dealing with people’s complaints.  
“In your work there should be no place for indifference, callousness, incompetence or rudeness towards people whose rights you are expected to protect,” Nurgaliyev said. “It is your duty to help people feel protected. Those in distress, who have suffered from criminals, must be certain the culprits will be found and properly punished.”  
Nurgaliyev congratulated the academy’s students upon the beginning of the new academic year and wished them to be always worthy of the status of Russian police officers.  
The Interior Ministry’s administration academy is responsible for the advanced training of police with a previous managerial and administration record. Instruction is in two specialties – State and Municipal Administration and Jurisprudence.  
The authors of a new administrative reform to fight corruption have chosen such means as restricting officials´ contacts with businessmen outside state institutions and video surveillance. Experts described the initiative as humiliating and hopeless in a respected business daily on Friday.  
Vedomosti wrote that the Trade and Economic Development Ministry had prepared the concept of the 2006-2008 reform. Its authors said Russia was situated in the last third of the World Bank´s rankings of 209 countries in terms of the main indicators of state governance quality. In 2004, Transparency International, a non-government organization seeking to combat corruption, put Russia in 90th place among 146 countries in its corruption perception index.  
Surveys conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Foundation reveal that 71% of Russians are negative about the work of state officials, and 76% have encountered corruption. "The system of state governance has become a factor restricting the country´s further successful development and full use of its potential," the new concept said.  
There will be no total surveillance, says one of the authors, Mikhail Dmitriyev, head of research at the Center of Strategic Studies, a Moscow-based think tank. This measure is needed when risks are high: in tax and customs bodies, as well as in agencies dealing with state purchases and managing state property.  
Arkady Volsky, the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a business-friendly association, described video surveillance of officials as "absurd" and suggested that now two bribes would be given: one to the official and the other to the observer. A representative of an automobile company said that if officials were unable to visit, for example, plants, they would know little about the industry they regulated.  
Alexander Romanov, a representative of the Alcohol Producers Committee, described the initiative as "humiliating for both businessmen and officials," but said he was ready to work in front of cameras if the reform was adopted.  
"This is the wrong answer to a real problem," said Miklos Marschall, Transparency International´s regional director for Europe and Central Asia. If the measure is adopted, "important decisions will be made outside offices, while performances for the inspectors will be staged in front of cameras," he said.  

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