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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Plan to Streamline Bureaucracy Stalls

A plan to streamline government bureaucracy will lead to minor staff cuts and only get off the ground after the presidential election next March, senior government officials said Wednesday.

"No radical changes in the number of state officials are expected," deputy presidential administration head Dmitry Medvedev was quoted by Interfax as saying.

He said there are about 2 million bureaucrats in the government -- a number he called small in comparison to other developed countries.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered that the plan to cut bureaucracy be ready by the end of this year, and there have been expectations that the reform might start within a few months.

The Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Wednesday, however, that only minor changes could be expected this year. The ministry is in charge of drawing up the reform.

"It would only be possible to streamline the functions of two or three ministries," the ministry's press service said in a statement carried by Interfax.

The Economic Development and Trade Ministry said it has just finished analyzing the efficiency of various ministries and government divisions. "The functions of different government divisions are so intertwined that changes introduced to the work of two or three of them will not lead to any visible improvements," it said.

The ministry suggested dividing the federal agencies into a three-tier hierarchy, with the government at the top, several ministries in the middle and "departments that are not part of the government" at the bottom.

The ministry has yet to draft a concrete plan on how to boost government efficiency while getting rid of agencies' overlapping duties.

In the meantime, the government apparatus overseen by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov is putting together a competing reform plan of its own, Gazeta reported Wednesday.