Bureaucracies as a system of governance have been the focus of popular dislike due to their lack of flexibility to meet changing needs in governance as well as inefficiency. A bureaucracy has its own rules. How the system works may conflict with a government’s priorities, goals and pace of work. The two main features of a bureaucracy are specialized division of labor and hierarchy. These features ensure that the organization of work aims at providing specialized roles to the bureaucrats. An ideal bureaucracy is considered to provide for rules which stipulate the duties of all the workers or members, impersonal relations between members and a set of standard operating procedures. Bureaucratic systems that have been in existence have indicated that the system in relation to politics provide the top bureaucrats with great formal power while the power of outside groups emanate from the division of labor and hierarchy in the system.
In many cases, there is conscious opposition to the government’s will in relation to the organizational structures and policies. The Russian bureaucratic system defines the role of the state in Russian leadership (Brym and Gimpelson, 2004). The system is considered to be a failure due to the Russian government’s failure to make changes in leadership. This paper will discuss about the Russian bureaucratic system with focus on how bureaucrats are recruited in relation to which qualities they need to have to serve in the public offices as well as promotion and bonuses offered to them. The similarities and differences between the Russian and the American bureaucratic system will be evaluated.
In Russia, a bureaucratic system is made necessary by a large political system. Bureaucracy is also necessary in many large organizations such as trade unions, political parties, government departments and corporations .A bureaucratic system administer policy that relates to taxation, finances and government. Other issues that the system addresses relate to economic production, transport and communications(Rowney and Huskey, 2009).In addition, bureaucratic principles govern how the services in the medical, education and welfare services departments are provided.However,bureaucracies are sometimes considered to be a tool for the achievement of class interests and organizational forms which facilitate centralized control of the elites. For instance, bureaucratic elites can use the system to achieve their own objectives .Impersonal relations between staff are vital in bureaucracies. The centralized control of the elites in the system is made possible by the division of labor and hierarchy. In the present Russia, the traditional role of bureaucracy has been strong. Before the disintegration of the Soviet Union, bureaucracy was controlled by the party apparatus whereby the top bureaucratic structures in were able to create political “parties of power” which had significant influence on the executive. Some of the setbacks of the system include that the parties may not able to fully represent the interest of the society and bureaucrats tend to stick by procedures even when there are enormous financial resources to be wasted in the implementation of programs or policies. In cases where party leaders may represent the interest of the society, the organization of the bureaucratic system demands that the well being of the parties be adjusted according to the position of the executive.
The Russian bureaucratic system allows the number of government officials to be increased. Although over the years the number of Russian bureaucrats has been increasing, the system is criticized for undermining economic development, corruption and slowing down growth of the private business (Orttung, 2006). The failure of the government is linked to the failure of the Russian bureaucracy. This has been attributed to the collapse of communism and the inability of the Russian elites and politicians to put into place a stable system of rule. This has not been the case in countries such as France where the government has changed but the state bureaucracy has remained due to the government officials’ devotion to their duties (Ryavec, 2005). Government officials who consider themselves to represent the interest of the society have great influence on the Russian economic and political processes. In 2008, the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev asserted that the government lacks a good and effective system to recruit government officials and admitted that the bureaucratic system for recruitment has some shortcomings. The recruitment of bureaucrats in Russia is considered to be a major problem because officials are not fully appointed based on the merits. The traditional elite structures that continue to influence the Russian bureaucratic system undermines fair appointment of the bureaucrats. Although this trend is now changing with the introduction of civil service reforms, replacement of inefficient and corrupt government officials has been criticized for using new officials as scape goats by having them replace corrupt officials. Recruitment has relied on the need to build bureaucratic cadres. This is because some elements of the old bureaucratic elite system have remained influential in the present Russia system. In the 1990s, the high ranking bureaucrats were able to gain great wealth using their official positions in the government through shady privatization deals and acquisition of state property .In the current Russia, recruitment of the bureaucrats is done based on their loyalty to the top leaders as well as the professional qualifications of individuals. However, when recruitment is based on political loyalty, individuals who are not qualified or who lack adequate experience and training may be appointed to fill in various positions in the government offices. The sense of discontent and unfairness created by this form of appointment has adverse impact on the government regime, leadership and development.
The state bureaucracy is considered to be very vital in leadership and governance in Russia (Rowney and Huskey, 2009).The Russian bureaucratic system was built in the 1930s and over the years has required improvement in staff management to ensure that things are running smoothly. For example, when Vladimir Putin came into power as the Russian president, efforts to improve government personnel competence have been characterized by horizontal rotation of appointments in offices of the prosecutor general, chief of police and the principal federal inspector. In addition, another leader, Dmitri Medvedev has made a proposal on how that the cadre problem in the system can be addressed. Because the bureaucrats’ elite rely on cadre system, individuals who are recruited should show loyalty to the bosses (Frolov, 2009). This system also affects the promotion of government officials. While some are promoted due to their good work, some officials may be promoted as favor from the top officials. In February 2009, a list of 100 potential appointees to various government positions was presented to President Medvedev in efforts to response to Russia’s growing personnel crisis The proposal states puts emphasis on the need for a presidential reserve that comprises of highly qualified personnel to take over federal and regional government positions to be created . This proposal was expected to provide the executive with some influence over the recruitment of government officials based on the professional qualifications of an individual. The recruitment and promotion of the government officials based on personal ties and support for interest groups has created problems in the bureaucratic system. Some bureaucrats are therefore considered to be incompetent and inefficient. Elite recruitment is done in Russia and in 2000, individuals who had previously served in the bureaucratic system were appointed into power. Some bureaucrats recognize that their appointment into high government positions is not based on merit but on loyalty and sheer accident. The Russian elite comprises of a cohesive mass where members of similar intellectual and mental mold are appointed to serve in the government positions which are divided into the executive, legislative, judicial branches.
Russian bureaucrats are considered to be some of the most well paid employees in the nation. For example, federal officials’ salaries between 2005 and 2007 were estimated to rise by 44.1 per cent (Shevtsova, 2007) .This was twice the increase in average wage. In 2005, the average monthly salary of middle level executive branch employees was $980. In the 2007 draft of the Russian budget, the amount of financial resources spent for supporting public servants experienced a 50 percent rise to reach 821 billion rubles. Regional and federal level bureaucrats in Russia are the best paid in the country. However, some bureaucrats have low wages which makes them engaged in corruption as alternative source of income. For example, some government employees are estimated to receive about $410 every month (Most bureaucrats in Russia receive salaries of about $410 a month, Putin gets raise, 2004).The low wages paid to some government officials promotes corruption when officials accept bribes to facilitate delivery of services. For example, the spending habits of Russian pension fund managers have attracted criticism from the public. Russian bureaucrats use public funds to generate wealth and are considered to behave like self – appointed local presidents.
Government officials receive a wide range of bonuses. These bonuses relate to transport, and medical services. The bonuses are considered to be a privilege of the Russian bureaucrats who in the past 15 years have managed to accumulate significant proportions of Russian natural resources and former state property. Russian bureaucrats live in palatial villas, drive expensive cars and purchase extravagant luxury products (Vasiliyeva, 2010).It has been estimated that government officials in state apparatus have their income 25 per cent higher than the average salaries. As a result, the Russian citizens consider the government officials to receive high bonuses as compared to the average salary The need to address the personnel crisis and leadership in the Russian bureaucracy had the Putting administration in 2004 show its intentions of having the social benefits of the government officials monetized. In April 10, 2004, the wage scale of state officials was raised in order to combat corruption that is motivated by low compensation.
Rampant corruption has given Russian bureaucrats a poor image in the country and the rest of the world. This has encouraged Russian leaders such as Dmitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin support efforts that aim at raising index confidence in government officials (Causes and Consequences of corruption in Putin’s Russia, 2010).Inefficiency and lack of change has made state officials in Russia to be engaged in corruption. This has been one of the failures of the Russian leadership. For instance, in 2005, the Russian President Putin asserted that inability of this administration to effectively address the issue of corruption is one of his failures in the government. The Russian bureaucracy benefits from the fusion between business and state. The high level officials generate several million dollars from private companies because the officials are allowed to generate supplementary income. The number of bureaucrats in Russia has been increasing. The large number of bureaucrats has increased more opportunities exists for corrupt transactions to be undertaken. For example, business activities in the major cities which have heavy concentration of bureaucrats have been affected. Efforts by Putin to increase the Russian state capacity led to the expansion of bureaucracy while he was in office. For instance, in 2005, it is estimated that bureaucrats at various levels of the Russians government grew by 143,500. This meant that there were a total of 1,464,000 bureaucrats (equivalent to one bureaucrat per 100 residents). Recommendations have been made that compensation levels for bureaucrats should be raised to reduce corruption levels. This strategy however has not worked because salaries for Russian judges which have been raised have not reduced levels of corruption in the Russian judiciary. Corruption in the bureaucracy in Russia has been attributed to the political party reforms, Kremlin’s crackdown on media, centralization of political power and campaigns against non-governmental organizations. For instance, Putin’s crackdown on the Russian media was considered to be a measure of covering up corruption in public servants.
Although the Russian bureaucratic system cannot be considered to be oversized, considerable inefficiencies emanate from the code of behavior of the bureaucrats as well as the organizational structure. The bureaucratic system has promoted inefficiency of government officials’ work. The current bureaucracy lacks checks on its power. Initially, there was competition between the law enforcement agencies and conventional bureaucracy but this disappeared with the increasing presence of security service officers throughout the present Russian bureaucracy.Bureacracy has influenced state business relations in Russia. For example, the state has monopolistic ownership of the oil pipelines and Kremlin officials are board members in key energy companies. This has provided the government with an opportunity to influence decisions that are very critical to the well being of the country. As compared to other bureaucracies in various parts of the world, the Russian bureaucratic system has been unable to achieve efficiency and accountability of the leaders due to the failure of the government to change. When a government is able to introduce changes in leadership and the devotion to duty of bureaucrats is maintained, the efficiency of the bureaucratic system is improved. This has been the case in France. In Russia, the failure of the government has resulted to the failure of the bureaucratic system. This has in turn given rise to organizational and management problems. Furthermore, the growing bureaucracy in the Russian state has made the state less accountable and more centralized. The system has also played a vital role in widening the gap between center sand regions.
In order to make positive changes in the Russian bureaucratic system, the government, the political leaders and the public have all shown support for reforms in public administration and the civil service. Recommendations that have been made to improve leadership in the present Russian bureaucratic system include reforming and scaling back the current bureaucracy and enabling the society to hold the government accountable for its undertakings through free media, competitive elections and an independent civil society) .It is also important that an effective anti – corruption policy that can allow the decentralization of power from the federal to regional and local levels is put into place. Reforms in the civil service have been characterized by the recruitment and promotion of government officials based on merit and academic qualifications (Golutvina, 2008). This is anticipated to provide for a system of checks and balances in three levels of government so that leaders who hold government offices are accountable for their actions and become more devoted to their work. In addition, recommendations as part of civil service reforms to prevent corruption include increasing wages and benefits. This is expected to work in cases where government officials earn little hence workers are lured into taking bribes in order to generate some financial resources.
The US just like Russia has a bureaucratic system. Both the Russian and the American bureaucratic systems have some similarities. In similarity, both the American and the Russian bureaucratic systems are comprised of complex governing elements. Due to the powers that the bureaucratic systems have, the jobs, responsibilities and assignments given to various employees within the systems aim at achieving certain goals. The structure of the American and Russian systems confirms that they function at various government levels. For instance, bureaucratic principles are applied at the state and federal levels within the government. Other areas of similarities between the US and the Russian systems relate to formal rules, specialization of duties and the hierarchical organization. In specialization, the government officials within the bureaucratic system perform specialized tasks that require highly skilled and trained personnel.However, whenever it is necessary, sometimes bureaucrats may perform tasks that may fall outside their job description. The structure of a bureaucracy is known as a hierarchy. This structure allows the succession of workers within an organization or system ranging from the menial worker to the most executive position. The ability of a bureaucracy to recruit and maintain highly qualified and well trained government officials to serve in various positions depends on the criteria of recruitment and measures of compensating of rewarding workers. For each level of governance, there is a clear definition of responsibilities and authority. Formal rules in the bureaucracies define how and which tasks will be performed within which tier of the hierarchy. These rules are sometimes referred to as the Standard Operating procedures (SOP) and are expected to allow bureaucrats make sound and appropriate decisions. The hierarchical structure of the bureaucratic system sometimes undermines the application of democracy to solve problems. As a result, the staff at the lower levels may be unable to question the decisions that are taken by their bosses. The US and Russian bureaucratic systems are involved in the implementation of policies, administration and regulation. Because of the conscious opposition to the government will that is witnessed in bureaucracies, the American and the Russian systems resist changes. For example, sometimes the US bureaucratic system has been criticized for resisting reforms. Organizations such as CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the US Immigration Service have been considered to resist reforms. The system is under political control of the presidency, courts and Congress.
The American bureaucratic system differs with the Russian one in how the various functions are organized. While the US has managed to introduce reforms that have increased the efficiency of the system, the Russian system lack of flexibility to embrace changes can be attributed to a slow pace of civil reforms. For example, reorganization within the system in the US enabled the US President George W.Bush to facilitate the expansion of responsibilities of the Department of Education in order to accommodate the No Child Left Behind program. The US system is more efficient and less corrupt then the Russian. Good implementation of anti-corruption regulations in the US in relation to abuse of power ensures that corrupt bureaucrats are severely punished.However, the Russian government has failed to make changes that will increase the devotion of bureaucrats and effectively address the issue of corruption and mismanagement of public funds. The US Federal bureaucracy implements public policies that have been developed by the governments’ political arms. The two sources of power are the access and control over policy implementation and permanent bureaucracy (Houghton, 2004).The Russian bureaucracy who allows government officials to generate supplementary income has contributed to corruption in the system. This is not the case in the US.
Bureaucratic systems in various countries are considered to be very important in governance and political leadership. Russia and the US are examples of countries that have bureaucratic systems which play a vital role in leadership. Although the popular dislike of the system is attributed to its inefficiency, bureaucratic systems are still significant in large political systems. In addition, the system has been linked to the high levels of corruption as experienced in Russia. There is need for governments to facilitate changes that will increase efficiency in improve leadership in bureaucratic systems.
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