Fighting corruption, budget revenues from selling city property and increase of social spending with deficit budget – among the main topics discussed today at the St. Petersburg government’s session. Governor Georgiy Poltavchenko wasted no words commenting on tackling the corruption issue. He also demanded decisive action in the sphere of selling municipal property. The governor believes the effectiveness of this procedure is quite doubtful. Dmitriy Runkov with the details.
“When a man becomes a bureaucrat it breeds corruption”, says the governor. That’s why he suggested limiting such happenings at the government’s meeting. Georgiy Poltavchenko was outraged with how fighting corruption is being “lightly” discussed. During the ongoing year 2013, 500 crimes have been committed – and those only the registered ones. Meanwhile, illegal trade spots – addresses of which are well known to officials – are continuing their operations. For quite obvious reasons.
Georgiy Poltavchenko. Governor of St. Petersburg: “Don’t you understand that such spots are like feeders for robins – where all crooks from state bodies, including district administrations, are flocking in to. Because if people work illegally - they pay bribes to stay at their places. I need you to urgently monitor these trading spots and take measures on closing them”.
The biggest bribe-takers this year – as per tradition – have been doctors, teachers and law enforcers. Unlike commonplace corruption, businesses are tight-lipped about bigger crimes.
Leonid Bogdanov, chairman of the law and order committee: “We’re hearing angry shouts from our entrepreneurs, but our hotline has not received a single call. The question is – who profits from it?”
The benefit of privatizing state property was also put under doubt today. The federal law says that authorities must provide small businesses with a right to buy rented properties. An extended list of such properties suggests the total profit would reach 30 billion rubles. But it’s by far not the amount which would put the city’s books into positive balance.
Georgiy Poltavchenko. Governor of St. Petersburg: “We need to reserve funds for future buy-backs. This type of commerce is not profitable and we won’t be able to cover next year’s budget deficit with these kinds of sales”
Despite the deficit, the government is looking to increase social spending. Today the governor suggested doubling the funds for buying houses to orphans in the next year’s budget plan. They will now be offered flats of their own – not rooms in communal flats or making them live with relatives, deprived of parenthood. The leader of St. Petersburg’s communists couldn’t sit straight being so happy for the youths of the past. Head of local KPRF faction Vladimir Dmitriev rounded off the government’s session with a heated gratitude for a concert marking the Lenin Komsomol movement’s jubilee.
Vladimir Dmitriev, deputy of Legislative Council of St. Petersburg, KPRF: “The concert was like at home, thank you”.