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Alexander Galushka: Russia needs a socio-economic General Staff

Targeted management of the country's socio-economic development and the implementation of the highest national priority - saving and multiplying the people of Russia, requires the creation of a new type of state body, believes the Deputy Secretary of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Coordinating Council of the RF Public Chamber for National Projects and National Saving, ex-Minister of the Russian Federation for the development of East Alexander Galushka.

One of the key topics of the Community Forum, which ended in Khabarovsk, organized by the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, was to ensure the growth of the well-being of Russians. This process is one of the components in achieving the highest national priority - people's conservation. Alexander Galushka, Deputy Secretary of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, told EastRussia what is being done on the way to this goal.

Alexander Galushka: Russia needs a socio-economic General Staff
Photo: press service of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation

- Alexander Sergeevich, before moving on to the current state of affairs, please tell us about the People's Saving Index - what is its need, what does it consist of?

We can achieve all sorts of successes in the economy, social sphere, infrastructure and technology, but if the population disappears, if all these successes are not converted into an increase in population, the quality of life and the quality of human potential. Then these successes are meaningless.

In practical terms, three factors are important. The first is an increase in fertility and life expectancy. The second is to increase the quality of human potential. And the third factor is an increase in the quality of life.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his messages to the Federal Assembly 2020 - 2021, identified the highest national priority of Russia - the preservation and growth of the people. The President noted that "every step we take, a new law, a new program should be assessed on the basis of this highest national priority."

The People Saving Index is a technological, practical tool for such an assessment, when we assess a variety of projects and programs from the position of the highest national priority. A year ago, at the first meeting of the Coordination Council of the RF OP for National Projects and National Saving, we reviewed and approved this index.


The structure of the population saving index - in composition index includes 3 directions:
- Population;
- human potential (capital);
- the quality of life.

Each direction composed of groups, including a set of statistical and sociological indicators:

 Population:     Human potential (capital):      The quality of life:
- demography,     
- migration.

education of citizens и   level professional 

- health and longevity,
- culture and values,
- business activity.  

 - safety of life,
- housing and utilities,
- the welfare of citizens,
- transport and communication,
- labor market and quality, jobs,
- social infrastructure,
- ecology.

Indicators of the population saving index - in the Index includes 53 statistical indicators and 81 sociological questions.

Over the past year, we have consistently reviewed all national projects: "Ecology", "Education", "Science", "Healthcare", "Increasing labor productivity", "Small business development", "Infrastructure development" ... And we began to consider each national project from the first question: "What is this national project in the practical implementation of the highest national priority?" They answered substantively the questions: “What should be the indicators of the national project from the point of view of this priority? What should the project be aimed at, what activities correspond to these indicators? "

- The report of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation to the President says that in the national projects currently being implemented there is no single end-to-end mechanism for recording the savings and augmentation of the people of Russia.

- Having considered all the national projects and understanding each of them, we came to the conclusion that the People Saving Index is practical, technological and can act as a tool for the implementation of the highest task set by the President of Russia.

That is, each national project must necessarily have a section related to national conservation in terms of targets and in terms of measures that ensure their achievement, as well as the resources required to implement the main activities. And we have formulated this for each national project. In addition, the index brings everything together, integrates and allows you to assess both the effectiveness of the implementation of a particular national project, and an assessment of the effectiveness of the implementation of the system of national projects in the aggregate. Thus, this index plays a very important role in building the correct, adequate management hierarchy - when we ensure the implementation of the highest priority in specific national projects and have a systematic mechanism for assessing the real effectiveness of this work.

- The People Saving Index turned out to be multi-component. Doesn't this multiposition of it, including both statistical and sociological data, make it difficult to calculate?

- No, nothing complicated in practical terms, this is not. We formed a groundwork within the framework of the Ministry of Development of the Far East, when the Far Eastern Federal District still included nine regions. We pre-tested the population saving index in the regional context - using the example of these nine regions and made sure that everything is measurable, everything is countable, everything can be done both in 9 regions and in 85 regions.

- How do you assess the risks of data manipulation, on the basis of which the population saving index is built? Are there any criteria for assessing the reliability, especially sociological indicators?

- Now, thanks to modern information and digital technologies, it has become even easier to conduct surveys. And the level of their reliability is very high.

- So there is no risk of manipulation?

- We have a number of services, both in the public administration system and outside it, that can ensure the reliability and verifiability of the results.

- You mentioned that the approbation was already in the regions - then there were nine more. And now the Trans-Baikal Territory and Kamchatka have become participants in a pilot project to introduce the People's Saving Index. What is this project, what does the introduction of the index mean at the regional level?

“This means that in the same way, all the work of the regional administration is in practice" stitched "by this cross-cutting priority and cascaded to the municipal level.

- Do you already have information on how the process is going?

- Here is the sequence of work. We sent proposals on the People's Saving Index to the Government of the Russian Federation, and Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Alekseevna Golikova instructed 15 ministries and departments to consider this index. And since it is voluminous, complex, we are working with them to agree on certain points. We have already reached an agreed position with most of the ministries, and there is still a part with which we are in a working dialogue. Our task is to reach a working version of this index, which will be consensus.

After this working version is formed, you need to move on to the next phase - deep pilot testing in the regions. Yes, Kamchatka and Transbaikalia have expressed their readiness to act as pilot sites for practical implementation already “on the ground”. I think that the instruction of the President of the Russian Federation will be a good catalyzing factor. In our report to the head of state, we noted that in the practice of implementing national projects there is now no single end-to-end mechanism for the practical consideration of the highest national priority of saving and increasing the people of Russia and proposed the people's saving index as such a mechanism. The President agreed with us, the President's decision is concrete and laconic: "I agree."

- Is there already a preliminary rating of the regions according to the People Saving Index?

- No, not yet. First, we form an agreed working version of the methodology with the executive authorities, then we conduct a deep approbation of this methodology in two regions, based on the results of approbation, we reach the final version, and only after that we can apply it nationwide and rank the regions.

- But we have an index of the quality of life, is it not enough?

- The national economy index is not only the quality of life, but also the number of lives, as well as the quality of human potential. We carry out many different measurements of the quality of life, but we, I repeat once again, have the highest national priority! And we see the unbalanced situation in individual countries: there may be a high quality of life, but the population is decreasing. The demographic crisis combined with a high quality of life - like in Japan, for example.

We do not need to repeat this situation. We need both the quality of life and the number of lives to grow. So that the entire set of state efforts was aimed at saving and increasing the people.

This is critically important for Russia - as a country with vast undeveloped territories, as a country that possesses 40% of the world's resources and which has less than 2% of the world's population. After all, it is no coincidence that in the national security strategy recently approved by the President, the issue of saving and increasing the people of Russia is defined as the first issue of the country's national security.

- Yes, I was just about to ask - why is it now that people-saving has become the top priority? Because the last bell rang?

- We have an extremely alarming situation. In his 2021 Address, the President said that we have a “demographic emergency”. Just an emergency! We have a huge country with so many resources, and meanwhile, the imbalance of our population with the world is growing and becoming threatening. That is why it is question number one in national security strategy. Not even the development of our armed forces, the defense system - they are put in second place ...

- The report of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation to the President says that there is no mechanism for coordinated and operational management of the system of national projects, ensuring their consistency with each other. How should such a mechanism look like and why is its presence so important at all?

- We just talked about defense, and this mechanism is the General Staff. Why is the General Staff needed? Because we need a body that ensures the linking of all branches of the armed forces with each other and does it from the standpoint of strategy, from the standpoint of general goals, key priorities. Now we do not have this General Staff in social and economic terms, its function is not being fulfilled. Because of this, in practice, we see a strong fragmentation of the implementation of national projects. This is especially acute at the level of specific regions, specific municipalities.

- And to whom should this body be subordinate? This will not be another ministry, is it?

- Of course, this should be a body in the structure of the Government. What is the General Staff again? This is not one of the branches of the armed forces, it is not a substitute or substitute for them, but it performs the most important strategic control and coordination of the entire aggregate of the branches of the armed forces among themselves. Exactly the same thing is needed in the socio-economic sense.

This is not a ministry, this is a new type of body - a super-departmental and interdepartmental one. Is this how the General Staff works? It is arranged in such a way that the deputy chiefs of the corresponding branches of the armed forces are under double subordination: they are simultaneously subordinate to both the chief of the general staff and their leader, who is responsible for one or another branch of the armed forces. This is a reasonable model of corporate governance, similar to a matrix management structure - this is what we need.

- The proposal for the creation of such a body has already been drawn up?

- Here, too, a certain sequence of actions must be observed: we state the problem, are ready for discussion, are ready to formulate a proposal. As part of the implementation of the practical instructions of the President, we proceed from the continuation of our constructive dialogue with the Government. Adequacy of the solution to the existing problem is needed.

- The last question - according to the book "Crystal of Growth", which you wrote in co-authorship with Artur Niyazmetov and Maxim Okulov, you study the phenomenon of the growth of the domestic economy in the period from 1929 to 1955. Do I understand correctly that you think that the recipes of that time are still applicable now?

- I have always believed that it is extremely important to understand your own history, including from the point of view of the content of public administration, public management, its best practices, specific solutions, effective models and mechanisms. And our book is intended to provide an answer to this question. How did you manage to achieve record economic growth in our history and in the world history of the twentieth century, population growth by 46 million people and life expectancy by 26 years? How did it happen that a new city was created every two weeks? And we tried to figure it out and make a bridge for today and tomorrow.

Here I would like to recall the opinion of the outstanding world economist Joseph Schumpeter - he is the author of the theory of economic development, a scientist who first formulated and introduced the concept of an innovative economy. So, he very accurately noted that if you really want to understand something in economics and develop it, then you have three sources of understanding - this is theory, this is statistics, and this is history. And history, according to Schumpeter, is the most important of them, because it is it that leads us to an understanding of the current state of affairs and the real factors of economic development. Without knowledge of the history of the issue, professional, substantive and effective design of the future is absolutely impossible. Today's high-quality state administration of economic development is impossible until we understand the history of our own economy.

And to answer your question - our tenth chapter in the book is devoted to exactly this: what key decisions, key actions, key factors are needed today to ensure that our economy breaks out of the impasse in which it has been for the second decade? Indeed, in fact, for the second decade, there has been no economic growth. The average annual economic growth since the second half of 2008 has been less than 1%. And for the eighth year in a row, real incomes of the population have been falling. This is a dead end, we have to get out of it at last. And without knowing your own history and without knowing the history of the growth and development of the domestic economy, it is impossible to do this.

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