“This is a small but (according to the idea) archival document, which should determine the life of the country for a whole decade.
Due to the nature of my work, I often have to work with strategic plans of various sizes, so I read this decree and want to share with you my thoughts and feelings about it.
I will say right away: the impression of the decree is extremely painful, it literally breathes with administrative corpse.
All that the dissection of this document can give us is information about the current state of the public administration system in Russia.
The first thing that immediately catches your eye is the numbers. And they are terrifying. Let's start with the fact that almost all of them are round:
In the real world, indicators are rarely round, and if there is a round figure in the plan, then you can be sure that no one has calculated it, it is simply invented, sucked out of the finger, although a strategy of this level must be calculated.
This decree is almost everything except life expectancy (78 years) and the share of households with broadband Internet access (97%).
We are reading deeper: "improving the quality of the urban environment by one and a half times", "increasing the number of visits to cultural events by three times." Seriously? How will you count? What units? What methodology? Have you taken care of getting the baseline from which you will measure your growth? I doubt very much.
Honorable fifth place
Now let's restore the context and remember how the new goals differ from the old ones, which were planned to be achieved by 2020.
For example, the “ambitious” goal of making Russia one of the five largest economies in the world has disappeared from the new list.
The problem is definitely not COVID-19, which has become the official reason for revising the strategic goals. The epidemic did not spare anyone - neither the first five economies, nor the last five, all sagged about the same and the point is different.
For the fifth place, Russia could only compete with Germany, only in terms of GDP in PPP and only according to the IMF version - according to this indicator in 2019, the gap between countries was only 1.2%.
Apparently, this is exactly what was meant in the previous version of the strategic goals, because if we talk about nominal GDP (in real currency, and not through a rather conditional assessment of purchasing power parity), then Russia would be in 12th place and it would first have to fight for 11th place with Canada, then 10th with Korea, then with Brazil, Italy, India, France and only then with Great Britain - for that very fifth place.
Well, if we were talking about GDP per capita (which, in fact, reflects the well-being of the country's inhabitants), then Russia would have to rise from 64th place, and the long list of countries ahead of Russia looks rather humiliating for a "superpower".
Deviation as the norm
I was frankly amused by the goal "to ensure the share of the road network in the largest urban agglomerations that meets the regulatory requirements at the level of at least 85%".
At the same time, no one is responsible either for unrealizable standards, or for bad roads, or for unrealizable plans...
Dreams and goals
The decree contains an extensive list of various well-wishes, but for some reason, two extremely important goals have disappeared: an increase in labor productivity and an increase in innovation.
Without these two factors, GDP growth is only possible due to high oil prices, which is extremely unlikely in the era of energy conservation and the boom in renewable energy sources.
And if there are no mechanisms for achieving goals in the plan, then goals become just dreams. More precisely, pipe dreams. This is the third reason to consider the decree an idle invention.
However, there is still something in the decree about Russia's path to a brighter future.
The document identifies a top-level national goal called “digital transformation”. It is difficult to say what this means, because it is associated with another mysterious concept - the achievement of "digital maturity of key sectors of the economy and social sphere, as well as public administration".
To understand a plan, you need to know its author. And this, I will remind you, is Putin. The one that receives news from a leather daddy with pieces of paper that the FSO prepares for him. And, apparently, the "digital transformation of public administration" in his case will come when instead of daddy they will start bringing him a five-inch floppy disk.
To manage any object, and even in the long term, you need to at least understand its nature. If this is obviously not the case, then instead of "digital maturity" we are in for a real digital insanity.
Causes and consequences
We know that the development plans laid down in the May Decrees began to fail long before the epidemic hit the country. The reasons for this are understandable - the fantastic scale of corruption, total incompetence at all levels of government, a toxic business environment and a suicidal confrontation with the entire civilized world.
However, the new goals do not contain anything that would be aimed at solving these problems. At least one. At least partially. And until the work on the errors is done, we will be trampling on the same rake with the same disastrous result.
Word and deed
“When crossing the street, look at the cars, and not at the traffic lights, because the traffic lights haven’t hit anyone yet” (c).
In the same way, when evaluating the plans of the government, one should look at what it is doing, not what it is writing. Obviously, the gap between "word and deed" continues to grow, and this can be seen in almost every group of goals.
It is especially funny to read about small business development, environmental protection and poverty reduction. Well, except that “an effective system for identifying, supporting and developing children's abilities and talents” works.
True, for some reason this only concerns the children of officials, who, right from the student's bench, are transferred to the boards of directors of large banks and state corporations. Well, or, at worst, becoming successful entrepreneurs who easily win billions of dollars in government contracts.
Culture and sports
Among other goals, the items about increasing the share of citizens who systematically go in for physical culture and sports to 70%, volunteering - up to 15%, and the number of visits to cultural events - three times look very strange.
It is not entirely clear what is stopping citizens from doing all this right now. Is this what they want? Did anyone ask them at all?
With the same success, the state may set itself the goal of increasing the national average duration of sexual intercourse by 70%. What? So much for real family values, an increase in the birth rate, and an improvement in the mood of millions of women throughout the country.
Well, or the state can finally leave citizens alone and take up their direct responsibilities.
Planning for 10 years is possible and necessary. Under normal conditions. However, now the Russian Federation is in a terminal stage, followed by only a large-scale destruction of the state administration system.
By historical standards, it will happen very soon: in the range from several months to several years, which means that it is almost pointless to make long-term plans now.
Without getting out of the protracted economic crisis, intensified by the epidemic, the country is plunging into the deepest political crisis, the way out of which is not yet visible.
Figuratively speaking, we are in the position of the "Titanic", which has already collided with an iceberg and began to sink. In this situation, an urgent need to decide how to lower the boats and where to sail on them, but instead the captain approves by order of the dance schedule and menu for the next week.