Putin criticizes regional leaders for overspending


Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has criticized the country’s governors for spending too much and urged them to avoid increased expenses on regional government. He mentioned Murmansk Oblast as one of the regions with an unacceptable rise in administration expenses.

This is a crisis year, but expenses are growing,” Putin said at a meeting with regional governors in Kislovodsk on Monday, Interfax reports.

According to Mr. Putin, expenses on government and administration in the regions increased on average with 4 percent in 2009. In some of the country’s regions expenses have increased more than 25 percent, Vedomosti reports. The worst region is Magadan Oblast, whose expenses have risen 38 percent. The Republic of Ingushetia had a 30 percent rise, while Moscow had 27 percent and Murmansk 26 percent.

Putin reminded the governors that the federal government already has cut its expenses by 30 percent in 2009 and will make another 15 percent cut in 2010.

Some of my colleagues complain that their ministries cannot fulfil their tasks with such serious cut-backs, but I am confident that they can. And if they can, so can you”, Putin told the regional leaders.

Putin’s speech in Kislovodsk is a serious signal from the federal center to the regions to take control of their spending. It is also the second time in a short period that the regional leadership in Murmansk Oblast is given a reprimand from central authorities. As BarentsObserver reported, President Dmitry Medvedev last week criticized Murmansk for not having implemented any anti-crisis programs, despite federal allocations to these goals.