There is virtually no direct export of the Russian crude via Byelorussia to the EC countries: almost all supplied crude is refined by 2 Byelorussian refineries and exported as oil products. Oil companies prefer to use this route since the Byelorussian export duties on crude and oil products have been always lower than the Russian ones. Thus, from December 1, the Russian duty on the export of light distillates and gasoil is $134/ton while the Byelorussian duty is $75.8/ton; the Russian export duty on fuel oil, lube oils and processed oil products is $92.9/ton while the Byelorussian duty is $72.2/ton.
According to the official Byelorussian data sources, the oil products account for 40% of the export revenues. The introduction of duties combined with the increase of gas prices may well aggravate the economic situation in Byelorussia.
N. Volovik New Trends of the Federal Government Staffing Policy in the Area of Science This review addresses new government initiatives of the staffing policy in the area of science: the shaping of a federal target program of support to and involvement of youth into science; new programs of public foundations and the initiative of the Russian Academy of Sciences to launch a pilot remuneration system.
The advantages and problems of the said programs and projects are considered. Challenges associated with staffing structure imbalances are discussed as well as how the government efforts should be focused to overcome those defects.
In November – December 2006 the staffing policy issues and, among others, how the youth should be involved into the area of science were placed again into the focus of the federal government consideration. A special Interdepartmental Working Group on Specialists Generation in the Area of Science and Education was set up in November to coordinate the actions of government support to the staff in the public sector of science and higher education and to explore measures aimed at the establishment of regular generation of research staff. The Interdepartmental Working Group is assigned with the development of a program, this time a federal target program under an initial title of “Research and Scientific and Pedagogical Staff of the Innovative Russia for the Period 2008 – 2012”. The Group includes scientists and administrators of scientific institutes, rectors of Institutes of Higher Learning and government officials. There are no representatives from the business community though the latter becomes more and more active in training and retraining of specialists also for their own research and development divisions. The participation of business might have been useful and could introduce new approaches to address staffing problems.
Public Scientific Foundations joined the government initiative almost simultaneously by announcing new target bids. In November RGNF announced a 2007 target bid for rendering support to young scientists; in December the Foundation of Support to the Small Business Development in the Area of Science and Technology initiated a Program “Participator of the Youth Scientific and Innovation Competition” (UMNIK) supported by Rosnauka (Russian Science) and Rosobrazovanie (Russian Education). RFFI plans to announce, by the year end, a bid for rendering support to young scientists from the CIS countries. The scale of the announced Youth Programs is not large but much larger than the previous government initiatives: in fact, annually 300 – 400 persons are to get support via the scientific foundations, and 1,000 persons via the Foundation of Support.
RGNF will fund probation training of young scientists in the scientific centers, their trips to work in libraries and archives and participation in scientific conferences abroad. The Program of the Foundation of Support (UMNIK) is designed to give assistance to the youth in getting them involved in innovation activity in the area of small businesses. The winners will be invited to work on scientific, research and development projects of small businesses and participate in trainings. This will help them to decide as to what degree they are attracted by the innovative work.
The programs initiated by the foundations may be considered as the first step to encourage personnel mobility. This is a serious positive move in the staffing policy. Mobility stimulates the development of new areas of research including inter-disciplinary researches, makes the outlook broader and improves competences of the researchers. Indeed, mobility is a tool of knowledge dissemination. In Russia the staff mobility in the public sector as well as between the sectors is minimal. The development of the mobility is curbed by not only the absence of the mobility development programs but by the general economic and administrative conditions in the country, among them: a poorly developed housing market; the regional differentiation by incomes of the population; a rigid staffing structure in the public science and insufficient use of employment contracts.
At present, however, the environment for encouraging regional mobility is being improved and looks much better than some 5-7 years ago. Recently in Russia the geography of the first-class employment has expanded: in addition to traditional scientific centers new attractive centers of science emerged like Yekater Resolution of the RF Government of 16.09.2006 №1303-r on the ”Interdepartmental Working Group on Specialists Generation in the Area of Science and Technology” inburg, Kazan, Nizhni Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saratov, Tomsk and other cities. The focus on innovative universities will also add to the enhancement of the education and science status in the system of priorities of the regional authorities.
Besides the national youth policy, the issues of employment were addressed by the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN) by implementing a pilot system of labor remuneration. From May 1, 2006 and onward the salaries of the research workers will have two elements – the base salary and allowances. The development of the approaches to setting sizes of stimulating allowances caused heated discussions. The main subject for discussions were the principles of the establishment of the allowances and the evaluation criteria of efficiency of scientific performance. The Ministry of Education and Science together with RAN came up with different approaches: the Ministry developed a system of inflexible quantitative indicators of evaluation14, while the RAN Presidium focused on the qualitative evaluation jointly with a limited number of quantitative parameters15. These two organizations could not reach an agreement, and a decision therefore was taken to treat the suggested criteria as recommended but not obligatory.
The inflexible quantitative indicators should be treated with caution: as soon some of them become benchmarks they begin to affect the behavior of the entire system. Where a number of publications is at stake, their quality starts degrading, where citing becomes a target, ”mutual citing networks” start being developed and self-citing becomes a habit, etc. Where quantitative estimates become an objective, actual work is replaced by the willingness to fit the established set of criteria, in other words, indicators but not real results come to the forefront. The actions of the federal government have demonstrated this trend already after the transition to the budgeting system oriented at the results.
In this particular case the Ministry of Education and Science came up with a too broad system of indicators where some of them were inadequate for the purpose of efficiency evaluation. Thus, e.g. it was suggested to assign scores to the scientists for their papers and textbooks where the number of printed pages was to be taken into account on the wrong assumption that the larger the book is, the better quality it may have.
In this evaluation system an excessive attention is paid to citing indices though it is well known that they are used mainly for tracking down the development of scientific trends and identification of new growing areas (maps of the science). Too many factors should be taken into account in the process of performance evaluation of individual scientists and research organizations: group and self-quotations, negative quotation, absence of publications in the Quotation Index, impossibility to assess implications in those areas where publications may be confidential, etc. Moreover, as the experience of scientifically developed countries shows, library metrics are relevant only for natural and some technical sciences, and they therefore are not used for public and humanitarian sciences. In this sense quantitative metrics should be combined with experts’ judgments, which was actually what the Presidium of RAM suggested to do. The procedures of this approach, however, were not specific enough and give a lot of space for voluntary interpretations.
The problems of providing sufficient personnel are associated not only with the preparation of the scientific and research specialists but also the balanced staffing system by areas of scientific activity (scientists, engineers and technicians, auxiliary workers). The staff imbalance problem becomes more acute in Russia.
In the majority of scientific institutions of natural and technical profiles the lack of engineers, laboratory and technical workers is ever increasing. This may and results in knowledge gaps, poor protection of competences, reduces possibilities of staff promotion and creation of new products and technologies. With this in mind, the remuneration system introduced by RAN aggravates this situation since it increases gaps in salaries of the researchers and other categories of employees.
If to compare the situation in Russia with that in the developed countries of the world, in the latter there is a much higher weight of engineers, technicians and supporting staff (logistic managers, lawyers and others).
Thus in the U.S. public sector the scientists account for 42.2%, engineers for 21.6%, and technicians for 27.4%16. In Russia there is no statistics on the number of engineers as they are partially included into the “researchers” category and partially into the “auxiliary workers”. Therefore no correct benchmarking can be made. Still it is clear that in the Russian public sector the scientists are prevailing: their weight is 51.3% and has remained such during several last years. Technicians make 9.8% of the staff engaged in research and The proposals of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia on the procedure and terms of the application of stimulating pay-outs to the scientific workers and the leaders of scientific institutions and the scientific workers of the RAN scientific centers. http://mon.gov.ru/science-politic/news/2507/ Types, procedures and terms of application of stimulating allowances paid to the scientific workers and leaders of scientific centers, and the scientific workers of the RAN scientific centers. http://www.ras.ru/feu/zarplata.aspx Data for 2001. Source: Morrison R., Green M. Scientists, Engineers, and Technicians in the United States: 2001.
NSF, 2005, tab. 1, p.10-21.
development works while auxiliary and other employees make 38.9%17. However at the federal government level (by the representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science) an intent is expressed to continue to change the staff proportions by increasing further the weighted number of scientists. These plans may be explained by the absence of understanding of the actual situation in the scientific organizations of Russia and the objective needs of the research process.
I. Dezhina Shaping of the Government Guarantees Program for Providing Free Medical Care to the Russians and the Prospects of its Implementation in The Government Guarantees Program for Providing Free Medical Care to the Russians (hereinafter – the Program) is a key instrument of the government policy and financing the health service in Russia. It includes almost all types of medical care provided across Russia and is based on the combined system of funding from the budgets of all the governments and the Compulsory Medical Insurance (hereinafter - CMI).
This review focuses on the issues of whether and to what extent the Government Guarantees Program in Russia is responsive to a changing social and economic situation in the country and what are current problems impeding the achievement of the Russia’s health service long-term objectives, and how these problems may be resolved.
Implementation of the Government Guarantees Program in In 2005 the actual implementation of the Program approved by Resolution of the RF Government No was at 85% of the estimated need 18 (Table 1). The Program budget support was at 102% across the regions while funding via CMI system at 72%. The implementation costs of the government guarantees in the health service reached RUR452 billion. Given the general lack of funding support to the Program, the regional profile is clearly different. In 9 regions20 of Russia the program funding was over 100% of the required funds (specifically, in Moscow this indicator is 202%, in St.-Petersburg – 211%, see Table 2). However in 5 regions (Table 3) the actual Program implementation level was less than 50%. Sample (89 regions) variation of 0.21 demonstrates that a set of different factors affecting the Program implementation is at play. For 2005 the variation for 10 regions (RF subjects) with varying levels of budget support (Table 1) was also estimated at 0.85 showing deeprooted differences in financing by the regions.
The 2005 Program funding structure by sources of funds changed as compared to that of 2004; the share of funds via CMI decreased from 40% down to 32%21.
The 2005 Program implementation main outcome was a change of the trend associated with regional budget cuts for the health service. In a number of regions the established rates of contributions for the nonworking community paid as insurance premium to CMI Fund began to increase dramatically.
One of the key problems identified during the Program implementation in 2005 was that the increasing funding possibilities of the regions to support their current networks of medical facilities and to build new facilities were not uniform across the regions. In 2005 a process of differentiation in the actual implementation of the program became more pronounced thus threatening the provision of medical care to the Russians on an equal basis as guaranteed by the Constitution of Russia.
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