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  Wednesday, October 16, 2019
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Mikhail Fradkov believes that the benefits reform is essential but admits that it is being carelessly implemented
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov believes that the benefits reform is essential but admits that it is being carelessly implemented. "We are making a serious step towards solution of the community problems," Mr. Fradkov said at a Duma session considering the vote of no-confidence in the government. "It does not work out quite as we expected, but we could not have remained idle, as the reform cannot be postponed," the prime minister said. Admitting his own mistakes, the prime minister also criticized those who were skeptical about the reform. "Those who assume that ready-made formulas are enough for solving such problems and conducting such grandiose reforms are mistaken," the prime minister said. According to Mr. Fradkov, the president's criticism of the government's mistakes had a positive effect. The Russian prime minister also acknowledged that the law on benefit replacement had its deficiencies. "No economy would survive if 50% of the population are benefit users. The implementation of the law should have been carefully considered in advance," said Mr. Fradkov. "This relates to the financial opportunities of different budget levels. We should have forestalled the gap between regional and federal benefit users, and foreseen the deficiencies in inter-budgetary relations," said Mr. Fradkov. According to the prime minister, the government should have actively promoted and explained the reform to the public. "The lack of transparency in the benefit system was the illusion of the government taking care of all people, but we should have proved that the reform would be advantageous for all," he said. According to Mr. Fradkov, the government has learnt the lesson and will work hard in the future to correct its mistakes. The authors of the law should have taken into consideration the psychology of benefit users, said the prime minister. "Benefits are not a matter of money alone, it is a matter of respect and social status in society," he noted. "I cannot but react to the criticism of the reform. The criticism is tough, but I do not want you to think that I am trying to shift responsibility," said the prime minister. Mr. Fradkov thinks that the federal center and the regions are equally responsible for social issues. "It is impossible to share responsibility for social issues with the regions," he said. According to Mr. Fradkov, only cooperation with the regions can help raise wages and pensions. "It would be a good idea for the government to know about the situation in the regions in more detail," he said.
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