The government is changing the organization of work of key economic ministries – the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Economy. They will include not only departments, but also smaller structures—administrations. The purpose of the innovations is to create a dynamic system of industry management in ministries as an administrative reflection of the new stage of structural adaptation of the economy. The restructuring of regulation, government support and goal setting affects an increasing number of industries, and in order to coordinate the solution of a growing number of interconnected technical problems, the White House required its own structural transformation. The new target model of public administration involves expanding the use of the experience of departmental project offices, used in the development and implementation of national projects, in the new digital system of executive power, built under Mikhail Mishustin.
Recently, two documents appeared in the flow of White House documents, formally affecting the bureaucratic organization of the work of key economic ministries – the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Economy. The government decree on changing the structure of the first, No. 1886 dated November 11, 2023, has already been signed by Mikhail Mishustin and published, while the document on the restructuring of the Ministry of Economy is still undergoing regulatory impact assessment. The documents are similar: the Ministry of Industry and Trade is allowed to have 28 departments and five directorates instead of 30 departments; in the draft of the Ministry of Economy, the current 37 departments are supplemented by three directorates; the department as a structural unit is included in the regulations on the ministry; the possibility of dividing them into departments is also stipulated. At the same time, the staffing levels and wages of both ministries do not change – we are talking about the reorganization of their work.
In the structure of economic ministries, such a unit as management will appear for the first time since the administrative reform of 2004, when civil departments were ordered to be divided only into departments (this did not affect the law enforcement agencies). As Kommersant found out, this is an administrative reflection of changes in the nature of the tasks that fall on White House departments in connection with the structural transformation of the economy caused by the start of the military operation in Ukraine, the subsequent sanctions of all developed countries of the world and the “sovereignization” of most Russian markets.
For example, as the Ministry of Industry and Trade explained to Kommersant, “the structure of the manufacturing industry today is formed by many industries, including relatively small ones, which require separate structural units.” The list of ministry departments being created, according to Kommersant, is still under development.
The government apparatus, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Grigorenko, who is formally responsible for the organizational structure of White House departments, explained to Kommersant that the innovations are indeed caused by an increase in the detail of certain areas of government support for adapting the economy to new conditions. Instead of instruments of general economic regulation in the current phase, the White House focuses on coordination, interconnection and building interaction of sectoral measures (for example, the task of import substitution of a particular product is divided into subtasks of financing, creation or restructuring of the raw material and material base, construction of industrial sites, energy supply, building transport connections, taking into account future products in plans for public and private demand, etc.).
The restructuring of the government’s work will not be limited to a smaller division of the personnel of ministries “to suit the task,” they say in the White House staff; it is also planned to expand the use of project work methods, first deployed during the preparation of national projects in 2016–2018. “After 2020, approaches to public administration have changed significantly – the previous developments of the project approach were supplemented with new principles, including focus on results, fixation of reference points for project implementation, a risk-based approach to them, the introduction of measurable KPIs and specific deadlines and their control through the digital government system , as well as building feedback links in the public administration system based on big data on the work of the Russian economy,” says an employee of Mr. Grigorenko’s secretariat. “At first, these approaches were implemented in the management of state programs and strategic initiatives of the government, now they are unfolding at a new stage,” he states.
Let us note that the explanatory note of the Ministry of Economy to the draft resolution on changing its structure refers to Presidential Decree No. 365 of May 22, 2023, which, in turn, changes the “table of ranks” of the civil service dating back to 2005. From the document, in particular, it follows that the position of the head of the department of the ministry will be comparable to the position of deputy director of the department. However, for the project approach, such nuance is de facto not important – when working on specific tasks, the hierarchy within the specialized project office has more weight: when working on the system of national projects in certain areas, specialized deputy ministers and heads of departments often received the authority to set tasks for colleagues of up to to the minister.