The President should ease confidentiality

The US civil society demands that the US President ease confidentiality. Thirty one non-governmental organizations requested for the same in a letter addressed to President Obama on April 23.

The civil society is concerned of continuously growing degree of confidentiality in the national defense sector, despite the fact that only 92 million decisions on confidentiality were made in 2011. It should be noted that it is the taxpayers who are supposed to pay for it.

For example, V. Komoyedov, Chairman of the Defense Committee at the State Duma, said in his interview to Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) newspaper in January that "a fresh look should be taken at the issue of proportion between publicly available and confidential national defense items in the federal budget". Judging by the results obtained, the current federal budget confidential expenditures have set a record of 14.1% of total federal budget expenditures, thereby suggesting that the Committee's look at the issue was not fresh enough in the previous year.

It's hard to imagine a situation in Russia when non-governmental organizations could come forward with such an initiative. The government would suspect them of having relations with foreign organizations, and they might be accused of spying for western countries.


Moreover, legislative power representatives, including President Putin himself, touched on the theme of confidentiality in the national defense sector in the previous year.


Later, in February, Vladimir Putin stressed the need to revise "old-fashioned approaches towards secret protection" in his article about national defense. The Open Government's working group held a meeting early in April, which was attended by D. Medvedev, D. Rogozin, and industries representatives. They said enough to make one believe that the situation could be changed shortly after: confidential federal budget expenditures would be cut ten times, economic figures of the defense procurement would be disclosed, the defense enterprise registry would become transparent, etc. However, the problem (or "the secret bolt of a goon" , D. Rogozin's stylish definition of the phenomenon) still remains unsolved, because the old habit of ‘confidential regime' dies hard.


However, the planned growth in confidential federal budget expenditures in the mid-term perspective looks impressive:


 This is why, though A. Siluanov, the Ministry of Finance of Russia, is quite right says that "transparency of federal and municipal finances is the most important tool to enhance the effectiveness of budget resources", he hardly knows how to achieve it. It is President Rutin and A. Beglov, Chairman of the Inter-Departmental Commission for State Secret Protection, not Minister of Open Government М. Abyzov, who are the key persons, including the Russian Government, to solve the federal budget transparency issue.


 It remains for us to fully support the title of this article. However, the President of Russia should cut confidentiality too, in this country and on the basis of local specifics.


Zatsepin V.B. - Ph.D. in Military Science, Head of Economics of the Military-Industrial Sector Department