This headline is the quotation from an interview of Svetlana Radionova, the head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor) of two years ago with Izvestia within the framework of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in 2019. At that time, she spoke without fanfare about the fight against violators, the reform of the watchdog agency, and many other things.
On the eve of the 2021 SPIEF opening, it is time to summarize what Radionova has succeeded in and what has not been done yet during her tenure.
Svetlana Radionova is considered to be a rather tough, but an effective manager. In a short period, she managed to put the entire Rosprirodnadzor on a new footing. Large-scale changes are always not easy, but Radionova is a well-experienced manager, which helps her cope with difficulties.
In two years as the Chief Federal Environmental Inspector Radionova reorganized the structure of the agency and tried to improve the efficiency of the department. Some of the tasks have been already completed, and some of them are yet to be done.
"Fines will not change the situation. Constant monitoring is needed." This formula, once said by Radionova, is a good way to describe her plan to reform Rosprirodnadzor. For her part, she is doing everything necessary. For example, to ensure the highest possible control over the environment, the number of inspectors has been increased. They are the main force in the work of the agency. Experts are provided with the most advanced monitoring equipment. For this purpose, additional funds are allocated.
However, people do not always become inspectors by vocation and with good intentions. Especially in remote regions of the country. It is a well-known fact that many officials perceive any fiscal and supervisory functions and powers as a tool for making money. It is a corruptive resource that allows them to enrich themselves with impunity.
Rosprirodnadzor pays a lot of attention to the personnel. According to the head of the agency, inspectors must be people who are passionate about their work and interested in the results.
The structure of Rosprirodnadzor has already been changed. The departments that supervise the work of the regional offices have been abolished. Territorial branches are now in charge of several subjects of the federation at once. There are plans to increase salaries for rank-and-file inspectors through redistributing resources within the agency.
However, some regional inspectors didn't assume their posts for salaries, but this administrative and corruption-related resource. None of them wants to lose their unofficial sources of income, just because the new head of the agency decided to make their work transparent.
That is why Radionova's reforms are stalled. This is why her words about the fines not solving the problems are not working. These notorious fines remain the major achievements of her subordinates in the field. As proof of her statement, they do not solve the real environmental problems and do not lead to the reduction of violations of the environmental legislation.
Svetlana Radionova believes that the main task of her agency is to create an atmosphere in which businesses and people wouldn't want to violate regulations, and it would be profitable to work within the law. To implement these plans, she would first have to clear her own Augean stable and make sure that the Rosprirodnadzor staff, who often fines the companies they cannot justify any extra charges, themselves learn to live by the law. It seems that most of them are unlikely to be re-educated even by a raise in salary. Apparently, conservative measures are not always helpful. Broken elements have to be replaced. In fact, Svetlana Radionova should get rid of ‘garbage,’ as she said two years ago.