Free ServiceNow-CSA PDF and VCE at

Create sure that a person has ServiceNow ServiceNow-CSA Practice Test of actual questions for the particular ServiceNow Certified System Administrator Study Guide before you choose to take the particular real test. All of us give the most up-to-date and valid ServiceNow-CSA brain dumps that will contain ServiceNow-CSA real examination questions. We possess collected and produced a database associated with ServiceNow-CSA Exam dumps from actual examinations having a specific finish goal to provide you an opportunity to get ready plus pass ServiceNow-CSA examination upon the first try. Simply memorize our own ServiceNow-CSA

Exam Code: ServiceNow-CSA Practice exam 2022 by team
ServiceNow-CSA ServiceNow Certified System Administrator

During this 3 day interactive training course you will perform system administration functions in your own instance; a safe sandbox. You will start by performing core configuration tasks, and work with UI Policies, Data Policies, UI Actions, Business Rules and Client Scripts, then use the Mobile Platform and activate Plugins. You will also add users, groups and roles, then manage data with Tables, the CMDB, Import Sets and Update Sets. You will work with two key Process Applications, the Knowledge Base and the Service Catalog then create Workflow activities and approvals. You will move on to configure Alerts and Notifications, view Upgrade History and Status, control System Access and Data Security, and create Baseline Performance Metrics. Finally, you will run Reports, configure SLAs, perform Instance Branding and Customization. Throughout the course, social IT elements will be integrated to demonstrate best practices and communicate with other students and training department personnel.

Module 1 Core Configuration
Configure Navigation, Search and UI options, manage Lists, Forms and Filters, Work with UI Policies, Data Policies, UI Actions, Business Rules and Client Scripts, Use the Mobile Platform and activate Plugins
1. Configuration Essentials Lab: Enable new UI then create Bookmarks; personalize Lists and Forms (with Challenge Component); Create and apply Filters
2. Core Configuration Lab: Create and modify UI Policies, UI Policy Actions, Data Policies and UI Actions; Create a Business Rule; Create a Client Script
3. Mobile Lab: download IOS Simulator (Mac) or Android Simulator (Windows) then create a new Lost Prototype Incident
4. Plugins Lab: Activate the Syntax Editor Plugin, Personalize the System Plugins List View to display the "Has Demo Data" column and the LiveFeed Document Plugin

Module 2 User Administration
Configure User Accounts, Groups, and Roles
1. User Administration Lab: Add Users, Add new Group Automatically Associated with New User Record, Assign Roles to a Group, Add Users to new Groups, Create and test New Assignment Rule

Module 3 Manage Data with Tables and the CMDB
Add new Tables, Applications and Modules and add Configuration Items (Cis) to the CMDB
1. Tables Lab: Create and Extend Tables, Add Dictionary Override
2. CMDB Lab: Add and Map CIs, Analyze Problems Using BSM Map

Module 4 Manage Data with Import Sets and Update Sets
Create Import Sets and Transform Maps, and create and apply Update Sets
1. Import Sets Lab: Work with Import Sets and Transform Maps
2. Update Sets Lab: Create then Retrieve an Update Set

Module 5 Process Applications
Work with two key ServiceNow Process Applications, Knowledge Base and Service Catalog
1. Knowledge Base Lab: Create and Attach Knowledge Base Articles, View and Edit Knowledge Navigation Add-ons
2. Service Catalog Lab: Create Service Catalog Items, Add Variables to Catalog Items, Add a Variable Set to a Catalog Item, Create a Service Catalog Order Guide

Module 6 Workflows
Workflow Activities, Approvals and Administration
1. Workflows Lab: Create New Workflow and Approvals for an iPhone 4S

Module 7 Core Application Administration
Configure Alerts and Notifications, View Upgrade History and Status, Control System Access and Data Security, and create Baseline Performance Metrics
1. Notifications Lab: Observe a Business Rule and Registry associated with a P1 Change Event, Create a Notification based upon a Business Rule, Configure and send an email notification, Create an SMS a notification
2. Upgrades Lab: Confirm Release and Upgrade Status, Edit New Build Notifications
3. Application Security Lab: Provide Application and Module Access for a specified role, Create an Access Control Rule to allow record Read Access, Create an Access Control Rule to restrict column Read Access
4. Performance Baselines Lab: Establish Baseline Statistics

Module 8 Service Administration
Run Reports, Configure SLAs, Perform Instance Branding and Customization, and Work with Social IT
1. Reports Lab: Run Reports and work with Gauges and Homepages
2. SLAs Lab: Define an SLA for iPhone 4S Catalog Requests
3. Customization Lab: Customize Your Instance: Change banner color, Modify instance name, Add a branding logo
4. Social IT Lab: Chat with a partner; one taking ITIL role, the other taking the System Administrator role, Configure Live Feed to Automatically Post High Priority Incidents

Module 9 Case Study
The Case Study has been divided into 8 task categories to guide to your deployment:

Task 1 : Adding Users, Groups and Roles
Task 2 : Customizing Your Instance
Task 3 : Importing Users
Task 4 : Scheduling Reports
Task 5 : Adding Knowledge Base Articles
Task 6 : Personalizing Homepages
Task 7 : Configuring Security
Task 8 : Displaying External Webpages

Industry experience with database concepts and system management.
• System administrator role and/or access to ServiceNow administrative applications and modules.
• Some knowledge of IT Help Desk processes and the incident, problem, and change workflows is also helpful.
• Three (3) to six (6) months experience using and/or maintaining a ServiceNow instance.
• General familiarity with industry terminology, acronyms, and initialisms

User Interface & Navigation (20%)
- ServiceNow Overview
- Lists and Filters
- Forms and Templates
- Branding

Collaboration (20%)
- User Administration
- Task Management
- Notifications
- Reporting

Database Administration (30%)
- Data Schema
- Application/Access Control
- Import Sets

< Self-Service & Process Automation (20%)
- Knowledge Management
- Service Catalog

ServiceNow Certified System Administrator
ServiceNow Administrator test prep
Killexams : ServiceNow Administrator test prep - BingNews Search results Killexams : ServiceNow Administrator test prep - BingNews Killexams : The Writer Who Couldn't Answer Standardized Test Questions About Her Own Work (Again)!

We are in standardized test season, and all across the country, students are taking the Big Standardized Test by which they, their schools, and their teachers will be judged. How absurd are these tests? Meet Sara Holbrook, the writer who couldn't answer test questions about her own work.

Back in 2017, Holbrook wrote an essay for Huffington Post entitled, "I Can't Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems." The writer had discovered that two of her poems were part of the Texas STAAR state assessment tests, and she was a bit startled to discover that she was unable to answer some of the questions.

One reason was simple inaccuracy. One question asked why the poet had inserted a stanza break in a particular spot-- and then didn't insert a stanza break in the testing materials. But there was a second issue. Holbrook is a performance poet, and she had inserted the break at the point where, in live readings, she pauses. That choice was not one of the choices available on the test.

In fact, much of Holbrook's issue with the questions was a sort of existential dilemma. Several questions asked, directly or indirectly, for the test taker to judge the author's intentions. The author knew some of her intentions, sort of remembered others, and had others that were layered and complex. But the manufacturers of the test--who had never asked her about any of this--provided only four choices that did not allow her to choose the answer that she knew to be correct.

Now, it's possible that Holbrook is such an angsty, tortured soul of a poet that she simply does not know her own mind as well as the test manufacturers. But Holbrook does not fit the stereotypical faux image of a poet as a fuzzy-headed artiste. She has held writing jobs in the real world, such as Director of Communications for legal giant Jones Dayand Public Information Officer for the public housing authority in Cleveland. She knows what it takes to succeed as a business writer, and she says, "the questions on these tests are not it." She works as an educator and consultant, bringing writing and performance skills into the classroom. Rather than conclude that she does not know her own work, we should instead conclude that the test designers write bad questions. Or as Holbrook herself puts it, "Anytime we ask questions about author intent, we have stepped off the pedagogical sidewalk and into muck."

I reached out to Holbrook recently because the same thing happened to her again. This time a poem of hers was included in a test prep package from Mentoring Minds, LP. The poem itself is called "Walking on the Boundaries of Change," from the book Walking on the Boundaries of Change, Boyds Mills Press, 1998. (Mentoring Minds LP is a Texas corporation, and the previous two poems included in the STAAR test are from the same book, so perhaps Holbrook has some Texas fans who are passing around one copy of her work.) The poem is printed here with the author's permission:

Walking on the Boundaries of Change

Day by day

a tightrope,

walking on the boundaries

of change.

One step --

firm, familiar,

the next step --

shaky, strange.

Some friends

will dare danger,

mock or push each step.

Some friends

knock your confidence.

Real friends

form a net.

It's a simple, sharp moment that captures an emotional picture in some simple images. It's hard to imagine dissecting this with test questions without beating some of the life out of it. Yet Mentoring Minds LD has come up with eight questions.

I cannot reproduce any of the eight questions accompanying the poem here, because the materials include a robust copyright notice that includes phrases such as "maximum extent of the law." But once again, the questions turn on the issue of word choice, central message, and which part of the poem does things "best," all of which hinge on the test taker's interpretation of the poet's intent. And all are multiple choice questions with four possible answers, the kind of test structure that, Holbrook says, causes "students to grow up believing the right interpretation of anything is out there on the internet, and to discredit their own thoughts."

Holbrook, as a poet and an educator, has several thoughts about remedies to these sorts of tests. "Parents, demand to see the test prep materials. Teachers, don't waste time on test prep: you can't teach nonsense. Administrators, take the money you are spending on test prep and spend it on classroom libraries instead. There are no quick fixes. Kids need to read and write voluminously." She advocates for transparency. "If a bike helmet fails to protect a child from injury, consumers can sue the manufacturer. These tests are injurious, but shrouded in secrecy and thereby beyond the reach of most teachers and all parents."

To approach any poem with the notion that each word has one and only one correct memorizing when language at its most rich involves shades and layers or meaning--what my old college writing professor called "the ambiguity that enriches"--is one way to stifle thinking in students. In many states, we are doing it in grades K through 12.

There are so many layers to Holbrook's situation. The test manufacturers could have contacted her and talked to her about her poem (though Common Core architect David Coleman would argue that doing so was both unnecessary and undesirable), but they didn't. So here we sit, in a bizarre universe where the test writer knows the "correct" answer for a question about a poem, but the person who wrote the poem does not. And at least Holbrook has the option of publicly saying, "Hey, wait a minute," which is more than the deceased authors used for testing can do. But she was only able to do so because somebody risked punishment by sharing test materials with her. Particularly ironic is Mentoring Minds' promise to build critical thinking skills in students, even as Holbrook, by taking reading, writing and speaking out to students in living, breathing, dynamic workshops, is doing far more to promote critical thinking than can be accomplished by challenging students to guess which one of four available answers an unseen test writer has deemed "correct."

Sun, 28 Apr 2019 13:38:00 -0500 Peter Greene en text/html
Killexams : It’s Time to Start Growing No-Code Developers

Key Takeaways

  • Your no-code business systems are mission-critical.
  • You should be managing the entire application lifecycle, not just the development part.
  • No need to reinvent the wheel — you can draw from fixes for similar problems in software development.
  • You'll have to break the silos that separate your business systems' teams — it's all the same back office product.
  • Teach your no-code developers to behave like engineers.

Companies now have a bewildering volume and variety of business applications—800+ for mid-sizes, for example. And while lots of people like to point to that as an example of how SaaS is out of control, that’s not really the issue. It’s that today, most of these applications are managed by non-developers. 

By developer, I don’t mean people who can code. It’s a subtle nuance, but I believe you don’t have to code to be a developer. It’s more about thinking like an engineer. And when a business’ CRM, HCM, ERP, LMS, MAP, and dozens or hundreds of acronymized third-party applications are modified, constructed, and managed by folks who aren’t trained to think like developers, they pursue short-term results that build toward a long-term disaster. 

In this article, I’ll explain why I think 2022 is the year for those companies to catch up, and start training and promoting business application no-code developers. 

Lots of mid-sized or larger companies I talk to share a simple problem: An administrator wants to retire a field in one of their business applications, be it Salesforce, NetSuite, or Zendesk. They suspect it’s unused. They don’t see any activity and it’d be nice to clean up. But there’s no knowing for sure. And because they tried this one before and the field was crucial to a formula that knocked out some business unit’s dashboards, they fret over it and take no action. Salto CEO Rami Tamir calls this tech debt paralysis. Amplified across a business, it’s a serious problem. 

For example, say the sales team wants to alter the options on a picklist and it takes the CRM team a quarter to figure it out, and for a quarter, some deals are mis-routed. Or, the board decides it’s time to IPO, but realizes there’s no way to make their messy NetSuite instance SOX compliant in time. Or the marketing team wants to ramp up email campaigns to deal with a lead shortfall, but it takes the business applications team six months to port the segments. 

These issues can manifest in all sorts of ways. Consider these three real-life examples I have heard from customers: 

An international SaaS company relies on NetSuite for its ERP. On the last day of their financial year, many critical reports suddenly stopped working, and they couldn’t close the quarter out. It took the entire team scrambling till late night to realize that someone changed some "saved search" in production without knowing that it was used by other critical parts of their implementation.

A large retailer which uses Zendesk for its customer support system. An administrator made a minor mistake in a trigger definition directly in production, and it fired off a confusing email to hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting customers, which then turned into a flood of new tickets.

A large, public SaaS company couldn't figure out why it was seeing a considerable drop in its lead-to-opportunity conversion. After months of analysis it finally discovered that leads from a certain campaign weren’t being assigned a sales rep because of an undetected stuck workflow in Salesforce. Those leads had just sat there untouched.

All of these issues have very real, balance-sheet altering implications. They make that business less competitive. As they grow and these issues compound, their smaller, nimbler competitors will zip past them while they grow slower and slower. Whatever tradeoffs that company made in allowing every business unit to select their own systems to move quickly can, in the end, strangle in errors and misses. And it’s all because these systems primarily evolve without the guidance of trained developers. 

There are two problems companies will need to overcome if they want their business systems to continue to function as they grow. The first is to look to the software development world, and to good practices like those employed in organizations who practice DevOps and Agile development methodologies for guidance.

For nearly sixty years, software developers have been running into similar issues that business applications managers are today: They need a way for many remote teams to coordinate building one highly distributed system. They need quality checks to ensure there are no bugs. Pre-production environments so you can test without consequences. Versioning, so they can maintain many versions of the application in case something breaks.

If developers were exclusively responsible for business applications, they’d bring those habits and tools to bear. They’d think in terms of reusability, separation of concerns, and resilience. They’d use Git-like tools to fork, branch, merge, and commit changes in a way that allows many minds to work together and reduce human error. Perhaps most importantly, they’d consider the whole. 

Today, most teams managing business applications exist in silos. You have the CRM team, the financial apps team, and then all manner of “citizen developers” purchasing and managing SaaS, each striving to make their own team’s lives easier. Most of these systems are big enough to be their own ecosystems, and contain many products. They are also integrated and sharing data. People steeped in software development methodologies and principles would look at this problem very differently than most do today: It’s not 800+ products that need to play nicely together. They’re all one product—the company’s operating system—and any new addition needs to be built and managed for the integrity of the whole. 

And that’s just the first problem. The second is this: Many of these business applications were also not built to be managed by people who think like developers. 

That is, most business systems were constructed with user growth in mind. The interfaces are constructed to allow end users to get things done, not administrators to keep it all in order. Furthermore, if you’re thinking in terms of application lifecycle development, they’re only built to solve for the first step. 

Image source

That means they lack native features to do things developers might expect, like versioning, the ability to search the entire code base, the ability to manage multiple environments, and in some cases, the simple ability to push changes from a sandbox into production. Some now offer “dev” environments, but it’s rarely everything you’d need.

Thankfully, I believe the fix to the second problem is the fix to the first problem: Teach more business systems administrators the wisdom of software developers. Developers often don’t have all the systems they need—so they build or borrow what they need to get the job done. They use Git tools to abstract what they’re building into manageable chunks, ticketing systems to document and prioritize the work, and, when needed, build their own tools. 

If business systems administrators trained to think like developers start agitating for more of these features, I’ll bet more business system vendors will build them. And if they don’t, those newly crowned “developers” will, like engineers, hopefully build their own. 

Recall those three real-life examples from earlier? The companies with issues in NetSuite, Zendesk, and Salesforce? Each of them adopted no-code DevOps tools and methodologies to create guardrails around their systems: 

The international SaaS company using NetSuite has implemented alerts for its most important configurations. If anyone changes the criteria for the saved searches it needs to close out the quarter, the administrator gets an alert.

The large retailer using Zendesk now forbids administrators from making changes directly in production. Instead, they borrow the practice of “versioning” and sandboxing from DevOps—each administrator develops configurations in their own sandbox, then moves it to another for integration, and another for testing, and only then implements it in production. 

The large public SaaS company with the missing sales now uses a DevOps tool that provides it a full “blueprint” of each Salesforce org, and the ability to inspect it and make changes. When an important workflow isn’t working, they can discover it, test it, and fix it in days, not months. 

If the business applications world were drawing from the last sixty years of thinking, frameworks, and methodologies in software development, you’d see a lot less tech debt paralysis. Fewer sales and marketing teams would feel hampered by ops. Fewer companies would find themselves unable to grow because of business systems.

I believe your systems should evolve as quickly as your business, and support it through that growth. The only way I see that happening is more no-code developers.

Sun, 03 Jul 2022 20:08:00 -0500 en text/html;amp;amp
Killexams : IT Devops Engineer at Sabenza IT

One of our clients are looking for a DevOps Engineer to join their dynamic team of engineers.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Providing support to users/administrators of our platform. Supporting and contributing to the growth of best practices for delivery of support services
  • Understanding our platform, Cloud technologies and troubleshooting practices to ensure successful resolution of challenging technical situations
  • Acting as a customer advocate, prioritizing, and managing assigned incidents and escalations in queue with little or no supervision
  • Engaging with the cross functional teams like operations and engineering to build, drive and Strengthen tools and processes for quicker issue resolution
  • Mentoring junior team members in the various technologies
  • Excellent customer service skills along with the ability to apply technical knowledge to independently work on complex tasks.
  • Performing process assessments including suitability, maintainability, and supportability for automations.
  • Providing guidance and recommendations for streamlining divisional level processes, systems, procedures, and templates as needed in accordance with best practices.
  • Creating process documents; this will include but not limited to gathering requirements, process design and technical specification.
  • Driving valuable and insightful metric reporting or business process improvement and benefit realization
  • Ensure that throughout the development phase, the process is documented including the development procedures for application use and security
  • Oversee the testing of the program prior to its deployment and release
  • Examine any program errors in logic and data and make the necessary recommendations to correct the program as required and/or escalate the problem accordingly
  • Works with the required teams to assist with the installation and deployment of the application
  • Assist with implementation preparation and implementation of the solution into a production environment
  • Assist with the resolution of any problems identified in the integration and test phases
  • Support all the code sets and implementations that have been implemented in production in accordance with defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for the business
  • Write and distribute the task descriptions in a production environment to operate and maintain the solution that has been designed and implemented
  • Assist with post-implementation process reviews

Knowledge and skills:5+ years ServiceNow ITSM experience.- 3+ years of L3 engineer experience.- L3 DevOps Engineer who understands the platform ServiceNow (5+ years ServiceNow ITSM experience.)- Coding, scripting – development experience crucial – ie: JavaScript, HTML, PowerShell, Python, Bash, and how XML works- About 1 year of experience with docker containers and VMs.- Analyzing and identifying gaps, dev issues, monitoring and maintaining of the ServiceNow system

Experience Required:Strong troubleshooting and debugging skills with automation- Scripting skills using PowerShell primarily but also Python and Bash- 2+ years of experience in Python 3 or JavaScript- Minimum 1 year of experience with docker containers and VMs.

Desired Skills:

  • ITSM
  • ServiceNow
  • L3
  • engineer
  • Devops
  • coding
  • scripting
  • python
  • bash
  • xml
  • Docker
  • container
  • Vmware
  • vm

Desired Work Experience:

Learn more/Apply for this position

Thu, 14 Jul 2022 04:37:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Political Prep School, Princeton Style:

FORGET who you are. You are now a New Jersey State Senator. Before you lies the task of choosing a site for the long-awaited New York metropolitan jetport. Keeping in mind the area you represent, plus the wealth of technical information available, feel free to caucus, make deals, take bribes, draft legislation, and generally become--as best you know how--a real-life politician.

Should you, even for a moment, remember you are only a first-year graduate student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, all is lost. Suspension of disbelief is simply essential. "We know it's only a game," says one first-year student, "but if you force yourself to believe, it can be a very worthwhile game."

These "policy conferences"--mock political extravaganzas spread across the first term of the first year--are the most unusual part of the school, says David Denoon (Harvard '66). Denoon took part in the simulated New Jersey State Senate battle, and when he found himself representing the area in which the jetport was to be built, he consulted engineers, airplane people and technicians of all sorts--and finally wrote a bill sticking the jetport on someone else's constituency. Thus he had saved his voters from low-flying planes, massive traffic and sonic booms--in short, performed a first-class public service.


The forty-odd students in each class at the Woodrow Wilson School are presumably united by a common goal: the desire to take part in some facet of "public affairs." Exactly what constitutes "public affairs" is unclear, but the definition seems to be narrowing. Two years ago the school was vaguely tolerant of aspiring journalists and not entirely committed to the exclusion of teachers and businessmen; now it is insisting on protobureaucrats. More than ever, its tightly knit (25 courses to choose from) curriculum aims at the production of better civil servants.

At the center of this curriculum stands the policy conference--a real test of a student's political drive. "I wanted to be left alone to read for two years--but the school wouldn't leave me alone," says an understandably dissatisfied second-year graduate student who briefly held a government job before coming to Princeton. "I came here to get away from games," he explains, "and I'm certainly not going to play them when they're not even for real."

Another, perhaps more numerous, group of Woodrow Wilson School malcontents complains of too much academia. For example, Public Affairs 546--"Studies in American Foreign Policy"--offers a memorizing list that includes over 200 individual items, from magazine articles to books of more than a thousand pages. True, some of the items on this gargantuan list are only recommended, but P.A. 546 is just one of four courses you might take in a single term.

That's 16 courses in two years and scores of well-researched, often lengthy, always demanding papers. "You come here from college expecting paradise," says one second-year student, "but it's just more college."

Richard A. Lester, associate dean of the school, feels that too many students mistakenly imagine an instant source of government contacts. They come to Princeton, Lester says, hoping to become intimate with scads of big wheels from Washington; instead they run into academic types telling them how to play at policymaking, and this turns them off.

If so, the school itself is partly to blame. The high minded rhetoric of its PR literature, with its talk of "Princeton in the Nation's Service" and its promise of smooth sailing for all, encourages students to think they can "beat the hierarchy." When they find out what a Master's Degree from the Woodrow Wilson School is really worth in Washington, they are rightly disillusioned. They begin to wonder if a Law Degree might not have been a more sensible stepping-stone into government after all.


This disillusionment has begun to translate itself into positive action. Fewer students are contented with the Master's Degree--more are going on to get Ph.D.'s in Economics or Politics, and a sharply increasing number are entering Law School.

Undoubtedly the draft is responsible for some of this sudden upsurge in academic fervor. Lester sees still other causes. "During the Kennedy years," he says, "students were more enthusiastic about government service. Now they want something to fall back on. It's not just Johnson's personal's also the war."

Shell Schreiberg (University of Minnesota '64) admits to a slightly more partisan motive for following the Woodrow Wilson School with Harvard Law School. "I want to know that when the Republicans come in," Schreiberg explains, "I can go and practice law."

Like Schreiberg, most Woodrow Wilson students aspire to be in-and-outers. They want to work for the government only briefly in a non-policymaking capacity, teach, write or practice law for a while, and then reusually enough to start them off as government interns of some sort, but from there it's a steep climb to the corridors of power. So the most ambitious students--not to mention some who are less than thrilled about the prospect of a "McNamara Fellowship"--stay in school.

To the administration of the Woodrow Wilson School, this trend must seem a slap in the face. Here they have set up a training program in public affairs, and the trainees go around saying, in effect, that it's not what it's cracked up to be.

"All through my two years at the school," says Meldon Levine (Berkeley '64), "they tried to discourage me from going for a Ph.D." Levine, a Berkeley student government leader before the heyday of the Free Speech Movement, had applied to the Woodrow Wilson School with the intention of becoming a teacher. In light of the school's obvious dislike, even then, for Ph.D. types, he was surprised to learn he had been admitted. But the campaign to turn him away from teaching ultimately had its effect, if not quite the desired one. Today Levine is a first-year student at Harvard Law.

In response to students like Levine, the school has begun to crack down on applicants with side interests. It has also moved into competition with other graduate schools by starting its own Ph.D. program. The hope is that this doctorate in Public Affairs (which requires two years at the Woodrow Wilson School, two to four years in government, and finally another year back at the school) will become the goal of exactly those students who are now toying with fields other than politics after they leave Princeton.


THE undergraduate program of the Woodrow Wilson School shares little more than a building with the graduate program. Despite similar pretensions, it is basically just an honors major for Princeton students in the social sciences. Undergraduate courses are chosen from Princeton's Politics, Economics, History and Sociology departments, whereas graduate courses are offered by the school itself.

Jim Barkas, a Princeton junior whose interest is Russian studies, has found the Woodrow Wilson School a way of escaping the comparatively rigid departmental requirements. Barkas enrolled his fall in a "junior conference" on U.S. relations with a divided Europe. The junior conferences--loose equivalents of the graduate policy conferences--split up into "commissions," which in turn split up into individual research projects. Mostly by luck, Barkas found himself studying trade with the Soviet Union.

Mark Katz, another junior, was not so lucky. Since he was interested in international affairs, he signed up for a conference on Congress and foreign policy. The faculty leader of this conference altered the Topic to Congress and national security, and with a few flips of the coin (literally), Katz was studying "How military strategy is formed."

The head of Princeton Students for a Democratic Society, Beau Burlingham, insists the undergraduate program (and for that matter, the whole school) is designed "to turn out government bureaucrats." The school asks its students "how to Strengthen the functioning of certain things within certain postulates," Burlingham says. "It's just making the establishment work more effectively."

But Burlingham admits he is in a small minority. In a conference this fall, on 20th-century protest movements, he found that--while he wanted to consider protest movements sympathetically--many of the conference members were seeking ways to get rid of such movements: "They continually wanted to look at protest the way Crane Brinton looks at the Rrench Revolution--as a disease."

For himself, Burlingham concedes, the school has been radicalizing. He believes, however, its effect on most students is to discourage any kind of radical thinking. "Sweeping proposals are frowned on from the word go--the idea is to grind in the notion that most things shouldn't be questioned," Burlingham says.

Few students see any reason to deny the establishment-oriented character of the school's undergraduate program. They learn, in the words of one uncomplaining student, "why Dulles did what he did"--i.e., the constraints operating on government policy-makers. A substantial number (perhaps 25 per cent) of Woodrow Wilson majors go into government, and the majority like the school the way it is.


Many of the mysteries surrounding the Woodrow Wilson School evolve from that year's "magnificent anonymous gift," as it is inevitably described in the PR literature. Before '61, the school's graduate program was merely a bureaucratic unit. Since then, $35 million has provided a building, a faculty, a curriculum, and a massive scholarship program.

Who gave these millions? Speculation is divided, but among those mentioned most frequently are Campbell Soup, the Duponts, Bernard Baruch, and, perhaps less seriously, the C.I.A. Whoever it was, gossip has it that Princeton's president Robert Goheen convinced the anonymous donor to throw all his loot into one pile rather than spread it around. There are those who contend "Firm X" is still watching closely over the Woodrow Wilson School's progress.

To some, this wholly speculative relationship assumes the dimensions of a conspiracy. "Money and personnel flow back and forth between Washington and Princeton," says SDS leader Burlingham, to whom the school is a toy of big government and big business.

Money certainly is in abundance at the Woodrow Wilson School. Graduate students get an automatic tuition-plus-$2000 scholarship; if a student is married and has a child, he resceives another $1200; if his wife works, and earns, say, $4000 a year, that's $7200 annually. Hardly in keeping with the struggling student image.

Nor does the money stop there. Summer travel-study groups -- this year's and last's went to Latin America -- are fully subsidized. Graduate students who don't participate in the travel groups take summer jobs in some area of public service, and if their salaries are in any way inadequate, the school will supplement them. Perhaps the most astonishing example of how the Woodrow Wilson School treats money is its pre-paid interview system. Applicants can zip down to Princeton to look the school over for a few days, and the school picks up the tab. That kind of money is obviously an attraction by itself: students vaguely interested in government can sooner see spending two lavish, aimless years studying politics than three rough, possibly costly, years studying law.


The one group not drawn to the Woodrow Wilson School has been the radicals. There are a few students like Burlingham in the undergraduate branch, but virtually none higher up. So the argument put forth by some critics of the school--that it converts its students into establishment thinkers to begin with.

Richard Ullman, associate professor of Politics and International Affairs, argues, however, that "if anything," the school produces "anti-establishment types." Some students learn to dislike the establishment, Ullman suggests, after closely studying it. "These are establishment types only in that they now know what the establishment is."

But even among those who like the school, there are many who disagree with Ullman on this point. "The school made me more conservative," concedes Law Student Schreiberg. "We came out of it ready to go into government without any naive ideas about what we could accomplish."

This is the Woodrow Wilson School's goal: to shed its students of an innocence about practical politics. What the school's critics ask is whether universities should be getting rid of naive ideas--or promoting them

Sun, 20 May 2018 06:29:00 -0500 text/html
Killexams : Alexei Kudrin: You’ve got to know how to say ‘no’

Part 1

On the right to say No, life in a St. Petersburg communal apartment, Lavtian roots, aid to the EU and kinship with Russian political economist and public figure Peter Struve

- Do they still call you Mr. No? Many gave you this nickname when you led the Ministry of Finance.

- No, perhaps not any more.

- Aha! You said it again!

- In reality, it’s a myth to presume that finance ministers deliver everyone the thumbs down indiscriminately, that they are just loaded with cash and never deliver money to anybody. It is true that requests for help and the problems that need to be addressed always outweigh the funds available in the state coffers. Government ministries and various agencies keep asking, but the resources are rather limited. A choice is made based on analysis, scrutiny by experts and some procedures.

At a certain point, I suggested creating a budget commission led by the prime minister. It incorporated not only government members, but also State Duma MPs and authoritative experts. This panel comprehensively discussed all draft budgets. I called it an institution of expertise. The commission is still there, though I am no longer Russia’s finance minister.

As for Mr. No, it reminds me of one funny moment from my past. In the early 2000s, then US President Bill Clinton visited Russia. Before the talks in the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin was introducing the members of our delegation. When it was my turn, he told Clinton. “Our Minister of Finance.” The US leader smiled at me and asked: “Where’s the red pen you use to reject budget requests?”

Everybody shares the same typical opinion of public financiers.

I’d like to recall that during my term of office, Russia’s economic growth had averaged 5.3% over a period of 11 years. Even despite the disastrous 2009 crisis, when we plunged 8%. But in all other years, the GDP had been growing by 7-8%. That rate was above the global average. Russia’s share in the world economy was growing.

Now it can be only dreamed about…

- Is there anyone whom the finance minister is unable to refuse?

- There aren’t any. “No” can be said to anyone.

- Even the prime minister and the president?

- You are obliged to explain your stance, but the head of state and the prime minister have the right to make the decision they deem to be right. Such things did happen during my career.

Putin has publicly mentioned several times those instances where I opposed certain steps he supported. He did it his own way, but then, after some time he would agree with me occasionally and say why didn’t you warn me on time? It’s essential to always calculate the risks and foresee the effects of any decision.

- This means it is possible to object only as long as the decision has not taken effect yet, right?

- Certainly. After that you must go and do as you are told.

Putin has never liked being flattered and hearing only “yeses” all the time. He appreciated my unbiased opinion as a specialist. We’d worked together a lot, starting from the municipal administration in St. Petersburg, where we both were first deputies of then Mayor Anatoly Sobchak.

Putin was appointed a bit earlier than I was. Several months later, I became deputy mayor and then first deputy mayor. Putin had been ahead all the time.

When we moved to Moscow, we became closer, because at first we did not have a very large range of contacts. I sincerely hoped that Putin would get a job in the Kremlin administration. Yet, it was our mutual friends, not I, who invited him to the position of deputy chief of the presidential property department.

Later, he replaced me as chief of the presidential staff’s control department, when I was reshuffled to the Ministry of Finance. That’s what connects us in life.

- Do you address each other informally, on a first-name basis when you meet in private?

- Sometimes. If we are not at work and are discussing private affairs.

- Is it true that when he moved to Moscow, Putin resided at your countryside dacha in Arkhangelskoye outside Moscow until housing was found for him?

- Plain gossip. It is true, though, that we lived next door and Putin quite often came to us on a neighborly visit together with his daughters. His girls liked to play with my Labrador. I think this explains why they decided to get one too, and they named the dog, Koni.

- Was Putin your main acquaintance in St. Petersburg?

- It’s hard to tell. I love that city. It was there that I studied at the university, and found everything in my life – knowledge, profession, teachers and friends… We still keep meeting each other, we stay in touch, and it is very important to me.

Lastly, St. Petersburg is a city where my relatives still live today – my mother, my sisters, my nephews, my daughter and my grandchildren…

Quite a few groundbreaking relationships started there. It is hard for me to single out any of them. Although it is true that Putin influenced my life more than anybody else.

- You moved there from Arkhangelsk in 1978, am I right?

- Yes, right after my high school graduation party. I remember our class roamed around the city all night long until the break of dawn. Then we went on a brief yachting trip along the Severnaya Dvina river… Then I came home and without having a minute of sleep and headed to the airport. My ticket had been bought in advance. As soon as I disembarked at Pulkovo, I went to Vasilyevsky Island, where the university is.

My close friends know this part of the story of my life well enough. First, I intended to apply to the economics department of Moscow State University. I had even taken a distance-learning prep course there and sent my tests and other papers there as well. At the very last moment, my father, an army officer, was transferred to Leningrad. We discussed the situation with the family and my plans changed.

Prior to that, I’d never been to St. Petersburg. My father went there ahead of us and arranged for accommodations at an officer’s hostel right on Vasilyevsky Island. My dad was chief of a department at the Logistics and Transport Academy, which is just 300 yards away from the university’s main building. He accompanied me to the exams and spent hours waiting for me to come out. He was terribly upset when I failed to score enough points to get into the daytime department…

- How many points?

- I don’t remember very well now. I failed the math exam. Many others got low or unsatisfactory marks then.

In the end, I tried again and did well enough to qualify for the evening department. Naturally, I had to go and find a job. My father put in a word for me and I was hired as an automotive technician at a motor vehicles experimental department at his Academy.

- Did you have any experience with motor vehicles then?

- At first, none at all. I obtained some in due time. It was a large garage, where the internal combustion engines of all key models of military vehicles were tested on special stands. Various tests were conducted there. For instance, special conditions were created to mirror a desert in the south or the Arctic. The engines kept running at full throttle for several days on end under high and low air temperatures. The work load simulated rides under different road conditions and across different terrain – uphill or through deep snow…

- And what was your task?

- I had to monitor the instruments’ readings and record all the parameters.

A year later, I was experienced enough to prepare demonstration stands for the Academy’s trainees and even helped officers to enhance some measurement instruments. I was promoted to instructor. The laboratory I was in charge of even earned the Socialist Labor award for impeccable operation and for providing crucial assistance to the experiments the career officers were staging.

So, this carried on for two years. After that I managed to transfer to the University’s daytime department. And I kept receiving good marks in mathematics. Thus, I proved that I knew the subject well enough.

I was not called up for military service, but there was a military department for reservists at the university’s history faculty. We were trained to be artillery officers. I can still rattle off the characteristics of a 122 mm howitzer D-30. After university, we went for a three-month-long training course in the field at the Pskov Region’s Strugy Krasnyie firing range. We had a lot of firing practice then. All day long. I’m an artillery platoon commander, according to my official military qualification. And my rank is an artillery reserve colonel.

Alexei Kudrin (right) during military exercise Personal archive of Alexei Kudrin

Alexei Kudrin (right) during military exercise

© Personal archive of Alexei Kudrin

- And what was your first housing accommodation in St. Petersburg like?

- We were granted one room in a communal apartment on the 19th line (street) on Vasilyevsky Island, it overlooked Lieutenant Schmidt Embankment. Twenty square meters for five. My sisters and I had bunk beds –very ordinary steel ones, like those in army barracks.

There were five families in that apartment. So I’m well familiar with what everyday life and customs in such communal housing in St. Petersburg was like.

After more than a year, my father was granted a separate apartment on Engles Street. Four rooms! What an incredible luxury! Nowadays, next to that house of ours is a subway station. Back then, it was a suburb. I still remember when whole villages were torn down and urban neighborhoods mushroomed in their place. The subway line was laid much later. Each morning, I would hop on a streetcar to ride across the city to my place of work at the Academy. Each time I got off at the easternmost tip of Vasilyevsky Island called Strelka (literally Arrow), I enjoyed the beauty of that place. And I was brimming with pride.

- Any regrets today about not being a Moscow State University student?

- I’ve lived in Moscow for 24 years now, in contrast to the 18 that I had spent in St. Petersburg. But youth is youth. You surely understand what I mean…

St. Petersburg will forever remain my hometown. I have to reiterate that it was there that I attended university, where I worked at the mayor’s office at a defining moment in history when the country was being transformed into a market economy. It’s my flesh and blood.

However, perhaps you know that I was born in Latvia, where my father served in the army at that moment.

- Does your mother have Latvian citizenship?

- She lived in Russia all her adult life. My mother’s family had been victims of the repression. In 1940, she and her brother and my grandmother were exiled to the Krasnoyarsk Region in Siberia.

And her father, my granddad, died in a Gulag in 1943, somewhere in the Kirov Region. We were unaware of that for a long time. When I quit the civil service, I began to study the history of my family and managed to unearth some facts.

My mother had stayed in the Krasnoyarsk Region until she turned 16. Then she returned to Latvia, where she met my father. He served in Dobele then. It’s a small but very old town with an ancient fortress 60 kilometers away from Riga. My father’s division was headquartered there.

- I hear people say your family home has survived to this day. Is that so?

- Yes, now it houses the office of the city’s prosecutor. It’s a two-storey building. Not a very big one by modern standards. In those days, it was quite impressive. My grandfather was a builder. He ran a cooperative association. My mother was born there, and so was I, in the maternity home next door.

- Latvia had a policy of returning real estate to those who had owned it before 1940.

- My mother was against having property there. She preferred to get cash compensation. The money lost value in an instant.

- How come her son, an experienced financier, didn’t advise her to do something better?

- She preferred to keep it secret. She did not tell me what the purpose of her trip to Latvia was then. Some locals advised her against having property there … You live in a different world, some said. That’s the place for you to return to. What will you need this house for?

Honestly speaking, I haven’t studied my family roots on my mother’s side. I’m still digging into the subject. I know that my grandmother was a translator and spoke several languages – German, English, Lithuanian, Estonian, Polish and Russian…

- Is the Siberian exile a sensitive Topic in your family?

- No, we never talk about it or recollect anything. My grandmother was a wise woman. She did her utmost to ensure that my mother had no feeling of discomfort or antagonism or grudge against the authorities.

- Do you speak Latvian?

- When we left Dobele, I was seven. Naturally, I’ve forgotten everything since. I may recall some short song, if I try really hard.

- When was the last time you visited your place of birth?

- Last July. There was a good reason for me to go there.

- And what was the reason?

- When I visited Dobele eight years ago, my relatives took me to a local music school, where they had taught for many generations. I was shown the choir, the orchestra and the students. The building had not undergone any repairs since the breakup of the Soviet Union, it was dilapidated. I even asked: “How can children study in conditions like these? Absolutely unacceptable.” I saw fungi on the walls and sensed the smell of rotting wood. I was told: “That’s all we can afford.” Then raising money for repairs there crossed my mind.

In Russia, I tried to do everything I can to help educational and research institutions that need support. Charities and sponsors are very helpful. Naturally, I started doing all that when I quit the civil service.

Now, back to Latvia. I shared my idea with Pyotr Aven, who has Latvian roots, too. In the end, we raised enough money to repair the school and to build a concert hall. The project was finished last July.

I went there for the inauguration. Aven was too busy to attend. He delegated the chief of his charity instead. It was a very joyous and memorable event. It was in Riga’s newspapers and on Latvia’s TV news.

- It turns out that you provided humanitarian aid to a member of the European Union.

- That’s an exaggeration, of course, but it was a pleasure to participate in repairing a school at a place that played a role in my family’s past.

- And what about your father’s side of the family?

- Just recently I found out that I’m a distant relative of Peter Struve, a Russian politician, economist, essayist and public figure.

The family name of my father’s grandmother is Kalistova. She was from the Kostroma Gubernia. Her great grand-uncle was married to Peter Struve’s niece, the daughter of his brother. Our family has a large St. Petersburg branch. As is known, Peter Struve’s grandfather had been chief of the Derpt (Tartu) Observatory. At the tsar’s invitation, he resettled to St. Petersburg where he founded the Pulkovo Observatory.

- Genetically, it looks like your economic talents were inherited from Peter Struve.

- I’d rather say that Anatoly Chubais was the one who woke me up in this sense. At the end of 1990, he was a deputy chief of Leningrad’s Executive Committee. He invited me to be his deputy on the committee of economic reform. In June 1991, Anatoly Sobchak was elected mayor and he picked Chubais as his chief economic adviser. Chubais and I created a free trade zone in St. Petersburg. It was one of the first in Russia. In the autumn of the same year, Boris Yeltsin threw his weight behind Yegor Gaidar’s team and the reform policy commenced on a national scale. I became a deputy chairman of the Georgy Khizha-led economic development committee at the St. Petersburg mayor’s office.

In the summer of 1992, he was appointed deputy prime minister in the federal government. Before stepping down he told me: “There’s one thing I haven’t done yet. I haven’t appointed the chief of the department of finance. Alexei, you are the one who’ll take over.” Then he went to Sobchak and settled it right then and there. In August 1992, I became in charge of a department that had two command centers – Russia’s Ministry of Finance and the office of the city’s Mayor.

In 1993, Sobchak promoted me to his deputy and in 1994, to his first deputy…

- In 1996, you could’ve run in the mayoral race as a candidate?

- No, but a rumor like this was launched, which made Sobchak very nervous. At a certain point, I was pretty close to losing my seat, because Sobchak was really eyeing me with great suspicion. This was absolutely baseless, because I had no intention of standing in his way. It is true that I often met with people and often appeared at various public events, but I invariably supported Sobchak’s candidacy and helped his election team in various ways.

Sobchak’s opponents were political heavyweights, but, regrettably, he refused to earnestly weigh that the risks of a loss were serious enough and he eventually lost by a 1.5% margin. Sobchak was defeated by Vladimir Yakovlev in the debates. His rival systematically pushed forward with his set of arguments, while Sobchak thought he would overpower his opponent in one fine swoop, using his dynamic skills as an orator to his advantage. In the end, everything ended up in a loud quarrel over economic issues. These were certainly not Sobchak’s weapon of choice.

Several years after that, when Sobchak returned to Russia after emigrating to Paris, he came to my room at the presidential control department at Moscow’s Staraya Square and told me: “Alas, back in 1996 I was unaware who my real friends and my real enemies were…”

Part 2

On locking horns with Medvedev, an assassination plot, ambitions, a new budget and forecasts for 2021

- Everybody makes mistakes in life. The price to be paid for them may vary, though. Sometimes I have a feeling that on September 26, 2011 you bluffed when you got into an open conflict with then President Dmitry Medvedev.

- Why do you call it a bluff?

With Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev, 2011 Yekaterina Shtukina/TASS

With Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev, 2011

© Yekaterina Shtukina/TASS

- It looked like you hoped then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would support you in that situation, but he dismissed you at Medvedev’s request. Did you overestimate your own importance to Putin?

- That’s a one-sided interpretation of those events. Medvedev was the president then. He had the power of decision-making. When I started that open discussion, I did not hope for anyone’s protection. This should be kept in mind first of all. Second. In February of that year, I told Putin that I would like to quit the finance minister’s post. Putin asked me to stay on for some time. This is an open secret.

The events that followed in September were neither a shock nor the result of some ill-considered move.

- But it was the first and only case in your career, when you were shown the door, wasn’t it?

- I repeat, I made the decision to leave myself. Six months before the resignation actually happened.

As for quitting, such things had happened before. When Vladimir Yakovlev was elected mayor of St. Petersburg, the powers of all deputies of the city’s number one official were expiring. Some of my colleagues stayed. I left.

- Were you asked to stay?

- No. It would’ve been impossible. Yakovlev and I had very different ideas of how to develop the city’s economy and infrastructure. Moreover, during the election campaign he strongly criticized me for not providing enough money to the housing and utilities sector, and for roads and construction sites. That was his main argument.

I saw no circumstances, where I might become a member of the new team, and I started looking for a new job. Soon I was invited to the position of deputy chief of the presidential staff, chief of the presidential control department and I accepted.

- In 2011, you left the Ministry of Finance without having any place to go.

- My desire was to leave the civil service.

As you may remember, I was asked to consider the possibility of governing the Bank of Russia. I decided against it. I thought I would be better off becoming a scholar, an expert. That possibility looked far more lucrative to me.

- Why did you shrug off the idea of leading the Central Bank?

- I had certain reasons for that. The way I saw it, the economic policies at that time no longer met the existing challenges. Experience has shown that our growth rates slumped and hovered at a low for a historically long period of time of about ten years.

- But even the foreign circumstances changed. The sanctions over Crimea and Donbass and the 2014 world economic crisis came on the scene.

- Generally speaking, Russia had to struggle through some very dramatic periods in its history over many centuries. But showing a minimum growth rate of one percent for more than ten years running… Excuse me, there was nothing like that even in the Soviet period. We may look back much farther, starting with mid-19th century. The years of wars and revolutions should be excluded, of course.

In the 1990s, we experienced a major slump, but that period was much shorter than ten years.

I can point to some causes behind the problems we face: the volatility of energy prices, world crises, and sanctions against our country… And still I think that we might have had a higher economic growth rate.

- Were the six years outside the civil service a great test for you?

- Absolutely not. I felt quite comfortable, although I’ve surely heard some people say that those who had held high positions for too long feel uneasy, because they lack the previous level of making decisions.

- And the attributes of status must be of importance. Say, a VIP limo with a flashing blue light on top of the vehicle?

- That was of no value to me at all. Absolutely! I enjoyed freedom.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, 2011 Valery Sharifulin/TASS

Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, 2011

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

- Were you entitled to having bodyguards?

- I did not use them most of the time when I was deputy prime minister, except for one single year when, according to our secret services, an assassination attempt was plotted against me. On instructions from President Vladimir Putin, FSO secret service bodyguards remained by my side right up until that risk was completely gone.

- What year was that?

- I don’t remember exactly. Around 2005 or 2006.

- What was the fuss about?

- The FSO uncovered an assassination plot against me.

- Can we hear the details?

- I’m not sure if I can disclose such information… I turned down a private company’s special benefits. It had received certain resources from the government budget. For many years before my appointment to the government, these benefits had been extended, but I did not do it.

There have been such speculations, but they haven’t been proven.

- Did you deny such privileges to that company personally?

- No, it was a purely technical, routine affair. The documents were being put together for consideration. I’d never seen any representatives of that company or met with them in person.

- Did it ever occur to you that some people might stoop so low and commit a crime?

- I had no such thoughts. It looked like an ordinary, commonplace affair to me. At that moment, we were revising many decisions made by the previous ministers and deputy prime-ministers. It was a matter of principle to tie up some loose ends. But, I could have never imagined that somebody might have dared to go to such extremes. Some investigations followed and some traces are said to have been discovered.

- Were you very nervous?

- Why, naturally, to a degree. The FSO agents obtained a detailed plan for the assassination plot: when, where and under what circumstances…

- Did you have to change your rules, customs and ordinary lifestyle?

- It’s inevitable in a situation where bodyguards are by your side round the clock… I lived at a government-run home in the countryside and those responsible for my security were there, too…

- Was a criminal case opened?

- Everything came to a halt at the preliminary investigation phase. The crime was foiled. Everybody remained alive and nobody was hurt. It was decided to stop there.

- Did you breathe a sigh of relief when the threat was gone, or did you continue to look over your shoulder for a while?

- I felt just a bit uneasy, but then I was promised that it was OK and there was nothing for me to worry about.

Of course, I feel far more freedom today than when I had a government position. To my recollection, some of your fellow journalists even wrote that Kudrin had allegedly resigned to openly express his opinion on any event.

- But that was precisely so. In 2011, you even joined the opposition rallies and addressed a crowd on Sakharov Avenue.

- Generally speaking, I felt quite comfortable and said what was really on my mind to the public.

Alexei Kudrin is seen during opposition rally in central Moscow, 2011 Mitya Aleshkovsky/TASS

Alexei Kudrin is seen during opposition rally in central Moscow, 2011

© Mitya Aleshkovsky/TASS

- And now?

- Any civil servant has official restrictions to abide by and unofficial, ethical ones, too. For instance, as the minister of finance I had to make decisions concerning expenditures on law enforcement, national defense, and key social issues, these are very sensitive to the public. I was obliged to act strictly within my purview and by no means touch upon other high-profile issues. Otherwise, I would have had considerable complications in relations with different factions in the State Duma. In the meantime, it is the legislators who debate and approve the budget.

It is better to stay objective and impartial. Also, I provided regular reports to the president. Why should the president think about and know my political preferences? That’s unnecessary. In the public realm, the minister of finance has to be very reserved and balanced, and stay aloof from some events and refrain from personal commentaries.

Regrettably, the position of the Audit Chamber’s chief implies certain restrictions, meaning a code of conduct in the media space.

- You say that before being appointed as the Audit Chamber’s chief you held consultations with President Vladimir Putin. Was your purpose to have the Chamber’s powers expanded?

- No, we operate within the framework of the law that we have. Except for two amendments.

The document is well-written strategically. For this, we should thank Stepashin and Golikova, who contributed to the adoption of that law. There is much room for expanding modern types of auditing. The issue on the agenda today is not just looking into whether the money was spent properly, but evaluating what the end result should be. OK, the disbursed funds have been spent. But what do we have instead? Have the facilities that were going to be constructed been built in reality? Have there been any improvements in healthcare and education and in terms of support for social programs? In other words, we assess the culminating outcome, the effects on people’s lives, and not the process as such, the final conclusion being “all bricks were laid properly.”

- Are the ambitions you cherished when you joined the Audit Chamber all gone?

- No. For me, the invitation was unexpected and I paused before giving my consent. I said “yes” only after I had a talk with the president.

- Did he talk you into it?

- Putin told me that everything had been agreed with him in advance.

It is true that I had no plans to re-join the civil service. Moreover, I wanted to dedicate myself to the halls of academia, to do some research concerning the world of finance, including the newest, most modern approaches to monetary and credit policies.

- Were you going to do that in Russia?

- Exclusively and most entirely here, but I planned to study the global economy, of course.

I won’t deny that I’ve received different proposals from abroad; offers to become a professor, lecturing, and seats on the boards of large international companies headquartered outside Russia.

- Were you offered good money?

- By private companies, yes. In Russia, I was asked to lead some projects and was also promised a handsome salary.

- Like what?

- Hundreds of thousands of dollars.

- A month?

- A year.

Money is never enough, but there is a certain ethical rule: after you leave a senior civil service post, a cooling-off period must follow. It is wrong to rush head on into positions that might somehow be within the range of your previous realm of authority. It’s worth avoiding any rumors about a conflict of interest. I rejected any such proposals for a period of five years. Just in case.

I’d known all along that I would stay in Russia and I sought to retain the freedom of speaking in public on any economic issues, without being restricted by any commercial or political conditions. And I avoided joining any political parties for the same reason. I did not do that either when I was a government minister or afterwards. Although at a certain point, some speculated that I should try my hand at politics. I refused.

- Why?

- I was focused on doing my job and hated to be distracted by something else.

- Were you asked to join United Russia?

- I was. In this case I refused, too. I’ve never had any objections to any of my deputies joining some political party, but at the same time I remained certain that this would not be feasible for a government minister.

- Is it true that your successor at the Ministry of Finance, Anton Siluanov, issued instructions to reserve a room for you in the ministry’s building until you found another one for yourself?

- No, that’s gossip, too. I left the building on Ilyinka Street right away and never reserved some room for myself or asked anybody for that. I believed it was fundamentally important. I wished to have no formal links with the ministry. Siluanov had been a subordinate of mine for a long time, so a former boss hanging around might have made him feel awkward. I was hurry to avoid expressing opinions or otherwise exerting any pressure. For two years, I refrained from attending the Finance Ministry’s board meetings, although I was repeatedly asked to attend. However, this did not prevent us from meeting in private and discussing some issues.

With Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, 2017 Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS

With Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, 2017

© Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS

- And now?

- Now we have completely different roles. The Audit Chamber looks into the budget’s implementation. For this reason, we have to be still more scrupulous.

- What’s your view of the budget that the Ministry of Finance has drafted for three years to come?

- It is very strict.

- Is that a compliment?

- No, a critical remark. We have not exited the crisis yet. I believe that we have enough resources to make the budget milder from a standpoint of increasing spending and supporting the economy, which needs this. We are not investing enough into infrastructure, healthcare and education. I believe that spending should be increased by all means. Instead, next year will see 10% cuts in a number of categories. That could’ve been avoided.

- In what way?

- I expressed my opinion very clearly back two years ago, when I said that the base price of crude oil, or, as it was called once, the cutoff price in the budget rule, might be higher, just as the annual amount of borrowings and the budget deficit. Incidentally, many think that I changed my opinion after I left the office of finance minister.

- Quite right. Putin said that Kudrin’s opinion changed as soon as he left his seat on the ‘treasure chest’…

- I proceed from the country’s real resources and the requirements of a number of branches of the economy and the population. Here’s an example:  2020 is a crisis year and it will see GDP slump by about 4%, according to the latest forecasts by the Economy Ministry.

- Do you disagree with this estimate?

- I do. I suspect the slump will be far worse: between 4% and 5% or still greater.

- Your glass will always remain half-empty.

- I may be wrong, but I see concrete factors. In making forecasts it is impossible to take into account all of them, but still… I feel that we have not yet gauged the effects on small and mid-sized businesses yet. In all likelihood, the real losses will be far higher than the government’s estimates.

Now look. The number of poor this year has grown from approximately 19.5 million to 20.5 million. All these people have to exist below the poverty line.

- They barely get by.

- I agree. A little more than 12,500 rubles is a meager sum for an adult. The more poor people there are, the lower the demand. Some prefer to save for a rainy day due to uncertain job prospects, and avoid buying goods. Some products will remain shelved gathering dust. I believe that the government is too optimistic about the near-term prospects. It hopes that after this year’s slump, next year will see an economic rebound of more than 3%.

But another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is not priced in the forecast. In the meantime, it has already begun. It is highly likely that this year will also close out with lower rates, and in the first quarter of 2021 Russia’s economy will have to encounter certain difficulties. The GDP may plunge even further.

In 2022-2023, we are unlikely to achieve a growth rate of above 2.5%. For the economy to recover faster there has to be a different combination of factors, those sometimes referred to as structural shifts.

Frankly speaking, I’ve grown sick and tired of repeating that the state budget must be distributed differently. The quality of our workforce is unduly low. And there is a shortage of it, too. Besides, the able-bodied population is shrinking, though pension reform has compensated for this process only to a certain extent.

- But you were a firm proponent of pension reform, weren’t you?

- Yes, I’ve always said that it is necessary to raise the retirement age. Those who argue that this is impossible for us and we need to look for money elsewhere should consider the economy’s proportions. Our economically active population is about 70 million, while about 40 million are retirees. And this ratio keeps worsening. How can a full-fledged pension be paid or even increased? This can be done in two ways - either by upping the retirement age or by raising taxes - no other options are available.

Cutting excessive spending won’t raise enough money for the pension fund. Naturally, we need to boost efficiency and unnecessary costly projects must be abandoned. Corruption should be fought more vigorously, but in the long term this will still be not enough for pensions.

This explains why Russia’s pension reform had to be launched and the retirement age had to be increased.

- When will you reach your retirement age?

- I can’t remember exactly, at 62, if I’m not wrong. I never think about it. I hope that after I leave the civil service I will go ahead with research and teaching.

- Oh, yes. In 2011, you became the dean of the Liberal Arts and Sciences department at St. Petersburg State University. Incidentally, what sort of name is it?

- In 1999, St. Petersburg University launched an inter-departmental program called Liberal Arts and Sciences, this model is widely used in American and European higher educational institutions and universities. The purpose of the Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) degree is to provide students with a solid multidisciplinary groundwork in the Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and the Arts, subsequently allowing them to pursue careers in education, business, government, and other such fields. Each student chooses their major only after their sophomore year.

- Sounds logical.

- The top universities in Europe and the US – MIT, Stanford, Harvard and Oxford use this model. The name was derived from the ancient term Artes Liberales that existed in Greek and Roman antiquity. Back then, the fields of knowledge that we call sciences were referred to as liberal arts.

We opted for a program within the framework of cooperation with Bard-College in the US. For many years, it existed as an inter-departmental one. I learned about the program in the early 2000s and started assisting it. In 2003, I joined the board of trustees and in 2011 we made a decision to create a separate department. I became its dean when I still was finance minister. And I’ve administered it for nine years now.

- How much time do you devote to this pursuit of yours?

- When I was not in the civil service, I went there every week. I even delivered lectures on crucial financial policy issues.

- And now?

- I’ve had to put lecturing on pause for the time being. It’s too hard to combine teaching with my current job at the Audit Chamber.

But I keep an eye on what is happening at the department, of course. During the pandemic, we held online conferences with teachers and staff. We have a strong team. For instance, Professor Tatyana Chernigovskaya leads a laboratory for cognitive studies. Our department has computer science, artificial intelligence, art criticism, the art of theater…

- How many students are enrolled there?

- This year there are 180 of them – future holders of bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The competition is fierce – nineteen applicants per vacancy. There are winners of academic competitions (Olympiads) and top scorers on Russia’s Unified State Exam. We grant two diplomas – one issued by the St. Petersburg University and the other from Bard College in the United States. Students from different American universities come to study for one semester. Each year, the department holds international conferences on different topics, from literature and the arts to mathematics and big data.

Part 3

On the crisis, structural problems, Davos, ice hockey, real estate and turning 60

- Now let’s shift from academic issues to the draft budget. How would you reallocate spending by category?

- First and foremost, I would increase spending at least by 0.5% of the GDP. Five hundred billion extra.

- This would take the public debt to 21%...

- There is nothing tragic about that. It’s normal. We can dig a little bit deeper into the National Wealth Fund. Let me remind you, during the 2008-2009 crisis we spent more than half of the Reserve Fund. It shrank from four trillion to 1.8 trillion rubles. This time, we’ve kept the National Wealth Fund intact by and large, although at the beginning of 2020 we complemented it with another 3.3 trillion. We should spend more, though not at one time. We should change the budget rule somewhat.

Incidentally, there are plans for increasing next year’s budget by 900 billion rubles as an exception. This will be done by means of extra borrowing, which is absolutely reasonable.

- And what would you say about the intention to raise taxes and excise duties?

- I’m very reserved about this. Negative, rather. Not to mention the fact that in 2018 the government promised the president to refrain from raising taxes for a period of six years. That concerned all taxes without an exception.

As far as excise duties are concerned, they can be adjusted for inflation every year. This is permissible. But not raised by 20% like those on cigarettes. There is a risk counterfeiting and smuggling will surge. It will become profitable again to bring in “grey” products. Our border is very porous, especially with EAEU countries, where excise duties are lower.

It goes without saying that this is a very hard time for the economy, but it is likewise true that very good resources have been accumulated. There are opportunities for borrowing. I would prefer to move in this direction.

The same is true of the government’s assistance to the population and businesses during the pandemic. Our support totaled about 3.9% of the GDP, including guarantees and tax breaks. I believe we might have spent another 1.5%-2% of the GDP on subsidies. We would have coped without any major problems. That would’ve been very decent and easy to compensate for and proportionate to the scale of the crisis as well.

- And how would you explain the fact that our economy has not been sinking as sharply as other countries? Some juggling of the numbers by the Russian Federal State Statistics Service?

- Well, statistics will have to be checked, too. For instance, economic growth in 2018 saw a three-fold upward revision…

Yet, there are objective reasons why the Russian economic slump has not been as traumatic as elsewhere.

First of all, our tourism and service sectors are much smaller. Meanwhile, they were the hardest-hit around the world during the pandemic. Their share is lower than in any European country, the United States or Canada.

Secondly, we have more mining and processing companies with non-stop production cycles. They never paused at all.

Thirdly, the crisis badly hurt small and medium-sized businesses. In this country, there are fewer of them than in other countries.

These factors help explain why the effects of the crisis have turned out to be milder.

Take industries in northern Italy, they were at a stand-still for two and a half months. In the meantime, even in Moscow, where the pandemic situation was the worst in all of Russia, construction sites paused just for a couple of weeks.

- Do you think another lockdown is possible?

- I don’t think a global quarantine is likely. Many countries will certainly avoid taking such measures. The pandemic isn’t as bad as some portrayed it to be, and public opinion has changed. It is better to keep working so as not to let the economy collapse altogether. This means, carry on working while observing precautions.

Also, the national healthcare services have been fine-tuned and gained experience. It is clearer now what measures should be taken.

- What changes has the COVID-19 pandemic caused to the Audit Chamber’s daily routine?

- In the spring, we moved 80% to telecommuting. Only those who participated in concrete audits or worked with classified information that cannot be taken out of the building continued to go to the office.

- Did you have to cancel many audits?

- No, we postponed some and held some others in a more concentrated, abridged form. Also, we had to verify extra payments to medical personnel, purchases of lung ventilators and the issuance of guarantees to stricken enterprises.

- Mikhail Mishustin said the economy made a narrow escape and it’s too early to take it easy.

- Yes, the anti-crisis plan remains in force. The tax deferments for companies that took serious hits will continue to be in effect until February 2021. More subsidies are being disbursed to the regions and benefits to doctors and to families with children are being extended.

I believe that the government is handling the situation well enough, although I am certain that more resources should have been utilized. I don’t have any complaints. The decisions that were made have been energetically and actively supplemented depending on what was happening in the economy and the country as a whole. In this particular case, Russia demonstrated that it was fighting against the pandemic just as well as other countries.

But you have to remember that the coronavirus has neither eliminated economic and ecological problems, nor the sanctions against Russia. The sanctions remain and they are harmful.

Even when we restrict the import of so-called sanction goods and start production at home, our companies’ losses still outweigh any favorable effects. Some gained, but others lost. But the key issue is the long-term consequences for Russia, since the inflow of modern technologies is limited. And this, regrettably, is very sensitive.

Journalist Andrey Vandenko and Russia&#x2019;s Accounts Chamber chief Alexei Kudrin Piotr Kovalev/TASS

Journalist Andrey Vandenko and Russia’s Accounts Chamber chief Alexei Kudrin

© Piotr Kovalev/TASS

These days no individual country in the world is capable of producing absolutely everything. Progress is too fast. Cooperation is helpful. Countries exchange achievements and technologies. We, too, import some key goods and components, in particular, high-tech ones. In this respect, the sanctions on the import of such products are painful and result in the economy’s erosion over the long term. They don’t let us develop quickly enough. Russia’s labor productivity is now only half of that of the United States and two-thirds of that in European countries. Regrettably, this lag may get worse. It is already critical. We are not the most advanced ones and will have problems with catching up.

I often point to structural problems in our economy. How many companies in Russia are implementing technological innovations? What do you think?

- I remember you mentioned something like 8%.

- A new methodology has been put out since then. Now there are 20% of them.

- And Putin set the goal for bringing it up to 50%.

- In the meantime, the share has not changed for ten years… What are the hindrances to innovations? It is the lack of competition and the dominance of companies enjoying government preferences, which have no incentives to develop new products and technologies. In addition, modern regulatory legislation is needed. Usually, new laws follow, yet their goal is to anticipate and encourage development. Alas, the inadequacies of our school and university graduates still exist. That said, except for several elite universities, education is going downhill and that is a great problem. Rank-and-file universities in Russia’s regional centers are the ones that ensure labor productivity rates for the economy. Their quality of instruction (of engineering personnel in particular) is noticeably inferior to that of an average university in Eastern Europe.

- Are we being cocooned?

- This sort of problem does exist. International ties, student, teacher and top-notch exchange practices are helpful. Incidentally, China is making rapid headway in this sense. Branches of US and European universities are opening there. Our Moscow State University is present, there, too. Instruction is in Russian.

- Do international organizations work? Have their functions remained the same?

- The World Trade Organization is up to their necks in trouble. Many crucial decisions have been postponed. Some are blocked by Europe, which indulges in protectionism in favor of its own producers. Far more harm is caused by the trade wars that the United States has unleashed. America had spent decades campaigning for free trade. Now it restricts and suffocates it. China has built up far more muscle, so Beijing feels confident. It needs new markets and it is ramming past protectionist and customs barriers. The global centers of economic growth have changed. These are the new realities.

- Why have you stopped going to Davos?

- I was absent only from the two latest ones.

- And for how many years in a row had you flown there before that?

- Since 1994… You know, an opportunity to meet people is the most important feature of the Davos forum. Many top officials from major companies, experts and businessmen gather at one place for a whole week. The forum’s official program and panel discussion are of secondary importance. Certainly, there is an agenda and one can hear some spectacular speeches, but continuous meetings on the sidelines are far more important. This is mostly what made me go to Davos. Now, this interest has vanished.

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 2008 AP Photo/Peter Dejong

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 2008

© AP Photo/Peter Dejong

There are many other conferences and world forums where I’m invited to as a guest or an economic expert.

Incidentally, many leading economists had visited Russia before the pandemic. For instance, the 23rd Congress of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) in September 2019 brought together delegates from 169 countries. It was the largest conference in the organization’s history ever. We had several meetings, including one in the Kremlin, where President Putin was in attendance.

A few words about my first trip to Davos. We were there together with Putin, as St. Petersburg’s deputy mayors. It was then that I tried Alpine skiing for the first time. Before that I was pretty good at cross-country events…

- And you also play ice hockey, don’t you?

- I used to before. I had to stop due to some problems with my back. Now, I swim and do mountain and cross-country hiking.

- Is it true that in your younger days you worked as a part-time ice hockey coach to make some extra money?

- When I was a graduate student at the Institute of the Economy under the Academy of Sciences, I first taught at two universities. Mostly I held seminars. But soon I found out that the universities were paying less than an ordinary neighborhood housing and utilities office that sponsored a local children’s team. I cobbled together teams in Moscow’s Sevastopolsky district and held training sessions for boys in two age groups – seven- and eight-year-olds in one, and nine- and ten-year-olds in the other. We participated in the Golden Puck tournaments for kids and played home and away games. Vladislav Tretyak was at the opening ceremony of one of our matches. We were not acquainted then. I was still an ordinary graduate student when he was already a world sports star and an Olympic champion.

I was officially hired by the neighborhood utilities administration as a specialist for teenage affairs. The kids had been given sports gear and skates… Their parents would come to the matches to support our kids and thank their coach.

It was one of the most favorite times of my life.

- To make the long story short, you didn’t become a coach. Was there a chance for you to start some business of your own?

- After I leaving the civil service, I headed the Moscow Exchange’s observer council. I chaired the strategy committee of Sberbank’s council of observers. Also, I held seats on the boards of directors of a couple of other financial institutions. In general, I was making good money. But I realized that I would be no good as a businessman or top manager of a private company. No good at all! I find it far more interesting to be involved in public activities, or research and teaching.

This awareness brought me to the Center for Strategic Research, a think tank where for two years we analyzed and reviewed Russia’s development options. I believe it was one of the most important and brightest periods in my life. In fact, what happened to me can be called an internal reset. I learned a lot about modern models of management and development. I find it far more interesting than business.

- Find what?

- Analyzing and exploring the roads the country may take. Maybe, it will sound strange, but, apparently, I belong with the generation that had sincerely wished to make Russia successful. I can testify that when I was still choosing my future profession, I thought that the Soviet Union’s economy was going in the wrong direction and that something should be done to change it.

- But wasn’t it a dream of yours to become a pilot?

- I had such dreams prior to ninth grade. My father spent a long time serving in the Air Force. We lived among pilots. I rubbed shoulders with them every day. In Latvia and in Mongolia. My father did not fly himself. He was a communications specialist, an encrypting officer. A large part of my life was spent in Air Force garrisons.

True, the feeling of romanticism had existed up until a certain age. How could it have been otherwise? Each day, I would see MiG-17s taking off and landing.

Then I felt I might have other opportunities to choose from.

- In the Transbaikal Region, you lived in a town called Borzya. They say it was an awful dump. Nothing could have been worse.

- In those days it was a normal district center. A meat factory and a railway depot were the two main employers for the locals. You can also add a military garrison.

I don’t know what it is like today, but life did not seem dull or boring then. Certainly not. It was brimming with activity. We did not care about some insignificant everyday household problems. In Borzya, we first rented rooms from a private homeowner. For three months, we lived in a cabin without heating, which could also be used as a kitchen. It was livable only in the summertime. When the cold season set in, we moved to an abandoned house that we had repaired ourselves. New windows had to be put in. The house had a wood-fueled masonry stove. Another year passed that way.

- Weren’t officers’ families provided with housing?

- When my father was transferred there, there was nothing to provide! When a five-story apartment building was put up for the garrison, we moved there. On New Year’s Eve. The power supply was insufficient. The lights were dim. The water pressure in the pipes was not enough to reach the upper floors. During the winter, the temperatures outside often dropped to 40 below zero. And in the summer, we had to put up with searing heat. Those were the unavoidable features of this continental climate.

In Arkhangelsk, we were instantly provided with a two-room apartment, and in another 18 months, with a four-room one. It looked like a real palace to us. We even had doubts if we should move to Leningrad, since we feared that we wouldn’t have such great housing conditions there.

- Where was your own first apartment?

- When I got married, my mother-in-law agreed to help. The housing of my wife’s parents was divided in two.

- They say that one who experienced starvation as a child never feels he’s had enough to eat until the end of his life. You are rumored to have a large apartment in the downtown Moscow and large plots of land in Bakovka and Arkhangelskoye. All this property is astronomically expensive. Even a former government minister and Audit Chamber chief would be unable to afford it.

- In Bakovka, we have less than a hectare of land. I received it from the government in line with the established procedure. And respectively I paid for it in accordance with its cadaster value. And the apartment was granted to me by the presidential property department. I did not buy it.

- And what about Arkhangelskoye?

- I purchased that plot of land at a fair free market price upon retirement from the civil service, when my incomes were already very different. I was earning well enough.

All my real estate items have been declared. There aren’t any secrets at all.

I’ve always spent as much as I earned. I was one of those who established the rules. And I’ve strictly followed them.

You’ve got to choose: if you go to work for the government, you must be ready to abide by certain restrictions.

- This situation looks somewhat idealistic, don’t you agree?

- You are asking me about my principles that I follow in life. So I’m telling you what these principles are. I joined the civil service not for the sake of making money. It was my sincere desire to make something of importance for the sake of my country, to change the situation for the better; to get the wheels of a private-property based market economy turning. My generation succeeded in many respects, although we have not used all opportunities only to become stalled halfway. Old ideas, stereotypes and habits still prevail.

A new generation should take over. But for the time being managers from the old Soviet system cling tightly to their seats. In particular, in the public sector, although as a rule they have neither the capabilities nor the skills that a new economy requires. The entire government machinery must be invigorated more boldly.

- But on October 12 you will be 60, too, right?

- This number is driving me crazy! I cannot believe it. Deep down in my heart I still feel like I’m 30.

- It must’ve been at your own birthday party some ten years ago when you played jazz with Igor Butman, right? He played the saxophone, and you were on the drums.

- No, it was not at [my] 50th birthday celebration, but somewhat later. I went to the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum. First, there was an ice hockey match between the Russian government’s team and a team of performing artists and entertainers. After the game, we all went to a restaurant. Igor and I were seated at one table. First, we had a little chat about music and then went to the musical instruments on the podium and improvised there for about two hours or so. It was a nice jam session.

We’ve been on friendly terms since.

Then at some jazz festival, Butman literally dragged me on stage and forced me to play with his group. Of course, I realized that I by no means match the level and standards. Igor did his best to help me out. I managed to stick to the rhythm, but clearly it was a primitive performance. Today’s rhythms and technique are far more interesting.

- And how did you celebrate your 50th birthday?

- I invited some friends. Putin and Medvedev were there, too. Putin then was Russia’s prime minister, and Medvedev at that time was the nation’s president.

Now, amid the pandemic it’s not very convenient to celebrate.

- What would make you leave the Audit Chamber?

- Why should I go? We have a six-year plan. The task is to create a new type of Audit Chamber on par the world’s best standards of public auditing. We want to become one of the most advanced agencies that use cybertechnologies in their day-to-day work.

We won an international bidding contest for auditing international organizations. We’ll start with UNIDO, an organization within the UN system responsible for industrial development to audit its budget.

- Will you be paid for that?

- The reward we’ve been promised is not big. Rather, it is a matter of prestige. Imagine Russia’s Audit Chamber being commissioned to audit a UN structure!

We’ve taken on a new responsibility. In 2021, we will take part in several bidding contests for auditing other international organizations. In some cases, we may be paid well enough.

In November, we are going to go to the organization’s head office in Vienna. The groundwork began a long time ago. The pandemic has created some problems, but in principle everything has been agreed on and the details have been taken into account. Perhaps, we’ll have to do distance auditing, but for now we hope for an onsite inspection.

- How much time will it take?

- I’ll spend several days there; some members of the team will be there two weeks, and some others for a month. We’ll be finished by New Year’s Eve.

- Everyone hopes that 2021 will be better. And you’ll have to say “No” less often.

- To hope for the best is human. Let’s wait and see…

Wed, 15 Jun 2022 22:20:00 -0500 text/html
Killexams : The Testing Predators Have Beaten ACT And The College Board

On the morning of the June ACT, Janet Godwin, ACT’s CEO, wasn’t in her office overseeing one of the largest administrations of the year. She was at a three star hotel in Atlanta hobnobbing with members of the test preparation industry. Godwin and an executive from the College Board were at the 2nd annual conference of a test preparation industry association. While it’s not uncommon for test prep tutors to attend test publisher conferences, it’s highly unusual for the senior executives from the test makers to accept an invitation from a group that David Coleman, the College Board’s CEO, called “predators who prey on the anxieties of parents and children and provide no real educational benefit.”

What does it mean that ACT’s CEO is giving a keynote address, attending education sessions, and schmoozing at happy hour with high priced tutors and the College Board executive is giving the test coaches early insights into the forthcoming cyber SAT? It means that test preparation “predators” have brought the test publishers to heel.

Admissions test preparation came into existence in the 1930s, just years after the first SAT in 1926. From those early days until the 1980s, most prep companies were local shops who lived off the tests the way remoras live off sharks.

The College Board and the Educational Testing Service, which actually wrote the SAT until 2016, took great pains to rebut any report that suggested test preparation could lead to large score gains, since by its own admission, “If the board's test can be regularly beaten through coaching, then the board is itself discredited." Despite the test publishers' arguments, test preparation continued to attract customers looking to Strengthen their scores.

The relationship between publishers and preppers became more heated when John Katzman, founder of The Princeton Review, entered the fray in 1981. Katzman’s public attacks on the SAT, ETS, and the College Board not only helped speed the growth of his test prep company but also directly challenged the quality and value of the tests. Unlike earlier test preparation providers, Katzman focused on convincing parents of the "beatability" of the test and the need for specialized preparation, moving the conversation of the test’s value from academic conferences to PTA meetings.

Prior to Katzman, the primary opponents of the tests were academics and admissions officers at small northeastern liberal arts colleges like Bowdoin and Hampshire

Colleges, who adopted test optional practices prior to 1980. The emergence of the Princeton Review began eroding popular belief in the tests and forced the publishers to defend their products not only to academics but to suburban moms as well. An ETS president said, in 1980, "The existence of the coaching schools is nothing more than the triumph of hope over reality." Test registration booklets began to include the message that “expensive coaching courses'' required time, money, and effort and thus could not be recommended.

The enmity between the two camps might have been good for education as a whole with each segment acting as a check against the other. Test publishers have sued test prep organizations and helped catch cheaters. Test prep companies have been watchdogs on the test makers and each other, exposing leaked tests, bad test questions, problematic policies and practices, and false accusations of cheating.

But the potential for the two sides of the testing industry to act in concert to Strengthen outcomes for students has never been realized. Test publishers responded to criticism and test optional policies by making the test valuable as a lead generation tool for colleges. Test prep for its part will always be an engine of inequality and unfairness, reselling insight and support to whoever can pay the fee. Let’s not forget that at the heart of almost every test cheating scandal has been a test preparation company or tutor.

The arguments between the coaches and publishers settled for a period but were reinvigorated in 2014 when The College Board’s CEO, David Coleman, announced the 15th version of the SAT and a partnership with Khan Academy to deliver what he called a technology “that has broken down the racial divisions that so haunt this nation.”

“It is time for the College Board to say in a clear voice that the culture and practice of costly test preparation … drives the perception of inequality and injustice in our country,” Coleman said. “It may not be our fault but it is our problem.” Coleman promised he would end the expensive preparation industry, which he blamed for the “perception” that the SAT contributes to inequality.

Perhaps to address the “perception of inequality,” both ACT and the College Board have offered more and more test preparation products and in latest years have focused on trying to present those products as pathways to equitable preparedness for the tests.

The College Board developed a free program with Khan Academy, originally marketed as “world-class test-prep” but soon after changed to “practice” to distance it from test prep. Soon after the College Board’s Official SAT prep launched, ACT began offering a free ACT Academy but within three years quietly discontinued its free test prep product in favor of its own paid instructor certification program and a reseller relationship with Kaplan Test Prep.

These inconsistencies highlight the struggle of the test publishers to find an effective answer to the continued growth of the test preparation industry and the decreased faith in their core products. Nowhere are those inconsistencies more clear than in the messaging about the test publishers' own online video prep offerings, which both ACT and SAT find highly effective, versus the test publishers' comment about commercial test preparation classes and tutoring, which test publishers consistently find ineffective.

The presence of the publishers at the test prep conference sends a very clear signal that where they once might have been driven by a mission to deliver evidence-based, research-driven assessments they were now primarily salesmen, doing everything possible to sell a product and generate leads for college recruiters.

The merging of test publishers and test preparation appears to be not only an admission that test preparation works but also the defanging of some of the most knowledgeable critics of the test. Absent the test prep industry, the only organization that regularly monitors the practice and process of large scale testing would be the small non-profit advocacy organization The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (full disclosure: I work at FairTest and have been a test prep tutor for 30 years).

When asked for comment Godwin replied “ACT is committed to an equitable testing process that helps all students succeed. . . . ACT will continue to engage and collaborate with education stakeholders who have opportunities to Strengthen the learning experience for all, especially if they help facilitate more equitable access.”

While it's entirely possible that a relationship between test prep and test makers might yield positive outcomes for students. In fact, I attended two such conferences at ACT headquarters where the discussion centered on process and procedures that could Strengthen student outcomes, fee waiver processes, etc. The test prep conference on the other hand is a business and marketing event that will let the test prep industry boast about their coziness with the test makers, gain insider information about the digital SAT, and better sell their wares. The more frightening outcome could be that certain prep companies would gain information that allowed them to subvert all security and provide access to test materials to their clients.

In 1999, Don Powers, a research scientist with ETS, said “If we were to find that the tests were highly coachable in a relatively short period of time it would undermine the validity claims about what these tests measure.'' Since then the number of colleges that do not require the SAT or ACT has risen from a mere handful to more than 80% of four year colleges. The test publishers no longer seem concerned that support of test preparation will undermine the validity of their exams, instead they’ve decided to join forces with the only other group that benefits from the expansion of admissions tests.

June 2022 marks the date when the test publishers, having failed to undermine the credibility of the test prep coaches or to create the promised “bad day” for the test preparation industry, decided to save their tests by legitimizing the “predators.”

Sun, 26 Jun 2022 12:00:00 -0500 Akil Bello en text/html
Killexams : IT Devops Engineer at Sabenza IT – Gauteng Bryanston

One of our clients are looking for a DevOps Engineer to join their dynamic team of engineers.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Providing support to users/administrators of our platform. Supporting and contributing to the growth of best practices for delivery of support services
  • Understanding our platform, Cloud technologies and troubleshooting practices to ensure successful resolution of challenging technical situations
  • Acting as a customer advocate, prioritizing, and managing assigned incidents and escalations in queue with little or no supervision
  • Engaging with the cross functional teams like operations and engineering to build, drive and Strengthen tools and processes for quicker issue resolution
  • Mentoring junior team members in the various technologies
  • Excellent customer service skills along with the ability to apply technical knowledge to independently work on complex tasks.
  • Performing process assessments including suitability, maintainability, and supportability for automations.
  • Providing guidance and recommendations for streamlining divisional level processes, systems, procedures, and templates as needed in accordance with best practices.
  • Creating process documents; this will include but not limited to gathering requirements, process design and technical specification.
  • Driving valuable and insightful metric reporting or business process improvement and benefit realization
  • Ensure that throughout the development phase, the process is documented including the development procedures for application use and security
  • Oversee the testing of the program prior to its deployment and release
  • Examine any program errors in logic and data and make the necessary recommendations to correct the program as required and/or escalate the problem accordingly
  • Works with the required teams to assist with the installation and deployment of the application
  • Assist with implementation preparation and implementation of the solution into a production environment
  • Assist with the resolution of any problems identified in the integration and test phases
  • Support all the code sets and implementations that have been implemented in production in accordance with defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for the business
  • Write and distribute the task descriptions in a production environment to operate and maintain the solution that has been designed and implemented
  • Assist with post-implementation process reviews

Knowledge and skills:5+ years ServiceNow ITSM experience.- 3+ years of L3 engineer experience.- L3 DevOps Engineer who understands the platform ServiceNow (5+ years ServiceNow ITSM experience.)- Coding, scripting – development experience crucial – ie: JavaScript, HTML, PowerShell, Python, Bash, and how XML works- About 1 year of experience with docker containers and VMs.- Analyzing and identifying gaps, dev issues, monitoring and maintaining of the ServiceNow system

Experience Required:Strong troubleshooting and debugging skills with automation- Scripting skills using PowerShell primarily but also Python and Bash- 2+ years of experience in Python 3 or JavaScript- Minimum 1 year of experience with docker containers and VMs.

Desired Skills:

  • ITSM
  • ServiceNow
  • L3
  • engineer
  • Devops
  • coding
  • scripting
  • python
  • bash
  • xml
  • Docker
  • container
  • Vmware
  • vm

Desired Work Experience:

Learn more/Apply for this position

Thu, 14 Jul 2022 04:39:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Home screening test for oral or throat cancer has 90 per cent accuracy No result found, try new keyword!To identify oral and throat cancer, lesions have to be big enough for doctors to see. A saliva test could enable much earlier diagnosis ... Thu, 04 Aug 2022 01:46:00 -0500 en-us text/html Killexams : US Postal Service to boost purchases of electric vehicles

The U.S. Postal Service said it will substantially increase the number of electric-powered vehicles it’s buying to replace its fleet of aging delivery trucks, after the Biden administration and environmental groups said the agency’s initial plan had too few electric vehicles and fell short of the administration’s climate change goals.

The Postal Service now wants 50% of its initial purchase of 50,000 next-generation vehicles to be electric, up from the previous plan for 20% being electric. The first of those should be rolling onto delivery routes next year. It also proposes buying an additional 34,500 commercially available vehicles over two years, officials said. The Postal Service’s fleet currently includes 190,000 local delivery vehicles.

A plan announced in February would have made just 10% of the agency’s next-generation fleet electric. The Environmental Protection Agency said the initial plan by the Postal Service, an independent agency, “underestimates greenhouse gas emissions, fails to consider more environmentally protective feasible alternatives and inadequately considers impacts on communities with environmental justice concerns.”

The new environmental proposal effectively pauses the purchases at 84,500 total vehicles — 40% electric — even as the Postal Service seeks to buy up to 165,000 next-generation vehicles over a decade to replace delivery trucks that went into service between 1987 and 1994. More than 141,000 vehicles in service are the boxy, recognizable Grumman LLV model, which lack safety features like air bags, anti-lock brakes or backup cameras.

Environmentalists have been fighting to reduce the number of gasoline-powered next-generation vehicles the Postal Service will buy. Those will get 14.7 miles per gallon (23.7 kilometers per gallon) without air conditioning, compared to 8.4 mpg (13.5 kpg) for the older vehicles, the Postal Service said.

Sen. Gary Peters, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Wednesday he was happy to see the Postal Service committing to more electric vehicles, which he said will reduce operating costs for its fleet over the long run.

“Electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry and that is why I have been pressing the Postal Service to purchase more of them,” said Peters, D-Mich.

The proposal, to be posted in the Federal Register on Thursday, came after 16 states, environmental groups and a labor union sued to halt purchases of next-generation delivery vehicles under the initial plan that was skewed heavily toward gas-powered trucks.

Future purchases would focus on smaller amounts of vehicles in shorter intervals than the original 10-year environmental analysis, officials said. The goal is to be more responsive to the Postal Service’s evolving operational strategy, technology improvements and changing market conditions, the Postal Service said in a statement. A public hearing on the new proposal will be held next month.

The Postal Service was cleared to place the initial order with the manufacturer, Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense, in late February after announcing it cleared a final administrative hurdle.

But a government watchdog testified in April that the Postal Service relied on false assumptions as it evaluated the original plan.

This comes against a backdrop of U.S. automobile manufacturers expanding the number of electric vehicle models targeting the mainstream market.

Earthjustice, which joined in one of the lawsuits, said the Postal Service is starting to get the message on the need for electric delivery vehicles.

“Ultimately, the entire postal fleet needs to be electrified to deliver clean air in every neighborhood in the country and avoid volatile gas prices,” said Adrian Martinez, senior attorney on Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign.

In addition to modern safety equipment, the next-generation delivery vehicles are taller, which makes it easier for postal carriers to grab the packages that make up a greater share of volume. They also have improved ergonomics and climate control.


Associated Press writer Matthew Daly contributed to this story from Washington. Sharp reported from Portland, Maine.


Follow David Sharp on Twitter at

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 03:18:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Letters: Twisting the facts to boost the Union simply won't wash

MICHAEL Sheridan’s list of the supposed benefits of being part of the UK Union (Letters, July 25) is a good example of manipulating facts to justify your position. Let’s start with his claim it was the UK Government that bailed out the Irish economy in 2010.

David Cameron only lent the Irish £3.25 billion as part of a £7bn aid package. The EU and the IMF lent the Irish €85bn. Big difference. Furthermore, it was the same David Cameron who said during the 2014 referendum campaign that an independent Scotland could not expect a similar bail-out from rUK in the event that it got into financial difficulty. Shared values?

The UK was part of Nato when British sovereign territory was invaded by Argentina. Can Mr Sheridan remind us how many Nato troops died there under Article 4 of the Nato treaty? Can he explain to me why the UK nuclear deterrent failed to deter a non-nuclear power from attacking us?

He suggests that the free movement of people and goods throughout the UK is being constrained by the inability to effectively police an internal border. In reality it is down to the fear of terrorist activity as a consequence of having a border between the north and south of Ireland. In other words, the UK economy is being hampered by unionist politicians’ capitulation to the men of violence on both sides.

The current impasse on the movement of goods and people across the Channel has nothing to do with an independent Scotland and everything to do with a failure to appreciate the long-term consequences of exiting the single market.

Mr Sheridan claims that the Union provides “more efficient and uniform benefit, taxation and motor vehicle registration”. Really? I went without and saved to provide for an adequate pension, only to be hit on retirement with an £800 tax bill. Meanwhile my triple lock pension has been "temporarily suspended" this year as inflation is too high, whilst I’ve just received my new driving licence after a seven-month wait.

He further claims that “customers within the United Kingdom all stand to benefit from uniform commercial and financial regulation and practice”. But we had that under the EU. The current contenders for prime minister are both proposing new UK- only regulations, which means more paperwork and separate assembly lines if you are also an exporter to the EU. It was having a separate (and less onerous) British standard that led to the Grenfell Tower disaster with the inquiry being told it was David Cameron’s deregulation policy that prevented the English regulations being updated to meet EU standards.

As for “shared values on the battlefield”, Culloden took place 38 years after the Act of Union and resulted in the mass slaughter of Highland clansman by unionist troops (Scottish and English) in what would today be regarded as a war crime.

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.

• I ASSUME Michael Sheridan's letter from a nationalist to unionists was rhetorical and meant to be provocative but I will take it at face value. I won't go through all of his eight reasons for staying in the UK as his assertions (which is what they are) will no doubt be picked apart by others, but one stuck out like a sore thumb for me.

Mr Sheridan writes: "The Union can combine resources to provide a greater National Health Service". Now I'm not sure if the word "can" in that sentence provides Mr Sheridan with a rhetorical loophole, but I notice that he avoids the use of "does" or "will continue to". I suspect that he has noticed the state of the NHS under the Union, and is just being careful.

John Jamieson, Ayr.


CURIOUSER and curiouser. Nicola Sturgeon and her party are itching to get on with preparations for the referendum that she has announced for next year. To test whether Holyrood has the power to sanction a legal referendum, Ms Sturgeon has sent the Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain QC, to petition the Supreme Court of the UK (whose leading judge is a Scot) on this subject. Her argument is that such a referendum would be merely "advisory" and would therefore have no implications for the future of the UK. That being the case – with the constitution not being affected – the referendum would be within the remit of the devolved Holyrood Parliament; so runs the argument.

Having made this chess move in her identity as head of the devolved administration, Ms Sturgeon then assumed her other identity, as leader of the SNP. In that capacity, she suggested to her National Executive Committee (NEC) – who, to no-one’s surprise, agreed – that the party should apply to intervene in the case in the Supreme Court, as an entity with "legal status" to bring the political case for a referendum.

So, on the one hand, the SNP Government petitions the Supreme Court on the grounds that its application is not political. And on the other hand, the SNP NEC petitions the Supreme Court, on the very same case, on the grounds that it is the representative of the political case for a referendum. Given that the SNP is a political party, and is the largest single separatist grouping, that assertion is unassailable.

The question is, why is the SNP so evidently challenging the stance taken by the Lord Advocate, and has it shot itself in the foot?

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.


IT appears good for democracy in Scotland and the whole of the UK that the best arguments against holding a second independence referendum that the combined brains of the Tory leadership contenders and their scheming advisers could come up with are that Scotland had its “once in a generation opportunity” and “now is not the time”.

The UK Government enabled Northern Ireland, through the Belfast Agreement, to hold a border poll every seven years and nothing was stipulated in the Edinburgh Agreement to prevent Scotland from effectively doing likewise. Even the staunchest Better Together supporters who still irrationally attempt to argue that "The Vow" has been honoured accept that they did not expect that the UK would have left the European Union only six years after the 2014 referendum. Therefore, given the democratic mandate of the current Scottish Government to hold another referendum, the only question that remains is exactly when that mandate should be enacted.

With the associated deaths and disruptions of Covid-19 in decline and the Westminster Government having lost control of the UK economy, October 19, 2023 appears to be a logical and sensible date for the citizens of Scotland to take their common destiny into their own hands rather than trust their future to another arrogant self-serving child of Margaret Thatcher.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.


BORIS Johnson when saying "no" to Indyref 2 was quoted as stating the result of the referendum in 2014 should last for a generation and that a generation should be 40 years.

Imagine the pickle the Conservatives would be in if that rule applied to the leader of the Conservative Party. They would have had the late Baroness Thatcher until 2013 and David Cameron until 2053. But wait, aren’t people allowed to change their minds? Is that not why we have General Elections every five years, and refer to our system as being democratic?

Since 1990 the Conservatives have changed their minds seven times, and we are expected to trust their judgment. Even less democratic is the fact that 42 million people were eligible to select Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister, but only 160,000 will choose the next PM. This will be the third time in 30 years that the Conservatives have pulled this stunt. At least the country had the chance to vote for John Major and Theresa May shortly after each was appointed leader – there will be no such opportunity this time.

Francis Deigman, Erskine.


I AM in agreement with Walter Paul (Letters, July 25) in almost every respect of his points of view on the body politic of the present day. We are between a rock and a hard place in our voting choice.

I have dutifully voted in every General Election (or local ones for that matter), regarding it a hard-fought privilege brought about by our forebears. In this regard especially those at General Elections I consider that voting should be compulsory as I understand it is in certain countries. If this came to pass, we would gain a far better overall percentage figure of the voting intentions of the general public and nullify claims of winners that frequently border on the outwardly meaningless 50% mark.

John Macnab, Falkirk.

Read more: The compelling case for us to stay in the Union

Mon, 25 Jul 2022 23:57:00 -0500 en text/html
ServiceNow-CSA exam dump and training guide direct download
Training Exams List