MOSCOW, June 9 (UPI) -- President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday he hopes to reduce the number of civil servants employed by the Russian government by one-fifth.
He also told government officials they must do their best to cut costs because of the budget deficit, ITAR-Tass reported.
"This is one of the government's most important tasks," he said.
Other Russian leaders have tried to shrink the government bureaucracy, so far without any real change. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin presented Medvedev with a plan Tuesday for a 20 percent cut in jobs.
"True, this is going to be a rather harsh measure, but it may help resolve a number of tasks," Medvedev said. "At the same time such decisions cannot be made mechanically or proceeding from financial considerations."