Russia’s former finance minister Alexei Kudrin, who lost his job over the remarks he made about the country’s increased defense spending, among other transgressions, reiterated his comments and did not back down from them.
Depending on which report one believes, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev either fired Kudrin, or the latter resigned as a protest against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s intention to run again for President.
According to the Moscow-based Ria Novosti news agency, Kudrin stated: On September 24 the long-term structure of government in our country became clear and I stated my position. This has absolutely nothing to do with emotions.”
Kudrin has warned that runaway spending will endanger the whole Russian economy, which he had overseen since 2000.
“For several months, despite my many objections, including public ones, decisions were taken in the sphere of budget policy that without any doubt increased risks for meeting the budget,” Kudrin said in a statement.
“And these budget risks, connected most of all with increased spending in the military and social spheres, would inevitably spread to the entire national economy.”
Kudrin also shrugged off rumors that he was upset by Medvedev because he (Kudrin) had aspirations to become Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, Putin has appointed two replacements for Kudrin: First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov will supervise financial affairs in the Russian cabinet; while Anton Siluanov will serve acting finance minister.
Putin emphasized that both appointments were approved by Medvedev.
This is our joint decision. I hope there will be no setbacks, Putin said.
Ratings agency S&P said that Kudrin’s dismissal would not pose any risk to Russia’s sovereign debt rating, but added that “efforts to consolidate public finances, following strong expansionary measures during the recent economic crisis, could be complicated by… Kudrin’s dismissal. The change in roles and personnel could make it more difficult for Russia to deal with challenges such as strengthening the country’s long-term growth potential.”