Russia's finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said he would decline a job in the country's next government, citing irreconcilable policy differences with President Dmitry Medvedev, who is set to become premier in a job swap with Vladimir Putin.
I do not see myself in a new government, Kudrin, 50, told reporters in Washington on Saturday, in comments he requested be released on Sunday morning.
The point is not that nobody has offered me the job; I think that the disagreements I have will not allow me to join this government.
Asked whether he would accept a role, Kudrin said: I would definitely decline. He said it was premature to comment on his future plans.
Kudrin's departure would end the longest tenure of any current finance minister in the Group of Eight.
He has won the respect of investors for his hawkish fiscal stance and decision to save windfall oil revenues in a rainy-day fund.
His comments came after the leaders of Russia's dual power structure, Putin and Medvedev, announced on Saturday that they would switch roles after parliamentary and presidential elections.
Under the job swap, Medvedev headed the list of candidates for the ruling party United Russia in December's election to the State Duma lower house of parliament, and would go on to serve as prime minister. That would clear the way for Putin to return to the presidency in March.
Kudrin, in Washington for the autumn meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, said he disagreed with Medvedev on economic policy, especially on the president's insistence that Russia hike arms spending.
Kudrin said the higher spending created additional risks to the public finances, which are increasingly reliant on high, and rising oil prices. Russia is the world's largest oil producer.
Before the crisis, our budget balanced at $90 per barrel, this year at $109 and next year at $112, Kudrin told reporters. This dependency will persist and that is risky for our economy.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly, Editing by Douglas Busvine and Andrew Heavens)