Kudrin Does Not See Way Back to Govt For Now

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 6 (Interfax) – Former Russian finance minister and current head of the Civil Initiatives Committee, Alexei Kudrin, is not upset with Dmitry Medvedev, who sacked him when he was president, and does not regret quitting the government.

“I will say that at the moment I do not see the conditions for my return,” Kudrin said in an interview with the newspaper Vedomosti, published Tuesday.

He said he did not regret leaving the government “because I am absolutely sure that such policy could not be carried out,” although he does miss it.

“I have a lot of work, a lot to do that I chose for myself and that brings me satisfaction. But of course I am concerned about economic policy. I carefully follow it,” the former finance minister said.

Kudrin said he was not upset with Medvedev over the public resignation. “We disagree in our economic policy visions, and this was announced,” he said.

He said that he could see flaws in the entire economic policy. “It is carried out by both Medvedev and Vladimir Putin. The government drafts measures and the president agrees with them. This is very important. It can happen the other way around, with the president taking decisions and the government agreeing without complaint.”

Kudrin reckons that the current Russian government is “fairly weak.”

“Of course we have to wait a bit before making an evaluation. But the first steps have not been very efficient. Two key programs are being considered – education and science, but the government still does not have a general plan. Everyone in the government is acting on their own. There is no consolidated policy, and that is a problem,” he said.

Nevertheless, Kudrin said the government’s budget regulation was a “positive decision,” which he says will “have an impact on the entire macroeconomic situation in the country.”

Asked by Vedomosti whether he has told the president his comments and doubts, the former finance minister said he was not prepared to divulge how their discussions are progressing. “I can only say that we are discussing,” he said. Kudrin said they do talk about policy, but meetings have become less frequent.

Putin and Kudrin last met “more than a month ago.”

Kudrin willing to offer professional discussion on political system in Russia

A politician is not necessarily a person who attends rallies, Kudrin told Vedomosti.

“We have a very superficial view of politics: if you attended a rally, you are a politician, if you didn’t – you are not. That is not the case. Of course, protests are important, especially in this period, but that does not mean that everybody needs to go out to all rallies again,” Kudrin said.

“I see my role somewhere else: in offering discussion on the political system in Russia at a very deep professional level,” the former minister said.

Thus, the Civil Initiatives Committee set up by Kudrin draws conclusions on the law on rallies, on governor elections, the law on non-profit organizations and others, which bear direct relation to policy.

“The opposition – or rather what is called the opposition (I would say opposition in quotation marks) – is accused of not having a program, its opinion on key issues. That is fair. Policy needs a program,” he said.

“Who is more of a politician at the moment?” he said.

“My colleagues and I really want to consider all these points and offer our position. I really think that we are doing more for policy than those who hold public rallies – this is important, but in a different format,” he said.

An example, he said, is the school of political leaders that is being established “where we will talk about these things: what the country needs, what election system there should be, what political system. This is a different format, and I think it has more potential,” he added.

Kudrin said he made his political choice long ago and has not deviated from it.

“Today (a(euro) ) I can freely and fully talk about any position. Especially now thatthere is all the more reason to talk about the political system in Russia,” he said.

Asked about the possibility of new large rallies, Kudrin said, “I think this is of course possible under certain conditions. But history shows that such a period can be a long one.”

“I am not saying any terms, just that it could be in ten years. It could be anything – three years and 20 years,” he added.

“This depends on the mastery of the authorities in terms of manipulation and progress – certainly something will be done. I am sure that public opinion and reaction will be taken more into account,” he said.