Leading Russian liberal economist does not rule out he may come back to power

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax -June 1, 2015)

Head of the Committee for Civil Initiatives, former Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin does not rule out he may come back to power structures if the country is going to carry out reforms, political among them.

In his interview to the Russian privately-owned news agency Interfax on 1 June he said: “I’ve never ruled out a comeback to power. I don’t want to talk about any posts but such an option [of coming back] is possible under favourable conditions: if the authorities are set to carry our reforms, as was the case in the early 2000s.”

Asked if it is at all possible within the present-day political context, Kudrin said: “Not now , this is why I am not there.”

Kudrin says he has received proposals to head the Central Bank of Russia but he has not given his consent. “I believe that the Central Bank will have to follow the government’s policy in the near future, and it will not be highly effective,” Kudrin said.

Asked when he may come back to power structure, Kudrin said: “As soon as the need arises, I don’t know, in three or ten years.” Kudrin said he was ready to work with President Vladimir Putin again on condition “that reforms, political among them, were conducted”.

Kudrin is not going to be involved in political activity at present, nor does he intend to support any political parties, he said. “Such political parties do not exist. This is why I focused my effort at working with civil society,” Kudrin said. “The political sphere in Russia is not developed,” he added, this is why he “does not see anything interesting it it”.

“I devote two thirds of my time to educational and scientific projects. I am interested in this and I hope that my activity will yield serious results,” the former minister said.

In a separate development Kudrin commented on the political landscape in the country. Putin will stand for president in 2018, Kudrin supposed, but he will not change the constitution in order to remain in power after 2024.

“Yes, it’s pretty obvious that he will (stand for president in 2018 – Interfax). It is my personal assumption, though,” Kudrin told Interfax. At the same time. “if Vladimir Putin goes by his own re-election given the present-day ranking, this seriously reduces the ambition and chances of all others”, he said.

Asked if Putin would be ready to hand over power to another person in 20424, Kudrin said: “I proceed from the Russian constitution. I expect that nobody, Vladimir Putin among them, will not change it or adjust it to suit himself.” “Turnover of power is a most important part of modern society and state. Without it the economy won’t have any serious prospects, either,” Kudrin said.

Commenting on Putin’s comeback as president in 2012 and its justification, Kudrin said that “this question is more complicated and he was not going to comment on it at present.” At the same time Kudrin said that he himself stepped down as Minister of Finance “when he learned about Putin and [Prime Minister Dmitriy] Medvedev trading jobs”.

As for the current political system in Russia, Kudrin said that “the Kremlin has a great impact on the nature of the election”.

“In terms of selection criteria and competition of parties, the work of the present-day political system is unsatisfactory. I believe that the country has a sufficient number of opposition forces that could represent large groups of populations in the parliament. Until the state corrects this situation, the party system won’t be effective,” Kudrin said. “The opportunities of a number of political organizations were lowered in advance, and this puts normal people off political activity,” he added.

Asked to comment on protest leader Aleksey Navalnyy, Kudrin described him as an “outstanding” politician. “Another matter is that he has a marginal programme. He has chosen a rather populist topic of combating corruption, which is probably right in terms of tactics of the political struggle. “Other aspects of Navalnyy’s programme are unclear, this is why he is more of an enigma to me,” Kudrin said.

Kudrin has another fundamental objection against Navalnyy’s programme. “I oppose the idea of calling on Western states to strengthen political and economic sanctions against one’s own country or even individual citizens,” he said. “I understand politicians who do so to an extent: they have a meagre set of political struggle means at their disposal, they are undeservingly and hopelessly limited in their activity. However, appeals to put pressure on one’s own country are unacceptable for any opposition. I cannot support people like this,” he said.

The full text of the interview is available at www.interfax.ru

In Russian here http://www.interfax.ru/444787