RIA Novosti: Russian ex-minister [Kudrin] says turned down government job offers over “half-hearted” reforms

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(RIA Novosti – April 7, 2015)

Aleksey Kudrin, Russia’s finance minister from 2000 to 2011, has said he still receives offers to return to the government but has turned them down because of “half-hearted” reforms, RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) reported on 7 April.

“My leaving the government, as is well-known, was related to a fundamental point about increasing spending, but not only in the military (sector), instead of carrying out structural reforms,” Kudrin was quoted as saying at a conference in Moscow.

He went on: “I have never said this straight in public before. Not carrying out reforms, half-heartedly carrying out reforms, does not allow me to return to the government today, despite the offers I receive.”

Asked about Kudrin’s statement that he had received offers to return to the government, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said “no comment”, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on the same day.

Kudrin resigned as finance minister and deputy prime minister in September 2011 at the request of the then president, Dmitriy Medvedev, after a public row with him over public spending.

In December 2011, Kudrin addressed an opposition rally to protest against the State Duma election results, but received a lukewarm response from the crowd.

In April 2012, he founded the Civil Initiatives Committee (http://komitetgi.ru/), a non-partisan think-tank that aims to support grassroots policy initiatives and civil society and hold the authorities to account.

Though often critical of the authorities, Kudrin is a long-standing associate of President Vladimir Putin, and some observers see him as a possible future prime minister.