Alexei Kudrin Strikes Out, Again
From: Russia Insider
– “ Originally appeared: Dances with Bears
Every autumn, as regularly as trees change their colour, Alexei Kudrin (lead image), the one-time finance minister of Russia, attempts a putsch. And as regularly as leaves fall to the ground, he fails to seize the high office he thinks he deserves.
Counting the number of self-advertisements he has issued, Kudrin is the longest loser in Russian politics. Compared to other proteges of Anatoly Chubais – men like Mikhail Abyzov, Leonid Melamed, Valentin Zavadnikov, Alfred Kokh, Vladimir Kogan — Kudrin has managed to accumulate a relatively small fortune.
He is also the only minister of state whom President Vladimir Putin has publicly diagnosed as having had an “emotional breakdown”. What Putin meant is that a Russian apparatchik who keeps failing to grab power and wealth, both, when opportunity knocks, must be psycho.
Between July and September of 2011 Kudrin announced he should be prime minister. At the time Putin was prime minister preparing to take the presidency back the following March, and return Dmitry Medvedev to the prime ministry. (…)“
– “(…) Exactly what he would do differently revealed who was supporting him, and who was against him – Kudrin was opposed to increasing the defence side of the budget; he was in favour of more state bank credit to the oligarchs. “This [the Army budget] is a very significant increase,” Kudrin declared through a Finance Ministry release, “I think it creates additional risks for the budget, as well as for macroeconomics.”
At the end of September, when Kudrin was rallying US support for himself in Washington, declaring he would not agree to serve if Medvedev was reappointed, Medvedev sacked him.
If Kudrin intended to rebel, Medveded added, he “could have made his views known at an earlier date… [Kudrin’s] statements made in the United States were inappropriate and inexcusable.”
Every year since then Kudrin has leaked to the trans-oceanic press that he’s about to be appointed in place of Medvedev. He’s the friend of Russian and US capital; he’s the enemy of the Russian military, he’s said, and he may be aiming even higher than the prime ministry.
Kudrin didn’t mention US sanctions, the cutoff of capital for Russian banks, or the war to overthrow Putin. He told Bloomberg he is opposed to the Russian military, and to spending on the two war fronts – Ukraine and Syria.
According to Bloomberg, “Kudrin also reiterated his longtime criticism of high military spending, noting that while the air campaign in Syria is likely to be relatively low cost, procurement of new weapons is a major burden on the budget.”
In a parallel interview with Vedomosti, Kudrin went further, attacking Russian strategy against Turkey. He also hinted that he is on Washington’s side, warning against “the risks of unintended incidents that could worsen our relations with the countries [which are] partners of Russia.”
Kudrin is bluffing with a weak hand, US investors and Kremlin sources agree. “The value he used to have for Putin,” says one source requesting anonymity, “was that he was the door-opener for US capital, the IMF, the international banks. That’s gone now. Even Putin has been obliged to accept that.”
A well-known US banker told Russian company chiefs this month there is “a tsunami of money” waiting to flow back into Russia. The Russians laughed when the banker had left the room. “Kudrin’s promise to Putin is American money for a palace coup. He’s crazy,” a person familiar with Kudrin’s discussions with Medvedev and Putin said on Monday.
“What is important is not the chair itself,” Kommersant reported Andrei Nechaev (right), a Kudrin protégé in government and now the head of his Grazhdanskaya Initsiativa (Civil Initiative) organization, as conceding. “But certainly it should be adequate.” He implied that Kudrin is standing for business and the US against the General Staff, the intelligence services, Crimea, Novorussia, the Syrian and Turkish wars. “It’s for sure that Alexey Leonidovich will try to bring order to the budgetary process and that will improve the business and investment climate in Russia. And maybe that will irmpove the relations with our western partners, I think this is obvious. But, probably, you can’t be a genius in all these areas. Nobody can.”
Kudrin employs two spokesmen – Anastasia Urnova and Pavel Kuznetsov. Through them this week Kudrin was asked the following questions: Does he believe he can restore Russia’s access to US capital? How? Why does he think Russia should cut its defence spending? If he is not given the government job he wants, will he stop advertising for it as he has done each year since he was fired?
Kudrin refuses to answer. According to Kuznetsov, Kudrin is too busy performing at the annual convention of the Yegor Gaidar Fund and Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy. Kudrin is chairman of the Institute’s board of trustees. He has invited Anatoly Chubais to speak on the future of Russia. Regime change, sanctions, capital controls, and Russia’s defence are not on the programme.“