Kudrin: Reforms of govt system main remedy for Russia’s economic woes

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Former Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin has argued that Russia badly needs to reform its government system to be able to heal its increasingly ailing economy.

Governmental reforms are pivotal to Russia’s economic recovery, and each year of delay with them would cause problems that would take several years to resolve, Kudrin, who is credited with a policy that dampened the effect on Russia of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, told reporters after an annual shareholders’ meeting of Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender.

During the meeting, held in Moscow on May 29, Sberbank chief executive Herman Gref had also advocated governance reforms and complained that none had been launched yet.

Kudrin said some economic reforms per se would be feasible even before governance is reformed.

Kudrin left government in autumn 2011 over a public row with then president Dmitry Medvedev, which was, by that time, perhaps the only record in the history of the Soviet Union and post-communist Russia of an official of such rank resigning on principle.

Kudrin said he would not serve in a government that was expected to be headed in several months’ time by Medvedev in the capacity of prime minister.

Among other things, Kudrin protested against plans to boost military spending, thereby encroaching on what had always been a sacred cow both for Soviet and post-Soviet Russian governments.

Gref was economics minister from 2000 to 2007 and was reputed to be a liberal reformer during his ministerial tenure. He has headed Sberbank since 2007.

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