Russian Politics, & Personalities

Kudrin vs Sechin

with 2 comments

There has been a story floating in and out of Russian politics for a while regarding former Finance Minister and Deputy PM Alexei Kudrin.  It went like this: Kudrin was the leader of the economic liberals, and a counter-balance to Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, and his clan, the siloviki.

And, the narrative continued, Alexei Kudrin was the only person preventing the siloviki from dipping into the pot of money called the Stabilization Fund (a kind of rainy-day investment portfolio created for when oil prices dropped). The siloviki, the rumour mill alleged, wanted to use the money to improve infrastructure.  Finance Minister Kudrin, however, wanted to keep that money safe for its intended use: riding out any future financial crisis.

After Kudrin’s dramatic exit on Monday (video here; and English transcript here), I’ve started to wonder if the story was all fake: something that Kudrin made up and then leaked in order to make himself seem more powerful in the eyes of the West.

We may never know, but it will be interesting to see if Putin ends up authorising any withdraws from the Fund in the coming months.

P.S. I do have some reactions to the decision of the Tandem to swap, but after poring over so many others’ reactions, I may just end up doing a summary.


2 Responses

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  1. When you say that the siloviki characteristically want to invest in infrastructure improvements, what examples are you thinking about? Does this just amount to various projects involving large subsidies and state economic intervention, or does it merge with something like modernization? Could Medvedev’s innovation projects be folded into a silovik scheme?

    Kevin Rothrock

    September 28, 2011 at 6:31 AM

    • There were never any concrete examples given, to my knowledge. If you can find some, I’d be interested in seeing them. The implication was the Kudrin was protecting the Stabilization Fund from the big bad siloviki (in the form of Sechin) who wanted to raid it under the guise of “infrastructure projects”. That he was the only person in the Government protecting that money. I guess I am questioning that story now.


      September 28, 2011 at 7:45 AM

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