Posts Tagged ‘Economics’
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.
Roland Oliphant’s article in The Moscow Times on if Russia needs to increase the tax base caught my eye because he sort of implied that Elvira & Alexei have had a bit of a falling out. And actually over some ideology/economic points rather than it just being a power struggle (though that may also be part of this).
I know I don’t get econ very much, but I understand budgets because everyone has to keep one. Also, I am something of an expert on the way VVP’s mind works (not bragging, just stating a fact).
So, a few things here: I don’t think that it is fair to say that one of these ideas is better than another. Elvira & Alexei Leonidovich are coming at this from two different positions because that is what their jobs dictate. Alexei is supposed to create a budget, and manage it, and keep everyone else on it, too. And Elvira is supposed to figure out how to grow the economy and sustain long-term growth. So, combine the two, and work it out. The retirement age definitely needs to be discussed. The gap between men and women needs to be evened out somewhat, if nothing else. Also, since both men and women of retirement age work in the shadow economy anyway, I don’t think that increasing the age would be that bad. They’d still be paying in, and you’d decrease the number of people who are pensioners.
Meanwhile, VVP is totally playing the two off each other, and I can only conclude one of two things. Either it makes Alexei Leonidovich work harder & better (i.e. he is motivated by the negativity), or VVP just gets a perverse pleasure out of doing it. I would go for the latter, but I do kind of wonder about Alexei Leonidovich…