A Reformer May Come Back to the Kremlin
▶ Investors want Alexei Kudrin to fix the economy ▶ But will Putin let him “take on the ‘power vertical’ ”?
With the Russian economy mired in recession, investors are hoping the government will come up with a credible rescue plan. Many are nostalgic for Alexei Kudrin, who in 11 years as finance minister imposed fiscal discipline and backed market reforms that buoyed the economy. He created a special fund designed to tide over the government in case of a sharp downturn. President Vladimir Putin has relied on that fund heavily as the recession has deepened.
A prominent economist and longtime Putin ally, Kudrin left the government in September 2011 after clashing with then-president Dmitry Medvedev, currently prime minister. Now he’s in talks with Putin and other top officials about returning to a senior post to help deal with the worsening economy, according to three people familiar with the discussions. Kudrin met privately with Putin and Medvedev as recently as the second half of December to discuss the plans, though no formal offer has yet been made, the people say. A decision could come early in 2016.
“I met with Prime Minister Dmitry