Former Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin’s star is on the rise – but where to? He was recently appointed to President Vladimir Putin’s Economic Council and held a major conference of opposition-oriented NGOs under the auspices of his Civic Forum in central Moscow. As such he retains a foot in both the state and opposition camps, either of which can be a platform for his political future.
Kudrin has an impressive record - a rarity for a Russian politician. He has gotten things done – important things. As President Vladimir Putin’s finance minister from May 2000 to September 2011 he put Russia on a sound financial and monetary footing as Russia recovered from its 1998 default. He eliminated Russia’s Soviet era debt, maintained balanced budgets, and established and nourished for a decade Russia’s Stabilization Fund – a rainy day account of reserve money which helped Russia whether the more recent economic downturn and lackluster ‘recovery’. Consequently, in 2010 he was named as Euromoney’s ‘finance minister of the year.’
In September 2011 he resigned from then Prime Minister Putin’s government, claiming he disagreed with planned increases in defense-related spending. However, his resignation came in the wake of Putin’s announcement that he and not then President Dmitry Medvedev would run for the Russian presidency in 2012. He also said later that he was tired of government “half-measures and the absence of political will.”