February 18th, 2011

NEWS: Russia finance minister warns economic change not possible without political change

Russia's Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin

On Wednesday Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the unspoken leader of the power tandem in Russia, met with leading economic experts to discuss Russia’s socio-economic development for 2020. According to Russia Profile:

The need for diversification of its resource-based economy has weakened the government’s tight control over the country’s vast resources…Putin, who has used such control in the past to provide a semblance of economic and political stability, now wants experts to put a more modern and efficient strategy in place.

And then in a speech today at the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum, Russia’s finance minister Aleksei L. Kudrin said that executive management of the government has been “very weak” and said that economic change is not possible without political change. “Just and fair” elections being essential in reestablishing trust with the investment and business communities. 

While avoiding the word corruption, Kudrin describes Russia’s economic policies as being determined by relationships, not the rule of law. He goes on saying,

There seem to be rules of the game, but then it turns out they are circumvented. Instead of upholding the letter of the law, we do whatever we want. As a result, we have a very weak system of management. Questions about mergers and acquisitions, or access to resources are often solved in officials’ offices. We must get away from this unsound practice.

Some experts think that Kudrin’s words demonstrates support behind Medvedev’s modernization efforts, but the inner workings of the Russian government have never been more opaque then it is now.

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