Liberal Economist Kudrin Accepts Post to Monitor Russian Government Expenditure

Russia’s ex-Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has accepted a leadership post at the public finance watchdog Audit Chamber, a post that has a mandate to oversee government expenditure.

Reports ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration last Monday suggested that former finance minister Kudrin may be appointed to a senior post in charge of repairing ties with the West. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is expected to submit his cabinet for Putin’s consideration on Tuesday, the state-run TASS news agency reported.

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“The issue is not only whether the money is spent in accordance with procedures, but also whether these expenditures bring us closer to national goals and lead to substantial changes in the lives of citizens,” Kudrin wrote in an announcement on his website.

His predecessor Tatyana Golikova is expected to be appointed as deputy prime minister in charge of healthcare, education, pensions, labor and welfare.

Investors who had hoped that Kudrin’s prominent liberal economic voice would help steer reforms and stimulate growth saw his appointment as “not very inspiring,” Bloomberg reported.

“Russia will be living in survival mode, no one is talking about development,” Bloomberg quoted political scientist Valery Solovei as saying.

Kudrin said he would for now keep his post at the Center for Strategic Development, Russia’s main think tank on economic policy, which he has headed since 2016, Interfax reported.

Kudrin left the post of finance minister in 2011, leaving the government that he served for over a decade, after a disagreement with then-President Dmitry Medvedev over increased military spending.

themoscowtimes.com