Russia's finance minister was 'bored': Medvedev

30th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday his former finance minister Alexei Kudrin, whom he dramatically fired this week despite his widely-admired fiscal prudence and success record, was "bored."

"I have a feeling that he had simply somewhat spent too long in this job, indeed he himself might have become bored," Medvedev told Russia's three main television channels.

Medvedev over the weekend made a stunning announcement that he would voluntarily step aside from his Kremlin post to let his patron Vladimir Putin run in 2012 presidential elections. He said he himself would become prime minister, the post Putin holds now.

Analysts have said the 46-year-old president, who had repeatedly said he would want a second term to press ahead with his modernisation agenda, had disappointed many supporters and his television interview looked like a bid at damage control.

The longest-serving finance minister of any major world power, Kudrin had been in the job since 2000 but appeared to have fallen victim to the surprising job swap announcement.

Many observers said Kudrin, credited with successfully guiding Russia's $1.5-trillion economy through the global financial crisis, had himself harboured ambitions of becoming Russia's next prime minister.

After Kudrin publicly said he would not serve in a Medvedev government because he did not agree with his spending policies, he was fired by the Kremlin chief during a televised government meeting for violation of discipline.

Speaking to the state-controlled television channel, Medvedev said Kudrin had in fact first approached him earlier this year and said he did not see himself in the new government.

Medvedev said Kudrin told him that "he understands -- it does not make sense for him to work in the future government, he'd worked as finance minister for too long."

Medvedev's claim contradicts a statement from Kudrin just days before his dismissal saying he was ready to work in the government after elections to promote reforms.

Kudrin has lost his post despite being close to Putin, whom he helped bring to Moscow from Saint Petersburg in the 1990s. Analysts said his departure posed risks to Russia amid the debt jitters rocking Europe and other growth concerns.

© 2011 AFP

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