Alexei Kudrin, head of the Committee of Civic Initiatives (CCI), has said that the possibility that he will be appointed prime minister is “minimal,” emphasizing that he has some antagonisms with the political leadership of the country. The ex-Minister of Finance “for now” is engaged in “direct political activity.” Kudrin made this statement at an educational seminar in Voronezh on 19 May, organized under the auspices of the CCI.
Kudrin discussed his political future with participants of the School for Civic Leaders, a project run with the support of CCI and the businessman Mikhail Prokhorov. “I believe that I have a wealth of experience and capability. But I am not in agreement with a number of the decisions taken by the political leadership, and I have certain antagonisms with them. And I don’t want to be a technical prime minister, executing someone else’s politics,” Kudrin said. He noted that “at least for now,” he did not plan to take up politics actively. “It is possible that in some time the situation will change. And perhaps I will see young, strong politicians whom I will support. But now I am trying to concentrate on the development of civic institutions and regard with caution my appearance as a public politician,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kudrin criticized the government of Dmitry Medvedev for its incapacity “for strategic planning in the form in which a modern state requires it.” Kudrin argued that, as Prime Minister, Medvedev conducted federal targeted programs approved by the White House whose expenses “were beyond the available horizons of budget planning.”
“The budget in Russia is now passed and drawn up for the three forthcoming years; programs are calculated for a longer time period and not sustained by substantive financial calculations,” he noted.
Despite his reluctance to become “a public politician,” Mr. Kudrin made a number of critical remarks. He compared the current political situation in Russia with the period “about 20-30 years before the collapse of the USSR.”
“At that time the government had a chance to understand the existing trends, to not go along by inertia, and for example, not miss our opportunity to take the Chinese path of development. It is necessary that we not repeat this and reform the political system in time, including through the creation of working civic institutions,” he said. Kudrin also criticized the law designating some NGOs as “foreign agents”:
“Do its initiators realize the scale of the international communications and exchange that are being threatened? Before my departure from government, projects for such laws also came in for review. These initiatives reflect the political views and picture of the world of some of the siloviki. But in part thanks to those who were like-minded with me, such projects did not get traction. Now they ‘slip through’ much easier.”
The head of CCI reported that through the Just Russia deputy Dmitry Gudkov, his organization had tabled an amendment to a draft law under review by the State Duma on the procedure for its formation. This was in reference to a return of the majoritarian proportional system of elections to the State Duma. The essence of the CCI’s proposals amounted to a mutual absorptions of the party mandates received from lists and districts (Kommersant wrote about this 14 May). According to Kudrin, this system was supposed to lower the likelihood of a situation whereby the party possessing the administrative opportunities [i.e. the party in power—Ed.] would form the majority in the Duma through single-mandate winners. Political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin called this proposal “sane.”
“Instead of the bureaucrats from business and businessmen from the bureaucracy appointed from the center, these places will begin to be filled with local colleagues. Although this would be distorted, it would be a real representation of the regions in the federal government,” Kudrin noted.