Putin: Officials Should Keep Criticism Quiet or “Get Out”

November 14, 2013
RIA Novosti. Mikhail Metzel

Did Russian president Vladimir Putin just throw his prime minister Dmitry Medvedev under the bus? That’s how this article, published in the up-and-coming independent media outlet Dozhd (TV Rain), characterizes the latest statements from Putin. The pro-Kremlin outlet Ria Novosti, which first published Putin’s statements, makes no mention of Medvedev being the intended target of the statement, and neither does Putin. Dozhd, however, has connected the dots. – Ed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that officials should argue over sensitive issues within the government or the Kremlin, or otherwise “get out,” as the former finance minister, Alexei Kudrin did. So stated RIA Novosti on November 14.

Putin made this statement after raising the issue of changing the procedure for initiating criminal proceedings for tax crimes, at a meeting of the supervisory council of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives for the promotion of new projects (ASI). He pointed out that certain officials had expressed opposition to such changes.

“I’ll see the one who’s talking about this matter… My colleagues and I will talk, we’ll sort it out. But the problem here can be solved very simply: I will have to remind them that there are routines for resolving questions before going out into the media,” said the president.

He added that those “who do not agree with something,” can “go and join the expert community,” like the former finance minister.

On November 12 the prime minister of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, spoke out against the president’s bill that would restore the ability of law enforcement to initiate tax fraud cases without supporting materials from the Federal Tax Service. This very policy was abolished by Medvedev in 2011.

“Absolutely anything could be cooked up, especially when ordered and paid for, which frequently happens when one structure is fighting with another,” stressed the prime minister, adding that the number of criminal cases is not an indicator of the effectiveness of the organs of law.