It’s not clear what role Financial Minister Alexei Kudrin plays at the Kremlin, as he seems to disagree with everything the government does.
In the short term, Kudrin warns of inflation risks, and he’s furious at the central bank’s plan to cut interest rates.
Of course, inflation is only a problem because of a windfall profits from high oil prices. Long term, he says Russia is facing a budget crisis — precisely because Putin squandered a decade of oil money:
The past decade “can be called various names: the era of restoration, the Putin era, the era of improvement in the standard of living,” Kudrin said.
But, he lamented, those years were not used to “create a new base for a new future economy.”
The finance minister has scored a few victories, such as keeping hands out of a multi-billion dollar reserve during the good times, but he will lose the battle. Russia is Putin’s kingdom and its people don’t care about the future.
Here’s why Russia is toast >
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.