Alexei Kudrin: Russia's leader in waiting?
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Alexei Kudrin: Russia's leader in waiting?

Alexei Kudrin thinks he has a solution to Russia’s twin troubles: anti-Putin street protests and an oil-financed pot of state patronage that is rapidly running out. The former finance minister tells Euromoney about his programme for reform and what he is doing to see it implemented.

Alexei Kudrin is an inconspicuous apparition, arriving without entourage in a quiet restaurant in the English countryside this summer. This is, after all, someone at the very height of the Russian elite, one of president Vladimir Putin’s oldest allies.

With rumours swirling of a new rift between Putin and his protégé prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, Kudrin is even tipped as the potential leader of an alternative, pro-market government.

The presence of Alexei Kudrin looms over his successor as Russia’s finance minister, Anton Siluanov
The presence of Alexei Kudrin looms over his successor as Russia’s finance minister, Anton Siluanov 

Over supper, near the small collegiate town of Winchester, Euromoney’s finance minister of the year for 2010 – now dean at St Petersburg State University – acts surprised at the suggestion he might be thrust into the prime minister’s role. Nevertheless, after the illiberal drift in Russia’s government since elections this March, an alternative Kudrin-led administration looks possible, and for investors, highly desirable.

Immediately after ordering food, Kudrin brings up his so-called Civic Initiative Committee. He says he created the group earlier this year to encourage political debate and pluralism in Russia. But his comments do not dismiss the suggestion that a new political party, led by him, might emerge from this initiative.

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