September 26, 2011

The fallout from Vladimir Putin‘s announcement that he plans to return to the Kremlin is being felt throughout Russia, with a key liberal official indicating that he plans to quit the government.

The finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, a darling of the west because of his commitment to the free market and fiscal conservatism, said he would refuse to serve under Dmitry Medvedev, who is due to replace Putin as prime minister. His departure would deal a severe blow to liberal elements inside the ruling regime.

“I do not see myself in a new government,” Kudrin said during a visit to Washington. “The point is not that nobody has offered me the job; I think that the disagreements I have [with Medvedev] will not allow me to join this government.”

The reformist minister said disputes about spending were to blame and it was unclear why he blamed Medvedev when Putin has the final say over the country’s economic path.

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