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By John Helmer, Moscow

The Kremlin through Dmitry Peskov, the President’s spokesman, has endorsed Alexei Kudrin’s call for changing Russia’s foreign and defence policy to save the country from American sanctions. “We can perhaps agree with the point of view [of Kudrin],” Peskov said, “   except [that the reason] is not the foreign policy of Russia, but the international situation that is developing – the situation of pressure on Russia, unilateral actions in the trade and economic field, illegal restrictions and the terrorist threat.”

Peskov also wished Kudrin many happy returns for his 58th birthday.

Putin’s spokesman was responding on Friday to reporters’ questions about a speech Kudrin gave to the oligarch lobby, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE), in Moscow two days earlier.  Kudrin had said then: “Today Russia’s foreign policy should be subordinated to the reduction of tension in our relations with other countries and, at least, to the preservation or reduction of the sanctions regime, not to the build-up. Today I would measure the effectiveness of our foreign policy on these indicators. We do not have such global problems for Russia —  risks of military and political importance which would require increasing tension with other countries.” Click to read in full.  

In the west Kudrin has been given credit for the recovery of the Russian economy until sanctions began in 2014; in Russia he is remembered as the first deputy finance minister in charge at the August 1998 default by the Russian Government on its treasury bonds, the collapse of the rouble, and the crash of several system banks.  President Vladimir Putin promoted him to Finance Minister and  Deputy Prime Minister until 2011. For Kudrin’s programme for promoting himself in the succession to Putin, and his policy of capitulation to the US, read this.

Kudrin has lobbied the Kremlin through the Anglo-American media, arguing, as his spokesman told  the Financial Times, that Kudrin is now the only Russian political figure acceptable to the US and NATO.  

Source: https://www.ft.com/

“If Kudrin joined the administration or government, it would indicate that they have agreed on a certain agenda of change, including in foreign policy, because without change in foreign policy, reforms are simply impossible in Russia… Kudrin is the only one in the top echelons with whom they will talk in the west and towards whom there is a certain trust.”

Opposition from the Russian military prevented Putin from following through. Instead, he gave Kudrin a caretaker role, nominating him to be Chairman of the Accounting Chamber, the state auditor. On May 22 Kudrin was confirmed over an unprecedented vote of parliamentary opposition.  

On Friday Peskov encouraged Kudrin’s return to power, defending Putin’s performance “so far” — without rejecting Kudrin’s policy. “The international situation”, Peskov said, “– the  pressure on Russia, the adoption of illegal restrictions, unilateral action in the trade and economic direction, the terrorist threat. Of course, all this is a challenge in terms of our plans for the development of the country, but so far the leadership has managed to successfully cope with these challenges.”

The state news agency RIA-Novosti also reported Peskov as adding that “we are talking about the illegal actions of a number of Western countries. Therefore, it is legally incorrect to call these actions sanctions. These are restrictions.”


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