fbpx

Gref Bucks State Orders?

Given the deeply confusing irony thrown out there in the wake of Davos, when former U.S. President Bill Clinton made sarcastic remarks over Vladimir Putin’s warnings on state intervention and his defense of free enterprise, what are we to make of these latest comments from German Gref?  The Moscow Times reports on a speech he made before a Troika Dialog investment forum, in which he complains about excessively burdensome orders from the state, which create market distortions leading away from private demand.

“State and private demand differ a lot, so there is no sense in mixing them up,” said Gref, who served as economic development and trade minister from 2000 until taking over at state-controlled Sberbank in 2007. (…)
 
“We have to maintain macroeconomic stability, support the currency, bolster the solvency of the financial sector participants, and prop up banks’ ability to give out loans and transfer money to the real sector of economy,” he said. (…)
 
Gref compared the crisis to a person who has broken all of his limbs and is stuck in a hospital. “Then you have a lot of time to lie and think,” he said. “It’s the same with the crisis.”
 
The world has sobered up now, Gref said, and must seek more efficient management both in government and business.

Now I am confused.  Is Gref just following the new orders from Putin outlined at Davos, that the state banks should just ignore the Kremlin, or is he being a maverick here?  He must feel like a Russian judge presiding over the Khodorkovsky case … nothing but mixed signals.