The Moscow Times’ Olga Razumovskaya is one the commentators to have remarked upon Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin’s unusual espousing of political reform at the end of last week. The Minister told the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum that only ‘just and fair’ elections ‘will give the mandate of trust that is necessary to undertake economic reforms’. A feat of courage from the hardened technocrat? Or an artful distraction from other economic woes? And will it be noticed? Here’s her take:
Kudrin’s election-related comments seemed to have been swept under the carpet by state-owned media, which downplayed the minister’s comments in their reporting.
“This just shows the level of independence of our press,” said Lilia Shibanova, executive director of Golos, a Russian watchdog promoting fair elections.
“There is internal censorship among the editors, who chose to avoid the issue,” said Shibanova, who first saw the news on the Internet and reposted it on the organization’s blog.
The prime minister has performed a “feat of civic duty” by speakingup and talking about the elections, Shibanova said of Kudrin’s words.
United Russia seems to be more cynical about the minister’s motivations:
“If Kudrin is trying in this way to show doubt about the actionsof those currently empowered to make needed economic change, it iscausing bewilderment,” acting secretary of United Russia’s GeneralCouncil’s presidium Sergei Neverov said Saturday, according to the party’s official web site.
“This is not the first time the finance minister has made suchstatements about politics and elections,” Neverov said. “It’sinteresting that these statements coincide every time withan aggravation of economic and social problems that members of thegovernment’s financial and economic block, and, first and foremost, Mr.Kudrin, have to solve.”
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