Finance minister rules out role in next Russian government

Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:54am EDT
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By Lidia Kelly

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has ruled out taking a job in Russia's next government, citing irreconcilable policy differences with President Dmitry Medvedev, who is likely to become premier in a job swap with Vladimir Putin.

Kudrin is the longest serving finance minister in the Group of Eight and has won the respect of investors for his hawkish fiscal stance and decision to save windfall oil revenues in a rainy-day fund.

"I do not see myself in a new government," Kudrin, 50, told reporters in Washington on Saturday, in comments he requested be released on Sunday morning.

"The point is not that nobody has offered me the job; I think that the disagreements I have will not allow me to join this government."

Asked whether he would accept a role, Kudrin said: "I would definitely decline."

He said it was premature to comment on his future plans.

He spoke after the leaders of Russia's dual power structure, Putin and Medvedev, announced on Saturday they would switch roles after parliamentary and presidential elections.

Under the job swap, Medvedev will lead the list of the ruling United Russia party in December's election to the lower house of parliament, making way for Putin to return to the presidency next March and Medvedev to become prime minister.   Continued...