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Ex minister criticizes Rosneft-TNK BP transaction

November 06, 2012, 11:40 UTC+3

Former Finance Minister Anatoly Kudrin characterized Dmitry Medvedev's government as "being on the weak side"

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Former Finance Minister Anatoly Kudrin, in an interview with the Vedomosti, characterized Dmitry Medvedev's government as "being on the weak side" and called Rosneft's deal with TNK BP "wrong."

"Of course, we have to wait a bit before giving an evaluation" /to the Cabinet/. But the first moves proved to be inefficient. Two crucial programs for education and science are under review, but the government still has no general plan. Every minister acts on his own. There is no consolidated policy. It is a problem," Kudrin said.

At the same time, he noted that one had to wait some time in order to give the final opinion of the government. "The government has become a hostage of populism at their own initiative," he underlined.

The government must plan only the expenditure for which it is ready to answer, the former minister said. In his view, "a considerably worsening of the effectiveness of the government’s work is taking place at present. My heart is aching for the economic policy," Kudrin said. He underlined that he had been monitoring the situation closely but would not like to discuss the issue of his return to government as yet, because he did not see any conditions for it.

Kudrin explained why his opinion regarding the defense spending did not coincide with the government and the prime minister’s: "Russia has no such opportunities and means to increase spending. If we strictly adhere to the announced targets, Russia will have to increase taxes and freeze the expenditure on other programs, such as education and infrastructure." Kudrin noted that Russia would spend some 30 trillion roubles on education before 2020, while defense spending would considerably exceed this sum. According to the official, law-enforces will cost the taxpayers 58 trillion roubles by 2020.

The former finance minister also criticized Rosneft's deal with TNK BP as "wrong." "I believe this transaction is wrong. An increase in tremendous reserves and resources of state-owned companies does not make a country happier. Look at Gazprom. At one point, it was among the world’s top companies by capitalization. At present, it continues to have high profits, but capitalization has plunged by several times. Gazprom is operating blow its capitalization by several times. The world investment companies envision some 100 billion dollars of loss in a medium term for Gazprom; this is how low they rate the quality of Gazprom's management," Kudrin said.

In the energy sector, no serious results were achieved under Sechin. "One can say we've stepped back from the reforms. What is happening now is to the detriment of the economy," the ex minister noted.

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