Putin takes all key Russia economic decisions: Kudrin

Russian President is seen as dominant partner in the ruling tandem with PM.

Washington: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin decides on all of Russia`s key economic policies, although President Dmitry Medvedev also gets a say on matters like taxes, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said in a magazine interview.

"He personally takes all key decisions, in line with his understanding of economics," Kudrin, a 10-year veteran at the helm of the ministry and thus the longest serving G8 Finance Minister, told Euromoney magazine in an interview.

"In terms of taxes, the deficit, big government programs -- every decision is taken together with the president and the prime minister," he added.

Putin is seen as the dominant partner in the ruling tandem with Medvedev and has made domestic economic issues a priority.

Kudrin, who received the magazine`s Finance Minister of the Year award over the weekend while at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings, later told journalists that Putin has not supported all of his proposals.

"Putin is a politician and that`s why he tries to feel a balance -- social, political," Kudrin said.

Kudrin`s fiscal prudence has made him unpopular among some Russian politicians who would like to keep spending higher.

Putin has generally backed Kudrin`s cautious approach, which helped Russia accumulate the oil wealth funds that saw it through the worst crisis in 15 years in 2009.

But some of the minister`s proposals -- such as higher taxes for the oil sector -- have recently been rejected. Some analysts are concerned that Kudrin could lose more ground as the approach of 2011 Parliamentary and 2012 Presidential Elections increases the temptation for costly populist measures.

Bureau Report