Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin thanked former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin on Tuesday for his firm and responsible financial policy that helped Russia weather the economic and financial meltdown of 2008-2009.
Kudrin, 51, a longtime ally of Putin, was dismissed as finance minister and deputy prime minister last year following a row with now outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev over budget issues including rising defense spending.
“I would like to thank the staff of the Finance Ministry and personally its longtime head Alexei Kudrin for professionalism, firmness, responsibility and principled approaches in implementing their financial strategy and tactics,” Putin said at a meeting of the ministry’s enlarged board.
Putin said that although it was hard to foresee in detail the onset and the development of the crisis, Russia proved prepared for it and had a solid “safety margin” with its Reserve and National Welfare Funds that helped the country recover quickly from the global meltdown.
Russia’s economy reached a record low inflation rate of 6.1 percent in 2011 for the past 20 years while its government debt was less than 10 percent of GDP, which was several times smaller than the government debt in Europe and the United States, Putin said.
Kudrin had served as finance minister in 2000-2011, under whom the Russian government had paid most of its substantial foreign debt and created oil wealth funds to soften the blow of the global slump.