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Putin Smacked Down Liberal 'Expert' Kudrin at an Econ Council Meeting

The Russian president told his former finance minister that Russia's sovereignty was not on the negotiating table

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

A recent reported exchange between Vladimir Putin and the former Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin would appear to allay fears that the western-leaning economist is seeing his star rise again inside the Kremlin.

During the meeting of an economic council over the weekend, Kudrin is said to have advised that in order to once again exceed 1% growth, Russia's economy needed to shake its dependence on oil exports.

He then went further, saying Russia needed to do more to repair its relationship with the West, and integrate more closely with the Western economy:

Kudrin said that besides easing political differences with the West, Russia was lagging farther behind technologically and that another way out of the economic gutter is to integrate more fully into international production chains.  

That suggestion apparently didn't sit well with Putin. He reportedly rebuked Kudrin that while Russia doesn't seek more conflict there would be no compromise on the issue of Russia's sovereignty:

Russian leader Vladimir Putin... reportedly told the Council that Brussels and Washington need to understand that Russia has a thousand year history and “will not trade sovereignty” for nothing in return.

After the meeting, one of the members of the Economic Council reportedly told Moscow business daily Vedomosti that Putin also said “it is not in our interest to increase tensions, nor give in to provocations.”  And that foreign business are welcome in Russia.

While there can be little doubt Kudrin is right about Russia's need to diversify and invest in modernization of its infrastructure and technology, it will be very refreshing to conservatives in Russia that Putin is not willing to sacrifice Russia's independence at the neo-liberal altar as Mr. Kudrin advocated.

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