Russia’s finance minister rebelled on Sunday against Vladimir Putin’s plan to make President Dmitry Medvedev his Prime Minister if he returns to the Kremlin by saying he would not serve in the next government.
Foreign investors were alarmed by Alexei Kudrin’s snub after Putin announced he will run for president next March in an election that could extend his rule until 2024.
Kudrin, a Putin ally, has prime ministerial ambitions and said he had "disagreements" with Medvedev who may now struggle to establish his credibility as premier after being forced by Putin to renounce his dream of a second term as president.
“I do not see myself in a new government,” Kudrin, 50, said in comments released in Washington, where he was meeting global policymakers.
“I think that the disagreements I have (with Medvedev) will not allow me to join this government.”
Kudrin won the respect of investors as a guardian of financial stability by saving windfall oil revenues for a rainy-day fund which helped Russia through the 2008 global economic crisis.
"He is as close to Putin as Medvedev. Perhaps this is a bid for the role of prime minister," said Roland Nash, chief strategist at Verno Capital hedge fund.
Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Troika Dialog brokerage, said Putin liked both Medvedev and Kudrin but “will have to make a choice between which of the two he needs more”.
Putin and Medvedev have ruled the world's largest country in a power 'tandem' since Putin had to yield the presidency in 2008 after serving the maximum two consecutive terms.