Yavlinsky calls for returning Kudrin to government

Grigory Yavlinsky, a founder of the Yabloko party, calls for replacing the Russian government and appointing former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin a new prime minister or first deputy prime minister with a special mandate.

Grigory Yavlinsky, a founder of the Yabloko party, calls for replacing the Russian government and appointing former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin a new prime minister or first deputy prime minister with a special mandate.

"We believe the government needs to be changed - whether it's going to be the entire government or its economic block is a secondary matter. It's necessary to appoint a person who could implement a program of financial and economic measures, honestly explain the reasons [for an ongoing economic crisis in Russia], and take serious measures. Alexei Kudrin could be such a person," Yavlinsky said at a meeting of the Yabloko party federal council on Saturday.

Kudrin is "an experienced man who served as finance minister for many years," Yavlinsky said. "He could become a prime minister or a first deputy prime minister with special political credentials," he said.

Asked by journalists whether Kudrin himself is aware of Yabloko's idea of returning him to the government, Yavlinsky said, "He is always aware."

"If Kudrin is appointed, he can maintain dialogue with the president. He understands the problems, and he understands the essence of the matter," Yavlinsky said.

"He can also maintain dialogue with the Central Bank, for instance, in cooling down the commotion about the growing rates," he said.

Yavlinsky also suggested that he views an exchange rate of 60 rubles per $1 as an optimistic scenario. Futures oil options for December 2015 "are currently being concluded at $40 and $35 per barrel, and the volumes of these transactions are considerable. The most optimistic forecast for the ruble exchange rate would be if it stayed within 60 rubles [per $1], as it is now," he said.

Yavlinsky said he expects the domestic factors causing the ruble to devalue to subside by February but warned that the ruble will still be susceptible to volatility because of political and economic factors.

He also said he did not see prospects for total import substitution and warned against an isolationism policy.

"We have a lot of myths today, and one of them is the import substitution myth. Take the agricultural sector: it is impossible to substitute things there right now. You know that electricity, fuel, and other resources are very expensive, and loans are exorbitantly expensive," he said.

Yavlinsky spoke against Russia's self-restriction in its contacts with Western countries. "A great European Russia cannot develop steadily and consistently as an isolated tsardom of Muscovy," he said.

For stabilizing Russia's economy, it is necessary to lift the problem of sanctions and stabilize oil prices, he said.

Talking about the situation in Ukraine, Yavlinsky favored direct negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders to settle the crisis in Donbas.

"The main goal is to prevent war. It is necessary immediately to insist on direct negotiations between Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko regarding everything that is happening in eastern Ukraine," he said.

The Minsk agreements could serve as the basis for such negotiations, he said.

 

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