Alexander Golts has a similar take on the Kudrin affair, arguing that (a) Putin is really responsible for the spending spree that unsettles Kudrin, and (b) that Kudrin was sending a message to Putin:
In reality, however, it was Putin and not Medvedev who approved the increase in military spending. Therefore, any talk of a difference between Putin and Medvedev on defense expenditures is meaningless. The real reason for Kudrin’s sharp statement is that he does not want to be held responsible for the looming financial disaster that the Putin government is provoking.
It is no wonder that Kudrin placed so much importance on wasteful spending on defense. The re-armament program alone will cost 20 trillion rubles ($623 billion) from 2011 to 2020. These expenditures were approved despite the fact that all previous weapons programs have ended in complete failure. The plan is being implemented at a time when arguments between the Defense Ministry, military design bureaus and manufacturers over the exorbitantly high price of weapons systems reached their peak this year, resulting in many contracts going unfulfilled.
Putin is more responsible than Medvedev for this state of affairs. After all, it was during Putin’s presidency that the defense industry became a parody of the Soviet military-industrial complex. Several hundred defense companies were corralled into state-owned conglomerates, destroying the remaining elements of competition among military firms. The majority of companies that were merged into state-owned giants were highly ineffective and on the verge of bankruptcy. As a result, the end price for any piece of military equipment — from missiles and armored transport vehicles to combat aircraft — included not only the amounts that were stolen, but also the huge operating losses of inefficient factories.
Kudrin could not remain silent anymore on the massive waste and inefficiency in the defense sector, and there is a good reason for this. He understands perhaps better than anyone that Russia’s fiscal ship is sinking, and he has decided to jump overboard while he still has an opportunity.
Kudrin is the first to jump ship. Who will be next?