Streetwise Professor

October 8, 2011

Kudrin’s Shrink

Filed under: Economics,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 9:10 pm

Vladimir Putin is apparently Kudrin’s shrink, as well as his former boss and friend.  Last week Putin said:

“As for Alexei Kudrin, I must say that he is definitely one of the best specialists, not only in Russia but in the world as well. This is first. Second, he is our very personal and my good friend, with whom I have maintained a very close, intimate relationship for many years, beginning in the 1990s. As we know, this decision [to fire Kudrin] was taken by the President. [It was] taken on the basis of the fact that Alexei Leonidovich made some incorrect statements about the fact that his position does not coincide with the position of the President. What can I say here now? You want me to comment on this? I think that even comments on my part at this point would be incorrect. We spoke with Alexei Kudrin on this score. I want to tell you that – this is my opinion, and that of President Medvedev – despite this emotional breakdown, Aleksey Leonidovich is still a member of our team and we’ll work with him. I hope that he will work with us. He is useful and necessary to our people.”

That sounded sort of familiar.  I vaguely recalled a similar Putin diagnosis, at the height of the crisis.  With a little digging, I confirmed that recollection:

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, addressing workers at a rail car factory north of Moscow, forecast a return to economic growth in 2010 and said Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin had predicted a longer crisis because he was stressed.

“Alexei Leonidovich (Kudrin) is in a certain state of stress, because he is under a lot of pressure and on the defensive. But I don’t think we will be under this kind of pressure for the next 20 years,” Putin said.

The fiscally prudent Kudrin on Tuesday warned Russia should not expect a return of the favorable conditions it has enjoyed in the recent years for the next “five, 10, 20 or 50 years.”

Raining on Putin’s parade, in other words, is a sign of mental imbalance.

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  1. The whole industry of Soviet punitive psychiatry was based on the premise that one must be insane to dislike the Soviet regime. The old dog won’t easily forget old tricks.

    Comment by Ivan — October 9, 2011 @ 1:11 am

  2. There are many recent examples of this neo-Soviet phenomenon:

    Comment by La Russophobe — October 9, 2011 @ 3:27 am

  3. But the 4th Reich…er, EU represents freedom, ja? To have some bureaucrat in Brussells set the size and shape rules for bananas sold in your country and force your taxpayers to bail out insolvent French and German banks ala the Federal Reserve. Anyone who argues that perhaps this is not a good idea or that Eastern Europe should have good relations with Russia out of economic self-interest is clearly a Communist who hates freedom. The advance of the EU represents the forces of Good against the Mordor of Muscovy.

    Comment by Mr. X — October 9, 2011 @ 4:03 am

  4. What is wrong with anything Putin said?

    Kudrin did indeed act inappropriately on both occasions for someone in his position. If anything Putin is covering his ass by ascribing it to stress.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — October 9, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

  5. According to a recent UN report, Russia has as many murders as the whole rest of Europe combined.

    This is the true horror of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and the worst thing of all is that Putin himself is personally responsible for a goodly number of these killings

    Comment by La Russophobe — October 9, 2011 @ 3:25 pm


    Putin has directly contradicted Medvedev on NUMEROUS occasions while serving as prime minister. By your definition that was inappropriate. Why wasn’t Putin fired and sent to a mental hospital?

    Comment by La Russophobe — October 9, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

  7. Because Putin is a distillation of the Russian people’s will, whereas Kudrin is unpopular and politically expendable.

    Besides, Kudrin wasn’t sent to a mental hospital either. In fact he remains an active participant in Russian economic policy.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — October 9, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

  8. Distillation of the Russian people’s will? You’re kidding, right? If not, you’ve descended to self-parody.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 9, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

  9. +++Because Putin is a distillation of the Russian people’s will+++

    Something tells me this line sounds much better in the original German.

    Comment by LL — October 9, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

  10. I’m totally serious.

    Anyone would have to be mad not to admire Putin, with the possible exception of Chuck Norris.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — October 10, 2011 @ 12:15 am

  11. Thanks to Living Colour-

    You gave me fortune
    You gave me fame
    You gave me power against the US name
    I’m every person you need to be
    I’m the cult of personality

    Comment by pahoben — October 10, 2011 @ 6:54 am


    So presumably you also believe that the criminal law does not apply to Putin, and he’s free to steal as much as he wants from the Russian treasury, right?

    Comment by La Russophobe — October 11, 2011 @ 5:35 am

  13. Putin is Russian people’s shame

    Comment by a.russian — October 12, 2011 @ 9:54 am

  14. “So presumably you also believe that the criminal law does not apply to Putin, and he’s free to steal as much as he wants from the Russian treasury, right?”
    Dearest Kimmie,

    Though We would love to see this proven, We have recently learned than accusation is not substantiation, alas. For most of a decade, Our favorite publications, The Economist, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and the many publications owned by Our colleague Rupert, carried editorials about the massive injustice done by Our rebellious servant Vladimir to Our junior colleague Mikhail and the fine company he started, Yukos. These publications told the world for years that the charges were false, that Our junior colleague Mikhail was being singled out for prosecution because of his political ambitions, and that Our dear Mikhail should be released immediately.

    Even the good Professor occasionally added his supportive views.

    Imagine Our distress when the European Court of Human Rights ruled last month that Yukos had indeed evaded taxes by making fraudulent use of domestic tax havens on a massive scale, and that the claim that Yukos had been singled out for political reasons was not substantiated. Two of Our favorite accusations against Our rebellious servant Vladimir, repeated endlessly for years on a global basis in every media platform We own, (as well as by Our good Professor), melted like a beautiful ice sculpture under superheated steam.

    “On 20th September the European Court of Human Rights handed down its judgment in OAO Neftyanaya Kompaniya Yukos v Russia, holding Russia guilty of three violations of the Convention in the conduct of part of its highly publicised battle with the former oil giant Yukos and its former owner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

    The judgment contains a salutary warning to those charged with recovering assets and enforcing debts.

    The application by Yukos made wide-ranging allegations that the tax case brought against the company had been a manufactured attack by the Russian authorities motivated by a desire to destroy the company, seize its assets and put an end to the political activity of Mr. Khodorkovsky. The Court rejected that claim, saying that the assessments of tax, interest and penalties were in accordance with the laws of Russia, reasonably foreseeable, and that Yukos had failed to prove that the application of those laws to Yukos was either discriminatory or motivated by a collateral political purpose. In essence, what was alleged against Yukos was that it created a network of sham companies domiciled in internal tax havens in the Russian Federation, nominally owned by third parties but in reality controlled by Yukos, to which Yukos sold oil at reduced prices. It was said that those companies then sold the oil on, either directly or indirectly, at market rate, and took fraudulent advantage of benevolent tax arrangements in their domestic jurisdictions to avoid substantial taxes on the profits. Those profits were then said to have been “gifted” by those companies back to a fund controlled by Yukos. In this way it was alleged that taxes equivalent to billions of Euros had been evaded, even before interest and penalties were added. The Court held unanimously that the Russian courts had been entitled to find that the arrangements amounted to a fraudulent tax evasion scheme. It further held that Yukos had failed to establish either that the Russian tax authorities had been well aware of the scheme long before they chose to take action, or that other companies had been involved in identical sham arrangements but had not been proceeded against. A claim for a violation of Article 1 of the First Protocol to the Convention, and for violations of Articles 14 and 18, taken together with Article 1 of the First Protocol, therefore failed.”

    Most distressing. We were so looking forward to Our $100 billion payday. It would have been sweet.

    Thus We learned, to Our cost, that accusation is meaningless, even when proliferated for years in thousands of media outlets on a global basis.

    Alas, it was not to be.

    Comment by a — October 13, 2011 @ 4:07 am

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