Russia gets a new finance minister
Anton Siluanov takes the post after Alexei Kudrin's ouster
Kudrin's comments on defense spending did not sit well with Medvedev
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Tuesday named Anton Siluanov as acting finance minister after the influential Alexei Kudrin was forced out of the position he had held since 2000.
Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov will expand his duties to include fiscal responsibilities in the government, Putin said at a meeting broadcast on state-run television.
Putin said both decisions were approved by President Dmitry Medvedev, with whom Putin is set to swap roles next year.
Medvedev signed an order dismissing Kudrin Monday, after a tiff stemming from a comment Kudrin is reported to have made in Washington last Saturday. Citing differences with the president, particularly related to defense spending, Kudrin said that he would not remain in a government led by Medvedev, Interfax said.
The state-run RIA-Novosti news agency said Kudrin resigned.
The announcement came shortly after Medvedev had given Kudrin, 50, until the end of the day to decide whether to quit. Medvedev urged that Kudrin to “make up his mind about his political future,” according to the non-governmental, Moscow-based Interfax news agency.
Kudrin was unapologetic in a statement Tuesday.
“My statement about the fact that I do not see myself as a member of a 2012 Cabinet of ministers was well thought-out and balanced.”
Under Kudrin’s tenure, Russia paid off most of its foreign debt and created oil wealth funds that helped the nation weather the global economic problems of recent years, RIA-Novosti said.
Siluanov, 48, has worked at the Finance Ministry for 26 years and is in charge of inter-budget relations and defense funding. But he has not been a public figure and few have heard his name.
The finance shakeup comes as Putin, who served two terms as president from 2000 to 2008, announced Saturday he plans to return next year to the presidency and trade roles with Medvedev by naming him prime minister.
CNN’s Maxim Tkachenko contributed to this report.