EX-MINISTER URGES MOSCOW TO TONE DOWN ANTI-WESTERN STANCE

Wall Street Journal on December 18, 2012, reported Russia’s former finance minister saying that anti-Western rhetoric, employed by Russian state officials and media, thwart the Kremlin’s attempt to turn Moscow into an international financial center,… Excerpts below:

Alexei Kudrin, sacked from the job of finance minister more than a year ago after criticizing the government’s push to vastly increase social and military spending, remains an influential figure in Russia and is said to still have the ear of President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Kudrin has said a milder tone from Moscow is urgently needed to shore up support for state institutions and start a dialog with the opposition-minded part of the middle class.

The Kremlin and the state-controlled media have portrayed the opposition as Western stooges while TV programs and newspaper articles described the U.S. and other Western countries as irksome meddlers and outright foes.

Mr. Kudrin criticized the assertion that almost all civil activity in Russia is inspired and financed from abroad.

“This is far from the truth and ignores the real problems that need to be focused on and, in terms of the economy, creates new risks for our country. Anti-Western rhetoric, new legislation on high treason and other matters are creating unfavorable conditions for foreign specialists and companies in Russia,” Mr. Kudrin said,…

For years, the Kremlin has said it wants to turn Moscow into an international financial hub.

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