Possible candidates for Russia’s finance minister position

President Dmitry Medvedev fired Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin on Monday for his comments that he did not want to work in a future government headed by Medvedev after March presidential elections.

Among the possible candidates to replace Kudrin are:

TATYANA GOLIKOVA,  Health and Social Development Minister, formerly First Deputy Finance Minister.

Golikova, 45, has been working in the Finance Ministry since 1990 and in her later years there was responsible for the budget. She became Health and Social Development Minister in 2007 and started to reform welfare and medical systems, causing a barrage of criticism from medical professionals.

However, she always enjoyed government support.

SERGEI IGNATYEV, head of the central bank, formerly First Deputy Finance Minister.

Ignatyev, 63, had been working intermittently at the Finance Ministry since 1992. He is one of post-Soviet reformers who came to power together with Yegor Gaidar, the architect of Russia’s initial post-Soviet era reforms, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 2002, he became head of the central bank which has recently been strongly criticized for its failures in banking supervision after the collapse of International Industrial Bank, one of Russia’s largest banks, in 2010 and severe problems discovered this year in the country’s fifth largest bank, Bank of Moscow.

MIKHAIL ZADORNOV, head of VTB-24 retail bank and former Finance Minister.

Zadornov, 48, was one of the team of Grigory Yavlinsky who set up liberal Yabloko party. Zadornov was a State Duma lower house deputy in 1994-1997 and headed the budget and finance committee there. In 1997 he became  finance minister and was virtually the only government official who kept his post after the 1998 economic crisis.

In 2000-2005, he returned to parliament after which he became head of the retail arm of state-run VTB bank.

SERGEI SHATALOV, Deputy Finance Minister in charge of taxes

Shatalov, 61, has been working in the Finance Ministry since 1995. He is the author of the country’s tax reform, which in 1998 was voted down by the then communist-dominated Duma. Shatalov then resigned from the ministry and joined one of the then Big Six auditing companies. He returned to the Finance Ministry in 2000, when parliament became less recalcitrant and implemented his tax reform plan.

ARKADY DVORKOVICH, Medvedev’s key economic aide and one of his most influential advisers, has earlier in September called for a government reshuffle this year or no later than when a new government was formed after the March polls.

Dvorkovich, 39, who was educated in Moscow and the U. S., has said he was strongly opposed to a proposal to raise taxes by Kudrin, a close ally to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, because it would hurt business and economic activity. After Kudrin’s resignation, Dvorkovich cited Kudrin as one of his teachers.

Dvorkovich used to work with the Economic Expert Group at the end of the 1990s helping the Finance Ministry with macroeconomic research. In 2001-2004, he was Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister. In 2004-2008, Dvorkovich headed the expert department of the presidential administration and became Medvedev’s aide after his election four years ago.

SERGEI ALEKSASHENKO, director for macroeconomic research at the Higher School of Economics, formerly Deputy Finance Minister and first central bank chairman

Aleksashenko, a 52-year old liberal, was Deputy Finance Minister in 1993-1995 and first deputy central bank chairman in 1995-1998. He quit the central bank after the 1998 economic crisis to do some scientific work and head Russian and foreign companies. He is an ardent critic of Russia’s economic and political authorities.

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