It is sometimes difficult to convey to many people who reside in Manichean world that the world is not Manichean and has a huge variety of shades and colors, this world also doesn't move linearly. The rumor has it now that Mr. Kudrin was offered and accepted a job of the head of the Russia's Accounting Chamber—a close relative of the US Government Accountability Office. So, was the Financial Times then right about Kudrin being offered some important government post or, as NYT (known for its "competence" in Russian affairs, wink, wink) elaborated:
Whether Mr. Putin shifts gears on economic policy hinges on the possible appointment of a liberal economist, Aleksei L. Kudrin, a former finance minister, to a new post as economic adviser, analysts said. Kremlin hard-liners oppose Mr. Kudrin for advocating an easing of tensions with the West, as well as efforts to revive trade. Mr. Kudrin has also argued for raising taxes and the retirement age to shore up the budget.
Pay attention to what all this cabal of Western media wants—they want Kudrin as an "adviser" and as someone who, in effect, guides economic policies in Russia. This is not to speak of West's wet dream of having Russia "easing" (which is tantamount to surrender) so called "tensions" with, primarily, Washington. I have some bad news then for NYT and US rabidly Russophobic policy-makers—Kudrin is not Russian government per se. Why? Very simple:
1. Position of what amounts to American analog of the Comptroller General is not related to any policy-making or "advising" Russia's government, let alone President, for a simple reason—Russia's Accounting Chamber is NOT part of the government and is, as it is in the US, a part of legislative power, that is an organ of the Federal Assembly of Russia. If I wanted to remove Kudrin away from Kremlin and Russian White House (the seat of government) I would have found no better place than put him into this position. After all, this post was offered to him by…State Duma's United Russia party.
2. Russia's Accounting Chamber has no real power except for making Predstavlenie (literally—Presentation) to Federal Assembly (State Duma + Federation Council) plus it has power to force some specific firms and organizations to properly use funds in accordance to adopted State Budget to formation of which it has virtually no relation. It exists merely to oversee Budget's implementation for Legislative Branch of Russia.
And here comes the main issue of Russia—Russia is NOT the United States where US Congress holds a real power of purse and all US internal politics revolves around the White House and Congress fighting each-other for every penny. This is absolutely NOT the case in Russia because:
c) Putin and Medvedev who threw Kudrin out of government in 2011
d) It is Russia
It is Kremlin which holds an overwhelming power over Duma and long ago turned the process of budget's approval into formality, especially now when Duma will rubber stump anything Kremlin, or Russia's government, under Kremlin's supervision, will present. Why so? Because United Russia party exists as "party of power" in Duma only while it stresses its close association to Vladimir Putin. Once this stops being the case (theoretically), this will be the end of this "party", so they know the hand that feeds them. After all, Putin has his nation behind him, United Russia, well, not so much.
So, here it is—looks like Kudrin will get this post and will do what he always was good at, when during his tenure as Russia's Finance Minister was called an "accountant". He will count budget money at the places where they are being spent—a perfect job for Kudrin. But here is another question—who "oversees" Accounting Chamber in Russia? Well, do you remember what organization Vladimir Putin is from? Do on-going processes of purging Russia's political top from corrupt people tell us anything? Absolutely. Just last week yet another batch of high level bureaucracy was sent packing.
So, no, there will be no "negotiations" with the West, there will be no "surrender", nor will there be any Kudrin's "advice" on how to formulate economic strategy. By far more important news are of Dmitry Kozak becoming Vice-Premier responsible for industrial development and energy sector. That, considering the fact of this very competent man being very close to Putin, is one of the indication of proper people getting into the fields which are crucial for Russia's development.
I can repeat myself:
Now, this rumor about Kudrin—he is not going to be, if he appears at all, in any position of power to formulate any policy in government, not to mention nationally. Certainly not as a liaison for negotiation of "surrender" to the West as some suggested. People sometimes simply forget that in modern day Russia it is Putin and his immediate team who formulate policies. I see no signs of him "surrendering". Quite opposite, actually.
Yet, as a reminder—still nothing firm was announced yet anyway. Give it a time and carry on with your lives. Will know everything in a due time.