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Ex Russia FinMin Kudrin considers return to government

Reported by Louisa Bojesen, written by Catherine Boyle
Would consider return to Russian government: ex-Fin Min

Alexei Kudrin, the former Russian finance minister, is considering a return to high office – but only with "clear policies and more reforms" to the economy, he told CNBC.

"I'm really concerned about the fate of the Russian economy," Kudrin, who while he was in power was believed to have the ear of Russian President Vladimir Putin, told CNBC.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends the closing ceremony of the Europe-Asia summit (ASEM) in Milan, Oct. 17, 2014.
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"We need more clear policies and more reforms. And if the government and the President consider this possible, if I considered such policy is possible, I would participate in this way (a return to government) or another."

Kudrin resigned as Russia's finance minister in September 2011, after more than a decade at the helm of Russia's economy. He has been credited with steering the country through the economic crisis of 2008-09, and was seen as a stabilizing influence on Russia's sometimes volatile economy.

Alexey Kudrin
Sasha Mordovets | Getty Images
The Arctic oil rig 'Prirazlomnaya' in the Barents Sea owned by energy giant Gazprom, near Naryan Mar, Russia.
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Recent news on Russia's economy, after oil price declines and the impact of sanctions by Western countries, seems to be going from bad to worse. The latest blow is a downgrade of its sovereign credit rating by U.S.-based ratings agency Moody's to just two notches above junk, making it more likely that one of the major global credit ratings agencies will downgrade its debt to junk status.

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"The economy's weak," Kudrin said – and argued that the government would have to use unpopular measures like raising the retirement age to address some of the problems.

Alexey Kudrin
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More significantly for international markets, he said: "We should sustain all the market institutions and we should step up our interaction with international markets in terms of capital flows."

Russia's economy could grow even if the price of oil continued at around its current $85 per barrel level – and if it fell to around $80 per barrel, Kudrin said.