Putin names Anton Siluanov new Russian finance minister

Anton Siluanov (image from Russian finance ministry website)
Image caption Mr Siluanov served as deputy finance minister under Mr Kudrin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has named Anton Siluanov as acting finance minister after Alexei Kudrin's dramatic departure from government.

Announcing the appointment to his cabinet, Mr Putin said it had been agreed with President Dmitry Medvedev.

Mr Kudrin resigned after publicly declaring he would not sit in a cabinet led by Mr Medvedev, set to swap roles with Mr Putin next year.

In a statement, he said he had been unhappy with recent spending.

Mr Kudrin's fiscal skills were seen as crucial to Russian financial stability over the past decade.

'Increased risk'

In a resignation statement issued on Tuesday, Mr Kudrin said he had offered to resign as far back as February.

He accused the government of taking fiscal risks in spite of his objections.

"Over several months, despite my numerous objections, public and otherwise, decisions were taken regarding budget policy which undoubtedly increased the risks to budget execution," he said.

These risks, he said, were mainly related to defence and welfare but would have "spread inexorably to the whole national economy".

The former minister also said he had declined a proposal to lead Right Cause, a liberal party backed by the Kremlin.

He called it "an artificial project that in fact discredits the idea of liberal democracy".

'Lack of clout'

Announcing the new acting finance minister, Mr Putin described him as a "good specialist".

Mr Siluanov, 48, was deputy finance minister under Mr Kudrin from 2005, and responsible for overseeing the budgets of Russia's 83 regions.

According to his biography on the finance ministry's website, he graduated from the Moscow Finance Institute in the 1980s, specialising in finance and credit.

He has occupied various positions at the ministry over the past two decades.

However, analysts say Mr Siluanov does not have the same level of international influence and popularity with investors as Mr Kudrin, and that he could be replaced himself when Mr Medvedev becomes prime minister and forms a new government.

Separately, Mr Kudrin's responsibility for financial oversight as first deputy prime minister have been passed to another minister of the same rank, Igor Shuvalov.