The Russian Federation could be in for five more years of economic stagnation, warned Alexei Kudrin, former Russian Minister of Finances on Tuesday.


The discussion, at the 15th anniversary of first election victory of Vladimir Putin in 2000 round table, was market by the predictions of Kudrin, which the Russia’s economy will continue to fall in the coming years. “We will emerge from the crisis into economic stagnation. Structural reforms were not done in time. This is the most serious challenge facing the president — a stagnating economy at least for the next five years,” the former Minister said, adding that “From 2012 to 2018 economic growth will be 1.5 percent (per year), in the best case — 2 percent.”

Alexei Kudrin was the head of the Ministry of Finance for 11 years, from 2000 to 2011. He was considered to be a reformer, and worked on reducing the nation’s foreign debt. After a fallout regarding economic policy with Dmitry Medvedev, acting Prime Minister of the Russian Federation in 2011, Kudrin had to resign.  Criticism of Putin is rare in Russia, despite the economic crisis in the Russian Federation caused by the falling oil prices, the foreign pressures and sanctions enforced because of the Russian involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Putin still enjoys an 85% support, recorded in March by the Levada Center, an independent pooling body in Russia. The decreased value of the Russian ruble and the heavy inflation affecting the income in Russian homes doesn’t seem to hurt Putin’s ratings.

Kudrin suggests that the President Vladimir Putin could use the support he has to push through the necessary reforms that he promises, which still haven’t been delivered. The high ratings should be used to conduct hard reforms said Kudrin, adding that “If this rating is not used to push through reforms it will be just a rating for the sake of a rating.”