1 Jul 2010 18:39

Finance minister accused of plot against Russia

MOSCOW. July 1 (Interfax) - One of the leaders of the ruling United Russia party on Thursday accused Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin of demagogical scheming against United Russia and its leader, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and called Kudrin the effective leader of "our opponents on the right."

"He is trying to breed discontent among voters in seeking lower results for United Russia at the elections [2011 State Duma polls]," Andrei Isayev told a party meeting in reference to a proposal by Kudrin for raising the retirement age, today 60 for men and 55 for women, an idea that has been consistently opposed by United Russia.

The average Russian would assume the proposal came from United Russia, Isayev argued.

"He does not merely say he disagrees with the United Russia party, he is trying to spark indignation among voters, who are aware that the head of government is the head of United Russia and who will see a statement by a member of this government as representing a position held by United Russia," Isayev said.

"It is true that our opponents on the right are not organized as a party today, but they have acquired - during the current political season - a leader who, objectively speaking, replaces a political party for them. Alexei Leonidovich Kudrin is that leader," Isayev said.

In the past, Kudrin had avoided making any political assessments and had behaved as a technical functionary, Isayev claimed.

However, in a recent program on one of the national television channels, the minister publicly started an argument with United Russia.

"He for the first time made a political assessment, making clear that within the government, within the executive branch, there exist forces, a wing, who, objectively speaking, rally around him and who do not support United Russia," Isayev said.

"By making statements of this kind in a pre-election year, [Kudrin] is openly playing against the United Russia party," Isayev summed up.