Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Monday a new economic crisis in Russia may lead to a change of government.
“The country was affected by a similar crisis, caused by falling oil prices, in 1990 and 1998,” he said in an interview with the MK daily newspaper.
“That ended in what was effectively a change of government. It could happen again.”
He warned of “serious problems,” especially on the “interregional” level.
“The threat of division will always be an element of our history,” he said, admitting however that there was probably no danger of the country’s disintegration.
Only a “sound economic policy” can consolidate society, said Kudrin, who is head of the Civil Initiatives Fund, a think tank that casts itself as an advisory body on political and economic issues under president-elect Vladimir Putin.
A longtime Putin ally, Kudrin was fired as finance minister and deputy prime minister last year following a row with President Dmitry Medvedev over budget issues including rising defense spending.
He said he would not serve in any future administration headed by Medvedev, who Putin has said will be prime minister in his new government, after he is inaugurated as president on May 7.