In an interview with the Russian business daily Vedomosti (6 November 2012), former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin highlighted in particular one key concern for Russia’s future: the underinvestment in education, compared to the vast amounts being spent on the defence industry.
He notes that Russia is in this sense bucking the global trend by spending more on defence, whereas other countries have been cutting back. In addition, he comes up with a far higher figure than one mentioned by the government – RUB 30 trillion (approximately GBP 600 billion) to the year 2020, compared to the budgeted figure of RUB 20 trillion.
Kudrin also points out that the government’s announcements about spending on education are not backed by facts. He also notes that there is no agreement on educational standards or priority objectives in the sector and above all the programme actually places the onus on Russia’s constituent subjects to pay, which is unlikely to happen.
Kudrin also criticises the planned acquisition by state-controlled Rosneft of private firm TNK-BP, noting that the company is likely to follow the same path as Gazprom, which is a comparable company in the gas sector and has been becoming more and more ineffective owing to state control and poor management.