Moscow mayor slams Kremlin economic policyMoscow's mayor criticized the Russian government's economic policies amid the financial crisis and called for a bigger state role in the economy in an interview published by a business daily on Tuesday.
"The monetary policy pursued by our authorities is one of the key reasons behind the serious consequences experienced by the real economic sector at the moment," Yury Luzhkov told Kommersant.
Luzhkov said, as quoted by the daily, that Russia with its huge gold and currency reserves has suffered more from the current global credit crunch than Europe, which "is closer to where the crisis originated."
He blamed Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin for storing windfall oil revenues in reserve funds rather than investing the money in the economy.
"The money was not used to develop our economy. Zero was invested in infrastructure projects, zero or very little in the real economy," Luzhkov told the daily. "These are the reasons that explain the crisis."
Kudrin's liberal economic bloc in the Russian government has argued that massive investment using oil revenues could harm the economy fueling inflation and destabilizing the ruble.
Russia, which is heavily dependent on oil and gas exports, has been hard hit as energy prices have plummeted as the crisis has dampened demand worldwide.
President Dmitry Medvedev sacked four regional leaders on Monday in a move experts said was punishment for poor performance and a warning to others.
In a televised interview on Sunday, Medvedev said some of the regional governors were "inept and inefficient," and not "responsible enough in dealing with unemployment" amid the ongoing financial crisis.
Luzhkov said Russian businesses were now struggling to repay loans they had taken from foreign banks that had offered lower interest rates than those in Russia, the paper reported. He said businesses and banks had a total of $570 billion in foreign liabilities.
"You are asking me what is to be done?" Luzhkov said. "I believe the state, strange as it might seem, should nationalize a whole series of branches of the economy... to help them live through this period... and put them on sale afterward."RIA Novosti
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