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Andrei Illarionov Resigns from Russia's Government

Congratulations to Andrei Illarionov, a good man, for speaking truth to power within the Kremlin for so long:

FT.com / World / Europe - Putin adviser quits, saying Russia "no longer free" : by Neil Buckley in Moscow December 27 2005 17:04: Andrei Illarionov, President Vladimir Putin's chief economic adviser but also an acerbic critic of the Kremlin's grab for economic power, offered his resignation on Tuesday, saying Russia was "no longer free." Mr Illarionov famously described Russia's partial renationalisation of the Yukos oil company 12 months ago as the "scam of the year"; days later he was stripped by Mr Putin of his role as Russia's "sherpa", or representative, to the Group of Eight industrialised nations.Still, he survived in his post as economic adviser another year despite evermore blunt outbursts, prompting some analysts to consider him him a "court jester" kept on to promote the appearance of plurality and tolerance within the Kremlin.The resignation of one of the most prominent champions of liberal economic reform occurred days before Russia takes over the presidency of the G8 amid scrutiny of its record on democracy and freedom of speech. It came as Russia's upper house on Tuesday approved controversial controls on charities and human rights groups....

Mr Illarionov added he had considered it important to remain in his job "as long as I had the opportunity to do at least something including speaking out", implying he no longer had that freedom.His announcement came a week after a press conference in which he said Russia was moving to a "corporatist" model, dominated by state-controlled companies chaired by government representatives which did not always function according to economic criteria.... "In six years, the situation in the Russian economy has changed radically," Mr Illarionov said. "There is no longer any possibility of conducting a policy of economic freedom."

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