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Former Russian Finance Minister Sets Up Opposition Group

Former Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin speaks during a press conference in Moscow on April 5.
Russia's former longtime finance minister, Aleksei Kudrin, says he is setting up an independent group to pressure the Kremlin and promote alternatives to the policies backed by the government.

Kudrin, 51, served as finance minister between 2000 and 2011 and had been viewed as a close ally of Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin, who has been in power since 2000.

Last year, Kudrin reportedly resigned over a disagreement with now outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev and announced his intention to support the emerging opposition movement, which staged a series of protests against Putin's rule after last December's disputed parliamentary elections.

Kudrin said on April 5 the committee he was establishing would feature prominent public figures, be independent, and seek to draft and promote the "best options" for Russia's development.

Based on reporting by AP and ITAR-TASS