Medvedev Criticizes Bailout Lag

Ria-NovostiMedvedev touring the Salyut aircraft engine factory in Moscow on Sunday.
President Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday issued a veiled criticism of his predecessor and mentor, Vladimir Putin, saying the Cabinet has dragged its feet in implementing anti-crisis measures.

Medvedev said the Cabinet's financial rescue package had been only 30 percent implemented, which is "slower than current circumstances require."

"I have to admit that the planned measures are being implemented more slowly than we expected," he said on a visit to an engine-making plant. He did not specifically blame Putin or anyone else in the Cabinet.

Last year, the government announced more than $200 billion to help small business and prop up the economy.

Medvedev was speaking at a meeting with officials including First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko at the Salyut aircraft engine factory, Interfax reported.

Although the popularity ratings of Medvedev and Putin remain very high, there are signs that the crisis is starting to take its toll on Russia's usually united political establishment.

"It's understandable that at a time of crisis, some officials will play the role of scapegoats, and if Putin is not available [for criticism] then other officials must be blamed," said Nikolai Petrov, an analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center.

AP, Reuters, Bloomberg