Putin-critic Guriev appointed chief economist at EBRD

By bne IntelliNews November 3, 2015

Leading Russian economist and Kremlin critic Sergey Guriev will take up the post of chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in autumn 2016, the bank said on November 3.

The EBRD decision to hire Guriev for the vacant top post despite a one-year delay in his availability to start the job is seen as a slap in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Guriev, 44, will become the first Russian to hold the post in the multinational bank.

Guriev was rector of the New Economic School in Russia from 2004 to 2013, and member of a number of expert councils and commissions for both the Kremlin and Russian government, as well as a member of the supervisory board of Russia's biggest bank, state-owned Sberbank.

In 2013, he left Russia for a top teaching job in France. Guriev said his decision to leave was prompted by risks caused by his contribution of an expert report on the Yukos case, which cast doubt on the guilt of the company's management in tax crimes. Guriev criticised the Kremlin over the decision to dismantle Yukos and seize the assets of former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2004. Khodorkovsky was jailed for nine years in 2005.

"I am very happy that an economist of Sergei Guriev's standing will be joining us at the EBRD," the development bank's president Sir Suma Chakrabarti said in a statement. "He brings a huge amount of experience and expertise to the job and to the Bank's Executive Committee. He has a deep knowledge of the countries where we operate and, as Chief Economist, will play a major role in helping us to deliver our mission."

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