Putin aide joins Russian tech giant Yandex


published on Monday, December 05, 2022 at 09:31

A close friend of Vladimir Putin, Alexei Kudrin, announced on Monday that he had joined the Yandex group, a Russian jewel of new technologies, at a time when the Kremlin is strengthening its grip on the digital sector in the midst of conflict in Ukraine.

“I have accepted an offer from Yandex to become a business development adviser,” the former finance minister said on Telegram, adding that his job would be to “ensure the company’s long-term development , in all markets, including internationally”.

Mr. Kudrin, 62, announced last week to leave the Court of Auditors. Russian media had reported that he would join Yandex to take up an important position there.

The Russian new technologies sector has been strongly affected by the Western sanctions adopted against Russia after its offensive against Ukraine and the Kremlin is seeking to develop a strategy to replace the Western giants and their products.

Mr. Kudrin was finance minister from 2000 to 2011. He remained close to Mr. Putin after leaving the government.

His appointment to Yandex illustrates the importance that the Kremlin attaches to this flagship of new technologies in Russia, and its desire to better control it.

Visibly aware of the questions posed by his arrival, Mr. Kudrin assured Monday that he would endeavor to “help Yandex preserve its unique managerial and technological culture” so that the company remains “independent” and “the best of the high technology in Russia”.

Yandex is registered in the Netherlands and has European, UK and US subsidiaries, but the bulk of its business is in Russia and Russian-speaking countries.

It created Russia’s leading search engine and is a dominant player in taxi and delivery services across much of the Russian-speaking world.

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