Medvedev Fires Finance Minister

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired Russia’s finance minister Monday after the two had a confrontation on television. Alexei Kudrin said he would not report to Medvedev if he became prime minister in a surprise leadership swap with Vladimir Putin, who holds that post now. Kudrin openly questioned Medvedev’s economic competence, and Medvedev asked him for a letter of resignation during televised meetings. Medvedev’s move to fire Kudrin appears to be an effort by the president to reassert his authority even though there have been years of uncertainty over whether he or Putin was actually running the country.