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Exiled Russian Economist Reportedly Joining European Development Bank

Sergei Guriev

A prominent Russian economics professor who fled the country two years ago is to be appointed chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), news agency Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Sergei Guriev has lived in self-imposed exile in Paris since 2013. He left Russia fearing arrest, as investigators probed his links to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former oil executive who spent a decade in prison, and support for opposition firebrand Alexei Navalny.

A liberal economist and former adviser to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's Cabinet, Guriev was dean of Moscow's prestigious New Economic School before leaving Russia. Since then, he has taught at Sciences Po in Paris.

The 43-year-old will be the first Russian to head the EBRD, a development bank set up by Western European governments in 1991 to invest in former Communist Eastern Europe. The EBRD halted new lending to Russia last year as part of sanctions following Moscow's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Andrei Kolesnikov, an analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Center, told Bloomberg that Guriev had an "incredible knowledge of modern economic theory" and had been a trailblazer in his role as a free-market adviser to the Russian government.

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