Putin Demotes Economic Advisor Andrei Illarionov

We’ve noted previously that Putin economic advisor Andrei N. Illarionov has been a vocal admirer of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. It sounds like Putin has suddenly noticed that the principles in Atlas are, uh, incompatible with dictatorship.
From an article in the New York Times:

President Vladimir V. Putin on Monday abruptly reduced the responsibilities of a senior adviser who last week issued a sweeping criticism of the Kremlin’s leadership and expressed deep misgivings about the direction in which Russia was headed.
In a presidential decree released without further comment, Mr. Putin relieved the adviser, Andrei N. Illarionov, of his duties as Russia’s envoy to the Group of 8, comprising the world’s major industrialized nations and Russia. Mr. Putin reassigned those duties to a presidential aide who is seemingly a more loyal Kremlin insider, Igor I. Shuvalov.
Mr. Illarionov, 43, has been an economics adviser to Mr. Putin since 2000, and at times a vocal critic of the Kremlin’s course. Both the Kremlin and Mr. Illarionov’s spokeswoman said that for the moment he would retain his principal post. But his sudden removal as envoy to the Group of 8 carried an implicit rebuke.
In a long news conference here last week and then in an interview on an independent radio station, Mr. Illarionov issued a searing and comprehensive assessment of the state of affairs in Russia, saying the country had sharply shifted direction for the worse, and risked becoming a third world state.

See the full article for additional information. (Via Drudge)