Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) seen during a meeting with Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin on May 23, 2011.

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Russian Finance Minister Kudrin steps down over differences with Medvedev

Medvedev has already signed the order dismissing Kurdin

The economist has been credited with helping Russia weather the global downturn

Moscow CNN  — 

President Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order dismissing longtime Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, the Kremlin reported Monday on its website.

The state-run RIA-Novosti news agency said Kudrin had resigned amid a dispute with Medvedev.

The announcement came shortly after Medvedev had given Kudrin until the end of the day to decide whether to quit. “You need to make a decision quickly and tell me about it today,” Medvedev told Kudrin during a session of the modernization commission in Dimitrovgrad.

Medvedev urged that Kudrin to “make up his mind about his political future,” according to the non-governmental, Moscow-based Interfax news agency.

The president was reacting to a comment Kudrin is reported to have made in Washington. Citing differences with Medvedev, particularly related to defense spending, Kudrin said that he would not remain in a government led by Medvedev, Interfax said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced Saturday he plans to return next year to the presidency and to name Medvedev as prime minister.

Kudrin, 50, had served as finance minister since 2000, during which time the government had paid off most of its foreign debt and created oil wealth funds that helped the nation weather the global economic problems of recent years, RIA-Novosti said.

– Maxim Tkachenko contributed to this story