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Dmitry Medvedev: Russian ministers must quit boardrooms

Posted by Arakan Indobhasa Thursday, March 31, 2011

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Magnitogorsk (30 March 2011) Mr Medvedev singled out the practice of ministers acting as regulators and company directors

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Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has announced that by mid-2011 he wants government ministers to give up their seats on boards of directors.
The proposal is being seen as a potential blow to a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Igor Sechin.
Mr Sechin is chairman of state oil firm Rosneft and, as deputy prime minister, regulates the gas and oil industries.
The president said he wanted to end "the excessive influence of state companies on the investment climate".
Mr Medvedev told a meeting of his modernisation commission in the city of Magnitogorsk that corruption remained a factor, in a speech broadcast live by state news channel Rossiya 24.
He said that he himself had served as chairman of the board of directors of Russia's state gas monopoly, Gazprom.

Analysis

With less than a year to go before the next presidential election, there are already rumours of a split between the two men running Russia.
President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin have disagreed openly on a number of issues, most recently on Libya, but their two teams normally paper over the cracks to paint a picture of harmony.
That may be harder to do now. Igor Sechin is one of Mr Putin's closest allies and, like him, is a former KGB officer considered one of Russia's most powerful men.
As chairman of Rosneft and deputy prime minister responsible for regulating the oil and gas industry, he wields enormous influence.
If he's forced to give up his position in Rosneft this would be widely seen as a blow to the more hardline faction in power in Russia and to Mr Putin.
While it may have made "good sense" at the time, the president said, it would not be suitable today, with the state trying to regulate everything through its own representatives.
"It never worked in any country, and it won't work in ours," he said.
All ministers should vacate their seats and be replaced by independent figures, he added.
Officials said later that VTB bank and Rosneft were both examples of where government ministers would be replaced at shareholders' meetings in June.
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin is currently on the board of VTB, and Gazprom still has two ministers and a deputy prime minister serving in its boardroom.
But it is the perceived blow to Igor Sechin that is likely to reinvigorate talk of a rift between the president and Vladimir Putin.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12910216

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