CHERNOMYRDIN BECOMES GAZPROM CEO

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CHERNOMYRDIN BECOMES GAZPROM CEO

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, June 30, 1999, 15:00

Viktor Chernomyrdin, Presidential Envoy for the Balkan Crisis, was elected Gazprom CEO at a shareholders’ meeting today. Right before the meeting, Boris Fedorov, leader of the Forward Russia movement, recalled his candidacy, and the number of candidates fell to the number of directors: eleven. The new council includes Rem Vyakhirev, Farid Gazizullin, State Property Minister, Andrei Petrov, Deputy Foreign Minister, and others. Before the vote, those present resolved not to pay dividends to shareholders for 1998. The decision was motivated by the August 17 crisis, which cost Gazprom 42 billion rubles.

According to Vyakhirev, Gazprom needs five years to cover the losses.

HE WHO CONTROLS GAZPROM CONTROLS BIG-TIME POLITICS

Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, June 30, 1999, 14:00

The annual Gazprom shareholders’ meeting is an intriguing event if only because the company is the largest natural monopoly, the major supplier of funds to the budget, and the largest exporter.

One of Gazprom’s founders, Viktor Chernomyrdin, once coined a phrase to the effect that “What is good for Gazprom is good enough for Russia.” Now that the parliamentary and presidential elections are coming up, the phrase has taken on a new meaning: “He who controls Gazprom controls big-time politics as well.”

That is probably why Premier Sergei Stepashin and Alexander Voloshin, Director of the Presidential Administration, visited the Gazprom office on Nametkina Street yesterday.

RIGHT CAUSE VS. LUZHKOV

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, June 30, 1999, 15:00

The leaders of the Right Cause coalition recently called a press conference to inform everybody who cares to listen that they object to the authoritarianism they say Yury Luzhkov has established in Moscow. Those given the mike announced that Luzhkov is breaking the principles of local government in order to impose a totalitarian regime. The list of grudges against the mayor of Moscow is long: allocation of the municipal budget in disregard of what the law dictates, overly expensive construction projects, and ineffective policy with regard to residential areas are but a few examples.

As a matter of fact, Right Cause is not worried by Luzhkov just as a mayor.

S. Zasukhin, Democrats of Russia: Bearing in mind that Luzhkov cherishes presidential ambitions, Right Cause is worried for Russia. We cannot build a civil society or a democratic state…

The coalition has sent a letter to the president proposing that the legality of certain municipal laws be inspected by the Constitutional Court. Right Cause was particularly nettled by the decision of the Moscow Municipal Legislature to organize mayoral elections at the same time as parliamentary elections this December.

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