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Monday, June 13, 2005

 

Chubais pledges loyalty to Putin

From MosNews:

Leading Russian liberal Anatoly Chubais, whose fate has hung in the balance since the Kremlin blamed a recent Moscow power cut on the company he heads, on Friday pledged loyalty to President Vladimir Putin, the Reuters news agency reports.

Last month’s conviction of oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky in a trial widely seen as Kremlin revenge for his political ambitions has moved the spotlight to Chubais —- head of the Unified Energy System (UES) power monopoly and driving force in the 1990s post-Soviet privatization criticized by Putin.

The Russian president upbraided Chubais over the May 25 power outage, which stopped market trading and brought public transport to a halt. His reaction fueled suggestions by political analysts that Chubais could be the next target in new trials of business captains promised by top prosecutors.

Reuters quoted Chubais’ interview with the Moskovskiye Novosti weekly, where the UES chief hailed Putin’s political reforms, which scrapped elections for regional governors and effectively closed the doors of parliament to smaller political parties.

“I believe that this was a correct decision and fully support Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin in that sense,” he said of the reform, which has been criticized by opponents as a Kremlin plot to tighten its grip on power in Russia.

Putin’s reform has virtually doomed Chubais’ Union of Right-wing Forces (SPS) party, which failed to pass the five percent vote threshold to enter parliament in 2003.

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