Apparatchiks to return to Russian state firms' boards-paper

MOSCOW Tue Dec 4, 2012 3:42am EST

MOSCOW Dec 4 (Reuters) - Dmitry Medvedev's cabinet plans to name officials as directors of Russian state firms, less than two years after he ordered a boardroom purge to reduce state involvement in the economy, the Kommersant daily reported on Tuesday.

According to a preliminary list of board candidates, drafted by the state property agency and cited by Kommersant, more than 70 percent of all state firms will either see officials return to their boards or their number increase.

Then-President Dmitry Medvedev booted top government officials off the boards of state companies in a wide-ranging clearout in early 2011, with Igor Sechin, chairman of state oil major Rosneft the highest-profile casualty.

Sechin has since taken over as chief executive of Rosneft, and is in the process of completing a $55 billion takeover of Anglo-Russian oil firm TNK-BP which would make the state oil major the world's largest listed oil firm by output.

Medvedev moved to the position of prime minister in May of this year, following the election of Vladimir Putin, his political mentor, to the presidency after a four-year stint as prime minister.

Putin's return to the Kremlin ended an interlude of liberal economic reforms during the Medvedev presidency, with Rosneft's acquisition of TNK-BP showing that state capitalists are in the ascendant, say analysts.

Kommersant wrote that three government officials - Deputy Economy Minister Sergei Belyakov, Deputy Regional Development Minister Vladimir Kogan and Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Fyodorov - may replace senior managers on the board of state gas export monopoly Gazprom on its board.

Two officials, including Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Kurbatov, may join the boards of power firms Rushydro and Inter RAO. Kurbatov is also expected to join MRSK Holding and Federal Grid Co (FSK), while former Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko may become their chairman.

No comment was immediately available from the government on the report. The state property agency declined to comment.