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Friday, September 21, 2007

Chubais May Be Named As New Energy Minister

09.20.2007 - The Moscow Times - Anatoly Chubais, chief executive of Unified Energy System, could be appointed energy minister in the new Cabinet, Vremya Novostei reported on its web site Wednesday. Under a plan that Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov submitted to President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, the Industry and Energy Ministry will be split in two, and Chubais will head the energy ministry, a source familiar with the plan told the newspaper. UES spokeswoman Margarita Nagoga was away from her office Wednesday afternoon and unavailable for comment. The company will cease to exist in July after it spins off a number of subsidiaries. Chubais in May proposed that a ministry should take on some of the monopoly's duties, such as supervising power stations. A UES deputy chief executive, Yakov Urinson, could replace Chubais at the utility to oversee the remaining sell-offs, the report said. The Industry and Energy Ministry currently has responsibility for the liberalizing of energy prices, a reform that Chubais has long called for. Under a plan proposed by the ministry and backed by the government in December, by 2011 electricity prices will be fully liberalized and domestic gas prices for industrial users will rise to $125 per 1,000 cubic meters. Alexander Shokhin, head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, said Wednesday that he did not believe that Chubais was yet considering any future career engagements, Interfax reported. "Chubais is not planning any further career options after the reorganization of UES," Shokhin said, Interfax reported. "I have asked him about it -- he is busy and he is not thinking [about future employment]."

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