April 12, 2011

Changes for Russian State Company Boards

Russian President and orders Russian Prime Minister to remove officials for State Company Boards
Several weeks ago, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered top government officials in Russia to step down from the Board of Directors of State Companies. Although I didn't doubt for a second that top government officials sat on these type of Boards, on Tuesday, the NY Times reported that Deputy Prime Minister Igor I. Sechin, resigned on Monday as the Chairman on the Board of Directors of Rosneft, a Russian State-run Oil company. Mr. Sechin announced his resignation at the Rosneft Board meeting, less than two weeks after President Medvedev ordered the Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, to "initiate" removal of his deputies and ministers from state companies. The Russian President appears to be leading with Putin carrying out the orders, instead of the other way around, a common conception of the power dynamic behind Russia's government.

Russian Presidential Hopefuls, Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin
Many people including many analyst, believe the Russian President is attempting to build support among his elite group of supporters, in anticipation of the upcoming Russian Presidential elections. The order that was given by Mr. Medvedev set a July 1st 2011 deadline for all state companies to begin the removal process of these government officials, from their boards, Well before the elections. Of course this means Mr. Sechin and Rosneft moved quickly, as his resignation has been accepted. Maybe a possible 3rd candidate? The deputy Prime Minister running against Vladimir and Medvedev?? Could get interesting but I do think the implications of the Russian President asserting his authority and ordering the Prime Minister and better internationally known (and former President), Vladimir Putin, speaks volumes that Medvedev is definitely seeking a second term as President. Many have speculated and still do to this day, that Prime Minister Putin is really the authority behind the Russian government.

It will be interesting to see if Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev are having a power struggle behind the scenes, or if this is all part of the political theater that can often be carried out when a national election draws near for two powerful men to face off. It will be interesting nonetheless. I am pretty sure the world will be watching. Here is an article in the NY times titled, "Putin Makes Russians Wonder Who Will Lead Them Next." I have linked to this story: Russian President (because this article came out a day after this post was initially created, I came back to add it).

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