The Russian state authorities are changing again their approach to the forming of the board of directors of the state-run companies. Being Russian president a year and a half ago, Dmitry Medvedev initiated the withdrawal of the state officials from the boards of directors, now Medvedev’s government is bringing them back there, the Kommersant daily reported.
The state officials will be included in the boards of directors of two thirds of the state-run companies again or their number will grow there, according to the first variant of the lists of candidates that the Russian State Property Management Agency had made up. For instance, three deputy ministers will replace the top managers in the Russian gas giant Gazprom. The sources of the newspaper linked the changes with the intentions of the government to toughen the control over the companies and withdraw formally independent directors, which were promoted by the government under President Vladimir Putin. But the lists will have to be coordinated with the presidential administration all the same.
The Kommersant daily managed to consider the preliminary variant of the lists of candidates in the boards of the directors of the state-owned companies, which the Russian Federal State Property Management Agency had made up. This is the first candidates, which Dmitry Medvedev’s government nominated. Most boards of directors will undergo major changes, meanwhile, a general tendency for a stronger role of the Russian state authorities, is observed. Over 70% of companies are facing a comeback of the state officials in the boards of directors, where there are none of them at all, or a higher number of public servants.
For instance, Deputy Minister of Economic Development Sergei Belyakov, Deputy Minister of Regional Development Vladimir Kogan and Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Fedorov may be put on the Gazprom board of directors (all state officials, except for Viktor Zubkov, were withdrawn from it in 2011).
The state officials will primarily replace formally independent members of the board of directors. Mainly one or two officials of the level of the deputy minister, head or a deputy head of the department will be appointed in the boards of directors. The state officials of the middle level are nominated from the Russian Federal State Property Management Agency and the Ministry of Economic Development.
The state officials will not be granted the direct access only to Rosneft and Rosneftegaz from major Russian companies. No changes are planned in the foresaid companies.
A source in the governmental staff noted that the initiatives of the Russian Federal State Property Management Agency are preliminary. “This is not the proposals to be submitted to the prime minister for approval, this may be quite different changes,” he said. This year the number of state officials really grew, but “this does not mean a deviation from the position, which Dmitry Medvedev put forward.” “The members of the government at the posts of minister or deputy prime minister will be appointed in the boards of the directors,” the governmental official.
An official from the Russian White House, who was participating in the making of the lists of the candidates, named several reasons for a higher number of state officials in the boards of directors. First, according to him, the government intends to understand better, what is happening in the state-run companies. “Now officials from the relevant agencies can ask for any information from the state-owned companies and receive formal responses. A legal basis for the provision of the information just lacks. It will be impossible to do it in the status of a member of the board of directors,” the Kommersant source said. Secondly, the government intends to participate more actively in the management of the state-run companies, particularly over a forthcoming privatization. If to vote according to the instructions, it is better if the state officials do it, a member of the board of directors of a state-owned company of the fuel and energy sector said, explaining that “they will not oppose it and will not ask too many questions.”
Meanwhile, the lists should be coordinated with the presidential administration and the high-ranking sources of the newspaper in the government do not doubt that there will be many disputes and direct conflicts over the candidates.