Criticism of Gusinsky’s arrest grew also on the home front yesterday. Seventeen of Gusinsky’s fellow “oligarchs” published an open letter warning that Gusinsky’s arrest had raised “serious doubts” within both the Russian and international business communities about whether Russia is a democracy. The letter was signed, among others, by Gazprom chief Rem Vyakhirev, United Energy Systems chief Anatoly Chubais, Alfa Bank president Pyotr Aven, Alfa Group chairman Mikhail Fridman, AFK Sistema chairman Vladimir Yevtushenkov, Interros financial-industrial group chief Vladimir Potanin and Yukos oil company chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Noticeably absent from the list of signatories were tycoon Boris Berezovsky and Sibneft oil company chief Roman Abramovich, both of whom are also State Duma deputies, and Siberian Aluminum chief Oleg Deripaska. The latter three are said to have been behind the formation earlier this year of a giant holding which will control as much as 70 percent of Russia’s multibillion-dollar aluminum industry. While many commentators suggested that the holding violated Russia’s antimonopoly laws, Putin remained silent about the controversy while his anti-monopoly chief, Ilya Yuzhanov, said the new aluminum holding was legal (see the Monitor, March 10, 20).
PUTIN DENIES GUSINSKY ARREST POLITICALLY MOTIVATED.