CHUBAIS FOES CHARGE THAT UNITED ENERGY SYSTEMS FINANCES “RIGHT CAUSE.”
Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 117
Another battle appears to be brewing–for control of United Energy Systems (UES), Russia’s state electricity grid. Under pressure from a key member of the Kremlin “family”–presidential administration chief Aleksandr Voloshin–Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin is reportedly supposed to make a decision soon about firing UES chief Anatoly Chubais. The pretext for Chubais’ ouster will apparently be complaints from the governors of three regions in Russia’s Far North that Tyumenenergo, one of the largest subdivisions of UES, is experiencing financial difficulties because its revenues have been diverted to UES’s central apparatus and then allegedly used, among other things, to finance Right Cause (Pravoe delo) the center-right coalition which Chubais helped create. UES has reportedly paid several million dollars to Video International, one of Russia’s largest PR firms, to do “image-making” work for Right Cause (Nezavisimaya gazeta, June 17). Earlier this month, Chubais announced that he would serve as the coalition’s campaign manager.
An audit of UES’s 1997 balance sheet, carried out by Price-Waterhouse-Coopers and recently released, found the company seriously in the red. PWC warned that there was “serious doubt” about its ability “to continue its activity uninterruptedly.” UES’s financial condition is said to have only worsened since 1997. Meanwhile, the company has increased the number of its employees by 4,600–allegedly hiring staff for the company’s central apparatus who have had no previous experience in the electricity or energy sectors (Rossiiskaya gazeta, June 10).
If there is a move against Chubais, it may take place at the UES annual shareholders meeting, which is scheduled for June 25.
STEPASHIN MEETS WITH WINNER IN KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA VOTE.