Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 65

The Duma’s Auditing Chamber has asked the Russian Procurator General’s Office to consider opening criminal charges of abuse of office against two deputy chairmen of the Russian privatization body, the State Property Committee (GKI). The action against the two officials, Petr Mostovoi and Alfred Kokh, is a small part of a larger campaign by leftist Duma deputies against the GKI and the privatization process as a whole. The campaign focuses on the loans-for-shares auctions of autumn 1995, widely suspected of having given unfair advantages to insiders. The Duma instructed the Auditing Chamber to check the legality of recent privatization deals. A middle-ranking official in the Procuracy is said to have agreed that there is a case with respect to Mostovoi and Kokh, both of whom deny any wrongdoing. According to press reports, the top leadership of General Procuracy has so far held back from committing itself, waiting to see in which direction the wind was blowing, so the case remains restricted to a couple of officials and a limited range of their activities. (Segodnya, March 23) If the case is pursued or the action against GKI is continued on a wider scale, that will suggest that the forces opposed to privatization are gaining the upper hand. At a minimum, it seems certain that the loans-for-shares schemes will not be continued and that some of the deals reached may be reversed.

Belarus Dragged Back to SSR.