Nemtsov held a meeting on April 8 with the leaders of the electricity monopoly United Energy Systems of Russia (EES). (Russian television, Itar-Tass, April 8) The first deputy prime minister castigated the company for hiring 40 percent more workers since 1991, despite the fact that its output fell 22 percent. He also said that EES owes federal and regional governments 9.5 trillion rubles ($1.7 billion), and 1.7 trillion rubles to the Pension Fund.
However, for all the rhetoric, the concrete reform measures announced after the meeting were rather modest, and no radical restructuring seems to be in the cards. Nemtsov has drafted half a dozen reformist government officials to sit on the board of EES, which is still 51 percent state-owned. They include Minister without Portfolio Yevgenny Yasin and First Deputy Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin. Anatoly Dyakov, who is currently EES president and chairman of the board, will have to step down from one of the posts. Nemtsov said electricity tariffs for industrial users will be cut by 13 percent this year. (Reuter, April 8)
Russian Budget Crisis Looms, Again.