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Russia to Complete Privatization Review by May, Nabiullina Says

Russia’s government will complete a review of its privatization strategy before a new president takes office in May, Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina said.

There’s no reason to delay the planned sale this year of stakes in shipper OAO Sovcomflot, Nabiullina told reporters on an airplane between Moscow and Novosibirsk late yesterday. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin called for delays to the schedule of state asset sales that involve the energy industry, the Kommersant newspaper reported last month.

Outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev promised to relinquish government control of some of the biggest state companies at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last June, saying it was time to reverse the policy of strengthening the state’s presence. Putin, who’s seeking to reclaim the presidency in elections next month after Medvedev agreed to step aside, pledged Jan. 30 to loosen the reins on the economy by selling assets and scaling back regulation.

Sovcomflot, operator of the world’s largest fleet of oil tankers, is among the first major companies slated for privatization, said Alexei Uvarov, head of the Economy Ministry’s property department, said Feb. 2. The government plans to sell 50 percent in two steps by the end of this year, he said then.

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