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Presidential Aide Foretells Another Civil War

Results of privatization in Russia mustn't be revised completely
Russian Federation Presidential Aide for economy Andrey Illarionov thinks that the privatizations of the Yeltsin years must not be revised, Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported yesterday. In an interview with the Echo Moskvy radio on July 14, Andrey Illarionov said: "Sooner or later we must draw a distinctive line and starting from a definite moment must be guided with the legislation in force. We should make sure the past experience with privatizations will not happen again. Otherwise the previously concluded deals must be revised, which may result in a catastrophe; or law enforcement authorities will further apply double standards to companies. Then we'll be witnesses of more scandals resembling that one related to Yukos."

Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports that Andrey Illarionov is sure that actions of the General Office of Public Prosecutor with respect to Yukos are selective. The newspaper says: "If the government suffers damages at the rate of several billions of dollars as a result of some deals, with the Prosecutor's Office possibly interested in other privatizations, the question arises whether the attack accidental or selective. As soon as the Prosecutor's Office focused its attention on Yukos, the company's capitalization reduced by 20% and lost $5.5 billion."

The presidential aide for economy says that "if a revision of privatization is started, it is necessary to review majority of deals connected with redistribution of assets over the past 10-15 years. This must be applied not only to economy, but also to privatization of apartments as well. In the network of the revision it would make sense to review all deals connected with assets, including those one concluded under the Soviet rule, then to touch upon the requisitioning during the Civil War and in 1917. It is not ruled out that such actions may result in another civil war in Russia."

Finally, Andrey Illarionov spoke in support of Chukotka Governor Roman Abramovich who suffered attacks in connection with the purchase of the British football club Chelsea. According to Illarionov, that was not the best investment, however that was investment of Abramovich's private money. The presidential aide added: "Everyone should watch one's own pocket or the pocket of the government in order to prevent plundering."