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YABLOKO rejects the government's variant for energy sector reform

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The YABLOKO faction in the State Duma will vote against the adoption in the first reading of the "package" of draft laws on reform of the electricity sector.

"The Government's variant for reforming the sector is virtually a political issue, instead of an economic idea. If this "package" is adopted, a politically dangerous system will be created and it will be able to dictate its conditions to Russian business and control and manipulate via monopolistic structures and the tough control of RAO UES of Russia the functioning of Russian business, as well as regions." This is how the leader of the YABLOKO party Grigory Yavlinsky explained the position of the faction at a briefing on Tuesday October 8, 2002.

Photo: Igor Artemyev, Grigory Yavlinsky and Sergei Ivanenko at the press conference in the State Duma, October 8, 2002. Photo by Olga Shweitzer.

According to Yavlinsky if the Duma adopts the draft laws, a powerful mechanism would be created that would be used to resolve many economic and political tasks in the interests of a narrow group of people.

On Tuesday YABLOKO circulated a special statement containing criticism of energy sector reform, "The draft laws dictated by RAO UES of Russia do not provide the guarantees required to prevent the creation of local natural monopolies that are under the rigid control of RAO UES in Russia's closed energy regions."

The statement also stressed that the high incomes of the new owners of the most profitabprofitable assets in the electricity sector would be guaranteed by fixing their monopolistic position together with their right to raise consumer tariffs any number of times. "The social consequences of uncontrolled tariff increases resulting from implementation of the drafts are unpredictable," state YABLOKO members.

The YABLOKO faction also proposed its version for electricity reform, in particular suggesting that "in order to prevent the formation of a strata of "electricity tycoons", 10 united power generating companies should be established, they should enjoy equal starting conditions in each energy zone." In addition the YABLOKO faction proposes introducing in law provisos that would make it impossible for one structure to accumulate control over 40% of the facilities in closed energy regions.

Deputy Head of the YABLOKO faction Sergei Ivanenko also said that Duma deputies faced "unprecedented pressure" during the drafting of the package of YABLOKO's draft laws, including "both stick and carrot".

Speaking about the position of the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) faction, which expressed tits readiness to support the "package" of draft electricity laws, Grigory Yavlinsky stated that "if the SPS votes "for the "package", this will be a fundamental moment for our relations."

The Duma will discuss the government's "package" of draft laws on electricity sector reform on Wednesday October 9, 2002. Earlier the left-wing opposition has also stated its categorical rejection of the "package".

See also:
Energy Sector Reform

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