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Russia's former finance minister suggests putting off mass privatization

January 21, 8:48 UTC+3 DAVOS
Vladimir Putin asked the government in December to consider privatization of a range of state-owned assets
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© Sergey Bobylev/TASS

DAVOS, January 20. /TASS/. Mass privatization of the assets the Russian government has in various companies should take place in eighteen months' time at the earliest when economic growth likely resumes in Russia, former Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin told TASS on Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

President Vladimir Putin asked the government in December to consider privatization of a range of state-owned assets. He did not specify how soon these assets were to go public but officials familiar with the situation said the case in hand was the privatization of government stakes in the Rosneft oil corporation and the two largest retail banks, Sberbank and VTB.

"I think this would make sense when economic growth takes a clear outline," Kudrin said. "In the first place, this concerns oil companies. I think its somehow strange to sell off oil companies at a time when the prices of crude oil are at the lowest point on the background of a deep recession."

He proposed using the government's own funds or borrowed financial resources to cover the budget deficit during this period of time.

"I think the oil prices will climb, even though a little bit, within a couple of years and economic growth will begin and these assets will cost considerably more than they cost now," Kudrin said.

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