The so-called Yukos affair continued to dominate headlines. The naming of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein to value the oil company’s major production unit, prior to an anticipated sale to raise proceeds to pay off Yukos’s still-mounting tax bill, briefly reassured investors that a fair resolution to the dispute was still possible. But a snub by the Kremlin of foreign investors in Yukos seeking to meet with President Vladimir Putin to discuss Russia’s investment environment wasn’t encouraging. In early September the company said it might have to halt production following the freezing by a Moscow court of as much as $2.6 billion in funds entering the accounts of its production units.
Yukos is not the only tussle in which the government is enmeshed. A dispute in the Russian cabinet between finance minister Alexei Kudrin and economic development and trade minister German Gref, on the one hand, and prime minister Mikhal Frankov bubbled over into the public eye, with the reform wing of the Cabinet appearing to win out.