Sechin: Russia’s deputy prime minister and Rosneft chairman
A grand plan floated by the Kremlin to form a Russian metals champion consisting—at a minimum—of domestic metals giants Rusal, Norilsk Nickel and Metalloinvest, was scrapped in late February. But the Russian government clearly has corporate nation-building on its mind, to the possible detriment of minority shareholders in targeted companies. Subsequent rumors focused on a union between state oil company Rosneft and Surgutneftegas. Such a merger, long backed by deputy prime minister (and Rosneft chairman) Igor Sechin, would create the world’s largest oil company.
President Dmitry Medvedev announced the launch of a five-year program to reform and develop Russia’s civil service, with the broader aim of fighting corruption. According to Transparency International, corruption in Russia is at its worst level in eight years. Few observers expect significant improvement on the back of Medvedev’s efforts.
Party of power United Russia, headed by prime minister Vladimir Putin, was, not surprisingly, the big winner in local and municipal elections in early March. Turnout was lower than anticipated, though.