Kremlin Aide Sechin to Run Again for Board of Rosneft

Igor Sechin, a Kremlin deputy chief of staff, will run again for the board of Rosneft, the government said Tuesday, dashing speculation that the powerful official could lose his big oil job this year.

Market analysts closely follow government nominations for the boards of state corporations as a sign of how management will change after the country elects its new president on March 2. Sechin is the chairman of Rosneft.

President Vladimir Putin has picked First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as his preferred candidate, making Medvedev's victory virtually certain.

Medvedev will have to step down as Gazprom chairman after he is elected, and the job is widely expected to go to Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov. Putin has already said he plans to succeed Zubkov as prime minister.

Medvedev and Sechin are often described by analysts as the informal leaders of rival Kremlin clans, representing liberals and hardliners, respectively.

Some analysts have suggested Medvedev could try to put in place his own people to run all large state firms, while others say Putin will remain the top arbiter and ensure both clans are represented.

The latter point of view found additional support last week when Gazprom unveiled that Zubkov, seen as a close ally of Putin but not of Medvedev, could become its new chairman.

The media-shy Sechin is seen as one of the main ideologists behind the destruction of Yukos and the imprisonment of its politically ambitious owners.

Rosneft now manages most of the assets of Yukos. The government said in a statement that it also proposed to re-elect Rosneft's chief executive, Sergei Bogdanchikov, to the board at a June general meeting.

Although Sechin could in theory become a simple Rosneft board member, as the highest-ranking official nominated for its board, he is unlikely to take a lesser post than the chairmanship.