Chichvarkin Stepping Down to Promote Right Cause

Yevroset chairman Yevgeny Chichvarkin said Thursday that he is stepping down from his position to focus on promoting the new Kremlin-backed pro-business party Right Cause, whose Moscow branch he plans to lead.

"I will take some other post in the company, maybe on the supervisory board," Chichvarkin, 34, chairman of the country's leading mobile retailer, said in a telephone interview.

The political parties Union of Right Forces, Civil Force and the Democratic Party voted last weekend to merge into Right Cause in what is widely seen as a Kremlin attempt to round out the political spectrum with obedient parties.

One of the new party's leaders, former Union of Right Forces head Leonid Gozman, has conceded that the party was given the Kremlin's blessing but maintains that it will not kowtow to the country's ruling elite.

Chichvarkin has agreed to head the party's Moscow branch at the behest of the party's founders, though he has not yet been formally nominated for the post or joined the party. Right Cause leaders have also charged him with the party's branding, Chichvarkin said.

"We will interview key colleagues in the party and will give the task to a branding agency," Chichvarkin said.

Chichvarkin is known for his eccentric dress, aggressive ambition and provocative approach to advertising.

Chichvarkin sold clothes before founding Yevroset in 1997. In late September, citing liquidity woes, Chichvarkin sold Yevroset to billionaire Alexander Mamut in a deal that reportedly involved Mamut paying $400 million in cash and assuming $850 million in debt. Chichvarkin, however, has stayed on as chairman.