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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chubais: Privatization Stays He Denies Rift With Premier

Talk of a rift in the government over privatization was false, and the new prime minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin, would defend the government's version of the 1993 privatization program in parliament, deputy prime minister Anatoly Chubais said Wednesday.

"He will undoubtedly defend the program", Chubais said in an interview with Izvestia.

Conservative factions have proposed amendments to the privatization program which would abolish the government's plan to sell off shares in big factories for vouchers. They want to replace state ownership of the factories with a form of collective ownership by the workers.

Pyotr Filippov, parliamentary privatization committee chairman, last week accused Chernomyrdin of blocking the privatization of shipbuilding firms in St. Petersburg.

"He does not understand what he is doing. He wants to hold levers of control over enterprises, so he tries to brake, if not stop, privatization", Filippov said in an interview.

But Chubais said Wednesday in Izvestia that he had discussed the 1993 program with Chernomyrdin and had not differed with him on anything.

He said Chernomyrdin's only amendment to the program was to help villages take part in privatization by granting special credits to them.

Chubais said the government was not overly concerned by the fall in the price of vouchers from a high of 7, 000 rubles to under 6, 000 rubles.

Analysts at the stock exchanges have attributed the fall to uncertainty over privatization in the wake of the Congress of People's Deputies, the overthrow of the Gaidar government and the changes proposed by conservatives to the 1993 program.

Chubais said the voucher was behaving like any other tradeable security. "If the voucher price falls to a few hundred rubles, then there would be a real danger that privatization would fall apart. But the fact that the voucher reflects political developments, that's excellent", he said.

He said that 36 percent of small businesses have been privatized. The government received 156 billion rubles from it in 1992, well above its estimate of 72 billion rubles. Chubais said the first trial auctions for vouchers of eight large enterprises in December and early January had proved the system of selling shares for vouchers was feasible.