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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dubinin Wins Debt Position

Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin has appointed acting Finance Minister Sergei Dubinin as chief negotiator for Russia's debt, a spokesman for Dubinin said Wednesday.

Dubinin takes over responsibilities from Economics Minister Alexander Shokhin after Chernomyrdin signed a document outlining the duties of his cabinet, according to Itar-Tass.

Dubinin takes over the position with negotiations to reschedule Russia's $26 billion of commercial debt at a deadlock and the price on the secondary market trading near 35 cents on the dollar, down from a high of 55 cents.

The price, buffeted by a flood of selling from Japanese banks, is near the level of far less creditworthy countries, such as Cuba and Bulgaria.

Alla Sinkova, who handles debt for Shokhin, could not confirm that he has been removed as the negotiator.

He had sparred with former Finance Minister Boris Fyodorov for the post.

Sinkova said the commercial creditors, grouped in the London Club, sent a proposal to Russia last week to resolve outstanding issues for rescheduling.

While Russia has not responded, Sinkova said it appeared to offer little change in the London Club's position on sovereign immunity. Russia refuses to waive sovereign immunity, which would allow creditors to repossess state property abroad if Russia defaulted.

Sinkova said that, given the nationalistic sentiments in the new parliament, such a waiver would be unlikely to gain the approval of legislators.

"I'm sure the deputies will not vote for such an arrangement," Sinkova said.

The document signed by Chernomyrdin, containing few surprises after last month's shake-up, enlarged the responsibilities of his First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets.

Soskovets will now be in charge of investment policy and the military-industrial complex. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zaveryukha will be in charge of agriculture and meteorological services and Anatoly Chubais was named deputy prime minister for privatization.

Deputy Prime Minister Yury Yarov was put in charge of social affairs and cooperation with political parties and nongovernmental organizations.

Shokhin was named a "member of the cabinet" but without the title of deputy prime minister. He was made responsible for economic reforms and cooperation with other states of the Commonwealth of Independent States.