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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reform Still Lagging In Samara

Privatization in Samara is coming to a close more quickly than elsewhere in Russia, but Vladimir Mamigonov, who heads up the oblast's privatization campaign, still is not happy.

Mamigonov said in a recent press conference that he has come to the same realization about reform as many outsiders: Despite the shouting, it has not really changed the country's industry.

Still, Samara's record looks good. Mamigonov said the region has sold off 90 percent of all firms eligible for privatization and 55 percent of all labor force of the region now work at private factories.

The value of the privatized property is 43 billion rubles ($26 million).

But Mamigonov does not see the numbers as a measure of success. Most sell-offs were conducted under the second privatization variant, which gave workers 51 percent of the shares.

Mamigonov said these sell-offs were merely "formal." "Working collectives are inclined to spend all the profit they get for salaries and nothing goes into developing the factory," he said.

He said now his first goal was to draw investment by encouraging workers to sell shares. "When we accumulate property in a few hands, it will create normal conditions for investment," he said.

Samara region, located in Central Russia in the middle part of the Volga flow, accounts for more than 2 percent of Russia's gross national product.

Such firms as AvtoVAZ, the engine-building association, which makes engines for an spaceships, and oil refineries are situated in Samara.

He said Samara withdrew half of the vouchers it distributed in 1992 through auctions. But the region now suffers from a voucher shortage. "Either the check has flown away somewhere, or people hold them, waiting for a special firms to go private," Mamigonov said.

The regional administration spent 10 million rubles on an advertising campaign for the privatization of AvtoVAZ in the hopes of withdrawing a million vouchers, but only got 200,000.