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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Slavjanskaya Board Fires Director, 2 Executives

The board of directors of the embattled joint venture operating the Radisson Slavjanskaya Hotel and the Americom Business Centers on Wednesday dismissed three top executives, including the general director, Vladimir Draitser, the directors announced. The purges were part of a major restructuring in the operation intended to end weeks of bitter feuding between its two American partners, Radisson and Americom, said Uve Christianson, named to replace Draitser. However, lawsuits pending in the United States and in Moscow still threaten to unravel the partnership which also involves a Russian partner, MoscomImushestvo, which represents the Moscow city government. The crisis peaked earlier this month when Draitser barred Paul Tatum, Americom's president and a member of the board, from the hotel complex where Tatum lived and worked. Tatum moved back in last week after the board agreed in principle to dismiss Draitser, Tatum said. Christianson said his primary goal will be to stabilize the operation following the turmoil that at one point led to both Draitser and Tatum posting personal armed guards around the hotel. In March, Americom, which leases out lucrative business sites at the four-star hotel, filed suit against the Radisson Hotel Corp., the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company that operates the hotel, alleging that Radisson had increased its share in the partnership beyond the original agreement through capital investment. Radisson responded with a counter suit in April to dissolve the partnership. Referring to the management changes, Tatum said, "I think it is a very positive step forward, although it does not resolve the basis of the disputes back in the United States between Radisson and Americom." Draitser, saying he planned to return to the United States, declined to discuss specifics of his dispute with Tatum. Draitser, Irina Yakusheva, the chief accountant and acting director of finance, and Viktor Tourkin, the deputy general director of the venture, were all asked to resign, according to Sean Wood, spokesman for the joint venture. Three other managers were fired as part of the restructuring, Christianson said. They are the deputy directors of the hotel and the business centers, and the deputy director of construction. All three positions were eliminated, chiefly because the board decided that its initial plan to train those individuals to take over executive roles of expatriates "just didn't work very well," Christianson said. A third lawsuit is in the offing in the Russian courts. Tatum had prepared to sue for personal damages against Draitser, but said Wednesday he believed the two would agree out of court to a "mutual indemnification" which would release both sides from any future litigation. "What we cannot do is release him from criminal liabilities," Tatum said, referring to Draitser locking Tatum out of office and residence and posting armed guards outside the building to prevent his entry.