Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Financiers Shy of Committing To Chernomyrdin's New Bloc

Financiers wooed by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's new political bloc have given it a cautious welcome, but most are shying away from an early commitment.

Chernomyrdin, who announced the creation of his centrist bloc this week to compete in December's parliamentary elections, said he would work to create a more stable Russia.

The support of big financial groups is seen as vital but he has yet to win the hearts and minds of Russia's new capitalists.

Most bankers interviewed were not opposed to the initiative, supported by President Boris Yeltsin and widely seen as part of a Kremlin effort to create a broader political base. At least one top banker heeded Chernomyrdin's call for a strong and stable Russia.

"We need stability and peace in this country. It is better to support a government that we already know. We should support this bloc," said Dmitry Lyubinin, president of Rossiisky Kredit bank.

In a change of tactics from the 1992 elections when banks funded a wide range of political groups, financiers are becoming more selective about who they will support this year.

Several top bankers have said they will support a new parliamentary bloc, Stability, with close ties to the Kremlin. Some commentators expect this to join up with Chernomyrdin.

In a separate alliance, some of Russia's biggest banks, including Oneximbank and Stolichny, have created a consortium to stake a claim to the country's top assets, proposing to manage state shares in exchange for big credits.

The liberal newspaper Segodnya speculated that the same consortium would also finance Chernomyrdin's bloc.

This appears to be in line with a new idea in the Kremlin to forge close links with financiers.

Chernomyrdin has presided over some painful economic convulsions. But a fall in inflation and signs of a turnaround in the economy may win him votes, political analysts say.