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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Economic Team to Slow Privatization

The government's new economic team made its debut on Russian television, suggesting more attention to industrial policy and a slowdown in the pace of privatization.

Appearing on ORT's "Voskreseniye" program were Vladimir Kadannikov, who was picked last week to replace Anatoly Chubais as first deputy prime minister in charge of economic policy, presidential economic adviser Alexander Livshits and Alexander Kazakov, the newly appointed chairman of the State Property Committee.

Kadannikov said his task was to make changes in the government's industrial policy and that he would apply his experience as general director of AvtoVAZ, Russia's largest automobile manufacturer.

"The ideas that I have now are based on the present situation, on what I know about VAZ and the enterprises associated with it," Kadannikov said, adding that his experience at the auto plant can be "extrapolated to the situation in other industries."

AvtoVAZ is in dire financial straits and has not yet paid November's wages.

Meanwhile, President Boris Yeltsin said Saturday that Russia's economic crisis was over.

"Stabilization is already under way. Things are picking up in construction, industry, the financial sector, in the social sphere," Itar-Tass quoted Yeltsin as saying while visiting a constructtion site.

Kazakov, appointed as head of the State Property Committee last week, said on television that he will seek a "golden mean" in the area of privatization, and that the pace of de-nationalization should be slowed to "10 to 15 big projects a year."

The goals of privatization, he said, should be to allow enterprises to function in a stable manner, yield profits and create jobs, not to raise money.

"If, all other conditions being equal, private ownership will ensure this better than state ownership, then privatization is justified," he said. "If the situation is different, then we should not be stubborn and admit that state ownership should have a right ... to exist."

Livshits, for his part, appeared to urge the remnants of Chubais' team to work with the Kadannikov, warning against a "childish reaction from the intellectual core of the government."

"I am strongly convinced that Vladimir Valiyevich Kadannikov is very well aware that Russia is something more than VAZ," Livshits said.

The presidential adviser said that while he thought economic reform is much more difficult to carry out now than several years ago, the government is on "the right path."