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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-First Deputy Premier Offered Job at Alfa Bank




Former Kremlin aide Oleg Sysuyev on Thursday was offered a plum job at banking major Alfa Bank, just one day after President Boris Yeltsin accepted his resignation.


Sysuyev, who was the mayor of the city of Samara before joining the Kiriyenko government last year, was offered the job of organizing Alfa Bank's planned expansion of its regional network.


That expansion is being made possible by a 1 billion ruble ($41 million) loan granted Tuesday by the state-backed Agency for Restructuring Credit Organizations, or ARKO.


Alfa Bank said it has offered Sysuyev the job out of respect for his professional abilities, but that the former Kremlin staffer has yet to make a decision.


"We're currently negotiating with Mr. Sysuyev over whether he will take on the position," said Andrei Nosonovsky, Alfa Bank spokesman.


"It's too early to say yet whether he will join us. But we hope he will because he is a very good specialist and a decent man."


Alfa Bank's move to bring Sysuyev - whose background is political rather than financial - on board could be an attempt to consolidate the bank's leverage over regional elites, analysts said.


"Sysuyev has a very good reputation as a regional leader. It's possible Alfa bank is hoping to make use of his excellent contacts in the regions," said Nikolai Petrov, senior political analyst at the Carnegie Foundation.


Sysuyev was first brought into government in early 1998 as Social Policy Minister and he was raised to the rank of first deputy prime minister after Sergei Kiriyenko was appointed prime minister.


When the Kiriyenko government fell, Sysuyev moved to the presidential entourage.


Before he came to Moscow, he had served as mayor of Samara, the capital of one of Russia's richer regions. He was re-elected twice to that post.


According to Petrov, both Sysuyev and Alfa Bank head Pyotr Aven have retained close ties to the political camp of former liberal Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar.


"If Sysuyev joins Alfa Bank, it could help the Gaidar clan set up a regional infrastructure. But I doubt they would manage to have everything in place in time for the parliamentary and presidential elections," Petrov said.


However, Yury Korgunyuk, political analyst at the Indem think tank, begged to differ.


The proposal to Sysuyev is more likely to be based on business priorities. He has good contacts from his time as Samara mayor that could be useful to Alfa Bank, he said.


Alfa Bank currently has two daughter banks in Bashkortostan and Almaty, Kazakhstan, as well 10 branches in the Russian regions - St. Petersburg, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Volgograd, Tyumen, Kurgan, Omsk and Yekaterinburg, Nosonovsky said.


The bank plans to open further branches in Vladivostok, Rostov-on-Don and Saratov this year, he added.


It is still unclear which of these branches will be opened with the help of ARKO funding, although the bank signed a cooperation agreement with the Orenburg region, Prime Tass reported Thursday.