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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Gathers ""Oligarchs"" For Talks

Russia's top businessmen prepared to meet President Vladimir Putin Wednesday for a brainstorming session on the economy, and a leading lobbyist said tax and land reform were key issues to be discussed.

A similar meeting was held last year amid tension over tax cases being launched against top firms in what was widely seen as a crackdown on the "oligarchs" -- businessmen who amassed power and influence under Putin's predecessor, Boris Yeltsin.

Lobbyist Arkady Volsky, head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Businessmen, said in an interview with the daily Vedomosti that the agenda for the talks, due to start later Wednesday, would be broad.

"Taxes, the new single social tax, social issues in general," he told the newspaper, referring to reforms launched by Putin to ease the tax burden and simplify the tax system.

He said businessmen were also concerned about the restructuring of electricity giant Unified Energy System (UES), which supplies power across the vast country.

The 20 businessmen invited to the talks included Vladimir Potanin, who controls metals giant Norilsk Nickel, and the heads of top oil and gas companies.

Putin last year told the oligarchs he wanted them to stop trying to influence government policy from the inside.

But he also reassured them that he would not overturn post-Soviet privatisations, which were widely criticised as corrupt and the source of vast fortunes of many oligarchs.

Media boss Vladimir Gusinsky and media-to-cars magnate Boris Berezovsky have fallen most out of favour in the last year and are fighting prosecution.

However, other businessmen have increased their power and influence. These include Roman Abramovich, a major private shareholder in oil giant Sibneft, who was recently elected governor of a far east oil-producing region.

Vedomosti said the meeting might touch on Kremlin plans to dissolve the regional administrations of two oil-producing districts in Siberia, Khanti-Mantisk and Yamalo-Nenetsk, to bring their oil revenues under Moscow's direct control.

Putin has shaken up the way the regions are run and further plans will be unveiled in his state of the nation address.

Putin's representative in parliament, Alexander Kotenkov, has told reporters the address is scheduled for the end of March or the start of April.