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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Miller, Primakov Join RSPP Leadership

Gazprom chief Alexei Miller and former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov have joined the inner circle of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, or RSPP, a move that further boosts the economic and political clout of the nation's most powerful business lobby.

RSPP chief Arkady Volsky said Thursday the addition of Miller means that union members, who run nearly every major financial-industrial group in the country, now control 60 percent of the economy.

"[The RSPP] reflects the new reality in Russia," Volsky said at a news conference devoted to the group's accomplishments in 2001 and strategy for 2002.

"Organizations belonging to the management board of the RSPP produce 50 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Including Gazprom head Alexei Miller increased this number by about 8 to 10 percent," he said.

Interros boss Vladimir Potanin said having Primakov, who is the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on the RSPP's administrative board "increases the authority of the RSPP."

President Vladimir Putin approved a resolution to include RSPP members in all public commissions formed under his or the state's patronage, Volsky said. "Thirteen commissions have already taken our proposals into account, and the others are reviewing them," he added.

"[The RSPP] should and can actively influence the country's economic processes," Volsky said.

Having survived, and won, many battles to get business-oriented legislation passed, the RSPP will replace several of nine working groups with new priorities, said RSPP vice president Igor Yurgens.

The RSPP will form new groups to focus on Gazprom's restructuring, agriculture and social issues, he said. The Gazprom working group will be headed by Boris Titov, chairman of chemical holding Interkhimprom.

Work on key issues like accession to the World Trade Organization will remain priorities.

Summing up the year, RSPP members said their greatest successes were organizing 12 congresses attended by more than 2,500 representatives of businesses across the country and pushing through rafts of legislation.

"We sponsored hundreds of amendments and had revoked tens of stupid and unacceptable instructions and by-laws that hindered the development of business. Our greatest success has been a large, real and tangible contribution to legislation," Potanin said.

"[The RSPP] is a force to be reckoned with," said Yevgeny Gavrilenkov, deputy director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis think tank. He said the RSPP pushes the government to act.

"Take banking reform, for example," he said. "The first publicly discussed proposal came from the RSPP, whereas in government circles the issue had long ago faded. It stimulated the action at the Central Bank and in the government."

Ever ambitious, the RSPP even plans to make its presence known at the South Pole. State Duma Deputy Speaker Artur Chilingarov planned to fly to Antarctica on Thursday evening as part of a scientific expedition and plant the RSPP's flag next to the Russian one.