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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Transaero Chairman Appointed Lawmaker

Another prominent businessman has made his way into the upper house of parliament.

Like Sibneft tycoon Roman Abramovich and Norilsk Nickel's Alexander Khloponin, Transaero chairman Alexander Pleshakov now has a seat in the Federation Council — for the Penza region in central Russia.

Pleshakov was appointed by Penza Governor Vasily Bochkaryov on Wednesday and told to accomplish two things: Improve the financial status of Penza citizens, and re-establish an air link between Moscow and Penza, where the airport has been closed for several years.

Pleshakov was one of the founders of Transaero.

"Transaero shares are for the most part divided among offshore companies, though Pleshakov is their actual owner," said United Financial Group analyst Yulia Zhdanova.

Unlike Abramovich, who governs Chukotka, and Khloponin, the governor of Taimyr since January, Pleshakov will retain his post of chairman of the Transaero board — on a voluntary basis, said company spokesman Sergei Bykhal.

But Pleshakov isn't new to politics, as his wife, Olga Pleshakova, deputy general director of Transaero, explained.

"He has been the head of the Russian Party of the Future for a year already and has known the governor of Penza for even longer. The party's Penza division is the largest in the country and works closely with the local administration. It is no surprise that Alexander Pleshakov has been entrusted with representing the interests of the region in the Federation Council," she said.

The Russian Party of the Future currently has about 50,000 members, said Alexander Shipov, chairman of the party's central board. The organization's Penza division comprises 1,700 members. Only the Communist and Unity parties have more members, Shipov said.

"Our regional organization has close relations with the local administration. I hope that these relations will become all the closer with [Pleshakov's] appointment," said Shipov.

"Prior to his appointment Pleshakov has not done anything concrete for Penza — now he has a real opportunity," said Shipov.

The regional division of the Communist Party in Penza says that the Russian Party of the Future has "no more members than there are words in its name."

Meanwhile, Valery Goryachev, coordinator for the local department of Yabloko, said he was unaware that such a party existed.

The governor and his deputies were unavailable for comment.

Penza politicians seized upon the idea that Pleshakov would become the governor's sponsor.

"Elections in the region should take place in a year's time, but it is possible that that the governor will propose to combine them with the election of the Legislative Assembly planned for December," said Kislov.

The local political elite take an ironic view of Pleshakov's appointment. "Most likely the governor needs money for the election," one local politician said.