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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chubais Gets New UES Term; Yabloko Miffed

Itar-TassYabloko activists demonstrating Tuesday at UES headquarters, having hoped that Chubais would retire as CEO when his term ended.
The government has extended Anatoly Chubais' contract as CEO of power monopoly Unified Energy Systems by five years, UES said Tuesday -- much to the dismay of the liberal Yabloko party.

Chubais' previous five-year contract expired Tuesday, and devoted Chubais opponent Grigory Yavlinsky, who heads Yabloko, had organized a "celebration meeting" to mark the occasion near the entrance to UES headquarters -- "At Last," the Yabloko material read, as it tried not so subtly to usher the perennial powerbroker into retirement.

"In five years of management, Anatoly Chubais did so much for our country that it is indeed time for him to have some rest, to retire," Yabloko said in a statement, with tongue-in-cheek assurances that 150 million Russians would never forget all his "experiments, reforms, [and] affairs."

"We hope that Anatoly Borisovich will be brave enough to leave his post, to stop his feverish activity and to start doing something useful," the statement continued, suggesting he take up charitable causes or collect expensive cars, since, given "his exclusive liking for hard work, no one doubts that Anatoly Chubais would be able to resist the desire to touch a cherished circuit-breaker again."

About 100 people assembled outside the building in southwest Moscow, and most of them were observed inflating balloons.

A likeness of Chubais was fashioned from a helium balloon and released into the sky, much the way that Moscow launched a giant bear balloon to conclude the 1980 Olympic Games.

UES responded in kind. "UES, with understanding, perceived the desire of Yabloko party members to celebrate Chubais' five years as CEO of the electricity holding, the successful completion of preparations for energy reform and the start of implementation of the company's 5+5 strategy," the UES statement read..

Chubais said in the UES statement that he was aware of Yabloko's wish to see him leave UES, but cannot do so until he sees energy sector reform through to completion.

The government's reform plan calls for UES to be broken up into smaller companies and cease to exist by 2006.

"The contract is for five years just because the old one was simply extended," UES spokesman Andrei Yegorov said.

The Yabloko event was Tuesday, the day Chubais' new term was announced, though the contract itself was extended one month ago.

According to the UES charter, the chairman of the UES board of directors -- the Kremlin chief of staff, Alexander Voloshin -- must sign the contract for it to go into effect. It was not clear Tuesday whether the contract had yet been signed.