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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Aide Elected to Board of Flagship Carrier Aeroflot

Shareholders of state-controlled flag carrier Aeroflot elected a new board Saturday that includes Viktor Ivanov, a senior aide to President Vladimir Putin, continuing a Kremlin drive to appoint top officials to key positions in strategically important companies.

Ivanov, who is considered to be an influential member of the so-called siloviki clan of former KGB and military officers who rode Putin's coattails to power, is widely expected to be appointed chairman of the board at its next meeting Nov. 4.

The new 11-member board includes five other government representatives, two Aeroflot executives, and three managers at National Reserve Corp, or NRK, which owns 30 percent of the carrier.

Shareholders also approved the acquisition of three Airbus 321s instead of an earlier plan to acquire two smaller Airbus 319s and a Airbus 320.

Shareholders must approve any acquisition worth more than 50 percent of the value of Aeroflot's assets.

The acquisition of the bigger jets -- tied to four Airbus 319s and one Airbus 320 that have already been delivered -- is valued at $611 million, according to Sergei Kharitonov, Aeroflot's deputy general director for strategic and corporate development.

The jets will be delivered next month under a 12-year lease, he said.

Aeroflot said the new planes will boost operating profit because they can carry more passengers more cheaply.

In all, Aeroflot will start 2005 with a fleet of 18 Airbuses and nine Boeing 767s.