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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

72 United Russia Hopefuls Linked to Business

President Vladimir Putin told United Russia last month to ditch State Duma candidates with business interests.

But an analysis of United Russia's party lists shows that at least 72 of the 600 candidates -- or 12 percent -- have direct links to big or medium-size businesses. Many of the candidates occupy high spots on the lists, indicating that they have a good chance of winning Duma seats.

Campaigning for the Dec. 2 vote officially kicks off on Saturday. United Russia is expected to win at least two-thirds of the 450 seats in the Duma.

Putin agreed to top United Russia's federal list at an Oct. 1 convention, where he urged party officials to scrub party lists of business representatives. He said Duma deputies should not be engaged in business and businessmen should not be protected by the immunity afforded deputies.

"Power and money should stay separated," he said.

Having ties to a United Russia candidate, however, offers numerous advantages to a business, political analysts said. For a big company, it serves as a show of loyalty to the Kremlin and a signal to investors that the business is stable and promising. For a small company, it is a way to discourage harassment by bribe-hungry fire and tax inspectors, police officers and thugs.

"We have an idiom in Russia that says the closer you are to a cannon, the better it is, meaning it is better to stay on the side of those who have power," said Mark Urnov, a political scientist at Moscow's Higher School of Economics.

The breakdown of United Russia's candidates broadly reflects the breakdown of the economy. The largest number of candidates -- 18 -- come from oil companies, which, of course, power the Russian economy. At least 14 people have links to metals and mining companies, while six have worked in the financial sector. Most of the rest represent local businesses that are little known in Moscow but important in the regions. (For a list of all 72 candidates, see Page 10.)

Many of the candidates are Duma deputies seeking re-election. United Russia officials and the deputies themselves stress that they abide by a law that prohibits deputies from holding a second job other than teaching or research.

But the law can be easily skirted. After taking Duma seats, deputies often become board members of their firms and declare themselves in compliance with the law because the position is nonpaying.

Another way to get around the law is to reregister firms in the name of a spouse or other relative.

While the analysis of United Russia's lists connected roughly 12 percent of the 600 candidates to businesses, some analysts said the figure was probably closer to 50 percent.

"Ninety-five percent of the people on United Russia's lists are bureaucrats, and half of them are engaged in business," said Vladimir Pribylovsky, head of Panorama, a think tank.

He said Putin's call for United Russia to get rid of businessmen was meant to curry public favor, not lead to actual change.

"What Putin said was mere demagogy," he said.

After Putin's warning, however, United Russia officials did remove several candidates. Gadzhi Makhachev, a United Russia deputy who was arrested in 1967 on rape and robbery charges and spent three years in jail, lost his spot on the list, as did Deputy Suleiman Kerimov, listed as a billionaire by Forbes magazine.

Pribylovsky said he knew of several instances of small businesses paying cash for spots low on a United Russia list, knowing they had no chance of getting into the Duma. "To run on a United Russia list means that bandits and the police respect them," he said. "If they are harassed, they can show the bandits that they are United Russia candidates. It is better than nothing."

Being a United Russia candidate is also seen by small businessmen as a way to advertise their companies, Urnov said.

Another thing that attracts businesspeople to the Duma is the promise of immunity from prosecution. The issue became particularly relevant after former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested about a month before the Duma elections in 2003. He had been financing opposition parties.

Interestingly, six businessmen connected to Yukos won seats with United Russia in the 2003 elections, and three resurfaced on this year's lists.

Spots on United Russia's lists are usually not given for free; businessmen have to pay a "membership fee" whose size varies depending on how high the spot is on the list, Pribylovsky said. This year, a spot high on a United Russia list costs $2 million to $4 million, double the amount in the 2003 Duma elections, he and other experts said.

United Russia denies any wrongdoing with its lists.

The party faced some difficulty putting the lists together. Each of the party's regional branches was supposed to choose candidates for its list by the end of August. But the Moscow region branch missed the deadline after Governor Boris Gromov took issue with the candidates recommended by the party's leadership, reported in September.

Also, party leaders decided to intercede after some regions failed to follow instructions. First Deputy Duma Speaker Lyubov Sliska, whom the leaders had expected to be in second place, after the governor, on the Tambov list was instead ninth and on the last line of the list.

In Samara, a local party activist, Alexander Zhivaikin, was placed at the top of the list, even though his candidacy had not been proposed by headquarters.

The leadership of United Russia's branch in Samara annulled the results of the local primaries to draw up a new ticket topped by new Samara Governor Vladimir Artyakov.

United Russia candidates with Business Ties

Of United Russia's 600 candidates on its regional lists, at least 72 -- or 12 percent -- have direct links to big or medium-size businesses. Of them, 18 have links to oil companies such as LUKoil, Sibneft and TNK, 14 to metals and mining firms, and six to the financial sector. Many of the candidates occupy high spots on the lists, indicating that they have a good chance of winning State Duma seats on Dec. 2. These are the 72.

Oil and Gas

Adam Amirilayev: Director of Rosneft-Dagestan. No. 4 on Dagestan list.

Vladimir Anufriyev: Former v ice president of Petrokommerts, a top-20 bank that markets itself as LUKoil's "support bank" and is its main settlement bank. No. 23 on Moscow city list.

Artur Chilingarov: Now serving his fourth term in the Duma. A loyal LUKoil political partner and said to be a friend of LUKoil president Vagit Alekperov. No. 1 on Nenets list.

Alexander Filipenko: Governor of Khanty-Mansiisk and TNK board member; former board member of Surgutneftegaz, he ran in 2003 with United Russia but did not take a Duma seat. No. 1 on Khanty-Mansiisk list.

Alexander Furman: Former deputy counsel to UralNefteKhim, a chemical oil company; first elected in 2003. No. 7 on Bashkorstan list.

Ildar Gimaletdinov: Chairman of Salavatneftemash, a leading maker of oil and gas refinery equipment. No. 12 on Bashkortostan list.

Rafael Gimalov: Major shareholder in Motovilikhinskie Factories, which produces equipment for the oil industry; first elected in 1999. No. 5 on Perm list.

Alexander Ishchenko: Former head of LUKoil in Pyatigorsk; first elected in 2003. No. 5 on Stavropol list.

Sergei Kapkov: Heads the sports, tourism and information policy department in Chukotka; close associate of Chukotka governor and billionaire Roman Abramovich; first elected in 2003. No. 2 on Magadan-Chukotka list.

Maxim Korobov: Former president of Yukos-affiliated Tomskneftegaz, Tomskneft; first elected in 1999. No. 3 on Tomsk list.

Vasily Kuznetsov: Former director of Buryatneftprodukt, part of Sidanko, which is majority owned by BP-TNK; first elected in 1999. No. 2 on Buryatia list.

Lyudmila Maltseva: Former head of LUKoil's economic management department; first elected in 2003. No. 5 on Astrakhan list.

Liana Pepelyayeva: Lawyer who has represented Sibneft; first elected in 2003. No. 2 on Novosibirsk list.

Valery Prozorovsky: Former head of LUKoil's public relations department; first elected in 2003. No. 2 on Astrakhan list.

Dmitry Savelyev: Former head of Transneft (1998-99), Norsi Oil (1996-98) and various LUKoil branches (1994-96); first elected in 1999. No. 3 on Tula list.

Pavel Semyonov: Former general director of Volga Rosneftetrans, an oil production company; former director of the Yukos-M Commercial House and Rosneftetrans-2; former senior expert on Yukos board; first elected in 2003. No. 3 on Chuvashia list.

Leonid Simanovsky: Former vice president of Yukos; former chairman of Novatek; first elected in 2003. No. 3 on Khanty-Mansiisk list.

Vyacheslav Timchenko: Former vice president of TNK; first elected in 2003. No. 2 on Tyumen list.

Metals and Mining

Otari Arshba: Nonexecutive director of Evraz; former Evraz vice president; KGB graduate; first elected in 2003. No. 3 on Kemerovo list.

Andrei Burenin: Former director of SUAL, the aluminum smelter; first elected in 2003. No. 5 on Vologodsk list.

Valery Draganov: Former head of the State Customs Committee; elected in 2003 but quit in 2006 to become deputy director general for government relations with Russian Aluminum. No. 12 on Moscow region list.

Vladimir Gridin: Former head of Sibirsky Delovoi Soyuz, a holding company with interests in coal. No. 8 on Kemerovo list.

Alexander Khloponin: Krasnoyarsk governor and former Norilsk Nickel general director; ran in 2003 but did not take a seat. No. 1 on Krasnoyarsk list.

Andrei Morozov: Deputy CEO of Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works. No. 4 on Chelyabinsk list.

Viktor Rashnikov: Chairman of Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works and a billionaire according to Forbes; ran in 2003 but did not take a seat. No. 2 on Chelyabinsk list.

Alexander Shishkin: Main shareholder of Amurmetal, a manufacturer of rolled wire in the Far East; owns shares in factories controlled by Estar, a holding company. No. 5 on Khabarovsk list.

Andrei Skoch: Co-owner of Gazmetall with a fortune of $1.7 billion according to Forbes; first elected in 1999. No. 2 on Belgorod list.

Vadim Varshavsky: Co-owner of coal firm Russky Ugol and the Estar metals holding, which holds 25 percent of FK Rostov; first elected in a by-election in 2005. No. 8 on Rostov list.

Eduard Yanakov: Former director of Russky Ugol, a Yaroslavl plant that supplies Russian Aluminum. No. 4 on Amur list.

Oleg Yeremeyev: General director of the Coordination Council of the Russian Union of Employers; former chairman of Norilsk Nickel and close to Vladimir Potanin; first elected in 2003. No. 4 on Kaluga list.

Vitaly Yuzhilin: Former vice president of First Quantum UK Limited, a broker of Russian steel scrap; first elected in 1999. No. 6 on St. Petersburg list.

Boris Zubitsky: Former general director of Koks, a coal company in Kemerovo; first elected in 1999. No. 2 on Tula list.

Financial Sector

Sergei Chizhov: Former head of Megapolis, an association on economic development in Voronezh; first elected in 2003. No. 1 on Voronezh list.

Andrei Isayev: Shareholder in Baltiisky Bank; leader of the Federation of Independent Labor Unions; first elected in 1999. No. 1 on Vladimir list.

Arsen Kanokov: Kabardino-Balkaria president; controls Sindika, a holding company specializing in investments. No. 1 on Kabardino-Balkaria list.

Farid Mukhametshin: Deputy in Tatarstan's legislature and board member of AK Bars Bank, whose shareholders include Tatneft. No. 3 on Tatarstan list.

Viktor Pleskachevsky: Former president of Fund Preobrazhensky, a joint stock company; former head of Altus, an investment company; first elected in 1999. No. 6 on Chelyabinsk list.

Alexander Zhukov: Deputy prime minister; board member of Vostok-Zapad bank; member of Sberbank's supervisory board; first elected in 1993 and served in Duma until being appointed minister in 2004. No. 2 on Moscow city list.

Regional Businesses

Andrei Benin: Former general director and chairman of LEMO, a leading forestry company; first elected in 2003. No. 13 on St. Petersburg list.

Nikolai Bortsov: Co-owner of Lebedinsky, a juice plant; first elected in 2003. No. 3 on Lipetsk list.

Natalya Burykina: Former first deputy general director of Yunikon, a joint stock company; first elected in 2003. No. 16 on Moscow city list.

Nikolai Denin: Bryansk governor; former director of Snezhka, a poultry firm; first elected in 2003 but quit to become governor in 2004. No. 1 on Bryansk list.

Valentin Drusinov: Former director of Mosoblstroi, a construction firm; first elected in 2003. No. 15 on Moscow region list.

Yevgeny Fyodorov: Board member of the Konstantinov Kirovo-Chepetsky Chemical Plant in St. Petersburg; first elected in 2003. No. 2 on Kaliningrad list.

Magomedkadi Gasanov: Former president of Adam International, a joint stock company founded in 1991; first elected in 1999. No. 8 on Dagestan list.

Vladimir Golovnev: President and owner of Vostok-Service, which makes working clothes. No. 3 on Novgorod list.

Andrei Golushko: Chairman of Bautsentr, a regional chain of hypermarkets; former deputy Omsk governor. No. 4 on Kaliningrad list.

Vladimir Gruzdev: Founder of Sedmoi Kontinent, a supermarket chain; former intelligence officer; first elected in 2003. No. 7 on Moscow city list.

Anatoly Gubkin: Former general director of the Tomsk Petrochemical Factory; former general director of Azot, a Kemerovo oil company; first elected in 2003. No. 4 on Tomsk list.

Igor Igoshin: Former general director of Real Agro, a food distribution company; first elected in 1999. No. 1 on Kirov list.

Nikolai Kalistratov: Director of Sevmash, the country's largest shipbuilder. No. 2 on Nenets list.

Airat Khairullin: Former head of Krasny Vostok, a brewery; first elected in 2003. No. 5 on Tatarstan list.

Gleb Khor: Former director of Geopolis, an insurance group in Moscow; first elected in 2003. No. 3 on Krasnodar list.

Andrei Knorr: Former chairman of Arsal, an exporter in Altai; first elected in 2003. No. 6 on Altai region list.

Alexander Kogan: Former head of KomInKom, an electronics company in Orenburg; first elected in 2003. No. 3 on Orenburg list.

Georgy Lazarev: Former director of Elektron, a production company; first elected in 2003. No. 8 on Chelyabinsk list.

Zelimkhan Mutsoyev: Former general director of Prominkor, a construction company; former chairman of Pervouralsk Pipe Factory's supervisory board; first elected in 1999. No. 5 on Sverdlosk list.

Asanbuba Nyudyurbegov: Former chairman of Sea Star, a sea food company; first elected in 2003. No. 10 on Dagestan list.

Nikolai Olshansky: Former general director of Agrokhiminvest; former chairman of Agrokhimexport; former head of the Union of Agrochemical Manufacturers and Exporters; first elected in 1999. No. 1 on Voronezh list.

Vladimir Pekaryev: Co-owner of OST, an alcohol producer; first elected in 1999. No. 17 on the Chukotka-Magadan list.

Vladislav Reznik: Former chairman of Rosgosstrakh, the state insurer; former general director and owner of Rus Insurance; former deputy chairman of Rossiya Bank; first elected in 1999. No. 5 on St. Petersburg list.

Lyubov Rudikova: Former head of the Voronezh Regional Association of Farms and Agrarian Cooperatives; first elected in 2003. No. 4 on Voronezh list.

Valery Ryazansky: Former general director of the Izmailovo hotel complex in Moscow; first elected in 1999. No. 2 on Kursk list.

Oleg Savchenko: Founder of the European Bearing Corp.; former head of the Nenetsk Pipeline Consortium; first elected in 2003. No. 1 on Volgograd list.

Ivan Savvidi: Former director of Donskoi Tabak in Rostov-on-Don; first elected in 2003. No. 7 on Rostov list.

Martin Shakkum: Former general director of Rida, a medical equipment distributor in the Moscow region; first elected in 1999. No. 4 on Moscow region list.

Stepan Shorshorov: Former general director of Drinks of Don, a beverage company in Rostov-on-Don; first elected in 1999. No. 5 on Orlov list.

Nikolai Tonkov: Federation Council senator; former head of the Yaroslavl Tire Plant; former head of NTM Holding; unsuccessfully ran for Duma in 2003 with United Russia and became a senator in 2004. No. 5 on Yaroslavl list.

Yevgeny Tugolukov: Owner of EmAlyans, a heavy machinery production company. No. 10 on Rostov list.

Igor Yesipovsky: Former general director of AvtoVAZ, a carmaker. No. 2 on Amur list.

Mikhail Yurevich: Chelyabinsk mayor; controls 90 percent of Makfa, a food producer. No. 2 on Chelyabinsk list.

Sergei Zheleznyak: Managing director of News Outdoor Russia, a Moscow billboard agency. No. 9 on Moscow city list.