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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chemezov's Empire Expected to Grow

Itar-TassChemezov, right, giving Putin and other government officials a tour of the AvtoVAZ plant in Tolyatti last month.
President Vladimir Putin is about to approve a reform of the state arms exporter in a move regarded as a political victory for weapons export chief Sergei Chemezov, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

Chemezov was quoted in Kommersant as saying Putin would sign an order initiating the reform within days and legislation would be passed by the end of the year.

Kommersant said Putin would ask Chemezov to head a new state corporation, called Russian Technologies, into which the current assets of arms exporter Rosoboronexport would be absorbed.

Investors are watching for any indications of who is gaining influence inside the Kremlin before Putin steps down in 2008.

Chemezov, 54, a former KGB colleague of Putin's, has been identified by Russian media as a member of the Kremlin inner circle with direct access to the president. He has even been named as a possible successor.

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, regarded as a possible candidate to succeed Putin, could be appointed head of the corporation's supervisory council, Chemezov said.

Rosoboronexport owns stakes in VSMPO-Avisma, the world's largest titanium producer, and AvtoVAZ , the country's biggest car manufacturer, and RusSpetsStal, which supplies steel to the aerospace and military sectors.

Russian Technologies would run all Rosoboronexport's assets, including the arms exporter itself and defense firm Oboronprom.

"That the authorities have given the green light to the creation of a state corporation [is] ... a big political success for Sergei Chemezov," Ruslan Pukhov, a member of the Defense Ministry's public council, told Kommersant.