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Russia's president Vladimir Putin is against subsidising inefficient sectors
"Russia must strive to de-regulate the economy, reduce tax rates, and gradually stop the state's excessive interference in the economy, including the subsidising of inefficient sectors of production," Putin said at the World Congress of Information Agencies. "We must act carefully in order to traverse the path without any serious damage for the economy as a whole and for people, without any shock therapy," Putin noted. The president recalled that, unlike the OPEC countries, most energy companies in Russia were private ones. "In future, too, we shall keep to this scenario in developing our economy," he claimed. He made it clearly understood that the state was not going to nationalise Yukos. "The state has never meant to nationalise Yukos, to seize it," Putin stressed. In his words, the government has always suspected Yukos of tax evasion. Putin noted that Yukos tried to deny this in court and failed in all suits. "The state has the right and is obliged to ensure its own interests. We shall do this only by strictly observing the law," the president stressed. However, he did not rule out the purchase of Yukos assets by the state if they are to be sold. "If it goes as far as the sale of Yukos assets, all organisations, including state ones, can take part in it," he said. He is firmly convinced that the situation around Yukos and Gazprom's merger with Rosneft are "absolutely different things, unconnected with one another." "This [merger] is an entirely market-style decision which will lead to a much more transparent system within Gazprom, have an effect on share quotations, and enhance the company's attractiveness from the point of view of attracting resources, and provide a good impetus for the entire Russian stock market," Putin stressed. Meanwhile, Yukos shares at the MICEX rose by nearly 6% and then fell by 4% after Vladimir Putin's statement that the state had no intention to nationalise Yukos. By the time the news arrived, a Yukos share cost 117 roubles (with US$1 being roughly equivalent to 29.21 roubles); its price rose first to 124 roubles and then dropped to 119 roubles. However, according to Konstantin Gulyayev, an analyst with the Region investment company, the movement of share quotations was purely speculative. "The market has not reacted to it too seriously," Gulyayev said. "It is the cost of Yugaskneftegaz, the main oil producing subsidiary of the disgraced oil company, that will be a really important news item," he added.
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