Russian Defense Debts Will be Paid: Klebanov and Putin
During a recent visit to a defense plant in Saratov, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Klebanov was reported as saying that the Federal government would enter 2001 without any outstanding debts to the defense industries and undertook not to repeat such shortfalls in the future.
Klebanov did, however, mention that some of the state-owned defense enterprises might be reorganized into joint stock companies, although he denied this was a prelude to privatization. More detail of reorganization was promised in a plan being presented by acting President Putin at a conference in Nizhni Novgorod.
The meeting at Nizhni Novgorod took place behind closed doors with 200 directors from the country's leading defense companies, and according to reports "specified the requirements the government had for the enterprises in terms of defense orders and also reminded the companies what capacity the government expected them to retain for defense production."
It is difficult to say exactly what that means, other than it appears to have had the function of assuring industries that they were not forgotten and that the government needed them. An impression emphasized by the considerable focus on a visit by Putin to a display of Russian "secret weapons", which had been installed at night under the cover of darkness, according to local press reports.
In an interview, Putin stated that the military industrial complex had started to see some recovery in 1999, with production up by 130% on 1998, the first positive trend that the industry had seen in the last five years. He also reiterated Klebanov's earlier statements regarding paying of the outstanding debt, although he prefaced its statements with the comment that debt would be paid off in the "the main".
On the issue of bankrupt enterprises, Putin was cautious about some of the suggested approaches and said that he saw no need for a separate law covering the bankruptcy of companies in the sector, but he thought that amendments could be made to the existing code. He did, however, say that enterprises would be protected from "dishonest commercial interests" seeking to gain control of industries.
From ConCISe Aerospace
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