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Russia: Struggle Over Reorganizing Monopolies Intensifies

Moscow, 9 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - The struggle over Russian government plans to restructure the country's state-run fuel, transport and energy monopolies intensified today among legislators and politicians.

The opposition-dominated State Duma rejected plans to dismember Gazprom, the natural gas monopoly. Last week the Duma adopted an appeal to President Boris Yeltsin to abandon plans for restructuring the so-called natural monopolies such as Gazprom, the Unified Energy Systems and the Railways Ministry.

Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov today also attacked government plans to reorganize the monopolies, saying, according to Interfax, that such plans would result in "the collapse of Russia's territorial integrity." Speaking to supporters in Moscow, Zyuganov was especially harsh about newly appointed first deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais for trying to destroy the monopolies.

The IMF has set restructuring the monopolies as a condition for continuing its support for Russian economic reforms.