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Kremlin tightens grip on diamond monopoly; Alrosa gets new chief executive


Last updated 12/26/2004 at Noon

Russia's diamond monopoly Alrosa, based in the Sakha Republic, has a new chief executive, the company announced in a release Dec. 17. Alexander Nichiporuk, previously Alrosa's chief operating officer, will take the reins from Vladimir Kalitin, who becomes a deputy chairman of the supervisory board. Alrosa produces nearly 100 percent of Russia's diamonds and accounts for around 20 percent of the world's rough diamonds.

The reshuffle strengthens Moscow's control over the company, as Nichiporuk was President Vladimir Putin's favored candidate. The chairman of the supervisory board, which made the decision to appoint Nichiporuk, is Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. Over the past few years there has been a power struggle within Alrosa between federal government loyalists and senior figures in the Sakha administration, who formerly held sway. Kalitin was a compromise candidate who became tired of arbitrating between the two factions.

The Sakha administration has also gained some additional influence in this reshuffle, with Sakha Prime Minister Yegor Borisov being appointed first deputy chairman of the supervisory board. Ernst Berezkin replaces Nichiporuk as chief operating officer. Alrosa's shareholders have been anticipating privatization of the company for some time, but this can only occur with the approval of Putin, who placed it on a list of "strategic" Russian companies earlier this year.


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