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Russia: Government to decide on Gazprom investment programme

CEP20021216000180 Moscow ITAR-TASS in English 1420 GMT 16 Dec 02

[FBIS Transcribed Text]

  MOSCOW, December 16 (Itar-Tass) -- The Russian government will make a decision on the 2003 investment programme of the gas company Gazprom , Prime-Tass quoted Federal Energy Commission chairman Georgy Kutivoi as saying
  He told a news conference on Monday that the government had decided that Gazprom could increase its gas prices for industrial users and the population not higher than 20 per cent.
  Gazprom will be shor of its own resources for implementing its 2003 investment programme in the amount of 179 billion roubles, Kutovoi said.
  "Gazprom will have to reduce the investment program or solve the issue by attracting other resources -- credits or issue of securities. This matter will be carefully worked out for discussion in the government, " Kutovoi said.
  He said estimates of the Federal Energy Commission confirmed
  The need for raising gas prices in 2003 by 34.7 per cent.

[Description of Source: Moscow ITAR-TASS in English -- main government information agency]


Alfa Group Seen Attempting To Use Press To Drive Wedge Between Gazprom, Itera

CEP20021211000209 Moscow WWW-Text in Russian 11 Dec 02

[Report by Igor Shanskiy: "Alfa Sets its Sights on Gas: And the Dirtiest PR Has Been Put in Motion" -- Internet Version-WWW]

[FBIS Translated Text]
Not long ago, or more precisely last week, strange articles saying a serious conflict had arisen between Gazprom RAO [Russian Joint-Stock Company] and Itera appeared practically simultaneously in Versiya and certain other publications.   Moreover, it was stressed that Itera is blackmailing Gazprom with some mysterious compromising materials that it is purportedly prepared to release to the mass media at any moment.   Public relations professionals and those who know at least something about the extraction and trade in gas immediately grasped the meaning -- a third force is trying to drive a serious wedge into the relationship between Gazprom and Itera.   Incidentally, when the aforementioned articles appeared, people in Gazprom and Itera were unspeakably astonished as according to confidential information from both structures, neither Itera nor Gazprom intended to enter into a conflict and had not even thought of any kind of media war.   Naturally, the question arose:   What third force is this that so wants to create the semblance of a war of compromising materials between the two companies that have long been linked by partnership relations?   The answer proved to be utterly unexpected.

The third force actively provoking a conflict between Gazprom and Itera proved to be the not unknown Alfa financial industrial group (for which you can read TNK [Tyumen Oil Company]).   It turns out that this company has been taking an active interest in the gas business in recent years and has gradually "infiltrated" Gazprom structures while cutting off Gazprom's longstanding partners by any means.   To the Alfa people's chagrin, though, the attempt at an utterly crude provocation with Itera has completely failed.   Why?   Because anonymous comments from one of the organizers of the "anti-Itera" actions and some documents have found themselves at our disposal.   So....

This is what we were told by someone with a most direct relationship to the compromising materials war:   "Through a representative of the TNK-Garant private security enterprise, representatives of Alfa, or more accurately TNK, suggested that I place information that a conflict had occurred between Gazprom and Itera in Versiya, Kommersant, Moskovskiy Komsomolets, and certain 'yellow' publications.   Above all, Alfa demanded that I provide a body of facts that Itera was purportedly prepared to 'sling' the dirtiest compromising materials at Gazprom and thus blackmail it.   At first I took up the job but when I understood it was an utterly filthy affair and that it and could leave journalists seriously vulnerable, I gently dropped the subject, refused to cooperate with the Alfa people, and returned their money.   Then I saw that these articles were appearing all the same and I understood that Alfa had found another, less scrupulous person."

Now we will acquaint the reader with a very interesting document.   It is the so-called "Itera Plan," that is to say a kind of work specification for the mass media for the preparation of articles provoking a conflict between Itera and Gazprom.   Let's quote a few paragraphs from this chef d'oeuvre created in the depths of the Alfa financial industrial group.   So:

[Citation of document begins.]

Plan for Itera Actions

The main aims of these actions are to intensify to the utmost a conflict between Itera and Gazprom.   To demonstrate that Itera has an interest in "attacks" on Gazprom and that it is funding and provoking them.   Makarov wants to completely subjugate Gazprom....

... 2.   Readers (above all Gazprom itself and the Kremlin) must be convinced that it is precisely Itera that is releasing all the compromising materials on Gazprom to the mass media on instructions from Makarov and his entourage.   Also, according to information from "reliable sources," Itera is allegedly putting a certain amount of pressure on Putin to sanction cadre reshuffles in Gazprom.

3.   The most important thing is to convince Gazprom, the Presidential Staff, and other circles that Itera has entirely gotten outside their sphere of influence, has begun to feel powerful and completely independent, and is ready to "enter into a clinch" with Gazprom and other powerful structures....

Plan of Articles and Themes:

1.   Versiya or Sovershenno Sekretno.   At least half a page in size.   The same material is placed on Internet sites.   Scheduled for 25-30 November.

Theme:   A conflict between Itera and Gazprom.   Itera is blackmailing Gazprom with compromising materials and even now is prepared to begin to "sling" negative things in the mass media.   Itera has declared a media war against Gazprom.

2.   Kommersant.   At least one-third of a page in size.   The theme is reflected on the Internet.   Scheduled for 7-17 December.   Itera has declared a war against Gazprom.   Makarov is preparing to seize power in Gazprom.   Makarov is planning to take up Miller's position (or put one of "his" people in the position of Gazprom boss) soon.   Itera is training reliable people for a "peaceful seizure" of key Gazprom posts.   Itera is now lobbying its "anti-Gazprom" interests in Putin's closest entourage.

3.   Moskovskiy Komsomolets.   Of at least one-fourth page in size.   The theme is reflected on the Internet.   Scheduled for 15-20 December.

Title option "Is Makarov Our President?"   The thrust is the Itera head's presidential ambitions.   Over time, Makarov is planning to subjugate Gazprom by getting unlimited financial and administrative influence and lining up "his" people (or buying off current people) in the Presidential Staff and the Russian Federation government.   The next move by the "cyclist who has gone too far" is to run for Russian Federation president in 2008.

4.   Under the aforementioned theme, it would make sense to place on "scandal" Internet sites and in the "yellow" press "confidential" (purportedly bugged) statements by Makarov and his entourage that Putin is a weak president and that Makarov would be entirely capable of running the country and, to start with, running Gazprom.   Scheduled for 20-25 December.

[Citation of document ends.]

That is the most diverting little document the "man from Alfa" was actively inculcating into the minds of representatives of the mass media, backing up the false compromising materials with by no means false North American dollars.   And in quite serious amounts.   Thus, according to some information, the "Alfa people" have allocated a little over $60,000 to provoking a conflict between Gazprom and Itera in the press.   So it is entirely probable that in the near future we will be able to behold materials in Moskovskiy Komsomolets, Kommersant, and certain other publications composed entirely on the basis of the aforementioned Alfa Group document.   Cheap public relations staffers are not distinguished by their imaginations:   What the "boss" has given us is what we will put in the press.   The boss in the guise of Alfa Group is in a rush and pushing from behind -- the oil and finance boys very much want to get their hands on the rich Gazprom storehouses as quickly as possible.   In this the "Alfa people" will not hesitate at provocation or commonplace lies.

[Description of Source: Moscow WWW-Text in Russian -- extensive database of compromising material on Russian politicians, businessmen, and criminal world figures]

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