Commentary

Closer to rail privatization ? in Russia

How times have changed: Railways, as well as the assets and property of the railway transport sector used for transportation and emergency and repair work, have been excluded from the list of federal property that cannot be privatized. According to the presidential press service, the decree “On amending the government program for the privatization of state-owned and municipal enterprises” was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 8, 2003. It came into effect on the same day. The Russian government will pass a decree to set up JSC Russian Railways (OAO RZhD) before the end of the month. The company will be registered with the authorities within the next ten days. The book value of property that will be transferred to OAO RZhD’s authorized capital is estimated at RUR 1.7 trillion (about $56bn according to the current exchange rate), including RUR 1.35 trillion (about $44.4bn) in fixed assets. OAO RZhD will start operating in the fourth quarter of 2003. The rest of the story is here.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.