Russian President's Economic Advisor: Oligarchs Are Greatest Threat to Russia

'The greatest threat to our society today are oligarchs and the monopoly system that they use,' said the Russian President's Economic Advisor Andrei Illarionov at a press conference today devoted to the year 2002, a Rosbalt correspondent reports.

'The monopoly uses particular arguments for its self-justification,' he explained. In Mr Illarionov's opinion there is only one 'real oligarch' in Russia today who is trying to influence government policy and that is President of RAO United Energy Systems Anatoliy Chubais. 'Oligarchy is when a top manager, the head of a company, starts telling members of parliament what to do and blackmailing them by saying that the country will be brought to a standstill and economic resources are used to put pressure on the government,' said the presidential advisor.

Mr Illarionov believes there are two equal dangers: the government's interference in the economy and the interference of businessmen in the government's affairs. 'Genuine reform should separate the economy and the government. The merging of these two different areas of activity means they both become less effective,' he emphasised.

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