Russian privatization chief doesn’t go to Davos forum of Russian cold

Anatoly Chubais, the head of Russia's sprawling electric monopoly, canceled plans to attend this year's World Economic Forum, his office said Tuesday, in a sign of the energy utility's continuing struggle to cope with a severe cold spell. The press service for RAO United Energy Systems said Chubais would not participate in the forum scheduled to begin Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland.

The cold snap, now in its second week in Russia, has caused electricity demand to spike as Russians turn to electric heaters to compensate for weak heating systems in homes and apartment. Chubais said in comments televised Tuesday that electricity use reached record levels this year. Chubais was the architect of Russia's often haphazard privatization process following the Soviet collapse.

He is widely reviled by Russians, who blame him for allowing a small group of insiders to snap up the Soviet Union's most prized industrial assets, often for minuscule prices, reports the AP. N.U.