Nemtsov: Russian Railways to Remain State-Owned


Russian railroads will remain state-owned and will not be split, First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov said during a session of the Railways Ministry board Wednesday.

"Nobody in the government is going to split them," he underlined. "Nobody will destroy anything" within the Railways Ministry system.

At the same time, he said he supported dividing Russian railroads into federal, regional and local railroads depending on the level of their significance.

The ministry must now concentrate on reducing freight transportation tariffs and on paying taxes on time, Nemtsov said.

The use by railroads of the wholesale electricity market and greater productivity will pave the way to scaling back freight transportation charges, he said.

The Cabinet will renounce subsidies to railroads step by step, Nemtsov added.

The government is currently contemplating the possibility of subsidizing passenger transportation out of the federal budget while the burden of financial support for commuter trains is expected to be shifted slowly to local budgets, he said. This trend should be fixed in next year's budget, Nemtsov added.

The ministry should work out "clear and comprehensible rules for work with commercial banks," he said, adding that commercial banks working with the ministry must be picked via tenders.

Purchases of material resources for the Railways Ministry must also be carried out on a competitive basis, Nemtsov said.

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