NO TYCOONS BLACKLISTEN ON RUSSIAN TOP, REASSURES VICE-PREMIER

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MOSCOW, JANUARY 19, 2004. /RIA NOVOSTI/ -- There are allegations of the Russian top secretly blacklisting business tycoons soon to make reprisals against them. Victor Khristenko, Deputy Prime Minister, does not believe it.

"I don't think there is a black list like that. At any rate, I have never seen one," he said at a business lunch on the editorial premises of Rossiiskaya Gazeta, a Moscow-based official daily.

"Rumours are current on a black list of five or seven moneybags whose business will soon be checked for upcoming frame-ups. Such rumours are destructive and very dangerous. They mean the threat is to be warded off through a secret alliance of Big Biz and the powers-that-be. Such an alliance would get things into a deadlock quicker than any other way of conduct.

"To establish a normal legal environment and promote civil society institutions is the only right thing to do," holds the Vice-Premier.

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