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    GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO LIBERALIZE GAZPROM SHARES SOON

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    MOSCOW, April 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Government intends to liberalize Gazprom shares on the stock market as soon as possible, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov told journalists.

    "I have said it for a long time, Mr. Zhukov said, "and I still believe that we must switch Gazprom shares to a single market. We will try to do this as soon as possible."

    He declined to specify the timeframe for carrying out the liberalization. When asked whether it could happen this year, he said: "I cannot say for sure."

    At the 5th international conference on Competition and Modernization in the Economy, German Gref, the economic development and trade minister, said that Gazprom shares on two markets would be eliminated this year. In addition, "some other key decisions" may be made, the minister noted.

    Mr. Gref said the gas monopoly had already started to reform itself.

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