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    RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVE ANTI-MONOPOLY LEGISLATION

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    LONDON, March 3, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Smotrov) - This quarter the Russian government intends to introduce to the parliament a bill titled On Competition, Russian deputy acting minister for anti-monopoly policy and enterprise support Anatoly Golomolzin told journalists in London.

    He is attending the round table "European Energy Space: Russian Vector" held in the British capital.

    "Russia has had anti-monopoly legislation for quite a time now, but the experience shows that there are a number of aspects that need improving," he said.

    According to Golomolzin, the bill envisages tougher sanctions against law violators in order to avoid cases when "violators are ready to pay a fine of five minimal salaries and to escape real responsibility".

    Apart from this, the law is designed to fight more efficiently against collusions and cartel agreements, which, in his opinion, are the most dangerous cases of anti-monopoly law violations. It also provides for control over large transactions in order to escape monopolizing some or other economic sector.

    When speaking on de-monopolizing of the gas sector, Golomolzin said that "the share of independent gas producers has grown from almost zero to 15 percent over 6-7 years and in compliance with the government's economic strategy, in the near future it will reach 30 percent".

    At the present stage the activities of the Gazprom holding are becoming more and more transparent, he said. For example, already now the holding's companies dealing with production, transportation and sale of gas conduct their activities independently.

    In the future the government will also take moves to improve the process of price formation in the Russian gas industry, the deputy minister announced. It will become more flexible and will adequately reflect the real market processes. Apart from this, the government intends to introduce a mechanism of stock market trade in gas with participation of Gazprom and independent companies, he added.

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