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    MANY CORPORATIONS WILL WANT TO BUY KASYANOV BRAND

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    MOSCOW, March 4, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Larisa Sayenko) - Many corporations will want to have such a manager as Mikhail Kasyanov, the former prime minister, with his popularity, career experience and vast business ties in Russia and abroad, working for them, Russian politicians and business representatives believe.

    Being a financier, a successful diplomat in Russian debt negotiations with the West, a lucky lobbyist, head of the stabilisation government and finally a man of the world with laid-back European manners and a deep voice, he is a worthy brand, experts assume.

    "There might even be some rivalry for Kasyanov. He has colossal ties, even if many of his team do not stay in the government. Such people are worth a lot," Alexander Shokhin, Renessans-Kapital head and ex-deputy prime minister, told RIA Novosti.

    So far, the highest-level unemployed figure of the country is keeping mum about his plans.

    Mr. Kasyanov "will have two-months' holidays. Let him think it [the recent events] over. Of course, he is looking around and perhaps has meetings but I have no specific information on the issue," Tatiana Razbash, who worked as a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Kasyanov, told RIA Novosti.

    "Although I do not rule it out that he might leave the country," she added.

    Politicians and businessmen do not doubt it that the former prime minister was in demand on the labour market.

    "People of this level are useful in creating more favourable conditions for a company. Such managers help the company they work for to overcome bureaucratic barriers and promote some deals," believes Shokhin who is successfully combining the career experience of a businessman, vice premier and parliamentarian.

    "Kasyanov is a very good financier. I see him as the financial director of a large corporation. He has vast ties," says presidential candidate Irina Khakamada.

    "We are not worried about him. He will not have to work in a kiosk," added Communist presidential candidate Nikolai Kharitonov.

    Some experts believe that a top executive of such a high rank, though former, will refuse to be tied to one corporation alone.

    "I don't think he will want to sell his brand to some oligarch. Before the dismissal, there was talk about Mikhail Kasyanov's employment in some sort of a semi-state bank structure, or perhaps in interstate structures, in the CIS for example," said Shokhin.

    Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and now a businessman heading the Neftyanoi (oil) concern after his Union of the Rights Forces lost the parliamentary elections, sees Kasyanov as a politician.

    "Such people do not quit politics or disappear from Russia's life. I believe that he is a politician of the all-Russian scale. All routes are open for him - politics, business, though he has ruled out state service employment. And I can understand that," said Nemtsov.

    The majority of experts highly assess Kasyanov's political and business reputation.

    Analyst Boris Makarenko from the Centre of Political Technologies believes that Kasyanov's political potential can come handy towards the 2008 election.

    "Kasyanov will not go into politics now because there is nowhere to go. There are enough members in the ruling party anyway, and there is no opposition at all. Kasyanov can become useful only in case of a split in the current ruling elite and even could run for the highest post in the country one day," said Makarenko.

    The media have already called Kasyanov one of the most expensive potential managers and assessed annual incomes of former government leaders - Shokhin, Nemtsov and Alexander Livshits - at about $1 million.

    "If somebody is paid $1 million, then he must be yielding several million for the business," Shokhin commented on this information.

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