Caucasus of discord Rosseti and Trutnev | Latest news The Moscow Post
28 September 2021

Caucasus of discord "Rosseti" and Trutnev

The recently appointed curator of the North Caucasus Federal District, Alexander Novak, seems to be losing in the hardware fight against Yuri Trutnev, who does not want to lose power in the district. Now the whole conflict is developing around Rosseti owed to almost everyone, because of which ordinary citizens risk being left without light this winter.

According to The Moscow Post correspondent in the North Caucasus Federal District, the Government cannot put an end to the discussion on restructuring the debts of energy retail companies in the North Caucasus controlled by Rosseti to energy producers. Earlier, the holding, headed by Andrei Ryumin, asked to allocate 16 billion rubles for these purposes.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who oversees the fuel and energy complex in the government, is a member of the Rosseti board of directors, and recently is also a curator of the North Caucasus, where he must solve the problems of the fuel and energy complex, was recently sent to help Ryumin. But the Ministry of Finance refused to give money. And the reason for this may be Novak's likely conflict with another deputy prime minister, Yuri Trutnev, who was left the curator of the state development program of the North Caucasus Federal District.

The Ministry of Finance does not support the allocation of budget funds to solve the problems of Rosseti energy retail companies in the North Caucasus. The Ministry now proposes to the state holding to reduce the level of losses of controlled companies in the North Caucasus to standards, and to close GP payments to the energy market from its own funds.

The Ministry of Finance separately emphasized that Rosseti actually has the necessary funds. The fact is that the organization's net profit over the past year amounted to almost 61.2 billion rubles, and other financial assets are estimated at 92 billion rubles.

All this is nothing but a blow to Mr. Ryumin. After all, it was with his filing this spring that Rosseti abandoned their obligations, citing a lack of money. Although everyone was initially well aware that there are funds, just the head of the holding wants to distribute them at his discretion.

And as a result, the entire North Caucasus risks being without electricity, which Ryumin does not seem to care about. Like probably his predecessor, Paul Livinsky. Indeed, under him, Rosseti concluded a memorandum with the general companies, promising to fully pay off current payments in exchange for restructuring old debts. By that time, the Caucasian structures of the holding were already in serious losses: in particular, as of 2019, the losses of Rosseti North Caucasus PJSC amounted to 9.8 billion, a similar situation was observed in PJSC subsidiaries.

Money from the latter could be banally withdrawn. This spring, law enforcement officers detained 11 former heads of regional energy companies suspected of embezzlement of more than 10 billion rubles. They worked through a nominal legal entity - Mezhregionsoyozenergo. Sales companies themselves were driven into debt, repaid them at the expense of funds received from energy consumers, and suppliers were informed that they simply did not have free money to pay for services, TASS wrote.

After Ryumin's refusal of obligations, the energy industry increased pressure on Rosseti, depriving three companies of the state corporation - Kabbalkenergo, Kalmenergosbyt and Karachay-Cherkesskenergo - of the right to work in the wholesale energy market, and initiated debt cancellation. In "Rosseti" they tried to make themselves a victim - they say. all this threatens to disrupt preparations for the autumn-winter season-2021/22, the arrest of accounts, as well as the bankruptcy of Rosseti North Caucasus. At the same time, we repeat, Ryumin is not at all embarrassed that Rosseti has money to avoid this bankruptcy.

But the top manager believes that the funds are needed to invest more than 1 trillion rubles in the construction of networks for BAM and Trans-Siberian Railway. What is noteworthy, these spending intends to be written into a "long-term development program." But residents of the North Caucasus federal district risk being left without electricity right now.

Andrey Ryumin

For these ambitious projects, they even want to reduce the payment of dividends, which they do not agree with within the company itself. Earlier, the Rosseti structure of FGC (by the way, which had recently come under its full managerial control) said that it was ready to pay shareholders about 20 billion rubles, while the parent company announced its intention not to pay anything at all. Earlier, The Moscow Post wrote in detail about this.

Note that the Ministry of Finance also intervened in this dividend story, which insists on paying "at least 10 billion rubles," although it initially traditionally demanded half of the net profit under IFRS (it, recall, amounted to 61.2 billion rubles last year). In other words, the ministry made concessions to Ryumin's appetites. But, judging by the latest news, they no longer intend to go to the world with him. You want too much?

Who in the Caucasus will retain influence?

There is an opinion that the courage of Ryumin could be added by the appointment of Alexander Novak as curator of the North Caucasus. Actually, his tasks just include solving this difficult problem, but so far the situation is not in his favor. Soon he should make his proposal, since it is known that the meeting following the statements of the Ministry of Finance at Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak has already passed.

Novak has long been aware of the affairs of Rosseti, because in 2012-2020 he was the Minister of Energy, now he oversees the fuel and energy complex and also sits on the board of directors of the state-owned company. The deputy prime minister obviously had good relations with the ex-head of Rosseti Pavel Livinsky, and therefore with his replacement Andrei Ryumin.

However, political scientists expressed great doubts about the fresh appointment of Novak. The fact is that, thus, he, in fact, was put in opposition to Yuri Trutnev, whose positions in the North Caucasus Federal District are still very strong. The arrival of Novak may mean that Trutnev was finally decided to "push" to the Far East, where he is the presidential envoy. And it is far from the fact that the politician agrees to put up with this, as The Moscow Post said in detail earlier.

Yuri Trutnev is not ready to leave the Caucasus?

But in 2020, the Carnegie Moscow Center (recognized as a foreign agent in the Russian Federation) wrote that Trutnev, together with the head of the Ministry of Finance Anton Siluanov, belong to one "bloc" of political technocrats. And, it is possible that in the Situation with Rosseti they could stand on one side.

After all, the state holding is trying to expose itself almost as a poor man, turning to the Ministry of Finance with an outstretched hand. To the logical remark that the state-owned company actually has money, they add that they intend to cut dividends to. And such actions rarely take place without a trace.

For Trutnev, however, this may be an image moment: showing that Novak will not achieve his own in the North Caucasus, the plenipotentiary in the Far Eastern Federal District will be able to maintain his influence in the North Caucasus Federal District, filling himself with additional political points.

And while there is such a likely "redistribution," in the end, ordinary citizens suffer the most, who may well remain without electricity this dark winter.

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