The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Russia’s bite-sized sell-off

Regional airports, tanker operators and river shipping lines – the list of assets up for grabs in the latest privatization round is unlikely to send foreign investors into a frenzy. But fatter prey may be about. Angus McDowall reports.

FROM THE ENTHUSIASTIC tones of Russia’s leaders, the eager investor might have been forgiven for expecting the crown jewels of the country’s state industries to be put on sale. In September the prime minister, Vladimir Putin, told a cabinet meeting that privatization was "a key instrument for structural reform in the real sector of the economy". At a keynote speech in November, president Dmitry Medvedev pledged to reverse a recent tendency towards nationalization and to back a more liberal economy.

Ministers spoke about the biggest privatization drive since the 1990s. Names bandied about included the energy company Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, Aeroflot, VTB Bank, the rail monopoly Russian Railways and Sberbank, the country’s largest lender. Several thousand companies were to be sold off, the government originally said, with the privatization of the first 450 in 2010 helping to finance a projected budget deficit of $40 billion.

So at first it came as something of a disappointment that the largest names were left firmly off the list of companies for sale and that only Rb70 billion-odd ($2.4 billion) worth of assets were on the table. As the Russian economy began to recover on the back of buoyant oil prices, investors feared that Kremlin officials might be losing their appetite for serious reform.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree