Russian power play

August 28, 1998

Alumnus to be proud of number 186 appears to be positioning himself as the Russian answer to British politician R.A "Rab" Butler, who spent the late 1950s and the early sixties about to become prime minister, but never made it. Anatoly Chubais, voice of the economic liberalisers among Boris Yeltsin's top honchos, might have become prime minister of Russia again this week, but didn't as Viktor Chernomyrdin reclaimed the poisoned chalice.

Perhaps it is something to do with his academic background. Chubais graduated from the Palmiro Togliatti Engineering and Economic Institute, Len-ingrad, in 1977 and then went on to present a doctorate in the same institution on "research and elaboration of methods of planning improvement in the management of branches of scientific and technical organisations".

Somehow we can't imagine Yeltsin being able to say that, let alone read the whole thing. Chubais might try to assuage his disappointment in the same way as Butler, by becoming Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. But a more traditional Russian alternative seems likely - as head of the national electricity system, Chubais already runs a large number of power stations.

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