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Russian energy companies might develop security forces Print
05/03/2007
 
Russian state-controlled energy companies Gazprom and Transneft could set up their own security services with similar powers to the police under draft legislation seen by AFP on Monday.
 
Russian state-controlled energy companies Gazprom and Transneft could set up their own security services with similar powers to the police under draft legislation seen by AFP on Monday.The amendments registered on the database of the Duma lower house of parliament envisage the security services of gas giant Gazprom and oil pipeline network Transneft being bound by the same rules on the use of weapons as apply to state security agencies.
The Vedomosti newspaper said that under the amendments, the companies' security services would be able to stop and search people and their vehicles and use firearms outside sites under their protection.

One of the authors of the amendments, the head of the Duma's security committee Viktor Ilyukhin, told Vedomosti the amendments were needed to combat an increasing number of attacks on pipelines.

The paper quoted Transneft's deputy chief executive, Sergei Grigoryev, as saying the company wanted the changes because of an initiative by the interior ministry to prevent company security guards from bearing weapons.

"What's the point of unarmed security guards?" the paper quoted Grigoryev as saying.

A source in the economic department of the FSB security service, successor to the Soviet-era KGB, told the paper that railways and electrical power producers had long had such powers to defend themselves but that attacks on oil facilities had not been foreseen under Soviet-era legislation.

President Vladimir Putin has long championed Gazprom's role as an energy powerhouse with assets that stretch well beyond its core business, while critics have referred to the company as a state-within-a-state and would like its powers limited.
 
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