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April 6, 2009updated 12 Apr 2017 4:39pm

Russian lessor appointed minister of state

Russia has underlined its intention to support agriculture through leasing this month, by appointing the head of its state agricultural leasing company as its agriculture minister.

By Fred Crawley

Fourty-seven year-old Yelena Skrynnik, who previously headed Rosagrolizing, will replace cabinet mainstay Alexei Gordeyev, who held the position for nearly a decade.

A member of the supreme council of Putin’s Unified Russia party, Skrynnik will be Russia’s first minister of agriculture and its third female cabinet member.

Before becoming CEO of Rosagroleasing in 2001 she headed Russian leasing association Rosleasing, where she helped to set up the country’s leasing industry. In the wake of her appointment, Skrynnik promised that her department would work “openly, clearly and effectively”, promising to meet with Russian farmers during the spring sowing.

During her time with Rosagroleasing, Skrynnik was praised for easing machinery imports for farmers.

She was known for representing the interests of domestic combine-harvesters producers, and lobbied for raising tariffs for foreign agricultural equipment, as well as increasing state support for farmers willing to lease Russian-made vehicles. Her appointment has been lauded widely in the State Duma, as well as by the Russian Grain Union.

Analyst Yevgeny Minchenko, of the Institute of Political Expertise, was quoted in The Moscow Times as saying: “This is the start of a trend of attracting business managers to the government.”

Last year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appointed Viktor Zubkov, a former collective farm chief and current Rosagrolizing board chairman, as first deputy prime minister of the country.

Meanwhile, Russia this month announced it would pump RUB4 trillion (€91 billion) into domestic companies this year, with RUB800 billion earmarked for small businesses, according to deputy minister for economic development Anna Popova.

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