Billionaire Roman Abramovich has resigned as chairman of the legislature of the remote Russian region of Chukotka, to comply with a new law banning officials from owning foreign securities and bank accounts.
But that won’t be the end of his long-standing commitment to the frozen wastes of Chukotka and their population of 50,000. As the state website reported on Tuesday, Abramovich “will continue to participate in the life of the Chukotka Autonomous District. In particular, he will continue to implement a number of major regional business projects that will significantly increase the region’s future tax base.” Having got their oligarch, the good citizens of Chukotka aren’t letting him go.
Quoting the press service of the local council (duma), the Chukotka website said Abramovich resigned as a deputy and as duma chairman:
Roman Abramovich’s decision to withdraw from his post is due to his intention to comply fully with the legislation of the Russian Federation in connection with the entry into force of the Federal Law N 79-FZ (as of May 7, 2013).
The statement made clear that there was no change in the warmth of relations between the billionaire and the region he has served since the late 1990s, including a long spell as governor from 2000 to 2008. “Roman Abramovich has expressed his confidence in the administration of Governor Roman Kopin and supported his intention to re-election in the upcoming gubernatorial election,” said the press service.
Abramovich is understandably popular in Chukotka where he registered a number of his businesses in the late 1990s and where he has sent a number of talented protégés, Kopin among them. Tuesday’s announcement suggests that these arrangements won’t change any time soon.
Abramovich Gives Up Role in Russian Politics, Moscow Times