Chamber of Commerce Gets New Head

Katyrin accepting his nearly unanimous election as the new head of the chamber, while Primakov applauds. Andrei Makhonin

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation elected Sergei Katyrin as its new president Friday.

Katyrin, 56, who served as the chamber's vice president since 1992, replaces long-serving Yevgeny Primakov, who refused to run for the post again.

The 81-year-old Primakov — who was educated as an orientalist, served as a member of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's presidential council, head of the foreign intelligence service, foreign minister, prime minister and twice as the country's special envoy to Sadaam Hussein — asked the delegates of the chamber's convention to vote for Katyrin, saying the nominee had the backing of President Dmitry Medevedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Out of the 437 delegates, 433 voted for Katyrin, while four abstained. The alternative candidate for the post was president of the chamber's Novorossiisk branch Igor Zharinov, who garnered one vote.

According to its web site, the chamber is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization whose mission is to contribute to the development and large-scale application of innovation, modern technologies and also promote a knowledge-driven economy. It represents and protects the business community's interests in government agencies and with local authorities, and participates in drafting of laws and other regulatory acts affecting the interests of entrepreneurs, while establishing an efficient system for independent expert analysis of such legislation.

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