Majority state-owned banks Sberbank and VTB Bank, as well as oil giant Rosneft, have been targeted by analysts as possible candidates for a sell-off. However, the timing of such a move has raised eyebrows in the investment community -- particularly when Russian markets are witnessing investor nervousness about the macro-economic situation.
Speaking to officials and the heads of state firms on Tuesday, Putin said that while the privatization process played "an important part in changing the Russian economy's structure and stimulating an inflow of private investment… it must not lead to the state losing control of strategically important companies," the transcript on the Kremlin's website showed.
"I stress the point that controlling stakes in state-owned enterprises of fundamental importance to their sectors should remain in state hands for now," he said.
Despite Putin's reluctance to sell off state assets, desperate times require desperate measures. In a sign that the government is searching everywhere for more money, Russia's state property agency proposed to increase the dividend payments by state firms (already at 25 percent) this year to raise at least 110 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) in extra budget revenues, agency head Olga Dergunova said, according to Reuters.
Russia's federal budget projects revenues of 13.738 trillion rubles (about $196 billion) and expenditures of 16.099 trillion rubles with a budget deficit of 2.36 trillion rubles or 3 percent of the country's gross domestic product, according to TASS news agency.