* Russian companies hold annual meetings by end-June
* Kremlin's list confirms Sechin to lose Rosneft chair
* Kremlin orders 2011-13 privatisation schedule by May 15
(Adds order to strip officials of chairmanships by Oct. 1)
By Melissa Akin and Alexei Anishchuk
MOSCOW, April 2 President Dmitry Medvedev gave
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin a July 1 deadline on Saturday to
begin the process of removing Russian ministers from state firm
boards, a move which could clip the wings of top Putin allies.
Medvedev's order set no deadline to remove the ministers
from boards, but said they must be stripped of chairmanships by
Oct. 1. Among those who could lose posts are Putin's powerful
deputy Igor Sechin, chairman of the board of state oil company
The call for Sechin and other Putin allies to relinquish
posts as board members of state companies has stoked speculation
the president may be challenging his mentor ahead of the March
2012 presidential election.
Medvedev and Putin have jointly ruled Russia since Medvedev
succeeded Putin as president in 2008, with Putin widely seen as
the more powerful of the two men.
They have said they will decide together which of them will
run for president next year. Analysts give conflicting views
over how serious a perceived split between them is. [nLDE72U07U]
Russian companies hold their annual meetings by the end of
June. The July 1 deadline left it unclear whether Medvedev would
force out powerful bureaucrats from their corporate posts during
shareholder meetings in May-June, or merely start the paperwork.
"This shows he intends to bring this idea to life,"
Konstantin Simonov, director of the National Energy Security
Fund in Moscow, said. "Before his term expires he can make some
real trouble for his bureaucratic rivals."
As chairman of top Russian oil producer Rosneft (ROSN.MM),
Sechin presided over a landmark share swap and Arctic drilling
deal with BP (BP.L). Rosneft holds its annual meeting in the
southern city of Krasnodar on June 10.
The list of officials to give up seats, published on the
Kremlin website (www.kremlin.ru) as an appendix to a sheaf of
orders on measures to improve the investment climate, goes
further than initial expectations. [nLDE7310AI]
Under the order, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin will lose
his seat on the board of No. 2 Russian bank VTB (VTBR.MM) as
well as his seat on the board of diamond miner Alrosa.
When Medvedev proposed the changes on Wednesday evening,
some analysts thought monopolies like Alrosa would be exempt.
Medvedev also demanded by May 15 a final list of companies
to be privatised this year and next, and asked for improvements
in corporate disclosure to minority shareholders.
The order to remove powerful bureaucrats from posts at firms
sent a strong signal, but Medvedev has floated vaguer versions
of the same idea since he was steered into the top job by Putin
in 2008, so the test is how far he succeeds.
Many investors and analysts believe Medvedev and Putin are
enacting an elaborate charade to give the impression of
competition in a tightly controlled political system.
"I have always said that the Putin-Medvedev conflict is
blown out of proportion," Simonov said. "But the conflicts
between the people below them -- they are real."
(Reporting by Melissa Akin; Editing by Ron Askew and Peter