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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 10, 2005

10 June 2005
Tatarstan, Finland Seeking Ways To Develop Cooperation
Finland's Trade and Industry Minister Mauri Pekkarinen said his country was interested in "expanding its economic ties with Tatarstan," "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 9 June.

While Finnish and Tatar representatives discussed closer ties to develop industrial projects, Pakkarinen said, "it would be premature" for Tatarstan to expect serious foreign investments.

Tatarstan's Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation said Finland is among Tatarstan's top foreign trade partners, with turnover around $440 million in 2004. Trade between Finland and the republic is dominated by imports of Tatar oil products.

Kyrgyz Nationals Kazan Will Be Allowed To Vote In Presidential Election
Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Roza Otunbaeva said Kazan and 10 other Russian Federation cities would host voting sites for Kyrgyzstan's 10 July presidential election, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 10 June.

The vote will be coordinated by the Kyrgyz ministry's office in Russia and the Kyrgyz Ethnic-Cultural Association in Tatarstan, a member of Tatarstan's Association of Ethnic and Cultural Organizations. More than 1,000 Kyrgyz citizens are expected to take part in the Kazan vote. The Tatar Interior Ministry's migration-affairs department and the passport-visa service will monitor the vote.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Disputed Privatization Case To Be Settled Among Presidential Family Members
Bashkortostan's State Property Ministry declared on 9 June the withdrawal of its Arbitration Court claim against the handover of state-owned stakes in republican petrochemical companies to Bashkirskii Kapital, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day (see "RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Report," 9 June). An unnamed source within the Bashkir government has suggested that the son of Bashkorotstan President Murtaza Rakhimov, Ural, and the ministry agreed on leaving the private company in control of the shares and returning Bashneft and Bashkirenergo shares to Bashkirskii Kapital in exchange for 13 billion rubles ($464 million) and a pledge by Ural to his father to abstain from politics and concentrate on business activities.

In February, President Rakhimov denounced what he called an "attempt to remove" the speaker of the Bashkir legislature, Konstantin Tolkachev, by a group of petrochemical-industry tycoons led by his son, Ural. Rakhimov demanded that formerly state-owned shares in Bashkir petrochemical industries be withdrawn from the management of Bashkirskii Kapital.

However, during 9 June Arbitrage Court hearings, prosecutor Gulnara Bikbolatova insisted that the case involved an infringement on state interests and therefore must be resolved by a court. She also suggested that Bashkortostan prosecutors would file a case against the State Property Ministry.

Ufa Police Seize Explosives In Hands Of Soldier
Ufa railroad authorities detained a 20-year-old soldier from a Moscow military detachment with 200 grams of TNT at the railroad station in the republican capital, RIA-Novosti reported on 9 June. An investigation is probing the origin of the explosives, and felony proceedings have been launched against the soldier.

Tatar President Urges Government To Concentrate On Tuben Kama Petrochemical Launch
President Mintimer Shaimiev told a meeting of the republican Security Council on 9 June that the early construction of a second oil-processing plant in Tuben Kama with an annual capacity of 7 million tons is his government's priority, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. The new petrochemical complex will reportedly boost the activities of other chemical plants, to which it will supply the pre-processed oil products for further processing. Deep oil processing, which will be launched in 2005, is to be completed in 2009 and is expected to require $3 billion of investment.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi