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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 20, 2005

20 June 2005
Police Detains Skinheads Suspected Of Attacking Jewish Cemetery
Kazan police detained two young people suspected of vandalizing the Jewish graves at the Arsk cemetery of Tatarstan's capital on 25 May, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 20 June citing Intertat. According to unnamed police officials interviewed by RFE/RL the same day, both teenagers belong to a small group of skinheads that was previously suspected of drawing swastikas at the local synagogue. According to the head of the Kazan police's anticrime department, the detainees are withdrawing their confessions of having committed the vandalism and their interrogation will resume on 21 June.

Gazprom Withdraws Representatives From Kazanorgsintez's Board
A meeting of Kazanorgsintez shareholders on 17 June elected a new board of directors without the representatives of the Russian Gazprom monopoly, Sultan Krimshalkhanov and Vladimir Toporkov, leaving only the representatives of Tatarstan's TAIF group and republican authorities on it, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 20 June, citing, "Kommersant-Povolzhye."

According to the TAIF's general director, Albert Shigabutdinov, Gazprom -- which is supplying the raw materials to be processed by the Kazan chemical plant -- "is not interested in being represented on the board and will solve its issues directly with the executive management and shareholders." Being one of the major polythene and plastic pipe producers in Russia, Kazanorgsintez is owned by TAIF (46.87 percent), Svyazinvestneftekhim (26.64 percent), and a group of minority shareholders. In 2005 it reported net profits of $70.7 million. Also on 17 June, the company's shareholders agreed to issue $200 million worth of Eurobonds through a branch in Luxembourg and employing the Bank of New York to operate the project for a term of five years.

Deputies Agree To Ban The Privatization Of Hospitals
Discussing a draft reform of health care organizations on 17 June, the Tatar parliament agreed with the proposal by Tatarstan's Health Ministry to introduce a ban on the privatization of local hospitals, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 20 June.

However, deputies had opposed the plans of the federal Health Ministry to grant the hospitals the status of nonprofit organizations. As for the current situation of state-funded hospitals, according to the republican Health Ministry's data, budgets are to be set using the official norm of daily expenditures per patient of 63 rubles ($2.25), which includes food, medicine, and chemicals for lab tests.

Naftogaz Ukraini To Have Priority In Taking Over Ukrtatnafta's Shares
Ukraine's Supreme Arbitrage Court will consider the legality of the privatization of 18 percent of the shares in Ukrtatnaft, the joint Tatar-Ukrainian petrochemical venture in Poltava Oblast, Ukraine, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 20 June citing Aleksei Ivchenko, chairman of the Ukraine's state-owned Naftogaz Ukraini company.

Ivchenko said that if a court rules to deprivatize the shares, his company will have the priority to purchase the package. So far Tatarstan and Tatarstan-related minor shareholders have been controlling more than 50 percent of the company's shares.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Election Commission Warns About Another False Electoral Leaflet
Ufa central election commission member Aleksandr Sidyakin denied involvement in the distribution of deceptive leaflets dropped into mailboxes of Ufa residents, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 20 June.

The leaflets claimed that musician Yurii Shevchuk, an Ufa native, would run in the city's upcoming mayoral election. It also claimed current Mayor Pavel Kachaev is willing to retire, quoting him as saying "because I know than many Ufa residents are unhappy with my appointment."

Shevchuk's press service reportedly was also "surprised" by the leaflet. Recently other leaflets have been distributed, pretending to cite the city election commission with a warning to voters that failure to turnout at the coming municipal elections would result in a 3,000 ruble ($107) fine.

Daily Claims 'Orange Uprising' Was Organized By Rakhimovs
Ural Rakhimov's party secretly sponsored the united Bashkir opposition, which strongly promoted the dismissal of Bashkortostan's president, Murtaza Rakhimov, "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" wrote on 17 June. The daily suggested that the recent opposition uprising was initiated by Rakhimov's family and helped the Bashkir president gain Moscow's favor.

Bashkortostan's Tatar Congress Denied Premises For Assembly
The deputy chairman of the Tatar public organizations union, Mejit Khujin, told an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 17 June in Bashkortostan that Mayor Pavel Kachakaev agreed to provide Ufa's Culture Palace for Bashkortostan's Tatar Congress on 22 June. But Kachakaev's deputy, Midkhet Membetov, insists that the building is undergoing reconstruction and will not be available.

Khujin said he could not confirm whether the building was available. He said the meeting would take place in the street if it is not.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi