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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 13, 2005

13 September 2005
Russian Patriots Open Party Branch In Kazan
The Russian Patriots party held an inaugural conference in Kazan on 10 September, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day, The newly established federal party plans to become "at least the second biggest political force" in the republic by the 2007 Duma elections, party Deputy Chairman Oleg Borisoglebskii told the conference. The Russian Patriots reportedly consider Unified Russia their main rival and hope to overtake it.

The party was formed in 2004 by former Communist Party activist Gennadii Semigin and joined by other former Communist activists including Gennadii Seleznev from the Bolshevik Communist wing, following their conflict with Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov.

Developing Petrochemical Industry A Government Priority
Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov told reporters on 12 September that Tatarstan intends to double or triple the output of its petrochemical industry in the next five years, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. For this purpose, the republic will complete the construction of a refinery in Tuben Kama with an annual capacity of 7 million tons, while the Kazanorgsintez plant is to boost its polyethylene production by 150 percent, which is to be accompanied by the gradual development of synthetic rubber and other petroleum-based productions.

Moscow To Help Rebuild Namesake Street In Kazan
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov told reporters on 10 September that his city will contribute to rebuilding Kazan's Moskovskaya Street, Tatarinform reported on 12 September. Luzhkov reportedly made this decision after visiting Kazan for its millennium anniversary celebrations and President Mintimer Shaimiev's personal requested his assistance. Formerly known as Kirov Street, Moskovskaya Street has many historical buildings in critical condition.

Complied by Iskender Nurmi

President Rakhimov's Son Maintains Control Over Bashneft
The Ural District Federal Arbitration Court on 12 September confirmed a verdict by the Bashkir Arbitration Court that ended a lawsuit by the Bashkir Property Ministry against Bashkirskii Kapital on the return to state ownership of a 64 percent stake in Bashneft, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 13 September.

Bashkortostan's Prosecutor's Office thus failed to prove that the decision would be harmful to state interests (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 6 July 2005). Republican First Deputy Prosecutor Salawat Kerimov told the daily that an appeal against the verdict is the responsibility of the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office. The Prosecutor's Office is contesting the 8 June agreement between the Bashkir government and Bashkirskii Kapital to settle the dispute out of court. Under that pact, Bashkirskii Kapital, which is controlled by Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov's son Ural, maintained control over the republic's major fuel and energy companies by agreeing to repay 13 billion rubles ($458 million) to the state budget in back taxes (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 9, 10, 13, and 21 June 2005).

President Against Oil Exporting
In an interview on the "Vesti nedeli" program on Rossiya television on 11 September, Bashkir President Rakhimov spoke in favor of processing oil in Russia rather than importing it.

Rakhimov said "I consider it a crime to export so much oil" and he said that gasoline, diesel fuel, and other products made from oil refining should be exported instead. Rakhimov also said quality oil banks will be necessary in the future, adding that today, however, a majority of Russia's oil refineries aren't ready to process high-sulfur oil. But Bashkortostan's refineries can process any type of oil, Rakhimov said.

Creation Of United Tatar-Bashkir Oil Processing Complex On Agenda
Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov said a project promoted by Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref to establish in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan a complex to process petrochemical products is achievable, reported on 12 September.

Gref reported that the project is to be discussed with the governments of the two republics in the next several weeks. Minnikhanov said Bashkir and Tatar petrochemical complexes have strong ties that originated during the Soviet era. "If we are able to create such a complex program at the federal level, it will positively affect both entities as well as the entire country," Minnikhanov said. He added that an agreement has been reached to attract an international consultant to help develop the project.

Case Against Bashkir Leader Goes To Court
A criminal case against the former leader of the Bashkir National Congress, Airat Dilmokhemmetov, has gone to the Ufa Kirov Raion Court, "Moskovskii komsomolets v Ufe" reported on 12 September.

Dilmokhemmetov is accused of using the mass media to publicly call for extremist activity and the overthrow of the current authorities. Charges against Dilmokhemmetov were filed in March by Bashkortostan's prosecutor, Aleksandr Konovalov, in the wake of the leader's speeches at opposition meetings in Ufa and Moscow in March. According to an investigation, speeches by Dilmokhemmetov contain "calls for the taking of power" and "threats about the use of violent actions as regards representatives of the authorities."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova