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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 7, 2004

7 June 2004
Turkish Court Annuls Results Of Oil-Refinery Tender
The Ankara Supreme Court on 3 June annulled the results of a 13 January tender on the sale of some 66 percent of Turkey's leading oil refinery Tupras to the alliance between Tatneft's German affiliate Efremov Kautchuk GmbH and the Turkish Zorlu financial/industrial group, "Kommersant-Daily" and other news agencies reported on 4 June. The court thus satisfied a lawsuit by the Petroleum Workers Union opposing the tender on the grounds that it violated competition legislation and also that the $1.3 billion winning bid was undervalued. Trade Union leader Mustafa Oztashkyn on 3 June told Turkish NTV that "no sale will take place until the Turkish government appeals to the country's parliament to approve the deal."

On 25 May, the Ankara municipal court satisfied a lawsuit by trade unions and froze the selling of Tupras shares. The decision was appealed by the Turkish Supreme Privatization Committee.

"Kommersant-Daily" cited an unnamed source in the Tatar government as saying that everything in this situation depends on retaliatory activities by the Turkish side. "Turkish Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan publicly promised [on 3 June] that he will activate other mechanisms to complete the deal." However, the source added that the move was a reaction to the number of opponents.

Tatneft was seeking to obtain its own oil refinery through the purchase of Tupras, as the company, Russia's sixth-largest oil producer, does not have its own facility. Meanwhile, the possible purchase of Tupras was not backed by President Mintimer Shaimiev, who told a Cabinet of Ministers meeting in February that oil refining should be developed within the republic rather than outside it.

Tatarstan, Buryatia To Establish Joint Helicopter Holding
Tatarstan and Buryatia have agreed to establish a joint helicopter-construction holding, President Shaimiev and his Buryat counterpart Leonid Potapov told a press conference following their meeting on 3 June in Kazan. Shaimiev said it not acceptable that helicopter plants in Ulan-Ude and Kazan produce the same modifications for Mi-8 and Mi-17 aircraft, and "compete with each other on the world market." He said those companies along with other helicopter-producing enterprises and scientific-research institutes should "join a unified scientific production association, introduce specialization, increase competitiveness of domestic helicopters, and establish a civilized market." During its two-day visit, the Buryat government delegation drew from Tatarstan's experience in social reforms, including in the housing and municipal-services sector, programs to remove ramshackle houses, and the optimization of state expenses.

Chally Boasts 17 Ruble Millionaires
Seventeen Chally residents have declared that they earned more than 1 million rubles ($34,000) in 2003, reported on 5 June. Chally administration head Ildar Khalikov commented that, taking into account the number of expensive automobiles and cottages in the city, there must be many more ruble millionaires. Tax Inspection head Lilia Gatina said that among some 17,600 people who declared their incomes, one earned more than 30 million rubles, two declared earnings of 10 million rubles, and 14 reported earnings of between 1 million and 10 million rubles.

Saratov Oblast Governor Honored By World Tatar Congress
The World Tatar Congress (BTK) has named Saratov Oblast Governor Dmitrii Ayatskov a laureate of the congress' award for outstanding contributions to the revival of the Tatar culture, language, and education in the oblast, RosBalt reported on 6 June, citing the gubernatorial press service. The news was reported on 5 June during the celebration of the Tatar-Bashkir national holiday Saban Tuye in Saratov Raion's village of Ust-Kurdyum. Ayatskov reportedly plans to donate the prize money to a Saratov orphanage.

It was the 14th time Saban Tuye celebrations were held in Saratov Oblast. Local representatives of the Marii, Chavash, and Udmurt nationalities also participated in the event.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Opponents Of Nuclear Project Warn Of Potential Problems
Although officials in Bashkortostan are already working on a plan to attract investment to the Agidel nuclear-power plant, which is to launch its first unit in 2010, the republic's environmentalists and the Geology Institute under Bashkortostan's Academy of Sciences are uncertain about the plant's reliability, are worried that plans call for it to be built on an earthquake fault line, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 4 June. The Geology Institute's researcher, geologist Marat Qamaltdinov, told the reporter that it was "suicidal" to begin construction in Agidel without performing basic geological research. Begun in the late 1980s, the Agidel project was halted in the early 1990s following widespread protests by the public. Currently the project is being reviewed by Russia's Nuclear Energy Ministry and Bashkortostan's government as a way of boosting the electrical supply to the region.

Bashkortostan's Orthodox Leader Opposes Legalizing Gay Marriages
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church eparchy in Ufa, Archbishop Nikon, appealed to Bashkortostan's State Assembly on 4 June asking it to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriages in the republic, which in his opinion "humiliate the union of a man and a woman, blessed by the Lord," Rosbalt reported the same day. In April 2004, the Yabloko party's faction member in Bashkortostan's parliament, Edward Murzin, came up with an amendment to Bashkortostan's Family Code in which the definition of marriage, currently stated as the "voluntary consent of a man and a woman" with the "voluntary consent of citizens." The issue has been removed from the parliament's agenda, though the eparchy has already labeled Murzin as a "devil's advocate" and referred, as an example, to the United States, "where the legalization of single-sex marriages [led to an increase] of sexually perverted men and women by 20-25 percent." Nikon noted, however, that "while condemning homosexual affairs, the Orthodox Church does not reject people who are controlled by this unnatural sin."

Duma's Deputy Chairman Visits Ufa To Praise Bashkortostan's Government
The deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma and first deputy chairman of Unified Russia's faction Vladimir Katrenko visited Ufa on 4 June to cite the "increasing trust of Bashkortostan's population" toward his party in Bashkortostan, "which was earned with the assistance" of Unified Russia's local office, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported. Also on 4 June, Katrenko met with President Murtaza Rakhimov and told reporters after the meeting that, in his opinion, the republican leadership has managed to form "a normal and open style of government" which is characterized by the ability "to look at the gist of each [new] problem."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi