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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 14, 2004

14 July 2004
Audit Chamber Singles Out Federal Ministry For Criticism Over Kazan Project
Russian Audit Chamber representatives summarized conclusions in Kazan on 13 July from an inspection of how federal funds earmarked for socioeconomic development through 2006 are being spent in Tatarstsan, and "Kommersant-Povolzhe" reported on 13 and 14 July. The funding program, approved by the Russian government in 2001, includes allocations for preserving and developing Kazan's historical center ahead of that city's millennial celebrations. Tatarstan's budget received 12.4 billion rubles ($426 million) for the program in 2002 and another 11.2 billion rubles in 2003.

Sergei Klimantov, who heads the audit group that has been working in the republic since late May, said the program was 97 percent implemented in 2003, while the parameters of the plan have been exceeded in 2004. The inspection revealed that 10 million rubles in funding was used inefficiently or misused, a figure that Klimantov called "insignificant for such a big volume of financing." He added, however, that the violations must be eliminated.

The federal Economic Development and Trade Ministry came under heavy criticism from auditors, who say the ministry has been underfunding the program for financing millennial preparations since 2001. Klimantov said that, as a result, planned restoration work was not completed at 131 historical objects in 2003, while work at 48 objects has not even begun. He said 25 objects of cultural heritage are less than 20 percent prepared, which he said seriously threatens the entire millennial celebration. The program to restore Kazan's historical center will be ruined if decisive steps are not undertaken soon, Klimantov added.

Anticorruption Body Set Up
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev signed a decree on forming a commission to develop an anticorruption strategy, Interfax-Povolzhe reported on 13 July. First Deputy Prime Minister Rawil Moratov was appointed to chair the commission, while Security Council Secretary Vener Salimov will serve as his deputy. The other 14 members include ministers and representatives from law enforcement, prosecutors' offices, parliament, and academia. The commission was tasked with developing an anticorruption strategy for Tatarstan by October.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Bank Head Says Banking Sector Troubles Are 'Economic Sabotage'
Bashkir National Bank Chairman Rostem Merdenov told a press conference on 13 July that rumors about a forthcoming bank crisis in Russia are "economic sabotage." He said structures "interested in undermining stability in the country" are behind the campaign. Merdenov added that residents of all regions including Bashkortostan could be affected by consequences of the "sabotage." Banks in the republic have had to increase the volume of cash fourfold to meet possible demand by depositors and, according to Merdenov, "now that money is immovable and does not create profit. This may further affect the bank's credit policy." The total sum of deposits in Bashkortostan's banks totaled, as of 1 July, 35.7 billion rubles ($1.2 billion), a 46 percent increase from the previous year.

Bashkortostan Hosts Mining Congress
The eighth Urals Mining Congress is being held in Uchaly, Bashkortostan on 14-16 July under the aegis of the Urals Mining Association, RosBalt reported on 13 July. The congress is being attended by representatives of mining companies from Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk, Orenburg, and Perm oblasts. The congress agenda includes developing recommendations on the introduction of innovations in the mining industry. The Urals Mining Association was established in 1991 and unites representatives of 24 mining companies in the Urals.

Institute Developing Bashkir Versions Of Computer Programs
The Ufa Scientific Center's History, Language, and Literature Institute, which is affiliated with the Russian Academy Of Sciences, is about to complete work on creating a computerized version of the Bashkir language, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 13 July. The institute, together with several private companies, has developed Bashkir versions of popular computer programs. Institute employee Zinnur Sirajetdinov told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 13 July that the institute is also working on a Bashkir-language Internet browser. Sirajetdinov also said that the institute is cooperating with Microsoft so that the computer giant's 2005 operating system is able to support the Bashkir language.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova