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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 29, 2004

29 July 2004
Large Pieces Of Tatarstan's State Property Waiting For Private Owners
Property Relations Minister Boris Vasilev told the reporters on 27 July that of more than 500 state-owned industries currently registered in Tatarstan, just 40 will remain republican property while most will be privatized or put into bankruptcy, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. By the end of 2004, the major republican distiller Tatspirtprom will reportedly be transformed into a joint-stock company and later be offered for sale. Kazan will also sell all its shares in Tatarstan Airlines and in Kazan's international airport at an auction on 20 August.

Tatarstan currently fully owns 588 enterprises worth some 50 billion rubles ($1.7 billion) by some estimates. Some $6 million worth of shares in 106 state-owned companies have already been privatized in 2004. Also in the first six months of 2004, government earned more than $33 million from the management of state property.

Kazan Markets Shut Down Over Terrorism Concerns
Kazan's Vakhitov district administration withdrew the licenses of five markets in the central part of the city for continuing violations of counterterrorism safety standards, Interfax reported on 27 July. The privately owned markets were shut down after receiving officials warnings. Similar safety inspections target markets in the remaining six administrative districts of Kazan.

Chally '29th Complex' Group Gets Day In Court
Tatarstan's Supreme Court launched a session on 27 July in preliminary hearings on the "29th complex" case, dedicated to a group from Chally that is suspected of involvement in murders, kidnappings, robberies, fraud, and the forgery of official documents in Tatarstan, Moscow, and Ukraine, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 29 July. Given that the materials of the case fill 212 volumes, the preliminary hearings were expected to take several days. Thirty-three suspects were present at the first session, while federal warrants are still out on nine other suspected members of the group. The felony case was closed in February 2003 but suspects were given 15 months to acquaint themselves with the charges and evidence. The main trial proceedings are expected to start in early August.

Tatar Communities Outside The Republic Get Quota For Tatarstan Studies
The Kazan-based World Tatar Congress and the Russian Education Ministry have agreed to an 80-person quota on applicants to Tatarstan's universities from Tatar ethnic communities within the federation, in the CIS, and abroad, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 29 July. In 2004, ethnic communities outside Tatarstan were responsible for some 250 applications to universities in the republic, mostly to learn Tatar history and linguistics. The new quota will be offered for a contest among the mentioned applicants.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir Communists Refuse To Support Zyuganov
A 27 July meeting of Russia's Communist Party branch in Bashkortostan discussed the current split within the party's leadership, and decreed that the party's leader, Gennadii Zyuganov, is to blame for the current division between his supporters and those of Ivanovo Oblast Governor Vladimir Tikhonov, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported yesterday. Bashkortostan's Communists accused Zyuganov of narrowing his ideological activities by promoting Russian nationalism and patriotism. On 14 August, a forum of Communist Party activists in Bashkortostan will resume the discussion of its future within the Russia-wide party.

One-Third Of Population Economically Active
According to Bashkortostan's State Statistics Committee, cited by Bashinform on 28 July, 1.8 million Bashkir residents are economically active, representing some 36 percent of the total population. Eight percent of the working population are reportedly hired privately, some 7 percent are employed on their own farms, while the majority of those employed are working in republican companies and industries. Only 1.2 percent of the economically active population (22,700 people) are officially registered as unemployed, while the demand for extra workers by local industries is around 19,000 people.

Prices Of Consumer Goods And Services Up By 8 Percent
Between January and July, the prices of consumer goods and services rose in Bashkortostan by an average of 8 percent, Bashinform reported on 28 July. Foodstuffs reportedly rose by 7 percent, while the price of solid and liquid fuels rose by some 30 percent.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi