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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 15, 2004

15 September 2004
Leading Tatar Companies Agree To Finance Mortgage Construction
The presidential representative for the State Housing Fund, Executive Director Telget Abdullin, told the cabinet on 14 September that agreements have been reached with republican companies under which they will allocate 3 billion ($103 million) of the total 5.2 billion rubles expected in 2005 for a mortgage and housing-construction program, "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" reported on 15 September. The program is supposed to contribute to the construction of 450,00 square meters of housing, or 100,000 square meters higher than the current year's expected volume.

The program's stated aim is to help house 161,000 families over a period of 28 1/2 years.

Tatneft and Nizhnekamskneftekhim are reportedly major contributors to the program.

Ukrainian Decision Sidesteps Tatar Shareholders
Ukrainian State Property Fund Chairman Mykhaylo Chechetov said Ukraine has the legal right to transfer a state stake in oil refiner Ukrtatnafta to the Ukrnafta oil company without agreement from the Tatar majority shareholder, reported on 14 September. Tatarstan state institutions control roughly 56 percent of Ukrtatnafta shares, while 43 percent owners from the Ukrainian government are seeking to incorporate the stake in the basic capital/charter fund of Ukraine's leading oil company Ukrnafta. Tatar First Prime Minister Rawil Moratov has issued an official statement suggesting that Tatarstan plans to participate in developing a mechanism for transferring the 43 percent stake to Ukrnafta. Chechetov, however, cited lawyers as saying that "there is no strict necessity to agree the handover of Ukrtatnafta's state stake with the Tatar side," as it is not a sale but merely a transfer.

Oil refiner Ukrtatnafta reduced oil-processing volume by 3.7 percent to 6.6 million tons in 2003 compared with the previous year, and posted a 95 million gryvnya net profit in 2003.

Tatneft Employees Give 13 Million Rubles To Beslan Victims
Tatneft collected 12.9 million rubles to help victims of the Beslan siege early this month, reported on 14 September, citing the company's press service. All employees reportedly transferred one day's salary to the fund.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Yabloko Holds Another Demonstration Seeking Dismissal Of Bashkir Interior Minister...
Yabloko staged a demonstration on 14 September in front of the Russian Interior Ministry (MVD) building in Moscow to demand that Bashkir Interior Minister Rafael Divaev be dismissed, Interfax, RIA-Novosti, RosBalt, and other Russian news agencies reported the same day. According to Interfax, between 30 and 35 people took part, while the Interior Ministry press service said there were about 20. Most of the demonstrators are residents of Bashkortostan whose relatives were killed by Bashkir MVD employees. One demonstrator said, "Innocent people die in the republic while criminal cases accusing Interior Ministry employees disappear without leaving a trace." Yabloko's Moscow leader Sergei Mitrokhin, For Human Rights group head Lev Ponomarev, Bashkir human rights activist Ildar Isengulov, and Russian presidential Human Rights Commission member Valerii Borshchev spoke at the demonstration. Protesters held signs saying: "Divaev Must Be Dismissed," "Let's Clean the Interior Ministry Of Werewolves And Murderers," "Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry Is Today's Gestapo," "Fascists, Get Out Of MVD," and "Who Will Stop Divaev's Bloody Business?" A similar demonstration was held in Moscow on 15 July (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 16 July 2004).

...As Russian MVD Official Again Promises Investigation
The Russian MVD will investigate violations of human rights in Bashkortostan reported by human rights activists and republican representatives, an MVD spokesperson told RIA-Novosti on 14 September. The official said protesters sought to inform the MVD about violations of human rights that allegedly took place in Bashkortostan. Main Organizing and Inspection Directorate deputy head Nikolai Mamontov and acting Information Directorate head Valerii Gribakin met with the protesters and assured them that the ministry will investigate all reported violations. The spokesperson also said that a ministry special commission that for several months has been inspecting the activities of Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry has completed its work and the information is now being accumulated and analyzed.

German Company Opens Office In Ufa
A presentation by the mission of the German company Noble Product Germany was held in Bashkortostan's Foreign Economic Relations Ministry on 14 September, "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" reported on 15 September. Company manager Zemgira Schtoie said the company "plans to distribute several products and research projects at Bashkortosan's enterprises." German Embassy to Russia adviser Andreas Neuman said this is the first foreign company in Bashkortostan that has opened its mission in Ufa, not in Moscow. Noble Product Germany is involved in developing and producing spare parts and plants for oil-refining and chemical companies.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova