Accessibility links

Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 5, 2004

5 October 2004
Tatar President's Adviser Promotes Reform Of Islam
Speaking at the world forum on Dialogue of Civilizations in Rhodes, Greece, on 2 October, Rafael Khekimov, a state adviser to the Tatar president and director of the Institute of History of Tatarstan's Academy of Sciences, said it is now impossible to follow traditional directions of Islam in a secular state like Russia, "Novye Izvestiya" reported on 4 October. In his report titled "Islam and Orthodoxy: the View From Tatarstan," Khekimov called for reforming Islam in a way that will bring it into conformity with the "spirit of the times." Meanwhile, Tatarstan's first deputy mufti, Weliulla Yaqupov, opposed Khekimov's thesis, saying that an attempt made in the 18th century to reform Islam resulted in the appearance of extremist forms of the religion. "Who knows, maybe a new fruit of the reform will be even worse," Yaqupov said. He also delivered a report titled "Universalism of the Islamic Tradition in the Terms of Globalization," Tatar-inform reported on 4 October. The deputy chairman of the Muslim Religious Board of European Russia, Ferid Esedullin, also spoke against reforming Islam, and warned against the "stereotypical understanding of Islamic canons."

Tatneft Develops Cooperation With Iran
Visiting adviser to the Iranian president and chairman of the Office for Technological Cooperation, R. Sajadi, said Tatneft has good chances of becoming the first Russian company working on Iran's large oil deposits, the Tatneft press service reported on 4 October. An Iranian delegation headed by Sajadi visited Tatneft in late September and met with the company's general director, Shefeget Takhawetdinov. Speeding up bilateral cooperation and determining further avenues of cooperation were among the topics on the agenda. Tatneft has completed 11 deals worth approximately $10 million with Iranian companies over the past years.

Sberbank To Credit TAIF
TAIF General Director Albert Shihabetdinov told reporters on 4 October that TAIF and Russia's Sberbank are scheduled to sign a general agreement on 12 October on opening a 10-year $1.5 billion credit line for TAIF, reported the same day. Shihabetdinov also announced that a 45.6 percent stake of Kazanorgsintez was passed by TAIF to its branch Sintez-menedzhment, which was established in August. TAIF's own stake in Kazanorgsintez was thus reduced to 1.27 percent. Shihabetdinov said the move will allow more efficient management of Kazanorgsintez' assets under its eight-year, $900 million strategic-development program.

Kazanorgsintez produces 43 percent of Russia's polyethylene. Prior to the restructuring, TAIF owned a 47 percent stake in the company and Svyazinvestneftekhim 28 percent. TAIF is made up of more than 30 investment, telecommunications, oil refining, petrochemical, and construction companies.

Tatarstan, Germany Promote Cooperation In Auto Production
Representatives of German companies visiting Tatarstan as part of a trade delegation plan to develop the republic's machine-building and automobile-production sectors, the head of the Foreign Economic Policy Department of Germany's Economy and Labor Ministry, Ernst Brauner, told a press conference at the Kazan Trade and Industry Chamber on 4 October, RIA-Novosti-Privolzhe reported the same day. Brauner said the mission aims at developing trade and economic relations between Germany and Tatarstan and the establishment of business contacts and the discussion of concrete possibilities of bilateral cooperation. He added that Tatarstan is traditionally strong in the automobile sector. The mission includes 35 representatives of 15 German firms involved in metallurgy, automobile and machine manufacturing, timber, construction, and the banking sector.

At the same press conference, Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khefiz Salikhov said the republic is interested in increasing bilateral trade turnover, which currently totals $200 million a year. The same day, the businessmen met with Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov. They will also visit Alabuga and KamAZ.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Efes To Invest $50 Million In Ufa Brewery
Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov and Anadolu Group Vice President Lutfi Firat signed on 4 October in Ufa a protocol of intentions, according to which Anadolu Group and its affiliate Efes Beverage Group will invest some $50 million in the Ufa Amstar brewery, Bashinform reported the same day. During the signing, Firat expressed his hope that the volume of beer production will increase fourfold from 10 to 40 deciliters a year. Anadolu Group will be responsible for establishing and launching additional industrial capacities at Amstar. For its part, the Bashkir authorities will promote the allocation of some 11 hectares of land for the brewery. Efes Beverage Group is made up of 14 breweries, four malt factories, and nine Coca-Cola bottling factories.

Over 100 Residents Convicted Of Drug-Related Crimes In 2004
A federal drug agency in Bashkortostan has said that there were over 600 drug-related crimes in the first nine months of the year, Regnum reported on 3 October. Some 570 criminal cases have been filed, 230 of them have been sent to court, and 125 people have been convicted. Some 120 kilograms of narcotics and psychotropic substances were seized.

Opposition Media Face Problems In Bashkortostan
Bashkortostan's last opposition newspaper, the Communist Party's "Nash vybor," has ceased publication, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 4 October. Financial troubles were cited as the reason. Meanwhile, other newspapers have suffered other problems. Tatarstan's "Zvezda Povolzhya," which was distributed in Bashkortostan, now no longer appears in the republic. Bashkortostan's Tatar Public Center leader Airat Gyinietullin, who was involved in distribution of the weekly in Bashkortostan, told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 4 October that Bashkortostan's postal service has been refusing for the past two or three months to deliver the newspaper. Gyinietullin said that Bashkortostan's postal service often refuses to deliver publications, usually Moscow-based, which publish critical articles about Bashkortostan.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova