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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 14, 2003

14 January 2003
Radio-Electronic Holding To Be Set Up In Kazan
Russian Management Systems Agency General Director Gennadii Kozlov said on 13 January that a holding of radio-electronic-industry companies will be set up in Tatarstan's capital on the basis of the Kazan Radio Electronics Scientific Research Institute and the Radio Engineering Scientific Research Institute, reported the same day. Kozlov, who was on a visit to Kazan, met the same day with Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov to discuss the prospects of reforming several companies owned by the federal government. The two officials agreed that documents, including a list of participants and a privatization plan, will be developed within a year to set up the holding, which will likely be a joint stock company fully owned by the state.

KamAZ Resumes Work...
The KamAZ main assembly line resumed operation after a 17-day break, reported on 13 January. General Director Sergei Kogogin referred to a significant fall in demand for trucks that usually takes place in early January as the reason of the production stoppage. Meanwhile, according to the KamAZ business plan for 2003, the company will increase truck production by 4,000 to 24,000. Currently KamAZ is working on implementation of an export contract on production of 100 trucks signed in late December. Under the contract, the first 30 vehicles are to be delivered by 20 January.

...As Does Subway Construction
Construction of the Kazan underground at the Tuqai Square station was resumed on 13 January after it was stopped on 3 January for an inspection, reported on 13 January. The inspection was initiated by the administration of the Hotel Tatarstan, located on the same square, after cracks appeared on the hotel building. The Russian Tunnel Association, which held the inspection, concluded that fluctuation in temperature not underground construction is behind the cracks.

Tatar Internet Project Competition Launched
A meeting of the Moscow branch of the international public organization Tatar Internet (Tatnet) discussed preparations for the Tatnet Stars international competition of Internet projects, reported on 13 January. The Moscow Tatar Students' Assembly, the Virtual Tatar Club, the Tatar Historical Community, and the administration of the website initiated the competition, which is being held for the first time. It is intended to support sites devoted to Tatar issues, propagate the role of information technology in the development of the Tatar language and culture, and to promote Internet usage by Tatarstan's authorities, businesses, and public organizations, as well as in private contacts with members of the Tatar diaspora around the world.

Businessman Killed In Kazan
Rudolf Shadrin, 32, the commercial director of Tatarstan's Inturtsentr tourist agency, was killed in Kazan, reported on 13 January. Shadrin was found shot in the head and chest in the elevator of an apartment building on the evening of 10 January. Inturtsentr, which was named Tatarstan's best tourist agency the last two years in surveys by "Argumenty i fakty region," arranges tours to the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Cyprus, and Turkey.

Crime Rate Down
The number of registered crimes fell in Tatarstan in 2002 by 20 percent, while the murder rate dropped 10 percent, reported on 13 January. Some 25 percent of all murders were committed in Kazan. The statistics of drug-related crimes fell by some 40 percent, while the number of hijackings rose by 48 percent. Police destroyed more than 200 kilograms of drugs last year, the website said.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov Greets The Press...
President Murtaza Rakhimov sent his greetings to the Bashkir print media on the 300th anniversary of the Russian press marked on 13 January, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Rakhimov's message said that "the press always has been one of the most influential institutions of democracy and an important channel in the two-way connection between the governmental bodies and the citizens." The president also mentioned that according to the amount of printed media per capita in Bashkortostan, "it is the most well-read republic in Russia...with a wide range of editions, serving the needs of the spiritual revival of its multinational people." Rakhimov also expressed his certainty that the "social role of the press will contribute to the further consolidation of society."

...And Visits Italy For Business Talks
Rakhimov, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Ramil Mirsaev, left for Milan, Italy, on 12 January to discuss the creation of joint ventures in the construction industry, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 13 January, citing the presidential press service.

Bashkir Oil Industry Reports Breakthrough In Extraction Technology
Ufa Oil Industry Institute researchers have invented a new drilling device that is designed to increase the output of oil wells in Bashkortostan, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 January. For the last century, Bashkir oil producers have been using explosives to make openings in the metal oil-extraction pipes, which drastically shortened the pipes' life span and mixed the oil deposits with underground water. The new drilling device reportedly travels inside the pipe and does no damage to the underground layers. The agency emphasized that the new method will save the republic hundreds of thousands of dollars by increasing the productivity of each oil well.

UralSib Expands Network
The UralSib Bank of Bashkortostan became a major shareholder of Dzerzhinskii Commercial Bank in Perm Oblast by taking control of the bulk of its second share issue, Bashinform reported on 13 January. UralSib now owns 61.9 percent of Dzerzhinskii Bank, which boasts $2.8 million in nominal capital.

Prior to this takeover, UralSib acquired controlling share packages in KuzbassUgolBank of Kemerovo Oblast, Bank Eurasia in Udmurtiya Republic, Dorozhnik Bank in Chelyabinsk Oblast, and StroiInvestBank in Kaliningrad Oblast.

U.S. Officials To Discuss The Use Of Donated Internet Center
U.S. Embassy officials will visit the American center in Bashkortostan's Ekhmet Zeki Validi National Library on 17 January for a discussion of how the library operates the center for open access to the Internet, Bashinform reported. The center was founded by the American nonprofit Project Harmony Inc. and the Bashkir government.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi