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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 25, 2003

25 March 2003
Tatarstan, Chechnya To Boost Ties
Chechen administration head Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov and Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov signed a bilateral agreement on trade, economic, scientific, technical, and cultural cooperation, Tatar-inform reported on 24 March, citing the Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Ministry. The document expresses mutual interest in speeding up restoration of the economy of the Chechen Republic; revival of economic relations between enterprises, organizations, and institutions of the two republics; and development of cooperation in the scientific, cultural, educational, health-care, and sport sectors. The ministry and the Chechen representation to Tatarstan are developing a protocol specifying measures to implement the agreement.

Tatneft Loses $1 Billion Because Of War In Iraq
Tatneft Deputy General Director Khemit Qawiev said the oil company is facing $1 billion in losses because of lost contracts after the beginning of the war in Iraq, Prime-TASS reported on 24 March. Qawiev said Tatneft was implementing a contract on drilling 33 oil wells, while another contract on the development of 60 wells was ready for signing. He also said Tatneft together with Zarubezhneft has developed a line of programs to prospect and drill on several Iraqi deposits. All work was stopped by the war, he said, adding that he believes it will be continued when the war is over.

Tatarstan, Moscow Agree On KamAZ, ZiL Merger
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov on 18 March signed documents approving a merger of the Chally-based KamAZ truck concern and the Moscow-based ZiL automotive plant, which were previously signed by the Tatar Economy and Industry Minister Aleksei Pakhomov and his Moscow counterpart, Yevgenii Panteleev, the "Vostochnyi ekspress" weekly reported on 21 March. The first stage of the project plans to move some technological processes from Moscow to Chally, including casting and forging, after which the companies intend to merge their sales networks and finally to move ZiL's entire assembly line to Chally.

ZiL produces up to 15,000 trucks a year and has an annual turnover of $200 million, while KamAZ produces 25,000 trucks annually with a turnover of $650 million.

Russian Court Abolishes Alabuga Off-Shore Zone
The Russian Supreme Court on 23 March annulled the Tatar law on the Alabuga off-shore zone, "Kommersant" reported on 24 March. The zone was established in April 1998 in YelAZ to provide "privileges in investment activities and business" for legal persons and businessmen registered on its territory and was intended to attract investment for the YelAZ-GM joint venture, which was registered in Alabuga.

Tatar Prosecutor Kafil Emirov challenged the law, which he said violated the Russian Civil Code by permitting commercial companies to be set up in the zone and businesses of not only legal persons to be registered. After the Tatar Supreme Court rejected his challenge on 22 January, the Prosecutors' Office appealed to the Russian Supreme Court, which ruled that the Tatar State Council exceeded its powers, as the establishment of off-shore zones can only be regulated by federal legislation.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov Congratulates Chechen Administration On Passage Of Constitution...
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov sent his congratulations to the Chechen administration following a referendum in the republic on 23 March that, according to official results, overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, the Bashkir presidential press service announced. Rakhimov said that approval of the constitution would help speed up the peace process in the republic, adding that Bashkortostan was ready to assist in rebuilding Chechnya and in reviving its economy.

...As Republic's Chechen Leader Doubts Effectiveness
The head of the Chechen community in Bashkortostan, Lomali Israilov, told RosBalt on 24 March that he thought the adoption of the new constitution in Chechnya would be ineffective unless federal authorities established a commission to amnesty those Chechens who fought against Russian troops.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi