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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 27, 2003

27 March 2003
Tatneft, KamAZ Deny Reports About Big Losses In Iraq
Tatneft has issued a statement claiming that its losses resulting from the U.S.-led war in Iraq will not exceed $2 million, Solid-info reported on 26 March. The statement denied earlier reports by some mass-media outlets that said that the company's direct losses would total $1 billion. The statement said the company's only possible losses would be the $2 million worth of equipment in Iraq that it was using to drill 33 oil wells.

KamAZ General Director Sergei Kogogin said on 26 March that his company's 2003 business plan does not include any exports to Iraq, reported the same day. A KamAZ spokesperson said the same day that "information [in the media] about KamAZ's colossal losses because of U.S. military action in Iraq has been greatly exaggerated."

Deputy Says Chechen Referendum Gives Hope To Tatarstan
The chairman of the Tatar State Council's Legislative Committee, Midkhet Qormanov, told "Vechernyaya Kazan" on 26 March that he lauds the results of the Chechen constitutional referendum held on 23 March. Qormanov said the adoption of the draft Chechen constitution, which he claimed stipulates the principle of sovereignty for Chechnya, also enables Tatarstan to defend its sovereignty and to rely on concessions from Moscow.

Antidrug Campaign Sees Positive Results
The director of the Tatar government's Antidrug Center, Razyia Sadyiqova, said on 26 March that the year-on-year increase in the number of registered drug addicts in the republic has declined in recent years from 78 percent growth in 1999-2000 to only 2 percent in 2001-2002, reported the same day. Sadyiqova was speaking at a meeting of the Interdepartmental Commission of the Tatar Security Council on Fighting Drug Addiction and Trafficking devoted to the implementation of the republic's five-year program on the prevention of drug addiction. Sadyiqova also said the number of people registering as HIV-positive decreased from 2,700 in 2001 to 1,400 in 2002. The number of drug-related crimes registered in the republic also decreased from 5,100 in 2001 to 3,000 in 2002.

Bashkortostan's Chief Tax Official Sacked
Russian Tax Minister Gennadii Bukaev sacked Reshit Sattarov, head of the ministry's branch in Bashkortostan, on 25 March, RosBalt reported the next day. Sattarov was accused of failing to fulfill his official duties by violating the federal law on state service, which requires officials to "ensure the support to the Russian Constitution, implementation of the federal laws and laws of the federation's entities."

According to the agency, the federal Tax Ministry said Sattarov's inaction allowed Bashkortostan's oil refineries to evade the payment of $10 billion rubles ($319 million) in taxes by transferring their production facilities to companies registered in the Baikonur offshore zone (see "RFE/RL Tatar Bashkir Report," 3 February, 13 and 20 March 2003, "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly Review," 7 March 2003). The official statement on Sattarov's dismissal also said that his views regarding this issue "violated the law and assisted tax evasion by the oil refineries."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi