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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 27, 2003

27 June 2003
Protest March Against Construction Of Nuclear Power Plant Starts In Tatarstan
A three-day march to protest unfreezing the construction of the Tatar Nuclear Power Station (AES) in Kama Alany begins in Tatarstan on 28 June, Al-inform reported on 26 June. The action will involve representatives of the Tatar Anti-Nuclear Society, the Tatar Public Center, participants in the clean-up operations at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, Afghan war veterans, environmentalists, and students. After starting on 28 June in the central square of Alabuga, the march will move the next day to Chally, and on 30 June to Tuben Kama where participants plan to encamp on 1 July. Meanwhile, the "Zvezda Povolzhya" weekly reported on 26 June that the Chally administration has banned the meeting and only a picket will be staged in the city. The construction of the AES, in which $700 million has been invested, was frozen in the early 1990s in the wake of protests. Environmentalists argue that the station is located on a tectonic break. Currently the Tatar government seeks to revive the project and plans to renew the construction in 2010.

TAIF Plans To Take Over Kazanorgsintez
Seven representatives of the Tatar-American Investments and Finances (TAIF) company were elected to the observation council of Kazanorgsintez at the company's annual shareholders' meeting on 26 June, while TAIF General Manager Albert Shihabetdinov became council chairman, AK&M reported the same day. Previously TAIF -- the company in which Radik Shaimiev, the son of Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, is an adviser to the chairman of the board -- had two of its representatives in the 13-member council. Nail

Yusupov was reelected as general director of the company. Yusupov told the meeting that the prices of Kazanorgsintez production dropped in 2002 by 1.3 percent, while the company's profit fell by 13.6 percent because of the lower demand for polyethylene. Shihabetdinov told the meeting following the election that TAIF plans to increase its stake in the company from the current 19 percent to 51 percent by 2004 and to become its strategic investor. Kazanorgsintez controls 38 percent of the Russian polyethylene market, produces 46 percent of Russia's polyethylene pipes, 21 percent of phenol, and 22 percent of acetone. The Tatar government possesses a 26.6 percent stake in Kazanorgzintez.

Tatneft To Prospect Fresh Water In Iran
In Tehran, Tatneft and the Iranian Institute of Oil Research signed a contract on the prospecting of fresh water in the country's southern regions, reported on 26 June. Information about the cost of the contract is not available. Tatneft Deputy General Director Khemit Qawiev said the contract was promoted by the Iranian Center of Water Research. He also said that nuclear-magnetic resonance technology will be used in the prospecting.

TNV Broadcasts In Tomsk
Broadcasts of Tatarstan's New Century (TNV) satellite television channel have begun in Tomsk, reported on 26 July. At the initiative of Tomsk Mayor Aleksandr Makarov, the local Antenn television studio signed a corresponding agreement with TNV. Transmission will be increased from the current two hours to three hours as of 6 July, including a one-hour Tatar-language program, according to the report.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Uralenergo Holds Meeting In Ufa
Heads of nine energy systems in the Ural region -- Bashkirenergo, Kirovenergo, Kurganenergo, Permenergo, Sverdlovenergo, Udmurtenergo, Chelyabenergo, Orenburgenergo, and Tyumenenergo -- gathered on 26 June in Ufa for a meeting of the Ural representation of Russia's Unified Energy Systems (EES), RosBalt reported the same day, citing the Bashkirenergo press service. The forum discussed the restructuring and financial state of the regional energy system and measures to increase its efficiency and reliability. Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov told the meeting that Bashkortostan will increase deliveries of energy to the Federal Wholesale Market of Electric Energy (FOREM) to 1 billion kilowatt-hours in 2004, according to the September agreement between the republican government and EES. In 2002, the republic sold 600 million kilowatt-hours, three times the 2001 rate, Baidavletov said.

Duma Deputy Critical About Federation Council's Refusal To Increase Minimum Wage
Commenting on the refusal by the Federation Council to pass a draft law on the minimum wage, State Duma Deputy from Bashkortostan Zeinulla Bagyshaev accused the Federation Council of an "immoral and irresponsible attitude toward citizens," RosBalt reported on 26 June. The draft, which was initiated by the Duma OVR faction, aims to increase the minimum wage in Russia from 450 rubles ($15) a month to 600 rubles and empowered federation entities to introduce higher minimum wages than the federal one. Bagyshaev said the Federation Council had "passed an exclusively politically motivated decision without any concern for citizens." He added that the Duma will try to overrule the Federation Council's veto during its next session in the fall.

Tatar-Language Department Closed Down In Boro Pedagogical Institute
The administration of Bashkortostan's Boro (Birsk) Pedagogy Institute has shut down a Tatar-language department and suggested that students who entered the institution this year join the Bashkir-language department, RFE/RL's Boro correspondent reported on 26 June. The correspondent cited Rif Allagulov, an assistant professor at the institute, as saying that the move is part of a continuing policy of oppressing Tatars in the republic. Doctor of Philology Refqet Ekhmetjanov commented that Salawat Usmanov, the institute's rector, is trying to please the republican authorities by closing down the Tatar department after he failed to be elected to the Bashkir State Assembly. Ethnic Tatars within the organization have demanded that the institute's Scientific Council gather to discuss the issue.

Environmentalists Protest Construction Of Ishtugan Reservoir
In an interview with RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 24 June, the deputy chairman of the Russian Environment Protection Organization's Bashkir Council, Boris Pavlov, sharply criticized the construction of the Ishtugan reservoir. He said it was being built in violation of the law on the territory of a national park. Pavlov said the facility will cause irreplaceable damage in the republic and may result in flooding the cities of Meleuz, Salawat, and Sterletamaq and dozens of villages in the area. Pavlov said the Bashkir authorities were guided by business interests when passing the decision on the reservoir construction. He also said his organization had appealed to the Russian president, the Russian government, and the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office to protest the construction but had received no answer.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova