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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 2, 2003


2 July 2003
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Russian-Kazakh Consortium To Promote KamAZ In Kazakhstan
An agreement on the establishment of the automotive consortium Kazakhstan-KamAZ was signed on 1 July in Astana, Kazakhstan, RIA-Novosti-Privolzhe reported the same day, citing the KamAZ press service. Russian Deputy Industry, Science, and Technology Minister Andrei Svinarenko and Kazakh Industry and Trade Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybaev attended the signing ceremony. The consortium, set up by a Russian-Kazakh intergovernmental commission, unites KamAZ, Astana-Finance -- which will both receive 20 percent stakes -- and six more companies, including the Semipalatinsk Machine Building Plant, the Kustanai Engine Repair Plant, Kazakhstan's metallurgy companies, and the Akmola Automotive Center KamAZ. Those companies will each have 10 percent stakes. The consortium will develop the assembly of automobiles and special vehicles on KamAZ chassis and the assembly of tractors from KamAZ-produced spare parts in Kazakhstan. It will also develop financial schemes for the sale of KamAZ products on the Kazakh market and increase the network of KamAZ service centers.

Slovak Economy Ministry Delegation Calls For Closer Cooperation
The Tatar-Slovak commission on trade, economic, scientific, and technical cooperation held a session on 1 July in Kazan, Tatar-inform and intertat.ru reported the same day. The visiting Slovak delegation headed by a high-ranking Economy Ministry official, Laszlo Pomoti, and Tatar deputy trade ministers, Rostem Kerimov and Rinat Urazaev, took part in the meeting. In 2002, the trade turnover with Slovakia -- Tatarstan's fifth-largest trade partner -- increased by half to $196 million compared to the previous year. Pomoti said that setting up joint ventures is the best way to increase bilateral cooperation. The sides noted the importance of harnessing the potential of Tatarstan's chemical and petrochemical sector and Slovakia's timber and furniture industries, developing tourist and health resorts, and setting up information centers for Tatar and Slovak businessmen.

Russian Court Rules That Increase Of Utility Tariffs In Tatarstan Legal
The Russian Supreme Court upheld on 27 June the earlier verdicts of the Tatar Supreme Court, which rejected an appeal by a group of Tatar residents against raising the costs of utilities, Tatar-inform reported on 1 July. The plaintiffs contested the 28 December 2002 resolution of the Tatar Cabinet of Ministers that raised the tariffs for electricity.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Russian Foreign Ministry Urges Switzerland To Clarify Position On Midair-Collision Issue
Moscow is hoping for an official comment on the establishment on 27 June by the Swiss state air-traffic-control company Skyguide along with the Swiss and German governments of a fund to compensate relatives of victims of the 1 July 2002 midair collision over southern Germany (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July 2002), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Radov told Switzerland's charge d'affaires in Moscow, Ann Boti, on 30 June, Interfax reported on 1 July. Specifically, the size of the fund, terms of compensation, and the order of payments are among issues of interest, according to the ministry. The ministry also pointed out that despite Russian appeals, lawyers and other representatives of victims' relatives and of Bashkir Airlines were not involved in the negotiations on the issue of compensation and it insisted that they be included as soon as possible.

Public Leaders Accuse Bashkir Interior Bodies Of Criminal Connections
Moscow Helsinki Group Chairwoman Lyudmila Alekseeva, Human Rights Institute Executive Director Valentin Gefter, and State Duma Deputy Aleksei Mitrofanov (Liberal Democrats) attended a press conference at RIA-Novosti on 1 July devoted to violations of the law committed by the Bashkir Interior Ministry, "Izvestiya" and "Vremya novostei" reported on 2 July. Participants, including public leaders, deputies, and human rights activists from Bashkortostan, claimed that Bashkortostan's interior bodies have criminal connections, use torture, suppress the opposition, and blackmail opposition members and their relatives. They also said people with previous convictions are often employed by interior bodies. The participants appealed to Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov to include Bashkortostan in the large anticorruption operation recently launched in Russia.

Specific incidents mentioned at the press conference included several criminal cases being filed against Beloretsk city council deputy Ildar Isengulov after he appealed to a court against the head of the local Road Traffic Inspectorate. Isengulov was accused of fraud and was illegally detained several times. In another case, Beloretsk resident Rafael Yunysov was beaten for four days by local police to force him admit that he stole 10 tons of automobile fuel from a state construction directorate. After Yunysov appealed to the prosecutors' office, he was found dead.

Bashkir Interior Ministry press service head Ruslam Sherefetdinov told "Izvestiya" on 2 July that the press conference had "a clearly political underlying reason" since the presidential election campaign has started in the republic. He said a commission from the Russian Interior Ministry is inspecting the Bashkir interior bodies, adding that, "as far I know, facts exaggerated by the media were not confirmed."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova
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