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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 11, 2003


11 September 2003
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Russian President, Finance Minster Discuss Funding Of Kazan Millennium Anniversary Celebrations
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin met on 9 September to discuss the preparations for Kazan's millennium anniversary celebrations in 2005, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Putin reportedly instructed the minister to hold a meeting of the state commission in charge of the anniversary in Kazan on 12 September.

Kudrin informed the president that his ministry is simultaneously working on two programs: Tatarstan's social-economic development until 2006 and the anniversary celebrations. Kudrin also noted that there are still some unresolved issues with funding for the construction of the Kazan subway system, which is scheduled to have its first line open by 2005.

Meanwhile, the "Vechernyaya Kazan" daily wrote on 10 September that the opening of the first subway line will cost 12.5 billion rubles ($408.4 million), which is equal to three annual Kazan city budgets. Neither the city, nor the republic, have allotted any expenditures for subway construction in 2003. The Russian deputy transport minister, visiting Kazan in 2002, promoted a scheme according to which 20 percent of the subway expenses were to be covered by the federal center, while the rest was to be the responsibility of Tatarstan.

According to Tatarstan's draft budget for 2004, currently under discussion in the cabinet, Moscow is to transfer 9 billion rubles under the republic's social and economic development program and 2.2 billion rubles under the program on reconstructing Kazan for the city's millennium anniversary celebrations (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 9 September 2003).

Russian Communications Ministry Signs Cooperation Agreement With Tatar Government
During the international telecommunications fair, "Russia's Info-communications -- 21st Century," in Moscow on 10 September, Russian Minister of Communications and Information Technologies Development Leonid Reinman and Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov signed an agreement on cooperation between the federal ministry and the republican government, Intertat reported the same day. After signing the document Reinman said that "Tatarstan is among the leading Russian regions in telecommunications development, which is to a great extent explained by the support of the President Mintimer Shaimiev and the government."

According to an unnamed source in the Tatar Communications Ministry speaking to a correspondent in RFE/RL's Kazan bureau on 10 September, the fact that the agreement was signed by the Tatar prime minister and not Communications Minister Rinat Zalyalov seems to perhaps confirm rumors about the minister's impending retirement and possible abolition of his ministry.

Tatarstan's Major Bank Seeks To Expand Network Outside Republic
Ak Bars bank, the official bank of the Tatar government, plans to open affiliate offices in nine cities across Russia by the end of 2004, Intertat reported on 10 September. Ak Bars will reportedly open offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Izhevsk, Yoshkar-Ola, Nizhnii Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Ulyanovsk, and Cheboksary. The bank currently maintains 22 affiliates, 51 local offices, and more than 60 account-operating offices in Tatarstan. Some 600,000 individuals and some 50,000 Tatar companies so far have entrusted their money to Ak Bars.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Ufa Lawyer Sues Russian Post Office In Strasbourg Court
Ufa lawyer Yevgenii Kareev has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights against the Russian International General Post Office (GPO), RosBalt reported on 10 September. Kareev told the news agency the same day that GPO has lost six of his letters about violation of human rights in Russia that he sent between January and July to the European court. Kareev has demanded that the GPO pay him 100,000 euros ($111,947) in compensation. Kareev has said that he believes the loss of the letters is the result of "activities by the special services" and Russia's unwillingness to face international publicity regarding human rights violations. Kareev had written to the court appealing against the blocking of streets for the passage of VIP motorcades, the rise in housing and utilities payments, and against censorship on Russian and Bashkir television (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 4 and 6 February, 24 and 31 March, 9 April, and 1 May 2003 and "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly Review," 21 March 2003). Kareev said that the GPO has violated Article 34 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which forbids hindering citizens' appeals to the European court.

Daily: Bashkir Economy Less Efficient Than That Of Tatarstan
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" published on 10 September an article comparing economic development in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, which concluded by saying that the economic situation in the latter is not as rosy as the republic's leaders suggest. Tatarstan's GDP per capita is 58,000 rubles ($1,900) per capita as compared to 45,000 rubles in Bashkortostan. Bashkortostan is twice as big as Tatarstan and its population is 8.5 percent bigger than its neighbor. Despite its smaller size, Tatarstan has produced 16.7 billion rubles worth of agricultural output in the first six months of the year, while the result in Bashkortostan was an output worth 14.2 billion rubles.

Central Bank Of Russia Reacts To Attack Against UralSib
The Central Bank of Russia issued a statement calling on the banking community to avoid unworthy methods of competition, PRAIM-TASS reported on 10 September. The statement came in response to leaflets that had been distributed the previous week in Ufa and Novosibirsk, which said that the UralSib bank was going bankrupt (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 8 and 9 September 2003). The statement said that the Central Bank of Russia considers the use of such dirty tricks as inadmissible and something that "threatens the stability of the entire banking system."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova
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