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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 14, 2003

14 November 2003
KamAZ Sells Entire Bond Issue
KamAZ on 12 November sold the entirety of its first bond issue at the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange, "Vremya i dengi" reported on 13 November. KamAZ Financial Department manager Ekhet Urmanov told the paper that demand for the company's securities exceeded by 58 million rubles the volume of the bond issue of 1.2 billion rubles ($3.35 million). A pool of organizers and underwriters of the issue, including the Zenit bank, Vneshtorgbank, Ak Bars Bank, and the LUKoil-Rezerv-Invest investment company, purchased 900 million rubles in bonds. The annual interest rate on the bond is 15.3 percent, down from the average annual rate of interest on KamAZ's credit portfolio of 16 percent-17 percent.

Tatar Journalists Hold Forum
Over 30 heads of Tatar-language media outlets from across Russia gathered on 13 November in Kazan to take part in a forum of heads of Russian regional mass media titled "The Tatar People in the 21st Century and Mass Media" organized by the executive committee of the World Tatar Congress, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. A seminar devoted to the issues of preserving and developing Tatar-language media, which opened the forum, was attended by Tatar presidential adviser Rafael Khekimov and State Council Science, Education, Culture, and National Issues Committee Chairman Razil Weliev. A resolution promoting establishment of a unified information space of the Tatar people was passed at the gathering.

Eight Cases Against Organized Criminal Groups Under Investigation
Tatar Interior Ministry Anti-Organized Crime Directorate head Anatolii Ignatev told a briefing on 13 November that Tatarstan's law-enforcement bodies have sent to the courts 755 criminal cases related to organized criminal groups so far this year, RosBalt reported the same day. Ignatev said 432 leaders and members of organized criminal groups were convicted in that period. Currently, eight criminal cases on criminal conspiracy and organizing a criminal group are being investigated by the Interior Ministry and Tatarstan's prosecutor's office. Specifically, the organized criminal group called "29th complex" in Chally is accused of 22 murders and several kidnappings. Under the criminal case against the Tahirjanov's criminal group, 27 members, including four leaders, have been arrested and nine persons are wanted. The group is accused of more than 20 crimes, including 12 murders and five kidnappings.

Tatenergo Ready For Winter
Tatarstan's energy monopoly Tatenergo has fully prepared for the winter season, RosBalt reported on 13 November, citing the company's press service. Repair and reconstruction of heating networks have been completed, and reserve fuel stocks have been formed. The company accumulated 145,000 tons of black oil, 5,000 tons more than the previous year, and 52,300 tons of coal, 12,300 tons more than in 2002. Tatenergo increased energy production by 4 percent to 16.9 billion kilowatt-hours in the first nine months of the year.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Izmestiev Accuses Rival Of Destabilizing Situation In Bashkortostan
Presidential candidate Igor Izmestiev, a Russian Federation Council senator representing Bashkortostan, told a press conference in Moscow on 13 November that his rival, former Mezhprombank head Sergei Veremeenko, had started his election campaign long before the official start date, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported today. According to Izmestiev, Veremeenko is responsible for stirring up the situation in the run-up to December elections in Bashkortostan, including the bombing of a vehicle close to the residence of the incumbent president's son, Ural Rakhimov (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 7, 10, 11 November 2003). Izmestiev is a former director of the Corus-Holding company, a subsidiary of the Corus Group, which is controlled by Ural Rakhimov. Izmestiev is thought to be close to President Murtaza Rakhimov. On 23 October, Russian Interior Ministry investigators searched Izmestiev's office as part of an investigation into alleged tax evasion by Bashkir oil refineries.

Bashkir Election Commission Seeks To Bar Safin From Presidential Race
Bashkortostan's Central Election Commission (USK) appealed to the republic's Supreme Court seeking to nullify the registration of Relif Safin, the Russian Federation Council senator representing Altay, as a presidential candidate, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported today. Safin is a former vice president of LUKOil. The USK accused Safin of violating electoral legislation by attempting to bribe the electorate, which he had allegedly done by promising to raise the average wages in the republic and offering mortgages to young families. He had also distributed CDs and pop paraphrenalia of his daughter, pop singer Alsu. Meeting reporters in Moscow on 13 November, Aleksandr Veshnyakov, chairman of the Russian Central Election Commission emphasized that "such issues may only be solved in court, since the republican USK has no right to cancel Safin's registration."

Bashkortostan To Count Votes Electronically
USK chairman Baryi Kijegulov told Rosbalt on 13 November that Bashkortostan will become the first Russian region to count votes electronically during the December Russian State Duma and Bashkir presidential elections. The electronic system will be used in parts of Ufa, but the final count will still be done manually.

Duma Candidates Complain Of Censorship On Bashkir State TV
Yabloko party candidate Artus Asafiev and two independent candidates Ayrat Dilmokhemmetov and Ildar Isangulov running for the Russian State Duma complained to the republic's chief prosecutor on 13 November that the Bashkortostan State TV and Radio Company had censured their campaign commercials, Rosbalt reported on 13 November. The broadcaster had refused to air the commercials, saying that they "insulted the citizens of the republic and could destabilize the situation before the elections." Previously the USK banned live political debates on television and radio, demanding that such programs should be pre-recorded before going on air.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi