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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 13, 2002


13 November 2002
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Official: Republic To Face Budgetary Deficit In 2003
Tatar Deputy Finance Minister Aleksei Shishkin told a press conference on 12 November that Tatarstan's consolidated budget for 2003 -- both federal and republican budgetary revenues and expenditures -- will be decreased by 8 percent in comparison with the 2002 budget and will have a deficit, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 13 November.

The budget calls for expenditures of 50.6 billion rubles ($1.591 billion), while revenues are expected to be only 47.2 billion rubles. In accordance with the Russian Budget Code, however, estimated revenues do not include 12 billion rubles in federal subsidies that Kazan is to receive within the program for the republic's social and economic development. Shishkin did not confirm or deny whether these funds could be used to cover the expected budgetary deficit.

In calculating the budget, officials reportedly set the price of oil at $20 per barrel, with expected extraction to be 28.2 million tons, and the exchange rate was set at 34 rubles to the U.S. dollar, while the current rate is about 31.8 rubles to the dollar.

Oil Industry Leading Taxpayer In Republic
The deputy head of the Tatar branch of the Russian Tax Service, Midkhet Shagiekhmetov, told a press conference on 12 November that by October his agency had collected 45.5 billion rubles ($1.43 billion) in taxes throughout the republic, which is 30 percent higher than the amount of taxes collected within the same period the previous year, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 13 November. Industrial companies led the way in terms of tax payments, with the oil industry being the largest contributor, paying 15 percent of all taxes collected so far. The foodstuffs and machinery industries each contributed about 6.6 percent of the total collected so far this year, the construction and transport sectors of the economy each contributed 6 percent, while the retail and catering industries each contributed 5 percent. Companies in the chemical and petrochemical industries contributed 2.2 percent of the total taxes collected.

Forty-nine percent of the $1.43 billion in taxes collected was transferred to the federal budget, while 25 percent went to the republican budget, and 26 percent was divided among municipal budgets in the republic.

In accordance with tax reforms carried out in Russia this year, Tatarstan's budget receives only 20 percent of the newly created mineral-resources tax, while the republic previously received 60 percent of the former natural-resources tax and 90 percent of the mineral-resources tax, both of which have been replaced by the new mineral-resources tax.

TIU Hoping To End War In Chechnya, Rebuild Republic
The Kazan branch of Tatar Public Center (TIU) declared on 11 November that it is planning to collect signatures of republican residents for a petition demanding an end to Russian military activities in Chechnya, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day. The TIU plans to submit copies of the petition to the Russian government and "all international organizations interested in solving the Chechen conflict," RFE/RL reported.

Meanwhile, the Chally branch of the TIU announced on 12 November that it is enlisting volunteers to help rebuild the war-torn Chechen Republic. The announcement said that, in addition to construction experts, the republic "could use the help of volunteer teachers, doctors, and other specialists."

Tatarstan Looking To Boost Cooperation With U.S.
Tatar Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Khafiz Salikhov met on 11 November in Kazan with Rachael Turner, country manager for Eurasia at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), tatnews.ru and intertat.ru reported the next day. Having acquainted Turner with the principal indicators of socioeconomic develop in Tatarstan, Salikhov said that the Tatar economy needs tens of billions of dollars in investment. Turner said her agency was prepared to consider investment projects in Tatarstan-based companies. If the agency were to give any particular project a positive evaluation, then the agency would forward the relevant documentation to interested U.S. companies, Turner said. Turner also said that she was ready to assist in increasing cooperation between Tatarstan and the United States, tatnews.ru reported.

Tatarstan has already cooperated with the USTDA, Salikhov said, noting that the agency provided a grant -- covering 50 percent of the $280,000 cost -- to Nizhnekamskneftekhim to help the company renovate its production facilities.

KamAZ To Launch Production In Ukraine
Tatarstan's KamAZ automotive concern is planning to launch a number of assembly plants in Ukraine in cooperation with the Kyiv Auto-Repair Plant, Tatar-inform reported on 12 November. The joint venture is planning to produce about 200 heavy trucks annually. KamAZ has similar joint ventures operating in Almaty and Baku.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Consideration Of New Bashkir Constitution Delayed
Legislators in Bashkortostan have voted to postpone consideration of a new draft republican constitution, lenta.ru reported on 13 November. According to the report, deputies postponed consideration because of the large number of comments and proposals being received from localities throughout the republic. The draft, which would create a parliamentary republic and eliminate the post of republican president, was approved by a constitutional commission on 16 October.

Will Bashkortostan Remain Presidential Republic?
Interfax-Eurasia cited on 12 November an unidentified source close to Bashkortostan's leadership as reporting that the presidential post will likely be preserved in the republic and President Murtaza Rakhimov will remain its president. As an analysis showed, the new draft constitution establishing a parliamentary republic in place of a presidential one is not likely to find enough supporters when it will be discussed by the parliament, the source said.

Speaker Says Parliament Still Develops 'Parliamentary' Version Of Constitution
The Bashkir State Assembly committees have prepared the new draft constitution for its first reading, Interfax-Eurasia reported on 12 November. State Assembly Chairman Konstantin Tolkachev told the agency the same day that "parliamentarians worked strictly within the framework of the concept that had been proposed to the parliament, or polish all paragraphs of the draft law aiming for the establishment of the parliamentary republic." The speaker said some 13 parts of the document still do not conform to the federal constitution and need much work to be brought into harmony with it.

Tolkachev said the draft constitution will likely pass three readings in the parliament's Legislative Chamber and then will be passed by the Chamber of Representatives. Afterwards, it will be sent for approval by the general session of the State Assembly. The process is expected to take until the end of the year, Tolkachev said. He denied rumors that the parliament has been asked to "make a reverse motion" and to amend and harmonize with federal law the draft constitution that maintains the presidential post. Tolkachev said the parliament's task is still to develop the legal basis for a parliamentary republic with a unicameral State Assembly. The speaker said, however, "there is no full unanimity about the expediency of such a powerful reform." He said that in the course of the discussion of the draft constitution the parliament receives a lot of suggestions that the presidential post be preserved in Bashkortostan, and deputies will have to take into account those opinions during voting.

New Draft Constitution Published
The new Bashkir draft constitution promoting transition from a presidential to a parliamentary system of power was published in the republican mass media for a public discussion on 11 November, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 12 November. The draft includes items strengthening supervision functions of the parliament over executive power and its influence on the government. The legislature is supposed to become unicameral in place of the current bicameral system, while the number of deputies (120) will be preserved and 30 of them will work on a permanent basis in the State Assembly Presidium. The status of the parliament speaker, who will be elected by deputies, will be significantly increased. A government head will be elected in a popular vote, according to the draft.

Former Senior Bashneft Official Murdered
The well-known businessman Kamil Mangushev was killed in his apartment building in Ufa on 12 November, NTV reported on the same day. An unidentified official from the Bashkir Interior Affairs Ministry told the channel that Mangushev received a fatal wound on his head, "as a result of the attack of unknown persons." In 1985, Mangushev, together with current LUKoil President Vagit Alekperov and that company's ex-vice president, Ralif Safin, was delegated by Bashneft to Kogalym, where he headed one of the Povkhneft branches. Recently, Mangushev was Bashneft's deputy general director and reportedly attracted the attention of law enforcement bodies, but unexpectedly disappeared from the republic, the report said.

Rakhimov Meets With Moscow Hostage-Crisis Victim
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov met on 12 November with Nord-Ost musical actor Marat Geptrekhimov, who was among hostages during the 23-26 October hostage crisis in Moscow, the presidential press service reported the same day. Geptrekhimov thanked the president, the government, and the plenipotentiary representation of Bashkortostan in Moscow for helping the Bashkortostan's residents who were among the hostages. Rakhimov expressed his deep condolences to relatives of those who died during the action, saying those events in Moscow should become an insistent call to vigilance, solidarity, and consolidation of the whole society in fighting all kinds of extremism, nationalism, and political radicalism.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova
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