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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 6, 1999

6 January 1999
Likhachev Wants Tatarstan To Take To Euro
Vasily Likhachev, a former Tatarstan government official and permanent representative of the Russian Federation at the European Communities said in an interview with Tatar television on 5 January that there is no doubt that the euro has "a stable position and very serious future." The first tenders on the euro will be held in Russia in the middle of January. The ruble's rate to the new currency is at 24.4 for one euro.

Likhachev added that "Tatarstan citizens should not be afraid of the euro" and said it is necessary to start using the currency. In his opinion, it's very difficult to comment on Russia's possible participation in using the euro, but he said that once the Russian economy stabilizes the process of integration for the euro will be quite active. Russian authorities have decided to use the euro in many aspects of economic activity, including the buying and selling of securities, and transactions between enterprises and their foreign partners, Likhachev said

Tatarstan Faces Electric Power Shortage
The Tatarstan energy monopoly Tatenergo has called on administration heads of the republic's cities and districts as well as industrial leaders to cut down to a bare minimum on energy consumption. This measure is due to the lack of fuel in the republic. Industrial enterprises with debts to Tatenergo faced cutbacks in their energy supply.

Even New Year celebrations in many cities in Tatarstan were carried out with reduced energy supplies. A Tatenergo representative told Tatar radio that the city of Chally owes the energy company some 300 million rubles. Chally Mayor Rafgat Altynbaev met with Tatenergo officials on 5 January to develop a cooperative program between Chally-based industries and the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, Tatar media reported. Chally authorities have arranged a series of meetings with Gazprom officials in an effort to secure energy resources.

Pension Fund Fails To Pay Pensioner Arrears
Tatarstan's Pension Fund failed to repay its debts to the republic's pensioners. The total debt to retired workers is some 566 million rubles. Most pensioners are owed two months in back pensions, and in Chistai and Chally pensioners last received checks in September, Tatar television reported.

New Telephone Stations Go Into Operation
Tatar radio reported that three automatic telephone stations went into operation in late December in Chally, Tuben Kama, and Alabuga. They are designed to provide for 7,000 people. In the last five years, 65 automatic telephone stations have been constructed in the republic, providing more than 357,000 telephone lines. Approximately every other household in Tatarstan is now equipped with a telephone.

Turkic Organization TURKSOY To Promote Tatar Culture
The organization of Turkic countries, TURKSOY, said it will expand its activities to begin promoting the cultural legacy and modern culture of Tatarstan worldwide. TURKSOY General Director, Azerbaijani Culture Minister Polad Bul-Bul ogly said in a letter to Tatarstan's state council chairman, Farid Mukhametshin, that Tatar culture plays a large role in Turkic civilization. He also thanked Tatarstan state officials for organizing the 11th session of TURKSOY, which was held in Kazan in December, Tatar media reported.

Compiled by G. Khasanova