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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 1, 1999

1 February 1999
Researchers Say Wage Arrears Could Be Avoided
The republican center for sociological and economic research said upon completion of a study that wage arrears could be avoided in Tatarstan's industrial sector if they companies didn't have to service old debts. The study, in which the fund distribution of 1000 companies was monitored, found that 50 percent of all expenses are spent on raw materials and production, 12 percent on taxes, and 8 percent on salaries. The rest is used on transportation and such things as the purchasing of new equipment. The study also found that, on average, 28 percent of the companies' total income is in cash. The specialists that conducted the study reported that this amount of money would normally be enough to pay salaries to the employees without delay. But they said that a significant part of these funds are being spent on interest payments on loans taken out by the enterprises before and right after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Unemployment Rises In Tatarstan
Boris Zakharov, the chairman of Tatarstan's State Committee for Labor (SCL), said on 31 January that some 2,500 people in Tatarstan became unemployed in December, compared to an average of 800 to 900 in the preceding months. Zakharov said about 45,000 people in the republic are currently unemployed. He added that unemployment has risen 21 percent since the financial crisis in Russia began in August. Zakharov said that oftern the newly unemployed are state workers laid off by bankrupt companies and those who leave their jobs because of long periods without receiving their salaries.

Number Of Illegally Owned Firearms In Tatarstan Slumps
The number of crimes committed with a firearm has dropped almost twofold since 1995, Internal Affairs Minister Asgat Safarov said in an interview with republican television on 31 January. The Tatar government introduced a gun buy-back program in 1995 designed to decrease the amount of illegal firearms in the republic. Over 3,000 weapons, including hunting rifles, pistols, explosives, grenade launchers, even a machine gun and an anti-tank rifle were voluntarily turned in by citizens to their local militia. Under the program, no legal action is taken against the owners of unregistered firearms if they voluntarily turn in the weapons for cash. Some 1.5 billion rubles have been disbursed to people in the more than three years since the program was started.

After the murder last year of Duma deputy Galina Starovoitova in St. Petersburg, the federal Ministry of Internal Affairs sought advice from Tatarstan's government on its efforts in reducing the number of firearms among the populace.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim Gets New General Director
On 29 January, the board of directors of Nizhenkamskneftekhim appointed Vladimir Busigin, 50, as the new general director of the firm, one of Tatarstan's leading oil-processing companies. Earlier that day, the board accepted the retirement of General Director Rinat Galiev.

Compiled by I. Nurmi