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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 3, 1999

3 August 1999
Shaimiev Predicts Increase In Gas Prices
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, said on 2 August in an interview that he thinks gas prices will rise by 15-20 percent by the middle of this month, Interfax reported. Commenting on the situation in Tatarstan, he said that despite the price hike, there would be no gas shortages in the republic. Shaimiev said: "We extract oil ourselves, and our price policies are coordinated with the...agroindustrial complex. We'll be able to repay the credit [we owe them], and I don't consider stoppages in gas supply possible." Rustam Sabirov, the general director of Tatarstan's leading gas selling company, Tatnefteproduct, said in an interview with Tatar Television that the company possesses enough fuel stocks to provide farmers with gas.

Synthetic Rubber Plant To Be Privatized -- Slightly
A plan to privatize the Kirov synthetic rubber factory was announced at a board meeting of Tatarstan's State Property Committee on 2 August, Tatar Radio reported. According to the plan, 97 percent of the company's shares will remain state property, while some 2.5 percent would be owned by the factory's workers. The plant has previously been plagued by a lack of liquid assets and large debts. This year, however, it became a profitable company. The chairman of the State Property Committee, Valerii Vasilyev, said in an interview with Tatar Radio that privatization is considered the best way to attract investments for the enterprise's development.

Industrial Production Grows In Tatarstan
Tatarstan's Statistics Committee reported that industrial production in the first half of the year rose by 13.6 percent compared to the same period last year. The most growth took place in the machine building and metal-working industries (more than 15 percent), while production in light industry was reduced by 7 percent. Sixteen defense industry companies are currently involved in converting to the production of other products, and they account for more than 7 percent of the republic's industrial production and some 32 percent of production in the machine building industry.

BBC Visits Tatarstan
Editors of the Sunday religious program of the British Broadcasting Corporation's Russian Service visited Kazan last week, Tatar-inform reported. The broadcast editor, Sergii Gakkel, and Faina Yanova, director and moderator of the program, made recordings for a program on the coexistence of different religions in Tatarstan. During the three-day visit they met with the chairman of the Muslim Spiritual Board, Gusman khazrat Iskhakov, the deputy chairman of the Council on Religious Affairs, Yurii Mikhailov, the Russian Orthodox archbishop of Kazan and Tatarstan, Anastasii, and the leader of Tatarstan's Jewish community, Leonid Sonts.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova