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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 7, 2003


7 February 2003
WEEKLY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Republic Considering Restarting Work On Nuclear Project...
After returning from a visit to the Balakovo nuclear-power plant in Saratov on 4 February (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report", 5 February 2003) Tatar Minister of Economy and Industry Aleksei Pakhomov on 6 February held a meeting with geology experts to consider the possibility of restarting construction on the nuclear-power plant at Kama Alany that was stopped in the early 1990s, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 7 February. The republican government is currently preparing an official request to Tatarstan's State Council asking for approval to restart work on the project.

...As Tatar Company Sends Workers To Nuclear Site
Employees of the Kamgesenergostroi hydroelectric-power plant in Chally have left for Tverskaya Oblast in order to undergo training at the Kalinin nuclear-power plant that is being built there, "Respublika Tatarstan" daily reported on 5 February. Two months from now, the company plans to send a second group of workers to the site to replace the first. The paper commented that such training is likely to prepare the company's personnel for work at the nuclear-power plant in Agidel, Bashkortostan, construction of which is likely to resume in 2004.

Tatenergo Announces $4.7 Million In Losses Due To Illegal Consumption
Tatenergo announced on 5 February that it suffered 150 million rubles ($4.7 million) in losses in 2002 as a result of illegal energy consumption, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. The company said that farms and small businesses were responsible for the majority of this illegal consumption.

Independent Oil Producers Plan To Boost Production
A consortium of 14 independent oil companies working in Tatarstan extracted 1.9 million tons of oil in 2002 and expects to increase this figure to 2.6 million tons by 2005 and 3.2 million tons by 2010, rusenergy.com reported on 4 February.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

WEEKLY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Bashkortostan's Tatar Organizations Obtain Registration
Several of Bashkortostan's Tatar civic groups, including the local branch of the Tatar Public Center, the Aq Qalfaq Tatar women's organization in Bashkortostan, the Miras Tatar cultural group, the Azatliq Tatar youth union, and the Nur children's center, were officially registered in the republic's Justice Ministry, intertat.ru reported on 6 February, citing Bashkortostan's Tatar National Cultural Autonomy Chairman Zahir Khekimov. Bashkir authorities have been refusing registration for those Tatar organizations for several years, the news agency commented, adding that the only Tatar organization -- the local branch of the World Tatar Congress, which is the under strong control of the republic's authorities -- previously had official registration in Bashkortostan.

UralSib Purchases Stake In Tyumenprofbank...
The UralSib bank purchased 19.72 percent in the Tyumen-based Tyumenprofbank, Bashinform reported on 30 January. Tyumenprofbank has 202 million rubles in capital, 951 million rubles in currency reserves, and some 500 million rubles in its credit portfolio. It has about 5,000 corporate clients and the same number of private clients. Tyumenprofbank has affiliates in Nadym, Surgut, and Nefteyugansk. UralSib considers Tyumen Oblast a region of priority for expansion, the agency said.

...And Doubles Profit In 2002
UralSib doubled profits in 2002 to 934 million rubles ($29 million) compared to the previous year, Bashinform reported on 1 February. The bank's capital increased in the same period by 74 percent to 7.3 billion rubles ($229 million), while assets grew by 78 percent to 46 billion rubles ($1.5 billion). UralSib, one of Russia's top 10 banks, has 17 affiliates and five branches.

Bashkirenergo Threatens Debtors With Power Cut
Bashkirenergo warned that it will reduce the supply of electricity and even cut off its debtors if they do not pay for their current consumption and begin repaying back debts by 1 February, Bashinform reported on 30 January. The state-run Sterletamaq Avangard plant and Salavat optical mechanical plant, which owe 210 million rubles ($7 million) and 45 million rubles, respectively, top the list of Bashkirenergo debtors, which also includes the Inmash concern, the Sterletamaq machine building plant, and Neftemash.

Ufa's Annual Losses From Oil-Quality Bank To Total $80 Million
The production cost of a ton of Bashkir oil will grow by 4.7 percent and the republic will lose $80 million of its oil sector's annual profit of $400 million following the introduction of an oil-quality bank, which will likely take place this year, Bashinform reported on 3 February, citing unnamed analysts. Russia's leading exporters of Brent oil, who face losses of $2.5 billion a year as their oil is mixed with high-sulfur Urals oil in export pipelines, have been demanding for several years that Urals oil producers, including Bashkortostan and Tatarstan, compensate their losses through the introduction of "an oil-quality bank." The experts said Bashkir oil refineries are capable of processing the entire volume of oil extracted in the republic, so Bashkortostan will respond to the introduction of an oil-quality bank by reducing oil exports and increasing exports of processed oil.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

WEEKLY REVIEW FROM IDEL-URAL REGION
Kirov Oblast Teachers Go On Strike
Some 17,000 teachers in Kirov Oblast began a strike on 3 February to protest delays in receiving their salaries, regnum.ru reported on 4 February, citing "Vyatskii krai." The teachers have not been paid since October. The number of strikers fell to some 14,500 after 192 million rubles ($6 million) was transferred from the federal budget to the oblast this week to pay salaries to budget employees. However, the majority of them announced that they will continue the action until 8 February, VolgaInform reported on 5 February.

Rosneftegazstroi To Invest $2 Billion In Flax Cultivation In Kirov Oblast
The Kirov Oblast government and Rosneftegazstroi signed a cooperation agreement on 23 January in Moscow, according to which 61 billion rubles ($2 billion) will be invested in flax cultivation in the oblast in the next five years, regnum.ru reported on 1 February, citing the oblast's press service. According to the agreement, Rosneftegazstroi will be leased free of charge 440,000 hectares of land for 49 years and build some 25 flax-processing facilities in the next five years in the oblast. Flax will be planted on 30,000 hectares this year.

National Bolshevik Party Member Charged With Insulting Nizhnii Mayor
A raion-level prosecutors' office in Nizhnii Novgorod filed criminal charges against Nina Devyatkina, a member of the National Bolshevik Party, who together with two other party members threw a cake in the face of Nizhnii Novgorod Mayor Vadim Bulavinov to protest communal-housing and municipal-services reform, NTA Privolzhe reported on 31 January. Prosecutors said the charges were filed despite Bulavinov's 28 January request that they not be. Bulavinov also appealed to Nizhnii Novgorod Pedagogical University, where Devyatkina studies, not to punish her. Devyatkina is accused of insulting an official representative and may be sentenced to six to 12 months of corrective labor or a fine of 50 to 100 minimum wages.

Residents Hold Administration Head To Protest Energy Stoppages
Residents of the Chaadaevka village in Penza Oblast on 31 January detained in his office local administration head Nikolai Shlykov, whom they accuse of permanent energy stoppages in the village, regions.ru reported on 4 February, citing "Molodoi leninets." Village residents appealed to oblast authorities to introduce direct management by the oblast governor in the village and asked federal inspector Andrei Kulintsev to help improve the situation, saying otherwise they will block the Moscow railway.

Samara Authorities, Muslim Religious Board Sign Cooperation Agreement
A cooperation agreement was signed on 5 February by Samara Oblast Culture Department head Elleonora Kurulenko and Samara Oblast Muslim Religious Board Chairman Wegyiz Yarullin, tatnews.ru reported on 6 February, citing TRK Skat. Both sides described the document as unique, as no similar document has been signed in any of Russia's regions. The agreement is aimed at joining efforts of state bodies and religious and civic organizations to promote spiritual revival and prevent spiritual and moral crises in society.

Saratov Prosecutors Appeal Against Raise In Energy Tariffs
The Saratov Oblast prosecutors' office appealed to an arbitration court to declare illegal the decision by the Regional Energy Commission (REK) to increase energy tariffs in the oblast by 28 percent as of 25 January, regnum.ru reported on 3 February, citing GTRK Saratov. Under a federal law that came into force on 1 January, energy and heating tariffs cannot be raised by more than 14 percent in 2003. Under the REK decision, energy prices increased to 1 ruble ($0.26) in the daytime and 40 kopeks ($0.01) at night for urban residents and 70 kopeks and 40 kopeks, respectively, for rural residents.

Saratov Communists Protest Possible Military Action In Iraq
Some 100 people staged a demonstration on Saratov's Theater Square organized by the Communist Party to protest the United States' possible attack against Iraq, NTA Privolzhe reported on 4 February. A group of Arab students from Saratov universities took part in the action.

Tax Police Official Says Corruption Widespread In Sverdlovsk Oblast
Federal Tax Police Deputy Director in charge of the Ural Federal District Anatolii Yatskov told a press conference on 5 February that a widespread system of corrupt officials in different bodies in Sverdlovsk Oblast and the Ural Federal District hinders judicial and administrative reforms in Russia, "Novyi region" reported the same day. Yatskov said that this group involves heads of authority bodies of different levels, representatives of tax bodies, judges, and other officials.

Yatskov said a verdict by Yekaterinburg's Kirov Raion court on 5 February, according to which he and the "Novyi region" newspaper were ordered to pay 3 million rubles ($94,000) in compensation for Aleksei Zakamaldin, former head of the Federal Tax Police in Sverdlovsk Oblast, is evidence of the influence of the corrupt system on court decisions. Yatskov said that during the court hearing, Judge Vasilii Sheshenin refused to take into account materials presented by him and "Novyi region" and did take into account those provided by Zakamaldin. Zakamaldin sued Yatskov and "Novyi region" for their allegations of his involvement in bribe taking, abuse of power, and illegally taking over a dozen apartments in different regions of the Ural Federal District (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly Review," 15 March and 6 December 2002).

"Novyi region" reported on 6 February that it will leave Sverdlovsk Oblast, which it called "the most corrupt region in Russia," and re-register in Perm Oblast but will continue its activities in Yekaterinburg. The agency claimed that the aluminum giant SUAL-Holding is behind the trial, as an attack on Yatskov, "an honorable general who does not suit the aluminum monopolist."

Ulyanovsk Demonstrators Show Support For Orthodox Reporter Accused Of Anti-Semitism
Some hundred people staged a meeting in front of the Ulyanovsk Oblast administration to express support for Sergei Seryubin, former editor in chief of the newspaper "Pravoslavnyi Simbirsk," who has been charged with enflaming interethnic discord (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly Review," 10 January 2003), regions.ru reported on 3 February. One of the organizers, Officers Union representative Aleksandr Talynev, said similar actions will be held until all accusations against Seryubin are removed.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

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