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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 28, 2003

28 March 2003
Iran Gives 1,000 Books To Kazan University
The cultural representation of the Iranian Embassy in Russia on 26 March presented a thousand Persian books to the Institute of Oriental Studies at Kazan State University, Tatarinform reported the same day. The measure was promoted by Iranian First Deputy Culture and Islamic Orientation Minister Mahmud Mohammadi Araki, who visited Tatarstan in December, and the Tatar presidential Department of Foreign Relations.

Russian, German Scholars Compare Practice Of Federalism
A two-day Russian-German scientific conference titled "Federalism in Russia and Germany: the Experience of Comparative Study" is to open in Kazan on 28 March, reported the same day. The forum initiated by the Kazan Institute of Federalism and sponsored by the John and Catherine McArthurs Fund and the Fridrich Naumann Fund is scheduled to discuss issues on power sharing between the federal and state governments in Germany, management structure and financial federalism in Germany, as well as trends in the development of federal relations in Russia, interbudget relations between Moscow and the regions, and the formation of executive bodies in the Russian Federation.

Tatfondbank Becomes Tatarstan's Second-Largest Bank
Tatfondbank increased its capital by 250 percent to 2.4 billion rubles in 2002 compared to the previous year and moved from 94th to 34th among Russian banks in terms of capital, "Vremya i dengi" reported on 27 March, citing the "Profil" weekly. Tatfondbank now has the second-most capital in Tatarstan following the Ak Bars bank.

Parliamentary Committee Promotes Development Of Tatar Migration Program
According to data released at the State Council Committee on Science, Education, Culture, and National Issues meeting on 26 March devoted to the issue of migration to Tatarstan, 50,000 migrants were officially registered in the republic since the beginning of the 1990s, while their real number is some 80,000, "Vremya i dengi" reported the next day. Some 75 percent of them were Tatars and 14 percent were Russians. The inflow of migrants to the republic fell significantly the past two years from 140 a month in 2001 to 30 this year.

Speaking at the meeting, head of the republican Fund on Help for Migrants, Yunys Kamaletdinov, criticized the federal law on citizenship for causing problems for migrants, as it contradicts the federal law on the status of forced migrants. Kamaletdinov said Tatarstan needs to develop its own migration policy and program, and committee members supported his proposal.

First Volume Of History Of Tatars Presented
A presentation of the first volume of the History of Tatars was held on 25 March in the Tatar representation to the Russian Federation in Moscow, "Kommersant" reported on 26 March. Edited by the director of the History Institute of the Tatar Academy of Sciences, Rafael Khekimov, it covers the history of the peoples of Eurasia over the period from the third millennium B. C. through the 10th century. The second volume of the edition, which will comprise seven volumes, is devoted to the Volga Bulgaria and is expected to be composed this year.

Chally Man Sentenced To Life Imprisonment For Killing Army Officers
Andrei Rasstegaev was sentenced on 25 March to life imprisonment for killing four officers while he was in the army, RFE/RL's Chally correspondent reported on 26 March. Rasstegaev, who served at the frontier post in Chukotka, on 31 January 2002 shot the post commander, his deputy, a senior warrant officer, and a senior sergeant. The investigation revealed that the post commander was going to file charges against Rasstegaev for his bad treatment of fellow soldiers, and Rasstegaev committed the murders to prevent this.

Communists Claim 30 Percent Support In Kazan
The "Zvezda Povolzhya" weekly on 27 March reported the results of a survey on election preferences conducted by the Tatar branch of the Communist Party in Kazan. According to the survey, the Communist top the list with 29 percent, followed by Yabloko with 15 percent, and Unified Russia with 13 percent.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan Tops Volga District's Taxpayer List
The republic of Bashkortostan contributed the majority share of tax revenues collected in Volga Federal District in first two months of 2003, by giving 17 percent of the total, Finmarket reported on 26 March. Neighboring Tatarstan and Samara Oblast were rated the second and third largest contributors with 15 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively. The total of 58.2 billion rubles ($1.8 billion) of tax revenues were collected in the district in January and February and is 26.6 percent higher than in the same period of 2002.

Agricultural Industries Stagnate As Farmers Face Shortage Of Cash
Deputy Prime Minister Shamil Vakhitov said on 24 March that in 2002 Bashkortostan�s agricultural industries demonstrated a 0.8 percent growth in production compared to the previous year, Bashinform reported the same day.

Vakhitov added that "as a result, much of the republic�s food producers are operating using only one-third of their capacities."

Meanwhile, it was stated during the same meeting that only 28 percent of agricultural companies� profits are paid in cash, while 72 percent come as fuel, farm machinery spare parts, and fertilizers.

Bashkirenergo Representatives Elected To Political Posts
Nikolai Kurapov, general director of the Bashkirenergo heat and power company, his deputy, Vladimir Androsov, and the director of the Neftekamsk electricity network, Dmitrii Zhuravlev, were elected as deputies to Bashkortostan's State Assembly, Bashinform reported on 26 March. Forty-eight more Bashkirenergo employees were elected to local self-government bodies in the republic�s regions, elections which were also held during on 16 March.

UralSib Secures Second Syndicated Loan
The UralSib Bank of Bashkortostan signed a $32 million credit agreement with the consortium of banks organized by Standard Bank London Ltd and Narodny Ltd. The consortium, including Bank Austria Creditanstalt A.G., Bank Turanalem OJSC, Bre Bank S.A. Warsaw, Europaisch-Iranische Handelsbank A.G., Landesbank Rheinland-Pfaltz -- Girozentrale, Noble Trade Finance S.A., Parex Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Ltd, the Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China, and the Union Bank of California N.A., agreed to issue the loan for 364 days with the possibility of prolonging the term by another year for financing the export-import operations of Bashkortostan's major bank.

A similar syndicated loan of $33 million was granted to UralSib last August.

National Bank Reports Reducing Individual Accounts, As Amount Of Cash Grows
According to Bashkortostan's National Bank, cited by an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 24 March, 28 billion rubles ($903 million) of cash circulated in the republic at the beginning of 2003, which is 38 percent higher than in the same period the previous year. During 2002, Bashkortostan's residents cashed in 11 billion rubles ($351 million) from their bank accounts, which is 70 percent more than in 2001.

Government Distributes Prizes For Best Held Elections
One week before Bashkortostan's Central Election Commission (CEC) declared the final results of the 16 March elections (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 28 March 2003) for Bashkortostan's parliament and local self-government councils, the CEC gave out monetary prizes on 20-21 March to voting districts that were deemed to have held the best organized elections, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported yesterday. Prizes varied from 800 rubles ($25) to 2,500 rubles ($80) and were to be shared by the election commission employees in the awarded districts.

Prominent Poet Says War In Iraq Would Not Occur If USSR Existed
The famous Bashkir poet, World War II veteran Mostay Kerim, told an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 24 March that he "felt deep regret about the attacks against one of the symbols of Arab culture �- the city of Baghdad." He said that in his opinion the current developments in the Iraq crisis demonstrated "the dictate of a single country ignoring the opposite will of many million Muslim in the world." However, he noted that it would be easier to prevent the US-led military campaign in Iraq "if the Soviet Union still existed."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi