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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 11, 2005

11 February 2005
Iran Sets Up Joint Oil Venture With Tatneft...
Tatneft Board Chairman Rustam Minnikhanov and Iran's Mostazafan & Janbazan Foundation Chairman Mohammad Foruzande signed an agreement in Kazan on 10 February outlining a joint venture to develop oil deposits,, Tatarinform, and "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" reported. Minnikhanov told reporters the same day that Tatneft's interests in Iran will now be represented through the venture. The enterprise's primary task will be the participation in tenders to develop oil deposits held by the Iranian Oil and Gas Ministry. Registration documents will be presented by 1 March, while the execution should be finished by June. The Iranian partners expect Tatneft to invest $500 million in Iranian oil production.

In 2002, Tatneft and the Iranian Research Institute for the Petroleum Industry signed a $1 million contract on boring works in the Kupal oil deposit in the Iranian southwest. Tatneft is also reconstructing wells for the Iranian Southern Petroleum Company. The sides agreed that Tatneft will continue projects launched before the establishment of the joint venture.

...And Shows Interest In Aircraft Production, Petrochemical, Construction Industries
The Mostazafan & Janbazan Foundation will develop cooperation with Tatarstan in aircraft production and the petrochemical and construction sectors, Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khefiz Salikhov said on 10 February, AK&M reported the same day. Salikhov was commenting on the two-day visit of a foundation delegation led by Chairman Foruzande. A working group is being formed to study the possibility of participation by Tatarstan-based companies in the Iran's 10-year program of development of the petrochemical complex headed by Salikhov and foundation Vice President Golamali Kiani. Specifically, the Iranian side reportedly expressed interest in cooperation in the production of tires, technical carbon, and synthetic motor oil. An agreement was reached on visiting Tatarstan by the Iranian aviation industry head and the construction minister. Salikhov said Iran suggested build brick and cement plants in Tatarstan.

State Duma Deputy Speaker Talks About Monetization Mistakes
State Duma Deputy Speaker Oleg Morozov told at a meeting with voters in Chally on 10 January that no one expected Unified Russia would take the position it did in a no-confidence vote at the Duma session on 9 February, reported on 10 January. Morozov said a two-month ultimatum for "correcting mistakes" was surprising for the government, which expected it would be given at least half a year. "Society should not choke on reforms and should not view any reform as an evil," Morozov said. Morozov called it a mistake to have deprived people of a choice between in-kind benefits and cash payments. Another mistake, he charged, was the division of people into two groups paid for their abolished benefits from federal and regional budgets. Morozov also said people had voted in favor of monetization, since just 20 percent bought subsidized transport passes while 80 percent preferred cash payments. In Kazan, this proportion is 26 percent and 74 percent.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Interior Minister Ready To Apologize For Blagoveschensk Incident...
At the special 10 February session of the Bashkir State Assembly dedicated to the December 2004 incident in Blagoveschensk, Bashkir Interior Minister Refeil Divaev admitted that actions of his subordinates "were not quite adequate in respect of the use of force," an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 29 and 30 December 2004, 3, 6, 7, 10-14, 17-21, and 24 January 2005). He admitted that Bashkir police "accepted criticism, which was necessary, objective and well-reasoned." Divaev also pledged that his ministry "does not intend to hold such wide-scale special measures unless they are caused by a extreme necessity." Divalev also confirmed that he was "ready to offer his apologies to the residents of Blagoveschensk after the investigation of the case."

...As Public Investigation Suggests He Is Guilty For Violence...
Ella Pamfilova, chairwoman of the Russian presidential commission on human rights, who attended the same parliamentary session, told Interfax on 10 February that according to the preliminary public investigation of the Blagoveschensk case, most of the responsibility is on the the head of Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry, who sent the special police forces.

...And Bashkir President Blames Media For Little Support To Police Officers Involved
In his own comments to the matter, Murtaza Rakhimov said that he expected punishment for the policemen, as well as for those Blagoveschensk residents who attacked the police, Bashinform reported. Speaking of the media coverage, said, "There will be no order if law enforcement officers fear the criminals.... Our press makes heroes out of those who oppose police and other representatives of authorities. That is why we shouldn't be surprised by that we have such a high crime rate in our country."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi