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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 13, 2005

13 May 2005
Tatar Activist Vows Lawsuit Over History Textbook
Tatar Public Center's chairman in Chally, Faiq Taci, told RFE/RL on 12 May that he is preparing a lawsuit to challenge the use of a sixth-grade history book by authors A. Preobrajenskii and B. Rybakov. He alleged the textbook contains unsubstantiated elements that are "defamatory and humiliating to the Tatar people." Taci said his goal is not merely to remove the book from Russia's education system but also to prompt a revision of all books devoted to the history of peoples residing in Russia. RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day that the textbook contains factual errors and includes a depiction of ancient Tatar warriors practicing cannibalism.

Tatneft Acquires Chuveshnefteprodukt Majority
Tatneft oil company has acquired 94.43 percent of the Chuvashenfteprodukt petrochemical company, Interfax reported on 12 May. Tatneft reportedly purchased shares from a number of minority investors who held 17-20 percent stakes.

KamAZ Management Uses Khristenko Visit To 'Settle' With Rivals
KamAZ executives used the visit of Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko to the company's factory in Chally on 11 May to counter a recent report suggesting the maker of Ural trucks' engines don't meet Euro-0 or Euro-1 pollution standards (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report" 12 May 2005).

On 19 May, the federal government will reportedly discuss a medium-term program for development of the domestic auto industry that might include a ban on the use of Euro-0 and Euro-1 engines.

Transport Minister Blames Funding Woes For Lack Of Progress On Major Projects
Tatarstan's Minister of Transport Vladimir Shvetsov told the reporters on 11 May that the project to construct a new bridge over the Kazanka River will only be half-completed by the Kazan millennial celebrations in August, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day. He said it is impossible to say when it will be completed. Shvetsov said a lack of funds will also prevent the opening of more than five stations of the Kazan subway.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir Parliamentary Deputy, Former Bashneft Seeks Retirement...
Ildar Iskhaqov, former general director of the Bashneft oil company, filed for retirement from his seat as a Bashkortostan State Assembly deputy, RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 12 May. The move reportedl makes Iskhaqov the fourth republican deputy to seek retirement in the past two months.

February saw a particularly high-profile confrontation between supporters of State Assembly speaker Konstantin Tolkachev and deputies with direct or indirect ties to Bashkortostan's petrochemical industry (see "RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Report," 26 February 2005). A group of deputies led by Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov's son, Ural, attempted to force Tolkachev's dismissal but were opposed by allies of the president. One State Assembly deputy said that Iskhaqov did not support the "plotters" and "convinced a number of Bashneft managers not to take part in the move," which allowed him to maintain his position on Bashneft's board of directors. The same source suggested that by quitting parliament, Iskhaqov is attempting to distance himself from possible conflicts between President Rakhimov and his son.

...As Prosecutors Investigate Bashneft
The Bashkortostan Prosecutor-General's Office has launched a criminal investigation into allegedly illegal business practices by Bashneft oil company, the Volga-Urals edition of "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 13 May. Bashneft is reportedly suspected of exceeding its oil-extraction quotas by more than 4 million tons in the past two years at a total cost of 11.8 billion rubles ($437 million). The violations were allegedly committed under Iskhaqov, who recently was replaced in the post of company general director. The investigators have not leveled any charges against Bashneft's management.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi