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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 17, 2005

17 May 2005
Prosecutor Questions Legal Status Of Tatarstan Science Academy
Tatarstan Prosecutor Kafil Amirov is questioning whether Tatarstan's law on science and scientific activities complies with federal law, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 16 May. The federal law reportedly stipulates that state science academies may only be created at the behest of the Russian president or government, and only through the introduction of a special federal law. This would appear to undermine the status of Tatarstan's Academy of Sciences, which was established in 1991 by the decree of Tatarstan's president. Amirov reportedly appealed to the Tatarstan State Council, suggesting that the academy's founding decree be amended, by abolishing the provisions on state funding. Razil Weliev, the chairman of Tatarstan's parliamentary committee on culture, science, education and ethnic issues, told RFE/RL the same day that, in addition to considering the suggested amendments to the republic's law on the Academy of Sciences, the Tatar parliament would appeal to federal legislators for amendments to the federal law. Tatarstan's Academy of Sciences has 37 academics, 69 corresponding members, and 11 honorable academics, as well as six scientific institutes.

Tatneft To Keep Post-2008 Annual Output At 25 Million Tons
Tatneft's chief geologist, Reis Khisamov, told a meeting of the oil company's board of directors board on 17 May that after 2005 the firm will reduce the amount of oil extracted n Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. The company's annual output is currently reported to be some 27 million tons; after 2008, the amount is expected to remain steady at 25 million tons. A long-term development concept for Tatarstan's oil industry foresees some 30 million tons of oil being extracted annually through 2020, as smaller oil companies are expected to assume control of the exhausting deposits from Tatneft.

Tatarstan's Major Alcohol Producer Facing Sharp Production Slump
Tatspirtprom General Director Reshit Sheikhetdinov told a meeting of Tatarstan government officials on 17 May that his company has halted production at seven of eight of its alcohol plants due to a dramatic drop in sales, Interfax-Povolzhye reported on 17 May. Sheikhetdinov said the shutdowns were the result of the high cost of alcohol produced in the republic. Average market prices for alcohol in Tatarstan are some 12 percent higher than those in Russia. Vodka prices, specifically, are 16 percent higher in Tatarstan. Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov said during the same meeting that Tatarstan's government is "concerned" by the current situation at Tatspirtprom, which was recently privatized and which is looking for ways to create "preferential conditions" for its business "without limiting the rights of alcohol producers from other regions."

Compiled by Iskedner Nurmi

Arbitrage Court Hears New Beshkirskii Kapital Challenge
A court of arbitration in Bashkortostan resumed hearings on 17 May in the republican State Property Ministry's suit agaisnt the Bashkirskii Kapital company, which conducted the state sale of shares in major petrochemical enterprises, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The court previously concluded that the handover of Bashneft and Bashkirenergo shares to Bashkirskii Kapital, which is reportedly controlled by President Murtaza Rakhimov and his son Ural, was illegal. The current allegations reportedly concern Bashkirskii Kapital's acquisition of shares in the petrochemical company Bashkirnefteprodukt and four oil refineries in Ufa.

Bashkortostan To Mark Anniversary Of 1557 Entry To Russia
Bashkortostan will celebrate the 450th anniversary of Bashkiriya's joining the Russian state in June 2007, Murtaza Rakhimov told a meeting of the republican government dedicated to anniversary preparations, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 17 May. President Rakhimov reportedly stressed the date's "enormous historical importance" and pledged that it will be marked with the introduction of new public facilities "designed to serve our people."

Compiled by Iskedner Nurmi