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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 18, 2005

18 May 2005
Tatar-Korean Project Reportedly Stumbles
Ferit Toqtarov, deputy minister of economy and industry, told reporters on 17 May that the previously announced launch of the construction of a major petrochemical complex in Tatarstan is being delayed by its investors, who reportedly are undecided over the nature of production facilities they want, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. In December 2003, South Korea's LG Corporation and Tatarstan's Tatneft, Nizhnekamskneftekhim, and Svyazinvestneftekhim started a joint venture to build refining and polyester-, polyethylene-, and ethylene-production facilities at Tuben Kama Petrochemical Plant (NNPZ). The parties are reportedly still discussing a list of technical facilities they might build despite Korean Eximbank's declared readiness to grant the company a $600 million loan.

Party-Sponsored Security System Installed In Kazan School
The Tatarstan State Council chairman and local head of the Unified Russia party, Farid Mukhametshin, and fellow party member and State Duma Deputy Chairman Pavel Pozhygaylo on 17 May attended the inauguration of an electronic security system installed in a Kazan school, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. The system's $14,800 price tag was reportedly picked up by a Unified Russia support fund. It has been described as an effort to protect the school from possible terrorist attack.

Public Opposes Construction Of Tatneft Terminus In Arkhangelsk
A Svetrlii city court rejected a suit by Baltnafta, an affiliate of Tatneft's branch in Arkhangelsk Oblast, against a resolution by the Svetlii City Council, the Volga-Urals edition of "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 18 May. City deputies issued a resolution on holding a referendum on the possible construction of a Tatneft oil terminus in that town. Anna Begicheva, leader of the public group organizing the referendum drive, said the problem would not arise if Tatneft were not attempting to build the facility in the center of the city, near a children's hospital and a sports stadium. Begicheva suggested that such difficulties would not arise if Tatneft built its terminus outside the city.

Tatneft is reportedly seeking to establish its own channels to European markets of oil and oil-based products.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkirskii Kapital Trial To Resume On 27 May
Bashkir Arbitration Court Judge Zoehre Sigabutdinova said during the 17 May hearings of the State Property Ministry's case against the Bashkirstkii Kapital company that the trial will resume on 27 May, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day (see "RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Report," 17 May 2005). She requested that, by the next hearing, both sides should agree on the total revenues received by Bashkirskii Kapital from shares in Bashkir petrochemical industries.

Bashkortostan, Tatarstan Referred To As 'Separatist' Regions
"Unlike Ukraine, which only experiences the humbly theoretical threat of pro-Russian separatism, there are separatist regions existing in Russia, where real power belongs to separatist elites. First of all there is Tatarstan and Bashkortostan" -- "Russkii Jurnal" weekly wrote in an article devoted to Russia and geopolitics on 17 May. According to the weekly, "any sufficient weakening of the federal center will inevitably cause these republics to separate from Russia and then the creation of hostile, quite possibly radical Islamist states in the Volga area."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi