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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 6, 2005

6 June 2005
Despite Positive Developments In 2004 KamAZ Debts Remain A Major Issue
KamAZ General Director Sergei Kogogin told a shareholder's meeting on 3 June that despite the automotive giant's generally successful year in 2004, its 6.7 billion ruble ($240 million) debt remains a major problem, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. Shareholders reportedly agreed with Kogogin's proposal to use the money intended for paying dividends instead for enriching the company's stabilization fund.

Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov, who attended the event, said he had appealed to the Russian government to assist in restructuring KamAZ's debts. Meanwhile, the Rosoboroneksport state arms exporting company is discussing the possible launch of a KamAZ truck assembly line in cooperation with ATA Corporation, India's major automotive producer, Tatar media reported.

Moscow Endorses $125 Million Loan For Kazan
Russia's Ministry of Finance and the World Bank signed an agreement on a $125 million loan for the development of Tatarstan's capital, Kazan, on 3 June, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported.

The 17-year loan will reportedly allow Kazan, celebrating its millennium anniversary this year, to conduct comprehensive municipal reforms. The hope is that the reforms result in the development of local self-government and the city economy.

Prior to the signing, Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov suggested using the loan for a number of construction projects, but the bank insisted that funds be used solely for reform programs.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir Printing House Director Fined In Fake Ballots Case
Ufa's Kirov Raion court ruled on 3 June that Marat Valeev, the director of a printing house owned by the Bashkir presidential administration, is responsible for the illegal printing of extra voting ballots for the December 2003 presidential elections in the republic, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The court sentenced Valeev to pay a fine amounting to his annual salary.

During the December 2003 Bashkir campaign, opponents of incumbent Murtaza Rakhimov and a number of journalists had located the printing house, but were prevented from entering the building where it is located by police called to the scene. The police reportedly blocked off the printing house, which allowed time for its employees to burn most of the fake ballots before anyone entered the building. Valeev told the court that he was forced to print the ballots after threats against the personal safety of his family, although the investigation reportedly failed to identify the suspects.

Activist Denies Paying For Protests
Professor Mejit Khujin, deputy chairman of Bashkortostan's Tatar public organizations, told an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 3 June that he considered the recent accusation by the Party of Pensioners that he had promised to pay them money for taking part in street protests a "provocation."

A number of Party of Pensioners members have complained to the Bashkir Interior Ministry, which then invited Khujin to comment on the issue. Khujin insisted that the complaint was a continuation of the campaign by Bashkir authorities to discredit the republic's opposition.

Bashkortostan's Tatar Congress Still Unwelcome In Republic
Ramil Bignov, chairman of the Tatar public organizations union in Bashkortostan, told an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 3 June that republican authorities have so far not responded to the appeals of those organizing the congress of Bashkortostan's Tatars slated to 22 June. Bignov's organization is running the preparations for the congress, the first half of which was held in November 2004 in Moscow, due to the strong pressure of Bashkir government on the Tatar rights movement.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi