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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 21, 2005

21 June 2005
Ak Bars No Longer Planning To Merge With Zenit?
Shareholders of Ak Bars Bank, the official bank of Tatarstan's government, elected a new board of directors on 20 June that does not include representatives of Zenit bank, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day. The expelling of Zenit's representatives reportedly demonstrated the cancellation of the banks' plans to merge. Previously, the banks, which are both closely linked to Tatarstan, planned to merge, which was strongly opposed by minority shareholders concerned with the possible reduction of their share if the merger took place. Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov told Ak Bars shareholders the same day that the bank's short-term mission for the coming year was to prepare for entering international stock markets.

Kazan Bank Takes Name Of Kazakh Bank
Shareholders of the Volga-Kama bank (VKAB) on 20 June voted to rename it as the Kazan branch of Kazakhstan's Turan Alem bank (BTA), RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day. The newly elected board of directors of VKAB reportedly included two representatives of BTA, which owns 19.45 percent of the Kazan bank's shares and three representatives of Ak Bars Bank, which owns a 32.71 percent stake there. The shareholders reportedly also agreed to increase the VKAB's chartered capital by some 11 times by issuing some $32 million worth of extra shares.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Bids Farewell To Longtime Aide
Presidential aide Ural Bakirov, who has been serving Murtaza Rakhimov since he was first elected Bashkortostan's president in 1993, has retired, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 20 June. The 72-year-old Bakirov is to be succeeded by Ufa Deputy Mayor Midkhet Mambetov. Bakirov was considered the "gray cardinal" in the Bashkir presidential administration, given his influence and the ability to arrange meetings with Rakhimov. His departure is reportedly considered a "revolutionary change" among the Bashkir bureaucracy.

According to unnamed sources in the Bashkir government cited by RFE/RL, Bakirov's retirement could be related to his masterminding the recent confrontation between President Rakhimov and his son Ural. That confrontation reportedly revealed the clash between the Rakhimov old guard and the new guard led by his son. "For resuming the normal operation of the Rakhimov family, it was essential to round the angles and get rid of the most dramatic characters" an unnamed source within the presidential staff told an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent.

Property Ministry Drops Claim Against Bashkirskii Kapital
Bashkortostan's Property Ministry is withdrawing its claim against the illegal handover of state-owned petrochemical-company shares to the Bashkirskii Kapital company after the issue was resolved by mutual agreement, the ministry's representatives told the republic's Arbitrage Court on 20 June, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the next day.

Meanwhile, having accepted the ministry's appeal for stopping the proceedings on the case, the Arbitrage Court slated its next session to 1 July, when it will expectedly declare whether it upholds or rejects the request.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi