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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 13, 2005

13 July 2005
President Inaugurates New Entertainment Facilities In Home Region
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev used the inauguration of a renovated cultural and sports center and a cornerstone ceremony for a 750-seat ice rink in his home region of Aqtanysh on 12 July to tout what he described as increasing attention devoted to social infrastructure among the republic's regions, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. The two projects, estimated at $300,000 and $30 million, respectively, received funding from Tatneft. That refining enterprise has sponsored 17 similar facilities across Tatarstan, company General Director Shefeget Takhautdinov told reporters.

Businesses Unhappy Over Tatenergo Charges
Represents of Tatarstan's small and mid-sized businesses are reportedly unhappy over penalties doled out by Tatenergo to companies that fail to use their annually allocated amounts of electricity, the head of a republican agency for entrepreneurship told a roundtable with Tatenergo executives on 12 July, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. Gulnara Sergeeva said that while private businesses essentially agree with the idea of paying for about half of the contracted energy that they did not use, they generally disagree with the practice. Sergeeva said Russia's Civil Code allows companies to refuse to sign addendums to their original agreements on power supplies.

Kazan Government Slammed For 'Sabotaging' Mortgage Program
The Tatarstan government could cease to fund a mortgage-housing program in Kazan and use the funds in other cities due to what he called the city government's "sabotage" of the program, Teglget Abdullin, who is the executive director of the state housing fund under the republican president, told reporters on 12 July according to the Volga-Urals edition of "Kommersant" the next day. Abdullin claimed the city administration has sabotaged the current composition of lists of the program's participants due to its transparency and the difficulty in managing the distribution of mortgage housing benefits among the desired individuals. Abdullin also warned Mayor Kamil Iskhakov that the failure of the mortgage program could influence the outcome of the coming municipal elections this fall.

Minister Says Russian WTO Entry Won't Undermine Tatar Exports
Russia's expected entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is not expected to negatively affect Tatartsan's exports, 70 percent of which constitute exports of oil and petroleum-based products, republican Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khafiz Salikhov told a seminar organized by the republic's Trade and Industry Chamber and the World Trade Center of Geneva, Switzerland. WTO entry would increase Russia's attractiveness for investors, he said, and it is important for Tatarstan to ensure the equal status of Tatar producers on world markets.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Spring Opposition Leader Uprising Faces Up To Two Years In Prison If Convicted
Bashkortostan's branch of Federal Security Service (FSB) completed an investigation into statements by the leader of the Bashkir national congress organization, Ayrat Dilmokhemetov, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 12 July. Dilmokhemetov, leading the Bashkir nationalist wing of the opposition in the republic, is reportedly facing up to three years in prison for what he said and gestures he made during protests encouraging the early retirement of President Murtaza Rakhimov in Ufa and Moscow earlier this year.

The demonstration attracted thousands of people and, according to the accused nationalist leader, the proceedings against him represent the concerns of republican authorities who "fear for their future."

Federal Agency Cites Growth Of Large And Mid-Sized Industries
The republican branch of the federal statistics service announced on 12 July that the rate of development of the republic's large and mid-sized industrial companies suggested 4.7 percent growth in the first half of 2005, fueled by developments in the minerals industry, and the processing, production, and distribution of gas and water, Regnum reported the same day.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi