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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 15, 2005

15 July 2005
Tatarstan Minister Discusses World Bank Advice
Stepan Titov, the World Bank's senior economic affairs adviser on Russia and the CIS, told Tatarstan Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Affairs Minister Khafiz Salikhov on 14 July that the group is considering the Republic of Tatarstan's inclusion on the institution's list of entities that are cited in its analytical report, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Salikhov said republican policies generally match the World Bank's recommendations on issues such as the business climate, migration, fiscal policy, and barriers to local economic development.

Jewish Leader Praises Shaimiev Criticism Of Anti-Semitic Sentiment
Speaking with Interfax on 14 June, federal Jewish community leader Berl Lazar said the current lack of attention given to anti-Semitic statements by federal prosecutors suggest there are influential political circles with an interest in fostering anti-Semitism. He said anti-Semitism has no support within the general public, while anti-Jewish groups within elite circles hurt Russia's image. Lazar said he understood strong reaction by Tatarstan President Mintimer Shamiev to attacks on Jews and characteristic of an attempt to build the kind of mutual respect that furthers the federation's multiethnic and multifaith nature. "I just wish Moscow authorities demonstrated the same foresight as Kazan authorities," Lazar said.

Presidential Adviser Opposes Questioning True Age Of Kazan
Refeil Khekimov, a Tatar presidential adviser on political issues, told a news conference in Kazan on 14 July that before preparing the 1,000th anniversary celebrations in Kazan, researchers used multiple-source methods to confirm the age of Tatarstan's capital. He said that those methods were approved by the 22 members of the Russian Academy of Sciences and experts from numerous institutes, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day. Without referring to what prompted him to issue the assurance, Khekimov repeatedly insisted that the age of Kazan is not questioned among researchers worldwide.

Tatneft Accepts $50 Million Back Tax Claim
Tatneft settled a dispute with the Federal Tax Service (FSN) in April that say authorities demand that the oil company repay some 1.38 billion rubles ($50 million) in back taxes, AK&M reported on 14 July. The company reportedly paid off the sum in full.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Drug-Control Service Warns Poultry Factory Over Marijuana Field
The Bashkortostan branch of the federal drug-control service ordered the owner of the Sterlitamaq poultry factory, the joint stock company Ptitsefabrika Bashkirskaya, to destroy a 2.5-hectare field of cannabis that is on factory grounds, the Volga-Urals edition of "Kommersant" reported on 14 July. The field has reportedly long been used by drug users from across Bashkortostan. Factory executives denied owning the property and said they had no funds to defoliate it. The company faces administrative penalties if it does not comply with the order.

Bashkortostan Cited Among Leading Protesters Against Monetization
The Volgograd region, Moscow and Moscow oblast, Niznii Novgorod Oblast, and Bashkortostan were among the major territorial entities to protest this year's social-benefits reform, the Communist Party of Russia's press offices claimed on 14 July The most vocal opponent according to the group was the Volgograd region, where a purported 193,630 people protested the move in the streets in the first six months of 2005. The party claimed that Bashkortostan, which was rated fifth, saw 99,940 people join protests in the first half of 2005.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi