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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 10, 2005

10 October 2005
Audit Chamber Head Says Local Government To Manage 40 Percent Of Federal Budget...
Russian Audit Chamber Chairman Sergei Stepashin told Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev in Kazan on 8 October that as part of the current administration reform, 40 percent of the federal budget will be transferred for distribution by local administrations starting from 2009, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. He emphasized the importance of effective operation of the self-government system by saying that it will be responsible for paying the salaries of public-sector employees, such as teachers and doctors, as well as pensioners.

...Praises Efficiency Of Tatarstan's Development Program
Stepashin specifically mentioned Tatarstan's five-year program of social and economic development to be completed next year, as "the most successful, the most efficient implementation of a specially designated federal program since the collapse of the Soviet Union." Under the federal program Tatarstan received some 250 billion rubles ($8.9 billion) in investment to its social and economic infrastructure, which is expected to raise tax revenues in future.

Russian Islamic University's License Expires
Kazan's Russian Islamic University is having trouble extending its license due to differences between its charter and its official registration documents, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 10 October. The university, established in 1998, is registered as a secular educational institution, while its program is strongly religious. As a result its courses cannot be duly certified, while its previous license expired in September. Some 270 students from more than 20 regions of the Russian Federation currently attend the university.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Sistema Seeks Bigger Share In Bashkir Fuel-And-Energy Sector
Sistema President Vladimir Yevtushenkov said on 7 October that his company plans to increase its stakes in Bashkortostan's fuel-and-energy sector, "Kommersant-Daily" and "Gazeta" reported on 10 October. Yevtushenkov said if Bashkirskii Kapital, which holds controlling stakes in the companies and is controlled by President Murtaza Rakhimov's son Ural, opposes Sistema's acquiring of its stakes, Sistema will sell its shares. According to Interfax, Sistema First Vice President Levan Vasadze said Sistema plans to establish a holding on the basis of the Bashkir fuel-and-energy complex, in which it would own 75 percent and sell its shares in 1 1/2 or two years.

A source close to the Bashkirskii Kapital management told the daily that President Rakhimov, who is in favor of keeping the republic keeping control over its fuel-and-energy sector, is against the deal.

Sistema currently owns 25 percent of Bashneft, 28 percent of Novoil, 25.5 percent of Ufa Oil Refinery, 22 percent of Ufaneftekhim, 25 percent of Ufaorgsintez, and 18.5 percent of Bashkirnefteprodukt. Most of the shares were purchased by Sistema from Bashkirskii Kapital in August. Sistema has invested $600 million in the Bashkir companies, while the current market value of its shares exceeds $1.2 billion.

Ufa Airport To Be Returned To Bashkortostan
Ufa's International Airport, which became federal property in 2002, will be returned to Bashkortostan, RosBalt and "Kommersant-Volga-Ural" reported on 7 and 8 October, respectively. An agreement to that effect was reached at a meeting between President Murtaza Rakhimov and Russian Transportation and Communications Minister Igor Levitin on 6 October in Moscow. The measure is supposed to help increase quality of service. The issue of the legal form of the company will be resolved later. Meanwhile, representatives of the airport announced that they have begun transforming the airport into a joint-stock company.

Bashkir Airlines Employees Call For Management's Dismissal
Over 500 Bashkir Airlines employees have complained to the Federal Aviation Agency, the Transportation and Communications Ministry, and the Federal Property Management Agency about the "sharp deterioration of the financial and economic situation" of the company, "Kommersant-Volga-Ural" and RosBalt reported on 7 and 8 October, respectively. The workers warned that several Russian airports, including Domodedovo, Surgut, Omsk, and Ufa International Airport, as well as the Yevrokontrol and Rosaeronavigatsiya flight tracking services, are prepared to introduce an embargo on the airline "because of large financial claims." Union deputy head Sergei Yeshtokin told "Kommersant-Volga-Ural" on 7 October that the airline owes Domodedovo 10 million rubles for fuel alone.

Tahir Mokhemetshin, an assistant to the general director of Ufa International Airport, told the daily that the airport, which is the airline's leading creditor, has yet to introduce any restrictions on the airline.

Union members said poor management resulted in delays in wages being paid. They also accused airline management of financial abuses and called for its dismissal and an audit of the company. A similar complaint was sent to the Audit Chamber.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova