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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 12, 2004

12 April 2004
Tatarstan To Construct Oil Terminal In Kaliningrad Oblast
Kaliningrad Oblast is a strategic partner for all regions of Russia, Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov said on 8 April in Kaliningrad at the ceremony of signing with oblast Governor Vladimir Yegorov of a protocol to the bilateral agreement on trade, economic, scientific, technical, and cultural cooperation of the two regions, RosBalt reported on 9 April. The Tatar delegation including Foreign Cooperation and Trade Minister Khefiz Salikhov, Transport and Road Management Minister Vladimir Shvetsov and directors of republic�s big companies attended Kaliningrad�s leading enterprises. Minnikhanov said Tatarstan is interested in moving to the European market trough Kaliningrad Oblast which has the most fitting for the republic geographical location and unfreezing ports. Under the protocol, Tatarstan is going to use Kaliningrad�s ports for exportation of oil and to construct in Svetlyi terminal for trance-shipment of petrochemical products. The sides agreed on the development of industrial cooperation in shipbuilding, bank sector, trade, tourism, and health care.

Tatneft Promotes Differentiated Taxation Of Oil Production
Tatneft Deputy General Director Azat Jegeferov told a press conference in Moscow that the Russian government plans to introduce to the State Duma draft laws increasing taxes for oil companies under which Tatneft will have to pay additional 4.5 billion rubles ($158 million) in taxes a year, Tatar-inform reported on 9 April. Jegeferov said the measure may result in stopping big portion of wells on exhausted oil deposits, fall in oil production volume and tax revenues to all budgets, deterioration of socioeconomic conditions in oil producing regions where deposits are exhausted. If the trend continues, the Romashkino deposit that currently provides two thirds of oil produced by Tatneft will become unprofitable by 2010, he added. Tatneft has appealed to the Russian president, government, and State Duma deputies to introduce differentiated taxation of extraction of natural resources depending on conditions of deposits.

Turkish Religious Official Praises Tatarstan For Tolerant Islam
Turkey may become a mediator in popularization of the Kazan millennium in the Arab regions and Western Europe, visiting Turkey�s Religious Affairs Board Head Ali Bardakoglu said on 10 April in Kazan. Bardakoglu said Kazan made a significant breakthrough in the past decade in the development of culture, economy, and social sphere. He also expressed belief that �Kazan will become in the nearest future one of the most modern cities in the world.� He also said Tatarstan is a founder of a peaceful Islam -- Jadidism and is a good sample in this respect for many Islamic countries. At the meeting with Tatarstan�s Muslim Religious Board Chairman Gosman Iskhaqov, it was agreed that students and teachers of the Russian Islamic University will pass probation in Turkey.

Parents Encourage Establishment Of Muslim Nurseries In Kazan
Some 550 Kazan Muslims appealed to the Tatar Education Ministry and the Kazan Education Board to establish one Muslim nursery in each of Kazan�s seven raions, reported on 9 April. The nurseries are expected to use the Tatar language in its activity, to introduce religious elective courses, and to provide meals meeting requirements of the Sharia law.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Statistics Committee Releases Preliminary Census Results
According to the preliminary results of the October 2002 national census, in comparison with other regions of Russian Federation Bashkortostan possesses lower divorce figures, chairman of the republic�s state statistics committee Ekrem Ganiev told the press conference on 9 April, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported yesterday. However, the republic suffered the same negative trend of general reduction of the number of marriages as other regions. The increasing amount of families without children brought to that in 2002 the number of members in an average family reduced to 2.8, while the 1989 3.4 members used to constitute an average family. Despite that males dominate the total amount of newborns in the republic, by the age of 33 women exceed men in numbers and of 196 Bashkortostan�s citizens who are 100 years old and above men represent only 8. Ganiev also brought the alerting birth statistics saying that the general birth rate per each woman is at 1.5, while for a stable demographic situation in Bashkortostan it is necessary for each woman to have that coefficient not lower than 2.2.

Having emphasized that the obtained demographic figures are vital for defining Russia�s and Bashkortostan�s economic, social and ethnic policies, Ganiev refused to mention the republic�s population figures from the ethnic aspect, thus avoiding the controversial issue of alleged falsifications during the census, discussed by the Tatar rights movement organizations.

Opposition Rumors Rakhimov To Be Preparing For Retirement
President Murtaza Rakhimov�s current campaign for replacing the heads of regional and municipal administrations is explained by that he is �cleansing� the army of local officials from those who did not prove loyal during his December 2003 reelection campaign, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on April, referring to sources in Rakhimov�s opposition. The opposition reportedly sees Rakhimov�s actions as preparations for his upcoming retirement, after which only his most loyal officials should remain in local bodies of authority.

UralSib Gets Another Syndicated Loan
UralSib Bank of Bashkortostan will obtain a syndicated loan of $30 million under the patronage of Standard Bank London for the term of 364 days, Rosbalt reported on 9 April. In March 2003, Bashkortostan�s biggest bank already had received $32 million in a loan from Standard Bank London and Moscow Narodny Bank Ltd. UralSib, formerly owned by the Bashkortostan�s government is now under the management of NIKOil investments and banking group, which possesses 75 percent of the bank�s shares. Bashkir government now owns 2.5 percent of UralSib�s shares.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi