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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 30, 2004

30 April 2004
Kazanorgsintez Adds Gazprom Representatives To Its Board
Kazanorgsintez has added two Gazprom representatives, Moscow-based SAPR-Neftekhim's Soltan Krymshamkhalov and Uniservis-1 department head Vladimir Toporkov, to its board of directors in exchange for gas deliveries, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 30 April. Tatar-American Investments and Finances (TAIF), which owns a controlling stake in Kazanorgsintez, received guarantees that Orenburggazprom will deliver 1.5 million tons of ethane a year in return for TAIF investing $120 million in an Orenburggazprom plant and the establishment of a joint venture with Orenburggazprom to produce polyethylene pipes. Kazanorgsintez has had problems meeting its ethane needs, and in early 2003 Gazprom halted its deliveries of ethane to the Kazan plant. "Kommersant-Daily" cited TAIF Deputy General Director Vladimir Presnyakov as saying that Kazanorgsintez head Leonid Alekhin and Orenburggazprom head Sergei Ivanov have agreed that Orenburggazprom "will supply Kazanorgsintez with enough raw materials to implement the plant's program for the next 30 years."

Federation Council Member Predicts Fall In Oil Production In Tatarstan
Tatar State Council representative to the Federation Council Irina Larochkina told "Kommersant-Daily" of 30 April that the adoption by the Federation Council of a bill that will increase export fees and taxes on the extraction of natural resources will result in a reduction of oil production in Tatarstan. Larochkina said 90 percent of Tatarstan's oil deposits have been exhausted, and that the additional costs for extraction will mean that wells that are currently profitable will have to be shut down. Larochkina argued in favor of imposing different tax levels for oil companies depending on their production, but said "a step in completely the opposite direction" has been made.

The daily also cited Tatneft General Director Shefeget Takhawetdinov as saying that under the bill, tax revenues from oil companies will increase by 3.2 billion rubles ($110 million). According to the legislation, taxes will increase from 347 rubles to 400 rubles per a ton of oil as of 1 January. Experts estimate that the tax burden on oil companies will rise by 25 percent.

Tatarstan's Finance Minister Radik Gaizatullin said the distribution of tax revenues between Moscow and Tatarstan will also change from the previous proportion of 86 percent to the federal budget and 14 percent to the republic, to one under which the republic will only receive 5 percent. He said the measure will result in losses of 1 billion rubles to the republican budget, adding that the sides must negotiate possibilities of compensating the republic for those losses.

German Citizen's Trial Postponed
Hearings by a Tuben Kama court of the case of a German citizen accused of attempting to purchase explosives on Tatarstan's territory have been postponed pending the consideration of appeals filed by his lawyer to the Tatar Supreme Court, Interfax reported on 29 April. The Federal Security Service's Tatar Directorate detained Uve Kruger in Tuben Kama in May as he was allegedly attempting to purchase approximately 20 kilograms of explosives.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Government Considers 'Re-Branding' Bashkir National Hero
Bashkortostan will hold a special contest to create a new image for Salavat Yulaev, the republic's presidential press service announced on 29 April. The object of the contest is to find an original interpretation of his image and create a new "brand" for promoting it in Tatarstan and other Russian regions in the wake of the hero's 250th anniversary celebrations.

Bashkir presidential press secretary Rostislav Murzagulov told reporters that the current image of Salavat Yulaev "is more an image copied from his monument, rather than the person himself." He said that it was necessary to make the national hero's brand "fashionable with Russia's youth, which this way will get a fuller knowledge of this historical personality's scale." After all, Murzagulov said, Yulaev is closer to the people in Russia than popular Cuban revolutionary leader Che Guevara.

Salavat Yulaev was the leader of a rebellion against the Russian empire, who cooperated with the troops of Yemelyan Pugachev in the 18th century.

Suspect In November Ufa Bombing Investigated
Bashkortostan's Prosecutor's Office is investigating the possible connection of an Ufa resident detained on arms-smuggling charges with the 5 November bombing in central Ufa, RosBalt reported on 29 April, citing acting prosecutor Mikhail Zelepukin. He said that the suspect was part of a group arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling, which also included three residents of Chechnya.

On 5 November, a radio-controlled bomb exploded inside a parked vehicle on Chernishevskii Street in Ufa, near a car used by the head of Bashkirenergo's security service, Ural Rakhimov, the son of President Murtaza Rakhimov. Two bodyguards were killed and two more were injured.

Bashkortostan Prepares May Day Celebration
Along with the Bashkortostan's Trade Union Federation, which pledged to gather 8,000 people in Ufa for the May Day festivities, the republican branches of the Communist Party and its political rivals, the Communist Working Party and the People's Patriotic Union, will hold a joint meeting on 1 May, formerly celebrated as the day of international solidarity of the working people and currently known as the day of spring and labor, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported. The political parties will march to Vladimir Lenin Square and lay flowers at his monument.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi