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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 7, 2004

7 May 2004
Tatar Daily Predicts Higher Gasoline Prices
The recent rise of oil excise taxes and VAT on Russian oil producers, as well as the strong orientation toward exports as a result of rising global oil prices is expected to result in higher domestic gasoline prices, the daily "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 7 May. With spring and summer come increased demand for gasoline, and prices are expected to rise at least 5 percent. According to the daily, currently gas stations achieve a profit margin of about 15 percent, which, considering annual inflation, can be considered the minimum possible profit margin. Over the winter season, gasoline prices in Tatarstan rose approximately 10 percent.

Shaimiev Joins Putin's Inauguration Ceremony
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and the head of his presidential staff, Ekzam Gobeidullin, who headed Russian President Vladimir Putin's electoral headquarters in Tatarstan, were scheduled to attend Putin's official inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin today, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today, citing the presidential press service.

Tatspirtprom Stumbles In First Quarter
Tatspirtprom distillery General Director Reshit Sheikhetdinov told Tatarstan's 6 May cabinet meeting that in the first quarter of this year the state-owned company met 82.2 percent of its planned production of vodka and 98.4 percent of planned production of alcoholic beverages, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. The distillery reportedly failed to achieve planned output in 2004 because of rising grain prices and lack of its own storage facilities.

Elektropribor To Undergo Privatization
Tatarstan's Land and Property Affairs Ministry on 6 May authorized the privatization plan submitted by the Kazan Elektropribor plant, formerly a classified Soviet Defense Ministry factory that produced sophisticated aircraft-navigation equipment, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. The privatized company will have a registered capital of some $9 million, with a 51 percent controlling stake owned by the state. The plant earned some $1.4 million in net profit in 2003, employing 2,224 specialists with an average monthly salary of some $150.

Tatar Police Send Supplies To Chechen Schoolchildren
Tatarstan's Interior Ministry have sent school supplies for schoolchildren in the village of Grebenskaya in Chechnya's Shelkovskoi Raion on 7 May, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. The load included school books, toys, musical instruments, sports equipment, cameras, tape recorders, and computers paid for by donations from Tatar policemen, local companies, and Youth and Sports Ministry.

Tatarstan's police officers have been safeguarding public order in Grebenskaya since 2002.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir President's Fate Said To Have Received Kremlin Boost
Bashkortostan's President Murtaza Rakhimov received the political equivalent of an endorsement from Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting between the two men in Novo Ogarevo on 6 May, according to an unidentified source quoted by RosBalt the same day. The source claimed that since Putin and Rakhimov discussed Bashkortostan's social and economic development through 2008 -- when Rakhimov will have served out his five-year term in full -- the discussion "can be considered Putin's indirect consent on Rakhimov's remaining in his post until"

President Pledges Legislative Measures To Fight Prostitution
A spokesman for President Rakhimov, Rostislav Morzagulov, announced a presidential response on 6 May to the previous day's appeal by republican religious leaders for efforts to fight the spread of prostitution in Bashkortostan (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 6 May 2004), Bashinform, RosBalt, "Kommersant" and other news agencies reported. Rakhimov reportedly said he "shares the confidence of the religious leaders in the necessity to resolve the prostitution issue as soon as possible." Several draft laws have been developed to combat prostitution, he said, including large fines for the publication of advertisements for illegal sexual services in the media. The drafts will be sent to the Bashkir State Assembly and the Russian State Duma, he added. Rakhimov noted that the fight against prostitution can be held in a democratic state "exclusively within the framework of a legal field," and he claimed the effort was hindered in the past by the imperfect nature of the Russian legislation. "A wide discussion is still being held on this issue in Russian society, but laws to radically change the situation have not been adopted," Rakhimov said through the spokesman. Rakhimov added that "the rug must be pulled out from under pimps" to effectively fight prostitution.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova