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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 2, 2004

2 June 2004
Turkish Court Authorizes Tatneft Takeover Of Tupras
A Turkish court has lifted a ban on the sale of a state-owned shares package of the Tupras petrochemical concern to a consortium of the Tatneft oil company and the Zorlu holding, "Vedomosti" reported on 1 June. Previously the consortium won the tender for taking over the 65.8 percent package, but the deal was put on ice after Turkish unions said that the new management would enforce staff cuts. Tupras owns about 85 percent share of Turkey's petrochemical sector and, in 2003, refined 23.3 million tons of oil. Both Tatneft and Zorlu are to contribute some $650 million for equal shares in the joint venture.

Russia-Belarus Union Official Visits Kazan
Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov has met with Russia-Belarus Union Secretary Pavel Borodin in Kazan to discuss cooperation in the aircraft industry, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 1 June. In July 2002, Borodin visited Tatarstan to sign a treaty on the union's strategic cooperation with Tatarstan. According to Borodin, at least two Belarusian companies are interested in establishing a consortium with Tatar companies in the aircraft industry. The issue will reportedly be discussed at the union's ministerial conference later this year. A Tatar governmental delegation is expected to visit Belarus on 22-23 June to sign a treaty on cooperation. Tatarstan and Belarus exchanged $380 million worth of goods in 2003, mostly Tatar petrochemical products and heavy trucks.

One-Third Of Tatar Army Recruits Sent North
Some 300 army recruits, 35 percent of those who joined up this year, were sent from Kazan to Khabarovskii Krai on 1 June, Intertat reported the same day. According to the republic's military authorities, 30 percent of draft-age men were rejected by the army this year because of poor health or drug addiction.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir Trade Unions To Stage Protest
Bashkortostan's Trade Union Federation Deputy Chairman Valerii Apokin said on 1 June that his group will join the Russia-wide protest organized by the Russian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FNPR) on 10 June, RosBalt reported on 1 June. Apokin said the related union gathering in downtown Ufa is expected to gather 5,000 participants to support "all demands by FNPR, including raising the salaries of budget-sector employees and paying back wages." He said much of the unpaid wages in Bashkortostan -- which have increased by 18 percent to 400 million rubles ($13.4 million) so far this year -- is at industrial companies, while state budget employees have been fully paid their salaries. Apokin said republican trade unions declined to organize pickets near the offices of executive- and legislative-branch offices, as proposed by the FNPR. In Bashkortostan's other cities and raions, the protest will take the form of negotiations between trade-union activists and administrations of enterprises and organizations. Ten envoys will represent the republic's 1.3 million trade-union members in the FNPR action in Moscow. According to the FNPR, the salaries of more than 30 million employees in Russia are below the subsistence wage. Back wages reached 26 billion rubles in the first three months of the year.

Bashkir Audit Chamber Finds Violations By Emergency Situations Ministry...
Bashkortostan's financial-control and audit authority has revealed some 3.5 million rubles in misspending in 2002-03 during an audit of the Bashkir Civic Defense and Emergency Situations Ministry, "Trud" reported on 2 June. During this period, the ministry was allocated more than 1.1 billion rubles, 85 percent of which was spent to maintain the state fire service. Ministry staff reportedly exceeded limits on cellular-phone usage by 146,000 rubles and overpaid insurance companies 1.3 million rubles.

...And Concerns About Criminal Privatization
The head of Bashkortostan's financial-control and audit authority, Petr Bobylev, told a news conference on 1 June that his chamber is concerned about the current redistribution of property in the republic, RosBalt reported. Bobylev said an increasing number of attempts are being made "to assume republican property," for which "commercial structures that grew rich during the first wave of privatization in Russia have rushed into the region." Those structures are often criminal, Bobylev added. He listed intended bankruptcies at an "experimental furniture factory," a garment factory, and a state-run company as examples of the trend.

At the same news conference, Bobylev praised closer cooperation that has been established between the chamber and the republic's prosecutorial bodies. The number of criminal charges filed based on complaints filed by the audit authority has increased to around 30-40 percent, he said. Bobylev added that the chamber and the prosecutor's office are about to sign a cooperation agreement.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova