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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 8, 2004

8 June 2004
Russian Audit Chamber Head Praises Establishment Of Tatar Audit Body
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev on 7 June signed a republican bill on the Tatarstan Audit Chamber passed by the parliament the previous week, Tatar and Russian media reported. The signing ceremony was attended by visiting Russian Audit Chamber Chairman Sergei Stepashin and State Council deputies who gathered to meet with him. Speaking at the meeting, Stepashin said the Audit Chamber will be the most advanced among all of the federation's chambers, as the legislation that establishes it meets all standards of international independent financial-supervision bodies. He added that the audit chambers of all of Russia's other regions as well as the federal Audit Chamber he himself heads may envy the Tatar body. Stepashin speculated that unlike the Russian Audit Chamber, which, on one side, probes the Russian Finance Ministry but on the other side is financed by the same ministry, the Tatar chamber's budget will be determined only by the Tatar parliament. The second positive point is the Tatar president's participation in the formation of the chamber, something that optimizes operation of the body, Stepashin said. Stepashin's proposal "to work together" on preparations for the Kazan millennium received a warm response from President Shaimiev. Stepashin cited reports according to which not all money allocated by the federal government for the Kazan jubilee reach Tatarstan. Russian Audit Chamber experts are currently working in Kazan to investigate relations between the federal budget and budgets of other levels.

Prime Minister Says Tatneft To Continue Efforts On Taking Over Tupras
Tatneft is not going to give up on the idea of purchasing Tupras shares, Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov, who heads Tatneft Directors Board, said on 7 June, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 8 June. Minnikhanov said there are no reasons for Tatneft to cancel this project. "We consider the court verdict biased," Minnikhanov said. "We will consult lawyers and will present our conclusion."

The Ankara Administrative Court on 3 June annulled the sale of the 66 percent state-run controlling interest in Tupras to the alliance between Tatneft's branch Efremov Kautchuk HmbG and the Turkish Zorlu (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 7 June 2004).

Kazan Sells 13 Mi-17s To Pakistan
The Pakistani government has purchased 13 Russian Mi-17 helicopters, of which 12 will be used by country's military forces, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 8 June, citing "Doon." The $50.7 million contract was signed with the Kazan Helicopter Plant through a British mediating company. The last four aircraft were delivered to Pakistan three days ago.

Kazan Universities Raise Prices
Kazan institutions of higher education have announced their tuition fees, reported on 7 June. The most expensive is Kazan State Medical University, where tuition increased sixfold to between 24,000 rubles ($826) and 52,000 rubles a year. Studying at Kazan State Financial Economic Institute will cost over 40,000 rubles per year. Students of non-budget departments of Kazan State Technological University will pay between 25,000 rubles and 30,000 rubles, an increase of about 25 percent over the previous year. Kazan State Pedagogical University has fixed its tuition at between 18,000 rubles and 20,000 rubles.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan The Most Populous Ethnic Republic In Russia
Results of the 2002 census cited by State Statistics Committee on 7 June show that the Republic of Bashkortostan is the most populous ethnic republic in Russia with 4.1 million residents, while the Altai Republic is said to be the least populous with 203,000 residents. Since the 1989 census, Bashkortostan's population of residents has grown by 161,200, or 4.1 percent, due to strong migration flows to the republic from the east and a natural increase of population. During that period, the urban population reportedly increased by 110,000 while the rural population grew by 51,200. Bashkortostan represents 2.8 percent of Russia's total population and 13.2 percent of the Volga Federal District's population.

Prime Minister Cites Economic Growth
Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov told a Bashkir government session on 7 June that the republic's economy showed positive trends in the form of an increase in industrial output and a rise in per capita income of 6.8 percent to $167 per month in the first five months of 2004, Bashinform reported on 7 June. The average monthly salary in Bashkortostan is currently estimated at $185 per person. Meanwhile, consumer prices have grown by 7.6 percent in 2004.

TACIS To Assist Bashkortostan's Consumer-Goods Industries
Experts from the European Union's Technical Assistance to CIS countries (TACIS) program arrived in Bashkortostan on 7 June to continue their work on developing concrete recommendations for spurring the development of consumer-goods industries, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported. The group will reportedly look into issues such as the accessibility of bank loans to local industry.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi