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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 25, 2004

25 August 2004
Shaimiev Advocates Federal Agricultural Subsidies...
President Mintimer Shaimiev told reporters on 25 August that he shares Russian Agriculture Minister Sergei Gordeev's opposition to cuts of federal agriculture-investment programs in the federal 2005 draft budget approved this week, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 26 August. Shaimiev emphasized that given the current condition of the Russian economy, such cuts "would not be justified."

Shaimiev also said that the good performance of Tatarstan's agricultural sector is due in large part to "funding from the federal center." Adding that "if the federal center refuses to finance the agricultural sector, tomorrow it will be forced to finance the same complex but in a deteriorated condition and with greater losses."

...As Well As Tax Breaks For Chechen Oil Industries
President Shaimiev said during his 25 August press conference that he supports the idea of using revenues from Chechnya's oil industry to rebuild the republic, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. He said the plan -- proposed by the chairman of Chechnya's Public Council, Alou Alkhanov, and Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov -- indicates that the sector is capable of generating a substantial amount of revenues.

Shaimiev said that given the urgent need to rebuild Chechnya, the federal government should grant tax breaks to entities working in the Chechen oil sector, "as the practice of using federal budget funds on rebuilding Chechnya proved ineffective in part because some funds were misallocated, and others were simply stolen."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Russian Pension Fund Head Visits Ufa
Head of the Russian Pension Fund Gennadii Batanov, visiting Ufa on 24 August, said that he "disagreed with opinions saying that federal pension reform has failed," Bashinform reported. Batanov said that during the current reform, which brought into existence numerous private pension funds, "people started believing in the ability of such companies to earn money for potential pensioners." According to Batanov, out of 42 million citizens with pensions, 700,000 have private plans. He also noted that Bashkortostan was "practically the only region of the Russian Federation that reforms its pension system ahead of the nationwide schedule."

One-Third Of Population Relies On More Than One Source Of Income
Bashkortostan's State Statistics Committee announced on 24 August that according to preliminary results from the 2002 national census, 65 percent (2.6 million) of the republic's residents have only one source of income, while more than 30 percent (1.39 million) reported two sources of income, and only 2.2 percent (90,000) reported three. Forty-two percent of the population said that their incomes came from paid employment, 33 percent acknowledged that they were supported materially by other individuals. More than 70 percent of such citizens were reportedly under the age of 20.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi