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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 1, 2004

1 September 2004
Shaimiev Meets With Head Of Federal Statistics Service...
Meeting with Federal Statistics Service head Vladimir Sokolin in Kazan on 31 August, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said that he considers it essential to establish a standardized system of regional statistics to make it possible to compare the economic and social-security sectors of different Russian entities, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day.

Sokolin acknowledged during the talks that Tatarstan was the first region in the Russian Federation to begin implementing social policy-oriented statistics when it did so in the early 1990s, adding that Shaimiev "was experienced in his deep knowledge of statistical monitoring."

Sokolin told reporters after the meeting that Shaimiev pledged his government's complete assistance in an agricultural census slated for 2006.

...And The Top Manager Of Gazprom-Media
President Shaimiev and the general director of Gazprom-Media, Nikolai Senkevich, agreed on 31 August that Tatarstan would use the facilities of NTV, one of the Russia's major TV channels, to implement an active media campaign on Kazan's millennium anniversary in 2005, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. After the closed-door meeting, Senkevich told reporters that his company is interested in increasing the presence of NTV in Tatarstan, which currently has weak reception of NTV in Tatarstan's cities but better reception in rural areas. To improve the situation, Gazprom-Media plans to boost the output of transmitters and increase cooperation with local cable TV companies.

Future Tatar Muslim Tutors To Study In Egypt
A group of religious students from Moscow, Tatarstan, Saratov and Belgorod oblasts, as well as other regions recently flew to Cairo where they will attend Al-Azkhar, one of the world's most prestigious Islamic universities. The arrangement is based on an agreement between the university and Russia's Council of Muftis, which is chaired by Rawyl Gaynetdin, IINA reported on 31 August.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

State Commission Drafts Budget For 2005
According to the Bashkir government budget commission, in 2005 the republic expects a 9 percent increase in budget revenues to 66.3 billion rubles ($2.3 billion), Bashinform reported on 31 August. Over 44 percent of that will be transferred to the federal budget, while the republican budget will receive 33 percent and local governments will receive 22.5 percent. Recent changes in the federal tax system, including the lowering of single social tax, reduction of the republic's share in the oil-tax revenues, as well as redistribution of water tax to the federal budget, will bring a general reduction of Bashkortostan's tax revenues by 1.63 billion rubles ($56 million). As for planned budget expenses, 35 percent of next year's budget will be spent on maintaining social and cultural facilities, 13 percent on construction, 5 percent on supporting the housing sector, and 2 percent on supporting agriculture.

Prime Minister Gives Own Assessment Of Bashkortostan's Economic Performance
Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov told the same 31 August meeting of the government budget commission that in his opinion, compared with other regions of the Russian Federation, Bashkortostan is distinguished by its "well-diversified economy, powerful industrial potential, sufficiently developed agriculture, and rich mineral resources," an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 1 September. He noted that Bashkortostan was the third-biggest agricultural producer in Russia, sixth-biggest taxpayer, and one the 10 least risky investment risks. Baydavletov also mentioned that in 1999-2003, Bashkortostan's annual economic growth was reported at 2.7 percent-8.1 percent, while according to the official figures annual industrial production increased by 31.5 percent in the last five years, while agricultural production grew by 32.9 percent. However, official growth figures fail to indicate the actual increase of industrial output, because the currently used figures include the rise of prices of oil products from Bashkortostan, something due more to the situation on the energy market than an economic breakthrough.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi