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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 21, 2004

21 September 2004
Tatneft, LG To Sign Contract Within The Framework Of South Korean President's Visit
An agreement of mutual understanding between Tatarstan and the South Korean Export-Import Bank and an agreement between Tatneft and LG Engineering and Construction to build a $2 billion oil refinery and petrochemical plant is scheduled to be signed during a four-day visit by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, who arrived in Moscow on 20 September, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 21 September.

BTIU Head Maintains His Post
Tatar Public Center (BTIU) Chairman Reshit Yegeferov was reelected to his post at a BTIU plenum on 18 September in Kazan despite the efforts of a group to dismiss him, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 20 September. Of the 40 members at the BTIU plenum, 22 joined the pro-Yegeferov gathering and another seven backed its decisions by proxy while the opposition group representing organizations from Aznaqai, Chally, Chistai, Yeshel Uzen, and Qazan branches, which was headed by radical Tatar nationalist Zeki Zeinullin, held an alternative meeting. The Yegeferov-led plenum passed a resolution in which it protested Russia's federative system and what it called the infringement of people's social rights and religious feelings.

Under the pressure from the opposition, Yegeferov said he would resign from his post (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 6 August 2004).

First Tatar Kindergarten In Moscow
The first Tatar kindergarten in Moscow opened in the Lyublino residential area, "Moskovskii komsomolets" reported on 18 September. Moscow's Southeast Administrative District prefecture commented that the educational process in the kindergarten will be based on teaching children respect for people of all nationalities. The Tatar and Arab languages, Tatar literature, songs, and dances will be taught and Tatar national dishes will be served at the institution. Instruction will be in Tatar and Russian. Children of all nationalities can attend the kindergarten and thus far 70 applications for the 100 places in the kindergarten have been received.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Kauchuk Shareholders Elect New Board
Shareholders of the Sterletamaq-based Kauchuk have elected a new board of directors at their extraordinary shareholders meeting, "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" reported on 21 September. Three of the four representatives of the Gazprom-controlled Salavatnefteorgsintez (SNOS) have left the board since the Bashkir government broke off its agreement with SNOS on the trust management of the state-run stake in Kauchuk. Kauchuk produces 33 percent of Russia's isoprene rubber and 40 percent of co-polymer rubber. The daily reported that St. Petersburg's PetroTEK Holding is seeking to manage the state-run package that has recently increased to 25 percent. PetroTEK Holding has already taken over the Sterletamaq-based Kaustik. The paper also quoted an unidentified source close to the Bashkir government as commenting that "the political line on the establishment of a holding in alliance with Gazprom including SNOS, Kaustik, and Kauchuk" has not been changed. The source commented that changing the board of directors is linked to the complex financial condition of Kauchuk, which is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Idea Of Establishing Parliamentary Republic Revived In Bashkortostan
The State Assembly may reconsider the idea of transforming Bashkortostan into a parliamentary republic at its 23 September session, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 20 September, citing unidentified sources. Under the plan, executive powers in the republic would diminish and those of the parliament would significantly increase. The daily commented that, in this case, the election of the parliament speaker would be the republic's responsibility rather than the Kremlin's.

Former Soviet Soldier, Now Afghan Resident, Seeks To Return To Bashkortostan
Yurii Stepanov, a resident of Afghanistan, has appealed to the Bashkir president to help return him to his family in Bashkortostan, Bashinform reported on 19 September. Stepanov served in the military during the Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He was captured, adopted Islam, and has been living in Afghanistan ever since. He is now called Maibulo. According to the news agency, hundreds of Soviet soldiers captured during the war in Afghanistan adopted Islam and remained in Afghanistan.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova