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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 30, 2004

30 September 2004
Tatneft's Management Practices Scrutinized
Due to the delayed confirmation of Tatneft oil company's official financial report for 2003 by an independent auditor, which is required under U.S. GAAP accounting standards, the company has failed to publish its consolidated financial report for the first half of 2004, Intertat reported on 29 September.

As a result, the company decided to publish a report in accordance with Russian accounting standards.

Tatneft's transactions are currently being inspected by Cannadis, the independent legal counsel of the Audit Committee under the oil company's board of directors. According to "Vechernyaya Kazan" on 28 September, the Standard & Poor's rating agency recently gave Tatneft a negative long-term credit rating due to "inefficient corporate management and lack of transparency."

2005 Draft Budget Predicts Economic Development...
According to Tatarstan's draft budget for 2005 that is currently being considered by parliamentary committees, consumer prices are expected to rise by 9.4 percent in 2005, or 1 percent lower than in 2004. Tatarstan's GDP is expected to rise by 6.1 percent.

...And Remains Social-Security Oriented
Deputy Finance Minister Aleksei Shishkin told reporters on 29 September that the draft republican budget for 2005 expects revenues of 43.5 billion rubles ($1.5 billion), RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day. More than 40 percent of total expenses will be used for the republic's social-security sector.

Interior Minister Visits Tatar Policemen Serving In Chechnya
Interior Minister Esget Seferov visited Stanitsa Grebenskaya in Chechnya's Shelkovskoi Raion to inspect a detachment of Tatar militiamen serving there, Intertat reported on 29 September. Tatar police have been serving for nearly a decade in the war-torn republic. More than 100 Tatar policemen are currently safeguarding public order there.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Swiss Diplomat Apologies For July 2002 Midair Collision�
Swiss Ambassador to Russia Erwin Hofer extended official apologies to the Bashkir leadership in connection with a midair collision in July 2002 involving a Bashkir Airlines jet, RIA-Novosti reported on 29 September, citing the Bashkir presidential press service. Swiss air-traffic controllers were blamed for the crash of a Bashkir Airlines Tu-154 and a cargo jet operated by DHL, resulting in the deaths of 71 people, many of them children from Bashkortostan. During his meeting with Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov and Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov, Hofer said that "on behalf of the Swiss president and government, I would like to bring official apologies for this tragic event. We have taken all measures to ensure such crashes will not occur in the future. We also hope all the issues linked to this tragedy will be resolved in the nearest future and to the interest of the [victims'] parents." The ambassador expressed his condolences to relatives of the crash victims.

...Discusses Cooperation Projects With Bashkir Leaders
Negotiating issues of further development of cooperation, the sides listed bilateral projects in health care, environment protection, the use of natural resources, and youth policy, and the construction of a settlement for refugees financed by the Swiss government. Rakhimov said Bashkortostan is interested in developing cooperation in high-tech fields; specifically, in setting up joint ventures in Bashkortostan using Swiss technology in its agricultural, health care, and other sectors. Baidavletov said the sides could cooperate in developing tourism for downhill skiing in Bashkortostan. Hofer said a group of Swiss children would like to visit Bashkortostan and invited a Bashkir delegation to Switzerland. Bilateral trade turnover between the Bashkortostan and Switzerland grew from $9.5 million in 1999 to $96 million in 2002. In 2003, it totaled $70 million.

Bashkir Leader Of New Communist Party Nominated
The Russian Communist Party of the Future (VKPB) has begun operating in Bashkortostan, the Vsya Ufa television company reported on 29 September. Boris Nurislamov, who was previously the fourth highest Communist Party official in Bashkortostan, is heading the new party. Nurislamov does not have an office and meets with journalists on the street. He claims that up to 30 percent of an estimated 6,000 Communist Party members in Bashkortostan will join the new communist party. The VKPB's founding congress was held on 11 September in Moscow. Its leaders stated that they plan to revive a true Leninist party and will pay major attention not to parliamentary bickering but to organizing protest actions on behalf of the people.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova