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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 28, 2004

28 October 2004
Kazan Officials To Make Capital More Attractive To Investors
After the Tatar Parliament adopted a law on the status of Tatarstan city administrations on 25 October, Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov said the capital city has gone "from a modest Cinderella to a materially well-off lady, possessing properties worth some $1.8 billion," the daily "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 28 October.

Most of the property is in the housing and education sectors, and its net worth is expected to impress potential investors -- including international banks -- who could grant loans for city development, the daily reported.

The city government is reportedly seeking to cut its budget expenses by privatizing some local markets, the city's printing company, a number of funeral homes, and the providers of other municipal services.

Bread Prices To Rise In Tatarstan
Aleksei Manonin, the deputy general director of the Republican Agricultural Industry Center of Investments and Innovations, told reporters on 27 October that "Tatarstan has more than enough reasons for increasing bread prices," "Kommersant" reported the next day.

Manonin confirmed that the republican government will introduce new prices for flour after Agricultural Minister Marat Akhmetov returns from his vacation. The price hike, which is expected to increase retail prices of bread in Tatarstan, is necessary due to the rising market prices of grain and the recent growth in the price of diesel fuel.

Kazan's Unified Russia Holds Emergency Meeting
The Kazan branch of the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party gathered for an emergency session on 28 October to discuss its operations, its legislative initiatives for education, and to elect delegates for the upcoming emergency session of the Unified Russia branch in Tatarstan, Intertat reported the same day. The local party leaders, Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov and the deputy speaker of the Tatar parliament, Rimma Ratnikova, joined the meeting.

Tatar Public To Remember Bashkir National Hero
Many celebrations will take place in Tatarstan on 1 November to mark the 250th anniversary of Bashkir national hero Salavat Yulaev, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 28 October. Members of the Tatar intelligentsia are expected to hold a special event to remember the man who led multiethnic rebel troops before being caught by Tsarist officials in November 1774 and sent into exile, where he died in 1800. The memorial event will be attended by a large delegation from Bashkortostan, which celebrated the warrior's and poet's anniversary earlier this year.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Government Urges Stricter Sanctions Against Debtor Companies
A special government commission on the payment of back wages to employees of state companies has assigned extra powers to the heads of local administrations who will be able to sanction the directors of major debtor enterprises, "Kommersant" reported on 28 October.

According to the State Statistics Committee, Bashkortostan's residents are owed some $11 million in back wages, with 99 percent of the debt related to the industrial sector.

Human-Rights Defender Charged With Sexual Abuse
Investigators in the case of Vladimir Simarchuk, a human-rights activist from Bashkortostan who has been charged with sexually harassing Russian Army soldiers, say that Simarchuk served in the Soviet Army for eight years in the 1970s and committed similar crimes then, Regnum reported on 27 October. Soviet authorities charged him with homosexuality at that time, the investigators said, and sentenced him to a forced mental treatment.

London-Based Bank To Help Bashkortostan With Budget Deficit
Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baydvletov said that the government will get a $30 million loan from Moscow's Narody Bank Limited in order to cope with a 2.5 billion ruble ($86 million) budget deficit in 2005, REGNUM reported on 27 October.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi