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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 20, 2004

20 December 2004
KamAZ Adopts New Costs And Profits-Conscious Business Plan...
KamAZ adopted a new business plan for Russia's heavy truck industry leader in 2005 at its 17 December board meeting in Chally, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 20 December. KamAZ plans to increase production by 8 percent as compared to 2004, which it hopes will increase income by 10 percent and profit by 50 percent. General Director Sergei Kogogin told the board that the planned increases in income and profit are expected to come from higher profits from truck sales and the lowering of production costs. In 2005, the company expects to sell 31,000 heavy trucks and 46,000 Oka compact cars.

According to a source in KamAZ's management interviewed by RFE/RL, the company's cost-reduction measures include the transition of fulltime workers to temporary contracts.

...As Moscow Buries Dreams Of Vneshtorgbank Loan
After the board meeting, Kogogin told reporters that the emergency meeting of KamAZ shareholders in Moscow on 29 October did not support his initiative to take a $150 million loan from Vneshtorgbank "due to the unprofessional decisions of federal authorities," who as KamAZ shareholders blocked the move. Kogogin added that the refusal caused KamAZ "$1 million in damages and no one is going to take responsibility for it."

Tatarstan Has High Hopes For Cooperation With France
Meeting with French Ambassador to Russia Jean Cadet on 18 December, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev assured his guest that the mutual agreements signed during Cadet's March visit to Kazan are being fulfilled, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Given that the initial agreements were mostly in the humanitarian field, the sides agreed that the French Embassy will "keep its doors open" for Tatarstan's government officials and businessmen in order to expand business ties between France and the oil-rich region.

The same day, Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khafiz Salikhov told a press conference in Kazan that according to his information, Tatar-French economic contacts "have positive dynamics but the actual figures give us no satisfaction." He said that Tatarstan and France are already implementing a major petrochemical project in the Tuben Kama industrial zone and that his republic was looking forward to "several times as much" economic cooperation with France.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Prosecutors Investigating Suspicion Of Wrongdoing At Bashneft
Bashkortostan's acting chief prosecutor, Mikhail Zelepukin, told reporters on 17 December that his office is investigating a case against Bashneft oil company, a major contributor to the republican budget, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The company is suspected of having exceeded a quota on oil extraction by some 4.2 million tons, representing some 11 billion rubles ($407 million). Unofficial sources and Russian media have suggested that the company was under the control of President Murtaza Rakhimov's family.

Committee Meeting Exposes Rift Within Tatar Congress
Eduard Khemitov, chief executive of the pro-governmental Tatar Congress in Bashkortostan, told a board meeting on 17 December that this year's establishment of Tatar national-cultural autonomy by Tatar civic groups in the republic "split the Tatar national movement in two," an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Khemitov criticized the autonomy's creation as "dubious business." Leaders of the congress and of the nongovernmental Tatar national movement, including Ramil Bignov and Kerim Yaushev, responded with general criticism of the activities of the Khemitov's committee.

One In Four Bashkir Youth Says Has Committed Crime
In an anonymous poll conducted by Bashkortostan's Republican Youth Information Center (RMITs), 23 percent of young respondents admitted that they have violated the law at least once in their lives, 59 percent denied the possibility, and 18 percent preferred not to answer the question, Regnum reported on 18 December. Meanwhile, 21 percent of those polled said they live in a relatively crime-free location, while 20 percent called their neighborhoods "highly criminal."

Ufa Research Center Offers 'Best Economic Development Model' For Bashkortostan
Bashkortostan's cabinet summed up the results on 16 December of a contest to find the best program for the republic's social and economic development through 2010, "Kommersant-Povolzhye" wrote on 18 December. The Ufa science center within the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute for Social and Economic Research won the competition, the daily quoted Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Damir Akamov as saying. The winning bid proposed a method for doubling the republican economy by 2010 and eliminating poverty, the daily reported. The science center is expected to sign a 3 million-ruble ($110,000) contract by the end of this year with the Bashkir government on implementing the program.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi