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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 22, 2004

22 December 2004
President Hints At Second Tender For Tupras Stake
President Mintimer Shaimiev has suggested that a second tender aimed at selling state shares in Turkish petrochemical concern Tupras might take place, according to Tatarstan's presidential press service as quoted by Interfax on 21 December. Shaimiev said that Tatar oil company Tatneft, which won the right to purchase the stake in the initial tender in a joint bid with Zorlu holding but saw those results annulled at the request of Turkish trade unions, would take part in the contest under the right circumstances. He characterized the apparent news as "major." Tupras represents 80 percent of Turkey's petrochemical industry. Shaimiev noted that after Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Turkey, Moscow and Ankara shared the understanding of its importance.

Tatarstan To Pay Its Own Subsidies To Low-Income Families
Tatarstan's Social Security Minister Klavdiya Novikova told a news conference on 21 December that the 2005 republican budget earmarks 8.6 billion rubles ($318 million) for personal subsidies to low-income families, Tatarinform reported the same day. Budget-sector employees, such as teachers and doctors, would receive $10-$23 on average, according to official estimates based on average incomes, while pensioners would receive $13-$33 and families with children $20-$74 per month.

Tatarstan And Turkey Seek To Diversify Bilateral Trade
Following a meeting between Tatarstan Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khafiz Salikhov and Turkish Housing Minister Ergezen Zeki on 21 December, Salikhov told reporters that bilateral cooperation is characterized by nearly $1 billion worth of join projects each year, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day. "One may take the courage to say that for Tatarstan, the Republic of Turkey is partner number one," Salikhov said. The minister also emphasized that Turkey has "vast opportunities" to expand the range of goods imported from Tatarstan and boost its exports to the republic. In recent years, Turkish construction companies have realized some $50 million worth of contracts in Tatarstan, Salikhov added. During the ministerial talks joined by the Turkish consul in Kazan, Ismail Khakki Musa, Zeki suggested that the two sides should endorse a protocol of intentions in the sphere of small and mid-size businesses to supplement the bilateral-cooperation treaty.

The bulk of Tatar and Turkish trade is represented by exports of Tatarstan's oil for processing by the Turkish petrochemical sector.

Sudan Expresses Interest In Wider Cooperation With Tatarstan
Sudanese Foreign Trade Minister Abdel Khemid Musa Kasha and that country�s ambassador to Russia, Chol Deng Alak, arrived in Tatarstan on 22 December for a meeting with Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Salikhov, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. The Sudanese delegation was expected to attend the production facilities of KamAZ automotive works, the Tuben Kama Tire Plant, and Kazan helicopter plant seeking to increase the current bilateral trade turnover of $6 million in 2004, dominated by Tatarstan's exports of heavy trucks and helicopters. Tatarstan is reportedly interested in prospecting Sudanese oil deposits.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Putin Endorses Celebration Of Bashkortostan's Entry To Russian State
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on 21 December on marking the 450th anniversary of Bashkortostan's voluntary entry into the Russian state in June 2007, "Kommersant-Daily" reported the same day. The celebrations, which are attributed federal status, will reportedly be organized by a special committee to be formed by federal government. Previously Bashkortostan's Murtaza Rakhimov made numerous remarks saying that the date had "high historical importance" after having played a "destiny-making role for the multiethnic people of the republic."

Bashkir Government Pushes Use Of Bashkir Language
Following the provisions of Bashkortostan's language law, the republican Media Ministry signed agreements with the governments of Tatarstan, Chavashia, and Udmurtia, as well as Saratov, Kurgan, Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk, Perm, Orenburg oblasts, and Khanti-Mansi Autonomous Okrug on assisting the development of Bashkir media in those regions, Bashinform reported on 21 December. The agency referred to the same day's meeting of a special press affairs board within Bashkir cabinet as attributing special importance to the work of local journalists, "who are, along with linguistic researchers are responsible for integrity, safety, and purity of the [Bashkir] language." A special commission under the board is responsible for organizing the quarterly seminars of Bashkir, Tatar, Chavash, Marii, and Udmurt journalists, whose work is connected with translating Bashkir.

Ufa Mayor Says Most Water, Heating Networks Worn Out
Ufa Deputy Mayor Vladimir Fedorov told reporters on 21 December that this winter Bashkortostan's capital expects to have some 1,800 water and heating cutoffs, similar to previous years, because officially, up to 60 percent of its water- and heating-supply networks are reported to be worn out and need urgent replacement.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi