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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 28, 2003

28 January 2003
Colorado Governor Visits Kazan
A delegation from the state of Colorado headed by Governor Bill Owens arrived on 27 January in Kazan to hold negotiations with Tatar officials on trade and economic cooperation and consider issues of federalism, reported the same day. The visitors are scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov, State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin, and Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khefiz Salikhov.

The trade turnover between Tatarstan and the United States was $53.8 million in the first nine months of 2002, an increase of 2.5 percent in comparison with the same period the previous year.

Tatneft To Cooperate With Iranian Oil Company
National Iranian Oil Company official Mohammad Ali Emadi said an international consortium involving BP, TotalFinaElf, Statoil, Norsk Hydro, Petronas, and Tatneft will provide technical support for the Iranian oil industry, RusEnergy reported on 27 January. A five-year contract will be prolonged if positive results are reached, the official said.

Tatarstan Plans To Invest $300 Million In Kremenchug Refinery...
Rawil Moratov, Tatar first deputy prime minister and chairman of the Ukrainian-Tatar joint venture Ukrtatnafta observation council, told the weekly "Zerkalo nedeli" on 27 January that Ukrtatnafta's Kremenchug plant, which is Ukraine's leading oil refinery, needs to be immediately modernized or it will become unprofitable once new requirements for fuel in Europe are introduced in 2005. Moratov said Tatarstan is developing on the instructions of the Ukrtatnafta observation council a plan for modernizing the Kremenchug refinery and plans to invest at least $300 million in the company.

...As Creditors Demand That Ukrtatnafta's Debts Be Paid
Ukrtatnafta's accounts have been frozen to secure payment on appeals by creditors for debts of some $38 million, reported on 27 January citing ForUm. The agency said operations on those accounts were stopped on 22 January, while money is being transferred to creditors. The agency cited unidentified experts who said creditors have speeded up recovering debts because of apprehension following Tatarstan obtaining a controlling interest in Ukrtatnafta (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 17 January 2003).

One In Four Draftees Not Fit For Military Service
Some 27 percent of draftees in Tatarstan were declared unfit for military service in the fall call-up campaign, reported on 27 January, citing a press release issued the same day by the Tatar Military Commissioner's Office. During the campaign, 1,629 persons with mental diseases were registered, including 349 drug addicts, and 74 individuals were diagnosed HIV-positive. Some 4,500 draftees were sent to military service. About 1,870 young men fled the draft and are wanted by law enforcement bodies.

Unified Russia In Tatarstan Discusses Electoral Strategy
The chairman of the Unified Russia party in Tatarstan, Yurii Nejmiev, told a meeting of the branch's political council on 25 January that the republic's party organization, with 16,000 members, is one of the largest in Russia, Tatarinform reported on 27 January. Nejmiev said the party organization in Nurlat Raion, which is headed by raion administration head Fatyikh Sibegetullin, involves 4 percent of the raion electorate, or 1,727 members. State Duma Deputies Feride Geinullina, Mikhail Rokitskii, and Nail Khosnetdinov, who attended the meeting, called on party organizations to work actively to prepare for the upcoming December elections for the Russian State Duma, the Tatar State Council, and local self-government bodies. The next party conference was set for 15 March, when delegates to Unified Russia's second extraordinary congress will be elected.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Customs Earn Federal Budget More Than $200 Million
The federal customs office in Bashkortostan collected 6.5 billion rubles ($204.4 million) from local enterprises and individuals involved in import-export operations in 2002, Bashkir State Radio reported on 27 January. Petrochemicals represented the bulk of exports, while exports dominated the foreign-trade balance. The customs office at the Bashkir Petrochemical Plant contributed 54.4 percent of the exports-related payments, while the customs offices in Salavat and Ufa collected 22.4 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively.

Imports into Bashkortostan brought the federal budget more than 1.9 billion rubles ($59.7 million) in revenues, with machinery making up 54.5 percent of the goods brought into the republic.

Bashkir Oil Company Increases Extraction In West Siberia
The West Siberian branch of Bashneft oil company, Bashsibneft, extracted 600,000 tons of oil in 2002, which is 53.8 percent more than in the previous year, Bashkir State Radio reported on 27 January. Last year Bashsibneft drilled 61 more oil wells, in addition to the 102 already in operation. Another 61 wells are to be drilled in 2003, which should bring next year's oil output to 780,000 tons.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi