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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 11, 2003

11 March 2003
Yeshel Uzen Gorkii Plant To Build Another Ship For Caspian Fleet
Caspian Fleet Commander Rear-Admiral Yurii Startsev said the Yeshel Uzen Gorkii Shipbuilding Plant will construct another patrol rocket warship for the Russian Caspian Fleet, Tatar Radio reported on 10 March. The newly-obtained state order will provide the plant with work for the next five years, the report said, while previously this year the plant had to reduce production by 33 percent in comparison with 2002 and make its employees take leave with partial pay. The facility plans to begin production of the new ship in May. The first Yeshel Uzen-produced ship, which is called "Tatarstan," is the Caspian fleet's flagship.

State-Owned Shares On Sale
The Tatar Land and Property Relations Ministry sold on 6 March in an auction 85 million rubles ($2.7 million) worth of state-owned shares in nine republican companies, "Vremya i dengi" reported on 7 March. The government sold some 16 percent of the Kazan Compressor Plant for 27.5 million rubles, though it maintains a controlling interest in the company. The whole state-owned stake in the Karpov Chemical Plant, which totaled 32.5 percent, was sold for 52.6 million rubles. At the same time, there was not any demand for state-owned shares in another 12 companies, including the Kazan Electric Design Plant, the Chistai Ship-Repair Plant, the Bogelme Brick Plant, and the Bolgar Sewing Factory.

Tatarstan Is The Housing Construction Leader
Tatar Construction, Architecture, and Housing and Municipal Services Minister Marat Khosnullin said at a ministry meeting on 10 March that some 1.5 square meters of housing, or 4.6 percent of Russia's total volume in 2002, were constructed in Tatarstan, reported the same day. A total of 6,052 families moved into new apartments in 2002, about half of them in Kazan. Tatarstan trails only Moscow and Moscow Oblast on the list of Russia's leaders in terms of housing construction. Khosnullin also reported on a growing debt of payments for housing and municipal services, which reached 1 billion rubles in the republic.

Housing Rents To Double
Tatar Land and Property Relations Minister Valerii Vasilev said the ministry is developing a reform plan for the system of payments for the rent of public housing, according to which rents will eventually double in the republic, Tatar Radio reported on 10 March. Currently, one square meter in an apartment costs between 12 and 30 rubles in different parts of Tatarstan and as much as 600 rubles in downtown Kazan. Vasilev said the terms of rental agreements will also be increased from current one-year pact to 5-years in order to promote business and stabilize the housing market.

Large Families Obtain Privileges In Payment For Housing, Municipal Services
The Social Care Ministry said on 6 March that large families in Tatarstan will be given housing and city service subsidies, the weekly "Vostochnyi ekspress" reported on 7 March. Families with more than 10 children will be freed from many social and living costs, while families with more than five children will pay half of the normal costs. At the same time the ministry, which currently also pays similar subsidies to 47,400 retirees whose pensions keep them in poverty, will promote moving them to smaller apartments.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Local Administration Orders Postponement Of Planned Opposition Meeting
A meeting of opposition forces in Bashkortostan did not go ahead on 10 March as planned, an RFE/RL correspondent reported the same day. The Rus civic organization, the republican branches of Yabloko and the Communist Party, and the Tatar Public Center planned to hold a public meeting on 10 March to call for free and fair parliamentary elections on 16 March, to call for greater control by the population in the activities of the government, and to protest the ongoing federal housing reform, but the Oktyabrskii administration reportedly prevented the groups from holding their meeting on a public holiday, saying that the meeting could be held on 12 March instead. The meeting's organizers said that the administration made this decision because a larger number of people could attend the event on a holiday than on a regular workday, the RFE/RL correspondent reported.

SPS Head Comes To Ufa
The head of the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS), Boris Nemtsov, visited Ufa on 10 March for a series of meetings, Bashinform reported the same day. First, Nemtsov met with World War II veterans, medical staff from local hospitals, and candidates running for seats in the Bashkir State Assembly. He then held a meeting with female entrepreneurs working in small and medium-sized businesses to discuss his party's legislative initiatives to support them. Next, he held a session with SPS activists in the republic. Finally, before ending his one-day visit, Nemtsov met with Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov. None of the details of his meetings were released.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi