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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 17, 2003

17 April 2003
Industries Said To Overcome The Negative Trends Of Early 2003
Tatar Deputy Economy and Industry Minister Sergei Mukhin said on 16 April that despite the industrial slump during the first three months of 2003, Tatar industries managed to achieve a 5 percent growth in production in that period compared to the first quarter of 2002, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported. Tatarstan's current output is reportedly only 8 percent lower than in 1990, while in 2001 the republic's production was at 85 percent of that level. Tuben Kama Tires Company spearheads this year's industrial growth with 30 percent, while Kazan's Orgsintez chemical plant is second with 22 percent growth.

An average industrial worker currently earns 6,439 rubles ($204) per month, which is 18 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2002. Oil-industry employees still represent the elite of Tatarstan's work force with an average salary of 17,450 rubles ($554) per month.

Kazan Helicopter Plant Official Faces Fraud Charges
The Tatar Interior Ministry is investigating the case of Aleksandr Talov, general director of Kazan Research and Production Enterprise, who is accused of signing illegal contracts for repairing and upgrading 20 Mi-17 transport and combat helicopters, 15 of which are used by the Turkish police force, Interfax reported on 16 April, citing an unnamed source in the Tatar Prosecutor's Office.

First Claim For Next Presidential Vote In Tatarstan
In an interview with the Tatarstan edition of "Moskovskii komsomolets" weekly on 16 April, former Chally mayor and recently removed Tatarstan representative on the Federation Council Refget Altynbaev said that he plans to run for Tatar president in the 2006 elections. Altynbaev, co-chairman of the Russian Party of Life, emphasized that "there are no forces that can stop" him and his followers from running in the election.

Rospatent Supports KamAZ Anti-Cyber-Squatting Suit
Russia's patent board, Rospatent, backed the claim of the KamAZ automotive concern against Volgograd resident Nikolai Popkov, who had registered the Internet domain name, Kama-Press reported on 16 April. Rospatent issued an official statement saying that the use of the KamAZ name by Popkov was illegal since according to Rospatent's records the name already belonged to the Chally automotive concern. KamAZ's suit and the statement were sent to the Volgograd Oblast court.

Previously, KamAZ lawyers had lost a number of suits against Popkov, because his website at was not commercial. KamAZ has been using the domain

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Federation Council Senators Appeal To Constitutional Court On Baikonur Case
Federation Council member from Bashkortostan Igor Izmestyev told "Parlamentskaya gazeta" on 17 April that 39 council senators signed an appeal to the Russian Constitutional Court to contest the legitimacy of the recent annulment by the Russian government of tax breaks for companies registered in the Baikonur offshore zone. Following that annulment, the Tax Ministry claimed that Bashkortostan's oil refineries owe the federal budget 10 billion rubles ($320 million) in debt on excises (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 3 February, 13 and 20 March 2003, "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly Review," 7 March 2003).

Izmestyev argued that the Baikonur tax breaks, which were introduced by an agreement signed by the presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan, had to be annulled the same way, not by a Russian government resolution. Izmestyev said the sum of 10 billion rubles reported in the media is arbitrary and has no real grounds, while in fact the excises of those companies total 4 billion rubles. Izmestyev also added that this sum doesn't even matter at the moment, since the legal nature of the government resolution annulling the tax breaks has not been established. Izmestyev said those who filing claims against the Bashkir petrochemical companies seek to bankrupt them in order to take over the Bashkir oil-refining sector, the most modern in Russia and capable of processing over 40 million tons of oil a year.

Administration Heads Replaced From Above
Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov on 15 April held a meeting in Neftekamsk with officials and local-assembly deputies to dismiss Neftekamsk administration head Igor Lim and replace him with Ilyus Garifullin, Bashinform reported the same day. Baidavletov said the city economy has had troubles recently, and nine of its 21 industrial companies have lost production volume. Baidavletov said the 94 million rubles ($3 million) collected in city budget revenues so far this year are only 60 percent of the projection, while debt on back wages is 1.6 million rubles and company debts for gas and energy are 3 million rubles and 11 million rubles, respectively. The Neftekamsk City Council session the same day dismissed Lim as chairman and elected Ilyus Garifullin.

On 16 April, Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov issued a decree appointing Ramil Arslanov acting administration head of Kheibulla Raion, Bashinform reported. Arslanov, 48, served as deputy administration head in that raion from 1998 to 2002 and most recently worked in the presidential administration.

Booksellers Obtain Privileges
All bookstores in Bashkortostan will be freed from paying rent for the premises they occupy, Bashinform reported on 16 April. This decision was made at a meeting held by Media Minister Zofer Timerbulatov with the heads of publishing houses and book distributors and sellers. Meeting participants expressed their concern about insufficient subsidies from the budget for printing books, saying literature and children's books make up only 20 percent of all books printed, the majority of which are textbooks.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova