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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 22, 2003

22 April 2003
Indian Delegation Visits Kazan To Boost Cooperation
Ashok Kumar Mukerdzhi, from the Indian Embassy in Moscow, said at a meeting with Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khefiz Salikhov on 21 April in Kazan that India is seeking to improve cooperation with Tatarstan in the information and biotechnology sectors. Mukerdzhi said his visit aims to continue a tradition of annual visits to Tatarstan by employees of the Indian Embassy to Moscow and to increase trade turnover between the two sides. India wants closer contacts between Tatarstan and the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and to establish joint ventures in the electronic and biotechnology sectors. An increase in the deliveries of KamAZ vehicles and a setting up of a KamAZ assembly line in India, as well as cooperation between Indian and Tatar financial institutions is also under discussion. Mukerdzhi suggested that Indian companies arrange probation programs for representatives of small businesses in Tatarstan.

At a meeting with Tatar Deputy Health Care Minister Rostem Safiullin, Mukerdzhi said India is interested in a student exchange and the setting up of joint pharmaceutical ventures with Tatarstan. In 2002, India was Tatarstan's 18th-largest foreign trade partner with turnover of $38 million.

ZiL Moves Production To Chally
Russia's leading truck producers, KamAZ and Moscow's Likhachev Plant (ZiL), signed a framework agreement arranged the previous week on the use of KamAZ's unused capacity, "Expert" reported on 21 April. Under the document, a part of ZIL's production may be transferred to the KamAZ plant in Chally. The agreement, which came in the wake of the Moscow government's program to remove ZiL facilities from Moscow by 2004 for environmental and economic reasons, promotes the moving to Chally of the ZiL foundry, among other facilities.

Tatar Government To Introduce Tax Breaks For Local Banks
The Tatar government announced its intention to reduce the profit tax rate for republican banks from 14.5 percent to 10.5 percent, "Vremya novostei" reported on 21 April. Addressing a meeting of the heads of Tatarstan's leading banks on 18 April, Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov promised to reduce the profit tax, saying that the idea will be discussed as the 2004 budget is formed. The daily cited analysts as commenting that the measure is intended to support local banks, mainly the government-controlled Ak Bars Bank, to allow them to improve their profitability. Rosbank analyst Valerii Petrov told the daily that the initiative is "a strong measure that will seriously influence the profitability of the banking business in the region."

Well-Known Representative Of Tatar Emigration Dies
The prominent Tatar scholar in Turkic languages, cultures, and history, Professor Ekhmet Timer (Ekhmet Yarullin), died on 19 April in Ankara, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 21 April. He was 90. The son of a Tatar mullah born in Tatarstan, Timer was persecuted by Soviet authorities and emigrated to Turkey in 1929. He was declared "an enemy of the people" in the USSR and never visited his homeland, even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. From 1961 to 1975, Timer headed the Institute of Turkish Cultural Studies and worked as a professor at Ankara University from 1962 to 1982.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Republican Budget Reports First Surplus In 2003
According to Bashkir Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Ayrat Geskerov, cited by Bashinform on 21 April, the consolidated budget for Bashkortostan (both the federal and republican budgets) some 8 billion rubles ($254 million) was collected during the first quarter of 2003, exceeding budget expenses by 7.7 percent or $19.7 million.

Geskerov confirmed that tax revenues reportedly constitute up to 80 percent of the budget. Compared to the first quarter of 2002, the consolidated budget revenues increased by 18 percent.

Lenin's Birthday Celebrated More Modestly In Bashkortostan
The Russian Communist Party branch in Bashkortostan abstained from holding its traditional meetings and demonstrations during celebrations to mark the 133th anniversary of the birth of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin on 22 April, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported today. Instead, the Communists placed a bouquet of flowers at Lenin's monument at Lenin Square in Ufa and held closed meetings of the party leadership at local party committees across Bashkortostan. Activists from the republican Communist Committee will convene for a plenum on 3 May. Once the only political party in the former USSR, the Communist party currently counts some 6,000 members in the republic.

At Least One In Ten Ufa Residents Said To Have Attended The Subbotnik
Some 159,000 of more than 1 million Ufa residents are said to have participated in the 19 April "subbotnik," a spring clean-up event that is a holdover from the Soviet era, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 20 April. In addition to the volunteer "cleaning force" on Ufa's streets, the Bashkir capital reportedly used 1,331 vehicles from the municipal housing sector for the clean up.

Spring Enlistment Campaign Kicks Off In Bashkortostan
The first group of 32 recruits from Bashkortostan enlisted by the Russian Army this year was sent to join the elite Spetsnaz force of Russia's Main Intelligence Board, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported yesterday. A total of 6,000 young men from Bashkortostan will be called up for compulsory army service this spring, while as many as 28,000 of their countrymen are already in the army.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi