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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 7, 2003

7 May 2003
Shaimiev Meets With Putin To Discuss Preparations For Kazan Millennium...
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed preparations for the celebration of Kazan's millennium at a meeting in Moscow on 6 May, reported the same day, citing the ORT television station. Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin, Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov, and Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov also participated in the discussion about the millennium, which will take place in 2005. The most complex issue is financing the construction of the Kazan underground, Shaimiev said, adding that both the federal and especially Tatar authorities are behind schedule on the project. The possibility of obtaining foreign credit for the construction was also discussed and Kudrin was charged with promoting the issue.

...And Oil Deposits in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan
President Shaimiev told reporters at the Kazan airport on 6 May that he had raised the question with Putin of reducing taxes on oil produced from old deposits in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, which are now almost exhausted. Tatar oil deposits now provide an average of 4 tons a day compared to the 30 tons a day produced in the past. Putin charged the Russian government with developing amendments to the tax code and corresponding law, including the law on natural resources. Shaimiev also reportedly told Putin that members of the Russian association of small oil companies had appealed to him to support them. Shaimiev said small companies -- which produce over 40 million tons of oil a year, including 4 million tons in Tatarstan -- are unable to develop without credits and investments in prospecting, drilling wells, and purchasing equipment.

Tatmedia To Revise Principles Of Financing State-Run Media
Deputy Prime Minister Zile Welieva told a cabinet briefing on 6 May that the Tatar mass communications agency Tatmedia, established the previous week (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 May 2003), will allow all media outlets to compete as equals for obtaining state subsidies. There are over 430 media companies in Tatarstan and the previous practice where state-controlled outlets received direct subsidies from the government while others were rarely given anything, has become outdated, Welieva said. She also said that the number of outlets receiving state subsidies will be revised and it may be reduced to one Tatar-language newspaper, one television channel, and one radio station. Welieva added that Tatmedia will not found a new mass media outlet but will instead promote equality among them all.

KamAZ Audit Results Published
Audit results for the truck maker KamAZ for the period 1995-2001 were released at a meeting held by Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov on 3 May in Chally, the KamAZ press service reported on 5 May. The audit revealed embezzlement of 64.1 million rubles ($2.1 million) during that period and of another 11.9 million rubles in the first nine months of 2002. Inefficient management of the process of reducing losses and repaying debts were the main shortcomings revealed in the audit. It was also reported at the meeting that KamAZ has increased its share in the Russian market to 39 percent in the first three months of 2003, compared to 28 percent the previous year. Production also grew in the same period by 53 percent. KamAZ will soon start producing tractors for the Russian and CIS markets. Minnikhanov said Tatarstan will purchase the first consignment of 200 tractors for the republic.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Russian Military Praises Bashkortostan's Recruitment Efforts
The General Staff of the Russian Defense Ministry has said that Bashkortostan is the best region for army recruitment in 2002, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 6 May. A special commission of high-ranking ministry officials revealed that 72.2 percent of Bashkortostan's recruit-age residents were called up last year, while the country's average is 69.2 percent. Bashkortostan won the same title for best recruitment figures in 2001.

Bashkortostan The Seventh Most Populated Region In Russia
Bashkortostan's State Statistics Committee announced on 6 May that preliminary results of the October 2002 national census showed that 4.1 million people currently live in the republic, making it the seventh most populated region in Russia after Moscow, Moscow Oblast, Krasnodar Krai, St. Petersburg, and the Sverdlovsk and Rostov oblasts. Some 64 percent of Bashkortostan's population live in cities and 36 percent inhabit rural areas. The republican committee also said that final census results are to be declared in June 2003.

Medics Admit False SARS Alert
The previously reported suspicions of having discovered the first victim of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Bashkortostan turned out to be ungrounded, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 6 May, citing the republican Health Ministry. However, despite the stable condition of the 42-year-old resident of the Chita Oblast, who was hospitalized in Kumertau, Bashkortostan on 1 May with symptoms resembling those of the dangerous virus, she will remain in isolation for the next 14 days (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report" 6 May 2003).

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi