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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 21, 2003

21 May 2003
Kazanskaya Street Opened In St. Petersburg After Repairs
Kazanskaya Street in St. Petersburg was reopened at a public ceremony held on 20 May, reported the same day, citing the city administration's website. Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov, Tatarstan's official delegate in St. Petersburg Shamil Akhmetshin, head of the Moscow delegation in St. Petersburg Aleksandr Kalyakin, and a delegation of St. Petersburg's Tatar National Cultural Autonomy attended the event. The Tatar government has undertaken the repair work on Kazanskaya Street under an agreement between the administrations of Kazan and St. Petersburg on holding joint events devoted to the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg and Kazan's millennium. Construction workers from Kazan have completely repaired 26,800 square meters of building fronts on the street, which won a recent competition as one of St. Petersburg's best-designed streets.

Tatar Government Shifts Its Stakes In Leading Companies Into Holding
The Tatar government announced on 20 May that a new state-run Svyazinvestneftekhim holding has been established in Tatarstan to attract investments to the republic, Tatar-inform reported the same day. State-run stakes in 18 leading Tatar companies were transferred to the company. The new company holds stakes in Tatneft (30 percent), Nizhnekamskneftekhim (35 percent), the Kazan City Telephone Network (40 percent), and Tatkhimfarmpreparaty (100 percent), together worth 37.7 billion rubles ($1.2 billion). The general director of the new company, Valerii Sorokin, told a briefing of the Cabinet of Ministers that experts from western companies will help develop a concept on attracting investments. Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov is the head of the Svyazinvestholding board of directors.

Tatar Representations Abroad Becoming Self-Sustainable
Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khafiz Salikhov said on 20 May that the ministry has promoted schemes for privately financing Tatar representations abroad, adding that such a model is used in Cuba, Austria, Vietnam, Iraq, and Switzerland. Currently 12 of Tatarstan's 23 representations in the Russian Federation are financed from the republican budget, reported the same day. Speaking at a meeting of the State Council Commission on Budget and Finance Issues, Salikhov said expenses for the republic's representations reduced from 0.17 percent of the republican budget in 1999 to 0.13 percent in 2002. He said several representations were opened in the headquarters of companies headed by Tatar businessmen, including missions in Khanty-Mansii Autonomous Okrug, the Nizhnii Novgorod and Saratov oblasts, Bashkortostan, and Belarus.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkirenergo To Complete Restructuring Before 2004
Bashkirenergo electricity and heating company will finish its restructuring by the end of 2003, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 20 May citing the company's press service. The energy company has already been split up into three major subdivisions: Bashkir Networking Company, Bashkortostan's Wholesale Company, and Heating Networks. The maintenance and transportation services have been privatized. By the end of 2003 Bashkirenergo intends to launch eight interregional companies for purchasing and selling energy supplies across the republic. Currently, 32.1 percent of the company's shares are at the disposal of the Bashkir Fuel Company, 21.3 percent belong to Russia's United Energy Systems, 7.3 percent belong to the Bashkeft oil company, 9.9 percent are distributed among minority shareholders, while private individuals retain 15 percent of the shares.

Rakhimov Junior Reinstated As Chairman Of Bashkirenergo's Board
The new Bashkirenergo board of directors has reelected Ural Rakhimov, son of Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov, as the board chairman on 20 May, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The 13-member board includes Bashkir Economy Minister Valentin Vlasov, Bashkirenergo's general director Nikolai Kurapov, Bashkirenergo's chief accountant Fedis Selimgereev, Bashneftekhim general director Victor Gantsev, his deputy Enver Karimov, Bashneft general director Ildar Iskhakov, and deputy head of the corporate policy department of Russia's United Energy Systems Danil Nikitin. Rakhimov was previously the chairman of the board of directors of four major Bashkir industries: Bashneft oil company, Bashneftekhim petrochemical company, Bashkir Fuel Company, and Bashkirenergo. Rakhimov was replaced at three of the aforementioned companies in 2002.

Economic, Drug-Related Crime Up In Bashkir Capital
One in four crimes registered in Ufa during the first quarter of 2003 was finance-related, Ural Akkuchukov, the head of the city's Main Board of Interior Affairs, told a meeting of the city government on 20 May, Rosbalt reported yesterday. In that period police detected 1,802 such crimes, including cases of bribery and illegal practices regarding private or state property -- that figure is 38 percent higher than the beginning of 2002. Drug-related crimes are also on the rise and constitute 11.9 percent of reported crimes, a 45 percent increase compared to the beginning of 2002.

Rakhimov Meets With High-Ranking Guests At Ufa International Oil Industry Fair
During the first day of the "Gas.Oil-2003" international fair in Ufa on 20 May President Murtaza Rakhimov met with the Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia Carlos Mendos Pottelya to discuss the development of oil industry technologies, the presidential press service reported yesterday. Also on 20 May, Rakhimov met Valerii Vorobyev, the first vice president of Russia's Transnefteproduct company and Leonid Filimonov, the first vice president of the YUKOS oil company, to discuss their companies' cooperation with Bashkortostan.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi