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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 28, 2003

28 May 2003
Oman Interested In Tatarstan's Oil Extraction Technologies
A delegation from the exploration department within Oman's Oil and Gas Ministry and representatives from the Petroleum Development Oman company are visiting Tatarstan on 26-29 May to study the possibility of sharing the republic's experience in optimizing its oil extraction, Intertat reported on 27 May. Some 25 percent of Oman's oil reserves are considered hard to extract, so the country is interested in special technologies for maximizing the output of the "heavy" oil layers. The delegation began its visit at the office of the Tatneft oil company on 26 May and attended a presentation on the latest oil extraction technologies at the geology faculty of Kazan State University. Oman has an annual oil output of some 30 million tons.

Labor Minister Warns Of Massive Layoffs Later This Year
Tatar Labor and Employment Minister Boris Zakharov told a press conference on 27 May that 27,100 people are officially registered as unemployed in the republic, 70 percent of them women, and 30 percent are young people (under 30), RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. Zakharov noted that during this year Tatarstan's industrial giants such as the KamAZ automotive concern, Tatenergo, and Tatneft all are planning drastic job cuts, with about 22,000 people expected to lose their jobs. He also noted that the foreign labor force in Tatarstan does not make a significant impact on the republic's labor market, since only 3,241 foreigners worked there in 2002, most of them construction workers from Turkey. In Zakharov's opinion, the expected growth in unemployment is explained by Tatarstan's slowing economic growth.

Consumer Debts Prevent Tatenergo From Preparing For Winter
Customers of the Tatenergo company owe more than 416 million rubles ($13.2 million) for heating, the company's press service reported on 27 May. Industrial companies located in the Tatar capital, such as the Precise Machinery Plant, the Kazan Chicken Factory, and Tasma-Holding magnetic and photo film factory are responsible for some 33 percent of the debt. The remaining dues for heating are reportedly preventing Tatenergo from preparing the debtors' heating facilities for the next winter, thus creating serious risks for the debtor enterprises.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Energy Consumer Debt Growing
Bashkortostan's electricity and heating consumers currently owe the Bashkirenergo company some 5.1 billion rubles ($163.2 million), a sum which increased by 800 million rubles in April, the company's press service reported on 27 May. Of the dues, 21 percent are related to Bashkortostan's agricultural industries. Municipal heating companies, which resell Bashkirenergo power and heat, are responsible for some 7.8 percent of the debt (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 27 May 2003). Bashkir machine industries reportedly owe around 50 percent of the total debt.

Moscow Meets The Demands Of BAL Employees
The Russian Property Relations Ministry has replied to the 22 March appeal of Bashkir Airlines (BAL) employees, which condemned the management of the company, Bashinform reported on 27 May (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 24 March 2003). In 2002, the federal government became the owner of BAL. According to an official letter, the ministry's department of transport and communications discussed the air company's difficulties and reached an agreement with BAL's management on measures to improve the situation. For example, it was agreed that BAL would only sell off some of its aircraft only after the management proposes an anti-crisis program and obtains the approval of its trade union.

Young Followers Of Unified Russia To Discuss Election Campaigning Techniques
Aleksandra Burataeva, leader of the Youth Unity wing of the Unified Russia party, will meet with regional heads of the organization from the Volga and Ural districts on 1 June in Ufa, RosBalt reported on 27 May. The delegates will attend a seminar on pre-election political campaigning techniques. Burataeva is to arrive in Ufa and meet with President Murtaza Rakhimov on 31 May. According to the Bashkir branch of Youth Unity, it has some 3,000 followers in the republic.

Ufa Hosts A Ballet Festival
The ninth annual international ballet festival named after world-famous dancer Rudolf Nuriev will begin in his hometown Ufa on 28 May, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported yesterday. The festival will include performances by artists from Moscow's Bolshoi Theater and the Kremlin Ballet.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi