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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 9, 2003

9 July 2003
Tatneft To Meet Demands Of NYSE
In conformity with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 2002, Tatneft's board of directors will establish an audit committee involving independent directors for maintaining internal audits, holding auctions, and controlling financial flows, AK&M reported on 9 July. This requirement is reportedly promoted by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), where Tatarstan's major oil producer has been listed since March 1998. The new law stipulates a two-year term for complying with its provisions. The first Russian energy firm to be listed on the NYSE, Tatneft is also listed on the London, Munich, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Berlin, and Stuttgart stock exchanges.

Kazan Brewery Expands Investments In Tatarstan's Agriculture
The Krasnii Vostok brewery will invest some 2.3 billion rubles ($74.9 million) in constructing five major cattle-breeding complexes in the Yugari Oslan, Yeshel Uzen, and Elke regions of Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 9 July. Krasnii Vostok had previously invested in the production of beer malt in the republic's regions.

Kazan-Chally Road Said To Keep 'Death Road' Title
Tatar Deputy Transport Minister Aleksandr Repenko told a press conference on 8 July that with current financing, the Kazan-Chally road, known as the "death road," will keep its reputation for at least 25 years, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 9 July. Although there are no official statistics on traffic accidents on the road, the narrow two-lane road is widely acknowledged to have the heaviest traffic in the republic. Reconstruction of the notorious road was reportedly undermined in 2002 when the road-maintenance services had their budgets cut in half after the new Russian Tax Code replaced the former road tax with the transport tax.

New Book Targets Corruption In Tatarstan's Police
On 8 July, the Kazan Human Rights Center presented its new book, "Corruption in Tatarstan's Police: Causes, Scale, Schemes," featuring details on the illegal practices of law enforcement officers revealed in a study done with the assistance of the anticorruption departments of the republic's Interior Ministry and Prosecutor's Office. The book is being distributed free of charge and may be obtained in the center's office in Kazan.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Tatar Congress Said Not To Meet Government's Expectations
Despite its loyalty to the Bashkir authorities, Bashkortostan's second Tatar Congress did not adopt the resolutions that the government expected, reported on 8 July (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 7, 8 July 2003). The news agency reported that republican officials had suggested that congress delegates should pass a resolution supporting Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov in December elections, but this matter did not even appear on the congress agenda. Rakhimov will seek his third presidential term.

Bashkir Leadership Unhappy With Appointment Of New Tax Minister
According to the 7 July edition of "Kompaniya" magazine, the recent decision of Russian Tax Minister Gennadii Bukaev to appoint former Bashtransgaz General Director Aleksandr Veremeenko to the post of Bashkir Tax Minister was difficult for the Bashkir government to accept. The magazine cited Marat Yamalov, head of the presidential information department, as saying that the appointment was cynical and represented a challenge to the Bashkir government. Meanwhile, immediately after his appointment Veremeenko has reportedly begun to file suits against Ufaneftekhim, Novoufimskii, and Ufimskii oil processing plants to force the repayment of 12 billion rubles ($390.9 million) in taxes. Previously the plants had attempted to evade payment by registering their production facilities in an off-shore zone in Baykonur, Kazakhstan

Fund Established To Distribute Compensation For Midair Crash
The Swiss and German governments and the Swiss Skyguide air-traffic control company have signed an agreement on establishing a fund for paying the compensation to the relatives of those killed in the July 2002 midair collision of Bashkir Airlines Tu-154 and a DHL cargo jet over southern Germany, "Itogi" reported on 8 July. The crash claimed 71 lives, 52 of them children of high-ranking Bashkir officials. A report attributing blame for the accident is to be released in two-three months time.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi