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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 10, 2003

10 July 2003
Tatar Delegation Seeks U.S. Investments, Technological Cooperation
Meeting with officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce on 8 July, the Tatar governmental delegation headed by Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov talked about U.S. investments into Tatarstan, diversifying the production of the republic's oil- and gas-processing industries, as well as the creation of a joint innovation and production center to be based at the Kazan State Technological University, Tatar-inform reported yesterday. Later on 8 July, Colorado state Secretary of Technology Mark Holtzman told Minnikhanov that his republic possesses "all the necessary means for a breakthrough in the sphere of innovations." In January, Holtzman visited Tatarstan with the delegation of Colorado Governor Bill Owens.

Bakers, Government Meet To Discuss Possible Rise In Bread Prices
Tatar Economy and Industry Minister Aleksei Pakhomov met the heads of the major bread-producing companies on 9 July in Kazan to discuss the increasing costs of bread making RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. The bread producers are reportedly concerned with growing production costs and are unable to hike the bread prices without the government's permission. Pakhomov emphasized that even if the bread prices are lowered by the government, "the republic's stores will still have to offer cheap bread, because it's a socially important product.... The government will make its decision only after weighing up all the factors influencing the cost of bread."

Parliamentary Commission Looks Into Medical Insurance Funds
On 9 July, the Tatar State Council commission on social issues, children, and youth considered the budgetary performances of the republic's health-care and social-security institutions in 2002, Intertat reported the same day. Deputies interviewed health-care and social-security officials about the 118 million rubles ($3.8 million) of insurance payments which have not been claimed by the hospitals. Meanwhile, Health Minister Kamil Ziyatdinov told the commission that the office responsible for processing the hospital's insurance claims had rejected some 102 million rubles of social-insurance invoices filed by the republic's hospitals. The current contradiction reportedly arose in 2002 when many patients changed their health-care provider. It was agreed at the meeting that the Health Ministry will present quarterly reports on patients who change health-care providers.

Unified Russia, SPS Most Popular Among Kazan Residents
According to a poll conducted by the Group 7-89 association of sociological research centers and the Tsirkon research group, 66 percent of potential voters in Kazan intend to participate in December elections for the Russian State Duma, Rosbalt reported on 8 July. Fifteen percent of those polled are still undecided about which party to support and are uncertain whether they will vote. In Kazan, 97.5 percent of respondents said that they were well-informed about the activities of Russia's Communist Party; 96.5 percent said that they were aware of the activities of Vladimir Zhirinovskii's Liberal Democratic Party; 95 percent said they were informed about Yabloko; 94 percent, about Unified Russia; and 81 percent, about the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS). Sixty-four percent of those polled expressed support for Unified Russia, while the second most popular party -- the SPS -- won the support of 37 percent. Thirty-five percent said that they would like to see Yabloko in the new Duma, 63 percent said that they would not like to have Liberal Democratic Party representatives elected to the Duma, and 60 percent said the same about the Communist Party.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Mezhprombank To Seek Compensation For Illegal Search Of Its Office
Aleksandr Panishev, the head of the legal department in Mezhprombank's Ufa office, told Rosbalt on 8 July that his bank estimates the damage caused by a recent Bashkir Interior Ministry search of its offices to be 13 million rubles ($420,000) and said the bank will demand reimbursement in court (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report" 4 July 2003). Panishev said Mezhprombank will initiate the legal procedures after Bashkortostan's Supreme Court considers the ministry's appeal against the verdict by Ufa's Lenin District Court, which ruled that the search was illegal (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report" 9 July 2003).

New Magazine To Publish Official Elections Forecasts
Bashkortostan's Central Election Committee has launched its own quarterly magazine, "Vestnik Tsentralnoi Izbiratelnoi Komissii Respubliki Bashkortostan," to publish official forecasts for upcoming elections for the Russian State Duma and the presidency of Bashkortostan, Bashinform reported on 9 July. The new magazine will reportedly focus on denouncing the illegal campaigning techniques known as "black PR" and analyze their effects on the electorate.

Back Wages In Bashkortostan
According to Bashkortostan's Trade Unions Federation cited by Rosbalt on 8 July, wage arrears for the republic's industries have increased by 10 percent compared to early 2003 and have reached 993.9 million rubles ($32.4 million). Most of the back wages are owed to workers in the construction, industrial, energy, consumer goods, agricultural, and housing sectors.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi