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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 17, 2003

17 July 2003
Tatar Parliament Discusses Budget, Approves Bills
Tatarstan's State Council on 17 July discussed the republic's budget and the law on distributing state property between republican, municipal, and local levels of government in the first reading, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. The deputies also approved republican laws on information-technologies development and referendums in the third reading.

The deputies also approved an appeal to the State Duma on amending the federal laws on the organization of legislative and executive bodies in Russia's entities, and the law on Russia's judicial system.

During the session, Tatar prosecutor Kafil Amirov presented his protest concerning the contradictions between republican and federal laws on elections. Under the federal law, starting on 14 July regional legislation should fully comply with its provisions by guaranteeing that legislative bodies in territorial entities include not less than 50 percent of deputies elected from party lists.

Security Measures Stepped Up In Public Places
The Interior Ministry, the republican branch of the Federal Security Service, and the branch of the federal Border Guard Service held a joint conference discussing ways of increasing antiterrorism measures in Tatarstan on 14 July, Tatarinform reported on 16 July.

The organizations agreed on joining forces for monitoring busy public places, such as city squares, parks, as well as recreation and trade centers. The law enforcement officials also decided to cooperate more closely with Tatarstan's public organizations to prevent possible terrorist acts.

Emergency Situations Minister Cites Descending Number Of Registered Incidents
Tatarstan's Emergency Situations Minister Valerii Vlasov said at his ministry's annual conference 16 July that the number of emergency situations during the first half of 2003 had fallen compared to the previous year, Intertat reported the same day.

The ministry reportedly registered less fatal traffic accidents and fires, while the number of incidents at the petrochemical industry complex, such as oil spill, was the same.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashneft Minority Shareholders Complain To Federal Securities Commission
The Federal Securities Commission is considering a complaint by Bashneft oil company minority shareholders, a group of offshore companies comprising UFGIS Trading Limited, Hagstromer & Qviberg Fondkomission AB, and Rolfing Limited representing Vostok Nafta and Basic Element Holding investment funds, which were prevented from placing their representatives on the company's board of directors despite owning 10 percent of Bashneft's shares, "Vedomosti" reported on 16 July. The daily said that the move took place on the eve of Bashneft's privatization and before that minority shareholders were not even admitted to the annual shareholders meeting.

The republic-owned Bashkir Fuel Company holds a majority 63.7 percent share in Bashneft, with another 10 percent to 15 percent sold freely on the stock market, and the rest reportedly controlled by Bashkortostan's cabinet and Bashneft's management.

Over the last decade, Bashneft's output has fallen from 17.7 million tons in 1995 to 12 million in 2002. The company's income was 31.9 billion rubles ($1.049 billion) in 2002, with profits reported at 3.9 billion rubles ($128.2 million).

Tax Ministry Bills Bashkir Oil Refineries
Russian Deputy Tax Minister Rinat Dosmukhamedov told a press conference in Moscow on 16 July that his ministry had offered Bashkortostan's Novoufimskii, Ufimskii, and "Ufa-neftekhim" oil-processing plants the option to voluntarily pay off their tax debt, which was a result of their attempt to evade taxes by registering their facilities in Baikonur offshore zone in Kazakhstan, RosBalt reported the same day.

Dosmukhamedov said that the total debt including fines had risen to 12.018 billion rubles ($395.3 million). He said the revealing of the "Baikonur scheme" by the Russian and Kazakh tax services had already forced out Baikonur's mayor, who authorized the illegal practice.

Putin Holds Working Meeting With Rakhimov
President Vladimir Putin met with Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov on 16 July in Moscow, RIA-Novosti reported. They reportedly discussed the performance of Bashkortostan's industries during the first half of 2003 and the socioeconomic situation in the republic.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi