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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 31, 2003

31 July 2003
Tatarstan, Kemerovo Oblast To Boost Cooperation
A delegation from Kemerovo Oblast led by First Deputy Governor Valentin Mazikin arrived in Tatarstan on 30 July for a two-day visit, Tatar and Russian agencies reported. Mazikin was received the same day by Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov. Shaimiev praised the activities of Aman Tuleev as the oblast's governor, while Minnikhanov called for developing direct contacts without mediators between the two regions. He said Tatarstan could share its experience of indicative management and budgetary relations with Moscow. Increasing deliveries by the Tatar Tasma film plant, the Nizhnekamskneftekhim petrochemical company, and the Tuben Kama oil refinery to Kemerovo Oblast, as well as cooperation between the oblast and the Kazankompressormash compressor plant, the YelAZ automotive plant, and the Nizhnekamskshina tire plant are on the agenda of the visit.

Mazikin said the oblast, which is currently replacing hundreds of kilometers of pipes, is interested in cooperation with the Tatar producer of polyethylene pipes, Kazanorgsintez. Deliveries of Tatarstan-produced pipes to the oblast and construction of a joint venture in the oblast were on the agenda of a meeting of Mazikin with Kazanorgsintez General Director Nail Yusupov.

KamAZ representative in Kuzbass Yevgenii Plastinin said that 300 million rubles ($9.86 million) of KamAZ products will be delivered to the oblast in 2003, including 350 trucks and 50 NefAZ-KamAZ buses, reported.

On 31 July, a protocol on implementation of the agreement on trade, economic, scientific, technical, social, and cultural cooperation that was concluded during a recent visit of a Tatar delegation to Kemerovo Oblast will be signed. The protocol outlines cooperation in the machinery construction, petrochemical, agricultural, and cultural sectors as priorities.

Volga, Ural District Officials Discuss Budget Relations
Issues of reforming federal relations, local self-government, and amendments to the budget legislation are on the agenda of a seminar of heads of administrative and financial bodies from the Volga and Ural federal districts that opened in Kazan on 30 July, Tatarinform and reported. Prime Minister Minnikhanov, Federation Council Budget Committee Chairman Yevgenii Bushmin, and Russian Finance Ministry Budget Policy Department head Aleksei Lavrov attended the meeting, and Minnikhanov praised plans for reforming budgetary relations, which is good not only for Tatarstan but for the whole country. He said there is budget revenues are disproportionately in favor of the federal budget. Seminar participants stated concern about the losses regional budget will face after the abolishment of the sales tax in January. Bushmin said regional budgets will be able to cover those losses with revenues from profit tax as the share distributed to regional budgets will increase from 75 percent to 80 percent.

Government Selling State-Run Companies
The Tatar government plans to maintain state control over no more than 100 companies by 2005, Land and Property Minister Valerii Vasilev told reporters on 30 July. Vasilev said that debt of 137 million rubles ($4.5 million) has been repaid as a result of privatizing 28 companies. Currently, 218 state-run companies are in the process of liquidation or bankruptcy, while the property of another 55 has been seized. The ministry has prepared a resolution on the liquidation and bankruptcy of another 31 enterprises. Vasilev criticized state-run companies for inefficient use of property and funds and said a special commission will be set up to supervise sale of state property in those companies. State-owned property was worth 1.4 trillion rubles ($46 billion) on 1 January, according to the ministry, 84 percent of that sum was land. State-run stakes were worth 55 billion rubles.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov Denies Accusations Of Privatization Violations
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov told reporters on 29 July in Yekaterinburg that no violations had taken place during the privatization of the republic's state-run companies, Interfax reported the next day. The previous week, the Russian Audit Chamber said that violations had occurred (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 23 July 2003). Rakhimov, however, said that information from a chamber employee about infractions was not true. "There are not any violations. Privatization was carried out a long time ago and legally," Rakhimov said. He added that Audit Chamber Chairman Sergei Stepashin had informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that no violations had taken place during the privatization process. Chamber auditor Vladislav Ignatov told reporters the previous week that violations had resulted in losses of $113 million. Commenting on Rakhimov's statement, Ignatov told Interfax-AFI on 30 July that, if Rakhimov considers the report by the Audit Chamber to be wrong, he should sue. Ignatov repeated that privatization in Bashkortostan was carried out in violation of the constitution, Russian presidential decrees, and federal legislation.

Federal Tax Official Accuses Bashkir Authorities Of Pressuring Ministry...
Russian Deputy Tax Minister Rinat Dosmukhamedov arrived in Ufa on 30 July in the hope of ending the dispute over the supply of energy to the offices of the Bashkir Tax Ministry, Russian media reported. The energy was first cut off on 12-21 July at the request of the Fire Prevention Service (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 28 July 2003). Interfax-AFI cited Dosmukhamedov as saying that the issue can be settled without losses in tax revenues. As a result of the cut-off, the Bashkir Tax Ministry has lost some information, Interfax reported on 30 July. Dosmukhamedov said the Bashkir leadership has been persistently pressuring the Russian Tax Ministry. He said that numerous probes had been held in the ministry's Ufa offices by different agencies in July and said that the Bashkir president and prime minister had refused to meet him. He added that the Russian government and the presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District have been informed about the situation. "Nothing similar takes place in any other federation subject," Dosmukhamedov said.

...As Bashkirenergo Says No Political Reason Behind Cut-Off
Bashkirenergo spokesman Vyacheslav Abramenko said on 30 July that the electricity supply to the Bashkir Tax Ministry office in Ufa was cut-off "not for political but merely technical reasons." He said worn-out cables and equipment are responsible for the cut-off, adding that only very suspicious people could imagine it was caused by political motives. He added that it will take an emergency repairs team at least one more day to assess the damage. Abramenko also said that the Bashkir Tax Ministry has a debt for electricity and heating supplies but added that this was not related to the disconnection.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova