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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 10, 2002

10 April 2002
Iraq's Oil Freeze Could Have Mixed Results For Tatarstan
Khafiz Salikhov, Tatarstan's minister of trade and foreign economic cooperation, told Efir TV on 9 April that Iraq's recent decision to freeze its oil exports to protest Israel's actions in Palestine, "will enable us to gain hundreds of millions of rubles in extra budgetary revenues because of rising oil prices on the world market." He added that more than 40 percent of the republic's budgetary revenues come from the oil industry, while this industry makes up as much as 70 percent of Tatarstan's economy.

Salikhov also pointed out, however, that the freezing of Iraq's oil exports would also affect that country's imports, thus leaving in limbo Tatarstan's plan to supply Iraq with thousands of its KamAZ trucks under the aegis of the United Nations oil-for-food program. "In this case," he said, "we have to find a delicate balance between the growth of oil revenues and the losses related to the aborted truck supplies."

Tatarstan Delegation To Hold Talks With Finnish Government, Businesses
Representatives from Tatarstan�s Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation, as well as from the republic's main industries, are to take part in a joint Tatarstan-Finnish working group at an intergovernmental conference on economic and scientific cooperation between Russia and Finland to be held in Helsinki on 10-12 April, RFE\RL's Kazan Bureau reported. Delegates from Tatarstan are also expected to meet with officials from Finland�s ministries of trade and industry and foreign affairs, as well as with members of Finland's business community.

Ecology Minister High On Future Of Recycling In Republic
Boris Petrov, Tatarstan's minister of ecology and natural resources, said at a briefing in the Cabinet of Ministers yesterday that finding a better process for managing solid waste would not only improve the environment in both urban and rural areas, but would also be profitable for the republic, reported on 9 April.

The minister explained that the republic loses thousands of tons of reusable materials, such as glass and various textiles, every year simply because it does not have means in place to sort waste on a timely basis. By using modern methods of recycling, Petrov said, the republic could easily change this situation.

In order to do this, however, the government would have to turn to the private sector to open recycling points where citizens could return used materials. As an example of how this can work, Petrov pointed to Chally where private companies are already making profits from their recycling businesses. Plans to open such recycling points in other cities in the republic are already underway.

According to Petrov, a commercial system of waste management will prove to be more efficient than the current system of imposing sanctions and fines on enterprises guilty of polluting the environment.

President Meets New Rector Of Kazan State University
President Mintimer Shaimiev met with the newly elected rector of Kazan State University, Myakzyum Salakhov, at the Kremlin in Kazan on 9 April. Salakhov, a professor of physics and mathematics, is the first ethnic Tatar to hold the rector's post since the university was opened in 1804.

During their conversation, Shaimiev and Salakhov stressed the importance of restoring the prestige of one of Russia's leading educational institutions, underlining that preparation for the university's upcoming 200th anniversary is a good opportunity to accomplish this. With this in mind, the two agreed to hold a congress in mid-May to discuss ways to prepare for the anniversary.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Federation Council Committee To Hold Session In Bashkortostan
Aleksander Yakubov, a member of the Constitutional Legislation Committee of the Russian Federation Council, said on 9 April that his committee plans to hold a special session in Bashkortostan to study the operation of the republic's Constitutional Court, reported today.

The committee plans to visit a number of Russia's regions to discuss various constitutional issues. Its first stop is to be Bashkortostan, which is tentatively planned for the end of April or the beginning of May.

President Donates Salary To Bashkir Congress
President Murtaza Rakhimov was among the first Bashkortostan residents to make a donation to a fund for preparations for the second World Bashkir Congress to be held in Ufa in June 2002, the presidential press service reported. On 9 April, the president transferred to the fund his entire salary for the month of March, totaling 6,420 rubles ($205). Other state officials reportedly also made donations to the fund.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Pays Visit To Republic
Georgy Sazhinov, deputy Russian minister of agriculture, paid Bashkortostan a visit on 9 April to inspect a number of the republic's dairy factories. The minister also made a special visit to the Sibay milk-conservation factory to check on the current situation at the formerly bankrupt enterprise, which the Moscow-based Nutrinvest baby-food company took over in August 2001. Nutrinvest has already managed to pay off more than $2 million of the factory's debts and has invested about $7.6 million in new equipment.

Bashkirenergo Planning To Increase Output
The Bashkirenergo power company has decided to intensify its plans to build more power plants as a result of 2-4 percent annual growth in power consumption in the republic during recent years, Bashinform reported on 8 April. The company is already building a new hydroelectric plant at the Yumaguzin water reserve and plans to increase the output of its existing hydroelectric plants on the Sakmara and Bir rivers. Bashkirenergo is also planning to build a complex of wind-powered plants in the republic's highland areas.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi