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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 27, 2002

27 May 2002
Tatarstan Speaker Elected To Russian Legislators Council
Tatarstan State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin was elected to the Presidium of the Russian Legislators Council, reported on 24 May. The new body was established at a meeting of the heads of the legislative bodies of the subjects of the Russian Federation in Moscow on 21 May. During the forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the work done by Tatarstan's legislators to harmonize the republic's legislation with federal laws, calling it "an important result for the state." The council, which is headed by Russian Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov, plans to meet four times a year.

Shaimiev Indignant Toward Zorin's Position On Christian Tatars
During his 16 May meeting with Russian Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo, Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev said he had a serious problem with Vladimir Zorin, the Russian minister in charge of nationalities questions, who was in attendance at the meeting, "Vostochnyi ekspress" weekly reported on 24 May, citing an unidentified source in the Kazan Kremlin. Shaimiev said that the problem concerning Christian Tatars was created artificially and that Zorin was aware of this (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 20 May 2002). Shaimiev stressed that efforts to register Christian Tatars as a separate ethnic group in the October national census were contributing to the destruction of the interethnic and interreligious concord that exists in the republic.

Court Refuses Request To Abolish City Administrations
The Tatarstan Supreme Court rejected on 24 May a claim by Tatarstan's chief prosecutor Kafil Amirov who demanded that elections be held in the republic's 11 cities to elect organs of local self-government, reported the same day. The prosecutor claimed that the federal law on local self-government requires that such organs of local self-government be formed in cities. In Tatarstan, such bodies exist only in towns at the moment, while cities are governed by state authorities. The amended Tatarstan Constitution that came into force on 10 May also requires that organs of local self-government be formed in cities. The court rejected the prosecutor's claim by arguing that terms for the election of organs of local self-government will be determined by a corresponding republican law.

KamAZ Makes Personnel Changes
KamAZ automotive concern general director Sergei Kogogin, dismissed Yurii Gorozhaninov, vice president in charge of marketing and domestic sales, who had occupied the position since November, news agencies reported on 24 May. Gorozhaninov's duties were handed over to Anatolii Samarenkin, vice president in charge of sales and service. Yurii Nersesyan, director of the Purchases and Logistics Department, was also dismissed and replaced by Sergei Ilyinykh, previously deputy general director of the Zavod Mikrolitrazhnykh Avtomobilei. The personnel changes are reportedly aimed at increasing the transparency of the company's finances, as well as improving the company's ability to monitor its sales. The changes reflect the company's new management system, which was approved by the KamAZ board of directors in June 2001.

"Vechernyaya Kazan" daily commented on 25 May that Gorozhaninov, who had been working at KamAZ less than six months, had previously headed UralAZ and led it into bankruptcy. Nersesyan, according to the daily, promoted strategies that reduced the competitiveness of certain vehicles.

The paper cited "unconfirmed reports" that KamAZ currently has a debt of 15 billion rubles ($480 million). The report also suggested that the next to be dismissed will be Viktor Faber, general director of KamAZ's Kamskii Liteinyi Zavod

Kazan Airport Voted Best In CIS
The Kazan International Airport was named the best airport of 2001 among airports in the Commonwealth of Independent States that serve up to 500,000 passengers a year, reported on 24 May. Roughly 685 million rubles ($22 million) have been invested in the reconstruction of the Kazan airport since 1996. In October 2001, a new landing strip and refueling station went into operation. In 2002, 111.9 million rubles have been allocated from the republican budget for reconstruction works and an additional 200 million rubles are planned to be spent before the end of the year. Reconstruction is expected to be completed by 2005.

Chinese Citizens Detained In Kazan
Four Chinese citizens were detained in Kazan on 23 May by the Anti-Economic-Crimes Department of the Kazan Interior Affairs Administration for residing in the republic illegally and for storing illegal arms, reported on 24 May, citing the Interior Ministry. Ministry officials reportedly found two pistols with cartridges in the garage where the detainees lived. The administration is currently discussing whether to deport the men.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan Signs Pipeline Deal With Transnefteprodukt
Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov and Transnefteprodukt head Sergei Maslov signed an agreement in Ufa on 22 May on the construction of the Andreevka-Primorsk oil pipeline through the territory of Bashkortostan, "Kommersant" daily reported the next day. The agreement was reached in response to a call by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko to increase the export of petroleum products from Russia.

The pipeline will be a part of the Andreevka-Almetevsk pipeline, construction of which has also been approved by the Russian government. Bashkortostan intends to export at least 2 million tons of petroleum products through the pipeline every year. Transnefteprodukt is going to finance the construction.

The new pipeline is expected to be more profitable for the republic compared to existing routes through Novorossiisk and Ukraine.

Ufa Signs Cooperation Accord With SIBUR...
Bashkortostan President Rakhimov and the president of the Sibirsko-Uralskaya Neftegazokhimicheskaya Kompaniya (SIBUR), Vyacheslav Skvortsov, signed a five-year cooperation agreement between the republic and the company on 24 May, the presidential press service reported the same day. The document outlines the major aims of cooperation in production, refining, and transportation of oil and petroleum products, as well as the development of technology in the fuel-and-energy sector of Bashkortostan. The parties also agreed to coordinate their activities in investment and financial projects in other regions of Russia and abroad. A working group will be formed to determine the volume of deliveries of oil to Bashkortostan companies.

...And Another With Transneft
President Rakhimov met with Transneft President Semen Vainshtok on 24 May to discuss deliveries of west-Siberian oil to Bashkortostan's refineries, the presidential press service reported the same day. The two signed a protocol on cooperation according to which Transneft will deliver to Bashkortostan 1.2 million tons of west-Siberian oil a month. Transneft also will invest 4.2 million rubles ($134,000) in 2002 in the Yumaguzy reservoir.

"Kommersant" reported on 23 May that President Rakhimov, at his April meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, complained about Transneft's hampering deliveries of oil through its pipelines to Ufa refineries. The paper also said that Putin had urged the Transneft head to settle the issue.

President Promotes Nuclear Power Station
In his interview with "Moskovskaya promyshlennaya gazeta" on 23 May, President Rakhimov said the republic's economic development, combined with the energy problem in the whole country, requires renewal of construction of the Bashkir nuclear power station, which is "the most favorable way to meet the demand for power."

Judges Board To Decide Fate Of Bashkortostan Supreme Court Chairman
Valentin Kuznetsov, chairman of the Russian Supreme Qualification Board of Judges, and his deputy Fedor Vyatkin are due to arrive in Ufa today, Bashinform reported on 23 May, citing information received from the Legal Department of the Russian Supreme Court. The judges board is planning to consider the appeal by the conference of Bashkortostan's judges and the republic's State Assembly to dismiss Bashkortostan Supreme Court Chairman Marat Vakilov who is facing corruption charges, the agency said (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 23 May 2002).

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova