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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 19, 2002

19 July 2002
Borodin Raises Possibility Of Cooperation With Volkswagen...
Pavel Borodin, state secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union, said during a visit to Tatarstan's KamAZ automotive concern that a joint venture could be established to assemble Volkswagen vehicles at the plant, reported the same day. Borodin said that a delegation from the German automaker would visit Chally in August to discuss the idea.

...And With Belarus's MAZ
Borodin also said during talks with KamAZ general director Sergei Kogogin that KamAZ and the Belarusian automotive concern MAZ will likely begin to share the production of certain spare parts instead of competing with one another in this field. Borodin said that both plants produce the same parts, thus doubling each other's work. He added that, "common language could be found on the issue."

Borodin also raised this issue during his meeting with Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev in Kazan the same day. Borodin suggested that competition between the two truck manufacturers could be avoided by establishing a state consortium of the union state on the production of KamAZ and MAZ vehicles. In September, a consignment of KamAZ-produced engines of Euro-1 and Euro-2 standards will be delivered to Minsk.

Shaimiev and Borodin also discussed the prospects of cooperation in the petrochemical sector, aircraft production, agriculture, and the establishment of a transport corridor from Europe to the Far East via Belarus and Russia.

Borodin also pointed out that Tatarstan is making a significant contribution to the establishment of a united economy of the planned union. He added that the union currently has a budget of 3.3 billion rubles ($104.6 million) and that 49 programs have been implemented in the economic and cultural spheres.

Belarus, Tatarstan Sign Bilateral Agreement
Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov and Borodin signed an agreement on 18 July on strategic cooperation between Belarus and Tatarstan. The document is aimed at the mobilization of financial, intellectual, and labor resources for economic reforms and social development in the republic.

With $100 million in trade with Belarus, Tatarstan is one of the top 10 regions in Russian in terms of trade with the former Soviet republic.

In June, a delegation from Tatarstan visited Belarus and signed intergovernmental agreements on support of bilateral investment projects in various sectors of the economy, including on cooperation between KamAZ and MAZ in the production of spare parts.

RPT Leader Comments On Prospects Of Joining Seleznev-Led Socialist Party
The leader of the Republican Party of Tatarstan (RPT), Mukhammat Sabirov, said his party would make a decision about joining the a new socialist party being created by Russian State Duma Chairman Gennadii Seleznev based on his Rossiya movement only after a thorough review of the new party's program and charter, Tatar-inform reported on 18 July. RPT is a member of Seleznev's Rossiya movement, and Sabirov is a member of the movement's political council. Sabirov said he disagrees with Seleznev on the issue of bilateral treaties between Moscow and the regions. Seleznev is opposed to such treaties whereas Sabirov is in favor.

Sabirov also did not exclude the possibility of his party's joining another party, saying that he would entertain proposals, but that a decision would depend on how the parties' charters and programs reflect the independence of the regions and the priority of human rights.

Zenit Still Studying Merger Prospects
The board of Zenit bank met on 17 July to discuss the prospects of the bank's merger with Ak Bars Bank, reported the next day, citing Solid-info. The bank is in the process of selecting an international consultant to study the commercial expediency of the merger. The agency quoted Tatneft general director Shafagat Takhautdinov as saying that the Elmet-based Devon-kredit bank could also be a part of the merger. On 1 April, Zenit was the 23rd-largest bank in Russia in terms of assets with 18.88 billion rubles ($599 million) and the 26th-largest in terms of capitalization with 2.95 billion rubles ($93.6 million). Ak Bars was ranked 34th in terms of assets with 12.69 billion rubles ($402.8 million) and 28th in capitalization with 2.91 billion rubles ($92.3 million). Devon-kredit is the 111th-largest bank in terms of assets with 3.45 billion rubles ($109.5 million) and 162nd-largest in capitalization with 470 million rubles ($14.9 million).

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Switzerland Offers Assistance To Families Of Crash Victims
The relatives of the victims from Bashkortostan of the 1 July plane crash involving a Bashkir Airlines passenger jet over southern Germany (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July 2002) have decided not to file lawsuits against Switzerland, RIA-Novosti reported on 18 July, citing Swiss Ambassador to Russia Walter Fetscherin. Fetscherin said that any legal responsibility with regard to paying compensation to the victims' families can only be determined following an investigation into the cause of the crash. He added, however, that Switzerland is prepared to offer assistance to the families of victims before the investigation is completed as a show of good will. "We can discuss this within the next few days but we should clarify exactly what they need," Fetscherin said.

Industrial Profits Down In First Part Of 2002
Bashkortostan's industrial enterprises made 7.8 billion rubles ($247.8 million) in profits in the first five months of 2002, only half of what they made in the same period of the previous year, Bashinform reported on 18 July. There was a decrease in profits throughout the republic, except in the city of Uchaly, where profits increased by 30 percent, and in the Ufa-Kalininskii and Oktyabrskii raions, where profits increased by 61.5 percent and 6 percent, respectively. The agency cited officials from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Relations, and Trade as saying the decrease in profits is the result of higher costs of materials, technical resources, and salaries.

Republic Sees Hike In Cost Of Public Transportation
The cost of public transportation in Bashkortostan will increase as of 20 July, Rosbalt reported on 18 July. A single trip on a state-owned city bus will now cost 5 rubles ($0.15) instead of 4 rubles, while a trip in a minibus will cost 6 rubles ($0.19) instead of 5 rubles.

Securities Commission Publishes Development Program
The Bashkir Securities Commission has introduced a draft program forecasting the development of the securities market in the republic from 2003 to 2005. The program can be found on the Internet at

Rakhimov Names New Head Of Uchaly Administration
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov appointed Yulai Usmanov as the new head of the administration of Uchaly and Uchaly Raion, Bashinform reported on 18 July. Usmanov, 50, previously served as general director of Sangalykskii Dioritovyi Karer (the Sangalyk Diorite Quarry) in Uchaly Raion. Usmanov replaced Rinat Abdullin who resigned to take up another job, the agency reported.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova