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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 15, 2002

15 November 2002
State Council Legal Department Opposes Draft Budget...
Tatar Deputy Finance Minister Aleksei Shishkin told Tatar State Council deputies on 14 November that "the redistribution of tax flows between the federal and republican budgets was the main reason for the large deficit" planned for the republican budget in 2003, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 15 November (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 13 November 2002). The State Council's Legal Department opposed the draft budget, saying that it had the highest expected deficit in the history of the republic. It criticized the draft for taking the majority of budgetary revenues from the budgets of municipalities, while Shishkin said that because of this year's tax reform in the Russian Federation, "the federal budget has taken the easily collectible the regions have about 46 percent of budget revenues left at their disposal, while the federal center takes 54 percent."

...As Oversight Is Spotted In Draft
The State Council's Committee on Legislation, Legality, Deputies' Ethics, and the Budget, which met the same day, revealed that the draft budget allocated enough expenditures to pay the salaries of only 801 police officers in Kazan in 2003, thereby "forgetting" another 1,223 patrol officers, traffic police, and officials from the passport-visa service. Members of the committee warned Finance Minister Radik Gyizzetullin, who presented the draft budget, about the possible social consequences of this oversight. An agreement was reached to amend this error.

Similar problems have occurred in previous years in relation to paying law-enforcement and health-care workers. As a result, the city administration was forced to take out external loans to pay their salaries on time, but the republican government was able to repay these loans by the end of the year..

Broadcast Chief Resigns
President Mintimer Shaimiev accepted on 14 November the resignation of the Irek Mortazin, the head of the Russian State TV and Radio Broadcasting Company branch in Tatarstan, Tatar-inform reported the same day. "Vechernyaya Kazan" daily suggested on 11 November that Mortazin had tendered his resignation in connection with his company's coverage of the 23-26 October hostage crisis in Moscow (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 11 November 2002). Airat Sibagatullin, previously the deputy chairman of the privately owned Tatarstan-Yanga Gasir TV and Radio Company, was appointed to replace Mortazin.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Baden-Wuerttemberg Government To Help Ufa Speed Up Investigation Of Air Crash
The government of the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg will help Bashkortostan in speeding up the investigation and resolving legal disputes connected with the 1 July midair collision involving a Bashkir Airlines plane over southern Germany (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July and 14 November 2002), ITAR-TASS reported on 14 November. The agreement was reached during a visit by a Bashkir governmental delegation to Stuttgart the previous day. More than a hundred German residents were given presents and letters of thanks signed by the Bashkir president.

During the negotiations, both sides agreed that the Swiss air-control company Skyguide, whose personnel are being blamed for the crash, is dragging out the consideration of claims, and agreed to speed up the process. The delegation head, Bashkir Deputy Prime Minister Ramil Mirseev, told the agency that the sides agreed to develop economic cooperation between Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bashkortostan, in particular, between the bus company Neoplan and the automotive plant NefAZ. Cooperation will be developed as well in the humanitarian sphere, Mirseev said.

Razgulyai-Ukrros Buys Chishminskii Sugar Plant Shares
The Razgulyai-Ukrros group purchased a $7.3 million state share in Bashkortostan's Chishminskii sugar plant on 14 November (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 23 October 2002), "Vedomosti" reported on 15 November. Razgulyai won after it agreed to pay 233 million rubles for a 46.67 percent stake, three times its initial price of 72.9 million rubles ($2.3 million). Four companies, including Rusagro, Yevroservissakhar, and Prodimeks, took part in the auction held by the Bashkir Property Ministry. Ministry official Rawil Gomirov told the daily that the ministry planned to simultaneously sell stakes in two sugar plants, Chishminskii and Raevskii, but shortly before the auction gave up on the idea because selling two similar packages could lower the activity of participants.

Rusagro General Director Marina Golovanova told the daily that the price of the deal significantly exceeded the real cost of the plant, which has some $1 million in debt, and this totals not more than $3 million. The head of the Moscow representation of the United Foodstuffs Company, Sergei Mironov, said that following the purchase of the Chishminskii plant Razgulyai will be one of the five leading groups on the sugar market.

Bashneft Among Volga Federal District Companies With Best Investment Conditions
Bashkir oil company Bashneft was ranked second among 150 leading companies in the Volga Federal District in terms of investment attractiveness, following Perm Oblast chemical company Metafraks, RosBalt reported on 13 November. The rating, composed by the AK&M Rating Center together with the district administration, was presented at a roundtable in Nizhnii Novgorod devoted to attracting investment to the Volga Federal District.

Seven Percent Of Religious Associations Passed Re-Registration
Sixty-six religious associations in Bashkortostan, the majority of them Muslim, passed re-registration in the first nine months of this year, Bashinform reported on 14 November. There a total of 900 registered religious associations in Bashkortostan, 622 of them religious organizations and the rest private religious groups. During the same period, 110 associations were abolished by court verdict, the agency said. All associations must pass the procedure of re-registration by 2003.

Oil Company Appeals To Cossacks To Fight Theft
The Tuimazaneft oil and gas company invited Cossacks from the large Cossack village of Ikskaya in Orenburg Oblast to patrol its facilities to fight thefts of nonferrous metals, Bashinform reported on 14 November. Some 60 uniformed Cossacks guard Tuimazaneft property 24 hours a day and have caught four thieves in the past decade. The company has suffered major damage in the past several years from theft of nonferrous metals.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova