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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 18, 2001

18 July 2001
Shaimiev Says Kazan-Moscow Power Sharing Treaty Is Eternal...
President Mintimer Shaimiev told the press conference at the Interfax agency on 17 July in Moscow, "the federal center's [power-sharing] treaty with Tatarstan is eternal." After joining the Russian State Council commission meeting on power sharing he said, "since Tatarstan didn't sign the federative treaty, it was impossible to avoid the negotiation process [for Moscow and Kazan]." Referring to the status of Chechen Republic in Russian Federation, Shaimiev stated "certainly, it is possible not to negotiate with the people, which is standing on it knees, but unilateral declarations are unacceptable... if we want to build a democratic state."

...Speaks For Building An Effective Power Vertical...
President Shaimiev also urged federal bodies to bring the Russian laws in conformity with Russian Constitution and said that he had proposed 23 federal acts for correction, because they infringed on the commissions of regions. He admitted that the State Council commission on power sharing "would be a long-time venture, because about 100 new federal laws needed to be elaborated, and some ten existing ones to be amended." Shaimiev noted that power sharing was "a real necessity, essential for building an effective power vertical."

Kazan Beer Producers Criticized For Low Quality
The State trade inspection of federal Economic Development Ministry named Kizil Sherek beer plant of Kazan among Russia's five worst beer producers on 17 July.

American NGO Teaches Tatar Businessmen
US Civil Initiatives Center President Sharon Tennison arrived in Kazan on 17 July to meet with Tatar businessmen who had taken the center's special training courses and to discuss their achievements after the course.

...Adds That The Land Should Be Sold Freely
Tatarstan's president told the same press conference that in his opinion, "agricultural lands should be sold freely, otherwise no reforms could advance." He said that this issue should be raised during the fall session of Russian State Duma. Shaimiev added that federal legislature should "only pass framework acts on land" allowing the regions to adjust them.

YelAZ-GM Joint Venture Freezes Production
The YelAZ-GM joint company of General Motors Corporation and YelAZ automotive works of Tatarstan stopped the assembly of Chevrolet Blazer and Opel Vectra vehicles in 2001, reported on 17 July. No cars have been produced by the company this year because of low sales caused by "small capacity of imported cars market in Russia." While GM-Russia managers are elaborating a development concept for the joint venture in Alabuga, regional dealers are working to sell already assembled cars.

Tuben Kama Oil Chemical to Put New Product on the Russian Market
Tuben Kama Oil Chemical Company has launched the construction of galo-butil rubber workshops on 17 July, the company's press service reported. Tuben Kama plans to be first Russian producer of this type of rubber used by tires plants and currently produced only by American Exxon and German Bayer corporations. According to the press release, a number of domestic and overseas companies already have expressed interest in this product.

Nuclear Waste Not To Be Stored In Tatarstan
Deputy minister of ecology and natural resources Anatoly Shepovskikh told the press conference in Kazan on 16 July that Tatarstan's government "negatively assessed the federal act on importing the foreign nuclear waste." He added, "it was a pity that only 36 of 89 Russia's regions share that view." Shepovskikh excluded the possibility of imported nuclear waste storage in the republic but added that nuclear waste shipments might across the territory of the republic.

KamAZ Begins Paying Off EBRD Loan
The KamAZ automotive concern on 17 July paid off $1 million of its $70,5 million debt to European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, Tatnews agency reported. According to the debt restructuring program, EBRD earlier agreed to become a major foreign shareholder of KamAZ and owns 6,5% of the company's shares.

Akhangelsk Oblast Fails To Pay Off Debt To Tatneft
The Arkhenergo company of Arkhangelsk oblast still owes Tatarstan's Tatneft company and LukOil company 630 million rubles ($21,57 million) and 436 million rubles ($14,93 million0 respectively for fuel, Tatnews agency reported on 17 July. Arkhanelsk officials have called on Arkhenergo to cut off hot water supplies in the oblast capital until the debts are repaid in full.

Residents Prefer Saving to Investing
Tatarstan's residents currently keep 25 billion rubles ($856 million) in savings accounts or at home rather than invest in the stock market or businesses, Efir TV reported on 17 July.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Seeks Clarification from Constitutional Court
President Murtaza Rakhimov appealed to Russian Constitution Court on 18 July asking it to clarify the meaning of the court�s ruling of 19 April 2001, presidential press service reported. According to that ruling, regional governments had to abolish their legal acts, �which are similar or analogical to the ones already acknowledged as violating federal laws.� Rakhimov suggested in his appeal that this wording and other phrases of the ruling were ambiguous and could disorient the regional legislators. He explained that for example, the words �similar� and �analogical� had different meanings.

Representative Chamber Meets
The Representative Chamber of Bashkortostan�s State Assembly met on 17 July to discuss the draft laws on state bodies activities, government media, gambling business tax, wildlife protection, restrictions on smoking and several other measures, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported. The deputies also endorsed a number of proposals to Russian State Duma concerning the need for amending federal laws on elections, regional state bodies formation, bankruptcy, natural reserve parks and social security for disabled people.

Bashkortostan Invites Federal Media to Visit and Get Objective Information
Bashkortostan�s plenipotentiary envoy to the Russian President�s office will organize a visit of Russia's major media outlets so that they can obtain �unbiased, first-hand information� about it, Bashinform reported.

Federal Commission Rejects UES Claims Against Bashkirenergo, Tatenergo
The Federal Energy Commission has refused to take measures against Bashkirenergo, Tatenergo and Irkutskenergo companies, which owe Russia�s United Energy Systems for the use of UES networks, reported on 17 July. Earlier, the Office of the Russian Prosecutor General had upheld the suit of UES against the debtor companies and told the FEC to force payments on the debt. In December 2000 FEC itself addressed the debtors asking to pay UES, but this time the commission refused to take further actions against the companies. quoted UES officials as saying they will appeal.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi