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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 21, 2001

21 November 2001
Salyamov Says His Arrest Was 'Politically Motivated'
Marsel Salyamov, who was temporarily detained by police in Aznakay on 17 November for refusing to testify as a witness in a felony case, told "Vechernaya Kazan" on 20 November that he considered his detention "politically motivated and representative of the reaction to my suit in the Russian Constitutional Court." The court heard the case, which challenges the Tatarstan Constitution and the State Council, five days before the arrest. The court is expected to issue its ruling in about three weeks.

Deputy Prime Minister Says WTO Entry Harmful To Tatarstan...
Tatarstan's deputy prime minister and minister for the economy and industry, Sergei Kogogin, told reporters on 20 November that "Russia's entry to the World Trade Organization will create added problems for Tatarstan's industry." Acknowledging the "inevitability of Russia's entry to the world economic arena," Kogogin said, "Tatarstan's industrial producers are oriented toward domestic consumers, and if foreign companies enter the Russian market, the republic's aircraft and trucks will face international industrial leaders and lose." He added. "Tatarstan, unlike Western companies, is unable to invest millions of dollars into new technology research."

...But Tatarstan Will Try To Compete Globally
Speaking at the government meeting on 20 November, Deputy Prime Minister Kogogin confirmed that the international quality standard ISO-9000 will be gradually introduced at all industrial companies in Tatarstan. The move will allow republican businesses to enter international markets faster and sell their goods at 20 percent higher prices, he claimed.

Tatarstan Residents Expected To Earn More In 2002
A presidential prognosis predicts that incomes will grow by 28.4 percent on average in the republic in 2002, Tatar-inform reported on 20 November. The average monthly wage will total 120 rubles ($105) in the same period, the presidential forecasters say.

Duma Deputy Says Oil Slump Would Damage Russian Economy
Ivan Grachev, a deputy in the Russian State Duma and a former presidential candidate in Tatarstan, warned on 19 November that "Russia is not likely to win the [oil] price war against OPEC." He said, "In the event of drastic declines in world oil prices, Russia is still overly dependant on oil revenues and won't have sufficient monetary reserves to withstand even six months of oil exports at dumping prices, while OPEC members could easily withstand the price slump." He added that a price slump could lead to an economic crisis, but not to one as deep as the one of August 1998.

Tatar Elderlies Board Dismisses Chairman
Tatarstan's Aksakallar Shurasi -- or Board of Elderlies --announced on 20 November that Chairman Rafigulla Khamidullin was dismissed for "violating the organization's charter and practicing activities incompatible with the chairman's post." Khamidullin is reportedly accused of misappropriating the funds. Khamidullin's name appeared among the signatories of a recent petition against a transition to the Latin Tatar script, though he repeatedly stated that he had never signed the document.

Former Central Election Committee Chairman Marat Sirayev will be acting chairman until the board's next congress.

Tatneft Sales Fall By 5 Percent
Oil concern Tatneft sold 71.221 billion rubles ($2.398 billion) worth of oil during the first nine months of 2001 -- a decline of more than 5 percent from the same period in 2000 -- Solid-Info agency reported on 20 November. According to the agency, the development hit the company's profits and tax contributions.

Russian Interior Minister To Visit Kazan
Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov is due to arrive in Kazan on 21 November to hold a national meeting of interior chiefs aimed at furthering cooperation between the police and residents. Gryzlov will also meet President Mintimer Shaimiev, visit the Raifa Monastery, inspect a new checkpoint in the Laish Region, and check out new software produced by Tatar programmers for law-enforcement agencies.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

SPS Leader Nemtsov Visits Ufa
Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) leader Boris Nemtsov is to arrive in Ufa on 21 November to meet with President Murtaza Rakhimov and to visit the political council of the local SPS branch. He also plans to distribute scholarships to students who served in Russian combat duty in the Chechen Republic and North Caucasus and meet with republican business leaders.

Construction Industry Increases Output
Housing construction has grown by over 30 percent so far in 2001, Bashinform reported on 20 November. Blagoveshchensk, Sterlitamak, and Tuymazi are the fasted-developing cities in Bashkortostan in the sector.

Bashkir Oil-Drillers Plan To Resume Work In Siberia
Bashkir oil-drilling company Tuymazineft plans to resume work in Tyumen Oblast, West Siberia, Bashkortostan state radio reported on 20 November. The company has been repairing and re-launching old oil wells there for five years, earning about 80 million rubles ($2.7 million) per year.

Residents Will Shoulder More Of Housing Costs
Bashkortostan's residents pay roughly 65-75 percent of the actual cost of housing services that they consume, Interfax reported on 20 November. According to a federal housing reform plan, from 2002 they will have to shoulder 80 percent of such costs.

Bashkreditbank Reports Growing Deposits Outside Bashkortostan...
The Novosibirsk branch of Bashkreditbank has taken in over 180 million rubles ($6.06 million) in retail deposits, the bank's press service reported on 20 November. In the present economic situation, the bank regards pensioners as its biggest potential clients and is offering them special deposit contracts.

...And Prepares Name-Change To Ural-Siberia Bank
Bashkreditbank is to change its name to Ural-Siberia Bank on 1 January 2002, Finmarket reported on 20 November. The agency quoted bank officials as saying the new name will reflect its expansion in other regions, a strategy that began in 2001. Bashkortostan's government is the bank's majority shareholder with a 74.8 percent stake.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi