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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 20, 2000

20 January 2000
Shaimiev Comments On KPRF And Yedinstvo Union In State Duma
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, said on 19 January that the union of the two leading factions in the State Duma--the Communists (KPRF) and the Kremlin-backed Unity (Yedinstvo)--is a political miscalculation by the forces that dominated the Duma's first session. Shaimiev was commenting at a press conference at the Kazan Kremlin on the joint voting of the KPRF and Unity deputies for Communist Gennadii Seleznev as Duma speaker. He said it's unlikely that the pro-government movement Unity--which he said has not yet formed an ideology--will remain in a union with the communists for very long. Tatar Radio cited Shaimiev as saying that "we must always look for consent in our society in any situation--but a union with Communists is out of the question. If movements form a union it means they have a common ideology." Shaimiev said "I don't think that there will be much like-minded and coordinated work" between the KPRF and Unity.

Tatarstan To Pay For Gas With Cash
The head of the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, Rem Vyakhirev, said that beginning in July Tatarstan will use cash to pay Gazprom for all consumed fuel, Tatar Television reported on 19 January. Vyakhirev attended a Tatarstan governmental meeting at which cooperation between the republic and Gazprom in 2000 was discussed. Last year, 40 percent of Tatarstan's payments to Gazprom were in cash--10 percent more than was scheduled. The completion of the gas installation program in Tatarstan in 1999 and other joint investment projects were also discussed at the meeting. Tatar President Shaimiev told the press following the meeting on 19 January that an agreement with Gazprom is expected to be signed next week after all the details are settled.

Tatneft Sums Up 1999 Results
Shafagat Takhautdinov, the general manager of Tatarstan's main oil company, Tatneft, said that the company's profit last year was over 12 billion rubles, Tatar-inform reported on 19 January. Takhautdinov told attendees at Tatneft's trade union conference in Elmet that the profit was due both to a rise in world oil prices and the company's policy aimed at optimizing the cost of oil extraction. Takhautdinov said that 1999 became the year of economic and financial restoration for Tatneft after the economic crisis of 1998. He said Tatneft's debt at the start of this year was $845 million, of which $500 million was owed to the foreign creditors. He added that in 1999 the company repaid $194 million of its debt and the sum of its loan arrears on ruble credits. Takhautdinov reported that this year, Tatneft's exports are not expected to rise compared to last year, and will be some 30-32 percent of the total amount of production.

Unemployment Dropping In Tatarstan
Unemployment in Tatarstan dropped last year by one-third, from about 45,000 to some 30,000 people, Tatar-inform reported on 19 January. An official from Tatarstan's Labor and Employment Committee, Klara Tazetdinova, told Tatar-inform that the positive trend was caused by the economic growth that took place in defense, machine building, and in the electronics industry in 1999. The professions in greatest demand are for drivers, construction workers, and sales representatives.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova