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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 31, 2000

31 March 2000
Presidential Advisor On Tatar-Russian Relations
Rafail Khakimov, the state adviser to Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, said that there are no reasons for worrying about the future of the power-sharing treaty between Russia and Tatarstan, Tatar-inform reported on 29 March. Khakimov said in an interview with the news agency that whatever dissatisfaction with us the federal center had and vice versa, everything can be done with mutual consent. He said "we got used to negotiations and know how to persuade." He said relations with Yeltsin were not completely clear in 1991-1993 and during the first Chechen war, though later on Yeltsin saw that Tatarstan was his strong point. Khakimov said Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin is ready for negotiations, and that this is a good sign. Khakimov considers maintaining the volume of finances kept in the republic to be the main issue in interbudget relations. He said that any agreements can be tried and then may be changed if they prove unsuccessful. He said in 1993, then Tatar Prime Minister Mukhammad Sabirov signed an agreement with then Russian Premier Yegor Gaidar, and that no one remember it because many of its paragraphs became laws.

Khakimov said the constitutions [of Russia and Tatarstan] do contradict each other at times, and sometimes quite severely, and they need to be brought into harmony. But the process, he said, should see progress from both sides, as Tatarstan, like several other territorial entities, take Russia into consideration on some legislative issues. Khakimov said the republic is not likely to cede its portion of the finances though such proposals on improving interbudget relations were made during Putin's recent visit. He said "if Vladimir Vladimirovich manages to take his own sovereignty, he will not need Tatarstan's."

Tatneft Sets Up Gas Station Network
Tatarstan's leading oil company, Tatneft, opened 22 gas stations in the first three months of the year, the daily "Vremya i dengi" reported on 30 March. Overall, the company planned to construct and buy 100 gas stations in Tatarstan and other Russian regions this year. In 1999, bought 57 gas stations, four bases that service aircraft, and shares of several companies supplying oil products. Previously, Tatneft was the only Russian oil company that didn't have its own network for selling oil products.

Government Wants To Save Energy
The usage of energy is to be reduced by 10-14 percent over the next five years according to the republican program "Saving energy in Tatarstan," being developed by the Economics and Industry Ministry, Tatar-inform reported on 30 March. The bulk of the results of the saving progam--74.2 percent--are expected to take place in industry, while in agriculture it is forecast that some 2.5 percent will be saved, with municipalities saving about 9.3 percent of the total. The authors of the program say that more than 1 billion rubles will be needed for it to be realized. Thirty-five percent of that will be allocated into the production of energy-saving devices and materials, 21 percent will be spent on the reduction of gas consumption, and 20 percent on the more effective use of energy and water by industrial enterprises.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova