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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 24, 2000

24 April 2000
Shaimiev On Possible Negotiations With Maskhadov
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev told the press in Kazan on 21 April that Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov can�t be excluded from the process of finding a political settlement to the conflict in Chechnya. Shaimiev said, in reference to his recent conversation with Ingush President Ruslan Aushev that only 60 percent of the armed units in Chechnya are under Maskhadov�s control, the rest governed by field commanders Shamil Basayev and Khattab. Shaimiev said that in order to understand the situation it is necessary to know Maskhadov's opinion concerning ongoing events, and the possibility for him to give his opinion should be made available. He added that if the conflict isn�t settled politically in a way that would suit the Chechen side, the partisan war will continue. He said a combination of force and patience should be able to bring about an agreement, and not only with Chechnya. Asked whether he would agree to be a mediator in negotiations, Shaimiev said he is ready not only to be a mediator but a participant in negotiations. He added that federal authorities have the deciding voice on the issue. Shaimiev said the first step towards a settlement should be made by Moscow, and that if Maskhadov suggests negotiations he should be listened to.

Government Raises Energy Prices
The Tatar government announced at a formal session on 22 April that energy prices will increase starting on 1 May, Tatar Television reported. The average price for electricity will rise by 35 percent. The cost of gas will increase by 15 percent for residents, and by 21 percent for industrial consumers. A republican energy-saving program scheduled to run over five years and ways to finance it were also discussed at the session.

Tatarstan Developing Oil Chemistry Industry
An annual meeting of the shareholders of Tatarstan�s main petrochemical company, Nizhnekamskneftekhim, focused on the results of the company�s activities over the last year, the official daily "Respublica Tatarstan" reported on 22 April. The company reported 13 percent growth in production. In 1999, the cost of its joint stock was the 11th highest among Russia�s 200 leading companies, and it was ranked 24th in sales. Export of the company�s production reached 55 percent of total sales. A credit of $20 million was received from Sberbank last year that is to be repaid over a 4.5-year period. Nizhnekamskneftekhim signed a $100 million agreement with Tatarstan�s leading bank, Aq Bars, to finance prospective investment programs. The general manager of the company, Vladimir Busygin, cited the recent rise in gas prices as the main problem complicating further development of the company since it nearly reached profitability. Nikolai Lemayev and Busygin were re-elected chairman of the board and general manager, respectively.

Teenage Criminality On The Rise
Deputy Interior Minister Rafail Nugumanov said Tatarstan has the third highest rate in Russia of criminality among teenagers, trailing only the Chuvash Republic and Kamchatka Oblast, Tatar-inform reported on 21 April. Nugumanov made his comments at a meeting of the governmental Minors Affairs Committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Ilgiz Khairullin. It was reported that more than 4,000 crimes were committed by teenagers last year, and of them over 50 percent by groups. The lack of special schools and rehabilitation centers for juvenile delinquents was named as a problem that must be remedied.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova