27 April 2000
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTANTatarstan's Farmers Ready For New Season
Tatarstan's deputy minister of agriculture, Saydash Israfilov, said at a press conference on 26 April that the republic's collective farms have a "positive perspective on this year's summer." Most of the farms are reportedly fully stocked with the necessary seeds, machinery, and fertilizers. About 620 million rubles were allotted from the republican budget for developing agricultural machinery stations in Tatarstan. Additionally, some 1,100 TT tractors, 100 "Don" combine harvesters, and 100 American Case combine harvesters were purchased by the state in 2000. According to Israfilov, actually more than 8,000-9,000 tractors and about 1,000 combine harvesters are needed.
In 1999-2000, the number of people employed in Tatarstan's agriculture sector was reduced by 80,000 and totalled some 200,000. Agricultural employees are owed a total of some 328 million rubles in wage arrears -- about 2,000 rubles per employee, and they make an average monthly salary of 592 rubles. The debts of collective farms in Tatarstan amount to some 8 billion rubles. Israfilov said farms are not the ones to blame for such debt statistics. He said that such a critical situation is explained by the unrealistically low prices for agricultural products that are set by the republican government as well as the high prices of special machinery, fuel, and fertilizers.
Refugee Fund Chairman Rejects Accusations
The chairman of Tatarstan's charity fund for assisting refugees, Yunus Kamalutdinov, announced on 27 April that the felony case against him is leading to a dead end as additional investigations are being made. An RFE/RL correspondent in Kazan reported that Kamalutdinov was accused of embezzling the fund's money. Kamalutdinov said that he was unjustly accused for using the fund's money to build an electricity supply line, roads, and water pipeline in the refugee village of Inesh, near Kazan.
Recently, Tatarstan's Migration Service urged refugees who had run out of appeals for low-interest housing loans that were rejected by the fund to sue the service and gain back the loans. Five refugees reportedly won suits against the Migration Service with the help of the service's own lawyers, who were provided free of charge.
LUKoil To Cooperate With Tatarstan
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev met with the president of the Russian company LUKoil, Vagit Alekperov, and the general-director of Tatarstan's Tatneft oil company, Shafagat Takhautdinov, Tatarinform agency reported on 26 April. The two sides reportedly discussed a "wide range of issues regarding cooperation between the two major oil companies."
Compiled by Iskender Nurmi