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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 28, 2000

28 April 2000
Population In Tatarstan Decreases; Though Less Than Russian Average
Tatarstan's Statistics Committee reported on 27 April that mortality exceeded the birthrate by 1.3 times in the republic last year. Officials from the committee told Tatar-inform that the population decreased in Tatarstan by some 11,500 persons in 1999. In the Russian Federation, mortality is two times higher than the birthrate, while in some regions, the mortality rate is reportedly three to four times higher than the birthrate.

Tatneft Repays Debts
Tatarstan's leading oil company, Tatneft, reported on 27 April that some 240 million rubles will be repaid as dividends to the company's shareholders. Officials from the company told the AK&M news agency that an annual meeting of shareholders scheduled for 23 June will discuss the issue. The company reported that its 76.5 million ruble debt to the federal budget that it owed at the end of 1998 not only was totally repaid last year but that it even paid 109 million rubles extra on the debt. In 1999, more than $194 million worth of foreign credits were also repaid.

Kazan Is Preparing Finnish Business Forum
A Finnish delegation visiting Kazan met officials from Tatarstan on 27 April to discuss prospects for cooperation, Tatar-inform reported. The adviser to the Finnish Embassy in Russia, Anniki Khalko, and the head of the project Finbusiness-2000, Yorma Yokonen, arrived in Kazan to prepare for the Finnish Business Forum to be held next month. During meetings with Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and the head of the Foreign Connections Department, Timur Akulov, the visitors expressed special interest in studying possibilities for the creation of joint ventures in the off-shore zone Alabuga. Khalko said there is great interest in the forthcoming forum on the side of Finnish companies, and some 80 Finnish firms are going to participate in the project. She said Finnish businessmen want to develop their business in the Russian market both in trade and through investments. Akulov pointed out that Tatarstan would like to familiarize itself with Finnish technology in wooden house construction. It was decided that a working group would be organized during the visit to look into the conditions and terms that currently exist for developing small and medium-sized businesses at the off-shore zone in Alabuga.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova