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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 26, 1999

26 January 1999
Tatneft Shaves A Little Off Its Debt
Deputy Prime Minister Rinat Gubaydullin, who also serves as the chairman of board for Tatneft, said on 25 January that the company has reduced its total debt from $1 billion to $900 million. Gubaydullin made the statement before leaving for London with Tatneft's chief engineer, Shafagat Takhautdinov, for talks on restructuring the company's debts to foreign creditors. Tatneft officials say a draft agreement on debt restructuring is being forged and expected to be signed in the first half of 1999. On the same day, Tatneft General Director Rinat Galeyev said that 75 percent of the company's 1999 profits will be used to service its loans.

Top Tatar Officials In Moscow
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and State Council Chairman Farit Mukhametshin will attend a Russian Federation Council meeting in Moscow on 26 January. Though the president of Bashkortostan, Murtaza Rakhimov, will be there as well, it is not known if he will meet with Shaimiev to discuss the controversial language law passed by the parliament in Bashkortostan (see "Tatar-Bashkir Report," 22 January 1999).

Tatarstan's Cabinet Approves Draft Law On Real Estate
Tatarstan's Cabinet of Ministers approved a draft law on real estate on 25 January that was submitted by the State Property Committee. The republican government intends to pass the bill in the first half of 1999 without waiting for similar legislation to be adopted by the Russian State Duma. Currently there are 58 real estate companies and 15 real estate agents operating in Tatarstan. Compared with 1994, in 1998 the demand for real estate agent services increased nearly threefold (some 1800 contracts on real estate in 1994 and 5112 in 1998). Additionally, some 70 percent of all housing in Tatarstan has been privatized.

Shaimiev On Tatarstan's 'Spiritual Revival'
In an interview with Moscow's "Muzulmane" (Muslims) magazine, President Shaimiev said "religion cannot be separated from society and I am responsible for the situation in our society just as I am for any other sphere." He added that "responsibility for the state of society must be equally shared by the government and the clergy. We are destined to cooperate constructively. ... We should preserve what we have already achieved and create the necessary basis for a spiritual revival."

Kazan Airport To Get New Air Traffic Control System
In March the French-based Thomson Company is to install an automated air traffic control system at Kazan's international airport. The system will be able to navigate air traffic in a 300-kilometer radius from the airport. Some 995 million rubles worth of reconstruction at the Kazan airport will include an upgrading of its runways and buildings.

Compiled by I.Nurmi