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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 7, 1999

7 April 1999
Georgian Ambassador In Kazan
The Georgian ambassador to Russia, Malkhaz Kakabadze, arrived in Kazan on 7 April. During a two-day visit Kakabadze is scheduled to meet with Tatarstan's First Deputy Prime Minister Ravil Muratov, Economics Minister Khafiz Salikhov, and officials from the alcohol company Tatspirtprom. The ambassador will be received by the general counsel of Turkey in Kazan, Akhmed Reza Demirer, and the deputy head of Tatarstan's Muslim Spiritual Board, Valiulla xazrat Yakupov. Kakabadze will also visit an ethnic Georgian community in Tatarstan, Tatar-inform reported.

KamAZ Production Increases Threefold
Tatarstan's KamAZ truck concern almost trebled production in the first quarter of 1999 compared to the same period last year, Tatar-inform reported. Last month, a thousand KamAZ trucks and more than 2,000 small cars were made. Every fifth truck was exported abroad and the total cost of production was 380 million rubles (more than $15 million). KamAZ's general director, Ivan Kostin, said this is the best result of the enterprise since June 1997. Kostin said that of KamAZ's ten plants, eight were profitable in the first quarter of this year. He said that this year KamAZ has orders for 14,000 trucks and some 29,000 Oka cars. Tatarstan's first deputy prime minister and the chairman of KamAZ's board of directors, Ravil Muratov, said in a press conference on 6 April that the prospects of cooperation with Swedish automaker Volvo are being considered. Muratov said that during his recent visit to southeastern Asia, the prospect of opening a KamAZ truck assembly plant in China was discussed.

Tatarstan Starts Producing Benzine
Tatarstan's petrochemical company Nizhnekamskneftekhim has begun making benzine, Tatar-inform reported. The company's director, Vladimir Busygin, said 450 tons of benzine a day are currently being produced, and a planned capacity of 600 tons a day will be reached later this month. Until now, Tatarstan, one of Russia's largest oil extracters, did not produce its own benzine. Only a low-grade fuel is currently being produced, but a wider variety is planned. The benzine is expected to fully satisfy the fuel needs of the republic's agricultural sector.

Busygin said a big oil-processing plant with a refining capacity of 7 million tons annually is being built by Nizhnekamskneftekhim and will be operating at the beginning of 2000.

Bashkortostan Has Oil Reserves For 25 Years
The measured stocks of oil so far discovered in Bashkortostan are large enough, at current rate of extraction, to last the republic for some 25 years, Bashinform reported. At the same time, the amount of oil reserves is falling relative to production. Last year, some 13 million tons of oil were extracted, but oil stocks increased by just 5.5 million tons.

Five Die In Road Accident
Five people died and several were injured in a multicar accident on 6 April on the Kazan-Chally highway, Tatar radio and television reported. Among those injured were a correspondent and cameraman from Russian Public Television (ORT), Eduard Khairullin and Vitalii Bezmenov, respectively. Both were hospitalized, and Bezmenov's condition is listed as critical.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova