How Koreans forecasted win over Germany, while Osinovo residents fought against WIP

7 Days: from the best 2018 WC matches to the annual meeting of TAIF Group of Companies shareholders

The football WC still remains one of the major topics of the last week. TNV correspondents talked with fans, found out what souvenirs they took home from Kazan and how much hotel prices had risen. The topic of MSW has blazed up again: the fire had to be put out in landfills in two districts of Tatarstan at once. It was also hot in public hearings dedicated to the construction of the WIP. At the end of the week, the Tatarstan president took part in the annual meeting of shareholders of the leading holding in the republic – TAIF Group of Companies. 7 Days annual informative and analytic programme on TNV channel was about this and not only. Realnoe Vremya tells the details.

Last week's grandiose matches

7 Day correspondents visited the FIFA WC Fan Festival, talked with foreign fans and found out how legendary player of the national team of Argentina Lionel Messi was welcomed in Kazan. People in T-shirts with the word 'Messi' filled Kazan before the match between Argentina and France. Kazan prepared its own gift for Messi next to the hotel Ramada where the legendary football player stayed – his portrait. The leader of the national team of Argentina could evaluate the graffiti by looking out of the window of his room. Fans had been waiting near the hotel for Messi's arrival all night and day.

A fan from Argentina who came to the hotel to see the football legend – Lionel Messi –said to a TNV correspondent: ''I want to take a photo with him and ask him to sign an autograph right on my T-shirt with the name 'Messi','' told the Argentinean.

Fans organised a real battle on Universitetskaya Street. Even if there weren't so many representatives of France, friendship won. A fan from Germany made a forecast: ''What will the score be? France will have 2, Argentina – 0. Mbappé and Griezmann will score the goals.''

Argentineans created a surprising mood near Kazan Arena stadium too. They were heard with a radius of several kilometres. Ezequiel said he lost his voice when he was supporting his team. It would be possible to only clap and wave the flag at Kazan Arena, he added. Diego Maradona also arrived in Kazan to support the team. However, the fans' support didn't help – France won 4-3.

On Wednesday in Kazan, fans became witnesses of another sensation at the World Cup – the game between Germany and South Korea. Germany's fans didn't doubt the victory of their squad. They didn't organise any carnival like the Argentineans. The Germans mainly had a rest in beer pubs. Jan from Germany highly estimated Russian food and told it wasn't his first day in Russia. ''We've been in Moscow, Sochi, and now we're in Kazan. We like your city,'' the German fan claimed.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder with his fiancée Kim So-yeon visited the match of Germany with South Korea. Photo: Maksim Platonov

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder with his fiancée Kim So-yeon visited the match of Germany with South Korea. It was clear which team she support in the photo Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov posted on Instagram. There haven't come so many fans from South Korea to Kazan. They are the most modest fans among all those who visited the capital of Tatarstan. Korean Heng Zen Lee forecasted the result of the match: ''The national team of Germany is stronger than the national team of Korea. But I hope fortune will smile, and South Korea will win 2-0.'' The fan's words were prophetic. The national team of Germany didn't score any goal and lost to the national team of South Korea. Germany hasn't progressed from the group for the first time in history.

This week Tourstat analytic agency made up a rating of attendance of host cities during the group stage. Kazan ranks sixth after Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Rostov-on-Don and Nizhny Novgorod. The Tatarstan Administration of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare checked prices in hotels and hostels during the cup. ''We've visited a totality of more than 5,000 facilities, 59 cases of increased prices have been detected. The guilty people have been charged,'' claimed Oksana Semushina, head specialist and expert in the Tatarstan Administration of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare.

Specialists of the service also detected 42 cases of increased prices for rented accommodation. The materials have been sent to the tax service. Apart from the protection of public order, force structures also take prevention measures, for instance, catch ticket resellers. ''Our citizen born in 1990 has been arrested for illegal sale of admission tickets. He has been imposed administrative punishment,'' said Aleksandr Mischikhin, deputy head of the Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in Kazan and police chief.

Yulia Bashirova, director of the Assembly of Tourist Volunteers of the Republic of Tatarstan, told what questions fans asked the volunteers most. The most unusual question is where to buy pastry without onion, while the most popular is how to get to Bauman Street. 17,000 people have visited the info tents during the three weeks of the WC. The same number of maps and tourist guides have been handed out. ''The most interesting moment in one of the tents on Baumana Street was when one of the Colombians presented our volunteer a ticket to a match. It's such pleasant moments,'' told Yulia Bashirova.

A proposal has been made on Wednesday for the first time in history of the WC at Kazan Arena. A fan from South Korea presented his beloved a ring.'s editorial published interesting research last week – a rating of the most affectionate fans. The flirtiest fan is from Poland (37%). Brazilians are second (36), Argentineans are third (34). Japanese (14%) and South Korean fans (10) have been called the least flirty.

Last week, all Kazan discussed a video in which a slightly drunk girl tried to get acquainted with a fan from Colombia, but it seems he didn't like her. But this didn't stop her, she forcedly took the fan out of the bus. ''I will just explain you from a perspective of medicine: we're talking about either nymphomaniacs or usual hooligans because no simple Russian woman will ever allow such an attitude of foreign guests. It's like if your husband invites his friends, you will forget your chores as a housewife and start to incite the guests to have a sex,'' sexologist Lyubov Mumladze commented on the girl's actions.

60% of fan festival visitors are men from 24 to 50 years, 40% are women. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

Here is curious information from the fan festival. It's been analysed here who comes to the fan festival more often. It turned out it's 60% of men from 24 to 50 years, 40% are women. According to Daria Sannikova, director of the Tourism Development Committee of Kazan, Colombians beat records for the duration of stay in Kazan. Australians are second, Iranians are third. Russian matryoshka is the most purchasable souvenir, FIFA goods are on the second place. National hats, dolls and leather goods are first among national souvenirs. ''As for excursions, two-storey bus excursions are the most popular, there are even queues there. More than a hundred of fans have ridden cycle rickshaws. The service turned out to be quite popular. People like to take photos in national costumes,'' Daria Sannikova told.

The big football holiday goes on. Quarterfinal matches will take place in Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara and Sochi this week.

Fire on MSW sites in Tatarstan

A fire broke out late last week on the municipal solid waste site next to Oryol village in Laishevo District. Emergency service employees came on time. The fire was put out with water by helicopter, while KAMAZ trucks covered the fire sources with sand. The fire has being stopped for several days. It became possible to put it out completely only late last week. According to ecologists, landfill fires are a usual thing.

The fire on the municipal solid waste site in Laishevo District has being stopped for several days. Photo: State Administration of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations in the Republic of Tatarstan

The first message about the fire on the MSW site came on Saturday. The fire affected an area of about 150 square metres. Only waste has burnt. Household buildings and people haven't been affected. However, the pungent smoke had the time to reach the closest settlement – Oryol settlement.

Over 30 special vehicles worked on the spot. A helicopter threw about 3 cubic metres of water every 10 minutes. The waste on the site is diverse, and its location resembles more a layered pie. It considerably complicated the fight against the fire because they had to bring lots of soil to isolate it from oxygen.

''There are big empty spaces, huge materials, remains of industrial wood, small waste. It complicates the fight with water and leaves us only the only way – to cover with soil,'' said Konstantin Chanyshev, head of the Administration of Fire-Fighting Organisation and Emergency and Rescue Works of the State Administration of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations in the Republic of Tatarstan.

Ecologists visited the place several times, took samples of the air and dispelled the fear of the locals about the impact of the fire on the environment. According to the results of the analyses, the maximum allowable concentration has been exceeded. The waste combustion lasted for several days. It seemed the problem was coming to an end when a fire on the MSW site broke out, but in Leninogorsk District.

''The phone received a signal the MSW site in Leninogorsk District was burning at 6.30. Then we held an emergency meeting of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, warned enterprises, took measures to fight against the fire,'' reported Rinat Yalakov, head of the Executive Committee of Leninogorsk.

The fire spread to three square kilometres. There were several sources. Two fire-fighting departments, a chemical station and emergency teams were used to fight against the fire. It became possible to decrease the flame, the source was covered with soil. ''The site is a hazardous location. It's necessary to limit the use of hazardous substances on the site. There must be no combustible waste when cars enter. In the summertime when the temperature is higher than 30 degrees, wastes emit biogases when decomposing, and they easily catch fire,'' Almaz Ismagilov, deputy head of the Central Administration of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Tatarstan, told to the TNV correspondents.

Svetlana Selivanovskaya, director of the Institute of Ecology and Nature Management of Kazan Federal University, calls such fire sources a natural process that can happen at any time because when organic substances, which are inside the site or landfill, decompose, they emit methane. Methane is a combustible and explosive gas. ''As not sorted waste goes to the site – it's plastic, polyethylene and other organic products, they all burn, and combustion products are emitted into the atmosphere, without any treatment. They are very dangerous for people,'' added Svetlana Selivanovskaya. The republic has more than 40 MSW sites. A landfill needs to be regularly covered with soil to avoid a fire there.

Svetlana Selivanovskaya calls such fire sources a natural process that can happen at any time. Photo:

Battles in Osinovo culture house

As a continuation of the topic of disposal of urban waste, public hearings dedicated to the presupposed construction of the waste incineration plant took place in Osinovo settlement last week. Two opposite camps – construction owners and residents of neighbouring settlements – have their own version of what happened in Osinovo. The residents suppose the hearings didn't take place. It's true on paper because the people there didn't want to hear anything about either the project documentation of the plant construction or its impact on the environment. The meeting turned into a circus, and nothing was solved.

But the commission consisting of representatives of the ministry of construction, contractors, clients and experts in ecology declared the hearing took place. The activists who held a small bloodless revolution in Osinovo's House of Culture and created their temporary government in a hurry claimed it's on the contrary.

The majority of people couldn't get to the hearings because the House of Culture was designed for 350 people only. The protesters stepped onto the stage and claimed they didn't like the composition of the chairing commission consisting of representatives of ministries and departments. They offered their own composition of the commission.

The crowd started to shout 'Shame' and 'Against' as time went by and ask for a microphone. The commission members read reports amid the crowd's noise and anger.

The cordon was broken 40 minutes after the hearings began, and the other listeners entered the hall. By this time, the commission members had already finished reading the reports. Calculations of the distribution of polluting substances were made public in the public hearings. The sanitary zone around the plant is 1 kilometre. The maximum allowable concentration (MAC) will be 0,57-0,63, that's to say, much less than the maximum allowable concentration. This concentration will fall to 0,4 MAC near Osinovo settlement. These forecasted indicators aren't at the height of the 100-metre pipe but just 2 metres.

The residents suppose the hearings didn't take place. Photo: Yulia Kosolapkina

Viktor Belonogov, deputy director on science at Neftstroyproyect PLC told to the TNV correspondent that nitrogen dioxide would be the most dangerous substance of the MIP. ''This substance is present in emissions of any thermal energy facilities, any enterprises, in emissions of any car. Considering the modern background, its concentration on the border of the calculated approximate sanitary protection zone will total a maximum of 0,64 MAC, that's to say, it's will be by a third less than the installed norms,'' explained Viktor Belonogov.

However, the listeners don't believe these indicators. In Osinovo, they also stepped on the stage in the House of Culture. At this moment, the commission member managed to have the microphone for a short time and declare the reports were read, which means the hearings took place. The protesters who disagreed with it made up their own commission in a hurry, which recognised the hearings didn't take place. If the hearings didn't take place, the clients and contractors of the project couldn't take further measures to construct the MIP. However, the commission thinks the hearing took place. Elena Yamschikova, head of the Department of Ecology and Labour Protection of AGK-1 PLC, who was in the commission, claimed: ''The hearings are declared closed, and they took place, as all the necessary information was delivered. There is an impression that somebody tried to undermine them. However, they are recognised they took place.''

Rustam Minnikhanov: ''TAIF Group of Companies is one of our leading companies''

Last week, TAIF Group of Companies drew conclusions of its activity in 2017 at the annual meeting of shareholders with Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov. The year was uneasy, first of all, from a perspective of economic conditions the group's enterprises had to work in. It's difficult to call these conditions for the petrochemical and energy sectors, which are the core for TAIF, favourable. So this time, giving a report about the result of the group of companies' activity in 2017, Director General of TAIF PJSC Albert Shigabutdinov noted the results of work of leading petrochemical enterprises – Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and Kazanorgsintez PJSC and TGC-16 PJSC energy company – were a record during their work. TAIF Group's consolidated revenue was 593,4bn rubles. The Group of Companies continued the update of operating plants and the construction of new production capacities by spending 73,9bn rubles for these purposes.

However, 2018 can become much more complicated for TAIF PJSC for several reasons. So-called tax manoeuvres of the federal government obviously don't favour the gradual development of Russian petrochemistry and oil refining, and it's an alarming prospect for not only for TAIF but also all Tatarstan.

Last week, TAIF Group of Companies drew conclusions of its activity in 2017. Photo: Maksim Platonov

The tax manoeuvre didn't bring expected advantages to the government of Russia, there were only disadvantages: fuel price rise is only one of the side effects. The bankruptcy of the companies who deal with filling stations can be a result, even big oil refineries with multi-billion turnover are hit.

Firstly, the logic of the big tax manoeuvre was to reduce oil export duties and, on the contrary, adequately raise the tax on mineral extraction. It was supposed it would become a stimulus to update their oil refineries for Russian oil companies considering that oil product excises would gradually reduce. In the end, everything was on the contrary. As a result of such a manoeuvre, oil prices in the domestic market suddenly increased, which became a painful blow for the whole oil refining sector in Russia.

And if oil companies could partly compensate these not well thought-out decisions by a rise in oil export, the state of affairs would be critical for the oil refineries working on the feedstock they purchase. Oil refineries not only will buy oil for a higher price, but also this feedstock has a lower quality.

There is other news too: the government of Russia adopted a bill in the State Duma that presupposes the introduction of duties on light oil products at 90% from 1 August.

The government of Russia knows about the unpleasant forecasts and offers to smooth price fluctuations with oil excise refund. Its essence is that a part of the paid excise on oil products is given to oil workers back when oil prices grow higher than a certain level. The idea seems to be understandable, but TAIF pays attention to another aspect of the problem: the so-called refundable or reverse oil excise doesn't consider oil quality. This is why TAIF Group of Companies offered to introduce a new coefficient for oil excise refund that considers its low quality in comparison with Urals. And the second offer is to introduce a bill about customs tariff on export duty only on motor fuel at 90%.

''Refining oil of different quality for the same price by Russian oil refineries is the main obstacle to create equal competitive market conditions to develop oil refining,'' claimed TAIF PJSC Director General Albert Shigabutdinov at the annual meeting. Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, in turn, noted it was necessary to go ahead. ''We need to seriously work with the material we have. I'm ready to join, we will instruct the minister of economy, minister of finance, minister of industry. We will work,'' added Rustam Minnikhanov.

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, in turn, noted it was necessary to go ahead. Photo: Maksim Platonov

Taking this reality into account, the task for TAIF group is not only to conserve the current positions in the market but also considerably augment production volumes, increase its efficiency. Enterprises of TAIF Group account for 20% of the total volume of industrial production in the republic, noted Rustam Minnikhanov. TAIF plans to develop in accordance with the Development Strategy 2030, which presupposes investments at the level of 2 trillion rubles. The strategy clearly defines areas and prospects of development of TAIF-NK. This area will increase the production volume of high margin light oil products. Together with the launch of the Heavy Residue Deep Conversion Complex, TAIF-NK will secure the status of one of the leaders in Russian oil refinery.

Petrochemistry focuses on ambitious projects of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and Kazanorgsintez PJSC. Today they account for 70% of all rubbers, 42% of plastics and the same amount of ethylene produced in Russia. The enterprises of TAIF Group grow faster than their Russian rivals in main positions. The new olefin complex with a capacity of the first stage of 600,000 tonnes of ethylene a year, which is under construction, will be a base for growth for Nizhnekamskneftekhim. An agreement on the financing of this big project recently signed at the Petersburg International Economic Forum marks a new stage in the company's history.

''Speaking about the Petersburg forum, there haven't been other big events of this kind apart from the big loan, which was signed with Deutsche Bank for the ethylene project. And the signing took place amid sanctions of the EU against Russia,'' noted Rustam Minnikhanov at the annual meeting of TAIF Group of Companies. The president of Tatarstan also mentioned TAIF's plans for the construction of a gas refinery to provide the new ethylene plants of Kazanorgsintez PJSC with the feedstock.

Every project in TAIF Group can be called highly profitably and promising. It's already a rule, a norm for the company whose goal is constant growth of its own capitalisation. ''Big projects are fulfilled now, Mr Minnikhanov has told you about them. They are to significantly increase the company's capitalisation. The profit is expected to be more than 25-30%. We don't fight for any project with a profit less than this sum,'' claimed Albert Shigabutdinov at the press conference.

Big fulfilled projects allow TAIF Group to send huge money to social programmes, charity and support of sport. In general, last year, TAIF expended about 167 billion rubles for these purposes, to develop the country. Today TAIF Group of Companies includes 47 different enterprises, 41,000 employees work there. They receive a decent salary whose average size in the whole group was 48,000 rubles in 2017.

''Today TAIF Group of Companies is one of our leading companies. I separately thank you for the support you render by providing our countryside with fuel, for the projects fulfilled on our historical cultural sites, social mortgage programme and our domestic housing programme for your workers and a decent salary,'' Rustam Minnikhanov thanked the officials of TAIF Group of Companies for the work.

At the session of the new Board of Directors after the meeting of the shareholders, First Deputy Director General of TAIF PJSC Rustem Sulteyev was re-elected as chairman of the Board of Directors and authority of Director General of TAIF PJSC Albert Shigabutdinov were confirmed at Rustam Minnikhanov's suggestion.

By Margarita Tsvetkova