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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 7, 2005


7 June 2005
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Shaimiev Approves Initiative Of Governors' Nomination By Parties...
President Mintimer Shaimiev told "Vedomosti" daily in a 6 June interview that although he is not currently planning to retire, he is already considering the candidacy of his possible successor.

"We already have some well-prepared guys, but it is extremely important to pick the right one," Shaimiev said.

He said that federal authorities will shape the future government of the republic "with my opinion taken into consideration."

"If the candidate is forced from the outside, this will just not pass through the [Tatar] parliament," he said. The parliament approves the president's candidacy.

Shaimiev also said he supports Russian President Vladimir Putin's initiative allowing political parties to nominate candidates for governor. Shaimiev said this would allow the creation of a "real multiparty political system."

...And Says Moscow Should Pay More Attention To Interests Of The Regions
Tatarstan has halted Latin Tatar script reform, Shaimiev said in the same interview. He said that switching from Cyrillic-based writing would isolate Tatars in Russia.

He said that the transition was inspired by Tatars living outside Russia and emphasized, "This issue is over politicized, obviously due to fears of the disintegration of the country and the difficult situation in Chechnya."

However, as a part of its well thought-out ethnic policies, the federal center should take into consideration the interests of peoples populating historical lands," Shaimiev said. "Russia is not a unitary state. Especially given that the absolute majority of ethnic republics and their peoples are behaving a lot more calmly than in some of the regions, where the ethnic chauvinism against individuals of Caucasus or other nationalities is unfortunately growing."

Shaimiev Meets Tunisian Ambassador
Delegations of businessmen from Tatarstan and Tunisia will exchange visits to study the potential for bilateral cooperation and expansion of existing contacts, according to an agreement reached by President Shaimiev and Tunisian Ambassador to Russia Mokhammed Bellaji on 6 June, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported.

According to the Tatar minister of trade and foreign economic cooperation, Khafiz Salikhov, the development of Russia and Tatarstan's active cooperation with Tunisia is currently stumbling due to a lack of information about potential cooperation.

New ZMA Owner Admits Oka Production Will Be Halted
Vadim Shvetsov, general director of the Severstal-Avto joint-stock company, told reporters in Kazan on 6 June that the production of Oka small-sized vehicles in Chally, Tatarstan may be halted due to its inability to meet the requirements of the modern automotive market in Russia, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day.

Severstal-Avto recently purchased 99.3 percent of the ZMA plant for $50 million. The ZMA plant produces the Oka vehicles. Tatarstan's government is planning to use its facilities to launch the production of the Ssang Young Rexton off-road vehicle jointly with South Korea's Ssang Yong Motor Company. Svetsov also said that his company is considering replacing Oka with a more modern model in the same class.

Tatarstan Considered Possible Place To Build Mercedes Cars
On a tour of Russia, representatives of Daimler-Chrysler's Moscow office visited the Alabuga automotive plant in Tatarstan on 6 June to see if the facilities are suitable for the production of Mercedes vehicles, Interfax reported. Gerhard Hilgert, head of Daimler-Chrysler's representation in Russia, told the news agency that the final decision on the location will be made in July.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Ufa Election Commission Chairwoman Calls Warning Leaflets A Provocation
Gulshat Arslanova, chairwoman of the Ufa city election commission, told reporters on 6 June that leaflets which appeared in the mailboxes of many Ufa residents warning of a 3,000 ruble ($107) fine for those who fail to vote at the upcoming elections for local self-government bodies have nothing to do with her commission, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Arslanova insisted the leaflets represented an effort to sabotage the elections. She confirmed that federal, republican, and municipal legislation contained no provision that would sanction those who abstain from voting. The leaflets were signed by the Election Commission and refer to the 26 June vote.

Bahkirskii Kapital Ready To Return Shares Of Bashkri Industries To State
Bashkirskii Kapital holding suggested to Bashkortostan's Ministry of State Property that they will return previously acquired shares in leading petrochemical companies to the state if the ministry withdraws its suit from the Arbitrage Court of the Republic, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported. The court reportedly suspended its proceedings after the company, controlled by President Rakhimov's son, Ural, declared its intention to return the shares. Prior to that, the court had ordered the return of the controlling shares package in Bashneft and the blocking shares package in Bashkirenergo from Bashkirskii Kapital back to the state on 14 May.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi
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