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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 20, 2004


20 April 2004
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Trade Unions Hold Rally In Front Of Kazan Administration Building
Some 2,000 people gathered in front of the Kazan city administration's office to protest against the resumption of higher housing rates and the city's failure to provide services to their homes, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. The rally was organized by Tatarstan's Trade Unions Federation, whose leaders said during the rally that the implementation of rent hikes wiped out salary raises received by state employees. The protest meeting was followed by closed-doors talks between the federation's leaders and Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov.

Russia's Ambassador To Uzbekistan Visits Kazan
President Mintimer Shaimiev met with Russia's Ambassador to Uzbekistan Farit Mukhametshin on 19 April for talks on Tatarstan's role in increasing economic cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan, as was recently discussed by the Russian and Uzbek presidents in Moscow, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. Mukhametshin said following the closed-door meeting in Kazan that various ways of facilitating such cooperation were discussed, including training Uzbek industry experts at Tatar companies in return for the sharing of industrial technologies on the part of the Uzbeks.

Mukhametshin referred to the general political situation in Uzbekistan as "stable, characterized by a warm and friendly attitude toward its Russian-speaking population."

Before being transferred to the Russian Embassy in Uzbekistan, Ambassador Mukhametshin served as Tatarstan's plenipotentiary representative to the Russian Federation from 1995-99.

Tatar presidential Foreign Affairs Department head Timur Akulov said that bilateral Tatar-Uzbek trade in 2003 totaled $21 million, most of it represented by deliveries of KamAZ heavy trucks to Uzbekistan. He mentioned that Taneft oil company has expressed a special interest in offering its services for oil and gas exploration in Uzbekistan.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Supreme Court Confirms Election Of Opposition Leader As Parliament Deputy
The Bashkir Supreme Court has ordered the republic's Central Election Commission (USK) to register Anatolii Dubovskii, the opposition Rus movement leader, as a State Assembly deputy, RosBalt reported on 19 April. In the March 2003 parliamentary elections, Dubovskii received 32 percent of vote compared to 17 percent for his closest rival, but a local election commission annulled the results, saying that several polling stations in the district had power failures for a short time during the vote.

Dubovskii appealed the decision in a raion court and in the Bashkir Supreme Court. On 9 June, the Supreme Court ordered the USK to register Dubovskii as a deputy but USK failed to do so. The 19 April ruling said that delaying Dubovskii's registration as a deputy is illegal. USK representatives said they will appeal the verdict.

U.S. Diplomats Visit Ufa
U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Russia John Baerli said on 19 April in Ufa that the United States is revising its relations with the Islamic world and extending contacts with residents of Islamic states, including former Soviet republics, and at the same time cut funding for training Russians in the United States, "Kommersant" reported on 20 April. Baerli also said he has never seen such a good period in relations between the United States and Russia over the last 35 years. Those relations have a "very firm basis" and the two countries' leaders "found common language," Baerli said.

The delegation also included U.S. Yekaterinburg consul general Scott Roland and Islamic studies professor Omar Halidi, and met with Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov, Ufa Mayor Pavel Kachkaev, and Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Minister Boris Kolbin. Baerli said U.S. investors are interested in cooperating with Russian regions marked by economic growth, political and economic stability, and interethnic harmony like Bashkortostan. Bilateral trade between Bashkortostan and the United States dropped from its maximum of $112 million in 2000 to $34 million last year.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova
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