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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 7, 2003

7 February 2003
Shaimiev Meets With Representative Of Tatar Community In China...
President Mintimer Shaimiev met with Ilyar Gabitov, a representative of the 6,000-strong Tatar community in China, on 6 February, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 7 February. Gabitov told Rakhimov that there are insufficient opportunities in China for Tatars to be taught in their native language, adding that many of them would like to return to Tatarstan. Shaimiev responded by pledging his support for expanding ties with Tatar communities outside the republic.

...And Meets With Indian Tea Manufacturer
Also on 6 February, Shaimiev with the president of India's Saraf Trading Corporation to discuss the possibility of establishing a joint tea-processing plant in Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 7 February. The two agreed to look for a location that is already outfitted for such a venture in order to reduce costs, adding that $1.5 million to $2 million in investments would be needed.

Minister Urges More Intense Patriotic Education
Tatar Education Minister Faris Kharisov said at an annual meeting of ministry officials on 6 February that schools "should intensify the patriotic upbringing of their students" in 2003, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 7 February. Kharisov also indicated that schools needed to use their funds more economically and could perhaps find private sponsors to help with expenses.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rearrangement In Industry, Foreign Relations, Trade Ministry
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov signed on 6 February a decree to reorganize the Industry, Foreign Relations, and Trade Ministry into two new bodies: the Industry Ministry and the Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Ministry, Bashinform and RosBalt reported the same day. Former ministry head Boris Kolbin was appointed foreign economic relations and trade minister, while Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Yefremov was named acting industry minister. The reorganized ministry was established last spring by a merger of the Foreign Relations and Trade Ministry and the State Industry Committee.

Presidential Envoy's Adviser Appointed Deputy Premier
Emir Nigemetjanov, who has served since September as chief adviser to Volga Federal District presidential envoy Sergei Kirienko in charge of relations with mass media and public organizations, was appointed Bashkir deputy prime minister on 6 February by presidential decree, Bashinform and RosBalt reported the same day. Nigemetjanov will reportedly be in charge of law-enforcement bodies, RosBalt said. Nigemetjanov, 52, a major general in the Federal Security Service (FSB), worked from 1974 in state security bodies, was deputy head of the FSB's Bashkir directorate until the mid-1990s, and until September 2002 headed the FSB's Sakhalin Oblast directorate.

Rakhimov's Former Rival Says He Will Run For Bashkir President
Former candidate for Bashkortostan's presidency and the republic's former representative to the Russian State Duma, Aleksandr Arinin, told a press conference in Moscow on 6 February that he will run in the Bashkir presidential elections this year.

Privatization Revenues On Rise
Bashkir Property Relations Minister Zofer Geptrekhimov told a ministry board meeting on 6 February that the republican budget received 1.5 billion rubles ($47 million) in 2002 from the activities of the city and raion committees managing municipal property, Bashinform reported on 6 February. The sum is 4.3 times the expected amount for 2002 and 3.6 times the previous year's sum. In 2002, the ministry auctioned off 720 million rubles ($23 million) of the state's controlling interests in eight companies, including Ufaneftegazstroi, the Sibai meat factory, the Shikhan beer and nonalcoholic-drink plant, Vtorresursy, Nefekhimavtomatika, Bashkhiminstrument, the Birsk sewing factory, and the Chishme sugar plant.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova