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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 23, 2003

23 June 2003
Tatarstan, Sverdlovsk Oblast To Boost Cooperation
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and visiting Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel signed a memorandum on 20 June under which trade turnover between the two regions will double, Tatar media reported the same day. In 2002, bilateral trade totaled 3 billion rubles ($99 million). Within the framework of the two-day visit of the Sverdlovsk Oblast delegation, cooperation agreements were signed between Tatneft and the Pipe Metallurgy Company and between the Tatar Transport and Road Management Ministry and the Sverdlovsk Oblast Industry Ministry. Tatar Transport and Road Management Minister Vladimir Shvetsov told "Respublika Tatarstan" on 21 June that his ministry plans to purchase 50 million rubles worth of trams from Uralmash in 2003. The previous year, Tatarstan bought from Uralmash 10 trams for 71 million rubles.

Discussing interregional cooperation with Shaimiev, Rossel suggested that KamAZ, NefAZ, and Uraltransgaz arrange the joint production of a bus with a gas-run engine. The sides agreed to develop a scheme of replacing NefAZ buses with Uralmash trams. Rossel said KamAZ delivered 166 million rubles worth of trucks to the oblast in 2002 and this year the oblast plans to increase their purchases of KamAZ vehicles by 30 percent. Shaimiev proposed that Sverdlovsk Oblast lease Tatarstan-made buses, trucks, and Tu-214 jets. Rossel said that the proposal concerning Tu-214s is of "extreme interest" for Ural Airlines, Russia's fourth-largest airliner. The sides also agreed to resume direct flights between Kazan and Yekaterinburg. Shaimiev said he has no doubt that Rossel will win the September gubernatorial elections in Sverdlovsk Oblast.

Egyptian Ambassador In Kazan
Meeting with President Shaimiev in Kazan on 20 June, Egyptian Ambassador to Russia Rauf Saad said his first visit to Tatarstan is the "opening of a new era in the development of Tatar-Egyptian relations," Tatar-inform reported the same day. As a result of negotiations, the two officials agreed that a business council will be established in Kazan and a council of governors in Egypt to resolve issues of bilateral cooperation between small businesses and the possibility of beginning direct flights between Kazan and Egyptian cities will be considered. Saad forwarded to Shaimiev an invitation from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to visit Egypt. Saad said he found an example of the peaceful coexistence of different religions and nationalities in Tatarstan which could serve as a model of tolerance for countries experiencing interethnic and interfaith discord.

Tatarstan Signs Cooperation Protocol With Gazprom
A protocol on cooperation between Gazprom and Tatarstan was signed on 20 June in Kazan, Tatar-inform and reported. A delegation from the Russian gas monopoly met the same day with Tatar officials at the Kazan Motor Plant. Tatar Deputy Economy and Industry Minister Ferit Tuqtarov told the meeting that a Tatar government commission on the use of gas as a motor fuel has led to the development of a corresponding draft law on use of natural gas as a motor fuel, which is to be discussed by the State Council later this month. KamAZ is already developing engines using natural gas, Tuqtarov added.

Under the cooperation program between the gas monopoly and the republic, Gazprom's Orenburg Gas Plant will supply gas to Kazanorgsintez, which launched a project to produce new kinds of polythene. Gazprom Deputy Board Chairman Aleksandr Ananenkov said Gazprom will increase its orders to Tatar companies. He also said that Tatarstan -- where residential areas have been connected to natural gas pipelines -- could develop a special program to re-equip vehicles to use natural gas. It was also agreed that deliveries of gas pumping and distributing equipment to Gazprom by the Kazan Motor Plant will increase by some 50 percent in the next three years.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Legislature Protests Attacks In Federal Media Against Bashkir Interior Ministry Leadership...
The Bashkir State Assembly appealed on 20 June to Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov to defend the professional reputation, honor, and dignity of the leadership of the Bashkir Interior Ministry, Bashinform reported the same day. Deputies said Bashkortostan's residents know Bashkir Interior Minister Rafael Divaev and his deputies "as exclusively honest and decent people and workers," so negative information about the Bashkir ministry leadership in some national media causes bewilderment. Those publications do not report any true facts, the deputies claimed. They said ungrounded accusations against the Bashkir Interior Ministry leadership in the media are an attempt to discredit them and disrupt the ministry's work and to upset Bashkortostan's public political stability. False articles cause concern among the republic's residents and destructively influence stable public and interethnic relations in Bashkortostan, the deputies said. They demanded that Gryzlov give an objective evaluation to those publications and take measures to defend the professional reputation of the local branch of his "ministry's best branches."

...Passes Amendments To Electoral Code In First Reading
The Bashkir State Assembly passed on 20 June draft amendments to the Bashkir Electoral Code in the first reading, Bashinform reported the same day. Bashkir Central Electoral Commission Chairman Baryi Kinjegulov, who delivered a report on the issue at the parliament session, said the draft is intended to harmonize local electoral legislation with the federal law on political parties that comes into force on 14 July. According to the draft, half of State Assembly deputies will be elected from parties that receive more than 5 percent of the vote, while the other half will be elected in single-mandate electoral districts.

Turks Deported From Bashkortostan For Illegal Activities
Ten Turkish citizens were deported from Bashkortostan for alleged illegal religious and nationalistic activities, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 June, citing the Federal Security Service Bashkir Directorate's press service. The men were employees of the Turkish Serhat company, which in 1992 established in Bashkortostan under an agreement with the Bashkir Education Ministry a network of Bashkir-Turkish lyceums and has sponsored subversive activity against Russia for a decade, according to the report. The Turks were also members of the religious-nationalist movement Nurjular linked to the terrorist nationalist Gray Wolves organization. The Education Ministry annulled the cooperation agreement with Serhat and decided to take control of the lyceums itself. Some 1,000 students studied at the Bashkir-Turkish lyceums.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova