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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 12, 2003


12 August 2003
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Tatar Government Delegation Visits Uzbekistan
A Tatar delegation headed by Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov is to leave for Uzbekistan on 12 August, intertat.ru reported the previous day, citing the Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Ministry press service. The aim of the two-day visit is to develop and strengthen trade and economic relations between Tatarstan and Uzbekistan. The delegation will include Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Vladimir Shvetsov, Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khefiz Salikhov, the heads of KamAZ, Nizhnekamskshina, Kazan Optical Mechanical Plant, Kazanorgsintez petrochemical plant, and other companies. The program of the visit includes negotiations with Uzbek Prime Minister Utkir Sultanov, Deputy Prime Minister and Uzavtodor road-construction head Rustam Yunusov, Deputy Prime Minister and Uzbek Foreign Economic Relations Agency General Director Elyor Ganiev, and Tashkent Mayor Rustam Shoabdrakhmanov. The bilateral trade turnover between Tatarstan and Uzbekistan increased in 2002 by 95 percent to $26.1 million.

Conference Calls For Organization Of Great Volga River
The Tehran declaration on cooperation of cities of the Great Volga Route signed in the Iranian capital on 9 August (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 11 August 2003) calls for the establishment of an Organization of the Great Volga River. According to the declaration, the new organization could operate within the framework of existing bodies like the International North-South Transport Corridor or become an independent organization. Organization members could include the cities of Kazan, Bolgar, Samara, Stockholm, Saratov, Volgograd, Astrakhan, Baku, Makhachkala, Derbent, Enzeli, Tehran, Turkmenbashi, Aktau, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Helsinki, Riga, and Oslo. The headquarters will be located in Kazan until a final decision is made.

New Tatar Bills Become Law
President Mintimer Shaimiev signed into law a bill on referenda and amendments to the law on the post of ombudsman on 9 August, Tatar media reported. The law on referenda was harmonized with federal electoral legislation. The amendments to the Tatar ombudsman law establish the offices ability to set up public offices in the republic and appoint public assistants.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Russian Arms Agency To Help Bashkir Companies
The Russian Usual arms agency will help Bashkortostan's defense industry, according to a protocol signed on 9 August by Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov and agency acting General Director Igor Avseenko, Bashinform reported on 11 August. At their meeting in Ufa, the two discussed measures for support for the republic's Salavat Optical Mechanical Plant, Salavatgidromash, and Ishimbaitransmash Vityaz. After a visit to those companies, experts from the agency concluded that their financial state is not satisfactory but at the same time is not hopeless. Avseenko recommended that exterior management be introduced at Salavat Optical Mechanical Plant. He also said that the agency will provide the Salavatgidromash tractor and agricultural-machine producer with additional orders and will take part in a search for customers for Ishimbaitransmash Vityaz, which manufactures vehicles for the Emergency Situations Ministry.

Police Break Up Picket By Yabloko Without Yavlinskii Movement
Activists of the Yabloko without Yavlinskii movement staged on 11 August five small demonstrations of 3-4 members in Ufa demanding that Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii be dismissed, RosBalt reported on 11 August. Police broke up one near the Gostinyi Dvor trade complex. The news agency cited an unnamed Interior Ministry colonel as saying that the picket was not legal. Some 250 signatures were collected during several hours that day, the movement's regional staff said.

Electricity To Bashkir Tax Ministry Restored
The Bashkirenergo electricity company and the Ufa city electrical network on 7 August restored electricity to the Bashkir Tax Ministry's Ufa office, bashkir.ru reported on 11 August. The office had been disconnected since 25 July for the second time, while the first stoppage took place on 12-22 July (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 28 July 2003). Prosecutors have launched an investigation on a complaint by the ministry against the outage, which it says caused 6.5 million rubles in damages (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 5 August 2003).

Bashkir Businessmen Meet With Opposition Leader In Moscow
A group of businessmen from Bashkortostan met on 7 August in Moscow's International Trade Center with the former of the Mezhprombank Chairman and current Fund for the Development of Regions head Sergei Veremeenko, bashkir.ru reported the same day. The businessmen said Bashkortostan's gross domestic product has fallen by half since 1998. They claimed that small businesses are in poor condition in the republic since they are constantly refused credit, licenses, and rent of premises, while businessmen close to the republic's leadership have privileges. They called on federal authorities to supervise the situation in the republic and its election campaigns. Veremeenko has announced that he will challenge Murtaza Rakhimov in the December presidential elections.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova
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