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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 13, 2003

13 October 2003
Duma Elections Cost 51 Million Rubles In Tatarstan
The preparations for and holding of the State Duma elections in Tatarstan will cost 50.9 million rubles ($1.7 million), RosBalt reported on 10 October, citing the Central Election Commission's press center. The December campaign will be more expensive than the one in 1999. Each of 2,900 district election commissions will be allocated 10,800 rubles, 63 territorial election commissions will get 41,000 rubles, and five okrug election commissions will receive 146,500 rubles. In the republic's five election districts, some 70 people have stated their intention to run for office. Unified Russia and the Communist Party have five candidates each, the Democratic Party and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia have four apiece, the Union of Rightist Forces, the Eurasian Union, and the Party of Russia's Revival/Russian Party of Life bloc, the People's Party, and the Rus party, among others, have three candidates; the Party of the Development of Entrepreneurship have two members running, and the Unity party, People's-Patriotic Union, Yabloko, the Party of Peace and Unity, the Party of Pensioners, and the Russian Communist Party�Party of Communists one candidate each. Twenty-eight people are running as independents. There are 2.7 million eligible voters in Tatarstan.

Environmental Damage At Tuben Kama Dam To Be Monitored
Issues related to the possible raising of the level of the water in the Tuben Kama dam were on the agenda of a roundtable held in Chally on 9 October, Tatar-inform reported on 10 October. Tatar Deputy Prime Minister and Economy and Industry Minister Aleksei Pakhomov, the Russian Nature Ministry's Water Sector Directorate head Sergei Bednaruk, and officials from Bashkortostan and Udmurtia attended the event. Establishment of a monitoring system on the reservoir's impact on the environment was viewed as necessary to promote projects on increasing the level of the water to 66-68 meters. In July, the governments of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Udmurtia agreed to exploit the reserve at a level of 63.3 meters and they adopted a plan to secure economic efficiency and environmental security upon the possible raising of the water level. Although the decision to increase the water level to 68 meters -- which is supported by Tatarstan but opposed by Udmurtia and Bashkortostan -- still has not been made, the meeting in Chally was helpful in the process of finding a solution to the issue, the report said.

Begishevo Airport Reopened After Reconstruction
The international airport in Begishevo, 25 kilometers from Chally, opened on 11 October after the reconstruction of the 2.5 kilometer runway, Interfax reported the same day. Russian Deputy Transport Minister Aleksandr Neradko and Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov attended the event.

The airport was constructed in 1971 to service Tatarstan's municipalities of Chally, Tuben Kama, Alabuga, Zei, Mendeleevsk, and Minzele. In 1998, it became an international facility. In 2002, 44,800 passengers flied out of Begishevo.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Interior Ministry Warns SPS About Possible Provocations
Bashkir Interior Minister Rafail Divaev has sent a warning to the leaders of the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) in Bashkortostan about possible provocations against party members, RosBalt reported on 10 October. The minister's letter, dated 1 October, said that "some forces including criminals" are planning on provoking the party, destabilizing the political situation, and discrediting the Bashkir leadership. Divaev said that "the ministry has taken all possible measures" to prevent the provocation. A similar warning was given recently to the Bashkir branch of the Communist Party of Russia (KPRF) (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 8 October 2003).

Russian Presidential Administration Head Greets Bashkortostan On Sovereignty Anniversary
On 11 October, presidential administration head Aleksandr Voloshin sent his greetings to the Bashkir leadership and people on Republic Day, which marks the 13th anniversary of the declaration of Bashkortostan's sovereignty, RosBalt reported the same day. In the last few years, the republic has acheived significant successes in reforming the socioeconomic sector, state system, and strengthening cooperation with federal authorities, the document read. Voloshin expressed his confidence that Bashkortostan has big potential for dynamic development and the growth of residents' well-being.

Turkish Ambassador Visits Ufa
Kurtulush Tashkent, Turkey's ambassador to Russia, arrived on 11 October in Ufa for a three-day visit, Bashinform reported. On 12 October, Tashkent attended the opening of an entertainment center in the Krasnousolsk health resort constructed by the Bashkir-Turkish venture Baturos. Tashkent was also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov, Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Minister Boris Kolbin, Turkish businessmen, and Central Muslim Religious Board Chairman Supreme Mufti Telget Tajetdin.

Unified Russia In Bashkortostan Pledge Support For Rakhimov
The Bashkir branch of the Unified Russia party on 10 October declared its support for incumbent President Murtaza Rakhimov in the December presidential elections, Bashinform and RosBalt reported the same day. At a conference, some 200 delegates stated their intention of campaigning for Rakhimov. The delegates appealed to members and followers of the party "to let Murtaza Rakhimov carry on what he has begun until [his] final victory." Fifteen people so far are running in the presidential race (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 3 and 7 October) including State Duma deputy Aleksandr Novikov, businessman Sergei Veremeenko, Rakhimov, pensioners Farfaz Gafarov and Feride Garipova, and Moscow-based Khimpromnefteprodukt fund chairman Vener Khelilov. Veremeenko said the decision to back Rakhimov does not represent the position of the entire party but only its local branch led by Rakhimov's close allies.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova