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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 9, 2002

9 January 2002
Tatar Diplomat Says Afghanistan Interested In Tatarstan's Help
Timur Akulov, the head of Tatarstan's presidential Foreign Affairs Department, told reporters on 8 January that Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah recently confirmed his country's interest in using KamAZ trucks, Kazan-made helicopters, and Tatarstan construction companies to help rebuild the Afghan economy. According to Akulov, the interim Afghan government is also interested in learning more about Jadid Islam, a secularized religious stream established by the Tatar intelligentsia in the late-19th century.

Tatar Muslim Leader Says He Invited Pope Long Ago
The head of Tatarstan's Muslim Religious Board, Gusman Khazrat Iskhakov, on 8 January said recent media reports about his invitation to Pope John Paul II were aimed at "publishing scandalous facts on the eve of the elections for a new [Muslim Religious Board] chairman." He did not say who he thought was behind the effort. Iskhakov confirmed he invited the Catholic pontiff to Kazan in November 2000, adding he was surprised the information was made public only recently (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 27 December 2001). Iskhakov said the offer was proposed by Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov and an adviser to President Mintimer Shaimiev after a Vatican visit. The adviser, Rafail Khakimov, told Tatar-inform the same day that the invitation was prompted by the Tatar tradition of inviting the host to visit the guest's home.

Tatar Militia To Leave Chechnya In March
Four-hundred Tatarstan servicemen left Kazan for Gudermes in the Chechen Republic on 7 January, RIA-Novosti reported. On the same day, Tatarstan Interior Minister Asgat Seferov also departed for Gudermes to inspect the area, which has been controlled by his republic's police for more that one year. In March, Tatar militia will leave Gudermes by order of Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov and be replaced by Nizhnii Novgorod forces.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Government To Shape Citizens Of 'A New Bashkortostan'
The cabinet adopted a document it calls the "state program on forming the citizen of Bashkortostan in 2002-2010" on 8 January. The action plan is aimed at state bodies and public organizations. Among the measures included for promoting the program, the document stipulates the creation of special laws and books with guidelines for "forming a citizen of the new Bashkortostan."

Bashneft Calls 2001 Successful...
Oil company Bashneft reported on 9 January that it produced 11,860 tons of oil in 2001, managing to slow the output slump of recent years. This year's annual reduction in output was 0.64 percent.

...And Sets Agenda For 2002
Bashneft, which is Russia's eight-largest oil producer, plans to produce 11,600 tons of oil in 2002, Bashinform reported on 9 January. Bashneft noted that this year marks 70 years of oil extraction in Bashkortostan.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi