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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 19, 2002

19 June 2002
Tatarstan Delegation Visits Samara Oblast
A Tatar government delegation led by Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov visited Samara Oblast on 18 June, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Minnikhanov met with Samara Oblast Governor Viktor Kazakov and members of the local Tatar community and also inspected automotive giant VAZ in Tolyatti. The Tatar prime minister told a press conference in the oblast's capital Samara that, "Our delegation is satisfied with the attention the oblast pays to the interests of the Tatar community and to supporting Tatar newspapers and radio stations [in Samara Oblast]." He also noted Tatarstan would like to take advantage of Samara Oblast's experience in provided residents with mortgages to purchase housing.

Governor Kazakov said at the press conference that it was essential for Samara Oblast and Tatarstan to join forces to lobby for the adoption of a federal law on supporting subjects of the Russian Federation that are not financially self-sufficient. Minnikhanov agreed with this proposal, adding that only 14 regions of Tatarstan contributed more to the republican budget than they spent last year.

Later the same day, the two regional heads approved a draft agreement on cooperation in the spheres of industry, trade, and science. The agreement is expected to be signed during an upcoming visit by oblast officials to Kazan.

In 2000-2001, Samara Oblast was Tatarstan's third-largest trading partner, following only Moscow and Bashkortostan. Samara Oblast purchases from Tatarstan tires, trucks, small vehicles, polyethylene, diesel fuel, oil, and natural gas, while Tatarstan purchases cars, gasoline, polymeric film, fertilizers, and construction materials from the oblast.

Shaimiev's Congress Speech Gets Limited Press Coverage
RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 18 June that Tatarstan's Tatar-language press published that day the text of Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev's speech at the second World Bashkir Congress in Ufa on 14 June, though a Russian translation of the speech -- made in Tatar -- was not made available for Russian-language media. No Russian-language media inside or outside Tatarstan have published any reports about what Shaimiev said regarding Bashkortostan's policies with respect to Tatar community in that republic.

Bashkortostan's Tatar-language "Qizil Tang" newspaper was not permitted to publish the text of Shaimiev's speech, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day.

Rumors Swirl About Future Of Dismissed Finance Minister
Tatar President Shaimiev ordered by decree on 17 June that Finance Minister Robert Musin be replaced by former Deputy Finance Minister Radik Gizatullin, RFE/RL's Kazan Bureau reported the next day.

In comments made on Tatarstan television on 18 June, Musin refused to talk about his future plans, but a number of newspapers in the republic have hinted that he is likely to head the rumored merger of Tatarstan's Aq Bars Bank and Moscow's Zenit Bank.

Aq Bars elected Musin chairman of the bank's supervisory council on 6 June and he was elected chairman of Zenit's board of directors on 13 June. Zenit's press service has so far denied media reports that the bank plans to take over Aq Bars.

Tatarstan Resident Detained Carrying Nuclear Fuel
A resident of Tatarstan carrying 2 kilograms of uranium has been detained in the capital of Udmurtia, Izhevsk, Volga-inform agency reported on 18 June. The radioactive material the individual was carrying is of the sort usually used as fuel in nuclear-power plants. Udmurtia's prosecutor's office is planning to investigate the incident further.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan To Launch Satellite Communications System By Fall
Bashkortostan's Sputnik Telekom company plans to launch a satellite telecommunications system on 1 September, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 18 June. The system will enable high-quality television broadcasts and high-speed Internet access in all parts of the republic, while at the present time, some regions of Bashkortostan, especially in the highland area, receive poor television signals and have outdated telephone networks.

Roundtable Discusses Youth Activities In Republic
Chairwoman of the Bashkir Youth Policy Committee Kamilya Davletova told a roundtable on the future of youth in the republic at the second World Bashkir Congress on 15 June that, "measures for promoting the ethnic self-identity of Bashkir youth and for improving the standard of living of Bashkir people" are among the major goals pursued by youth organizations in Bashkortostan, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 18 June. Davletova said the republican government currently provides sufficient support to youth-related events that promote Bashkir self-identity.

Tatars And Bashkirs To Celebrate Sabantuy Together In Latvia
Zufar Zainullin, chairman of the Tatar-Bashkir cultural society in Latvia, told Bashinform on 17 June that his organization plans to hold the first Sabantuy holiday festivities in Latvia later this summer. Celebrations will be for both Tatar and Bashkir peoples in the Baltic country. Zainullin added that a trade center would soon be established to increase cooperation between Latvia and Bashkortostan, while a similar organization already exists with Tatarstan.

Bashkir Bank To Invest In Udmurtia
The press service of Bashkortostan's Uralsibbank announced on 18 June that the bank's President Azat Kurmanaev and Udmurtia President Aleksandr Volkov singed an agreement the previous day to attract investments to the republic's economy with the bank's support. The bank also reportedly plans to distribute loans to various industries in Udmurtia under the agreement. The bank has already invested 250 million rubles ($8 million) in the region this year.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi