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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 9, 2002

9 December 2002
Election Commission Begins Forming Territorial Bodies
Tatarstan's Central Election Commission has officially begun to form the territorial election commissions that will monitor next year's Russian State Duma elections, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 9 December. In accordance with Russian election laws, the territorial commissions are to recruit 50 percent of their staff from among political parties represented in the republic. The republic is required to form 63 commissions consisting of a total of 432 people by the end of the year. As many as 14 parties have proposed candidates for the commissions, including the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Yabloko, Unified Russia, the Union of the Rightist Forces, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and Tatarstan-New Century.

President Discusses Management Of Bankrupt Industries...
Mintimer Shaimiev attended in Kazan on 6 December a presentation by representatives of the Volga Federal District Anticrisis Institute that proposed strategic solutions for bankrupt companies in the republic, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 9 December. The presentation was held at Terminal, a formerly bankrupt defense-industry plant that has since turned itself around. Shaimiev, in fact, praised Terminal for its effective management of formerly unused production facilities, adding that other bankrupt companies in Tatarstan could learn from Terminal's experience. It was pointed out at the presentation that people are being trained in crisis management at the Kazan Institute of Finance and Economics and at the Tatar Institute for Assistance to Business, though Shaimiev stressed that even more people need to be trained in this field at the republic's universities.

...And Renovations At Kazan Kremlin
On 6 December, President Shaimiev called a special government meeting to discuss the reconstruction of the Kazan Kremlin in preparation for the city's millennium in 2005, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 9 December. Shaimiev said he was satisfied with the current pace of renovations on the Kremlin and also approved of a planned monument to the defenders of Kazan.

Tatspirtprom Targeting U.S. Market
Tatarstan's main alcohol producer, Tatspirtprom, plans to export 22,000 liters of its Sovetskoe shampanskoe (Soviet sparkling wine) to Chicago in time for New Year's Eve, Intertat reported on 6 December. Tatspirtprom first exported its sparkling wine to the United States last year, where it was reportedly well-received by former Russian citizens now residing in the United States.

The company is also reportedly in negotiations with potential U.S. partners concerning the export of its new Khanskaya vodka to the United States.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bridge Linking Republic With Sverdlovsk, Perm Oblasts Opens
A 308-meter-long bridge across the Ai River linking Bashkortostan with the Sverdlovsk and Perm oblasts was opened in Mechetle Raion on 5 December, the presidential press service reported the next day. Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov attended the bridge's opening ceremony.

Head Of Muslim Organization Speaks Out Against Spread Of Religious Extremism...
While leading a prayer during the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on 5 December, Telget Tajetdin, the head of the Ufa-based Central Muslim Religious Board of Russia and the European countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, spoke out against the spread among Russia's Muslims of religious extremism and Wahhabism, which he said are alien to traditional Islam, Bashinform reported the next day. Tajetdin said that hundreds of children are sent from Russia to foreign religious centers and return back after they become "zombies." He said that Russia's Muslims have fought against the spread of religious extremism and Wahhabism during the past decade, and he added that he hopes Russia will win the fight against international terrorism and religious extremism.

...And Calls For Peaceful Solution To U.S.-Iraq Conflict
Tajetdin also said that Russia's Muslims are anxious about a possible war between the United States and Iraq, as Russia has had good relations with Iraq for a long time. The Muslim leader expressed hope that Russian leaders, the United Nations Security Council, and especially the United States will take into account Iraq's willingness to accept UN weapons inspectors and that they will take all necessary steps to resolve the conflict peacefully and to remove sanctions currently in force against Iraq. Tajetdin also called for a peaceful solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Youth Leaders Gather In Ufa To Discuss Development Of Russia's Intellectual Resources
Twenty-four leaders of youth organizations from Orenburg, Yaroslavl, Saratov, Ulyanovsk, Ryazan, Samara, Yekaterinburg, Murmansk, Moscow Oblast, and Chavashia took part in an interregional seminar in Ufa organized by Bashkortostan's Union of Democratic Youth under the aegis of the federal Russian Intellectual Resources program, Bashinform reported on 8 December. The participants outlined the direction of their future activities and developed a mechanism to implement the program in the regions and at the federal level.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova