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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 19, 2001

19 February 2001
Duma Deputies Oppose Shaimiev's Power-Sharing Concept
Three of the four deputies asked by the Kremlin to evaluate Tatarstan President Mintimir Shaimiev's draft power-sharing concept gave it a negative evaluation, reported on 16 February. Sergei Popov (Yabloko) said it would lead to the disintegration of the country. Aleksandr Salii (KPRF) said it was harmful. Oleg Utkin (Yedinstvo) said "more likely we'll destroy it." Only Nikolai Ovchinnikov (Narodny deputat) said that some of Shaimiev's ideas were useful.

Five Presidential Candidates Registered
The Central Electoral Commission has registered five candidates for the presidency of Tatarstan: Duma deputies Ivan Grachev and Sergei Shashurin, Yeshel Uzen first deputy administration head Aleksandr Fedorov, Communist party secretary Robert Sadykov, and incumbent President Mintimir Shaimiev, Tatarstan television reported. The CEC has already noted one election violation: by Sadykov whose staff allegedly distributed leaflets, a charge Sadykov denies. On 17 February, the CECE refused to register Dmitry Berdnikov, the head of the movement Against Criminality and Illegality, saying that 17 percent of the signatures on his petitions were invalid. Berdnikov said he will appeal to the Russian Federation CEC and then if necessary to the courts.

TNV Adopts Program, Urges Vote For Shaimiev
The political council of the Tatarstan - New Century (TNV) movement headed by by speaker Farid Mukhametshin on 17 February approved a draft program and called on its members to vote for President Mintimir Shaimiev. Rafail Khakimov, a presidential adviser and political council member, said "we must defend sovereignty, the power-sharing treaty, and the Constitution" and called to step up efforts on preserving federalism in Russia.

Roundtable Asks Putin To Provide Equal Terms For Candidates
Opposition political parties and movements roundtable appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure that they have equal access to the mass media during the Tatarstan presidential race, Tatar-inform reported on 16 February.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Greater Ural Association Unhappy With Per-Minute Charge
Officials from Bashkortostan along with those from the eight other republics and oblasts of the Greater Urals Economic Association on 16 February sharply criticized the Russian communications ministry for allowing the introduction of per-minute telephone charges, RBC reported. Sverdlovsk oblast governor Eduard Rossel said that the measure would lead to a decline in standards of living, force pensioners to drop telephone service and slow the development of the Internet in the country as a whole.

Belarus Opens Office in Ufa
The Foreign Relations and Trade Ministry on 16 February said that a representative office of the Belarus embassy in Moscow has been established in Ufa with Aleksei Spizharsky at its head. Trade between the two republics grew by 500 percent in 2000, Bashinform reported. The ministry also said that a Chechen delegation plans to come to Bashkortostan to discuss the opening of a Chechen office in Ufa.

Officials Concerned by Poor Media Coverage of Business
Deputy prime minister Khalyaf Ishmuratov on 16 February said that republic newspapers should pay more attention to economics and business questions. In other comments, he said that the income of mass media outlets had grown over the last year even though subisidies continue, with 13 of 22 state-sponsored publications having seen an increase in printruns.

Oil Producton Falls
Oil extraction fell by 462,000 tons in 2000, officials said, to 11.69 million tons, Bashinform reported. All by 174,000 of the total produced was extracted by Bashneft. Gold and iron production also declined in the republic in 2000.

Drug Company Opens Representation in Moscow
The Immunopreparat drug company opened its representation in Moscow as part of an effort to create a network of offices throughout Russia, Bashinform reported on 16 February.

Funding for Libraries Increased
According to the culture ministry, funding for libraries increased by 62 percent in 2000, allowing the Akhmet Zaki Validi Naitnal Libraries to increase its computers by 130 percent, Bashinform reported on 16 February.

Suicides, Infant Mortality Rate Rise
According to the state statistical office, there were 2,525 suicides in the republic in 2000, Bashinform reported on 16 February. The office also reported that the number of live births had fallen while infant mortality had increased 1.5 percent.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova