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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 13, 2001

13 March 2001
Shaimiev Pleased with Agricultural Sector
President Mintimer Shaimiev told a government session that "the republic remains within the top three of Russia's most developed agricultural regions, RFE/RL's Kazan Bureau reported on 12 March. It possessed only two percent of the country's arable land, but it produces four percent of Russia's gross agricultural output, he said. But other officials were more critical. Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Marat Akhmetov said that "the majority" of agricultural companies are "still too confused to operate effectively under market conditions.

Russian Deputy PM To Visit Tatarstan
Russian deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov is due to arrive in Kazan on 13 March for meetings with the heads of Tatarstan's industrial companies, the republic's governmental press service reported. He may meet with Klebanov. KAP workers said they would picket the building where he will be as part of their campaign to demand that Aeroflot purchase domestically produced planes rather than foreign ones.

New Century Pledges Support for Shaimiev
The Tatarstan New Century [Tatarstan - Yanga Gasir] movement held it meeting on 12 March announced it would support incumbent President Mintimir Shaimiev in the upcoming elections. The movement, which is led by State Council speaker Farit Mukhametshin and presidential advisor Rafael Khakimov, plans to finalize its own political program on 17 March.

Tatenergo Seeks Investments
Tatenergo General Director Ilshat Fardiyev told Tatarinform on 12 March that his company is actively seeking investment in order to repair the roughly 80 percent of electricity networks in the republic that require it.

Mafia Group To Stand Trial
The Supreme Court on 12 March began hearing a case involving Kazan's largest mafia group Khadi Taktash, which takes its name from the street where it has been based. According to RIA Novosti the same day, the group stands accused of 15 murders, racket, drug trafficking, illegal gambling and robberies. Over 500 witnesses are scheduled to testify and 32 volumes of the documented evidence are to be introduced during the trial.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir Plant To Revive Communications Networks In Chechnya
Ufa's Promsvyaz plant won the tender for rebuilding telephone and TV networks in the Chechen Republic, reported on 12 March. The agency quoted general director Farkhad Guseynov as saying that his plant would fulfill its contract with Russian government after receiving payment in full. He referred to the experience of 1996 when Promsvyaz won the similar contract but its equipment remained in Ufa for years because Moscow had not paid. He added that it was impossible to sell the hardware involved to any other region because of its technical peculiarities.

Baydavletov Unhappy With Pace Of Housing
Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov said on 12 March that Bashkortostan's construction companies had without justification cut the rate of construction of new housing in 2000. He called for a more efficient approach to the development of infrastructure, and he denied that a shortage of funds or mortage loans was involved.

Official Praises Domestic Alcohol Producers
Cabinet of Ministers official Oleg Obukhov told Bashinform on 12 March that "the situation in Bashkortostan's alcohol market didn't drastically change after the ban on vodka imports was lifted by the republic" in January 2001. He said that Tatarstan vodka was of higher quality than Russian brands.

NefAZ Boosts Output
NefAZ automotive company increased its production, mostly of heavy trucks, by 18% over the last year, the company's press service reported on 12 March.

Ufa Prepares Flood Response Program
In anticipation of spring flooding, the cabinet has adopted a program to respond to high water, "Respublika Bashkortostan" reported on 12 March.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi