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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 30, 2001


30 March 2001
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Shaimiev: "Putin Asked Me To Run."
President Mintimer Shaimiev said on 29 March that Russian President Vladimir Putin had asked him several times to run for reelection. Shaimiev added that "Vladimir Putin and I will play as one team." In other comments, the Tatarstan president said that Russia must pursue a correct nationality policy lest it spark more nationalism. And he said that Kazan's decision not to pursue full independence had limited the amount of violence in the country as a whole. The integrity of the Russian Federation must be maintained, Shaimiev said, but "we shall never agree if press is exerted in any form on the question of two state languages." As far as Chechnya is contained, Shaimiev said that it should be cleared of terrorists for the benefit of all.

CEC Announces Final Results...
The Central Electoral Commission on 29 March announced final results of the 25 March presidential elections in which Mintimer Shaimiev was reelected with 79.52 percent of votes, Tatar-inform reported. Duma deputy Sergei Shashurin came second with 5.78 percent followed by another Duma deputy Ivan Grachev with 5.47 percent, KPRT secretary Robert Sadykov with 4.47 percent, and Yeshel Uzen deputy administration head Aleksandr Fedorov with 0.49 percent. Some 2.81 percent voted against all candidates. The CEC said that 79.37 percent or 2,141,538 people participated in the voting.

�As CEC Head Comments on Vote
CEC chairman Anatoly Fomin on 29 March praised the republic media for their avoiding dirty campaigning and thus contributing to the development of the republic's democratic culture, Tatar-inform reported. He said that the Tatar media had behaved much better than the media elsewhere in Russia. Fomin also praised all involved for keeping campaign spending at a level approximately 10 percent of that elsewhere. He rejected accusations of vote fraud by communist party officials. Fomin said that the CEC will inform Duma speaker Gennady Seleznev about a destructive role of Aleksandr Salii in the elections. The CEC chairman said that some 15,000 observers had monitored the elections and found few violations.

Government To Support Leasing of Planes
President Mintimer Shaimiev on 29 March took part in a Moscow meeting on leasing of planes and said he will support such arrangements, tatnews.ru reported. Russian officials indicated that in three or four years, Russia will produce some 60 to 80 planes annually but at present only four percent of domestic aircraft meet international noise standards.

Kazan Politicians View Moscow Personnel Shifts Positively
Tatarstan Presidential advisor Rafail Khakimov on 29 March said that the appointment of a civilian to head the defense ministry gives hope that Moscow will adopt a more sophisticated and balanced approach to Chechnya. He said that Kazan has always viewed the use of military methods there as a supplement to political ones rather than as a replacement. At the same time, Khakimov indicated that no early end to the fighting was likely. Meanwhile, acting head of the Tatar Public Center Yunus Kamalutdinov said that appointment of civilian as Defense Minister inspires hope that military actions will stop but he expressed his fear that Sergei Ivanov will soon surrender to the influence of the uniformed services.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
U.S. Ambassador in Ufa But Media Ignores Him
James Collins, the American ambassador to Russia, during his visit to Ufa on 28-29 March opened the American cultural center in the Akhmet Zaki Validi National Library and met with representatives of the interregional public organization "Achievements of the Young" which involves students and schoolchildren in economic educational programs, Bashinform reported. He also met with Deputy Prime Minister and foreign relations and trade minister Rafil Garifullin to discuss bilateral economic cooperation. Garifullin said that the failure of these relations to develop over the last two years reflected "a lack of will on the American side." Collins responded by suggesting that it reflected the consequences of the August 1998 economic crisis. The U.S. is Bashkortostan's eighth largest trading partner. Despite these activities, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 29 March, no information was published in local media about the ambassador's visit to the republic. Further, the correspondent reported, this "information moratorium" reportedly was ordered by top republic authorities. And in another indication of a possible snub, meetings that had been announced between Collins and President Murtaza Rakhimov and Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov did not take place.

Spring Draft Successful in Republic
The republic military draft commission on 29 March reported that 74.2 percent of those called up were capable of serving, the best rate in the Russian Federation. At the same time, officials noted increasingly poor health among many of those examined. During 2000, officials said, 462 draftees had evaded service but that few cases had been launched against them

Agriculture Sector Wage Debt Grows
Farms owe their employees 409 million rubles ($14 million) in back wages, with the average monthly wage now 800 rubles a month, Bashinform reported. During 2000, agriculture workers received only 18 percent of their pay in cash.

Christian Tatars Hold Congress
The republic's Christian Tatars will hold a congress on 31 March in the Baqaly district to discuss the development of their culture, Bashinform reported. Guests from Tatarstan, Udmurtia, Chelyabinsk oblast are expected to join the forum. There are some 30,000 Christian Tatars in Bashkortostan, and they form 28 percent of the Baqaly district population.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova
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