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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 26, 2001

26 April 2001
Chernobyl Anniversary Marked
Kazan State Medical Academy held a conference on rehabilitation and treatment of those affected by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of that event on 26 April. Some 3200 victims of that disaster live in Tatarstan; most suffer from a variety of diseases.

Tatneft to Resume Construction of Tuben Kama Refinery
Tatneft plans to allot $1.1 billion for resuming construction of an oil refinery in Tuben Kama, the company's press service said on 25 April. Tatneft holds a 63 percent share in the project. Meanwhile, officials said that Tatenergo plans to become a joint stock company if the firms finances stabilize this year through the collection of money owed it by consumers.

State Council Debates Switch To Gas
The Tatarstan State Council on 25 April discussed switching transport in the republic from natural gas to gasoline.

Apartments Built for Young Families in Chally
Republic and city authorities have allocated 20 million rubles ($690,000) for the construction of new apartments for young families, Tatarinform reported on 25 April.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Calls for Protection of Freedom of Speech
In a broad ranging interview published in the 25 April issue of "Nezavisimaya gazeta," President Murtaza Rakhimov said that the NTV affair was disgraceful and a threat to freedom of speech. In other comments, he said that recent personnel shake-up in Russia was �reasonable� and that �competent and experienced people� have come to power but now changes in the economic sector are needed. Rakhimov added that it would be more profitable to process more oil in Russia rather than to export it. At the same time, he said that the federal districts are "superfluous" and he complained that there are now more officials than in Soviet times.

New Health Minister Appointed
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 25 April appointed Rais Khasanov, 55, as the healthcare minister, the presidential press service reported.

SPS Leader On �Right� Forces Consolidation
Arsen Nuridzhanov, the leader of SPS in Bashkortostan, said on 25 April that his party will unite and does not stand in opposition to the authorities.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova