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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 14, 2000

14 January 2000
Shaimiev Backs Primakov's Candidacy
During a press conference in the Kazan airport upon returning from Moscow, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said that he considered former Russian Premier Yevgenii Primakov to be the most "suitable figure" for the post of Russian parliamentary speaker. He said that, "for a country with a young president who will be elected with a government of reformers, Yevgenii Primakov would be suitable and useful as the Russian Duma chairman." Shaimev admitted that, "it is hard to predict who will become Russian parliamentary speaker" because "we still don't know what kind of Duma we have elected."

EBRD To Study The Situation At KamAZ
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, met with Russian Minister of Economics Andrey Shapovalyants and the vice president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Charles Frank, on 12 January in Moscow, Tatarinform agency reported on 14 January. According to the agency, Shaimiev and Shapovalyants informed Frank on the production volume at KamAZ automotive works in 1999. Frank reportedly agreed to continue talks on restructuring the debt of KamAZ to EBRD if the company agrees to an audit of its financial state in 1998 and 1999. An independent audit by a foreign company is expected to cost KamAZ between $700,000 and $1 million, the company's press service reported on 14 January.

Gas Pipeline Explosions Under Investigation
An antiterrorist commission from Tatarstan's government established a working group to prevent terrorist acts at oil refineries and oil extracting facilities across the republic, the governmental press service announced on 15 January. This measure comes after explosions at gas pipelines in the Zey region of Tatarstan and in the Kirov Oblast near Tatarstan's border in December. Republican Interior Ministry officials acknowledge that the two explosions in Kirov oblast on 1 December were caused by explosives. Several suspects have been detained in connection with the case, some of them citizens of Tatarstan.

TPC Against Drug Addiction In Chally
The Chally branch of the nationalist Tatar Public Center have started a campaign against drug addiction, the republican press reported on 14 January. The TPC branch advised the city prosecutor's office in Chally to establish a special commission against drugs. Some of the TPC protest participants reportedly urged the introduction of the death penalty for drug dealers.

According to Tatarstan's Interior Ministry, 380 thefts, 50 robberies, 20 armed attacks and a number of murders committed by drug addicts were registered in 1999 in Chally. Most of the drugs in Chally reportedly come from Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries.

Tatarstan's Low Credit Rating Stands
The international rating agency Standard & Poor's preserved the long-term credit rating of the Tatarstan Republic in 2000 at the SD level (selective default), the AK&M agency reported on 13 January. The current rating reflects the fact that Tatarstan has not yet finished the restructuring of its $100 million loan from the ING Barings bank.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi