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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 15, 2000

15 March 2000
Poll Shows Putin Popular In Tatarstan
An organization called the Kaytawaz Fund for developing political centrism announced on 15 March that 63 percent of voters polled in Tatarstan are ready to vote for acting President Vladimir Putin in the 26 March Russian presidential elections. Twenty-one percent said that they would vote for Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov and 10 percent for Yabloko party leader Grigory Yavlinsky. Some 5-6 percent of those polled said that they would vote against all candidates.

Kaytawaz told the republican media that public opinion polls were taken in the cities of Kazan, Chally, Elemet, Yashel Uzen, Bua, Aktanish, and Arsk.

Reportedly 63.5 percent of the voters intend to take part in the elections, the survey showed. Pensioners and the rural population are expected to produce the highest turnout in the vote, while the most passive segment of the population shows to be unemployed people. About 55-65 percent of the young people said they were interested in the elections.

Putin is reportedly attractive to voters because of his "young age, energy, and concrete deeds." His negative aspects are usually connected with the fact that he was "recommended" by former President Boris Yeltsin, that he used to work for Federal Security Service (FSB) and its predecessor, the KGB, and that he is viewed as a dictator by some voters. Putin has the most support among ethnic Russians, women, people with secondary education, and the residents of small towns and rural regions. Putin receives the least amount of support from ethnic Tatars, men, people with higher education, and residents of Kazan.

Tattelecom To Be Privatized
Tatarstan's minister of communications, Rinat Zalyalov, said at a press conference on 14 March that after the privatization of the state Tattelecom Company, it would inevitably merge with Kazan's City Telephone Networks. Tattelecom is currently a state-owned company, providing the telephone services to the entire republic. The deputy minister of communications on economic affairs, Lena Khamzina, told the AK&M agency the same day that the republican government planned to give the 25 percent package of shares in Tattelecom to its employees (with 5 percent for management) while retaining 75 percent of the shares. The calculated capital of the company is 800 million rubles. Reportedly Tattelecom offered its main partners -- Nokia, Siemens, Alcatel, Ericsson, and Iskra-Uraltel -- the chance to participate in the founding of a joint-stock company.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi