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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 3, 2000

3 July 2000
Putin's Banquet In Kazan Shown On Tatar TV
The "Respublica" program of Tatarstan's Efir TV company showed footage on 2 July of a closed banquet attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the presidents of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, and the presidential representative for the Privolzhsky administrative district, Sergei Kirienko. The banquet took place during Putin's visit to Kazan on 22-23 June, when he joined a governmental meeting on the consequences of severe thunderstorms in Tatarstan and for celebrations of the traditional Tatar holiday of Sabantuy. Amateur footage recorded a Putin speech during which he thanks Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, and Bashkortostan's Murtaza Rakhimov for their support during March's Russian presidential elections. Putin stated that he personally "asked Murtaza Gubaydullovich to come to Kazan." In Putin's words "some think that this meeting is unnecessary since the election campaign is over." Later Putin, Shaimiev, Rakhimov, and Kirienko raised their glasses, and it appeared as though Putin and Rakhimov were drinking vodka, while Shaimiev and Kirienko preferred red wine. Efir TV added that there are rumors regarding Putin's second toast, when he allegedly said that he "will continue his joint work" with Shaimiev "until 2005."

By Iskender Nurmi