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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 15, 1999


15 November 1999
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Shaimiev Comments On Chechen Crisis, Electoral Campaign
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, said on 12 November that he doesn't fear that the rating of the Fatherland -- All Russia (Otechestvo - Vsya Rossiya) movement has fallen as he doesn't trust ratings and looks forward to the results of the election. Shaimiev made his comments at a press conference in Kazan upon his return from Moscow. Shaimiev said that the Chechen crisis indirectly concerned Tatarstan considering that several residents from the republic had trained in camps in Chechnya. Shaimiev said that the appearance of international extremist forces is Chechnya is a problem for all of Russia. Shaimiev added that a political settlement of the Chechen issue should be found in near future. He said the most positive thing about it is that there are less victims among civilians than there were during the first conflict. He said he doesn't consider Tatarstan's participation as a mediator in talks on ending the conflict necessary for a resolution. He said today everything is lucid, and the Russian government has a clearer picture of the situation than anybody else. Shaimiev commented on the recent claim by Russian Premier Vladimir Putin that Tatarstan is as criminal region. He said the crime rate in Tatarstan hasn't changed much, and that in absolute figures the republic's ranking among Russian regions isn't even close to being at the bottom. However, he said, high crime statistics are explained by the politics conducted by the Interior Ministry's new leadership, which no longer sets the figures at artificial numbers.

National Movement Holds Meeting Supporting Chechnya
Tatarstan's opposition nationalist movement, the Tatar Public Center (TPC), held a meeting in Kazan on 13 November to protest against Russia's war in Chechnya, Tatar Radio and Television reported. The TPC issued a statement before the action arguing that under the pretext of a struggle against gangsterism and terrorism the Russian army was shelling densely-populated cities and villages in Chechnya. Some 150 people took part in the action supporting the Chechen people in their struggle for full independence from Russia. The TPC chairman, Rashid Yagfarov, said in an interview with Tatar Radio that "the Chechen war is not only a war against the Chechen people -- but also against all of Russia's small nations." Yagfarov said "we are for the equal rights of all Russian small nations." Accusations were made at the meeting against Russian media for reportedly concealing reliable information on the conflict.

Criminal Leaders Are Expected To Return To Kazan
The head of Tatarstan's Board on Control of Organized Crime, Georgii Balyasnikov, said at a press conference on 12 November in Kazan that the board believes there will be a return back in the republic in the nearest future of Kazan criminal figures who had left Tatarstan for Moscow and St. Petersburg over the last few years. There return would be a result of the anti-terrorist operation by Interior Ministry bodies since the terrorist explosions in Russia in September. Balyasnikov said that some 80 percent of 103 economic crimes reported this year were carried out by organized criminal groups. He said that more than 60 organized groups were registered by the republican interior bodies, and all of them are connected with official functionaries.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

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