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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 10, 2000

10 August 2000
Another Federal Official Becomes A Directors Board Chairman At KamAZ
Russian deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov was elected a directors board chairman at KamAZ automotive works on 8 August, Tatarstan's media reported the same day. Despite the reported expectations that it would take about 1,5 months to arrange this appointment via the general meeting of company's shareholders, it took Klebanov about an hour to elected to his new post.

Russian Ministry of Property Affairs headed by former Tatarstan's citizen Farit Gazizullin, used its right to replace its representative at KamAZ whenever it chooses and dismissed Gazizullin's deputy Victor Pilnev to enter Klebanov. After the excursion around the main workshops of KamAZ and formalities of his new appointment Klebanov told the reporters in Chally "KamAZ is destined to be successful, this is the only choice given." According to Tatarstan's Vremya i Dengi daily newspaper on 9 August, republic's president Mintimer Shaimiev was the initiator of these changes in KamAZ administration.

Russian deputy PM, minister of economy Andrey Shapovalyants was the first high ranked federal official to be appointed a chief of KamAZ directors board in the early 1999. The same year Tatarstan's media commented on this appointment saying that the automotive giant like KamAZ needs a top Russian official who would be able to lobby its interests on the national level. As a result Shapovalyants, who was also a Russian representative at one of the KamAZ's major creditors - European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, pushed a number of federal governmental decrees for supporting the company and restructuring its debts, Tatarstan's press reported. He also managed to persuade the EBRD, which possesses a mortgage certificate covering all the KamAZ's property, to replace one half of the company's debt (totaling to USD 100 million) with its shares.

Tatarstan's president Shaimiev told the directors board meeting on 8 August that he discussed Klebanov's candidacy with Russian president Vladimir Putin and PM Mikhail Kasyanov. In Shaimiev's words, both Russian officials "acknowledged that the role of KamAZ, which is setting records in increasing its output, in the Russian economy is constantly growing, so the role of Russia in managing the company must grow proportionally."

"Nur" Madrasah (former Yoldiz) Now For Women Students
Moslem religious school of Yoldiz in Tatarstan's second city Chally was officially renamed into Nur according to the decision of republican Moslem Religious Board on 7 August. It was also decided that unlike the former Yuldiz madrasah which used to teach both male and female students, Nur would teach only girls.

Yuldiz Moslem school became notorious in the late 1999, after the series of terrorists acts in Moscow and Volgodonsk. According to Russian federal investigators about 10 students deserted this religious school to join the armed rebel forces in Chechnya. Denis Saytakov was the most notorious student of Yuldiz, although he spent less that a year there, because he allegedly was linked to the blasts in Moscow in September 1999. After the terrorist acts Tatarstan's Ministry of Education froze the license of Yuldiz "until the end of investigation," formally stating that it "wasn't connected with the political overexposure of the madrasah, but with the education process in it."

Moslem Religious Board of Tatarstan made numerous statements saying that there were no reasons for blaming Yuldiz for spreading Moslem extremism. It was also noted that all the students not following the classic hanifite branch of Islam were expelled automatically. Though notorious Denis Saytakov was not expelled for being a follower of Wahhabism, which is traditional for Chechen militants, he was expelled for not attending the classes.

The new Nur madrasah will reportedly open in October, 2000. Over 70 female graduates from secondary schools of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and other regions of Russia.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi