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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 8, 2005

8 February 2005
Tatarstan, Sweden To Boost Ties
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev met on 7 February with Sweden's ambassador to Russia, Johan Molander, Tatar-inform and reported the same day. The two officials discussed the prospects of cooperation between Tatarstan enterprises and Sweden's Volvo, Scania, Ericsson, and ABB.

Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khefiz Salikhov told reporters after the meeting that economic relations with Sweden "still do not correspond to our potential possibilities." He said there is potential for creating joint projects in the petrochemical, fuel, energy, telecommunications, information technology, and agricultural sectors.

Mulander said he is also interested in Tatarstan's experience with the peaceful coexistence of both Islam and Orthodoxy, since Sweden is becoming what he described as a "multiethnic and multifaith country."

Mulander is scheduled to meet with Tatar State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin on 8 February.

Daily Speculates Russian Interior Minister Could Replace Shaimiev
"Moskovskii komsomolets" wrote on 8 February that Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev may be appointed Tatarstan's president if Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov's cabinet has to resign and ministers are looking for other jobs.

The daily said that replacing a regional politician like Shaimiev with a less independent Tatar politician who would be under the control of the federal leadership is desirable to the Kremlin. It speculated that taming obstinate national republics such as Tatarstan could justify the controversial reform involving the abolishment of the direct elections of governors.

At the same time, according to the publication, it is impossible for such a replacement to occur without Shaimiev himself agreeing to it.

Presidential Volga Federal District envoy Sergei Kirienko, who was called last week to see Russian President Vladimir Putin, must have been charged with negotiating this issue with Shaimiev, "Moskovskii komsomolets" concluded.

Tatarstan Obtains Grant To Fight AIDS
Tatarstan is among 11 Russian regions to win an international grant under the Globus Project, which is implemented in Russia by the Global Fund for Fighting HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Tatar-inform reported on 7 February. The republic will be allocated $8 million over a five-year period.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov Celebrates 71st Birthday
President Murtaza Rakhimov marked his 71st birthday on 7 February. According to the presidential press service, Rakhimov spent the day in his normal routine, signing a number of state decrees, "having received congratulations from his colleagues before the workday even began."

Rakhimov was reportedly greeted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, leaders of neighboring regions, high-ranking federal officials and top business leaders. Unlike in previous years, the list of governors who congratulated Rakhimov -- published by the Bashinform state information agency -- did not include the name of Tatarstan's Mintimer Shaimiev.

Rakhimov is serving his third term in office.

Bashkortostan's Oil Company Shares Rated Up
According to the Russian Trade System's (RTS) information service on 7 February, the previous week brought a 33.26 percent increase in the price of shares of the Bashneft oil company. The share price reportedly reached $3.065, which was accompanied in the same week by a general 4.72 percent hike for Bashneft in the RTS index.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi