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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 12, 2004

12 February 2004
Shaimiev Explains The Current Position Of Unified Russia...
In an 11 February interview with RFE/RL, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said that the current dominant position of the Kremlin-backed Unified Russia party in Russia represented "a step on the way toward a real multi-party political system through the testing of a single party, which has a leading role in the legislative and executive branches of power.

...Hints He Will Not Run In 2006...
Regarding the future presidential elections in Tatarstan, Shaimiev said that "there are many young leaders deserving of that post." Shaimiev, 66, noted that he "would not like Tatarstan to have a 70-year-old president," hinting at his possible unwillingness to seek a fourth presidency in 2006.

...And Says Russia Can Only Develop As A Federal State
Speaking about the present crackdown on regional powers by the federal authorities, the Tatar president said that "Russia can develop only as a federal state." "The path of a federal government and a civil society is exactly the one [the state] is going through now. It is a very hard one of course; it would be easier for Russia to turn into a unitary state. But there is no way back, because there is already a new generation...[that] will not agree to see Russia turning into a unitary state."

TsIK Chairman Arrives In Tatarstan
Vladimir Veshnyakov, chairman of Russia's Central Election Commission (TsIK), is due to arrive in Kazan on 12 February to meet with Farid Mukhametshin, chairman of the Tatar parliament, and later proceed to Yeshel Uzen, a city near Tatarstan's capital to monitor the work of local election commissions there. On 13 February, Veshnyakov will meet with Tatarstan's president, officials from the republic's Central Election Commission (USK), and leaders of the political parties running for the republic's parliament. On 14 March, Tatarstan will hold votes for the Russian president and for the republic's State Council.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Over 5,000 Candidates Registered In Local Elections
The Bashkir Central Election Commission has registered 5,393 candidates, an average of 2.4 per seat, in the Bashkir local-council elections, RosBalt reported on 11 February. Of these, 4,251 are independent and the others represent political parties and blocs, including 886 representatives of Unified Russia and 252 of the Communist Party. The strongest competition will take place in Ufa, where 212 candidates are running for 60 seats. Local elections have been postponed twice in Bashkortostan and will be held on 14 March together with the Russian presidential elections.

Republic Made 3.3 Billion Rubles From Privatization In 2003
Bashkortostan's income from the privatization of state property in 2003 totaled 3.3 billion rubles ($116 million), twice the predicted amount, Property Minister Zofer Geptrekhimov said on 11 February. Six state-owned companies and public stakes in 46 companies, as well as 141 pieces of real estate were sold. The biggest deals were selling 14 percent of UralSib to NIKoil subsidiary Aktiv-Holding for 1.17 billion rubles; 25 percent of the Shikhan brewery to TsEPKO for 230 million rubles; 54 percent of the Raevskii sugar plant to Reto-Agro for 157.7 million rubles; and 29 percent of the Beloretsk metallurgy plant to Mechel for 95 million rubles. Currently, the republic's property includes 496 firms and 32,000 state institutions, and 32,000 pieces of real estate. Federal property in the republic includes 78 companies, 933 state institutions, and 16,000 pieces of real estate.

Antimonopoly Ministry Accuses Bashkir Insurance Companies Of Violations
The Russian Antimonopoly Ministry filed a lawsuit against the Rosgosstrakh insurance company and its Bashkir branch, Rosgosstrakh-Akkord, for allegedly violating federal law on competition in the financial-services market, "Kommersant-Daily" and "Vedomosti" reported on 12 February. According to the report, the companies concluded an agreement to divide Bashkortostan's insurance market and force out competing insurance companies. The ministry refused a request by Rosgosstrakh-Akkord seeking to purchase 70 percent of another Bashkir insurance company, Sotsinvest. Instead, the ministry has formed a commission to investigate the case.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova