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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 18, 2004

18 March 2004
Official Results of State Council Elections Released.
The Tatar Central Election Commission on 17 March officially announced that Unified Russia won 85 seats in the 14 March State Council elections, 39 of them in single-mandate districts, Tatar-inform,, RosBalt, and other news agencies reported. Four Communist Party members won seats, including the leader of party's Tatar branch and former State Duma Deputy Aleksandr Salii and activists Robert Sadyiqov, Nesime Stolyarova, and Khafiz Mirgalimov. The remaining 11 mandates were won by independent candidates. Among those winning in single-mandate districts, 33 directors of companies or organizations, one journalist, and two deputies of administration heads were elected.

The head of Unified Russia in Tatarstan and former State Council speaker Farid Mukhametshin told a press conference on 17 March that representatives of Unified Russia will occupy key posts in the newly elected State Council. Mukhametshin said support for Unified Russia in Tatarstan rose from 59 percent to 69 percent between the 7 December State Duma elections and the parliamentary elections. Commenting on the Russian Party of Life's poor results, Mukhametshin suggested that party Chairman Sergei Mironov should resign following the party's failures in the State Duma, Russian presidential, and Tatar State Council campaigns. The number of females parliament members rose from five to 13. The new legislature will comprise 62 Tatars, 36 ethnic Russians, and two representatives of other nationalities.

The first session of the new parliament is slated for 26 March. The agenda will include the Tatar president's annual message to the State Council.

IKEA Opens Outlet In Kazan.
Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov formally announced on 17 March that construction of the IKEA outlet in Kazan has been completed, and "Kommersant-Daily" reported. The manager of the Swedish furniture retailer's operations in Russia, Peter Partma, told a press conference the same day that the Kazan store will be opened on 22 March. The Kazan outlet will be IKEA's fourth in Russia, following the success of two stores in Moscow and one in St. Petersburg. IKEA invested $25 million in the 23,500-square-meter store in Kazan, which will be capable of handling 6,000 customers simultaneously. Partma also said contracts totaling $14.8 million have been signed with local manufacturers for products to be delivered this year. In time for the Kazan millennium in August 2005, IKEA plans to construct a 150,000-square-meter retail and entertainment complex similar to the Mega mall the company anchors in Moscow.

Kazan Club President Denies Making Payoff To Host European Basketball Final Four.
Yevgenii Bogachev, the president of the professional basketball club Uniks Kazan, on 17 March denied reports in the Israeli media that his club paid 490,000 euros to persuade international basketball's governing body to choose Kazan to host the FIBA Europe League final four from 22-24 April, reported. Uniks Kazan, Perm's Ural-Great, Tel-Aviv's Hapoel, and the Greek club Marussi will participate in the event. The decision to hold the final four in Kazan was made during FIBA Europe's meetings in Moscow on 13-14 March. Hapoel was initially competing with Uniks for the right to host the games, but retracted its bid several days prior to the Moscow meeting.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Tatar Civic Groups Unsuccessful In Ufa City Council Vote
Following Bashkir media reports that the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party placed at least 50 of its candidates on the 60-seat Ufa City Council, Ayrat Giniyatullin, leader of the Tatar Public Center branch in Bashkortostan, told an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 17 March that none of the candidates proposed by local Tatar civic groups managed to defeat candidates backed by the republican and city authorities (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 17 March 2004).

The civic groups, representing the interests of some 1 million ethnic Tatars in Bashkortostan, have never managed to get candidates elected to the Russian State Duma or the republic's parliament.

Bashkortostan Among Most Active Supporters Of Vladimir Putin
With 92 percent of the vote going to Vladimir Putin in the 14 March presidential vote and a turnout of 89 percent, the Republic of Bashkortostan ranked among the regions demonstrating strongest support for the incumbent president, Bashinform reported on 17 March.

In the Volga Federal District, only the Republic of Mordovia with a turnout of 91 percent had a higher figure than Bashkortostan, while Tatarstan was third with 79 percent and Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast had the lowest turnout at 55 percent, with the nationwide turnout averaging 64.3 percent.

As for the Putin's opponents in the election, in Bashkortostan they were reported to have a third of their average support across the federation.

Pro-Governmental Youth Movement To Continue
The government-sponsored movement Russia Needs You, set up to boost youth electoral activity before the Russian presidential elections, will continue to operate after the vote, Irshat Niyazgulov, chairman of the Bashkortostan's State Committee on Youth Policies, said on 17 March, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the next day.

The movement uniting the pro-governmental youth organizations in Bashkortostan will further its social activities in promoting this year's celebrations of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Bashkir national hero Salavat Yulaev and the activities marking the year of protection of the environment.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi