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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 7, 2004

7 December 2004
In Turkey, Putin Notes 'Hardships' Of Tatneft's Tupras Ordeal
Russian President Vladimir Putin told a Russian-Turkish business forum in Ankara on 6 December that "we know the hardships that Russia and Tatneft oil company faced" when a Turkish court annulled the results of a tender for a state stake in Tupras petrochemical concern that was won by Tatneft and Turkey's Zorlu holding, Tatarstan-Yanga Gasyr TV reported the same day. "We hope that previously reached agreements will be implemented," Putin said, adding that he discussed the matter with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. "We regretfully accepted the news that judiciary bodies had canceled the tender's results, but it is not up to us to determine Turkey's economic policies." He assessed Tatneft's participation in the privatization of a major Turkish petrochemical industry as the company's active and positive work "not only within Russia but also on the foreign market."

Russian Minister Admits Ankara Could Revise Its Stance On Tupras Takeover
After the Ankara business forum, Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko suggested to reporters that the Turkish government is the only body capable of determining the next step following the court decision over the Tatneft-Tupra privatization. He said Turkish Prime Minister Erdogad suggested that Ankara would revisit the topic.

Russian Presidential Adviser On Religious Affairs Visits Kazan
Russian presidential adviser on religious affairs Aleksei Grishin attended the Kazan-based Islamic University of Russia during a visit to Tatarstan on 3-4 December, where he met with university rector and Tatar Muslim Religious Board Chairman Gosman khezret Iskhaq, Intertat reported on 6 December. Grishin reportedly praised the general condition of Muslim educational institutions in the republic and expressed his wish that both Muslim and Christian religious education in Tatarstan might raise their youth in the tradition of peace and consent. He also pledged his assistance in opening further faculties at the Islamic University, expanding the range of disciplines taught there.

Tatar Parliamentary Deputy Calls New Law On Gubernatorial Elections 'Antidemocratic'
Flure Ziytdinova, a former representative in the Russian State Duma from Tatarstan who is now a Tatar State Council deputy, told RFE/RL's Kazan bureau that she believes amendments to a federal law on the election of governors stipulate that regional leaders elected by parliament upon the recommendation of the Russian president "cannot be dismissed." She said such governors effectively can only lose their jobs if they resign. She said many of the initiatives by Tatarstan's parliamentary deputies regarding the draft amendments were rejected by the Duma, claiming that the new procedure for electing governors was "antidemocratic."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Former Bashkir Official Claims She Lost Job After Presidential Bid
Rimma Vodenko, the only female candidate for the Bashkir presidency in 2003 elections, visited Ufa on 6 December to meet with the local ethnic Tatar community, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Vodenko told RFE/RL that she was dismissed from her post as Bashkortostan's trade and economic affairs representative in Khanti-Mansi autonomous okrug following her presidential bid.

Vodenko expressed surprise that, unlike ethnic Tatars in Siberia, Tatars in Bashkortostan have little opportunity to see Tatarstan television or listen to Tatar radio via local cable networks.

Official Statistics Suggest Bashkirs Represent Second Major Ethnic Group In Bashkortostan
Data released by Bashkortostan's State Statistics Committee on 6 December based on the results of the 2002 national census indicates that 4.1 million people currently live in the republic. Russians reportedly compose the major ethnic group (1.49 million people), Bashkirs were the second-largest group at 1.221 million, and Tatars were the third-largest ethnic group with 990,000 people.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi