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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 21, 2003

21 March 2003
Federal Envoy Praises Tatarstan's Economic Development...
During a visit to Kazan on 20 March presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District Sergei Kirienko said that Tatarstan's economic growth was not only due to its oil revenues, "but also to the investments into scientific research, because otherwise it would be hard to maintain stable profits" from high-density Tatar oil, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 21 March. President Mintimer Shaimiev, accompanying his guest, agreed with Kirienko's statement about the need to reduce the Russian economy's dependence on world oil prices. Also on 20 March, Kirienko and Shaimiev signed a memorandum on organizing a forum titled "Strategy of Regional Development," which is to gather experts from all regions of the Volga Federal District in Kazan in July 2003.

...And Praises Tatarstan's Counterterrorism Measures
Chairing a meeting of the Tatar government devoted to extra measures against terrorism in the republic on 20 March, Kirienko said that vigilance tests held by federal special services revealed that Tatarstan is "much better prepared for terrorist acts than the average region of Russia or the Volga Federal District." However, he noted that none of the potential targets of terrorism were fully protected, "because we always used to prepare ourselves for a different kind of war."

Protest Against War In Iraq Fails To Draw Big Crowd In Kazan
Tatarstan's Antinuclear Society, local branches of the Communist and Narodnaya Volya parties, the Tatar Public Center, and the Tatar People's Front for human right and the republic's sovereignty held a demonstration against the war in Iraq in front of the main building of Kazan State University on 20 March, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Although the location chosen for holding the event is usually crowded with students, only some 50 people joined the meeting, during which the Russian government was urged to sever diplomatic relations with the United States in the wake of its actions in Iraq.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Czech Skoda Plans To Participate In Construction Of Bashpolimer
The Czech Skoda company is seeking to participate in the construction of the Bashpolimer polyether complex in Blagoveshchensk, RosBalt reported on 20 March, citing company managers. Skoda representatives were part of a Czech business delegation visiting Ufa. On 19 March, Bashkir Deputy Prime Minister Ramil Mirseev and delegation leader Czech Deputy Finance Minister Ladislav Zelinka signed a protocol specifying priority cooperation directions, including construction and production of construction materials, modernization of chemical and petrochemical facilities, introduction of new technologies in agriculture, interbank cooperation, transport, pharmacy, and tourism. According to the document, the sides are to develop specific cooperation proposals within 30 days. Zelinka said the Czech side is interested in the establishment of joint ventures, including the one on construction of Bashpolimer.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova