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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 30, 2003

30 July 2003
Estimates Differ On Unified Russia's Popularity In Tatarstan
The political council of the Tatar branch of the Unified Russia party met on 29 July to discuss establishing executive bodies of local party departments, the payment of party fees, and fundraising, Tatar-inform reported the same day. The leader of the Tatar branch of the party, Yurii Nejmiev, told the meeting that the branch will hold a conference on 24 August to elect delegates for the party's upcoming congress and discuss the party's electoral program. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 30 July cited Nejmiev as saying that 48.3 percent of voters will support Unified Russia in the December State Duma elections and 54.7 percent in Tatar State Council elections. According to Nejmiev, the Communist Party have a support rating of 13.6 percent in the republic. The daily also quoted Tatar State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin as saying that 34 percent of the republic's electorate backs Unified Russia. Meanwhile, Midkhet Faruqshin, co-chairman of the Party of Life in Tatarstan, said that those figures are inaccurate. He said that Unified Russia has less than 20 percent of support, while the Communist Party is trailing by about 2 percent. The daily also cited local analysts who said that not all of the 42,000 members in the republic's branch of Unified Russia will vote for the party since many of them, especially state employees, were forced to join the party.

Antidrug Body Established In Tatarstan
A territorial directorate of the Russian state committee on the supervision of drugs and psychotropic substances has been established in Tatarstan, Tatar-inform reported on 29 July. At a cabinet briefing the same day, the head of the directorate, Tax Police Major General Shamil Dewletgildiev was introduced. The directorate is charged with investigating drug trafficking and will also supervise the legal regulation of narcotics and fighting drug addiction. The Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service will also be responsible for those issues.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Liberal-Democratic Deputy To Run For Bashkir President
Aleksei Mitrofanov, a State Duma deputy representing the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, is planning to run for the Bashkir presidency in 7 December elections, Interfax reported on 29 July. Mitrofanov issued a statement saying that the only way to improve Bashkortostan's economic and political situation is to "change the existing system and fully reconstruct it." The deputy director of the Center for Political Technologies, Dmitrii Orlov, told "Vremya novostei" on 30 July that Mitrofanov has a "minimum" chance.

Rakhimov, Rossel Sign Cooperation Agreement
Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel and visiting Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov signed on 29 July in Yekaterinburg an agreement on trade, economic, scientific, technical, social, and cultural cooperation between the two entities, Bashinform reported the same day. Rakhimov thanked Rossel for his help in setting up Bashkortostan's plenipotentiary representation in Sverdlovsk Oblast, which will allow "closer relations in different spheres and broaden economic and cultural cooperation." Bashkortostan, Rakhimov said, "cannot imagine itself outside the Urals, although it was included in the Volga Federal District." Visiting Uralmash the same day, Rakhimov said Bashkortostan is ready to sign large contracts with companies from the middle Urals, adding that their details will be negotiated by joint working groups, RIA-Novosti reported.

Opposition Tax Official Files Defamation Suit Against Rakhimov
Head of the Bashkir Tax Ministry Aleksandr Veremeenko will file a lawsuit against President Rakhimov to defend his honor, dignity, and business reputation, RosBalt reported on 29 July. Artur Kheiretdinov, the head of the ministry's legal department, said that the move came in reaction to a letter Rakhimov gave to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their recent meeting. According to Veremeenko, the letter was "defamatory" and "insulted his honor, dignity, and business reputation." The document is supposed to contain financial misdemeanors committed by Veremeenko in his previous official positions and was meant to facilitate his dismissal.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova