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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 1, 2003

1 September 2003
Turkish Finance Minister Promotes Bilateral Investments
Turkish Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan on 29-30 August visited Kazan and discussed mutual investment projects in Turkey and Tatarstan, reported. On 29 August, Unakitan met behind closed doors with Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and held talks with Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov. At a press conference following the meeting with Shaimiev, Unakitan said that Tatarstan, which exports 3.5 million tons of oil a year to Turkey, could take part in the privatization of petrochemical companies in Turkey. In Tatarstan, he said, joint Turkish-Tatar ventures on the production of construction materials could be established. Unakitan also said that Minnikhanov is scheduled to visit Turkey in the near future. He said that he had agreed with the Tatar leaders that bilateral trade turnover is to be doubled.

Days Of Chelyabinsk Oblast Held In Tatarstan
President Shaimiev and Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor Petr Sumin signed on 29 August a memorandum on cooperation between the two regions, Tatar agencies reported. The event came as a part of the Days Of Chelyabinsk Oblast festival in Tatarstan held on 28-30 August. During the visit of the Chelyabinsk delegation, 133 protocols on cooperation between companies from the oblast and the republic were signed. The two leaders said they were satisfied with the development of trade and economic relations under the 2001 bilateral treaty on trade, economic, scientific, technical, and cultural cooperation. In the two years since the treaty was signed, the Tatarstan-based KamAZ automotive concern, the Kransyi Vostok brewery, the Kazankompressormash compressor plant, and the Kazanorgsintez chemical plant have doubled their exports to Chelyabinsk, while the Tatar oil company Tatneft has constructed five filling stations in the region. Annual bilateral trade turnover increased to some 3 billion rubles ($98 million). Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the two leaders were critical of their relations with Moscow. Approximately 40 percent of taxes from the regions goes to the federal budget.

Republic Marks Anniversary Of Sovereignty Declaration
In his holiday greeting to the republic on the 13th anniversary of the declaration of Tatarstan's state sovereignty on 30 August, President Shaimiev said the republic's achievements had proved that they had made the right decision. Shaimiev stressed the importance of democratic federal relations and said federalism had become for the Tatar people a symbol of free development and respect for the interests and rights of people. Festivities were held at more than 20 sites in Kazan.

Tatarstan Warship Becomes Flagship Of Caspian Fleet
A warship named "Tatarstan" was officially accepted on 31 August as the flagship of the Caspian Fleet, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported the same day, citing Interfax. "Tatarstan" was built one year ago at the Yeshel Uzen Shipbuilding Plant.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan To Open Trade Representation In Turkey
A Bashkir delegation led by Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov met with Turkish politicians and business leaders on 28 August at the Izmir International Trade Fair in the west of the country, reported, citing Bashinform. During the meeting, Baydavletov met with Turkish Industry and Trade Minister Ali Coskun and agreed on opening a Bashkir trade representation office in Turkey. The two sides signed a protocol on expanding trade and economic cooperation in oil extraction, oil refining, agriculture, machine building, construction, textiles, and the food industry.

University Rector Says Entrance Exams Show Dubious Results
Bayazit Galimov, a vice rector at the Bashkir State University, told reporters on 29 August that the introduction of a single state examination, which is soon to replace entry examinations for higher education institutions across Russia, has "already shown dubious results," an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Galimov said that "some of the students gained more than 100 points in mathematics, which is virtually impossible, even for the university professors." The exam was introduced to prevent corruption in the university entry procedure. Galimov added that "there must be a leak of information." The vice rector also commented on the growing demand for higher education in Bashkortostan. In 2002, he said, for every university place there were six applicants; in 2003, the number has increased to seven.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi