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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 23, 2003

23 October 2003
Shaimiev Takes Vacation Before Duma Campaign
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev announced on 22 October at a press conference that he is taking a vacation in order to prepare himself for the December elections for the Russian State Duma, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. Shaimiev, along with the Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov, Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Moscow mayor Yurii Luzhkov is running on Unified Russia's party list. Under federal law, Shaimiev is prohibited from combining his presidential responsibilities with political campaigning. Until the 7 December vote, Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov will hold presidential powers.

Shaimiev said at the press conference that "some people say that Russia's president has all of the power and he is ruling single-handedly, but as a matter of fact we are the ones who are giving him this power. Who else should govern, if not a single party that has managed to take on responsibilities on behalf of the voters that supported it?"

The Tatar president rejected rumors of his plans to step down and said that "after the elections I will resume my work in Tatarstan."

Shaimiev Reveals His Income
According to, President Shaimiev on 22 October reported an annual income of some $38,000 and 525,034 rubles ($17,500) in savings in his Sberbank account. Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov declared to tax authorities an annual income of more than $39,000. Rakhimov's account at UralSib bank reportedly contains more than $100,000.

Government Meets The Media Before Duma Elections
Parliamentary speaker Farid Mukhametshin told a journalists' seminar organized by the TatMedia agency on 22 October that "according to sociological data, on the eve of December Duma elections Tatarstan has a traditionally stable political situation, including interethnic tolerance and stable economic development," Intertat reported the same day. Deputy Prime Minister Zile Welieva said during the seminar that one of the major tasks for the republican media before the elections is to convince people of the necessity of taking part.

Chally Boasts Large Unified Russia Representation In Tatarstan
Speaking at a party conference on 22 October, Rimma Rizvanova, chief executive of the Chally branch of Unified Russia, said her branch has some 8,000 members, Intertat reported. Delegates at the conference voted to expand the party's political council from 15 to 21 members and elected Vasil Kayumov, deputy general director of the KamAZ automotive concern, as its secretary.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Ten Remain In Presidential Race
Nine candidates remain in the running with incumbent Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov in the 7 December presidential elections, "Kommersant" reported on 23 October. Ten of the 20 people who had announced their entry in the race submitted the required number of signatures or sum of money to the republic's Central Election Commission (TsIK). They include Rakhimov, former Mezhprombank head Sergei Veremeenko, Federation Council representative from Altai Republic Relif Safin, former State Duma Deputy Aleksandr Arinin, and the Bashkir Communist Party's candidate, Resul Shugurov. The names of the others are not available.

The republic's election code sets one of the highest registration fees in Russia, 9.75 million rubles ($324,000) compared to 4.5 million rubles in Moscow. On the other hand, donations that can be contributed to candidates' election funds are very small -- 10,000 rubles for individuals and 200,000 rubles for legal persons, while candidates themselves may donate to their election funds no more than 1 million rubles.

UralSib Denies Report Of Selling Controlling Interest
The UralSib press service officially denied a report about a controlling interest in the bank being sold to the NIKoil financial corporation published by "Vedomosti" on 21 October, Russian agencies reported on 22 October. The bank considers the article in the daily to be a special action against UralSib, the statement read. It said the bank is preparing to file a criminal complaint on publication of untrue information about the bank that harm its reputation and discredit the bank before its contractors. NIKoil also denied the report about purchasing UralSib.

Energy Sector Representatives Propose To Keep Heating, Energy Tariffs Level
Participants in the Russian energy forum being held in Ufa on 22 October passed a resolution saying heat and electricity tariffs could stay level for at least three years if fuel prices are frozen, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Bashkir regional Energy Commission head Midkhet Shakirov told the forum that tariffs have not risen in the republic for two years and only followed inflation. Such a policy resulted in the growth of production efficiency, Shakirov said. The forum was organized by the Russian Energy Ministry and Unified Energy Systems' Ural branch Uralenergo.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova