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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 28, 2003

28 October 2003
Shaimiev Lauds Putin's Participation In OIC Meeting
Tatarstan's Muslim Religious Board (MDI), which includes Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, met on 27 October with representatives of Tatarstan's Muslim communities, Tatar-inform reported the same day. MDI Chairman Mufti Gosman Iskhaqov and other Muslim leaders were in attendance. Shaimiev told reporters after the meeting that Russia's Muslims had praised the recent gestures the Russian leadership had made toward them. Taking into account the multinational and multiconfessional nature of the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin made a politically important step by participating in the 10th session of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Shaimiev said. He added that the event was an advantage not only for Russia but for the entire Islamic world. He said Tatarstan's two major faiths, Orthodoxy and Islam, have experienced friendship and concord for centuries. Shaimiev said that, even in troubled times, the leaders of the two faiths always called for people to be calm, show self-control, and be understanding of each other.

Tatar Banks Rising In Popularity
Tatarstan's National Bank Chairman Yevgenii Bogachev said at a meeting of the Tatar Bank Association that the republic's banks had attracted 72.9 billion rubles ($2.4 billion) in the first nine months of the year, some 34 percent up from the previous year, reported on 27 October. Bogachev said that Tatarstan's banks were the best in the Volga Federal District. Bogachev cited the results of a National Bank survey of 122 of the republic's companies, according to which 74 percent of them are clients of republican banks. In Russia, the average is around 60 percent. According to the survey, 85 percent of the companies surveyed believe bank services in Tatarstan are of fair to good accessibility. Some 65 percent of Tatar companies trust the republic's banks, while in Russia that rate is around 57 percent, Bogachev said.

Tatar Companies Win Tender On Pipeline Construction
The Elmet-based Tatneftegazstroi and Kazan-based Ai-Es-Vi-Intertreid have won a tender on the construction of the Transnefteprodukt's Subkhankulovo-Elmet pipeline, RIA-Novosti reported on 27 October. The companies were chosen because they proposed the most suitable conditions regarding the term and cost of the construction and have sufficient financial and technical experience, the tender authorities said. The construction will begin in December. The pipeline will be 167 kilometers long, 140 kilometers of that is in Tatarstan's territory. The agreement on the construction of the Andreevka-Cherkassy(Ufa)-Subkhankulovo-Elmet pipeline between Transnefteprodukt and the Tatar government was signed in November 2002. The project is a part of the Andreevka-Ufa-Subkhankulovo-Elmet-Nizhnii Novgorod (Kstovo) pipeline passing through Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Chavashia, and the Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

CEC Denies Registration For Veremeenko As Presidential Candidate...
Bashkortostan's Central Election Commission (CEC) on 27 October officially denied registration as a presidential candidate to Sergei Veremeenko, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The CEC explained its decision by citing what it called a number of campaign violations committed by the former top manager of the St.-Petersburg-based Mezhprombank during his campaign. Veremeenko is said to have spent more than $430,000 extra on his political campaign in addition to the $2.17 million available in the official campaign fund. He exceeded the fund's capacity by far more than 5 percent which, according to election laws, allows the CEC to deny him registration.

The CEC reportedly considered Veremeenko's case upon the appeal of another presidential candidate, Igor Izmestiev, who is a Russian Federation senator representing Bashkortostan and the former director of the Corus-Holding company, a subsidiary of the Corus Group (controlled by the son of Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov, Ural). Izmestiev is considered to be close to President Rakhimov, and on 23 October Russian Interior Ministry investigators searched Izmestiev's office as part of an investigation into an alleged tax-evasion case by Bashkir oil refineries. The Corus-Baikonur company is reported to have been used to register the Bashkir oil refineries in the Baikonur off-shore zone in Kazakhstan (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 24 October 2003).

...While Veremeenko Plans To Oppose The Ruling...
Speaking at an urgently called news conference in Ufa on 27 October, Veremeenko spokesperson Aleksandr Koval confirmed his candidate's intentions to appeal the CEC ruling within two days, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Koval clamed that Izmestiev's statements about Veremeenko's violations "were not backed by any proof" and therefore the case will be easy for Veremeenko's lawyers to defend.

Relif Safin, Altai's senator in the Russian Federation Council and the former vice president of LUKOil, is the only presidential candidate out of 10 that has been officially registered.

...Which He Considers A Provocation
Speaking at the same conference, Sergei Veremeenko called the CEC's decision "a provocation." He noted that "we were ready for such developments, understanding that the election campaign will by no means pass without provocations."

Veremeenko also claimed that the Bashkir government is using the same tactics against him that were used during the 1998 presidential campaign in Bashkortostan. He said that in that election all of Rakhimov's main rivals kept from competing in the election due to different official reasons, and Bashkir Timber Industry Minister Rif Qazakulov was the only alternative to incumbent President Rakhimov.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi