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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 29, 2003

29 October 2003
Meeting Of Entrepreneurs Held In Chally
A republican congress of entrepreneurs opened on 28 October in Chally, reported the same day. Over 400 businessmen, President Mintimer Shaimiev, Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov, and representatives of the Tatar government attended the forum to discuss improvements in small businesses and agriculture, financial and investment support for small businesses, cooperation between small and large businesses, and the developing infrastructure of farmers' self-government. The congress, initiated by Tatarstan's Agency on the Development of Entrepreneurship, hopes to ease Tatarstan's transition from an economy based on fuel and energy to one based on high-tech industry.

Seleznev Expresses Support For Cyrillic-Only Law
During his visit to Kazan on 24 October, State Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev expressed his support for the federal law proclaiming Cyrillic as the mandatory script for all state languages in Russia. The law was adopted to prevent changing the Tatar language to a Latin script (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 18 November and 12 December 2002), RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 27 October. Tatarstan State Council Speaker Farid Mukhametshin disagreed with Seleznev, saying Tatarstan and the Tatar people should be permitted choose their own alphabet. He added that the republic plans to raise the issue again soon.

Russia's Internal Troops, Emergency Forces Train In Kazan
Periodical training of the commanders of the Russian Interior Ministry's troops started on 28 October at the Tatar Interior Ministry's training center, Tatar agencies reported the same day. Chief Commander General Vyacheslav Tikhomirov is heading the training. Police from six CIS countries will join the event, which goes until 31 October. A special training session will be held to model an attack on a guarded object from a body of water. The same day, Russian Emergency Situations Ministry employees from 22 regions of the Volga and Ural federal districts gathered in Kazan to take part in regular training aimed at improving cooperation between civil defense bodies. They are also scheduled to practice rescue work in road accidents and to organize antiterrorist measures.

International Green Cross Head Visits Tatarstan
International Green Cross President Aleksandr Likhotal arrived in Tatarstan on 28 October to focus on environmental standards for companies in the republic and other environmental issues, Tatar-inform,, and RosBalt reported the same day. On 28 October, Likhotal visited KamAZ and Tatneft. Today he will meet with Prime Minister Minnikhanov and the heads of the Economy and Industry Ministry. The International Green Cross, founded in 1993 by former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, develops programs to defend values common to all people, promotes biodiversity, the resolution of environmental issues, and seeks to eliminate the consequences of violent conflicts.

KamAZ Team Wins Desert Challenge Rally
A KamAZ-master crew headed by Vladimir Chagin has won a stage in the Desert Challenge off-road rally in the United Arab Emirates on a KamAZ 4911, Tatar-inform reported on 28 October. This is KamAZ's fifth consecutive stage victory in the Desert Challenge.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Parliament Approves Draft Republican Budget
Bashkortostan's State Assembly went into session on 28 October to consider the draft republican budget for 2004, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. According to the document presented by Finance Minister Ayrat Geskerov, the budget incomes are expected to reach 35.2 billion rubles ($1.2 billion), while the expenses are projected at the same amount, thus ensuring a zero deficit. Deputies voted to pass the draft budget in the first reading.

Ufa Authorities Making Progress On Tax Collection
Ufa mayor Pavel Kachkaev told a city government meeting on 28 October that 4 billion rubles ($133 million) have been collected in taxes by the Bashkir authorities so far in 2003, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. More than 44 percent of payments to the city reportedly came in taxes from local industries, whose production rose by 8 percent compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, 75 percent of Ufa's industries, mostly in the oil-refining business, have doubled their profits so far this year.

Veremeenko Vows To Continue Fighting For Bashkir Presidency
Sergei Veremeenko, the former head of MezhPromBank, held a press conference in Moscow on 28 October to comment on the recent ruling of the Bashkir Central Election Commission (CEC), which has denied him registration as a presidential candidate because of alleged violations of electoral law (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 28 October 2003), reported. Veremeenko stated his intention to dispute the CEC decision in the republic's Supreme Court. He also emphasized that he "is not going to withdraw his candidacy from the vote, as hundreds of thousands people stood behind it in Bashkortostan."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi