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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 4, 2003

4 November 2003
Duma Candidate Objects To Poster Of Tatar President
Irek Mortazin, former head of All-Russia State Television and Radio Company's (VGTRK) branch in Tatarstan and a former Tatar presidential spokesman, complained on 3 November to the republican Central Election Commission (TsIK) questioning the legality of a poster in Kazan depicting President Mintimer Shaimiev, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported, citing the 4 November issue of "Vechernyaya Kazan."

The poster is dedicated to the future Kazan millennium celebration in 2005 and has Shaimiev standing with Russian President Vladimir Putin with a caption saying "Favorite city."

Mortazin asked the TsIK to verify whether Shaimiev, as a member of Unified Russia's party list for the State Duma, permitted the use of his image for the poster or paid for the alleged political advertisement from his official campaign fund. He said that if the poster is in violation of election rules, it should be taken down.

Mortazin, currently head of the Russian state TV bureau in Minsk, Belarus, is running for the State Duma in the Privolzhkii voting district of Tatarstan as a member of Grigory Yavlinskii's Yabloko party.

Almost 50 Candidates To Dispute Five Single-Mandate Duma Seats
According to the Tatar TsIK's press service on 3 November, the TsIK has registered 48 candidates to dispute five State Duma seats for single-mandate voting districts. Seven applicants were denied registration, while 13 failed to submit the necessary documents, and seven applicants withdrew their applications before the registration deadline.

TIU Pledges Support To True Patriots Party
Tatar Public Center (TIU) leader Reshit Yegeferov told RFE/RL's Kazan bureau on 3 November that in the coming State Duma elections TIU will support the True Patriots of Russia Party led by Zaur Rajabov from Daghestan. The political organization formerly know as the Islamic Party has reportedly declared that the country's ethnic minorities are the true supporters of Russia's social, political, and economic revival.

People's Party Leader Fails To Draw Crowd In Kazan
Gennadii Troshev, Russian presidential adviser on Cossack affairs, former commander of Russia's armed forces in Chechnya, and No. 2 on the party list of Gennadii Raikov's People's Party, arrived in Kazan for a promotional visit on 3 November, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day. Despite its name, the party failed to gather more than 50 supporters in the Ak Bars conference hall. Most of those who came to meet with Troshev were elderly.

The People's Party has nominated three candidates in the single-mandate districts of Tatarstan: Sergei Shashurin, Selimkhan Ekhmetkhanov, and Flure Ziyatdinova, all of whom are already serving as Duma deputies.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

TsIK Rules Veremeenko's Exclusion From Presidential Race Is Illegal...
The Russian Central Election Commission (TsIK) annulled on 3 November the decision by the Bashkir Central Election Commission (CEC) refusing the registration of the former Mezhprombank head Sergei Veremeenko as a candidate in the Bashkir presidential elections, Russian news agencies reported. The TsIK said the Bashkir CEC must "immediately reconsider the issue on registration of Veremeenko as a presidential candidate." The decision by the TsIK was passed unanimously. On 27 October, the Bashkir CEC satisfied an appeal by another presidential candidate, Federation Council Senator Igor Izmestev, who claimed that Veremeenko had violated electoral law (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 28 October 2003).

Russian TsIK Chairman Aleksandr Veshnyakov told reporters the same day that Bashkortostan has become a record-holder in terms of appeals against violations during the current campaign, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 4 November. Veshnyakov said if the Bashkir CEC ignores the resolutions by the TsIK, the latter will register the candidates itself. He also said representatives of the TsIK will be sent to the republic to supervise the preparations for the elections, adding that in case violations take place, the Bashkir CEC could be dissolved through a court verdict, "Vedomosti" reported on 4 November.

...As Daily Reports That Rakhimov's Team Split Over Veremeenko
"Vedomosti" on 4 November cited an unidentified source close to Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov as saying that the president's electoral team is split between doves and hawks regarding the issue of Veremeenko's registration. The former considers it necessary to register Veremeenko as a candidate and let him "lose an open struggle," while the latter insists on excluding Veremeenko from the race. The daily also cited an unnamed source in the Russian presidential administration as saying that Aleksandr Voloshin's resignation as President Vladimir Putin's chief of staff means a loss for President Rakhimov of a "chief ally" in Moscow.

Presidential Candidates Will Not Face Language Exam
Bashkir CEC Chairman Baryi Kinjegulov told a press conference on 3 November that presidential candidates will not be required to pass a Bashkir-language exam, Russian agencies reported. Kinjegulov said that the republican Electoral Code does not contain any provision requiring that presidential candidates be able to speak Bashkir. In late September, Kinjegulov said that a special linguistic committee would be formed under the republican CEC to examine the Bashkir-language skills of presidential candidates (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 25 September 2003). The requirement of presidential candidates to speak both of the republic's state languages, Russian and Bashkir, is fixed in Article 86 of the Bashkir Constitution. Kinjegulov also said that ballots will be printed in three languages -- Russian, Bashkir, and Tatar -- for the December State Duma and presidential elections.

Sixty Candidates Registered For State Duma Elections
During the same press conference, Kinjegulov said 60 candidates for the State Duma elections have been registered in the republic's six single-mandate electoral districts and another three are contesting refusals to register them. Twenty-five candidates are running independently and 35 are running on party lists. Kinjegulov said that the federal budget has allocated 50 million rubles ($1.7 million) for elections in Bashkortostan. Of that sum, 70 percent will be spent on the salaries of election commission staff, while the remainder will be spent on printing ballot papers. Some 2.86 million voters currently reside in Bashkortostan.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova