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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 9, 2002

9 July 2002
Regional Leaders Meet With Russian President
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev took part in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders of the Volga Federal District on 8 July in Saransk, Mordovia, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Putin said that it was necessary to adopt proper legislation regarding the power to dismiss regional leaders whose actions or negligence lead to crises, to which Shaimiev said that, "At the present time, [federal] judicial and prosecution bodies are the ones grossly exceeding their jurisdiction" and putting regional governments under excessive pressure. Putin replied, saying that in all cases of such violations, the Tatar president and other Volga Federal District leaders should appeal directly to him.

During the meeting, Putin also backed Shaimiev's proposal that domestic car manufacturers should get more state support, and he said that import tariffs on used cars should be increased, Russia's state-run RTR television reported yesterday.

Putin also agreed with Shaimiev's suggestion that oil deposits should be more strictly controlled in order to prevent the exhaustion of wells because of quick extraction.

Tatar President Says Moscow-Minsk Union 'Hardly Possible'
President Shaimiev told Interfax on 8 July that the principles of a Russia-Belarus union that were stated in the treaty signed by Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka are practically impossible to implement. He said that such a union would be possible only if Belarus agreed to become a subject of the Russian Federation with rights similar to those of other ethnically based republics. Shaimiev added that this is hardly possible, since Belarus is not likely to give up its sovereignty.

Minnikhanov Says Kama Bridge To Be Finished This Year...
Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov inspected on 6 July the site where a bridge is being built over the Kama River in Saeskan Tau, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported yesterday. Minnikhanov said that the bridge, which is to be a part of a northwest-southeast thoroughfare in the republic, is to be completed by 19 October. The project began about a decade ago, though work increased in the late 1990s. It is being funded by both the federal and republican budgets.

...And Promotes Market-Oriented Farming
After visiting the experimental fields of Tatarstan's Agricultural Scientific Research Institute on 8 July, Minnikhanov said that, "From now on, we'll have to get used to using the latest innovations in the agricultural industry and carry out self-sufficient commercial projects [instead of getting] direct subsidies from the state," RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. Minnikhanov added that the Tatar government will seek $1 million for the institute to repair its equipment, Tatar-inform reported.

Tatar Youth Festival Continues
Delegates at the Days of Tatar Youth festival that began in Kazan on 6 July, met yesterday with leaders of the World Tatar Congress, officials from the Tatar Education and Culture ministries, and leaders of the republic's Muslim Religious Board to discuss the survival of Tatar communities outside Tatarstan (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 8 July 2002).

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Memorial Service Held In Ufa For Crash Victims
The remains of 33 victims who perished in a mid-air collision over southern Germany on 1 July were brought back to Bashkortostan on 8 July, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported the same day (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2, 8 July 2002). A memorial service was held on Sovetskii Square in central Ufa where Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov, Education Minister Galiya Mukhamedyanova, and head of the Russian Central Muslim Religious Board Talgat Tajuddin spoke in commemoration of the victims of the crash, the majority of whom were children and residents of Bashkortostan.

Putin Makes Stop In Ufa For Memorial Service
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Ufa on 8 July to lay flowers at the graves of 27 of the 1 July crash victims who were buried at Ufa's Yuzhnoe cemetery the same day, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported today. Putin also met with members of the victims' families.

UNESCO To Commemorate Crash Victims
First Vice President of the association of United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization chapters of Russia Yurii Borsikhin told a press conference in Ufa on 8 July that UNESCO will hold an international assembly in Ufa in memory of the victims of the 1 July crash, several of whom had received awards for reports they had submitted to UNESCO, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported today. He added that UNESCO is planning to publish the reports of Bashkir children who were killed in the crash.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi