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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 2, 2001

2 January 2001
Shaimiev Praise RFE\RL Role inTatarstan
In his interview with RFE\RL correspondents in Kazan on 1 January, President Mintimer Shaimiev said that "people of Russia have only begunt to understand the meaning of liberty. We used to learn what freedom is from Radio Liberty, although it was hard to tune it in. Since we gained freedoms for our people, I wish that in future they will be secured and there would be no infringements on human rights by anyone. This is my biggest wish. May be for people living in developed democratic societies this is not something new, but these recent achievements are of great value for us."

TPC Hold First Protest Activities Of 2001
The moderate nationalist Tatar Public Center held a protest meeting at Soltangaliyev Square in Kazan on 2 January. Participants condemned what they called "the colonialist policy" of Moscow aimed on limiting the rights of ethnic republics. The meeting also protested against the new Russian passports to be issued in Tatarstan as a violation of the rights of different peoples because these documents feature numerous Orthodox symbols. TPC members also protested against the new Russian anthem for being "pro-Soviet and pro-Communist."

Tatarstan Aircraft Licensed by Moscow
The Tu-214 aircraft produced by Tupolev Aircraft Company and Kazan Aircraft Plant obtained the official flight certification by Moscow on 29 December. According to KAP experts,the new aircraft is capable of flying at maximum distance of 7200 kilometers while consuming 40% less of fuel than older Tu-154 model. Twenty Russian air companies hav e applied for leasing contracts with Tupolev plant.

KamAZ To Produce APCs
KamAZ automotive works will begin production of armored personnel carriers in 2001, the company's press service reported on 30 December. The new APC will be a modified version of KamAZ-4326 4- wheel drive truck, cheaper and more universal than existing Russian APCs. The new line will also help to lower the unemployment figures in Chally.

By Iskender Nurmi

President Rakhimov's New Year Greeting
In his New Year's greeting released on 31 December, President Murtaza Rakhimov said that "the majority of Russia's peoples occupied a lasting position on the arena of world history... in the expiring millenium", emphasizing that, "previous centuries formed the indissoluble historical unity of Russia and Bashkortostan." He noted that Russia's greatest achievement in 20th centurty was "saving the world from the terrible threat for humankind - fascism." He also praised the "positive changes" that took place in Russia in 2000 -- "the projected rise of economy, strengthening statehood, [and] improving situation in the spiritual area." He said he was "sure that Russian would successfully develop as a legal, democratic, federative state where the interests of all peoples, center and the regions are harmoniously combined. Bashkortostan always was and always will be a reliable stronghold of our Fatherland [Russia]."

As for Bashkortostan itself, Rakhimov stressed that "we envisage growth virtually in all branches of industry, our agricultural producers did a good job, social programs are being implemented in full volume. 2000 brought new achievements in science, education and culture." In his words "the republic is celebrating the New Year with the renewed Constitution, in conditions of stability, inter-ethnic consent and mutual understanding, solidarity and creation." Referring to the recent Congress of Bashkortostan's Peoples Assembly, the president said that it was "characterized by the spirit of friendship and cooperation, care about ethnic cultures development."

Russia's Problems Become Bashkortostan's Problems
Chief of the Analytic Department in Bashkir presidential staff Amir Yuldashbayev on 30 December summed up the results of republic's development in 2000 by saying that "we managed to preserve the agriculture, we managed to pay wages to our people...But of course there are some problems [because] weare not separated from Russia by some Great Chinese Wall."

Oppositionists Comment Note Achievement, Shortcomings
Tatar Public Center chairman in Bashkortostan Ayrat Giniyatullin told RFE\RL correspondent in Ufa on that 2000 "was not easy for Tatars in Bashkortostan." He said that the Tatars of BR had expected that the legal harmonization process initiated by Moscow would solve their problems, but this has "not come true yet, because the laws adjustment process is not over."

Tatarstan Parliamentary Speaker On Tatar-Bashkir Friendship
In his interview with RFE\RL correspondent in Ufa broadcast on 30 December, Tatarstan State Council chairman Farit Mukhametshin wished all the best to the Bashkir people and underlined the importance of friendly relations between his republic and Bashkortostan. He said, "there might be some people who are willing to plant distrust among our two peoples, but our leaders valued the present friendly relations, let our two peoples live in brotherly relations in future."

Bashneft Not Interested In New Oil Extraction Method
Bashkortostan Academician Asgat Gumerov told the local media on 30 December that Bashneft Oil Company had failed to introduce new oil extraction techniques recently developed by the republic's scientists. The method, which is already used by West Siberia oil companies, allows to extract extra 190-270 tons of oil with the help of one ton of reagent substance.

By Iskender Nurmi