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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 23, 2001

23 January 2001
CEC Reports First Violations of Presidential Campaign
Tatarstan�s Central Election Committee said on 22 January that none of the applicants for registration as presidential candidates had submitted the necessary 50,000 signatures required for registration. In addition, it reported various other violations of the election law, including bribing people during the signature collection process. Candidates so far include "Against crime and lawlessness� Dmitry Berdnikov from Kazan, an electrician from Alabuga Rafek Sadekov, the director of "Tatarstan" commercial company from Aznakay Marsel Salyamov, the secretary of Tatarstan�s Communist Party Robert Sadikov, State Duma deputies representing TR Ivan Grachev and Sergey Shashurin, pensioners Rustam Zigannurov, Akhtyam Kharisov and Samat Rizvanov, coordination council chairman at "Democratic Forces Union" Fedis Khasanov, deputy administration head in Yashel Uzen region Alexander Fyodorov, a driver from Archa region Samat Khashimov, an unemployed man from Zey region Valery Romanov, and the deputy chairman of moderate nationalist Tatar Public Center Ildus Sadikov. Rashit Suleymanov, a Kazan businessman, applied for registration at Tatarstan Central Election Committee as a presidential candidate on 22 January. Suleymanov is a fifteenth applicant so far, but the likely major rivals in the campaign -- incumbent president Mintimer Shaimiev and Russian deputy minister of agriculture Rafkat Altinbayev -- have not yet made any declarations of their intentions.

Estonian Ambassador Visits Kazan
Tatarstan's Deputy Trade Vasim Vakhitov received Estonian Ambassador to Moscow Tiit Matsulevich on 22 January to discuss trade between and through their republics. On the same visit, Matsulevich met the Executive Committee chairman of the World Congress of Tatars Indus Tahirov on 23 January to discuss the life of Tatar diaspora in Estonia and the Baltic region.

Volvo Buses to be Produced in Alabuga
Scan-Tat joint venture intends to begin production of Volvo buses in Alabuga free economic zone, Tatarstan media reported on 22 January. The republic's Cabinet of Ministers approved the project and pledged to purchase some 150 buses annually for the state-owned transport companies. But the YelAZ-GM joint venture already operating in Alabuga has not been successful in promoting its Chevrolet-Blazer vehicles at the Russian market nor in launching production of Opel-Vectras.

Bayramova Celebrates 50th Birthday
The leader of the Tatar nationalist movement, writer Fauzia Bayramova marked her 50th birthday in Chally's concert hall on 19 January, RFE\RL correspondent reported. Mayor Rashit Khamadeev attended the event to pass the greeting message from President Mintimer Shaimiev who said that "I want to mark your contribution to the processes of reviving the Tatar nation as a well known public activist and writer during the uneasy years for peoples of our Tatarstan Republic."

By Iskender Nurmi

President Continues to Expand His Commissions
President Murtaza Rakhimov has issued a decree allowing him to form, reorganizate and suppress ministries and agencies, the republic press reported. Until now, the Bashkir parliament had formed commissions to endorse such changes. Rakhimov's new decree also effectively repeals regulations asserting the supremacy of Bashkir legislation over federal laws.

Federal Inspector Raises Harmonization with Prosecutors
The chief federal inspector in Bashkortostan joined the meeting of republic prosecutors board to discuss law enforcement and harmonization of the republic's legislation with federal laws, Bashinform agency reported on 23 January. He said that it was essential to found a board on republic security and a board of federal agencies working in BR within his office.

Bashkir President Meets Italian Delegation
President Murtaza Rakhimov met the representatives of Italian agricultural machinery and light industry producers Ufa on 20 January to discuss resumption in cooperation between Bashkir and Italian firms.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Russia Visits Ufa
Bashkir PM Rafael Baydavletov met the Ukrainian Ambassador Nikolay Belobotsky, "Izvestia Bashkortostana" reported on 23 January. Baydavletov told Belobotsky that some 75,000 Ukrainians live in Bashkortostan and that seven of the ten Ukrainian language schools now operating in Russia were in his republic. Belobotsky thanked the Bashkir side for creating "favorable living conditions for Ukrainian diaspora." The two also discussed Ukraine's debts to Bashkortostan for oil delivered in 1993-94.

By Iskender Nurmi