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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 20, 2001

20 February 2001
Shaimiev Explains His Power-Sharing Concept
In an interview published in "Izvestia" on 19 February President Mintimer Shaimiev argued that "Russia's power and strength are in the strength and independence of the regions. Stability of the state can only be ensured by the diversity and not blind unification."

Opposition Upset by Muslim Leader's Support of Shaimiev
The Roundtable of opposition parties in Tatarstan on 19 February condemned Muslim Religious Board head Gusman khazret Iskhaqi for voicing his support for incumbent President Mintimir Shaimiev's reelection. The opposition said that Iskhaqi had no right to promote any candidate. Iskhaqi told Efir TV that his remarks were his personal opinion.

Shaimiev Visits Oil Refinery
President Mintimir Shamiev on 19 February visited the construction site of the republic�s first of oil-refinery.

Nationalists Speak Out Against Air Strikes On Iraq...
The Chally branch of the Tatar Public Center on 19 February issued an open letter to the US President George W. Bush and British PM Tony Blair accusing them of "state terrorism" for their air strikes against Baghdad.

...As KamAZ Resumes Trade With Baghdad
KamAZ automotive works general director Ivan Kostin told ITAR-TASS on 19 February that his company has begun the delivery of Tatarstan-produced heavy trucks to Iraq within the framework of UN sanctions on Baghdad. KamAZ sold 500 trucks to Iraq in 2000 and expects to sell 1000 this year.

Tatar Interior Officers Return From Chechnya
A group of 100 Tatarstan militia officers have returned from service in Chechnya with no losses. By the end of March, some 415 additional Tatar policemen are to be sent to that republic.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan To Cooperate with Chechnya
The Bashkir foreign affairs ministry told agency on 19 February that a Chechen delegation will come to Ufa in March in order to discuss expanding cooperation and the opening of a Chechen trade office in the Bashkortostan capital.

Industrial Wastes An Increasing Problem
The state environmental protection committee on 19 February said that the situation in Bashkortostan remains extremely critical because recycling facilities are unable to handle the volume of waste now being generated.

HIV Positives Increase in Republic
The number of people testing positive for HIV increased to 643 last week, the health ministry announced on 19 February.

Sweden Provides Humanitarian Assistance
The Swedish Red Cross has sent Bashkortostan more than 20 tons of second-hand footwear, Bashinform reported. But Bashkir Red Cross chairman Yuri Semenov told the agency that even this amount is insufficient to meet the needs of the poor in the republic.

Agricultural Machinery Fair Begins In Ufa
The Agro 2001 international agricultural machinery fair began in Ufa on 20 February. More than 200 manufacturers from around the world are represented.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi