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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 14, 2001

14 March 2001
Moscow Officials Back Shaimiev for Re-election
Russian emergencies minister Sergei Shoigu and Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko have come out in support of the reelection of Tatarstan President Mintimir Shaimiev, Interfax-Eurasia reported on 13 March. Shoigu said the incumbent Tatar leader was "a politician on the federal scale, one of the most vivid personalities on the political stage of the Russian Federation." Matviyenko added that senior officials inevitably took Shaimiev's ideas and opinions into consideration.

Klebanov Optimistic about Aircraft Industry
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov told Tatarinform on his arrival to Kazan on 13 March that Kazan Aircraft Plant would benefit from its participation in the new "Russia" air consortium. He added that Moscow will endorse the resolution on state support to aircraft leasing projects with domestic producers. In other comments, he said the Russian aircraft might be leased abroad as well.

Sixty Percent of Republic Farms Now Self-Sufficient
Agriculture minister Marat Akhmetov told a seminar attended by President Mintimir Shaimiev that 60 percent of the republic's farms are now financially self-sufficient, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 13 March. He called for merging weaker and bankrupt ones to make them self-standing as well.

Drug Addiction Increases
Tatarstan's senior anti-drug official Valeriy Sokolov said on 13 March that the number of addicts in the republic had risen "catastrophically" during the last year with 2726 now being registered. He said that the actual figure of illegal drug users may be as high as 120,000. Despite this, many doctors in the republic don't have the necessary expertise to combat this plague, he said.

Kazan Prepares for Floods
Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shvetsov said on 13 March that 28 of Tatarstan�s 42 regions face the risk of flooding this spring. The republic has allotted 800,000 rubles ($25,000) for preparations.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Named to Russian State Council Presidium
President Murtaza Rakhimov was named by Russian President Vladimir Putin to serve on the Russian State Council presidium, an RFE\RL correspondent reported from Ufa on 13 March.

Chechen War Veterans Seek Social Security Assistance
Former soldiers who served in Chechnya are seeking additional support from local officials, and Bashkir officials had said they will supply them with special help to obtain apartments, jobs, and university placement, just as Ufa did with Afghan veterans 20 years ago.

Healthcare System To Be Reformed
Senior Bashkir officials met on 13 March to consider reform of the republic's healthcare system. Health Minister Saniya Shagarova called for a gradual shift to free market principles in the sector.

Bashkortostan Deputy Promotes Environmental Protection
The Russian State Duma deputy representing Bashkortostan Rim Bakiyev organized parliamentary hearings on a draft bill that would preserve the sea resources of Arctic region from pollution, Bashinform reported on 13 March. He called for "more thorough monitoring of the conditions in vulnerable Arctic ecological systems, which demanded serious attention."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi