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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 15, 2001

15 March 2001
Iranian President Visits Tatarstan
President Mohammad Khatami is due to arrive in Kazan on 15 March to meet with Tatarstan President Mintimir Shaimiev and discuss bilateral cooperation in the oil sector. He reportedly will also discuss purchasing Tatarstan-produced aircraft and trucks. And Khatami is scheduled to visit the Marjani mosque, one of the oldest in the city.

KamAZ Drops Resellers
The KamAZ board, with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov and Tatarstan President Mintimir Shaimiev in attendance on 14 March decided to drop 36 small reselling companies it had set up in the early 1990s but which are now loss-making and a burden.

SPS Backs Shaimiev
The SPS Coordinating Council in Tatarstan said on 14 March that its party will support President Mintimir Shaimiev for reelection. The party said that it wanted the president to abolish "the legal and economic border between Tatarstan and Russia, reform the political system in accord with democratic principles, and ensure true freedom for entrepreneurs regardless of whether they are related to the authorities."

Federal Rep Monitors Preparations For Presidential Vote
Russian CEC official Yevgeniy Kolyushin is in Tatarstan to monitor preparations for the upcoming elections. He will meet with candidates and their advisors and also check polling places, officials said.

Bashkir Muslims Study Tatarstan Experience
A group of Bashkir Muslim leaders under the direction of Mufti Nurmukhammat khazret Nigmatulla completed its visit to Tatarstan to learn about Tatarstan's experience in settin gup a single Muslim religious board.

Per Minute Telephone Charge Suit Reaches High Court
Tatarstan's Supreme Court began hearings on 14 March on the suit of three Kazan residents against the introduction of per-minute charges for telephone use.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Government Concerned about Pace of Housing Construction
The cabinet on 14 March discussed the problems facing the republic's housing construction sector, especially shortages of materials and mortgage funds, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir service reported. Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov said that 120,000-130,000 square meters of apartments should be built every month. One square meter of housing stock in Ufa was reported now to cost 14,000 rubles ($500), second expensive in Russia after Moscow. Officials said that some of 17,000 applicants for mortgage loans will have to wait for up to three years.

District Commission Reveals Violations
Prosecutors from the Volga Federal District have found that many criminal cases in the republic have remained without any investigatory resolution, RFE/RL�s Tatar-Bashkir service reported on 14 March. The prosecutors said that they had gone ahead and initiated 16 cases on their own in especially serious cases, as well as 630 concerning drug trafficking.

Financing of Municipal Services Reduced
Municipal Services Minister Pavel Kachkaev on 14 March said that the cost of municipal services had risen by 25 percent over the last year, less than the increase in wages. Currently, the government subsidizes 40 percent of these costs, but it will eliminate those subsidies entirely by 2003. By 2008, the minister added, residents will have to bear the full cost of capital repairs as well.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova