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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 21, 2001

21 March 2001
Shaimiev Won't Debate
President Mintimir Shaimiev said on 20 March that he will not participate in televised debates with other candidates "because there is nothing constructive [in that] and dirty techniques are used." Tatarstan media suggested that he was referring to claims by Duma deputy Sergei Shashurin that Shaimiev had embezzled some $900 million in oil revenues and introduced a family clan rule in the republic.

Tatar Supreme Court Throws Out Russian Prosecutor's Suit
The Tatarstan Supreme Court cancelled hearings on a suit filed by Russian deputy general prosecutor Alexander Zvyagintsev seeking the elimination of 40 articles in the republic constitution. Judge Lilya Khamzina referred to the resolution of Russian Constitution Court concerning the Karelia Republic on 8 February 2001 in which the Moscow court held that only constitutional courts can rule on the constitutions of Russian Federation subjects.

Shaimiev Gains Support Right and Left
Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu, who also heads Unity, urged Tatarstan voters to support Mintimir Shaimiev's reelection. The same day Executive Committee of the National Left-Wing Democratic Russia movement now led by the Communist Duma speaker Gennady Seleznev also announced its support for the incumbent Tatar president.

Gazprom to Extend Treaty With Kazan
Gazprom head Rem Vyakhirev arrives in Kazan on 21 March to extend the cooperation accord between his company and Kazan signed five years ago. That accord has allowed Tatarstan to supply gas pumps, trucks, helicopters and special clothes to Gazprom and helped it extend its gas distribution network in exchange for gas.

Kirienko to Inspect Tatarstan
Sergei Kirienko, the presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District, will be in Tatarstan 21-22 March to meet with KamAZ managers, Tatneft directors, and other enterprise leaders. In addition, he is expected to meet with President Mintimir Shaimiev.

Moscow to Assist Millenium Preparations in Kazan
Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov on 20 March told RIA-Novosti that Moscow will allocate 19.75 billion rubles ($693 million) to help revive the city's historical center in advance of the city's millenium celebrations in 2005.

Tatneft Credit Rating Raised
"Kommersant-Daily" reported on 20 March that the Fitch agency has raised Tatneft's credit rating from CC1 to B as a result of its successful debt rescheduling.

Students Call for Improving Living Conditions
More than 800 delegates at the Third Congress of Tatarstan Students on 20 March called for improving the living conditions of students in the republic. At present, students receives allowances of $5-10 a month, with post-graduates getting approximately $16.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Russian Army Pleased with Recruitment Effort
Members of the Russian army's general staff told President Murtaza Rakhimov on 20 March that they were pleased with the recruitment effort in Bashkortostan and that the republic has a good chance of becoming Russia's "best" region in that regard, the presidential press service reported.

PM Thanks UNIDO for Assistance
Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov thanked officials from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization for their assistance to the republic and especially for aid in the construction of a hydropower plant at Yumagizi, the government's press service said.

A Dangerous Trend in Agriculture
The amount of arable but unused land has risen to 30 percent in some of the regions of the republic, the agriculture ministry said on 20 March. Deputy Prime Minister Shamil Vakhitov said that this could make it impossible to meet domestic grain needs.

Ufa to Support Farmers, Drop Restrictions.
The Bashkir cabinet has decided to give republic farmers 500 million rubles ($17.5 million) for spring farming even as it resolved to cut government purchases of grain by 50 percent. At the same time, Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov said that this measure will give the producers "more freedom" in terms of the national economy.

Fatherland Branch Organizes Political Roundtable
The republic branch of Fatherland-All Russia has invited local branches of the Union of Right Forces, Yabloko, the Communist Party and other organizations to participate in a roundtable on 24 March. The meeting is intended by its organizers to focus on "perspectives of political parties under current conditions of the Russian Federation state system."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi