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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 22, 2001

22 March 2001
Tatarstan Signs Cooperation Agreement With Gazprom
President Mintimer Shaimiev and Gazprom head Rem Vyakhirev on 21 March in Kazan signed a five-year cooperation agreement, AK&M reported. Presidential adviser Renat Muslimov told AK&M that volumes of gas delivery will be fixed annually in separate protocols and that this year Tatarstan will get 14 billion cubic meters of gas, the same amount as last year. Gazprom head Rem Vyakhirev said on 21 March that he backs the reelection of President Mintimir Shaimiev.

More Support for Shaimiev
The Russia-wide political movement Refakh announced on 21 March it supports the reelection of incumbent President Mintimer Shaimiev, Tatar-inform reported. Youth Unity in Tatarstan on 21 March also called its supporters to vote for Shaimiev.

Shaimiev Backs Businesses
President Mintimer Shaimiev on 20 March signed a decree intended to improve conditions for local businesses, the Tatarstan website reported.

People's Deputy Group Expells Grachev
"People's Deputy" group expelled deputy Ivan Grachev along with two other members, reported on 21 March. The group's leader Gennady Raikov said the three had failed to support party positions, but "Argumenty I fakty" suggested that the Kremlin had wanted them punished.

Foreign Leader Greet Tatarstan on Qurban Bairam
President Mintimer Shaimiev received greetings from Egypt President Hosni Mubarak and Azerbaijan President Heidar Aliyev on Qurban holiday, Tatar-inform reported on 20 March.

Cellular Communications Develop
Zarif Zakirov, the general manager of the cellular communications provider TAIF-Telcom, told AK&M on 21 March that his company plans to increase in 2001 the number of its stations from 139 to 220 and of subscribers from 43,000 to 100,000 as part of an effort to cover the entire area of the republic. He said that the company will not be able to reduce prices until its subscribers number 150,000.

More Money For Environmental Protection
The republic environmental fund will 1.2 billion rubles ($42 million) this year for protecting the environment, an amount equal to all spending in this area for the last seven years, Tatar-inform reported on 21 March.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

LukOil, Bashkortostan Become Partners
President Murtaza Rakhimov met LukOil head Vagit Alekperov on 21 March in Ufa to sign a general cooperation agreement between Bashkortostan and the company. According to the presidential press service the same day, LukOil is to invest $30 million in oil products retail sale network and industrial production. During the talks Murtaza Rakhimov called the company "a reliable partner, because it already has managed to construct 31 filling station and supplementary facilities on Bashkortostan�s territory." According to agency, LukOil supplies some 30% of oil processed at Bashkir oil refineries. Under the new accord, the company will also resume construction of Perm-Elmet oil pipeline and help transform the existing Ufa-Cambarka pipeline to a diesel fuel carrier.

Mozambique Seeks Humanitarian Aid From Bashkortostan
Mozambique Ambassador Gregoriu Lingande turned to the Bashkir representation office in Moscow on 21 March for humanitarian assistance to his country, Bashinform reported.

Operation Whirlwind Brings Positive Results
The anti-terrorist operation "Whirlwind" is to continue in Bashkortostan until 28 March, the RFE\RL Tatar-Bashkir service reports.

Republic Reports Small Business Growth
The foreign affairs and trade ministry said on 21 March that the number of small businesses and private entrepreneurs grew by 1650 and 4080 respectively over the last three years.

New Horse Transport System Reflects National Tradition
Senior Bashkir officials were in attendance at the release of a new horse carrier at the NeFAZ automotive works on 21 March.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi