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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 23, 2001

23 March 2001
Kirienko in Tatarstan
Presidential envoy to the Volga District Sergei Kirienko on 21-22 March attended the Bogelme mechanical plant, the oil company Irkenneft, KamAZ, Nizhnekamskshina, and the Tuben Kama oil processing plant. He also took part in the meeting devoted to the development of the petrochemical and gas sector. He said that in all previous years Tatarstan had paid the federal budget less than its neighbors but used these tax breaks successfully to develop enterprises and small towns. Kirienko met with President Mintimer Shaimiev to discuss prospects for district economic integration in the petrochemical, aircraft building, aviation and transport sectors. Kirienko said that Tatarstan�s special status "does not matter" because no one in Kazan is saying "we secede from Russia."

Russian CEC Calls on Tatarstan to Follow Federal Rules
The Russian CEC on 21 March said that Tatarstan should follow federal legislative guidelines in the upcoming 25 March elections, RIA-Novosti reported. It added that some provisions of Tatarstan's election rules still remain in violation of federal norms. At the same time, CEC head Aleksandr Veshnyakov said the fact that five candidates will compete for the presidency represents "a serious breakthrough" for democracy in the republic.

Foreign Observers to Monitor Elections
Republic CEC chairman Anatoly Fomin on 22 March told ITAR-TASS that observers from six foreign countries -- Denmark, Great Britain, the United States, Holland, Sweden, and Spain -- have arrived in Kazan to monitor the 25 March vote. In other comments, he said that preparations for the voting have been completed and that the state automatic system Vybory will report results every two hours during the course of the day.

Telephone Prices To Rise
Communications minister Rinat Zalyalov on 22 said that telephone prices will be increased over the next few months to bring them into line with rates elsewhere, Tatar-inform reported. He said that in response to rate hikes so far, people had reduced the length of their conversations by 30 percent and thus were paying the same monthly amount as before.

More Nauruz Greetings Arrive
President Mintimer Shaimiev received greetings on Nauruz from Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akaev and LukOIL head Vagit Alekperov, Tatar-inform reported on 22 March.

Latvia's Tatars Support Shaimiev
The Latvian Tatar-Bashkir cultural society chairman Zufar Zainullin addressed an open letter to the Tatarstan electorate saying that his society, which unites most of Latvia's 5500 Tatars, backs the reelection of President Mintimir Shaimiev, Tatar-inform reported on 22 March.

Moscow to Support Kazan Millenium
Nikolai Korenev, the deputy head of the Russian governmental department for regional development, said on 22 March that the federal government will allocate 65 billion rubles ($2.2 billion), of them 19.8 billion rubles from the federal budget, for the celebration of Kazan's 1000th anniversary. Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov added that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has provided the city in 2001 with $16 million loan.

Yutazy Will Not Elect State Council Deputy
The Tatarstan Central Electoral Commission on 22 March postponed the State Council deputy elections in the Yutazy administrative-territorial district scheduled for 25 March because one of two candidates had dropped out for health reasons, Tatar-inform reported.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov Calls for Shifting Republic to Urals District
President Vladimir Putin on 22 March met with Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov to discuss issues connected to the federal property in the republic, RIA-Novosti reported. After the session, Rakhimov complained about the work habits of federal officials, said that federal representatives in the republic were trying to set up "parallel authorities," and said that Bashkortostan should be in the Urals District rather than the Volga District.

Bashkortostan, Moscow Resolve Passport Issue
The Russian Interior Ministry and the presidential Heraldic Council approved the format of the new Russian passport proposed by Bashkortostan authorities, Bashinform reported on 22 March. The document features the republic state symbol and provides entries in Bashkir. The republic Interior Ministry has already ordered printing of new blanks.

WWF Develops Protected Territories in Bashkortostan
The World Wildlife Fund has allotted $10,000 for the development of the republic law on protected natural territories and will invest this year $100,000 on creation of four natural parks and three preserves in the republic, Bashinform reported on 22 March.

Indian Ambassador Praises Cooperation With Bashkortostan
Bashkortostan's plenipotentiary representation in Moscow reported that Indian ambassador to Russia Satinder Kumar Lamba on 21 March is pleased by his country's level of cooperation with Bashkortostan and will soon open an Indian cultural center in Ufa

Finnish, Swedish Diplomats Visit Ufa
A delegation of the Finnish and Swedish diplomats came to Ufa discuss bilateral cooperation, Bashinform reported on 22 March.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova