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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 5, 2001

5 June 2001
KamAZ Gets Debt Payment Suspended
Japan's Kanematsu Corporation and Mitsubishi heavy industries agreed on 4 June to prolong their $150 million loan to the KamAZ Automobile Plant concern, news agencies reported. President Mintimer Shaimiev met Kanematsu Executive Director Akira Miyazaki and Mitsubishi managers in Kazan to discuss the terms of prolonging the loan, which was granted in 1996, after KamAZ failed to reached the planned output of 4,500 trucks per year. The Japanese complained during the talks that red tape at Russian Finance Ministry and Vneshekonombank have delayed finding a solution to loan disputes between KamAZ and its creditors.

Tatars Suggest That Kulikovo Battle Anniversary Celebrations Should Be Abolished
A group of ethnic Tatar army generals and scientists have written to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to abolish the celebration of the anniversary of the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380, Echo Moskvy radio reported on 4 June. The appeal said, "the celebration of the victory achieved by Russian regiments over the Mongol-Tatars would represent modern Tatars as an internal enemy." It also argued that "the celebrations would insult the majority of non-Russian soldiers and officers."

Kazan Administration To Develop Energy Saving Program
The Kazan city administration will spend 1,3 billion rubles [$44 million] on implementing its energy-saving program in 2001-2005, Tatarinform reported on 4 June. The use of new technologies is expected to let Kazan lower its heat consumption figures by over 20%.

Human Rights Activists Oppose Per-Minute Phone Charges
The non-governmental Human Rights Committee of Tatarstan Republic and the Union of Internet providers and users appealed to the Republic's Constitutional Court on 4 June, claiming that the introduction of universal per-minute telephone fees infringes on the rights of disabled people. Both public organizations demand that the system should be lifted because it similarly doesn't take the World Wide Web users into account. So far only the World War II veterans have been granted a 50% discount for telephone fees.

Tatar Moslems Resume Ties With North Caucasus
A delegation of Tatarstan's Moslem Religious Board returned from Daghestan on 4 July, MRB press service reported. The Tatar Moslems met with religious figures from Daghestan's Moslem communities to discuss joint resistance to Islamic fundamentalism. MRB deputy chairman Valiulla khazret said the same day the two sides had established ties after the conquest of Kazan by Ivan The Terrible in 1552 and maintained frequent contacts since then

KOMZ Shareholders Argee To Leave Profits At Plant's Disposal
A Shareholders meeting of the Kazan Optic Mechanical Plant [KOMZ] voted to postpone the payment of dividends on shares in the plant, Tatnews reported on 4 June. KOMZ managers proposed to the shareholders to redistribute the incomes in order to stabilize the production and raise the average salaries to 3,000 rubles [approx. $100] by the end of 2001.

Shaimiev's Influence Rating Falls Sharply
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" published on 4 June a list of the 100 most influential Russian politicians according to a poll conducted by VP-T public opinion service. President Vladimir Putin, presidential staff chief Alexander Voloshin and Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov led the poll. Tatarstan's President Mintimer Shaimiev occupied 35th position, which is much lower than his rating in April [25th], reportedly because he left Russian Federation Council.

Tatarstan's Officials Join Republic�s Culture Days In Paris
President Mintimer Shaimiev and Kazan mayor Kamil Iskhakov are visiting France on 5-7 June to participate in the days of Tatarstan's culture in Paris, RFE/RL's Kazan Bureau reported. The opening ceremony will be held at UNESCO�s Paris headquarters on 6 June and involve opera and pop singers from Tatarstan, dancers and musicians.

Nationalists Want A Special Monument To Kazan's Defenders
The moderate nationalist Tatar Public Center, the Ittifak Party, the Idel-Ural movement and the Milli Mejlis issued a public statement advocating erecting a monument to those who died defending Kazan in 1552, RFE/RL�s Kazan Bureau reported on 4 June. The statement said that President Shaimiev's proposal to designate the newly-erected Kol Sherif Mosque as such monument, "violates Islamic postulates because a mosque can only belong to God."

Sabantuy Celebration Date Set
President Mintimer Shaimiev signed a decree on holding the traditional Sabantuy holiday to mark the end of sowing season on 17 June in Chally and on 23 June in Kazan, Tatar media reported on 5 June. Meanwhile the Tatar communities of the Volga federal district jointly celebrated Sabantuy in Saratov on 3 June.

By Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan To Produce Oil Drilling Equipment For Iraq
Bashkortostan's Tuymazikhimmmash company will participate in the production of oil extracting installations for Iraq, news agencies reported on 4 June. The partnership between the Bashkortostan company and Uraltechnostroy will reportedly supply the equipment within the framework of the UN sanctions imposed on Baghdad.

State Committee Holds Seminars On Controlling Youth
The Bashkortostan State Committee on youth affairs organized a seminar named "Effective Control Over Youth" in Tuymazi on 4 June, Bashinform reported. The seminar involved leaders of government-sponsored youth organizations in the west of the Bashkortostan Republic.

New Bashprombank Head Pledges More Loans To Private Businesses
Deputy Minister of Foreign Economic Affairs and Trade Leonid Gaffarov was elected chairman of Bashprombank front office on 4 June. The bank's two major shareholders, the State Corporation for Credit Organizations and Restructuring and the government of Bashkortostan supported Gafarov's candidacy. The newly-elected chairman told the media that his bank will begin a wide-scale program for granting loans to small and middle businesses.

HIV Spread Hits Prisons
Twenty-one percent of Bashkortostan's HIV-infected persons are prisoners, the Health care Ministry announced on 4 June. The majority of them are drug users who contracted the infection from dirty syringes. Ufa, Kumertau, Sibay, Belebey and Meleuz reportedly lead the list of cities with the highest number of HIV infections.

Children Graduate From Military Crash Course In Recreation Camp
A former pioneer camp was used in Bashkortostan's Sharan region for holding military training courses for about 200 schoolchildren on 1-4 June, Bashinform reported. The course including marching, combat with an imaginary enemy, and shooting targets with AKM machine guns and was expected to help the children to "psychologically prepare for army service".

By Iskender Nurmi