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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 21, 2001

21 June 2001
President Optimistic about Tatarstan Economy
President Mintimer Shaimiev said on 20 June that �Tatarstan�s machinery and defense industries are recovering and that the prospects for agriculture are good." But he stressed that the republic's well-being depends far too much on world oil prices and the weather.

Communist Deputy Speaks For Giving More Powers To Nation-Wide Parties
Duma deputy (KPRF) Alexander Saliy who represents Tatarstan in the legislature said on 20 June he will vote for a bill that would require regional parliaments to give 15 percent of their seats to country-wide parties. That will promote the development of a multi-party system in Russia, he said. At present, there is not a single Communist deputy in the Tatarstan State Council.

Tatneft to Extract Oil in Sudan
The Tatneft oil company and Gulf Petroleum Corporation have agreed to joint oil extraction in the Upper Nile and Red Sea oilfields of Sudan, news agencies reported on 20 June. Tatarstan�s delegation headed by Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov also signed a memorandum on cooperation with Sudan, which will include KamAZ trucks supplies to this African country.

Tatarstan has Positive Trade Balance
According to the State Statistics Committee on 20 June, Tatarstan�s foreign trade turnover reached $655,7 million in the first quarter of 2001, of which $584.7 million involved petroleum products. But during that period, the republic imported only $71.5 million worth of goods.

CEC Reports No Violations during Last Presidential Campaign
Tatarstan�s Central Election Committee chairman Anatoly Fomin told the State Council on 20 June that there had not been any abuses during the March 2001 presidential campaign and election. He noted that the courts had failed to back any of the protests filed by losing presidential candidates.

Farms Ordered to Pay Electricity Bills in Full
The Agriculture Ministry has instructed the regional administrations that all the farms owing for electricity are to pay off their power debts with money or goods by the end of 2001, Tatarstan State TV reported on 20 June.

Tatar Lawyers Unhappy with Federal Draft Law on Their Activities
The State Council commission on legislation, legality and deputies� ethics issues criticized the federal draft bill on lawyers� activities and law practicing on 20 June. According to the experts at the commission, the draft soon to de considered by State Duma was designed �for rich and famous Moscow lawyers and ignores the interests of lawyers in the regions."

Peace Culture Institute Graduates New Class
Kazan Peace Culture Institute set up by UNESCO is holding its second graduation ceremony on 21 June. KPCI graduates received the diplomas as professional peacemakers after passing the special courses on international terrorism, interethnic conflicts, psychology and negotiation process.

Immigrants from CIS Countries Fail to Register
During the first five months of 2001, some 7703 citizens of CIS countries have been fined 50 rubles each ($1.70) for failing to register, but during that period, the authorities deported only 36 of them.

Two Stage Hunger Strike Against Construction of Church
Two female Moslems, 63 and 42 years old began a hunger strike against the construction of Orthodox Christian temple near the World War II Victory Park in Chally, reported on 21 June. The two said that they opposed the construction of a church there because "all peoples of Russia fought for victory.�

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

TPC Praises Tatarstan's People's Front
Tatar Public Center leader Airat Giniatullin on 20 June told the RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir service that Bashkortostan's Tatars perceived with joy a news about setting up People's Front in Tatarstan. The Front's main aim is to protect Tatarstan's sovereignty, he said, and added that similar organizations in the Baltic states had played a major role in the promotion of their sovereignty. He said that Bashkortostan's Tatar organizations are ready to join the front. In other comments, he complained that only a single Tatar, Eduard Khamitov who is the chairman of the Bashkortostan Tatars Congress, had been permitted to represent the republic's 1.5 million Tatars at a European Charter meeting in Ufa and that "this is not enough."

Official Bashkir Daily Unhappy with Moscow's Ethnic Policy
"Bashkortostan" on 20 June wrote that some federal officials are trying to put President Putin on a collision course with the regions and that many in Moscow do not respect or even consider the ethnic aspect when designing their policies.

Hunger-Strike Participants in Court
The Durtile district court on 20 June began hearing the case against two participants in a recent hunger-strike, Anatoly Pavlov and Gilemsherif Shaikhullov, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported.

Mufti Organizing Conference on Islamic Extremism
Talgat Tadjutdin, the head of the Russian Central Muslim Religious Board, is among organizers of the international conference on Islamic extremism, reported on 20 June. That meeting is intended to help Moscow develop a strategy for working with the Islamic world and settling conflicts there.

Chelyabinsk Bashkirs Set Up Congress
Some 200 representatives of Chelyabinsk Bashkirs have held a founding congress, Ural-Press-Inform reported on 18 June. Participants elected delegates to the Chelyabinsk oblast Bashkir congress scheduled for 29 June. A delegation from Bashkortostan was in attendance.

River Transport Tariffs Rise
The cabinet has decided to increase by 50 percent tariffs on river traffic as of 1 July, Bashinform reported.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova