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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 20, 2001

20 August 2001
1. Shaimiev Remembers The Coup Of August 1991...
President Mintimer Shaimiev held a special press conference on 18 August devoted to the 10th anniversary of the coup attempt against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Shaimiev told reporters that coup leader Gennadii Yanayev personally solicited his support, but did not receive it because Shaimiev decided to wait for the situation to become clear. In the past some opposition movements, both Tatar and Russian, criticized Shaimiev for allegedly supporting the August coup. Shaimiev rejected this criticism, saying that he "never cooperated with the State Committee on the Emergency Situation."

2. ...And Comments On Latinization Perspectives
During the same press conference, Shaimiev commented on the switch to the Latin Tatar alphabet, reminding reporters that he "didn't show too much activity during the adoption of the law on latinization." He also noted that the law received wide support among the Tatar intelligentsia. "Nevertheless," he said, "each time I ask our teachers whether the switchover is necessary I see confusion in their eyes." He advocated "avoiding a rush in the switchover," but also said that he is "for resuming the experiment."

3. High Harvest Figures Don't Meet The Interests Of Farmers
According to Tatarstan's Agricultural Ministry officials interviewed by Efir TV on 19 August, the republic's farms are expected to exceed their annual grain output norm, thus overfilling the local market, which would inevitably cause a slump in grain prices. The officials' said such a development would cut farms' profits but also keep bread prices at their current level. Some regional administration heads told Efir that it would be more profitable to feed the grain to their cattle than sell it to bread factories.

4. Egyptian Company To Promote Tu-214s On International Markets
During the MAKS International Air Show held in Zhukovsky, Moscow Oblast, Tatarstan's government signed a memorandum on strategic cooperation with Egyptian Sirocco Aerospace International for the development, certification, production and supply to international markets of the Kazan-produced Tu-214 aircraft equipped with Rolls-Royce engines, Tatarstan's press reported on 18 August.

6. Russian President To Fly Kazan-Made Helicopters
The Kazan Helicopter Plant began the assembly of two Mi-8 helicopters of the VIP class for President Vladimir Putin and other Russian top officials, wrote on 18 August. Both craft are to be finished by early 2002.

5. Heating Systems Ready In The Majority Of Republic's Regions
Minister of Construction and Housing Marat Khusnullin told journalists on 18 August that the Tatarstan Republic will have no serious problems with heat supplies during the winter of 2001-2002. But he also noted that the heating systems in Chally, Yashel Uzen and Bauli are "unprepared for the winter." He also admitted that the heating stations in rural areas "could also face difficulties, because some of them have not been repaired in the last 60 years."

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Government To Provide More Help For Private Businesses
Bashkortostan's government has approved the Concept for the Development of Small Businesses from 2001-2005, Bashkortostan media reported on 18 August. The document aims to form a support system for private businessmen and to protect their freedoms. Bashkortostan's government expects to increase the share of private companies in GDP gross to 15-20%. By 2005 such businesses are to employ some 20% of the working population, compared with 11 percent at present.

Soviet Tradition Of Inspiring Agricultural Labor Revived
Bashkortostan is reviving the Soviet tradition of inviting special agitation teams to raise the morale of collective farms workers by holding concerts for them, Bashinform reported on 18 August.

American Council Expresses Gratitude To Rakhimov
The U.S. General Consul in Ural and West Siberia, James Bigus, has addressed a letter of gratitude to President Murtaza Rakhimov for his help in promoting the Urals and West Siberia among western businessmen, the presidential press service reported. Bigus also expressed his regret that he had never visited Bashkortostan during his work as a consul.

Swindler Arrested With The Help Of Phone Book
Bashkortostan's militia arrested the director of the Transdorservis joint stock venture, Vil Garifullin, for embezzling funds from his company, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 19 August. Transdorservis raised the money from private investors and Bashkortostan's state budget for constructing a fantastic transcontinental highway linking London, Moscow, Ufa, Kamchatka, Alaska and New York. ITAR-TASS's Ufa correspondent Ravil Tukhvatullin assisted in locating Garifullin, who was wanted from March 2001, by telling the militia to check the phone book of Bashkortostan's Cabinet of Ministers.

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