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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 19, 2001

19 November 2001
Kirienko: Tatarstan Does Not Represent All Of Russia's Tatars
The presidential envoy to the Volga federal district, Sergei Kirienko, told a roundtable on "Islam and Christianity: Interethnic Relations" in St. Petersburg that Tatarstan cannot be considered representative of all Tatars in the Russian Federation, Rosbalt reported on 16 November. Kirienko added that only half of Russia's Tatars live in the republic. He said not only administrative territories but also national-cultural autonomies and public organizations must represent the interests of Tatars. Kirienko asserted that there are no direct ties between ethnic and religious identity. There are neither Christian federation members nor Muslim republics in Russia, he stressed. Kirienko also said he has very good relations with the president of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaimiev, whom he considers "a very wise, experienced, and professional person."

Shaimiev Rated Fourth Among 'Regional Lobbyists'
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev was deemed the fourth-most-efficient lobbyist among Russia's regional leaders by "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 16 November -- behind Roman Abramovich, Yurii Luzhkov, and Yegor Stroyev.

Duma Deputies Promise Support For Tatarstan In Duma
Meeting with President Mintimer Shaimiev on 16 November, the leaders of four Duma factions -- Vyacheslav Volodin (Fatherland-All Russia), Oleg Morozov (Regions of Russia), Vladimir Pekhtin (Unity), and Gennadii Raikov (Narodnyi deputat) -- pledged support for Tatarstan in the Duma, Tatar-inform reported. Shaimiev said the establishment of a multiparty system in Russia is an important direction for political reforms.

Fatherland-All Russia's (OVR) Volodin said his faction is indebted to Tatarstan, since in the past Duma elections OVR received more than 44 percent of the vote there. His OVR will support a federal program under which Tatarstan is expected to receive 12 billion rubles, he said.

Chechen Representative Lauds Shaimiev Peace Initiatives In Chechnya
Salambek Maigov, the chairman of the Chechen Anti-War Congress, met with Tatarstan's plenipotentiary representative to the Russian Federation, Nazif Mirikhanov, to express gratitude to President Shaimiev for his consistent promotion of settling problems in North Caucasus and support for peace initiatives on Chechnya, "Respublika Tatarstan" reported on 16 November. Maigov said the Chechen people are relying on Tatarstan's special political role in the implementation of plans to end that long-running civil war in the Russian Federation.

Mukhametshin Restates Importance Of Tatarstan's Bilateral Treaty With Moscow
State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin said Tatarstan's power-sharing treaty with Moscow provides a mechanism for the establishment of a new model of federal relations in Russia, "Respublika Tatarstan" reported on 17 November. Mukhametshin delivered a report on prospects for the development of federalism at a meeting of European regional legislative leaders in Liege on 16 November. Mukhametshin said treaty-based relations lead to strengthening statehood and federative relations, maintaining a balance of powers and responsibilities between the federal center and the regions, and a revival of Russia's investment potential.

Mukhametshin met with Council of Europe Secretary-General Walter Shvimmer and the president of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Llibert Kuatrekazas, to discuss arrangements for a congress conference due to be held in Kazan in 2002.

Tatneft, Government Send Mixed Messages Over Oil Output
Tatneft General Manager Shafagat Takhautdinov said his company supports efforts by world oil producers to keep oil prices between $22 and $28 and is prepared to cut oil extraction, Tatar-inform reported on 16 November. Meanwhile, "Vechernyaya Kazan" the same day cited Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Kogogin as saying that Tatneft will not reduce oil production, as "that would be too painful for the republic."

Kazan, Ufa To Continue Talks On Petrochemical Integration
"Vechernyaya Kazan" on 16 November reported that the prime ministers of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan are due to discuss integration of their petrochemical sectors at a meeting in Izhevsk on 27 November. Tatarstan Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov told the daily that a final decision is unlikely at the meeting but negotiations will continue. He said the main discrepancy arose from the differences between property relations within Tatneft and Bashneft.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

2002 Budget Passed On First Reading
Salaries of schoolteachers and doctors will rise 250 percent under a draft 2002 budget passed by the State Assembly in its first reading, reported on 16 November.

Budget revenues are expected to total 57.6 billion rubles ($1.9 billion), 21 percent the 2001 figure. Forty-eight percent of revenues will be transferred to the federal budget, while the latter is expected to deliver 6.8 billion rubles in subsidies to the republic. The draft budget increases funding provided for state security and law-enforcement activities threefold, to 1.1 billion rubles ($37 million). Financing for state-controlled mass media will increase by 90 percent; the agriculture and health-care sectors by 80 percent; culture, art, and cinematography by 70 percent; education by 30 percent; and state management bodies by 21 percent.

Bashkortostan, Argentina To Boost Ties
The Argentinean Embassy's cultural attache, Marta Shuare, visited Ufa to discuss bilateral cultural cooperation, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 16 November. Visiting Bashkortostan's Culture and National Affairs Ministry, Shuare negotiated prospects for opening Argentinean culture centers in cities throughout the republic. The two sides agreed to open the first such center in the Akhmet Zaki Validi Library in Ufa.

Bashneft To Drill For Oil In Kazakhstan
Bashneft, together with Kazakh partners, is due to begin prospecting oil deposits in Aktyubinsk and West-Kazakhstan Oblasts, Bashinform reported on 16 November, citing "Neft Bashkortostana."

Reinstated Editor Resigns
Viktor Savelyev, the former editor in chief of "Molodezhnaya gazeta" who was dismissed in April 2000 and reinstated on 12 November by the republic's press minister after winning a court battle, has apparently decided to resign, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 16 November. Journalists reportedly had sent a letter stating their unwillingness to work with Savelyev to the ministry.

Government Embarks On Soil Improvement Project
The cabinet has adopted a 12 billion ruble ($404 million), five-year program to increase the fertility of soil in the republic, ITAR-TASS reported on 16 November. Deputy Agriculture Minister Artur Nugumanov told the agency that the program is intended to increase the use of organic fertilizer fourfold, to 30 million tons annually.

HIV Statistics Up 750 Percent In A Year
Bashinform reported on 16 November that 1,973 HIV-infected residents have been registered so far this year, 7.5 times the number a year ago. Seventy-five HIV-carriers have been registered during the past week.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova