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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 6, 2000

6 January 2000
Tatarstan Politicians Comment On Putin
Rafail Khakimov, the state adviser to Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, said on 5 January that a former President Boris Yeltsin chose a very suitable moment to retire and to promote acting President Vladimir Putin and boost his career. Khakimov made his comments on the shake-up in Moscow during an interview with Tatar-inform. Khakimov said that Putin's current high approval rating should begin lowering and wouldn't rise again to its current level. He added that Yeltsin's retirement was likely not entirely his choosing. Khakimov said "we'll get to know very soon who has won and who has lost" among those lobbying the Kremlin -- Chubais or Berezovskii. In Khakimov's opinion, Putin's emergence will not affect the situation in Tatarstan and the republic's relations with Moscow. He said in order for Putin to be elected he will need an ally "who will be able to provide (him) with votes, and we are capable of convincing the population to vote for one or another candidate."

Fandas Safiullin, a newly elected State Duma deputy and former leader of the deputies' group Idel-Yort (Volga Is Our Home) in Tatarstan's parliament, said on 5 January in an interview with Tatar-inform that he fears that a revision of Tatarstan's relations with Moscow will coincide with Putin's assumption of the presidency. He said such a revision may be not in Tatarstan's favor and that Kazan currently has good conditions that allow it to preserve and revive its culture, language, and the foundations of its statehood. Safiullin doesn't exclude the possibility that when the war in Chechnya ends Tatarstan may become the next enemy. But Safiullin values highly the political and organizational ability of Putin. He said if Putin, after becoming Russia's leader, follows the path of civilized development, then his decisiveness, competence, knowledge, and experience -- though still short -- could play a constructive role.

All Russia To Support Putin's Candidacy
The Political Council of the All Russia movement decided to support Vladimir Putin in the Russian presidential poll, Tatar Radio and Television reported on 5 January, citing RIA Novosti. One of the council's members, St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev, was cited as saying that the decision also covers the All Russia deputies group in the State Duma. Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, is one of the founders of the All Russia movement and is a member of its Political Council.

Shaimiev's Political Adviser Refuses To Take Duma Seat
An adviser to Tatar President Shaimiev, Rafail Khakimov, has declined his State Duma deputy mandate, Tatar-inform reported on 5 January. Khakimov was a candidate of the Fatherland-All Russia bloc in the 19 December State Duma elections and was first on the party's list for Tatarstan. Khakimov told Tatar-inform that the main reason for his decision is the fact that Shaimiev considers him to be of much more use in Tatarstan. Secondly, Khakimov said, he planed to be involved in the coordination of All Russia's regional department in Tatarstan, something he would be unable to do from Moscow. Khakimov is one of All Russia's founders and a member of its Executive Committee.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova