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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 13, 2000

13 January 2000
Shaimiev Pledges Support To Putin
On 12 January Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, returned from Moscow after attending a meeting of initiative group for supporting the acting president Vladimir Putin in coming presidential elections. During the press conference in Kazan airport Shaimiev noted that "situation has changed and Putin is consolidating the progressive forces in the society. He said that, "the current situation is much different from what we had at the times of Yeltsin's presidency." Shaimiev stated we would support the candidacy of former PM Yevgeny Primakov for the post of Russian Duma chairman. Earlier the same day Russian Public Television quoted Shaimiev as pledging the support from Tatarstan's citizens to Vladimir Putin during future presidential elections.

Governmental press secretary Irek Murtazin the Tatarstan State television that the Fatherland-All Russia bloc was formed by regional leaders, including President Shaimiev, against the overwhelming presence of communists in the Russian Duma. Murtazin stressed that before 12 January OVR leaders have not mentioned the name of a future candidate for the presidential elections.

Contradictory Voting Results In Yudino Election Area
Different media in Tatarstan have been reporting controversial information about the voting results in the Yudino election area in the suburbs of Kazan. The Republican Central Election Committee announced on 6 January that candidate Geliy Kobelev won the vote, according to the figures submitted by the local election committee on 31 December, (even though the vote was held on 19 December). On 5 January the local election committee announced after recounting the votes that the other candidate -- Ivan Belov, the deputy chief of the Kazan department of Gorkiy railroads -- won the elections.

The Central election Committee rebutted the latest data from local the committee by stating that the votes were recounted without inviting the observers from both candidates and without taking permission from republican election headquarters.

Before the elections the Central Election Committee had to replace 120 members of local election committees after discovering that they were Ivan Belov's subordinates. A significant part of the population in Yudino reportedly is either employed by the railroads or has relatives working there. After officially announcing that Gaiyl Kobelev was the winner, CEC Chairman Marat Sirayev stated that legal actions with the election procedures in Yudino were to follow.

Official Says The Gas Explosion Was Planned
Tatarstan's State Security Committee confirmed on 13 January that the gas pipeline explosion at Vyatskiye Polyani in early December was an act of sabotage. According to the SSC official the act was prepared by a group that included republican citizens.

According to the public relations department chief at the Tattransgaz company, Nail Gizatullin, the explosion caused shortages of gas in the Kukmara and Mamadish regions of Tatarstan for about one and a half days. He also said that all the damages from the explosion have been fixed.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi