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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 19, 2000

19 January 2000
Nationalist Group Urges Boycott Of Presidential Election
The nationalist Tatar Public Center (TPC) held a press conference on 18 January in Kazan urging people in Tatarstan to boycott the Russian presidential election. The TPC criticized Russian acting President Vladimir Putin for being able "only to continue military actions in Chechnya." They said that they wouldn't accept Putin's candidacy because he was a "closed politician whose future intentions were hard to determine." During the last Russian presidential elections, in 1996, former TPC Chairman Marat Mulyukov also urged a boycott of the poll, announcing that "Tatarstan was not a subject of the Russian Federation."

The TPC stated that other nationalist parties, Ittifak, Suverenitet, and Azatlik had approved the call for a boycott. According to an RFE/RL correspondent in Kazan, Ittifak party representatives announced during protests last July that they "would never cooperate with TPC;" it is also interesting to note that the Suverenitet nationalist group has been inactive for the last several years. The nationalist Azatlik party recently joined an appeal by the Communist Party in Tatarstan, the Trudovaya Slava labor group, the RIZ Russian Democratic Union and the Omet party headed by the former Muslim religious board chairman in Tatarstan, Gabdulla Galiulla. The appeal to Putin urged him to appoint a Russian presidential representative in Kazan "to bring the federal and republican legislation in accordance (with one another)." The appeal was sent after the aforementioned parties failed to gain election to Tatarstan's State Council during the parliamentary elections in December.

EBRD Says Its Claims Still Stand
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is not canceling its suit against the KamAZ automotive works, Interfax reported on 19 January. An EBRD representative commented on a recent statement by Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, by saying that the bank would suspend legal actions against KamAZ until an international audit of the company for 1998-1999 is done. The bank's representaitve said that that statement was "ungrounded and premature." In August, the EBRD, as one of the major creditors of KamAZ, addressed the Moscow arbitrage court asking for a dismissal of a mortgage agreement between the company and TokoBank. At the beginning of 2000 the total debt of KamAZ to the bank amounts to $134 million.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi