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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 17, 2000

17 February 2000
Tatarstan's Parties And Movements Back Putin
The head of acting Russian President Vladimir Putin's election headquarters in Tatarstan, Marat Bariev, told the press that a bloc of political associations backing Putin's candidacy in the 26 March election was formed in Tatarstan on 15 February. Leaders of the Russian Social-Democratic Party's initiative group and the republican Soglasiye (Consent) movement, republican branches of Russian-wide political organizations and movements Regiony Rossii (Russian Regions), Za Ravnopraviye i Spravedlivost (For Equality and Justice), Za Vozrozhdeniye Tatarstana (For Tatarstan's Revival), and the republican political movements Congress of the Intelligence of Tatarstan, Yedinstvo, the Republican Party of Tatarstan, and the World Congress of Tatars, sigend the document. The Tatarstan -- Novyi vek (Tatarstan -- New Century) movement headed by Tatarstan's State Council chairman, Farid Mukhametshin, decided last week to support Putin. The bloc participants proposed to include in Putin's election platform planks on supporting the constitutional-treaty model of the federation and a peaceful settlement of the Chechen conflict.

Shaimiev Meets With Russian Officials
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, held working meetings in Moscow on 16 February with Russian Agriculture Minister Vladimir Shcherbak and Fuel and Energy Minister Viktor Kalyuzhny, Tatar Television reported. Shaimiev and Tatarstan's State Council chairman, Farid Mukhametshin, also attended the Russian Federation Council session that same day. Shaimiev held a press conference for American and Japanese journalists and participated in the program Zdes i Seichas (Here and Now) on ORT TV that was devoted to the Chechen issue.

Kabardino-Balkaria Opens Office In Tatarstan
A permanent office representing the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic has been opened in Tatarstan, Tatar Television reported on 16 February. The head of the mission, Ramazan Zhogoyev, said in an interview with Tatar Television that the representation will promote the development of economic, cultural, educational, tourist, sport relations according to the intergovernmental agreement between the two republics. The Tatarstani-Kabardino-Balkaria agreement was signed on 21 June 1998, during a visit to Kazan by the president of Kabardino-Balkaria, Valery Kokov. Kabardino-Balkarian's office in Tatarstan is the republic's fourth mission in Russia.

Azatlyq Denies Involvement In Appeal To Putin
The coordination council of the nationalist youth organization Azatlyq issued a statement in which it says it is informing Tatarstan's president and the acting Russian president that the organization has not empowered anyone to sign an appeal to Putin that originated with Tatarstan's opposition Round Table. Participants of the Round Table earlier sent a letter to Putin asking him to nominate a plenipotentiary representative of his to Tatarstan. It was reported that among the seven signatures there was only one -- from Ramai Yuldashev -- that was on behalf of the Azatlyq youth organization. The coordination council says such action is a provocation against the democratic wing of the Tatar opposition and an attempt to make a fortune with the political authority of Azatlyq.

Azatlyq is a radical youth branch of the opposition nationalist organization, the Tatar Public Center, which called for Tatarstan's secession from Russia. Parties and movements representing the opposition Round Table appealed to Putin after they were not elected to the Russian State Duma and to Tatarstan's State Council on 19 December, arguing that democratic standards are violated in Tatarstan.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova