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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 22, 2000

22 February 2000
Shaimiev On Tatarstan-Russia Treaty, Chechen War
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, commented on the power-sharing treaty between Moscow and Kazan as well as the Chechen war during a conference at the daily "Izvestiya's" headquarters, Tatar-inform reported on 21 February. In reply to the question of "why does Tatarstan support Putin?" Shaimiev said that the main domestic political party in Tatarstan -- Tatarstan--Novyi Vek (Tatarstan-- New Century) put forward preconditions at its last meeting before pledging its support for Putin. Shaimiev said the "performance of the [power-sharing] treaty, which has interethnic approval within Tatarstan" is of primary importance. He said that initially, people doubted the value of the treaty or called for it to be discarded. Shaimiev called such arguments shortsighted. He said the treaty is the first of its kind between Kazan and Moscow and that it differs greatly in content and political importance from those between Russia's other republics and territorial entities. "I consider the treaty to be one of the principles of democracy in the Russian Federation, and if somebody destroys it today then the problems will again worsen." He added that Putin recently told Tatar-inform that the treaty will continue on in force.

Shaimiev was asked why the Chechen problem is still not solved and he said the problem cannot be settled through violence. He said "the moment when it was possible to reach a political solution passed during the [former Russian President Boris] Yeltsin era. A meeting between Boris Yeltsin and Djokhar Dudaev should have been held. Boris Nikolayevich was ready to meet, and he told me that during private talks, and then confirmed it at the meeting of the republic heads. When Yeltsin came to Tatarstan on the eve of the elections, I asked [why they haven't met] as everything was ready for their meeting. But I knew already that Dudaev had made unpermissible attacks on Yeltsin. And so the meeting which could have solved many things didn't take place. But the second time, during the invasion into Daghestan, the Chechens 'outlawed' themselves. It was impossible to imagine something worse than [what they did]. It complicated the situation. In reality they didn't leave [Moscow] any other decision [in trying to resolve the problem]. When international terrorists appeared -- the fat that cannot be denied -- it became necessary to get rid of them. No state or government that respects itself can do anything else. But unfortunately [the response] assumed the shape of a war. They couldn't manage to solve the problem of the struggle against terrorism without becoming involved in a war. Take the example of the journalist [Andrei] Babitsky: we don't have a right to exchange one Russian citizen for another, but if we change a captive for another captive then it means that it's a war."

Government Supports Tatenergo
Tatarstan's Cabinet of Ministers has decided on the government's level of support for Tatarstan's energy monopoly Tatenergo, AK&M reported on 21 February. An official from the Economics Ministry told the news agency that it was ordered to supply 91 percent of the gas that Tatenergo needs. The main republican oil company, Tatneft, was ordered to maintain its prices for the black oil delivered to Tatenergo and to provide enough black oil for the creation of Tatenergo stocks for the winter season. The Economics and Industry Ministry is charged with developing an energy tax policy that will reduce the number of consumers who get energy at lower rates. Tatenergo has a large debt to Russia's Gazprom for fuel and usually experiences trouble when trying to get cash for all of the debts it is owed from companies in Tatarstan.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova