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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 29, 2000

29 February 2000
Stricter Registration Introduced For CIS Citizens
Tatarstan's Cabinet of Ministers recently introduced stricter registration terms for the citizens of all CIS countries that come to Tatarstan, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 28 February. In addition to their passports, visitors are obliged to carry proof of valid medical insurance, papers confirming the absence of tuberculosis, skin, and sexually transmitted diseases. They are also expected to pass a fingerprint check. Changes to the Guest Citizen Registration Rules are being adopted for the first time since 1994. The republican government announced the same day that these measures are to prevent increasing attempts by refugees and criminals to illegally enter Tatarstan. Some 35,099 citizens of CIS countries arrived in Tatarstan in 1999, 16,089 of them from the north Caucasus region, Tatarinform agency reported on 29 February. People from this region reportedly committed 43 crimes in 1999 and 8 in 2000. Another 15 aliens were criminals wanted by Russian law enforcement bodies.

Free Air Time Doled Out For Presidential Candidates
Tatarstan's Central Election Commission (CEC) approved on 26 February the schedule for free air time for Russian presidential candidates on state TV and radio. Representatives of Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov, acting President Vladimir Putin, Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleev, Samara Governor Konstantin Titov, Yabloko party leader Grigorii Yavlinskii, and Aleksei Podberezkin attended the draw for the slots. Other presidential candidates Stanislav Govorukhin, Ella Pamfilova, Yuri Skuratov, Yevgenii Savostyanov, and Umar Jabrailov didn't send representatives to the draw but instead notified the CEC that they "trusted the commission and in advance agreed with the ballot results." Every candidate will have an opportunity to make three speeches on republican television and radio. Candidates will also be able to join live debates on TRT. A debate between governors Tuleev and Titov is scheduled for 7 March. Zyuganov will reportedly face Putin on 9 March. The TRT TV said the debates will be contested not by the candidates but by their representatives because of "objective causes."

Italian Ambassador In Kazan
The Italian ambassador to Moscow, Giancarlo Aragona met with Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev on 28 February in Kazan. Shaimiev offered the Italian official and his delegation the opportunity to renovate and reopen the old downtown "Kazan" Hotel and to join in the construction of a bridge over the Kama River at Sorochyi Gori. Representatives of the Italian Impergillo and Fata Companies were also present at the meeting.

Communications Ministry Pledges Progress In 2000
Tatarstan's Ministry of Communications announced on 28 February that about 74 million rubles would be invested in the development of the republic's communications network in 2000. The ministry reportedly will obtain the necessary funds by issuing telephone network bonds on the domestic market. The total capacity of Tatarstan's telephone network is expected to reach 1 million connections this year. The ministry pledged to provide all rural regions of Tatarstan with radio and telephone networks to expand digital networks by laying 287 kilometers of optic fiber cable this year.

New HIV Cases Reported
Another 29 carriers of the HIV virus were registered in Tatarstan last week, Tatarinform agency reported on 29 February. Some 360 people are currently infected with HIV in Tatarstan. Republican AIDS Prevention and Enforcement Center official Larisa Badriyeva said the same day that Tatarstan's second city Chally is still the leader in HIV carriers, but new carriers were also registered in the Azanakay and Elmet regions.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi