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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 23, 2000

23 March 2000
Putin, Shaimiev Comment On Federal Relations
Russian acting President Vladimir Putin said on 22 March that the power-sharing treaty between Tatarstan and Russia has become a factor of stability in Tatarstan as well as in relations between the republic and Moscow, Tatar media reported. Putin made his comments during a campaign stop in Tatarstan. He said "the process of forming federative relations in the country goes on. There is a standard in the Russian Constitution about the equality all its territorial entities. It is not an easy thing but we have to solve it."

Commenting on the issue, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said "it seems that during the term of the new Russian president definite changes will be made to the Russian Constitution [in regard to it] as a democratic federative state. If we created a commission in which the heads of all the republics, oblasts, and krais that have controversial legislation would participate we could harmonize our constitutions and charters. We never denied the necessity of common and equal conditions for the economic development of the Russian territorial entities. We are in the process of developing a mechanism for the realization of federal programs on the territory of the republics. I think the republic will join the united financial and taxation space of Russia as a whole."

Putin said he "vigorously supports" the proposal by Tatarstan's president. He said Shaimiev "is a person who can affect the process of arranging a broader federative system in Russia." He said the Russian finance and economics ministries will be charged with developing a system of federal programs for Tatarstan so that the republic won't lose money during the "so-called improvement of federative relations. Tatarstan will keep its money, and federative relations in Russia will be strengthened."

Putin Discusses Celebration Of Kazan's 1,000th Anniversary...
Russian acting President Vladimir Putin attended a session of the state committee preparing for the celebration of Kazan's 1,000th anniversary during his visit to Tatarstan on 22 March, the republican media reported. A decision was adopted that a program for the anniversary celebration will be prepared and shown to the Russian government by August. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko and Tatarstan's Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov were appointed as the responsible executives. The program will contain a list of buildings which are to be either built or reconstructed as well as sources of financing. The next meeting of the organizing committee is scheduled for July.

...And Machine Production Development
Acting President Putin held a meeting devoted to the development of machine building during a visit to Tatarstan's second city Chally on 22 March, Tatar media reported. Putin visited the KamAZ truck concern and viewed the various vehicles produced here. He said the federal state will support KamAZ as it owns more than 60 percent of the company's shares. Putin addressed the meeting by saying that the Russian government is going to support domestic manufacturers. He said that the complex procedure of decision-making should be simplified. He called for an effort to attract more Russian banks--especially state-owned ones--into investment projects and to improve legislation in this area. After the meeting, Putin told the media that his visit to Tatarstan was very positive.

Gerashchenko Says Russia Will Pay IMF Debt
The chairman of the Russian Central Bank, Viktor Gerashchenko, said in Kazan on 22 March that "we have every reason to believe that Russia will be able to repay in the current year the $3.6 billion it owes the International Monetary Fund." Gerashchenko made his comments during a visit to Tatarstan with Russian acting President Vladimir Putin. Gerashchenko said that starting next year, Russia should repay the IMF $1.5 billion annually. Commenting on the discussion for a reduction in the jurisdiction of the Central Bank, Gerashchenko said that "all these disputes will amount to nothing."

Tatarstan's Election Committee To Improve Its Work
The chairman of Tatarstan's Central Election Committee, Anatolii Fomin, told ITAR-TASS on 22 March that the forthcoming election of the Russian president in Tatarstan will be held on a new basis. Fomin, recently appointed as chairman, guaranteed that copies of the protocols of election commissions will be given to observers immediately after the counting of the votes has been completed. He said that the counting process will not be dragged out. He said that two OSCE representatives arrived in the republic to observe the poll. He said 20 more foreign representatives are expected to join them in the next few days.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova