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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 20, 2000

20 April 2000
Tatarstan's President Says Moscow Should Contact Maskhadov
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, told Interfax agency on 20 April that in his opinion, federal authorities should hold talks with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. Shaimiev said that such talks are "necessary for obtaining more unbiased information about Maskhadov's plans, his abilities and inabilities. No matter what are our attitudes are toward Maskhadov," Shaimiev said, "he is still an elected president of the Chechen Republic." In Shaimiev's words, "nobody has abrogated the treaty on peace and economic cooperation [between Russia and Chechnya] signed by [former] Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Aslan Maskhadov in 1996. There was no such decision made either on the presidential level, or at the level of the Federal Assembly, that's why we cannot exclude the possibility of dialogue with Maskhadov and other representatives of Chechen society."

Shaimiev said that Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin "made a correct decision in saying that there would be no elections for the Chechen president within the next two years. The legitimacy of such elections in current conditions would be seriously questioned. The path of political and economical settlement in Chechnya will be very difficult. That's why new Chechen authorities have to be more legitimate. These authorities will be formed by elections but in conditions of stability and peace, which will take some time. Federal government is to aim its efforts on solving the social and economic problems of Chechen people and creating the necessary conditions for returning thousands of refugees. Only through this approach will it be possible to democratically form governmental bodies for Chechnya."

Tatneft Can Run Nizhnekamskshina's Shares Package
The state adviser to President Shaimiev for natural reserves, oil and gas, Renat Muslimov, told AK&M agency on 20 April that a state-owned package of shares in the Nizhnekamskshina tire plant might be handed over to the Tatneft oil company. According to Muslimov, this measure will help upgrade the production capacities of Nizhnekasmshina and allow the company to complete several prospective projects. The handover is reportedly connected with the government's plans to create a vertically-integrated system for the oil chemical industry in Tatarstan with Tatneft at the base.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi