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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 5, 2000

5 June 2000
Putin Introduces Kirienko To Volga District Governors
Russian President Vladimir Putin presented his representative in the Volga administrative district, Sergei Kiriyenko, to the district's governors on 2 June in Moscow. Putin stated that Kirienko was "a suitable, understandable, and predictable figure for this post." Putin also said that he had offered the seat of the presidential representative in the Volga district to Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev. Shaimiev reportedly refused the post because he didn't want to leave his republic. Putin told the meeting of governors that "Kirienko is luckier because he will be returning to Nizhny Novgorod, his native town [the Volga presidential representative's office is based in Nizhny]." Bashkortostan's president, Murtaza Rakhimov, also attended the governor's meeting. Previously, news agencies reported that Bashkortostan's government was "particularly unhappy that Bashkortostan was included to the Volga district rather than the Urals district, where it traditionally belongs."

Shaimiev Comments On Putin's Offer
During his trip to Tatarstan's Aleksei region on 3 June, President Mintimer Shaimiev commented on reports about Vladimir Putin's offer to become a presidential representative in the Volga district. Shaimiev said, "being the president of Tatarstan I cannot apply for any other post. It's a moral issue for me, whatever the offer is." Concerning the possibility of running for the presidency of Tatarstan for a third term, Shaimiev said that "it was a complicated issue for me when I was deciding whether I should run for the second term. I haven't made a final decision yet." The next presidential elections in Tatarstan are scheduled for March 2001. The federal law on limiting the number of presidential terms to two will take effect in October 2001.

Nationalist Group To Arrange Protest Rally
The Chally branch of the nationalist Tatar Public Center (TPC) issued a statement on 5 June saying it will arrange a protest rally against the ongoing centralization process in the Russian Federation. Chally's TPC urged people to oppose attempts to "revive the rotten empire" by saying "our freedom is in our hands, its time to go out on the squares." The protest rally will reportedly gather radical Tatar nationalist groups such as the Milli Mejlis and Azatlik along with moderate Tatar politicians such as the former TPC chairman, Russian Duma deputy Fandas Safiullin; the chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Congress of Tatars, academic Indus Tahirov; and Tatarstan's deputy parliamentary speaker, writer Tufan Minnulin. The Chally branch of the TPC is considered more radical than the one in Kazan.

By Iskender Nurmi