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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 11, 2000

11 December 2000
Tatarstan And IMPEXBank To Cooperate
A branch of IMPEXBank, one of Russia's biggest banks and the fastest growing one, opened in Kazan on 8 December, Tatar-inform reported. First Deputy Prime Minister Ravil Muratov and the IMPEXBank board chairman, Yuri Prygayev, signed an agreement on cooperation between Tatarstan's government and the bank. The chairman of the board of Rossiiski Kredit, Aleksandr Livshits, attended the opening ceremony.

Energy Taxes To Increase In Tatarstan
Tatarstan's energy monopoly Tatenergo plans to raise energy prices by 75 percent next month, Tatar-inform reported on 8 December. The company's deputy general-manager, Fanis Nafikov, said that the proposal has been sent to the republican government. He said that the growth in energy prices is expected to help compensate for the costs caused by an increase in the price of gas and black oil. He said that the growth may be at a lower level if the government creates favorable conditions for the purchase of raw materials. Tatenergo is scheduled to use about 8.5 billion cubic meters of gas and 800,000 tons of black oil this year, and some 7 billion cubic meters of gas and 1 million tons of black oil next year. This year, energy prices have gone up twice -- in February for industry and in July for the general public.

Crimean Tatars Condemned in Jankoi
The Jankoi district court gave four Crimean Tatars a two-year suspended sentence and imposed a $30 fine on them for their part in a protest on 12 July in Crimea during which they blocked a railroad track, RIA-Novosti reported on 9 December. The news agency cited local observers as commenting that this is the first judgement concerning Crimean Tatars who repeatedly organized protests by blockading transport services and taking over republican and local government buildings. During the court proceedings, a group of Crimean Tatars in Jankoi called for a "stop to the criminal persecution of Tatars."

Grachev: Shaimiev Will Be Elected For Third Term
A State Duma deputy representing Tatarstan, Ivan Grachev, told Tatar-inform on 8 December that Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev will most likely be a candidate for a third presidential term. He expressed his belief that a State Duma amendment allowing governors to be elected three times will easily pass a Duma vote, be approved by the Federation Council, and signed by President Vladimir Putin. Grachev said that Putin discussed and then agreed on the idea to introduce such an amendment along with the leaders of several territorial entities. Grachev said that no announced candidate for the presidency has made a better claim for the job than Shaimiev, but added that he himself will probably run for the post as a candidate from the public association Ravnopraviye i Zakonnost.

Opposition Holds Protest
Representatives of the moderate opposition held a picket on 8 December in Kazan in front of the parliament building to protest against the possible presidential candidacy of Mintimer Shaimiev. They said that a third term for him would be a "violation in Tatarstan of generally accepted democratic norms [that] guarantee a division of power..." Tatar and Russian agencies reported. Members of Tatarstan's Communist Party, the Republican party of Tatarstan, and the SPS movement participated in the protest. A plenary session of the State Council was held the same day. Tatarstan's Communist Party Secretary Robert Sadykov was cited by Efir-Inform as saying that the protest action will be repeated on 22 December when the State Council is expected to formally announce the presidential election.

By Gulnara Khasanova