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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 25, 2000

25 December 2000
President Elections Set for 25 March
The State Council on 22 December decided that presidential elections in Tatarstan will take place on 25 March, Tatar-inform reported. Under a new law passed on 19 December, any citizen over 30 years old who is able to speak Tatar and Russian can be a candidate. Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev still has not said whether he will run. Meanwhile, deputy Aleksandr Shtanin has announced that the Roundtable uniting about ten of opposition movements and parties has begun to collect signatures against Shaimiev's reelection.

Presidential Candidates Have Time To Learn Tatar
Tatarstan's State Council on 22 December postponed until 2002 the introduction of a requirement for Tatar language competence by presidential candidates, Tatar-inform reported. Under the newly amended law, presidential candidates must be able to speak both republic state languages.

Shaimiev On Anniversary of Afghan Invasion
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev on 21 December said that the Federation Council should not have the exclusive right to declare war or make peace. His comments came on the annniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in an interview with IMA-Press. Shaimiev urged people to act in such a way that the issue of declaring war will not arise.

Speaker Comments On Legislation And Elections
Tatarstan State Council chairman Farid Mukhametshin on 22 December said that the republic parliament will not be able to complete bringing legislation into line with federal laws by January 2001, RIA-Novosti reported. He noted that paragraph 108 of the republic constitution setting language requirements for republic presidential candidates must be teested in court. Mukhametshin said that he personally favors requiring candidates to know both languages.

Kazan University Rector Resigns
Kazan University rector Yuri Konoplev on 21 December announced his resignaiton, republic media reproted.

By Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov Says Moscow Not Defending Rights of Nationalities
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 22 December told the Bashkortostan Peoples Assembly congress that the republic's residents have always supported a strong Russian state but that they require that Moscow must follow the principles of democracy and federalism. He added that many of the peoples of Russia are not adequately represented in federal bodies and that the federal budget does not provide enough to develop non-Russian national cultures. There is no radio or television channel dedicated to this purpose, Rakhimov concluded. In other remarks, he said that the idea of a new "gubernizatsia" of Russia which would eliminate federation entities continues to circulate.

Federal Official Addresses Bashkortostan Peoples Forum
Russian Deputy Federation and National Policy Minister Aleksei Tomtosov on 22 December told the Bashkortostan Peoples Assembly congress that its meeting was important not only for the republic but for Russia as a whole, Bashinform reported. He said that Bashkortostan had always been a region of stability.

Bashkortostan To Extend Network of Republic Representations
Rafil Garifullin, a deputy prime minister and minister for foreign relations and trade, said on 22 December that the republic should open representations where Bashkortostan banks operate, Bashinform reported. He said Bashkreditbank which has brances in Moscow, Novosibirsk, and St.Petersburg could serve as an example. And he suggestsed that establishing a republic trade mission in Kaliningrad would help the Bashkreditbank office which is scheduled to open there soon.

Bashkortostan To Regulate Its Treaties
Ulfat Yumaguzin, the deputy minister for foreign relations and trade, said on 22 December that approximately one-third of all the republic's external treaties and agreements need to be revised, Bashinform reported. He said that Ufa had concluded 167 accords with federation entities and CIS countries but that 27 of these accords are no longer operative, either because their terms have expired or the two sides are not interested any more.

Trade With CIS Countries Livens Up
Bashkortostan's foreign trade turnover grew by 30 percent during the first ten months of 2000, Bashinform reported. The republic increased delliveries to Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and imported more from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

By Gulnara Khasanova