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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 8, 1999

8 April 1999
State Council Chairman Against Sending Volunteers To Yugoslavia...
Tatarstan's State Council chairman, Farit Mukhametshin, said in an interview with Interfax that it was his understanding that the nationalist Tatar Public Center (TPC) has not sent anyone to Yugoslavia. The media has been full of reports that the organization has been signing up volunteers to assist Kosovar Albanians. He assessed the TPC campaign as "propaganda," stressing that the republican government was "against sending volunteers from Russia and Tatarstan for duty in Yugoslavia."

...And Tatar Public Center Refutes Enlistment Allegations
The Tatar Public Center said on 7 April that it did not sign up volunteers for duty in Yugoslavia, it only was commenting on Russia's passiveness on the Kosovo issue, Tatarinform agency reported. Tatarinform quoted nationalist TPC leaders as saying they only supported the providing of temporary shelter for Kosovar Albanians in Tatarstan. Tatarinform said a report by Variant TV on the TPC's alleged involvement in signing up volunteers to fight against Yugoslav forces was the source for the "wave of indignation" at TPC headquarters. An RFE\RL correspondent in Kazan reports that during the recent TPC congress in Kazan, representatives from the the TPC's Chally branch stated that they had signed up about 15 volunteers to join the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Georgian Ambassador Wants To Revive Trade
Tatarstan's first deputy prime minister, Ravil Muratov, met with the Georgian ambassador to Russia, Malkhaz Kakabadze, on 7 April, the Cabinet of Minister's press service reported. During the meeting, Kakabadze acknowledged that his country has experienced difficulties reviving the trade ties from the former common market of the Soviet Union. The two discussed the prospects of trading agricultural and alcoholic products. Ravil Muratov suggested that republic's major automotive plant, KamAZ, could launch a "strategic cooperation project" with the Georgian Kolkhida automotive works to produce smallish Oka vehicles. Kakabadze said he would consider possible bilateral cooperation projects in the oil and chemical industries. In an interview with Tatar state TV, Muratov said Tatarstan would be able to develop economic ties with other CIS countries via its new ties with Georgia.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim-BASF Partnership To Explore Russian Markets
The Nizhnekamskneftekhim company and BASF AG signed a contract on 8 April on strategic cooperation in polyurethane and polyesterol production and sales. The same day, the BASF delegation met with Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov, the directors of the Orgsintez and Khiton chemical plants to discuss further partnership in the oil chemical industry. BASF has been working with Tatarstan's chemical plants since the early 1990s. Commenting on the Nizhnekamskneftekhim-BASF partnership, the general director of the Nizhnekamskneftekhiminvestholding company, Rafit Yarullin, told reporters that the "neighboring markets were open for a new polyesterol producer from Tatarstan."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi