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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 3, 1999

3 May 1999
Tatarstan And Iraq To Cooperate In Oil Industry
The prime minister of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, and the Iraqi oil minister, Mokhammad Rashid, discussed cooperation prospects at a meeting on 29 April in Moscow. The press center of Tatarstan's permanent representative in Moscow reported that the Iraqi side expressed an interest in Tatarstan's auto, aviation, and petrochemical industries. Rashid paid special attention to the possible purchase of KamAZ trucks, specifically, of models used in the oil industry. The sides discussed cooperation in the development of oil projects, including the participation of the Tatar oil company Tatneft. Rashid said that a priority project for Iraq is extraction of a deposit in West Kurma. He said there are plans for it to be mined with the assistance of a consortium of large Russian oil companies, Tatneft among them. For his part, Minnikhanov said Tatarstan could supply Iraq with spare parts, machinery, and equipment for repairs, and could participate in the drilling of wells. The meeting was attended by the Iraqi ambassador to Russia, Khassan Fakhm Dzhuma, and Tatarstan's plenipotentiary representative in Russia, Farid Mukhametshin.

Trade Unions Express Solidarity, Communists Protest
Rallies were held around Tatarstan on 1 May to mark international labor day. In Kazan, protests organized by the Trade Unions Federation and Tatarstan's Communist Party (of Bolsheviks) were held separately, while in Chally, the republic's second city, a united demonstration was held. In addition to the traditional social and economic demands at the rallies -- such as pay hikes, payment of back wages, and a reduction in unemployment -- a statement against the draft Labor Code (which the trade unions contend violates the rights of workers and unions) was made public. The code is due to be considered by Russian State Duma soon. At the communist gatherings political slogans prevailed, among them calls for Russian President Boris Yeltsin to retire; accusations against NATO countries; expressions of solidarity with Serbs and demands to stop the air campaign against Yugoslavia were made.

McDonalds Opens In Kazan
A McDonalds restaurant opened in Kazan on 30 April, Tatar media reported. The company invested more than $3 million in the construction of the store. Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov said at the opening ceremony that this is the first of three restaurants due to open in the Tatar capital. Several Tatar food producers will reportedly be the main suppliers for the restaurant. George Cohon, the head representative of the corporation in Canada and Russia, said at the opening that McDonalds is very active in contributing to charities, and will continue this practice in Tatarstan. Cohon then donated $10,000 to Kazan's cardiology hospital. Children from the Kazan children's home were invited as the first customers to the restaurant.

Tatar Television To Boost Ties With French Partners
Jean Cristof Bobia, the attache of the French Embassy in Russia, met with the chairman of the Tatarstan Television and Radio company, Ilshat Aminov, on 30 April in Kazan. A collaboration of TV channels, cultural contacts, an exchange of TV programs, and retransmission of broadcasts were listed as possible directions of cooperation, Tatar television reported.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova