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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 22, 1999

22 November 1999
Russian Political TV Programs Banned By Bashkortostan
On 20 November the State Assembly of the Bashkortostan Republic issued a decree banning the broadcasts of Sergei Dorenko's program on Russian Public Television (ORT) and the "Zerkalo" program of Russian TV (RTR) on the territory of Bashkortostan. An RFE/RL correspondent in Ufa reported that the parliamentary decree stated that the reason for the ban was a "violation of federal and republican election acts" by "central TV channels which pursue a violent campaign against some political movements and election blocs." Over the last several months, Dorenko's program made accusations against the leaders of the Otechestvo-Vsya Rossia (OVR) election bloc: former Russian Premier and Vsya Rossia movement leader Yevgenii Primakov, Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, and the president of Bashkortostan, Murtaza Rakhimov. Dorenko suspected Luzhkov of corruption and money laundering, while Rakhimov was accused of setting up unfair presidential elections and establishing "a dictatorship" in his republic. The same TV program made allegations about Primakov's poor health, and Shaimiev was accused of abusing his power. The republic's "Bashkortostan" TV company was obliged to implement the ban, as stated in the decree, starting on 20 November. On 21 November the above mentioned programs (usually shown on Sundays) was replaced by a movie about a totalitarian sect. The State Assembly reportedly insists that the decree was based on "numerous requests of people in Bashkortostan who are disgusted by the groundless attacks on candidates for the Russian State Duma."

HIV Cases In Tatarstan Increasing
Some 245 citizens of Tatarstan are HIV positive, the republic's anti-epidemic center officialy stated on 20 November. This is an increase from the 209 that were reported in 1999. More than half of those infected--136 people--live in the republic's second city Chally. Eighty-four of them are prisoners. Some 67 percent of the infected are aged 20-29, and 80 percent are male. Drug addicts represent 86 percent of the infected, and 62 HIV-positive cases of teenage drug addicts have been registered this year.

Tatarstan's Oil Reserves Reported
Tatarstan's Tatneft oil company intends to extract over 26 million tons of oil in 1999, republican media reported on 22 November. The planned extraction volume for 2000 is set to be 26.5 million tons. The general-director of Tatneft stated that at the present output volume the oil reserves of Tatarstan would be enough for the next 30 years, given the total reserve volume of 890 million tons, as estimated by the Miller Lenz company. Tatneft is also drilling for oil deposits in China, Iran, Iraq, and Russia's Krasnoyarsk Oblast.

Tatarstan's Premier Visiting Finland
The prime minister of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, is on a visit to Finland, Tatarinform reported on 22 November. The visit is reportedly for the expansion of trade and economic cooperation between Tatarstan and Finland within a framework of agreements reached by the Finnish and Tatar presidents. During the visit, Tatarstan's Nizhnekamskneftekhim oil refining company signed contracts to supply oil products to the Finnish Raisio Chemicals and the Dutch Royal Packhood companies. Minnikhanov also visited with representatives of the Tatars of Finland Assosiation, Tatarinform reported.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi