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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 16, 2001

16 March 2001
Iran President Visits Tatarstan
President Mokhammad Khatami visited Kazan on 15 March, Tatar-inform reported. On his arrival, he said that "the visit to Kazan is a part of my visit to Russia. We hope to develop cooperation with Russia including Tatarstan. Tatarstan being a Muslim republic, naturally, attracts our attention. I came to Kazan so that to meet my brother Shaimiev, the President of Tatarstan and I hope that we shall agree on economic cooperation." He said that good relations between Iran and Russia apply to all federation subjects. Later Khatami and Shaimiev held official negotiations in the Kazan Kremlin.

Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev said that the revival of historical relations between Tatarstan and Iran offers great prospects. He recalled an ancient medical manuscript from Volga Bulgaria found in Iran, noting that it helped to restore historical fairness to the Tatars. Khatami for his part said that Iran plans to promote cultural cooperation alongside economic and scientific ties. At the same time, Khatami praised the revival of Islam and called the Qul Sherif mosque being constructed here a sign of Tatarstan's might.

Shaimiev said that he was reflecting upon Khatami's call for a dialogue of civilizations, even as Khatami pointed to Tatarstan as a place where people of different religions and traditions coexist side by side. Shaimiev thanked Iranian President for the invitation to visit Iran.

In addition to the two principals, the meeting was attended from the Iranian side by foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi, presidential administration head Mokhammad Ali Abtakhi, Iranian ambassador to Russia Mekhdi Safari, and from the Russian side Russian property minister Farit Gazizullin, Russian ambassador to Iran Aleksandr Maryasov, deputy foreign minister Aleksandr Losyukov. Following the session, Khatami attended a prayer service at the Marjani mosque.

Emirates to Purchase Tatarstan-Produced Military Goods
A delegation from the United Arab Emirates general staff as well as Rosoboroneksport representatives on 14 March visited Yeshel Uzen Sergo plant POZIS to discuss additional purchases, Tatar-inform reported. Over the last decade, the plant has sold the Emirates $25 million worth of its production.

Tatarstan Selects Contractor to Develop Satellite TV
Deputy communications minister Vladimir Yakimov on 15 March said that Moscow�s Aerokosmoseksport had won a tender for creation of Tatarstan�s satellite TV channel which is scheduled to broadcast on the European part of Russia and some Western European countries, Tatar-inform reported. He said that next year the channel's broadcasts will cover all of Russia's territory. The project costs 87.5 million rubles ($2.9 million).

Teaching Russian Discussed In Kazan
Russian deputy education minister Aleksandr Kiselev said on 15 March in Kazan that he values Tatarstan's contribution to the development of Russia�s educational system. His comments came at the Russian-wide conference devoted to the improvement of teaching Russian language as a language of interethnic communications.

Candidates to Receive Allocations from the Budget
Central Election Commission chairman Anatoly Fomin on 13 March said that the republic budget will allot some 20 million rubles ($700,000) for the presidential elections, Efir-inform reported. Each of five candidates will receive 60,000 rubles ($2000) for campaigning.

More Cellular Telephones In Tatarstan
The TAIF-Telkom cellular communications provider on 9 March said that the number of its subscribers had increased tenfold in 2000 to 32,000, AK&M reported. The company's revenues have grown sixfold over the last year and profit reached130 million rubles ($4.5 million).

LiAZ To Deliver 100 Buses To Tatarstan
Tatarstan's transport department and the Likino automobile plant have signed an agreement on the delivery of 100 buses to Tatarstan over the next four months, AK&M reported on 11 March.

Property Committee Wants Privatization to be More Efficient
State property committee chairman Valery Vasilyev on 11 March said that the committee will not allow workers to participate in the privatization of the enterprises in which they work, AK&M reported. Instead, the committee will seek to attract outside investors.

Tatarstan To Develop Mortgage Loan System
The construction and municipal services ministry has developed a mortgage credit system which is intended to provide every family with an apartment over the next ten years, RIA-Novosti reported. At present, 62,000 Tatarstan families seek but do not have separate apartments, with that number increasing each year because 24,000 new applications come in annually although only 21,000 new apartments are built. The ministry said two billion rubles annually are needed to make this system work.

Picketers Demand Promotion Of Domestic Aircraft
Some 25 Sozidanie (Creation) public movement members on 13 March picketed the Kazan Gorbunov aviation plant during a visit there of Russian deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, reported. They carried slogans saying "We demand the buying of only domestic aircraft."

Tatarstan Receives More Investments�
The state statistics committee on 13 March said that foreign investments had grown in 2000 more than 6 times and totaled $142.9 million, AK&M reported. Switzerland and the U.S. were the main investors having provided 48 and 20 percent of the total respectively.

�Increases Export�
The state statistics committee reported on 13 March that oil exports had grown by 16 percent in 2000 and were responsible for 65 percent of the republic's total export, AK&M reported. Oil deliveries to the CIS countries fell by 39 percent while to the other foreign countries increased by 23.5 percent.

�and Foreign Trade
AK&M reported on 13 March that Tatarstan's foreign trade turnover had grown in 2000 by 80.8 percent and to a total of $3165.6 million.

Kazan Airport Gets New Navigation System
A new flight management system which allows for more traffic and safety in low visibility situations went on line at Kazan's airport on 15 March, Tatar-inform reported. Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov said that the $33 million project had been installed and paid for over the last five years. will be fully operational within five years.

Tatarstan to Develop Cooperation with Indian Drug Company
A presentation of the Indian Ranbaksi pharmaceutical company took place on 12 March at Tatarstan's trade and economic cooperation ministry, Tatar-inform reported. Company representative Svaminatkhan Ravikumar said that social and economic stability in Tatarstan provides favorable conditions for long-term mutual cooperation. Tatarstan trade and economic minister Khafiz Salikhov responded that the republic hopes to start joint production of medicines with the Indian company.

Tatneft Receives High Ratings for Efficiency
Tatneft was rated thirteenth rating among the largest Russian companies and first among oil companies in an evaluation of corporate efficiency, Tatar-inform reported on 13 March.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Ufa Says Foreign Investment Key to Republic's Independence
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign and Trade Minister Rafil Garifullin told Bashinform on 14 March that Ufa's trade ties with more than 90 countries around the world is the basis of the republic's economic independence. He noted that Ufa has a trade office in Austria and has attracted German and Finnish representations in the republic. At the same time, he said that the republic must be careful in its policies lest it frighten off future foreign investment.

Tatarstan President Doesn't Respond to Bashkir TPC
Bashkortostan's Tatar Public Organization told RFE\RL's correspondent in Ufa that Tatarstan President Mintimir Shaimiev had not responded to a request for a meeting. They said that Shaimiev apparently did not want to have a meeting that some might view as interference in the internal affairs of a neighboring republic.

Mineev Again to Head Ufa Region
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 15 March appointed Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Mineev head of the Ufa region, reported. He served in the same capacity in 1998-99; more recently, he had been agriculture minister.

Russian Helicopter Producers Gather In Bashkortostan
Helicopter producers from across Russia gathered in Kumertau to discuss the general situation at their industry and seek ways for its survival, RFE\RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on 14 March. Only two companies are at world standards, the meeting acknowledged, but other producers plan to try to stay in business.

Rakhimov Wants to Promote Healthy Life Style
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 13 March told republic doctors "forming a healthy life style among the young population is a priority for our society." He urged the government to "concentrate the efforts on upgrading the equipment of hospitals and improved the working conditions of doctors."

Republic Cooperating with Russian Fleet
Bashkortostan maintains its connections with the crew of "Bashkortostan" anti-submarine boat of Russian Baltic Fleet based in Baltiisk, "Respublika Bashkortostan" reported on 10 March. Traditionally 10-15 sailors recruited in Bashkortostan serve on the boat and receive supplements from Ufa.

New Customs Post Opened
A new customs post was opened in Beloretsk, Bashinform reported on 12 March. This is the fourth in the republic, but since January 2001, all of them have been subordinated to the Volga district customs service rather than the republic government.

Bashkreditbank Among Top 10 Russian Banks
Bashkreditbank has been included to the top 10 list of Russian banks, "Respublika Bashkortostan" reported on 10 March. It has the ninth largest loan portfolio of all Russian banks.

Agricultural Ministry Official Says Cow Diseases Under Control
Agriculture Ministry veterinary service head Ilshat Samigullin said on 16 March that Bashkortostan is fulfilling Moscow's ban on the importation of British-produced beef. "While Europe is in a panic due to the spread of foot-and-mouth disease," Samigullin said, "there is no need to worry about it."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

First Chuvash Presidential Candidate Declares
FSB investigating department deputy head Stanislav Voronov will run for Chuvashia president in a January 2002 elections, reported on 13 March. He worked as Chuvashia security minister from 1994 till 2000.

Chuvashia Attracts Investments
The state statistics committee on 12 March said that the republic in 2000 received $1.3 million and 8.8 million rubles of investments from Germany, the USA, Switzerland, Turkey, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and India.

Tatneft to Prospect Oil in Chuvashia
The cabinet has signed an agreement with Tatneft calling for the company to explore for oil in the republic, reported on 13 March.

Fraudulent Goods Exhibited in Cheboksary
The Chuvash trade and industry chamber organized an exhibition of fraudulent goods officials had seized, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 March. The special exhibit was times to coincide with international consumer protection day.

Marii El President Says He's Been Threatened
President Leonid Markelov on 10 March told "Mariiskaya pravda" that he has been subject to "blackmail and threats" involving his investigation into budgetary procedures under his predecessor. He said that law enforcement bodies were not only investigating the problems he had uncovered but working to protect him as well.

Russian Prosecutor Visits Marii El
Russian deputy Prosecutor General Aleksandr Zvyagintsev while on a visit to Marii El urged local prosecutorial bodies to pay more attention to harmonization, organized crime, and environmental safety, reported on 9 March.

Mordovia, Belarus to Create Joint Venture
Mordovia head Nikolai Merkushkin on 12 March met with a delegation from Belarusian automobile companies to discuss establishing a joint venture between Mordovian Ruzkhimmash and Belarusian Dzhentiavtotreid and MAZ. Trade turnover between the two republics amounted to $60 million in 2000.

Back Wages in Mordovia
Finance minister Nikolai Petrushkin on 9 March said that republic districts administrations are responsible for back wages which now total 187 million rubles ($6.5 million), reported. He said that the republic has the lowest average wage in the Volga Federal District.

Mordovian Communists Say They Helped Moldovan Associates
Mordovian communist leader Nikolai Sapozhnikov said "the Communist Party of the Russian Federation had given a significant support for its colleagues in Moldova at the recent elections." He added that up until now this could not be said aloud, the Udmurtia agency reported on 11 March. He said that "Moldovan comrades have made a breach into which others will proceed."

Mordovian University Screens Foreigners for Wahhabis
The Mordovian State University thoroughly checks foreigners entering the institution to exclude Wahhabis but despite these efforts, several such students have been admitted only to be discharged, Stolitsa S reported on 11 March. The university also refuses to admit Chinese who are less interested in studying than in engaging in trade.

New District Interior Troops Commander Appointed
MVD internal troops spokesman Vasily Panchenkov on 11 March told RIA Novosti that Maj.Gen. Mikhail Zmeev had been appointed commander of the Volga District internal troops. Zmeev had been deputy commander of the Siberia Disrict internal troops in charge of training.

LDPR Holds Conference In Volga District
The LDPR held on 17 March in Nizhny Novgorod its Volga District conference to discuss participation in local elections and to elect delegates to the 12th party congress, the Nizhny Novgorod telegraph agency reported.

Ulyanovsk Administration Unhappy With Interior Officials
Ulyanovsk gubernatorial adviser Dmitry Gorbunov on 15 March sharply criticized interior officials for abusing their positions, the administration press service reported. Maj.Gen. Vladimir Kolesen said that Gorbunov was simply trying to provoke a scandal.

Ulyanovsk's Shamanov Concerned About Poor, Youth Employment
Ulyanovsk Governor Vladimir Shamanov on 12 March issued an order providing free dinners for needy pensioners and invalids, VolgaInform reported. The oblast social care fund has identified 50 such people and allocated 370,000 rubles for this effort. According to another Shamanov decree, the oblast administration is obliged to provide school-leavers and graduates from professional and higher schools with jobs.

Mordovia Boosts Foreign Trade
Foreign trade turnover in February totaled some $3 million, more than twice the figure for the same month a year ago, Stolitsa S reported on 11 March.

Mordovia FSB Official Concerned about Corruption
The head of the FSB board in Mordovia Anatoly Yarovoi on 10 March said that the growth of corruption among state officials, heads of institutions and enterprises is having a negative impact on political, economic and social reforms in Mordovia and throughout Russia, reported. He called for a more intense and efficient fight against it as part of an effort to attract more foreign investors to Russia.

Transport Prices Grow
Marii El authorities on 10 March have increased urban public transport prices by 25-30 percent, reported.

Bank Illegally Monitored Staff Conversations
The Marii El prosecutor's office together with the FSB republic board have initiated criminal proceeding against Yoshkar-Ola bank managers accusing them of illegally recording the conversations of the bank employees, reported on 9 March.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova