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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 24, 2000

24 August 2000
Shaimiev Still Undecided on Presidential Candidacy

18 August 2000

Tatarstan's President, Mintimer Shaimiev, said at a 18 August local media meeting that he still has not decided on whether to be a presidential candidate during the next elections, adding he also had to take personal reasons into account. He also evaluated future bilateral treaty relations between Russian Federation territorial entities and Moscow. He doubted that the federal authorities will show much enthusiasm for such arrangements, adding that those entities which wished to share power with Moscow have already done so. As for Tatarstan, Shaimiev added, its power-sharing treaty with Moscow was definitive, but further aspects will be clarified as the Constitution and other legislative acts are brought into harmony. Shaimiev said that better information is one of the fruits of the beginning of perestroika and without that there cannot be real democracy. Shaimiev analyzed Tatarstan's main stages since the adoption of the 30 August 1990 sovereignty declaration in which the signing of the bilateral treaty with Moscow was a milestone. In efforts for maximal independence, including in the economic sphere, Shaimiev said Tatarstan has never posed the question on secession from Russia. He said that Russian leaders' radical steps towards strengthening vertical powere are objectively necessary and noted that Tatarstan will also defend Russian Federation development towards democratic federalism under current conditions. In Shaimiev s words, during the last decade many positive results were reached in Tatarstan, considering the republic's pre-perestroika status. He said Tatarstan always had huge potential, but it did not belong to the people and Tatarstan's socio-economic indicators used to be below average. Now, for the first time, Tatarstan is the fourth highest producer in the Russian Federation.

Postponement of KamAZ Debt Restructuring

22 August 2000

Tatarstan's KamAZ truck concern and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which holds the lien on the company property, agreed to postpone restructuring its debt till 31 October, the daily,"Vremya i Dengi" reported on 22 August. The documents were initially scheduled for signature on 15 July, but the Russian Federation government reportedly did not have time to confirm its readiness to be a guarantor of the KamAZ debt. The EBRD allocated $100 million in credit to KamAZ on 29 August, 1995 and was the first EBRD direct commercial agreement with a former Soviet company without state participation. The bank backed the security for all KamAZ holdings, including purchases,land, stocks of raw materials, and all on-line production. In 1997, when KamAZ declared insolvency and proposed to pay its debt with shares, EBRD insisted its debt repayment be made in money and appealed its case to the International Tribunal in London. While negotiations continued, KamAZ lodged a counter-claim against EBRD demanding to annul security obligations which restricted the rights of other KamAZ creditors. In April of this year, the EBRD has agreed on a compromise according to which it consented to get a half of then $141 million s debt with the KamAZ shares. A memorandum on the terms was signed by the Russian Economics Ministry, KamAZ, and EBRD. By that time, KamAZ had become profitable and increased its production. Due to debt restructuring, thirty six percent of the company became the property of the Russian government and the Russian Economics Minister and the EBRD Representive for Russia, Andrei Shapovalyants, became the KamAZ Board chairman. Both sides agreed that restructuring will come into force as soon as guarantees and other documents will be presented. The second half of the debt, KamAZ will repay within 12 years; its first trench is due to be paid in January. The daily cited the KamAZ General Manager Ivan Kostin as saying that postponement was due to by technical reasons connected to the coordination procedure among various agencies for Russian government documents. Kostin said that no problems are expected since the restructuring plan agreed with EBRD does not entail changes to the federal budget.

Sergei Shakhrai: Tatarstan's Model Is Of International Significance

22 August 2000

Tatarstan's daily, "Vremya i Dengi," published an interview with Russian politician, Sergei Shakhrai, and Tatar Television devoted a program to the anniversary of Tatarstan sovereignty on 22 August. Shakhrai said that the Treaty with Tatarstan and its leaders' achievement, as experience has shown, was not only of relevance to Tatarstan, but was the first attempt at real federalism in Russia. That model also has international relevance, for example, for the Balkans, or Crimean-Kiev relations. It is a federalist model, without separatism. Being an author of the Russian Constitution and a participant of the negotiation process with Tatarstan in early 90's, Shakhrai expressed his opinion that the Russian Constitution was based on a limited sovereignty model for territorial entities, since republics were defined as states within the structure of Russia. This means that power rests in Tatarstan, except for issues relegated to the Russian Federation and fixed in the Russian Constitution. In response to a question as to why Yeltsin agreed to sign the Treaty at that time, Shakhrai said it represented a compromise. He said that the formula of associated membership was suggested by the Tatarstan negotiators and we translated the word "associated" as "united" -- the Republic of Tatarstan, united with the Russian Federation. Shakhrai said he consider this this to be the main issue, the gist of this document, reflecting the history, and future of the peoples of Tatarstan and the Russian Federation.

Tatar Politicians Comment On Sovereignty Anniversary
Ravil Mustafin, the chairman of the Daghestani Tatar cultural center, told Tatar-inform that the Tatar diaspora of the Daghestan Republic consists of about 4,000 people. He said Tatarstan's sovereignty gave them -- Tatars living far from Kazan -- hope of preserving the nation, Islamic religion, and culture. At the same time, it gave diaspora Tatars a sense of responsibility for Tatarstan.

The chairman of the Crimean public fund of assistance to the deported peoples of Eupatoria, Nariman Ibadulaev, said that the very fact of the adoption of the sovereignty declaration is undoubtedly a historical event for the whole Tatar nation. Nevertheless, Tatars also are experiencing, he said, an increasing sense of anxiety about future of the republic. They believe that Mirsaid Sultan-GAliyev was correct when he said that the collapse of the Russian Empire and and the rise of Soviet Union had not meant the end of imperial development for Russia. That imperial spirit and violent tradition against the will of entire nations that is in the character of most Russians.

Nazif Mirikhanov, Tatarstan's plenipotentiary representative to the Russian Federation, said that the tenth anniversary of Tatarstan s sovereignty is of great importance, not only for the republic but also for the creation of a genuine federation in Russia. During this decade, Russia made its first steps from unitary towards a modern federative state. Its experience during these years will serve as the basis for this process. The people of Tatarstan, and all Tatars living in various regions of Russia, consider the Russian Federation their Motherland. And Tatarstan, of course, is a territorial entity of Russia, its territory. For six million Tatars, Russia is a spiritual Motherland. But for each Tatar, the existence of Tatarstan, wherever he lives, brings energy and belief to the future. That is why Tatarstan must preserve its sovereignty, because it also serves not only its own security but that of Russia as a whole.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova