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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 2, 2000

2 November 2000
Interior Minister Denies Possible Involvement In Future Presidential Campaign
27 October

Tatarstan's Interior Minister Asgat Safarov told the press conference in Kazan in a quite blunt form that he will not run for the presidential post in his republic, Russian Kommersant daily reported on 27 October. After the republic's parliament issued its decision on holding the pre-term presidential elections in September, many of the Tatar and Russian media made suppositions on who would be named an official successor by present president Mintimer Shaimiev. Safarov's candidacy was put among the other possible heirs, because he used to be Shaimiev's bodyguard service chief and enjoyed president's trust. Second reason for entering the Interior Minister into the candidates list was the recent fashion for appointing the high ranked officers from the interior and special services to the key posts in Russia.

Kommerstant quoted the Safarov's statement of October 24 calling such ideas "a bluff, spread nobody knows by whom and what for." General-lieutenant Asgat Safarov told the reporters that he "knows what he deserves and is quite happy with his current position." The daily stated in its turn that "even if Asgat Akhmetovich had hopes of becoming an official successor he would doubtfully speak about this aloud at this moment."

According to the newspaper Russian Duma will soon consider the draft law on allowing the heads of Russia's territorial entities for their third presidential terms. According to the law, regional parliaments are to make the final decision on whether to allow the third presidential terms. The bill reportedly received Kremlin's blessing and its chances of sailing through the Duma are evaluated as 50 to 50. In case the draft is endorsed by Duma, President Mintimer Shaimiev could benefit from being supported by the majority of Tatarstan's State Council deputies.

Kazan-Ufa Train Service To Be Made Even Less Frequent
30 October

Gorky railroads are closing the train service on routes number 209 and 210 from Tatarstan's capital Kazan to Bashkortostan's capital Ufa from 23 November, Tatarinform agency reported on 30 October.

According to the agency, directors of some of the Tatarstan's railroad stations previously applied to the Gorky railroad chiefs asking to make the Ufa-Kazan train service more frequent than once in three days because of the growing amount of passengers.

Russian Deputy Minister Says Special Terms Of Tax Payments Being Abolished
31 October

In his speech at the international seminar on banking on 31 October Russian first deputy Minister of Finance Alexey Ulyukayev said that "stating from January, 2001 Tatarstan will switch to the normal budget process," Tatarstan's press reported. He said, "previously Tatarstan and Bashkortostan republics had a special status for making the tax payments, but Bashkortostan was deprived of its special status this year, now it's Tatarstan's turn coming up."

Tatneft Restructures Its External Debt
31 October

AK&M agency commented on the debt restructuring agreement signed by Tatarstan's Tatneft oil company and its Western creditors on 31 October. The agency reported that "according to the experts, by restructuring its USD 354 million debt to 9 foreign banks Tatneft managed to revive its image of a reliable partner. This will possibly bring increasing investments from cautious investors."

Tatneft, Russia's fourth biggest oil company made its first efforts for relieving the debt burden in 1998. By that moment it owed about USD 1 billion and was unable to recover due to the US dollar exchange rate upsurge during national financial crisis in August, 1998. In the process of continuous negotiations and gradual debts repayment Tatneft managed to convert its debt into the long term-loan. The positive development was also powered by actions of Tatarstan Republic, which paid off USD 150 million of its USD 196 million debt to Tatneft. USD 51 million of Tatarstan's debt was paid in shares of republic's Tatneftegeophysics research enterprise and Tatincom Communications Company. The remaining USD 99 million was paid in money transfers and tax recessions.

Answering to the question on whether Taneft will continue taking loans in future, Tatarstan's Prime Minister who is also a chirman of Company's directors board said, "of course it will! What is one billion dollars for Tatneft? It's monthly turnover is USD 3 billion. Such a big and successful company can afford it and it just has to attract investments, for example for constructing its oil processing plant or prospecting the new oil deposits."

Tatarstan's Former PM Comments On Presidential Elections Affair
1 November

According to the republican press on 1 November , Tatarstan's former Prime Minister Mukhammat Sabirov denied allegations that he would be a former Chally mayor Rafgat Altinbayev's trustee in coming presidential elections. According to some of the Tatarstan's media Sabirov who still influential in Kama area of the republic could assist Russian deputy Minister of Agriculture Altinbayev if the latter decided to run for the president's office in Tatarstan in March 2001.

Sabirov told the reporters that "possible presidential candidates in Tatarstan should meet and find a compromise, otherwise there will be an enormous amount of compromising materials dumped in the republic. This will seriously damage the Tatarstan reputation."

Special Newspaper To Cover The Presidential Elections In Tatarstan
2 November

Tatarstan's Zvezda Povolzhya newspaper reported on 2 November that republic's presidential staff will soon open the new newspaper to cover the coming presidential elections in March 2001. The presidential staff head Ekzam Gubaydullin and republic's Minister of Press, TV-radio broadcasting and mass communications media Zilya Valeeva reportedly run the preparation process.

Zvezda Povolzhya also noted that in case appointed editor Tatar journalist Rashid Gallyamov "manages to cope with his duties well, he will possibly be later appointed a chief editor of Respublica Tatarstan governmental newspaper." The present Respublica editors are reportedly considered to be "too sympathetic to the communists, leftist parties and the hard line of federal center."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi