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Tatar-Bashkir Daily Report -- 10 December 2003

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  • Uli Schamiloglu
    This article below appears on the web site of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) http://www.rferl.org and has been sent to you by Uli Schamiloglu.
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 10, 2003
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      This article below appears on the web site of Radio Free Europe/
      Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) http://www.rferl.org and has been sent
      to you by Uli Schamiloglu.

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      Tatar-Bashkir Daily Report


      RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Service

      Tatar-Bashkir Report Archive

      10 December 2003


      Shaimiev Sees Tatar-Language Issue As Key In Bashkir
      Presidential Elections

      Commenting on 8 December at a press conference in Kazan
      on the results of the presidential elections in
      Bashkortostan, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said the
      tense situation there might have been avoided with
      greater emphasis on an open society and media freedoms,
      and with authorities able to live and work in conditions
      of glasnost and tolerant receptive to criticism.

      Shaimiev also said issues of the development of a native
      language, spirituality, traditions, and their
      preservation become paramount. "The issue of state status
      for the Tatar language should have been and will be
      resolved in Bashkortostan sooner or later," Shaimiev
      said. He added: "We cannot calmly look and show no
      reaction to violations of Tatars' rights in Bashkortostan
      where they are more than a million. So I said we cannot
      interfere in Bashkortostan's internal affairs...but we
      think a solution on the issue of the Tatar language must
      be found. The future president should not deceive himself
      into thinking that this issue will disappear." He also
      said that people should be allowed instruction in their
      native language and as many classes as necessary should
      be provided.

      Shaimiev said that if not for the Tatar-language issue,
      the incumbent Bashkir president could be re-elected
      easily, since the economic situation in the republic is
      favorable. He added that incumbents were re-elected even
      in regions being behind Bashkortostan in this respect.
      "This [Tatar-language] problem was created from nothing
      and this fact has been used [by other candidates]. So
      anyone who will lead the republic has to take into
      account its ethnic composition. It would be better if the
      presidential candidates determined their position on the
      status of the Tatar language before the second round of
      elections," he concluded.

      Foreign Investments Up More Than Tenfold

      Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister
      Khefiz Salikhov said on 9 December that direct foreign
      investment in Tatarstan reached $42.2 million in the
      first nine months of the year, almost 18 times as much as
      in the same period the previous year, intertat.ru
      reported the same day.

      Tatarstan is currently eighth in Russia in terms of
      foreign investment, while until 2000 in ranked third.
      Tatarstan has 68 joint ventures with Turkey, 31 with the
      United States, and 26 with Germany. A total of 444
      companies with foreign investment have been registered by
      the Tatar Justice Ministry.

      Salikhov cited representatives of 40 large companies in
      the republic with foreign investment questioned recently
      by the ministry as saying that the inflow of foreign
      capital is hindered by legal shortcomings in Tatarstan
      and the overly long procedure of registering ownership by
      the republican Registration Chamber.

      Parliamentary Committee Promotes Bonuses For Use Of Tatar
      And Russian

      The State Council Committee on Science, Education,
      Culture, and National Issues suggested at its 9 December
      meeting that 2 million rubles ($67,800) be allocated
      every year by the republic for libraries to purchase
      Tatar-language and folklore books, intertat.ru reported
      the same day. The committee was discussing amendments to
      the law on languages and the state program on developing
      the republic's languages for 2004-13. The committee
      proposed that local television programs devoted to the
      most important cultural and political events be
      translated into Tatar and Russian. The committee also
      called for the introduction of bonuses for employees
      using in their work both state languages, Tatar and
      Russian. Committee head Razil Weliev spoke against the
      Tatar Finance Ministry's proposal to cut the 10-year
      state program's budget of 140 million rubles in half.

      Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova


      Bashkir Election Commission Chairman Announces Updated
      Results Of Vote...

      Bashkortostan's Central Election Commission (USK)
      Chairman Baryi Kinjegulov on 9 December announced the
      latest (but not final) results of the Russian State Duma
      and Bashkir presidential elections, an RFE/RL Ufa
      correspondent reported the same day. In the Duma vote,
      Kremlin-backed Unified Russia won the support of 38.9
      percent in Bashkortostan, the Communist Party won 13.04
      percent, the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of
      Russia won 10.94 percent, and the newly formed Motherland
      National-Patriotic Union bloc won 6.53 percent. All other
      parties failed to overcome the 5 percent barrier,
      necessary for entering the lower house of the Russian
      parliament. In addition, Unified Russia's candidates won
      in all eight single-mandate districts of Bashkortostan,
      thus becoming the republic's representatives in the Duma.
      In the Bashkir presidential elections, which will go to a
      second round, the incumbent President Murtaza Rakhimov is
      reportedly leading the vote with 42.59 percent of the
      vote, former Mezhprombank head Sergei Veremeenko remains
      second with 25.38 percent, and former LUKoil vice
      president Relif Safin is third with 23.03 percent. The
      final results are due to be released on 11 December.

      ..Blames TsIK For Meddling In Bashkir Internal

      During the same press conference, Kinjegulov said that in
      his opinion, Russia's Central Election Commission (TsIK),
      which insisted on registering Veremeenko as a
      presidential candidate despite USK protests, has
      "violated democratic procedures by interfering with a
      regional election campaign," an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent
      reported. He suggested that instead of granting
      Veremeenko official registration, the TsIK "could have
      advised the candidate to appeal in court." Kinjegulov
      also questioned the legality of the USK dissolving the
      TsIK, something that TsIK Chairman Aleksandr Veshnyakov
      has threatened to do in the past. Kinjegulov said that he
      was told by one of the TsIK officials monitoring the
      election, that "if it was not for the complaints from the
      candidates, the conduct of our election could serve as an
      example for other regions of the Russian Federation."
      About 100 complaints were filed by the presidential and
      Russian State Duma candidates after the 7 December vote.

      ..Admits Illegal Actions By Bashkir Police

      The USK chairman said that the republic's traffic police
      had "exceeded their powers" by restricting access to
      buses with independent election monitors on board on the
      eve of the 7 December elections, an RFE/RL Ufa
      correspondent reported on 9 December. Buses from the
      Orenburg and Samara oblasts were reportedly stopped on
      Bashkortostan's administrative border, Rosbalt reported
      on 9 December. One of the Orenburg buses was reportedly
      attacked with stones and 25 monitors were injured.

      Safin Will Challenge First-Round Results...

      Bashkir presidential candidate Relif Safin told a press
      conference in Ufa on 9 December that he intends to
      dispute the latest results of the vote count, which he
      said he considers to be "unjust," an RFE/RL Ufa
      correspondent reported the same day. According to the
      latest results, Safin, who is currently in third place,
      will not proceed to the second round, which is to be
      fought out between Rakhimov and Veremeenko. Safin said
      that according to his data, the incumbent president won
      only 35 percent of the vote, rather than the officially
      stated 43 percent. Safin said that he actually received
      31 percent of the vote, instead of the official 23

      ..Says Second-Round Contenders Already Vying For His

      During the same conference, Safin said that if his loss
      in the elections is officially confirmed, both of the
      remaining candidates "will negotiate" with him, an RFE/RL
      Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Safin said that
      both Rakhimov and Veremeenko have already sent their
      representatives to contact him, but no meetings have been
      arranged so far. However, Safin, the former
      vice-president of LUKOil, said that the new Bashkir
      president "should be a Muslim." He said, "I'm saying this
      openly, not intending to hurt the Russians. I myself
      consider Russian to be my native language. But 65 percent
      of Bashkortostan's population speak Bashkir and Tatar and
      one should take that into consideration." Among the
      remaining two candidates, only the incumbent Rakhimov is
      known to be a Muslim.

      Putin, Rakhimov Discuss Russia's Cooperation With ICO

      President Vladimir Putin met with Rakhimov on 9 December
      to discuss the further development of Russia's
      cooperation with the Organization of the Islamic
      Conference (OIC), RTR TV reported the same day. In
      October 2003, Rakhimov was a member of Putin's delegation
      attending the OIC summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
      According to RTR, Rakhimov actively participated in talks
      on Russia's entry to the OIC. The meeting of the two
      presidents took place despite the fact that the Bashkir
      president, currently seeking his third term, is
      officially on pre-election leave and the presidential
      powers are in the hands of Prime Minister Rafael

      Tatar President Urges Candidates To Resolve
      Tatar-Language Issue

      Commenting on the Bashkir presidential election, Mintimer
      Shaimiev, the president in neighboring Tatarstan, told a
      press conference in Kazan on 8 December that, "Bashkir
      society has to learn how to live with full openness, free
      speech, and tolerance of criticism of the government." He
      referred to the 4 December discovery of forged voting
      ballots, which were found in a printing house connected
      to the presidential administration. He also referred to
      TsIK Chairman Veshnyakov, who called the Bashkir vote
      "the most scandalous" compared to other presidential and
      gubernatorial elections throughout Russia. Shaimiev also
      said that "Bashkortostan has to find a solution to the
      issue of the Tatar language," before the second round of
      elections. The Bashkir and Russian language have official
      status in the republic, whereas Tatar, which is also
      widely spoken, does not.

      Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

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