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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 9, 2004

9 April 2004
Duma Deputies From Tatarstan Vow To Resume Struggle For Republic's Rights
Russian State Duma Deputies from Tatarstan Mikhail Rokitskii, Feride Gaynullina, Enber Karmeev, and Ildar Guilmutdinov at a press conference in Kazan on 8 April expressed their disagreement with a recent Tatarstan's Supreme Court ruling that a passage in the Tatar Constitution stating the republic's sovereignty is illegal, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 9 April. The deputies also pledged to "vote against the law banning the Tatar Latin script" that has been introduced by the republican parliament. Tatarstan's representatives to the Russian Duma also vowed to oppose a draft law on the Russian nation, as they believe it would infringe on the rights of other ethnic groups in the Russian Federation.

Tatar Enterprises Make Progress In Paying Off Back Wages
First Deputy Prime Minister Rawyl Moratov announced at a government meeting on 8 April that the total amount of back wages owed to workers in Tatarstan currently exceeds 166 million rubles ($5.8 million), 21.6 percent lower than the amount reported in March, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 9 April. Less than one-third of 387 debtor enterprises reportedly have failed to pay back wages for more than two months.

Tatar Prime Minister Visits Kaliningrad
A Tatar cabinet delegation led by Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov on 8 April arrived in Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast for a meeting with local officials and managers of major local industries, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today, citing the government press service. The meeting will focus on the possibility of joint shipbuilding and automotive projects, and the use of Kaliningrad ports for exporting Tatar oil.

Kazan Deemed Unprepared For Terrorist Acts
Tatarstan's Interior Ministry and the local branch of Federal Security Service (FSB) has conducted a number of inspections of public places and office buildings in Kazan to determine the city's preparedness in the event of a terrorist attack, the city administration's press service announced on 8 April. The counterterrorism exercise revealed many drawbacks in the security systems of the inspected organizations, and fake explosives were reportedly successfully placed in public places. The special services instructed managers of the inspected sites how to improve their security.

Chally Mayor Concerned With Spread Of Drugs
Chally Mayor Ildar Khalikov demanded at an 8 April press conference that local police formulate "a clear plan" to combat drug trafficking in the city, Kama-press reported on 8 April. Khalikov said in that "unlike the police, every young Chally resident knows where to buy drugs."

Approximately 1,780 drug addicts are officially registered in Chally, 811 of whom are listed as being HIV-positive.

Valerii Kolcherin, head of the local State Drugs Control Department, said at the same news conference that approximately 100 dealers use 10 different channels to bring illegal drugs into Chally.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Arbitration Court Rules In Favor Of Bashkir Oil Refineries
The Bashkir Supreme Arbitration Court on 7 April rejected a lawsuit by the Bashkir branch of the former Tax Ministry against three Bashkir oil refineries demanding they pay 12.7 billion rubles ($445.6 million) in taxes (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 3 February, 13 and 20 March, 26 May, 6 June, 17, 18, and 23 July, and 24 October 2003, "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly Review," 7 March 2003), Interfax and RosBalt reported on 8 April. This is the second time the Arbitration Court has ruled in favor of the refineries after a ruling in November that was appealed by the then-Tax Ministry.

In March 2003, the Audit Chamber and the Tax Ministry accused two partners of the Ufa Oil Refinery, the Novo-Ufimskii Oil Refinery, and Ufaneftekhim registered in Kazakhstan's Baikonur offshore zone of not paying over 10 billion rubles in federal taxes, demanding 12.7 billion rubles with penalties. RosBalt quoted Artur Kheiretdinov, the head of the ministry's legal department, as saying it considers the verdict "judicially incorrect" and is preparing to appeal to the Yekaterinburg Ural Federal District Arbitration Court.

Ufa Bread Producer Follows Antimonopoly Ministry Order To Lower Prices
Ufa Bread Plant No. 1 has lowered bread prices as of 9 April, Bashinform reported on 8 April. Plant General Director Aleksei Zhuravlev told the news agency that prices will be lowered by 10 percent to the level before 20 March, when Ufa's bread producers simultaneously raised their prices. Following this, the Antimonopoly Ministry's Bashkir branch ruled that the move was agreed by the companies in violation of antimonopoly legislation and ordered them to lower prices back to the previous level (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 7 April 2004).

NGO Criticizes Bashkir Call-Up Policy
The head of Bashkortostan's Committee on Social Care of Servicemen and Members of Their Families, Vladimir Simarchuk, told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 8 April that draft boards in Bashkortostan meet high call-up targets by drafting recruits unfit to serve. He said only 1,500 draftees are called up in each campaign in Moscow with its population of 11 million, while in Bashkortostan with a population of 4.2 million manages 5,000 to 7,000. The committee has filed 44 lawsuits so far this year against military medical commissions at the enlistment offices for allegedly sanctioning the drafting of young men in poor health.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova