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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 24, 2003

24 April 2003
Impeachment of Senator Rouses Controversy In Federation Council...
The Federation Council passed on 23 April a resolution on the impeachment of Tatar Senator Refget Altynbaev, the chairman of the Local Self-Government Committee, reported the same day. A new Tatar senator, Filze Khemidullin, was also approved by the council. The decision was passed in two rounds of voting. Before the first vote, Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov urged senators to pass the decision as Altynbaev's powers had already been curtailed by Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and the Tatar State Council.

However, some of those who were against the decision said senators should not suffer from the "arbitrariness" of regional leaders who can at any time dismiss them without explanation. Lyudmila Narusova, a senator from Tyva, said senators "should not be dependent on the moods and whims of regional heads" and that Altynbaev's dismissal was "political persecution." Senators also called for an early adoption of a draft law on the formation of the Federation Council in order to make it difficult for governors to dismiss their representatives from the upper chamber. Shaimiev, a United Russia co-chairman, explained his decision to dismiss Altynbaev, who is a co-chairman of the Party of Life, by the "impossibility of pulling in different directions while sitting in the same boat" (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 14 April 2003).

...As Shaimiev Comments On Senators� Insubordination
In an interview with Interfax on 23 April, President Shaimiev said the Federation Council harshly violated the federal legislation by its refusal to confirm the Tatar State Council's decision on changing a Tatar senator. Shaimiev said that under the federal law on the formation of the Federation Council, decisions taken by legislative bodies on representatives to the upper chamber of the Russian parliament do not need to be confirmed by the Federation Council. Shaimiev said that "the upper chamber are politicizing more and more, something we were afraid of." By its refusal to confirm the Tatar State Council's decision, the Federation Council was "exclud[ing] Tatarstan from Russia, depriving the republic of the possibility of representing its interests in the upper chamber," Shaimiev added.

Tatar Tire Company Tapping U.S. Market
Kama Trade House General Director Aleksandr Makhotin told a press conference in Tuben Kama on 23 April that his company had opened a branch in Miami, reported the same day. Kama-Interamerica plans to begin deliveries of tires to the United States, Mexico, and Brazil in August. The Tuben Kama tire plant recently concluded a $1-million contract for the delivery of tires to Cuba and plans to raise its exports from 16 percent to 20 percent of the total production. Robert Khannanov, deputy general director of Tatneft, the owner of the Tuben Kama tire plant, said Tatar tire manufacturers control 34 percent of the Russian tire market.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Midair Collision Death Toll Up By Two�
The actual number of last year's midair crash victims may be more than the initially reported figure, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 April, citing German media and Michael Vitti, a German lawyer representing the relatives of Russian citizens killed in the collision of Bashkir Airlines Tu-154 and a DHL cargo jet over the German-Swiss border on 1 July 2002 (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July 2002, 23 April 2003). According to previous reports, 68 passengers and crew of the Bashkir Airlines plane and the two pilots of the DHL plane lost their lives in the crash. However, genetic analysis of the crash remains has shown that there were at least two unregistered passengers aboard the jets.

�While Victims' Relatives Said To Receive 100 Million Euros In Compensation
The compensation for the relatives of those lost in the July 2002 midair crash will total some 100 million euros ($110 million), with an average payment of 1.37 million euros for each victim, RIA-Novosti reported, citing lawyer Vitti on 23 April.

Federal Official Notes The Lobbying Efforts Of Bashkir State Duma Deputies
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov received a letter of appreciation from Anton Geidt, head of the development, planning, and forecasts department at the Russian State Service of Roads on 23 April, the presidential press service reported the same day. Geidt wrote that "it was his duty" to inform Rakhimov that the lobbying of Bashkir deputies, Zeynulla Bagishaev and Rim Baqyev, in the Russian State Duma, had "allowed the 30 million rubles ($952,000) increase" in the federal budget's financing for road maintenance in Bashkortostan in 2003. As a result, the republic's road maintenance service will receive 179 million rubles from Moscow this year.

Tatar Writers Union Obtains Official Registration
Nine years after its founding, the Tatar Writers Union of Bashkortostan managed to obtain official registration on 23 April, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported yesterday. In 1994, right after registering the union, which was not affliated with Bashkortostan's writers union, the republic's Justice Ministry withdrew the registration. Ferit Gebdrekhim, a leader of the Tatar Writers Union, told RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent yesterday that the final registration of his organization "represented a victory for the 1.5 million Tatar population living in Bashkortostan."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi