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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 30, 2003


30 May 2003
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Tatar Parliament Agrees To Amend Law On Languages, Defends Republican Citizenship
Tatarstan's State Council accepted republic prosecutor Kafil Amirov's objection to the provisions of republic's language law making Tatar the official language in foreign affairs and the industry, transport, communications, and energy sectors on 29 May, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. Amirov had claimed that these provisions violated federal legislation, since the Russian Constitution gives the federal government exclusive powers in practicing international relations and the federal languages law stipulates the obligatory use of Russian in the mentioned industries.

The Tatar law adopted in 1992 had obliged state bodies to reply to the citizens in the language of the original query. Meanwhile, federal legislation says that unless it is impossible otherwise, state officials may reply to the residents appeals in Russian.

As for the prosecutor's protest against the Tatar constitutional provision establishing republican citizenship, the majority of State Council deputies voted to dismiss the claim.

Government Seminar Focuses On Technical Means For Ensuring Information Security
Tatarstan's Communication Ministry held a closed seminar on protecting the information networks of major republican industries from industrial intelligence operations on 29 May, RFE/RL s Kazan bureau reported. Deputy Communications Minister Oleg Natanson said in his report at the event that the Tatar cabinet is elaborating a draft decree on registration, maintenance, and use of information resources and the republican parliament is already considering the draft law on information-technologies development.

Deputy Communications Minister for information-technologies development and investment policies Ferit Fazylzyanov told journalists after the event that some 90 percent of Tatarstan's corporate information networks are considered to be insufficiently secure.

Tatar Oil Company Begins Cooperation With Kazakhstan
The Tatnefteotdacha oil-extraction company is the first Tatar company to begin operating in Kazakhstan under this year's contract with Embamunaygaz, a subdivision of KazMunayGaz, Intertat reported on 29 May. The Kazakh company will take advantage of Tatar technologies for boosting the output of its oil reserves, which are said to be nearing the exhaustion point. Tatnefteotdacha plans to ensure the annual increase of oil production by at least 50,000 tons, while the total oil extraction by Embamunaygaz for 2003 is expected to be 2.7 million tons.

The Tatar company is already providing its services to Tyumen Oil Company (TNK) in West Siberia and Orenburg Oblast, as well as planning to sign similar contracts with PermLukOilNeft of Perm Oblast and Sidanko of Udmurtiya Republic.

Tatarstan Wins Anti-AIDS/HIV Grant
The British government has awarded a $9 million grant to Tatarstan's anti-AIDS and HIV program, as well as to Krasnoyarsk Oblast's program, Tatarstan State Radio reported on 29 May. Both regions had to compete with four other Russian regions for the British funds, to be transferred in two years. By the end of the transfer, Tatarstan and Krasnoyarsk are required to maintain the programs through their own budget funds.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Rakhimov Meets With Possible Rival In Battle For Presidency
President Murtaza Rakhimov met with Relif Safin, a member of the Russian Federation Council representing the Altay Republic and former deputy head of the LukOil company on 29 May, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day citing the presidential press service. There has been speculation in the Russian press recently that Safin plans on running for the Bashkir presidency in December 2003 elections. Rakhimov and Safin reportedly discussed a wide range of political and economic issues and agreed on the need for a clearer division of powers between Moscow and the regions. Safin said that he appreciated the 20 years of friendly relations with the Bashkir president and added that it was impossible not to notice the positive changes in the republic's economy, social life, and appearance of the cities and villages.

Media Minister Says Government Will Continue Denying Reporters Access
Zoefer Timerbolatov, the Bashkir minister of press and mass media, said at a seminar on information security and Russian media law on 29 May that republican state bodies will continue the practice of granting or denying accreditation for journalists, even though the federal media law grants all reporters the right to access information, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported today. Timerbolatov said that republican officials agree to be interviewed only by media outlets that have earned a good reputation and that reporters from Moscow are often paid to write articles defaming Bashkortostan.

Internet Penetration Still Low In Bashkortostan
Iskandar Bakhtiyarov, general director of the joint-stock venture City Network, told reporters on 29 May that only 20,000 people or 0.5 percent of Bashkortostan's population currently use the Internet on a regular basis. He also noted that the demand for Internet services in the republic is strongly exceeding the supply. Bashkortostan's first Internet access facilities were opened in local scientific research institutions in 1994.

EC Promotes Republic's Efforts Against Corruption
The European Commission has approved Bashkortostan's program for improving legislative measures against corruption, Bashkir presidential staff reported on 29 May. So far Bashkortostan has remained the only region in Russia that has adopted a law against corruption. The program will be implemented from 1 June.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi
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