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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 26, 2003

26 August 2003
All Of Tatarstan's Schools To Open On 1 September
Education Minister Faris Kharisov told reporters on 26 August that although only 67 percent of schools have been officially approved for opening on 1 September for the new school year, all of them will be finished by that date. Officially, schools with unfinished repair work or without fire-detection systems cannot be approved for opening. Nevertheless the minister admitted that that 12 million rubles ($396,000) allotted for school fire-security systems in 2003 will not be enough to cover all of the needy schools, because that money will only be sufficient for some 40 schools. Meanwhile the majority of schools reportedly are still not equipped with fire-alarm systems.

Also on 1 September, 19 more schools will be opened in Tatarstan and 10 more will be later this year, something made possible by the introduction of a new "economy class" of schools in rural areas, which in the same building combine a school, a hospital, a social club, a library, and even an office of local administration. In such cases, low maintenance costs are ensured by sharing heat, water, and electricity supply.

Tatar Official Says Russian Government's Support For Domestic Air Industries Insufficient
Nazir Kireev, the adviser to Tatarstan's prime minister on issues of machinery, defense industries, and conversion, told "Vechernyaya Kazan" in an interview published on 26 August that despite the wide choice of domestically produced aircraft presented at the recent Moscow International Air Show at Zhukovskii airfield, Russia's major airline, Aeroflot, demonstrated no interest in buying them. He said that Aeroflot's recent decision to purchase 18 airliners from Europe's Airbus and five from Boeing for a total of some $600 million violated the country's economic interests, because that money would be sufficient to design a number of new models of domestically made aircraft. He added that the Russian government approved the deal and freed the imported aircraft from customs taxes.

Kireev added that during the air show he heard federal officials say the 2004 state budget will reduce support for civilian aircraft producers from $100 million to $80 million.

Some Regions Running Late With Preparations For Winter
Deputy Housing Minister Abrek Khairullin told a press conference on 25 August that 67 percent of Tatarstan's apartment blocks have been prepared for the winter season and that preparations would resume through the fall, Intertat reported the same day. Kazan, Tuben Kama, and the Elmet, Bauli, and Elke regions have reportedly finished essential preparations, while the cities of Chally, Alabuga, and Zey, and the regions of Agryz, Apas, Yeshel Uzen, Chistay, and Mendeleevskii lag behind. Yeshel Uzen is even worse in that its budget for 2003 does not stipulate any expenses for heating.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Greenpeace Highlights Environmental Violations At Yumagizin Reservoir...
The construction of the Yumaguzin Reservoir is violating Russia's environmental laws, Rosbalt reported on 25 August, citing Mikhail Kneidlin, an activist from the Russian branch of Greenpeace. Kneidlin told a press conference in Nizhnii Novgorod that an inspection of the construction site by the Russian Natural Resources Ministry on 31 July-6 August "proved [the ministry's] absolute inability and unwillingness to effectively prevent and eliminate the most blatant and evident violations of environmental laws." The inspection, according to Kneidlin, failed to estimate the damage to the nature reserves in the construction area and the damage inflicted on areas of forest and rare animal species. After the construction is complete, several nature reserves will be flooded.

...As Republic's Council Praises Government's Environmental Measures
The Council of the Republic, headed by Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov, recommended to the republican government on 25 August that it should establish a coordinating council responsible for ecology, natural resources, and the promotion and development of tourism. The recommendation noted that "in recent years much work had been done in the republic to ensure its ecological security, the active use of Bashkortostan's unique natural potential for promoting citizens' health, and for creating the necessary conditions for the development of tourism."

First Private Nature Reserve Opens In Bashkortostan
The first privately owned nature reserve was opened in the Burzyan region of Bashkortostan, Interfax reported on 25 August. The reserve will be used for a number of recreational activities including hunting. The Bashkir authorities will reportedly introduce strict measures to control the issuance of hunting licenses.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi