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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 3, 2003

3 September 2003
Tatar Legislature To Comprise 100 Members
The State Council Commission on State Systems, Local Self-Government, and Foreign Relations adopted on 2 September a draft law on the election of deputies to the Tatar State Council, reported the same day. According to the draft, the Tatar parliament will remain a 100-deputy unicameral body. The Tatar Constitution stipulates that the legislature has 50 deputies. The latter figure was included in the draft law on the election of State Council deputies that was passed in the first reading last fall. On 28 November 2002, however, the draft was withdrawn from the agenda of a parliamentary session. Commission Chairman Vasilii Loginov said the postponement was caused by changing federal electoral legislation. According to the new draft, of the 100 deputies, 50 percent will represent parties and the remainder will be elected in one-mandate districts. Twenty deputies will work permanently and the heads of cities, raion administrations, and state officials will not be members of parliament. The current republican parliament consists of 130 deputies, 30 of whom are there full-time. The parliament is to consider the draft at its plenary session on 3 September.

Tatneft Fleet To Run On Gas
Tatneft General Director Shefeget Takhawetdinov said on 1 September that the oil company's transportation fleet will switch to gas fuel in order to cut costs, Tatar agencies reported the same day. Initially, some 300 vehicles will be converted to gas, Takhawetdinov said. Currently the oil company owns 400 gas filling stations in Russia and Ukraine and plans to construct 59 filling stations in 2003 and another 60 in 2004, together worth 1.6 billion rubles ($52.4 million).

Oil Pipeline Leak Kills Two
Two workers from Yelkhovneft, a subsidiary of Tatneft, died and one was hospitalized with hydrogen sulfide poisoning after a leak from an oil pipeline in Tatarstan's Elmet Raion, reported on 2 September.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

SPS Leader Says Bashkir Government Suppresses Opposition 'By All Possible Means'
Leaders of the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS), Yabloko, Communist Party, Liberal Democratic Party, People's Party, and the Agrarian Party have agreed to set up a common observers board to monitor the December 2003 State Duma elections "in the regions where violations of election legislation possess the most systematic and outrageous character," SPS leader Boris Nemtsov told ITAR-TASS on 1 September. He said that "it is especially important for Bashkortostan and Daghestan, the alternative to the present authorities is being suppressed by all possible means." Under the agreement, the parties will use all their resources to publicize cases of election-law violations through their local branches in the regions.

Media Suggest Upcoming Shuffle In Bashkir Cabinet
According to the Internet daily on 2 September, during Russian Railways Minister Gennadii Fadeev's ! September visit to Ufa, Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov introduced him to the head of his staff, Ildar Gimaev, as the future Bashkir prime minister. The daily and other Russian news agencies suggested that Gimaev will soon be appointed officially and replace current Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov, who recently turned 60.

Weekly: Former UralSib Executive's Suit Could Affect Sale
The lawsuit of former UralSib Vice President Salavat Migranov questioning the legality of the bank's shares issues could cause a drop in UralSib's market price, which would benefit potential buyers, "Kommersant," No.34, wrote on 1 September (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 September 2003). Moreover, if the trial takes place, it may scare away buyers, the weekly added. Recently, UralSib signed a contract with Russian NIKOil to assess its possible market price, which brought some financial analysts to conclude that the bank is preparing for sale (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report" 25 August 2003).

High-Ranking Police Officers Arrested For Heroin Possession
The Bashkir Prosecutor's Office is investigating the cases of federal drug agency head in Neftekamsk Rim Badretdinov and the acting head of the investigations department in Meleuz region, Sergei Anosov, who were detained with large amounts of heroin. Badretdinov reportedly stored more than 400 grams in his office safe, while Anosov attempted to sell 550 grams. Both suspects are currently in detention.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi