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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 27, 2002

27 March 2002
Moscow Seeks To Revive Nuclear Plant Construction In Kama Alani
Tatarstan's office of the Russian Nuclear Energy Ministry is interested in checking the situation at the former construction site of the nuclear power plant in Kama Alani, Tatarstan, the republican press reported on 26 March. Officials of Tatarstan's Economy and Industry Ministry met with representatives from the federal ministry on 20 March to agree on a joint surveying of what remains of the site since construction was frozen in 1989 after widespread public protests. No project ideas have emerged thus far on how to best use the facilities already built. More than 50 percent of the some 10,000 people who live in Kama Alani have been jobless since construction stopped. Moscow officials said they have data on the project so that reconstruction could commence, but republican and other federal officials have not yet decided on what to do with the site. Meanwhile, Tatarstan's Tatenergo power and heating company stated that by 2015 the republic will need more sources of energy and is promoting nuclear power, which it says is more efficient than using natural gas. In the late 90s, environmentalists joined together with citizen groups to stop an attempt at reviving the project by saying that the plant was being built on the seismic fault of an earthquake zone.

Shaimiev Meets Swedish Premier, Joins Business Talks In Stockholm
President Mintimer Shaimiev met Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson in Stockholm on 26 March to discuss the political processes and federation-building in Russia, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. Persson expressed great interest in Russia's system of political parties in light of the recent formation of the United Russia party, which merged the pro-Kremlin forces (former Unity party) with the regional leaders' union (Fatherland-All Russia bloc). The same day Shaimiev's delegation took part in a signing ceremony for a protocol of intentions between the Swedish state Swedfund investment company and Tatarstan's Tatfondbank for establishing a joint Bars Leasing Co. for bilateral business development and small business support. Shaimiev also visited the offices of the Scania heavy-trucks concern to discuss possible cooperation with Tatarstan's KamAZ company. According to presidential spokesman Irek Murtazin, the two truck producers don't regard themselves as rivals because they occupy different niches of the market.

Over 500 Amendments Offered On New Draft Constitution
Tatarstan's State Council Commission on State Building, Local Self-Governments considered on 25 March 1,242 proposals submitted by citizens of Tatarstan, political organizations, and state institutions for amending the draft republican constitution, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. The commission drafted 510 amendments from those proposals since first considering them on 28 February. On 29 March, Tatarstan's State Council is to debate the amendments and pass a draft constitution on the second reading.

State Committee Urges More Money For Curbing River Pollution
Aleksei Kolesnik, the chief of Tatarstan's Natural Resources Committee, told reporters on 26 March that since the state is unable to cover all the expenses for the improvement of the republic's water resources, it is essential that industrial water consumers contribute to the purification of river water. Meanwhile, only 35 percent of those consumers reportedly have licenses to use Tatarstan's lakes and rivers for industrial purposes. According to Kolesnik, compared to neighboring republics, Tatarstan spent twice as much as Moscow did on cleaning Tatarstan's water. Only 6 million rubles ($193,500) of the 280 million ($9.03 million) spent on cleaning republican waters in Tatarstan in 2001 was from the federal budget.

Increase In Drug Addiction Forces Government To Rethink Strategy
Over 100,000 drug addicts are officially registered in Tatarstan and 279 addicts died from drug overdoses in 2001, the daily "Vechernaya Kazan" reported on 27 March. Tatarstan's cabinet of ministers is working on a document to boost the efficiency of state bodies dealing with drug abuse. Current measures are considered to be insufficient in dealing with the growing problem.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan Has High Hopes For Financial Support From Moscow In 2003-2005
Bashkortostan's minister of economy and antimonopoly policy, Vladimir Yashuk, told RIA Novosti on 26 March that the federal program for his republic's social and economic development from 2003 to 2005 will soon be approved by Moscow. According to Yashuk, Bashkir Premier Rafael Baydaletov "intends to convince the federal government to increase the planned federal subventions within the program from 34.2 billion rubles ($1.103 billion) to 34.7 billion ($1.119 billion) and divide the transfers into investments and subsides." This way, Bashkir officials expect to obtain the full and timely transfers for the Yumagizin water reserve and the construction of the Bashkir Nuclear Power Plant. Baydaletov is to discuss these issues with Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin on 29 March in Moscow.

Federal Inspector Opens Body For Consulting With Public Organizations
The chief federal inspector in Bashkortostan, Rustem Kahmitov, plans to open a Civil Chamber under the auspices of his office for consulting public and political organizations in the republic and appointing permanent consultants on the environment, war veterans, human rights, and the rights of women and children, Bashinform agency reported on 26 March.

'Subbotniks' Live On In Bashkortostan
Bashkortostan's cabinet of ministers on 26 March issued a decree on the holding of an "ecological event" from 29 March--30 April that will inspire state employees to volunteer to clean up the area around their office buildings. Deputy Premier Engels Kulmukhametov was named as chairman of the organizing committee for the event, while each city, region, and state institution will have to establish its own committee on holding the "subbotniks," a common practice dating back to the early Bolshevik days after the 1917 October Revolution.

Tender To Be Held To Lower Fuel Costs For Farmers
Bashkortostan's Ministry of Agriculture and Foodstuffs held a tender to select an official supplier of fuel and motor oil for the upcoming sowing season in Bashkortostan, the daily "Respublika Bashkortostan" wrote on 26 March. Currently five suppliers have agreed with the pricing limits introduced by the ministry. Deputy government minister Boris Pavlov said that this measure was introduced to lower expenses for farmers.

Bashprombank Said To Have Overcome The Consequences Of 1998 Financial Crisis
Bashprombank already paid off 88 percent of the total debt it owes its customers, reported on 25 March. Some 242,520 creditors received their deposits back, totaling 102.2 million rubles ($3.2 million).

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi