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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 2, 2002

2 May 2002
Tatarstan's Amended Constitution Comes Into Force In 10 Days...
The law on amendments to the Tatarstan Constitution was published in republican media on 30 April, Tatar-inform reported the same day. The constitution comes into force in 10 days after being published, the law says. According to the law, Tatarstan's president, the State Council, the Cabinet of Ministers, and other state authorities perform their duties until the terms of their office expire. Tatarstan's laws and legal acts remain in force if they do not contradict the amended constitution.

...As Prosecutor-General Says It May Be Challenged
Russian Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov told "Rossiiskaya gazeta" daily on 30 April that Tatarstan's amended constitution will be, if necessary, opposed in court like the republic's previous constitution. Ustinov said he discussed the issue of the Tatar Constitution with his deputy in charge of the Volga Federal District, Aleksandr Zvyagintsev, adding that currently the document is being subject to legal analysis.

Communists, Trade Unions Mark International Labor Day
Some 5,000 residents took part in a meeting organized by the Communist Party (KPRF) to mark International Labor Day in Kazan on 1 May, reported the same day referring to representatives of the local branch of the KPRF. A group of representatives of the Union of Communist Youth joined the KPRF action held in the square near Gorky Park. After the meeting, participants marched to Svobody Square to lay flowers at the Lenin monument.

Communists wore slogans aimed against the political regimes in Russia and Tatarstan and calling on the leadership of Russia and Tatarstan to resign. Participants demanded that wages and pensions be raised while prices and tariffs be reduced. They also protested the outflow of capital from Russia and presented antiglobalization slogans, the agency said.

Members of Tatarstan's trade unions gathered in the same square near Gorky Park in Kazan on 1 May to stage a meeting to demand that tariffs be increased only after the raising of wages, reported the same day. According to the press center of the Trade Unions Federation, from 3,500 to 5,000 residents took part. Participants called for social defense of employees and repayment of back wages, particularly the wages owed to workers in the defense industry, which amounts to 1 billion rubles ($32 million).

KamAZ Official Denies Plans To Sell Metallurgical Plants
Viktor Faber, general director of the group of metallurgical plants at the KamAZ truck concern, denied rumors that KamAZ was going to sell to Severstal three plants of his group, reported on 29 April. The "Vechernyaya Kazan" daily reported on 26 April that KamAZ's former General Director Ivan Kostin was unexpectedly fired because of plans to sell the three plants. The Russian "Vedomosti" daily on 23 April cited Andrei Ivanov, an expert with the Troika Dialog investment company, as saying that replacement of the KamAZ general director might be the first step toward the sale of KamAZ.

Faber said Severstal is an old and reliable partner of KamAZ but that the sale or integration of the KamAZ plants with that company were never on the agenda. Faber said the project under discussion with Severstal is the participation of KamAZ in the production of engines for AvtoVAZ in which Severstal is an intermediary.

Defense Company Executive Sentenced To Prison
The Kazan Vakhitov raion court has sentenced Vasilii Pereyaslavskii, deputy general director of the TPO Sviyaga instrument-making company, to five years in prison and confiscation of property, "Novaya vecherka" weekly reported on 1 May. Pereyaslavskii was convicted of embezzling 2 million rubles ($64,500) from the company. Meanwhile, Sviyaga employees have not been paid since October. The paper commented that for the first time, a senior official of one of republic's largest companies was sentenced to real, not conditional, confinement.

Tatarstan Russia's Fourth Leading Region In Terms Of Creditability
Tatarstan was rated fourth on a list of the most creditworthy regions following Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Tyumen Oblast, AK&M reported on 29 April. The republic has the largest excess of assets over liabilities of some 6 percent among the regions of Russia. The volume of debts it repaid in 2001 exceeded the sum it borrowed that year. The republic is 11th in terms of share of profit-making companies at 66 percent and 18th among regions in population income.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Trade Unions Abstain From Public Activities On 1 May...
In spite of old tradition concerning the origin of the 1 May holiday, Bashkortostan's trade unions abstained from holding meetings and other public events in the republic's capital Ufa, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Meanwhile, the total amount of back wages owed to the workers of Bashkir companies looms at 1.8 billion rubes ($58 million), a sum twice as big as in neighboring Tatarstan.

...As Communists Hold A Protest Action Condemning Federal...
Bashkortostan's branch of the Russian Communist Party managed to gather more than 300 people in front of the city sports hall the same day, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported. Participants, many of them elderly, were holding placards with such statements as "Disgrace to pro-governmental Duma!" "Give land to the peasants and factories to the workers!" "Stop human rights violations in BR!" and "People are against the sale of land!"

...And Republican Governments
Local Communist Party branch leader and Russian State Duma Deputy Valentin Nikitin told the meeting that "due to the federal center's inability to control Bashkortostan's government, it alone manages the republic's wealth, not being controlled by any democratic institutions, while Bashkortostan's laws violate the federal ones," RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported. He added that the Bashkir president's policies, implemented "by his servants in local administrations and media, sufficiently damaged our republic's reputation."

Tatar Movement Leader On His People's Rights In Bashkortostan
One of the Tatar rights movement leaders in Bashkortostan, Marat Ramazanov, joined the above-mentioned meeting with a speech promoting the abolition of the republic's "peoples' languages act, discriminating against the Tatar people," which is refused official status for its language, RFE/RL reported. He also stated that Tatars in Bashkortostan are "deprived of the their rights for ethnic culture and education", qualifying the "superior status of the republic's title [Bashkir] nationality compared to other ones " as "fascism."

Women's Rights In Bashkorotstan Also Assessed At Meeting
During the same meeting, Bashkir Women's Council member Zubarzyat Kudrina gave a speech focusing on the violations of women's rights in the republic, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported. She stated that women working for the republic's industries receive salaries 30 percent lower than male colleagues and upon retiring receive 40 percent lower pensions. According to Kudrina, female deputies represent only 4.5 percent of Bashkir State Assembly members.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi