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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 23, 2002

23 May 2002
Movement Afoot To Include Nationality In Russian Passports
The Committee on Legislation, Legality, and Rules of Procedure of the Tatarstan State Council agreed on 21 May with the appeal of the Vladimirskaya Oblast's Legislative Assembly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, and State Duma Chairman Gennadii Seleznev, suggesting that a line indicating nationality be included in new Russian passports, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported yesterday. Soviet passports, which are currently being replaced by Russian ones, had to include information about the bearer's nationality.

Kama Alani Residents Demand Construction Resume On Nuclear Power Plant
The council on self-government of the town of Kama Alani in the Tuben Kama region of Tatarstan voted unanimously yesterday to demand that the Tatarstan government resume construction on the Kama Alani nuclear power plant, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. The council suggested that a working group be created, involving experts from the Tatarstan and federal governments, to reverse the 17 April 1990 resolution of the Tatarstan Supreme Council halting construction on the plant. The project was launched in Kama Alani in 1984 but was put on hold following the meltdown at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine in 1986. Under pressure from environmentalists in the republic, the project was stopped altogether in 1990. More than 15,000 people live in the town, which was built to house workers at the plant.

City Hall Discusses Water Quality In Kazan
Kazan City Council deputies discussed the quality of tap water in Tatarstan's capital on 22 May, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. According to the deputies, over 30 percent of the city's water doesn't meet health regulations because of the poor condition of pipelines and water pumps.

Deputy Prime Minister Asks Mayor To Postpone Festival
The Committee on Drug Addiction of the Tatarstan Security Council, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Zilya Valeeva, and Vera, a Kazan organization for the relatives of drug addicts, sent an open letter yesterday to Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov asking him to alter his decision to hold the Kazan beer festival, organized by the Krasnyi Vostok brewery, on 25 May, traditionally the last day of the school year (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 14, 17, 22 May 2002 and "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly," 10 May 2002). The message said that, "Beer propaganda doesn't help children and youth form a healthy lifestyle."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Prosecutors Continue Case Against Supreme Court Chairman
Bashkortostan Supreme Court Chairman Marat Vakilov is to be evicted from his apartment for "not honoring the Bashkortostan Constitution," "Kommersant" daily reported on 23 May. Ufa's Lenin Raion Prosecutor's Office has filed a suit seeking to have Vakilov evicted from his apartment, which he allegedly obtained illegally (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 22, 24, 25, 29 April, 17 May 2002). Meanwhile, Bashkortostan Interior Ministry officers have arrested the Supreme Court's administrator, Leon Mingazhev, accusing him of embezzlement as well. The daily cited Vakilov as saying that he is the victim of revenge for the court's March ruling that granted the claim of the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office against a number of provisions in the Bashkortostan Constitution (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 20 March, 15, 19, 29 April 2002). That ruling recognized that the constitution's provisions on republican citizenship; power-sharing treaties; and the powers of Bashkortostan's president, the State Assembly, and the Constitutional Court violated federal legislation. The paper said leaflets claiming the court had "buried the sovereignty" of the republic appeared in Ufa immediately after the ruling was made, and then local officials called for Vakilov's resignation, including Bashkortostan Constitutional Court Chairman Ildus Adigamov. The Interior Ministry then filed embezzlement charges against Vakilov and arrested Mingazhev. Investigators promised to drop the charges against Mingazhev if he testified against Vakilov but Mingazhev refused, the paper said. Vakilov has appealed to Deputy Prosecutor-General Vasilii Kolmogorov to request that the criminal investigation into his activities be carried out by investigative bodies from another region, the paper reported. Vakilov told the daily that the reports about him are similar to methods used in 1937 during the repression campaign led by Josef Stalin.

Bashkortostan Prosecutor Appointed
Russian Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov appointed Florid Baikov as Bashkortostan's chief prosecutor, Rosbalt reported on 20 May. Baikov's candidacy had already been approved by the republic's State Assembly. Baikov was a deputy prosecutor in the republic from 1989 to 1997 and was promoted to first deputy prosecutor in 1997.

Deputy Prime Minister Calls For Economic Monitoring
Bashkortostan Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Sigakov criticized scholars in the republic for unsatisfactory efforts regarding their analysis of economic events, Bashinform reported on 21 May. Sigakov was speaking at a general meeting of the Bashkortostan Academy of Sciences and the Ufa Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Sigakov suggested that the republic's economy be monitored in order to determine the consequences for Bashkortostan upon Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova