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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 14, 2002

14 August 2002
Tatenergo To Sign Agreement With EES On Joining Russian Energy System
Russia's Unified Energy Systems (EES) head Anatolii Chubais met on 13 August in Moscow with Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov, and Tatenergo general director Ilshat Fardiev to discuss relations between EES and Tatenergo, reform of the Russian and Tatar energy systems, and preparation of draft laws on reforming the energy-production sector, reported the same day citing the EES press service.

One of power-generating companies due to be created soon as a result of the Russian government decision is expected to combine the hydroelectric stations of the Volga-Kama system of connected reservoirs, and after that, EES is to consider the issue of Tatenergo's becoming a shareholder in the system. The two sides agreed that EES and Tatenergo will soon sign an agreement under which EES will provide services to organize the work of Tatenergo within the Russian energy system.

Agreements were signed at the meeting to arrange energy export by Tatenergo and to develop joint investment projects in Tatarstan and Russia's other regions. The rising level of the Tuben Kama reservoir is expected to be one such project. Tatenergo, as well as Bashkirenergo and Irkutskenergo, is so far an energy company independent from EES.

Aerospace-Equipment Manufacturers Gather In Kazan
A nationwide exhibition and conference on aerospace technologies and equipment opened in Kazan on 14 August, reported the same day. More than 80 aerospace-research institutions, design offices, and companies from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine are taking part. Tatarstan is represented by the Kazanskoe Aviatsionnoe Proizvodstvennoe Obedinenie, which produces Tu-214 jets and is developing a Tu-324 passenger liner and a Tu-330 cargo jet, as well as the Kazanskii Vertoletnyi Zavod, which makes Ansat helicopters and is preparing to produce Aktai and Mi-38 helicopters. The exhibit will continue until 17 August.

Senator From Tatarstan Promises To Lobby KamAZ Interests
Tatarstan's representative to the Federation Council and the chairman of its Local Self-Government Committee, Rafgat Altynbaev, met last week with Chally reporters to tell them how a draft federal law on local self-government is being developed, reported on 13 August. Altynbaev said local self-government in Russia is not well developed like in the West. He said the committee he heads will attract governors, city mayors, and other representatives of executive authorities to discuss the draft.

Altynbaev also said he is ready to lobby for the interests of KamAZ in the upper chamber of the Russian legislature and noted that the concern's former leadership did not take advantage of his abilities. He stressed, however, that he is not ready to support the Russian law banning euro-0 engines that are harmful for the environment, saying there should not be any hurry concerning the issue until other Russian automobile producers are ready for the measure.

Urban Transport Prices To Rise
The Kazan administration passed a decision to increase public-transport tariffs as of 17 August, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 13 August. Head of the administration's Transport and Communications Committee Shamil Gilmanov said the city's public-transport companies face losses as prices of energy, fuel, and repair expenses have recently risen by 40 percent, while the average wages of drivers is 20 percent lower than the republic's average wage. The price of tram, trolley-bus, and bus trips in the city will be raised from 3 rubles ($0.09) to 4 rubles ($0.13), raising them to Moscow's level, the paper said, while the average salary in Kazan is one-third that in Moscow.

Muslim Woman Challenges Court Verdict
Gelnur Nureeva has appealed to the Tatar Supreme Court over the Kazan Vakhitov Raion Court verdict that prohibited head covering in passport photographs, reported on 13 August citing the Vakhitov court. The Vakhitov court rejected on 2 August the challenge of three Tuben Kama Muslim women against the passport-visa service of the Tatarstan Interior Ministry, after it refused to accept their passport pictures in which they wore headscarves. The women had said they will appeal to higher courts and, if necessary, to international human rights organizations (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 13 August 2002).

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Congress Leader Concerned About Tatar-Bashkir Relations
Ekhmet Suleimanov, chief executive of the World Bashkir Congress, told RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent on 13 August that he was concerned about the current tensions between the Bashkir and Tatar peoples and that "someone was trying to cause discord between the two peoples, [thereby] creating a second Chechen conflict." Referring to alleged attempts by the Bashkir government to register the Tatars living in the republic as Bashkirs, he suggested that, "Tatars and Bashkirs should be afraid of being Russified [and] deprived of their ethnic roots, rather than of being Bashkirized or Tatarized."

Minister Calls For More Widespread Teaching Of Bashkir
Bashkir Education Minster Galia Mokhametdyanova told RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent on 13 August that the teaching of Bashkir, which is the second state language in Bashkortostan, "is not organized well enough in local schools," which violates the law on the languages of the peoples of the republic. Mokhametdyanova said that to improve the situation, amendments should be made to the republic's law on education to ensure that Bashkir-language lessons are more widely taught. To illustrate the situation in schools in the republic, she said that according to official statistics, only 24 percent of non-Bashkir pupils study Bashkir in the republic.

Tax Ministry Announces Results For Republic
The Bashkir branch of the Russian Tax Ministry announced on 13 August that during the first half of 2002, 112,000 residents of Bashkortostan submitted detailed income reports for 2001 in accordance with new provisions of the 2001 Russian Tax Code that limited the number of people required to submit tax declarations, Bashinform reported the same day. Tax collectors in Bashkortostan revealed that there were 24,000 cases where reported incomes were actually smaller than those persons' expenditures for the year. Authorities have already charged 111 people with tax evasion and have doled out more than 1 million rubles ($31,700) in fines.

Agriculture Ministry Announces Harvesting Figures
RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent quoted the Bashkir Agriculture Ministry as saying on 13 August that 12 percent of the republic's crops have been harvested. The Durtile and Ilesh regions are leading the harvesting race with 40 percent and 37 percent, respectively, of their crops already harvested.

Collision Investigators Expect To Complete Investigation By Fall
The deputy chairman of the Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK), Rudolf Teimurazov, told ITAR-TASS on 12 August that the investigation into the 1 July collision of a Bashkir Airlines passenger jet and a DHL cargo jet (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July 2002) should be completed by late September or early October.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi