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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 27, 2002


27 September 2002
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Prosecutor Repeats Protest Of Tatar Constitution...
Russian Deputy Prosecutor-General Aleksandr Zvyagintsev appealed to the Tatar Supreme Court on 26 September, claiming that more than 50 provisions in the Tatar Constitution contradict federal legislation and are thus invalid, RIA-Novosti reported the same day. The provisions included those on Tatar sovereignty, citizenship, the economy, and law enforcement. The prosecutor also claimed that it was illegal to require republican presidential candidates to speak both Tatar and Russian and that the constitution wrongfully set limits on the president's and parliament's duties. Zvyagintsev said the appeal was simply a repeat of one he lodged on 10 May, which the Tatar parliament ignored in its session on 5-6 September (see RFE/RL "Tatar-Bashkir Report," 24 July and 6 and 11 September 2002).

...As Republic Prepares To Commemorate First Constitution
Meanwhile, the Tatar State Council adopted on 25 September a resolution on celebrating the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the republic's first constitution on 6 November 1992. The resolution calls for special lectures and discussions to be held in Tatarstan's schools and universities, while free concerts and festivals will also be arranged.

KamAZ Chairman Says To Change Production Focus
The chairman of the board of directors of the KamAZ auto concern, Industry and Science Minister Ilya Klebanov, has suggested that the company should make the production of midsize trucks its priority, Tatnews reported on 26 September. Klebanov said the market for heavy trucks -- vehicles with a capacity of 10-12 tons -- is flooded with used foreign vehicles, while KamAZ could increase its output by entering the market for midsize trucks. The company is expected to launch its Model 4315 midsize truck in late 2003 or early 2004.

Prime Minister, Energy Officials Discuss Nuclear Projects
Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov took part in a meeting with officials from the Russian Energy Ministry and the Volga Federal District at the Balakovo nuclear-power plant in Saratov Oblast on 26 September, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. The meeting focused on prospects for developing the nuclear industry in the region.

Minnikhanov also met with officials from Rosenergoatom, the state company that manages Russia's civilian nuclear-power plants, to discuss economic, social, environmental, and financial issues surrounding the possibility of restarting work on the nuclear-power plant in Kama Alani, which was stopped in the early 1990s following protests by environmental groups.

Earlier this year, the Energy Ministry signed declarations of intent with the governments of Saratov Oblast and Bashkortostan to finish work on nuclear projects previously frozen in those regions.

Hotel Auction Fails To Attract Any Bids
An auction for an unfinished 20-story hotel in Chally on 26 September received no bids, RFE/RL's Chally correspondent reported the same day. The city government set a starting price of 3 million rubles ($95,000) for the 25-year-old structure, which was reportedly too high for investors who had previously expressed interest in purchasing the building.

Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev suggested in March handing over the building to a local businesswoman for the symbolic price of 1 ruble, but both the city administration and Tatar Public Center protested the move (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 6 March 2002).

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Lawyers Suggest Relatives Of Crash Victims File Suits 'Without Delay'
An international group of lawyers led by Berlin lawyer Elmar Giemulla suggested that Bashkir Airlines and the relatives of the victims from Bashkortostan who were killed in the 1 July collision over southern Germany involving a Bashkir Airlines passenger jet and a DHL cargo plane not delay the filing of suits seeking compensation for moral and financial damages, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 September (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July and 20 September 2002). The lawyers said in a statement that relatives can seek "six-figure" payments for compensation, but the statement added that to be successful they would have act quickly and as a group. The lawyers suggested that relatives not wait until the completion of the investigation into the accident, since that report is not expected until July 2003.

World Bashkir Congress Accuses Radio Azatliq Of Promoting Tatar Extremism
The Executive Committee of the World Bashkir Congress (BBK) issued a statement on 26 September claiming that Radio Azatliq promotes Tatar extremism, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The authors of the statement said that Azatliq cultivates hatred between Tatars and Bashkirs and always claims that Bashkirs are responsible for deteriorating relations between the two peoples. The statement said that Radio Azatliq considers the "extremist" principal of the Tatar high school in Belebei, Nurmokhemmet Khoseyenov, "a Tatar national hero" (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 10 and 11 September 2002). The statement also claimed that the radio station constantly spreads false information about the Bashkirization of Tatars in Bashkortostan and interferes in the republic's internal affairs. BBK leaders demanded in the statement that the radio stop broadcasting and that the United States cease financing the station. Otherwise, the authors said they will appeal to an international court.

Deputy Chairman of the BBK Executive Committee Marat Qolsheripov told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 26 September that Azatliq promotes Tatar interests while deriding Bashkirs. Qolsheripov also said that since the percentage of Bashkirs in the republic decreased in the 1989 census from 23 percent to 21.9 percent while the percentage of Tatars grew from 23 percent to 28 percent is evidence that Bashkirization is not taking place in Bashkortostan, but on the contrary, a process of Tatarization of Bashkirs is occurring. He also said that Bashkortostan's Tatars can study their native language in 1,230 secondary schools in the republic, while in Tatarstan, there is not a single Bashkir school. Qolsheripov also claimed that Azatliq is trying to destroy Bashkir self-identity.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova
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