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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 8, 2002


8 October 2002
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Shaimiev Greets Putin On Jubilee
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev sent a message of greeting on 7 October to Russian President Vladimir Putin on his 50th birthday, intertat.ru reported. Shaimiev said, "You've maintained the sincere support of Russia's residents and high authority, and received recognition by Russia's multinational people. Due to your emphasis on domestic and foreign policy and the construction of a democratic state, efficient social-economic reforms have been adopted, and the country's authority in the world is consistently growing. Your contribution to domestic and international security and interethnic concord and trust is immeasurable."

Tatarstan To Join Union Of Territories, Enterprises Of Nuclear Power Engineering
The Union of Territories and Enterprises of Russia's Nuclear Power Engineering (STIPAE) will consider granting membership to St. Petersburg and Tatarstan on 1 November, tatnews.ru reported citing SeverInform. The information was released at a meeting of the union's executive committee held at the Kursk Nuclear Power Station. Rosenergoatom President Oleg Saraev announced at the meeting the annual growth in production at nuclear power stations is expected to total 4-5 percent and the number of accidents at nuclear power stations is decreasing. STIPAE was established in 1999 to coordinate the activities of Rosenergoatom, the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry, and regions in which nuclear energy facilities exist. Twenty Russian regions are currently union members, and Saratov Oblast Governor Dmitrii Ayatskov is the STIPAE chairman.

Construction of a nuclear power station in Tatarstan was stopped in the early 1990s due to protests from environmentalists and the republic's residents.

Tatneft Obtains 'Positive' Rating
Standard & Poor's credit rating agency changed Tatneft's rating from "stable" to "positive," on 7 October, RusEnergy reported. The company's long-term credit was rated at B-. Standard & Poor's analyst Yelena Anankina said the company's "significant volume of exports, moderate financial policy, and large share of assets affect the rating positively." However, Tatneft's high dependence on oil prices, insufficient diversification of assets, low integration in the oil refining sector, old deposits, high share of short-term debt, and the influence of the government of Tatarstan affect the rating negatively (rating CCC+, positive forecast), she said. Tatneft is fifth among Russian oil companies in terms of production volume (24.6 million tons in 2001) and oil reserves.

Census Official Warns Bashkir Statistics Committee Head Against Falsifications
Irina Zbarskaya, head of the Russian Statistics Committee's Census Board, told "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 7 October that republican authorities in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan "have assigned a clear task: to secure for titular nations leading positions in terms of quantity." It is not necessary to cheat to reach this aim, she said, rather, it's enough to only agitate the "nonindigenous" population. According to Zbarskaya, in Bashkortostan, where alleged Tatarization has caused much controversy, census registrants have been given permission by the Bashkir government to avoid registering Tatar villages. "We know there are problems and have informed the heads of the republican statistics committees that it is their responsibility to respond in case of manipulations. Presidential administration officials have left for those regions, and federal inspectors will also take part in the campaign. If any serious misrepresentations take place in the Bashkortostan census, then [Bashkir Statistics Committee Chairman] Ganeev will have to look for a new job," she said.

Kazan Among Cities With Lowest Food Prices
Kazan is among the five cheapest cities in Russia, Tatar-inform reported on 7 October citing the Russian State Statistics Committee. The cost of a minimum basket of foodstuffs totals 791 rubles ($25) in Kazan, while in Omsk, Barnaul, Elista, and Kursk it is between 761 rubles ($24) and 788 rubles ($24.9). The Russian average is 929 rubles ($29.3).

Archive Board Presents Journal In Internet
The "Gasyrlar awazy -- Ekho vekov" journal, issued by the Tatar Cabinet of Minister's Chief Archive Board, launched its website (http//www.archive.gov.Tatarstan.ru), Tatar-inform reported on 7 October. The website presents information about the content of all of the journal's volumes issued over the past seven years and other outlets published by republican archivists.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Rakhimov: New Constitutional Draft Ready For Approval...
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov said on 7 October in Ufa that the new draft of the Bashkir Constitution passed by Bashkortostan's Constitutional Assembly was "brought in full conformity with federal laws and recommended it for approval in the [Bashkir] State Assembly," an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported.

Unlike the previous document the new Bashkir constitutional draft reportedly doesn't state the republic's sovereignty but defines Bashkortostan's status as a "democratic state within the Russian Federation." The draft also doesn't mention the previously declared Bashkir citizenship, while stating that the issues of land and other natural-resource ownership are to be settled "in accordance with federal laws and agreements" between Russian and Bashkir state bodies.

It also stipulates the republic's rights to establish and maintain international and foreign economic ties, take part in activities of international organizations, and sign treaties with territorial entities of foreign states.

Rakhimov told Interfax-Eurasia the same day that the new Bashkir Constitution will be adopted before the end of 2002 and replace the one adopted in 1994. In November 2000 Bashkir legislators passed the amended constitution, which in their opinion was adjusted to the federal legislation, but Russian prosecutors appealed against many of its provisions. Therefore, in May 2002 Rakhimov issued a decree on constitutional reform and the republican Constitutional Assembly has entered more than 400 amendments to the 103 articles of the present Bashkir Constitution.

...As Is New Power-Sharing Treaty
The same day Rakhimov said at the meeting of Constitutional Assembly that a new power-sharing treaty "may be signed" between Moscow and Ufa on 23 October, Interfax-Eurasia reported yesterday. The treaty is to replace the one signed on 3 August 1994 by Rakhimov and Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Rakhimov emphasized that the text of the document was "adjusted to the modern reality" and promoted the role of treaty-based relations between the center and the regions.

Republic Prepares To Celebrate Its Sovereignty Declaration Anniversary
High-ranking guests from Bashkortostan's neighboring regions, the Russian presidential staff, and the Russian government will join the celebrations of the 12th anniversary of the adoption of the republic's sovereignty declaration on 10-11 October, RosBalt reported on 7 October. The declaration was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic on 11 October 1990, declaring the independent status of Bashkortostan and the basic principles of the political system in the republic. Most of the declaration's clauses were entered into the 1994 constitution, which was revised by the Bashkir State Assembly in 2000 and the Bashkir Constitutional Assembly this year.

Tatar Writer Attacked In Bashkir Capital
Aydar Khelim, a Tatar writer known for his critical publications about the ethnic policies of the Russian and Bashkir governments, was attacked by six unidentified persons wearing masks in Ufa on 7 October, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported. In his books Khelim accuses Moscow of genocide against ethnic minorities such as Chechens and Tatars, while his recently published "Yanga Sagish Kitabi" (New Book of Sorrow) focuses on the violations of Tatars' rights in Bashkortostan.

Government Opinion Poll Paints Stable Political Picture In Bashkortostan
A public opinion poll conducted by Bashkortostan's government in September 2002 revealed that 73 percent of the population approves of the political situation in the republic in general, Bashinform reported on 7 October. This figure represents only a slight change in comparison to the results of a similar poll in 2001, during which 72 percent of respondents said that they had a positive impression of what is going on on the republic's political stage. Fifty-seven percent of 1,005 people polled named President Rakhimov as the person of top authority in the republic. Meanwhile, the Unified Russia party was reported to be the most popular political organization among respondents, with 31 percent.

Bashkir Youth Greet Putin On His 50th Birthday
Among other presents sent on his 50th anniversary, marked on 7 October, Russian President Vladimir Putin received more than 25,000 postcards from schoolchildren in Bashkortostan and activists of the local Unified Russia party branch, Bashkir State Radio reported. A local party official told the radio that besides traditional wishes of health and success to the president, the schoolchildren asked Putin to run for his second term in office, while older students also asked him to increase university grants and introduce lower public-transportation fees.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi
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