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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 30, 2002


30 October 2002
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Prosecutors Bring Accusation Against Participants In Act Of Vandalism In Chally
The Chally prosecutor�s office has charged three elderly women -- Nionella Fazlyeva, Elfie Zinnurova, and Marzyia Shakirova -- for their participation in the destruction of a wall of the St. Tatiana Church being built near Victory Park in Chally, intertat.ru reported on 29 October (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 3 October 2002). The three are accused of premeditated destruction or damaging of property and arousing ethnic, racial, or religious hatred. Fazlyeva said participants in the action have nothing against Russian Orthodoxy or ethnic Russians but they believe that no religious buildings, Orthodox or Muslim, but rather a theater, as was initially planned, should be constructed on that site near Victory Park. Vandals also caused 30,000 rubles in damage to the chapel of the church on 1 October.

Details Of 2003 Budget Reported
State Council Budget Commission Chairman Ilsur Safiullin told �Vechernyaya Kazan� on 29 October that, according to the draft 2003 budget sent by the Tatar president to the parliament, the republic will have 36.6 billion rubles ($1.15 billion) in revenue and 39 billion rubles ($1.23 billion) in expenses next year. Currently those figures are 35.4 billion rubles ($1.12 billion) and 37.7 billion rubles ($1.19), respectively. The budget deficit is projected at 7 percent in 2003, like the current year. Allocations for the educational sector will grow from 493 million rubles ($15.5 million) to 663 million rubles ($20.9 million), for the cultural sphere from 414 million rubles ($13 million) to 454 million rubles ($14.3 million), and for the health-care sector from 4.8 billion rubles ($151.5 million) to 4.9 billion rubles ($154.6 million), Safiullin said. Financing the housing-municipal sector will be kept at the level of 3.7 billion rubles ($116.7 million). According to the reform going on in that sector, residents are expected to cover 90 percent of the costs of municipal services, while currently they pay 60 percent. Some 11.2 billion rubles ($353.5 million) will be transferred to Tatarstan from the federal budget, Safiullin said.

Kazan TV Channel Accuses Tatar Officials Of Pro-Terrorist Comments
The Kazan Efir channel in its weekly program "Respublika," accused on 27 October some of Tatarstan�s politicians and participants of making pro-Chechen comments on the Moscow hostage crisis while appearing on the 24 October live program of the State Television and Radio Company Tatarstan (GTRK Tatarstan). The "Respublika" author cited a statement by State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin, who said, �Though we have a strong wish to stop the Chechen war, taking so many people hostage cannot be justified,� after being asked, if there had been 30 or 50 hostages, if Mukhametshin would have approved of the action. Efir claimed that all of participants in the GTRK program, including company's general director, Irek Mortazin, and the presidential adviser on political issues, Rafael Khekimov, avoided condemning the Chechen hostage takers, and called their action "an act of despair." It continued that the participants tried to justify the hostage crisis by blaming the "incorrect national policy" of the federal authorities. Opposing opinions were not presented, Efir said.

Khekimov commented on the Efir accusations on 29 October, saying that terrorism cannot be justified, but it is always caused by specific reasons: whether in the United States, Palestine, or in Russia, "Vremya i dengi" reported the same day. "It is not terrorism that gave rise to [the problem of] Chechnya but [the situation in] Chechnya gave rise to terrorism," Khekimov said. Mortazin said opposing opinions were spoken in the program, but this fact was ignored and misrepresented by Efir. Mortazin also accused Efir of broadcasting entertainment programs nonstop during the crisis and of airing commercials on the national day of mourning for the victims of the hostage affair.

Scholars Gather To Discuss Language Development
The number of secondary schools providing instruction in the Tatar language has grown in Kazan from three to 47 since 1990, the head of the Cabinet of Ministers� Department on the Implementation of the Law on Languages of Tatarstan's Peoples, Kim Minnullin, said at a conference on 29 October on comparative philology and multilingualism that opened in Kazan, Tatar-inform reported on the same day. The number of Tatar-language teachers increased in Kazan from 400 to 1,800 over the past decade. Currently, both of Tatarstan's state languages, Russian and Tatar, are taught equally in all of the republic's secondary schools. University entrants can pass their entrance exams to almost all higher educational institutions in Tatar. More than 100 scholars from Russia, countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States, and foreign states are participating in the conference.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Draft Constitution Up For Public Discussion
A draft version of the new Bashkir constitution was published by the republican press on 29 October, thus opening the doors to public discussion of the document, which was created by the Bashkir Constitutional Assembly under the aegis of Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The draft reportedly suggests making Bashkortostan a parliamentary republic, thus eliminating the post of president and expanding the powers of the State Assembly.

In accordance with the draft, the parliament will increase the length of its term from four to five years and will be made up of a Chamber of Representatives, with two representatives from each of the 54 regions in the republic, and a Chamber of Legislators, which will have 30 members. The draft gives the parliamentary speaker exclusive powers "to interact with Russian state bodies, public organizations, and subjects of international law."

In addition, the Bashkir cabinet is to take over several of the powers currently exercised by the president, while the prime minister is to be directly elected by the republic's population for a maximum of two terms.

The draft constitution also contains the text of the power-sharing treaty signed with Moscow in 1994, with a comment saying that only those provisions that do not contradict the Russian or Bashkir constitutions will have legal force.

Official: Claims Of Census Violations Unconfirmed
The chairman of the Bashkir State Statistics Committee, Ekrem Ganiev, said on 29 October that none of the allegations of ethnic-rights violations during the 9-16 October Russian census were officially confirmed, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. A special commission from the Russian State Statistics Committee reportedly investigated the complaints made by residents of the republic, who claimed that census takers refused to let them state their nationality.

Government Sets Subsistence Level
The Bashkir government set the minimum subsistence level in the republic at 1,538 rubles ($48) on 29 October, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 30 October. This figure indicates average minimum monthly expenses for food, housing services, and clothing, as estimated by the State Statistics Committee.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi
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