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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 3, 2002

3 December 2002
Tatneft Receives Additional Quota For Oil Export
The Russian government's commission on access to oil pipelines increased export quotas for the fourth quarter of the year for Tatneft, Sibneft, and Bashneft and reduced them for Rosneft, LUKoil, Surgutneftegaz, and Yukos, "Vedomosti" reported on 2 December. The total oil-export quota for the "far abroad" was increased by 880,000 tons, while the volume of oil delivered to former Soviet republics grew by 200,000 tons. The decision came after an appeal by oil-industry representatives to Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov for permission to export oil produced in excess of the plan.

Russian Interior Ministry Inspects Tatarstan Offices
Fifty-four employees from the Russian Interior Ministry arrived in the Tatarstan capital, Kazan, to inspect the activities of Tatarstan's Interior Ministry, reported on 2 December, citing the Tatar ministry's press service. The Russian ministry team is headed by chief inspector Colonel Valerii Krasnov. Similar inspections are held in all regional branches of the Russian Interior Ministry once every five years. The previous one was held in Tatarstan in 1997.

Russian 'Taliban' To Be Extradited From Guantanamo Bay To Russia
Eight Russian citizens captured during fighting in Afghanistan and currently being detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be extradited to Russia within a month, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported. The men will be delivered to Yessentuki, where they will await trial. All are accused of participation in military troops of Taliban. Two -- Rawil Gomerov and Airat Wahitov -- are Tatarstan residents who left the republic for Afghanistan in 1999. They are also accused of illegally crossing the Russia-Uzbekistan border.

Natural Resources Ministry's Tatar Branch To Cooperate With Environmentalists
A public consultative council comprising environmental groups has been established at the Russian Natural Resources Ministry's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (GUPR) executive board, reported on 2 December citing the board press service. The Center for Environmental Education, the Kazan department of the Social-Ecological Union, the Tatar chapter of the Russia-wide Society for the Defense of Nature, the children and teenagers' Public Fund Mosquitoes, the Nature Environmental Fund, and the Society for the Defense of Animals are members of the council. Group leaders met on 2 December with GUPR head Aleksei Kolesnik to discuss the council's activities. The council is expected to help form and study public opinion during promotion of state policy on natural resources and environmental protection and during implementation of large-scale projects in Tatarstan. The council will be charged with arranging public inspections of construction projects in the republic.

Tatar Education Minister Critical Of Orthodox Culture Lessons In Schools
Tatarstan Education Minister Faris Kharisov told RFE/RL's Kazan bureau on 2 December that an order by the Russian Education Ministry to introduce "Orthodox culture" as a subject in secondary schools violates the Russian Federal Constitution's separation of church and state. Kharisov said the initiative also violates the federal law on education. He said teaching one religion in Russia, which comprises many faiths and ethnic groups, would harm the country.

German Researchers Find Document On Tatar Resistance Movement Members
The chairman of the League for Russian-German Friendship in a letter informed Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev of the participation of a Tatar group headed by Musa Jelil and Gainan Qormashev in the Nazi resistance movement during World War II, reported on 2 December. Chairman Andrei Rumyantsev reported that German researchers headed by Dr. Johannes Tuhel found an extract from a 12 February 1944 sentence handed down by an imperial tribunal ordering the execution of group members "for undermining the military might of the Reich." According to the document, which was found in a Berlin archive, the individuals were recognized as part of the resistance movement. An electronic database devoted to the Jelil-Qormashev group was created in a Berlin memorial to the resistance of fascism.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Both Chambers Of Bashkir Parliament Resume Approval Of New Constitution
The Bashkir Chamber of Representatives (the upper house of the State Assembly) on 30 November approved the new constitutional draft in its first reading on 30 November, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 2 December. Rinat Sheripov, chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Legislation, State-Building and Legal Issues, in his report said the draft "preserved all the state governmental structures that previously existed in the republic and also maintained the post of president, who acts as the top republican official." Deputies reportedly voted on the draft without deliberations or suggestions.

The lower house , the Legislative Chamber, passed the new constitutional draft in the second reading on 2 December, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day.

On 3 December the Chamber of Representatives will consider the draft constitution in the second reading and later the same day both chambers will gather for a joint session to discuss the document in the third and final reading.

Daily Says Bashkir Legislators Rushing To Adopt New Constitution Before Elections
"Kommersant" daily wrote on 2 December that the new Bashkir Constitution is to take force by 25 December, "something that State Assembly Speaker Konstantin Tolkachev explains is necessary to ensure the legislative basis for holding new parliamentary elections on 16 March 2003.

Bashkir Parliament Takes On Wekilov Affair
During its 30 November session, the Chamber of Representatives also considered an issue regarding Bashkortostan's judicial system, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 2 December. Legislation Committee Chairman Sheripov told the deputies that "the judicial community currently faces a dead-end situation, with none of the judicial bodies actually functioning." Sheripov added that his committee considered the "ambitions and destructive actions of the Supreme Court Chairman Marat Wekilov (Vakilov) to be the only reason for such a situation." Earlier in November, Wekilov tried to hold an emergency meeting of Bashkortostan's Judges Conference to restore his membership in the conference (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report", 20 and 22 November 2002).

Security Council Chairman Aleksandr Shabrin agreed with Sheripov, saying, "Wekilov's destructive actions in fact brought a split within the republic's judicial community."

The Legislative Chamber on 2 November adopted an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to personally resolve the "crisis n the judicial community of the Republic of Bashkortostan."

Reshit Mokhemetdinov, deputy chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Budget, Taxes, Banks, Finance and Property Affairs, initiated that day's deliberations on the appeal by saying that Wekilov "committed violations incompatible with the duties of Supreme Court chairman."

Russia's Representation In U.S. Picks Ural-Sib To Run Its Investment Projects
Ural-Sib Bank of Bashkortostan signed a cooperation treaty with Russia's trade representation in the United States, the bank's press service announced on 2 December. The sides reportedly agreed to cooperate in implementing the investment projects with foreign involvement in Russia and Russia's involvement in the U.S.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi