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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 19, 2001

19 September 2001
Orthodox Organization Backs Moscow's Position On Baptized Tatars
Russia's Orthodox Citizens Union on 18 September claimed that "extremist organizations of Tatarstan used latent assistance of Shaimiev's regime for waging a war against Tataria's Orthodox population including Russians and Baptized Tatars," reported. The Union also complained that Baptized Tatars have been deprived of the right for their own ethnic self-identity in the republic. According to the previous reports by Tatar media, Moscow intended to register Baptized Tatars as a separate ethnic group from Tatar people in order to lower Tatar population figures during the national census of 2002.The Russian group also accused Tatar Public Center, Kazan and Chally city administrations of violating Orthodox citizens' rights, practicing Islamic extremism and contacting international terrorism. OCU also expressed its regret that "numerous appeals of Orthodox society to the Volga federal district authorities didn't bring any results so far."

GM Closes Chevrolet Blazers Production in Tatarstan
The General Motors Corporation will close its joint venture with Tatarstan Republic, Interfax reported on 18 September. The agency cited chief GM representative in Moscow David Herman as saying that the move reflected "features of Russian car market." The joint Chevrolet Blazers production launched in Alabuga, Tatarstan in 1995 reportedly failed to become profitable. YelAZ-GM company failed to sell enough vehicles, although it�s stopped the assembly line in 1999.

Minister Denies Expectations Of Press Subscription Prices Upsurge
Communications Minister Rinat Zalyalov said on 18 September that subscription prices of press in Tatarstan would not increase by 90%, as reported by some local media. Earlier, several republic editors had signed a petition demanding that republican government increase its financial assistance to them for compensating for the "unilateral dramatic upsurge of press delivery fees by the postal service." Zalyalov said that subscription costs will increase only by 13,8%. Referring to the situation at Tatarstan's TV, he stated that budget for 2002 would contain special funds for improving the quality of republican TV broadcasts in the distant regions bordering within Bashkortostan.

Tatenergo to Repair Power Plants
Tatenergo plans to reconstruct the hydro power plant in Zey region and the heat power station in Tuben Kama using its own funds and contributions of it major customers Tatneft and Tuben Kama Oil Chemical Company, AK&M reported on18 September. The reconstruction of each facility is to cost about 6-8 billion rubles ($204-$272 million) and will mean lower fuel consumption and less pollution.

Federal Ministry Criticizes Tatarstan for Bad Railroads
Russian Deputy Communications Minister Yuri Gerasimov speaking in Kazan on 18 September, said that special inspection by his ministry had concluded that the organization of railway transportation and condition of the tracks in Kazan and Izhevsk, Udmutia, were unacceptable.

Kazan Islamic University Students to Study in Jordan
Az-Zarka university professors from Jordan arrived in Kazan on 18 September to share experience with Russian Islamic University and to set up a bilateral student exchange program.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Supreme Court Supports Federal Prosecutor�s Protest On Bashkortostan
Russia�s Supreme Court upheld the claim of federal prosecutor�s office against Bashkortostan�s Supreme Court, had which refused to agree with federal prosecutor�s demands concerning the Bashkir Constitution, Interfax reported on 18 September. Deputy general prosecutor in charge for the Volga federal district Alexander Zvyagintsev said that the majority of last year's amendments to the Bashkir Constitution violated federal laws.

Bashkortostan�s Region Launches Birth Control Campaign
The Krasnokamsky region administration launched a program for distributing free contraceptives to low-income women with many children. This is the first such measure ever undertaken in the republic.

Bashkir Aircraft Producers to Equip Indian, Chinese Navies
The Kumertau Aircraft Plant will deliver six new modifications of helicopters and a military intelligence drone to the navies of India and China, reported.

Minister Pledges Governmental Monitoring of Ethnic Rights
Culture and National Policy Minister Khalyaf Ishmuratov said on 18 September that �preserving the languages and cultures of peoples living in the Bashkir Republic was one of the most important goals of Bashkortostan�s policies.� He said that his ministry would expend its staff for running the contacts of local ethnic communities with their co-ethnics elsewhere.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi