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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 12, 2001

12 October 2001
Putin Orders Commissions On Power-Sharing To Unite...
Vladimir Putin has directed the three commissions working on a concept for power-sharing between the center government and regions to "unite to form a single structure," reported on 11 October. The commissions are headed by the deputy chief of the presidential staff, Dmitrii Kozak; Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev; and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Shaimiev's commission previously elaborated a draft concept promoting equal relations between Moscow and the regions, expanding the commissions and responsibilities borne by the regions, while Luzhkov proposed that presidential envoys to federal districts should have extra commissions in the economic arena.

...While Saratov Governor Criticizes Shaimiev's Draft
Referring to the power-sharing concept elaborated in Tatarstan, Saratov Governor Dmitrii Ayatskov said on 11 October that he was "categorically against the superiority of regional legislation over the federal." He added: "All subjects of the federation should live according to a single law that is common for Saratov, Tatarstan, and Moscow. It is essential to retreat from treaty-based relations between the center and the federation's members. These relations must be based on article 72 of the Russian Constitution, which outlines the areas of common jurisdiction of the center and the regions.... Many of the current laws were adopted in the times of democratic romanticism."

Ayatskov rebutted Shaimiev's concept by saying it "didn't contain anything new," adding that regional leaders and the Russian president should not have limited numbers of terms in office "because the voter should decide on the candidacy. Moreover, I don't reject the idea of descending [inheriting] political posts."

Tatarstan To Sell More Grain Than Expected
President Vladimir Putin's recent decision to increase funds for the state purchase of grain from Russian farms from 2 billion rubles [$68 million] to 6-7 billion [$204-238 million] will allow Tatarstan to sell more grain than it planned, news agencies reported. The republic previously planned to sell about 1 million tons of its 5.5-million-ton harvest in the domestic market.

Farmers Celebrate Successful Year...
Over 3,000 farmers from the Republic of Tatarstan gathered in Kazan on 11 October to celebrate this year's harvest. President Mintimer Shaimiev joined the event at the city's major sports arena, thanking agricultural workers for their effort. Harvest figures for 2001 indicate Tatarstan is Russia's second-biggest grain producer after the traditional leader, Krasnodar Oblast.

...Which Improved Their Financial Situation
All of Tatarstan's agricultural producers will be able to repay their low-interest bank loans this year, President Mintimer Shaimiev told the same gathering of farmers on 11 October. In recent years, farmers have had trouble repaying loans for fuel and oil to run agricultural machinery. The situation has caused bankruptcies and long-overdue debts for some farms.

Tatarstan To Send More Militia Officers To Chechnya
Interior Minister Asgat Safarov visited Chechnya to organize the third contingent of Tatarstan's militia to be deployed in the Gudermes region of the breakaway republic, Tatarinform reported. Safarov also met Chechen officials to discuss means for distributing humanitarian aid from Tatarstan. The same day, 56 officers of Chally militia brigade returned home safely from Chechnya, where they had served for three months.

Only Volunteers To Serve In The Rebel Republic
Unit No. 5598 is so far the only detachment of Russian Armed Forces sending soldiers to the Chechen Republic from Tatarstan, Efir-Inform reported on 11 October. Commander Semen Radaykin, in charge of the unit, reiterated that only volunteers with more than six months of army experience could serve in the conflict zone.

Army Seeks To Prevent Recruitment Of AIDS, HIV Carriers
Ravil Kamalov, chief of the medical commission at Tatarstan's Military Commissioner's Office, asked the Kazan anti-AIDS Center to test the blood of 4,500 recruits drafted this fall, Tatarstan's state TV reported on 11 October. The military officials say the measure was prompted by the fact two recruits had to be sent home after proving HIV-positive last year.

Tatar Muslim Leader Says Muslims In Russia Condemn America's Actions In Afghanistan
A roundtable called "Russia, Islam, globalization" held by the Russian Islamic Cultural Center in Moscow has condemned U.S.-led military strikes in Afghanistan, Valiulla Khazret, the deputy chairman of Tatarstan's Muslim Religious Board, said on 11 October. He said participants in the forum agree that Osama bin Laden's guilt was not proven, thus raising concern about the appropriateness of actions undertaken by America and its allies.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Says Bashkortostan's Future Lies Within Russian Federation
President Murtaza Rakhimov told a meeting devoted to celebrating the anniversary of Bashkortostan's sovereignty declaration on 10 October that, "We see our future only within the Russian Federation, but at the same time we intend to actively integrate into the world economy."

Matviyenko Is The Sole Russian Official At Republic Day Celebrations
Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko, the only senior figure from the Russian government in attendance to celebrate Bashkortostan's Republic Day, passed along President Vladimir Putin's praise regarding the republic's success in the economic arena and in inter-ethnic relations.

Parliament Speaker Equates Celebration To Communist Party Congresses
State Assembly Chairman Konstantin Tolkachev backpedaled after remarking in a speech that Republic Day celebrations were "just the way Communist Party congresses used to be," explaining that he merely meant the comment as a joke.

State Secretary Says He Is Proud Of Bashkortostan's Achievements
Bashkortostan's state secretary told a press conference on 10 October that Bashkortostan was a "politically and economically stable region of the Russian Federation." He added, "It managed to preserve its industrial potential and become one of the most dynamically developing regions." He also praised the republic's production figures in the oil and chemical industries, agriculture, the housing industry, and policies regarding underprivileged people.

Bashkortostan's Oil Industry A Leader Among Russian Businesses
According to the latest issue of "Expert" magazine, Bashneft and Bashneftekhim took 12th and 16th positions, respectively, in the list of Russia's 20 most profitable enterprises.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi