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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 7, 2001

7 November 2001
Duma Deputy Urges Suspension Of Constitution 'Until Russia Becomes Truly Democratic State'
The Russian State Duma deputy representing Tatarstan, Fandas Safiullin, told Tatarstan State TV on 6 November that "due to the current pressure of federal authorities on Tatarstan's constitution, [republican] authorities have to temporarily withdraw it from force until such time as Russia becomes a true democratic state." He added, "The legal-harmonization procedures used by Russian prosecutors against Tatarstan's legislation infringe on the rights of the Tatar people and thus indicate the general situation regarding human rights in Tatarstan and Russia."

Tatar Deputy Challenges Moscow Pressure Over Constitution
Marat Galeev, Tatarstan's State Council deputy, asserted on 6 November that under international law, the Russian Constitutional Court has illegally demanded fundamental changes in Tatar's constitution. He said the constitutional court had no authority for opposing the will of Tatarstan's people, who backed their constitution in a 1992 referendum.

Youth Largely Unaware Of Constitution's Anniversary
Russian "Komsomolskaya Pravda" wrote on 6 November that the majority of young people it polled on the streets of Kazan were unaware that the anniversary of Tatarstan's constitution was being celebrated that day. The paper added that, among those who knew the significance of the holiday, most called the constitution's amendment a "step toward burying Tatarstan's sovereignty."

TPC Leader Says Achievements Of First Tatar Constitution Are Being Lost
Reshit Yagafarov, the leader of the moderate nationalist Tatar Public Center, told RFE/RL on 6 November that, "Although the constitution of 1992 gave Tatarstan many opportunities, much of its achievements were lost due to the passivity of the republican government and ethnic organizations." He added, "We should have resumed our policy, which began with adopting our own sovereignty declaration, constitution, and refusing to sign the federative treaty with Russia.

Journalist Says Tatarstan's Constitution Day To Change
The "Moskovskii Komsomolets" correspondent in Kazan, Lev Ovrutskii, said on 6 November that after Tatarstan's constitution is brought into conformity with the Russian one, the republic will have to celebrate Constitution Day on a different date than it has to date. He said this year's constitutional celebration on 6 November would prove to be the last on that date in Tatarstan's history. Ovrutskii added that, in his opinion, Constitution Day would likely come in March.

RFE/RL's Kazan Bureau has quoted Ovrutskii as saying that the new republic's amended constitution would provide more individual protections than the first.

Tatarstan's Trade Unions To Demand More Social Security
Tatarstan's Trade Unions Federation is planning to join a national action called "Trade unions for rights and social guarantees to working people" on 14 November by holding a meeting near Gorky Park in Kazan, media reported on 5 November. According to the federation's chairwoman, Tatiana Vodopyanova, 60 percent of Tatarstan's working population has a monthly income of less than 1,500 rubles ($51).

HIV Infections Rise In Tatarstan
Tatarstan's Anti-AIDS Center reported on 3 November that 3,688 residents in 38 of 46 regions of the republic are infected with the human immunity deficiency virus [HIV]. Some 192 HIV carriers were registered in October 1992.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Government To Become A Major Investor For Bashkortostan's Economy
Bashkortostan's government will invest 1 billion rubles [$34 million] in selected investment projects in hopes of boosting the economy, Bashkir State Radio and TV reported on 6 November. Deputy Finance Minister Anuza Usmanova said the government will introduce strict terms to select worthy investment projects, which will then be granted funds at "realistic" interest rates.

China And Bashkortostan To Cooperate In Mass Media
A delegation of Chinese officials in charge of mass media and led by the Liaoning Province's propaganda and agitation department chairman met Bashkir Press and Media Minister Zufar Timerbulatov to discuss prospects for direct cooperation between Chinese and Bashkortostan's state media outlets. The Chinese side acknowledged the key role of information exchange for more efficient bilateral economic cooperation.

Bashneft Among Russia's Top 20 Major Industries
Russian AK&M rating center placed Bashneft oil company in the 19th position among the top 100 Russian industrial enterprises on 6 November. According to the rating list, Bashneft is Russia's 8th-biggest oil company.

Russian Legislators Visit Ufa
The chairman of the State Duma's Energy, Transport, and Communications Committee, Nikolai Rizhkov, along with Vladimir Gusev, deputy chairman of the economic committee in the Federation Council, visited petrochemical plants in Ufa and the Alekseyevskii farm in the city's suburbs on 5 November. The legislators praised the republican government for making Bashkortostan "one of the most dynamically developing Russian regions with a strong economic system."

Rakhimov Addresses Republic On Consent And Peace Day
President Murtaza Rakhimov marked the Day of Unity and Reconciliation on 7 November by acknowledging the ambiguity of events during the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and calling for respect for the common history of peoples living in Russia.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi