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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 5, 2001


5 December 2001
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Russian Supreme Court Demands Changes To Tatar Constitution
The Russian Supreme Court on 4 December overruled the Tatarstan Supreme Court's rejection of a major constitutional challenge by the Equality and Legality (RiZ) movement. The Russian court demanded that Tatarstan's parliament amend the republic's constitution to bring it into line with the Russian one. RiZ activists, led by Aleksandr Shtanin but backed by statements from federal officials including Deputy General Prosecutor Aleksandr Zvyaginstev, argued that some articles in the Tatarstan Constitution contradict federal law and therefore are invalid. The Tatarstan Supreme Court on 3 October had rejected that argument.

Senior republican politicians, including President Mintimer Shaimiev and State Council Chairman Farit Mukhametshin have repeatedly stated Tatarstan's intention to amend its constitution, which was adopted one year before the Russian Federation Constitution.

Kazan District Court Dismisses Federal Decree On Tatarstan Justice Ministry Reform
A Kazan Vakhitov district court has largely upheld a suit by Tatarstan Justice Minister Albert Salabaev, who has challenged a federal decree aimed at making the ministry a regional body of the Russian Justice Ministry. Salabaev was also dismissed and demanded reinstatement. The Kazan court deemed the federal ministry's decree invalid, though Moscow is likely to insist the case falls outside the district court's jurisdiction, Efir Inform reported on 4 December.

Energy Saving Given A Great Role In Further Tatarstan�s Development
President Mintimer Shaimiev, meeting with his government on the fringes of the Kazan Energy Conservation Technologies Fair on 4 December, discussed efforts to reduce the production and transport costs of heat and electricity in the republic. Officials noted that the republic's gross domestic product had risen this year without increased power or heat consumption. Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov urged regional administrations to implement the Tatarstan-made, energy-conservation technologies presented at the fair.

Farmers Urged To Learn New Rules Of Business
Tatarstan's farmers are falling behind in the repayment of agricultural loans taken from republican banks, Tatarstan state TV reported on 4 December. A grain surplus on the Russian market -- accompanied by falling prices -- has prompted farmers to freeze grain sales in hopes of better conditions. Meanwhile, Tatfondbank Chairman Damir Bikbov said the failure to repay loans will force bankruptcies because "most [farmers] are used to the old system of unconditional support from the state."

Russian Defense Minister Arrives In Kazan
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov is due to arrive in Kazan on 5 December to visit the Kazan Aircraft Plant and meet President Shaimiev, the presidential press service reported.

Shaimiev's Influence Rating Published
"Nezavisimaya Gazeta" published a list of what it calls the Top 100 most-influential Russian politicians on 4 December. President Vladimir Putin, his chief of staff Aleksandr Voloshin, and Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov top the list. Tatarstan President Shaimiev shows up in 32nd place.

Anthrax Alert Lifted In Tukay Region
Health officials lifted a quarantine on Biyurgan village in the Tukay region of Bashkortostan on 4 December. No infections had been reported in the village after 14 November, when a cow died of anthrax.

Krasnoyarsk Airlines To Purchase Aircraft In Kazan
Russian Krasnoyarsk Airlines plans to lease six Kazan-produced Tu-214 aircraft within next three years, Tatnews.ru reported on 4 November.

Passengers Complain Of Drunken Crew On Kazan-Bogelme Flight
A number of passengers flying from Kazan to Bogelme on 4 December complained to NTVru.com that the crew of their Yak-40 plane was "in an advanced stage of drunkenness" during the flight. Passengers quoted the stewardess as recommending that they "be grateful for our pilots, who are able to take off and land in their condition." Kazan Airport and Bogelme Airlines officials refused to comment on the accusations.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Supreme Mufti Ignores Allegations Of Ties To Bin Laden Family
The supreme mufti of Russia and the European countries of the CIS, Talgat Tadjuddin, declined to comment on reports that he'd had several meetings with Osama bin Ladin's brother, Tariq bin Ladin, and resumed "financial ties" with their organization, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported, citing reports in Russian newspaper "Moskovskii komsomolets" on 4 December.

Injuries In The Workplace Rise By 10 Percent
Bashkortostan's Labor Safety Commission said on 4 December that 151 people had died in accidents at the workplace during the first 10 months of 2001, roughly 10 percent above the previous year's figure. The number of serious injuries also increased, from 265 to 311.

Bashkortostan Residents Get Nine Vacation Days In December
Bashkortostan residents will be given nine vacation days in December, as a result of a combination of paid holidays included in federal and republican legislation. Holidays include the anniversaries of the Russian and Bashkortostan constitutions, on 12 and 24 December, respectively; Islamic Uraza Bayram on 15 December; and New Year's celebrations on 31 December.

Bashprombank Nears Full Repayment
Bashprombank has repaid 86.5 percent of its $3.8 million debt to customers, Finmarket agency reported on 4 December.

Bashkortostan To Host Tatar Youth Event
The Azatliq Tatar Youth Union is to hold the meetings with young Tatars from Moscow, Samara, Kazan, Izhevsk, and other cities in the Russian Federation in a resort camp near Ufa on 7-9 December.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi
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