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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 13, 2001


13 April 2001
WEEKLY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Supreme Court Rejects Suit Against Parliament
Tatarstan's Supreme Court rejected a suit brought by the Equality and Legality (RiZ) movement which sought to declare the current parliament illegal, tatnews.ru reported on 13 April. Plaintiffs had claimed that the 28 members who work on a permanent basis do not have the right to make decisions on behalf of the entire legislature. RiZ said it will appeal.

Continuing Comment on NTV Case
Rafail Khakimov, an advisor to the Tatarstan president, said NTV must be preserved as an independent station, �Zvezda Povolzhya� reported on 12 April. He added that it was "odious" to prosecute Vladimir Gusinsky and that the Gazprom campaign against the station was hurting Russia's and Putin's reputation. Communist party secretary Robert Sadykov called the NTV case "a political reprisal� but said that NTV has only itself to blame. He said it had become "an anti-national, pro-Western, pro-imperialistic and pro-Zionist channel." Political researcher Midkhat Farukshin also said that the NTV case is a political one and a bad sign about prospects for Russian democracy.

Kremlin, Not Putin Said Behind Federalism Changes
Tatarstan presidential advisor Rafail Khakimov said on Tatarstan radio on 12 April that it was the Kremlin rather than President Vladimir Putin himself that had tried to modify the power-sharing treaty between Moscow and Kazan.

Deputy Presidential Envoy Praises Passport Resolution
Deputy Presidential Envoy to the Volga Federal District Vladimir Zorin on 12 April told polit.ru that the compromise with Tatarstan and Bashkortostan on the passport issue represents a �serious political break-through.� At the same time, however, he said that regional national elites are exploiting nationalism to build their own power and weaken the state. He said that the national-territorial principle had exhausted itself and that ethnic communities should be defended by cultural groups. He further insisted that there is no discrimination on the basis of nationality by Moscow but that such discrimination does exist in the republics. And he suggested that the notion that the Russian Orthodox Church is playing an ever greater role in the state was "a myth," adding that Christian sects can be just as dangerous as Muslim extremists.

Computers Ready For Tatar Latin Script
A computer software allowing conversion from Tatar Cyrillic to Tatar Latin script has been developed by Kazan Technical University, Tatar-inform reported. The program has been already tested by the RFE/RL�s Kazan bureau on its site www.azatliq.org.

Muslim Youth Seek to Defend Islamic Values
Young people in Chally have set up the Muslim youth organization to preserve Islamic traditions, Tatar-inform reported on 9 April. The organization plans to create Islamic libraries and schools and to promote Islamic radio and TV broadcasts.

Property Official Seeks More Efficient Management
�Respublika Tatarstan� on 10 April published an article by State Property Committee chairman Valery Vasilyev in which he criticized state-owned companies for inefficient management. He said that managers in these companies often behave in ways that harms shareholders.

Tatneft Cuts Oil Deliveries to Ukraine
Kazan�s �Vremya i dengi� reported on 10 April that the creation of the Ukrtatnafta firm does not threaten Tatneft's markets. Tatneft has cut its oil deliveries to Ukraine because Kyiv has not kept up its payments to Tatarstan.

Spring Flooding Begins
The Emergencies Ministry on 12 April said that Tatarstan�s four rivers � Sviyaga, Kubiya, Uryum, and Byarle � have overflowed their banks and flooded four urban areas, tatnews.ru reported.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

WEEKLY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Rakhimov Praises Putin Address�
President Murtaza Rakhimov said that he �especially liked� Russian President Vladimir Putin�s recent annual report because he talked about federalism and reducing bureaucracy. Rakhimov said he also agreed that regional leaders should be given more responsibilities.

�But Takes a Hard Line on Regional Heads
Rakhimov told his government on 6 April that told �regional administration heads should be blamed for the critical situation and production slumps at many of the republic�s farms.� He said those who failed would be fired. Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov on 9 April reiterated Rakhimov's words.

Otechestvo Branch Hopes for Closer Ties to Government
Deputy chairman of Fatherland [Otechestvo] movement branch in Bashkortostan Rustem Akhmadinurov said on 10 April that his group hopes to work more closely with the republic government.

Government Agrees to Slow Rise in Rents
News agencies quoted the Bashkir Trade Unions Federation on 9 April as having announced that the group agreed to a rise in rents but only if salaries also rise. Ufa reportedly has accepted that argument and said that it will allow rents to rise to only 65 percent of costs, rather than 80 percent as had been planned.

Rakhimov Greets Shaimiev�s Inauguration
President Murtaza Rakhimov and State Assembly speaker Konstantin Tolkachev on 12 April attended the inauguration of Tatarstan President Mintimir Shaimiev, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. In his statement at the ceremony, Rakhimov praised Shaimiev and presented him with a Bashkortostan-produced horse-carrier.

Deputy PM Calls on Farmers to Complete Market Reforms by 2002
Deputy PM Shamil Vakhitov told Bashinform on 10 April that �the majority of Bashkortostan�s rural regions have failed to keep up with the market reforms and only acted as if they had by holding seminars and meetings and presenting false reports.� He said that the situation must be transformed over the next year.

Industrial Production Up
According to Bashkortostan�s State Statistics Committee on 9 April, the republic managed to become one of the top 10 Russia�s major industrial producers. Bashkortostan produces 14% of Russia�s diesel fuel and from 14% to 18% of other oil products.

Bashkortostan to Cooperate with Belarus
President Murtaza Rakhimov met Belorussian embassy officer Alexey Spizharniy on 6 April to discuss the upcoming bilateral business forum to be held in summer 2001. Rakhimov told reporters that he �attributes special importance to its relations with Belarus� and that the two plan to jointly produce agricultural machinery.

Swiss to Help Create Fourth Reserve Park in Bashkortostan
The Swiss government wil provide funding for the establishment of the Kirikti-Tau national natural reserve park in Bashkortostan, strana.ru reported. The World Wildlife Fund will coordinate the project which is intended to protect endangered species in the Urals area.

New Study on Bashkir Demographic History Published
Kitap Publishers has issued a new book on the demographic development of the Bashkirs between 1759 and 1917, aromi.ru reported.

Famous Rocker to Be Honored in Homeland?
A group of Ufa citizens is collecting signatures on a petition calling for the government to grant rock star Yuri Shevchuk honorary citizenship in the republic capital from which he fled in the 1980s after being criticized for his ideologically troubling lyrics.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

WEEKLY REVIEW FROM IDEL-URAL REGION
Chuvashia�s Fedorov Promotes Social Programs
President Nikolai Fedorov on 9 April approved a five-year plan for developing educational and social programs, VolgaInform reported.

Chuvashia Parliament Deputies Elected
Promtraktor board member Vitaly Filippov and businessman Oleg Pavlov were elected republic parliament deputies, regions.ru reported on 9 April. Filippov defeated three competitors; Pavlov, nine.

Kirienko Meets Marii El President
Presidential Envoy to the Volga District Sergei Kirienko on 7 April met with Marii El President Leonid Markelov in Nizhny Novgorod to discuss the republic�s anti-crisis efforts, strana.ru reported. Markelov said that his republic now fully pays for its current energy supply compared to the 8 percent rate a year ago and that it has restructured its 830 million ruble ($29 million) energy debt.

Marii El Federal Inspector, Government Not on Same Wavelength
Chief federal inspector in Marii El Valerian Yegorov on 9 April said that his relations with republic government are �normal and constructive.� But Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Kuklin earlier had criticized Yegorov�s efforts �to divide federal and non-federal bodies� in the republic and said that �relations between Yegorov and government had taken an unfavorable term.�

Marii El Human Rights Center Calls for Chechen Talks
The Marii El Human Rights Center joined the Russian-wide petition drive to urge that President Vladimir Putin begin talks with Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov, regions.ru reported on 10 April.

New Lisma Board Chairman Elected
Veniamin Mizonov, the Mezhregiongaz deputy manager, has been elected Lisma board chairman, regions.ru reported on 6 April.

Mordovia Wants to Revive Regional Train Routes
Mordovia leader Nikolai Merkushkin met with Railways Minister Nikolai Aksenenko in Moscow to discuss renewal of local train service on unprofitable routes, regions.ru reported on 7 April. In 2000, the republic government paid only one-ninth of the subsidies needed to run these lines.

Railway Workers Staff To Be Reduced In Mordovia
The cabinet announced on 9 April that 856 employees of the railway local branch will lose their jobs as a result of the merger of two railway departments, strana.ru reported. Labor and employment minister Lyudmila Ivanova called the measure a �catastrophe for the entire republic,� saying that the real number of job losses will be 1500.

Mordovian Premier Meets Hungarian Businessmen
Prime Minister Vladimir Volkov on 9 April met with general managers of Hungarian companies Zip-invest and Mezogep to discuss joint production of agricultural machines in the republic, regions.ru reported.

Schoolchildren Poisoned by Psychotropic Substance
Seven schoolchildren among 11 and 15 years old were hospitalized in a Mordovian village after taking a psychotropic drug, regions.ru reported on 11 April.

Samara Mayor Reportedly is Paying People for No Work
Several Samara human rights organizations have called on the oblast prosecutor to check the work of Samara Mayor Georgiy Limansky for reportedly paying 89 people who no longer work for the city, strana.ru reported.

Samaraenergo Warns Debtors
The Samaraenergo press service on 6 April said that the company cut energy supplies to enterprises which fail to pay for the energy they use, strana.ru reported.

Samara Journalists Protest Draft Law On State Support for Media
The Russian Journalists Union in Samara on 9 April released a statement criticizing the draft media support law because it provides for aid only to those outlets which are loyal to those in power, strana.ru reported.

Interior Employees Sent to Chechnya
Two hundred Udmurtia militiamen and 10 Marii El interior officers on 9 April were sent to Chechnya for three months of service, ITAR-TASS reported.

Ulyanovsk Yabloko, SPS Back NTV
The Yabloko and SPS branches in Ulyanovsk on 5 April announced their support of NTV journalists and criticized the government's approach to the station, VolgaInform reported.

Nazi Camp Survivors Receive Subsidies
Governor Vladimir Shamanov on 6 April said that every World War II veteran who spent time in Nazi camps will receive an additional 100 rubles ($3.50) a month during 2001, regions.ru reported.

Ulyanovsk�s Aviastar General Manager Fired
The Aviastar-board dismissed general manager Gennady Korotnev, 50, from the post he occupied since April 1997, strana.ru reported on 11 April.

Military Unit Returned To Ulyanovsk From Chechnya
A battalion of commandos which had been fighting in Chechnya since August 1999 returned to Ulyanovsk, strana.ru reported on 12 April. Thirty-four members of the unit died, and 75 were injured among the 2300 servicemen involved.

Two Muslims Boards Formed in Mordovia
The Justice Ministry has announced that two Muslim religious boards have been registered in Mordovia � the Regional Muslim religious board subordinate to the Central Muslim religious board in Ufa and the independent Muslim religious board of Mordovia, regions.ru reported on 6 April. The first board unites 11 Muslims communities while the second one oversees five. Five other Muslim communities have not elected to join either. There are approximately 60,000 Muslims in Mordovia.

Trade Unions to Protest Rising Prices
Marii El trade unions leader Leonid Kraev on 8 April told regions.ru that his organization plans to picket the Yoshkar-Ola administration to protest recent increases in the prices of municipal services.

U.S. Gives Marii El Receives Funds for Communications
The U.S. Project Harmony program has given Marii El $20,000 for the development of information technology, regions.ru reported on 8 April. Under its terms, several schools will be linked to the Internet.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

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