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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 1, 2001

1 June 2001
Shaimiev Calls for Preserving Power-Sharing Treaty...
In his interview with on 30 May, President Mintimer Shaimiev said that if harmonization proceeds in such a way that its power-sharing accord with Moscow is abolished then effectively "our republic would be outside the Russian Federation." That is because "as you know Tatarstan, just like Chechnya, did not sign the federation treaty," Shaimiev continued.

...And Says Constitution Court Ruling Not Worrisome
Shaimeiv told the press conference on 30 May that he had "reacted calmly" a recent Russian Constitutional Court decision saying that if Tatarstan's parliament did not work quickly to harmonize the republic's legislation, the body could be prorogued and punished. He said this threat was "nothing new". He also rejected speculation that his relations with Sergei Kirienko, the presidential envoy to the Volga federal district, had deteriorated.

Presidential Advisor Says Putin's Team Interested in Dissolving Duma...
Tatarstan's presidential advisor on political issues Rafael Khakimov told reporters at the Yanga Gasir [New Century] movement press club on 31 May that he has information that President Vladimir Putin has been advised to dissolve the present State Duma before running for a second turn in 2004. Khakimov added that many in the Kremlin are unhappy with the merger of Unity and Fatherland.

...But Duma Deputy Says Dissolution Unlikely
Duma deputy from Tatarstan Mikhail Rokitsky said during the same conference that the Kremlin was unlikely to seek the dissolution of the Duma. In other comments, he said that the bill allowing the importation of nuclear wastes was likely to pass.

Vyakhirev's Dismissal as Gazprom Head is Tatarstan's Loss
"Vostochniy Ekspress" reported on 1 June that the dismissal of Rem Vyakhirev as head of Gazprom is "a significant loss for Tatarstan" because Vyakhirev had a close relationship with President Mintimir Shaimiev and had promoted various joint projects with Kazan.

Opposition Seeks Removal of Administration Heads who are in Parliament
The RiZ [Equality and Legality] movement called on President Mintimer Shaimiev on 28 May to fire all regional administration heads who are also the members of Tatarstan's State Council.

Organized Crime Said Seeking to Control Chally SPS Branch
"Vostochniy Ezpress" reported on 31 May that the recent murder of Eduard Kuznetsov, the Chally SPS Coordination Board member, indicates that organized criminal groups in the city are seeking to gain a foothold in the SPS branch there.

Federal Official Says Switchover to Latin Tatar Script is Legal
Vladimir Zorin, the deputy presidential envoy to the Volga federal district, said that "there are no legal acts which prohibit the introduction of Latin-based Tatar script in Tatarstan." His comments came during a conversation with World Tatar Congress Executive Committee chairman Indus Tagirov in Nizhny Novgorod on 16 May.

"Izvestiya" opposes LDPR Bill on Russian People
Moscow's "Izvestia" on 28 May said that if the Duma passes an LDPR-introduced measure on the Russia people, "it will be necessary to pass similar laws regarding the Tatar, Bashkir and other peoples" as well.

Minister Says Smaller Businesses Less Concerned with Protecting Environment
Boris Petrov, Tatarstan's ecology minister, said on Efir TV on 31 May that small and middle businesses are doing more damage to the environment than larger ones, often because they do not have their own environment-monitoring services.

State Council Head Pushes for Decentralization in Russia
Tatarstan's State Council chairman Farit Mukhametshin said on 31 May that Russian Federation would benefit if Moscow were to allow the regions to play a more active role, especially in international affairs.

LukOil Wants To Cooperate With Tatneft
Lukoil Company president Vagit Alekperov told the reporters in Moscow on 29 May that his company "was eager to sign a cooperation agreement with Tatneft for joint work in oil extraction, processing and sale." He said that the two companies were "destined to cooperated because they work together in the markets of Moscow, Bashkortostan and Nizhny Novgorod."

Zhirinovsky's Unsuccessful Visit to Kazan
Duma vice speaker and LDPR head Vladimir Zhirinovskiy did not have a successful visit to the capital of Tatarstan, "Vremya i Dengi" reported on 1 June. Only a dozen of the 158 LDPR members in the republic showed up to meet him, and about 100 members of the Tatar Public Center demonstrated against him when he arrived at the Kazan railroad station.

Noblemen Create Awards for Commoners
The Russian Noblemen Community of Tatarstan has begun granting honorary memberships to non-nobles who make "outstanding contributions to social life of the Motherland," Tatnews reported on 30 May. The first membership diplomas will be given to the director of the Kazan Opera Theater and several Orthodox priests.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Opposes Reform 'a la Chubais'
President Murtaza Rakhimov said that the housing-municipal reform must start with change in people�s psychology so that they adopted idea of conservation, Interfax-Eurasia reported on 30 May. He added that �we cannot allow one more reform a la Chubais� and that people should not be forced to choose between bread and heating.

Bashkortostan State Television Company Joins VGTRK
President Murtaza Rakhimov and VGTRK head Oleg Dobrodeev discussed the terms of the GTRK "Bashkortostan" joining VGTRK, "Kommersant" reported on 28 May. The two sides agreed that during a transition period, Bashkortostan television will transmit for four hours a day on the VGTRK channel and that its staff will serve both the Russian holding and the Bashkir company. VGTRK will also use equipment of the GTRK "Bashkortostan".

Government Promotes Land Reform
The cabinet passed a resolution on calling for the registration and evaluation of land, Bashinform reported on 30 May.

Republic Parliament Deputies To Be Elected
The Russian CEC reported on 29 May that elections of the State Assembly Representatives Chamber deputies will take place on 3 June in Bashkortostan's three electoral districts.

Nigmatullin Says Petroleum Industry Pollutes Less than Cars Do
Bashkorostan Academy of Sciences President Robert Nigmatullin on 23 May said that the petroleum industry is responsible for only 12 percent of the air pollution in the republic while cars and buses are responsible for 50 percent of the total, Bashkinform reported.

Greater Urals Culture Officials Gather In Ufa
The heads of cultural institutions from throughout the Urals region met on 30 May in Ufa to coordinate their work, Bashinform reported. They adopted a draft concept for preservation and made plans for cooperation through 2006.

Bashkirs Congress Held in Chelyabinsk Oblast
A delegation from Bashkortostan�s Meleuz district took part in the congress of Bashkirs of the Chelyabinsk oblast Trekhgorny urban area, Ural-press-inform reported on 30 May.

Birsk Interior Officers Sent to Chechnya
Five employees of the Birsk interior department on 28 May left for Chechen Urus-Martan to replace 13 colleagues who have been there since February, Birsk�s "Pobeda" reported.

Festival for Disabled Children Held in Bashkortostan
The sixth republic sports-cultural festival for disabled children began on 27 May and will last until 10 June, Bashinform reported.

Bashkreditbank Opens Second Office
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 29 May took part in the opening of the Bashkreditbank new office in Sterletamaq, Bashinform reported. The bank currently services 570 enterprises of the city and has 50,000 depositors, twice the number a year ago. Bashkreditbank has totally 38 offices in the republic. The company has issued its shares in open sale, Bashinform reported on 30 May. The republic government owns 86 percent of the shares.

Ufa Seeks Closer Economic Ties with Orenburg
Deputy Foreign Relations and Trade Minister Ulfat Yumaguzin said at the meeting of Bashkortostan�s and Orenburg oblast businessmen on 30 May that the republic �is interested in broader and deeper cooperation with our southern neighbor� and that �relations of the two sides need new impulse and new directions of work,� Bashinform reported. He said that Orenburg oblast is Bashkortostan�s third trade partner in the Ural region.

Conference on Idel-Ural Peoples Held in Ufa
Scientists from Russian oblasts and republics and from Estonia discussed issues of cultural interaction of the peoples in the Idel-Ural region at the conference in Ufa on 23-24 May, Bashinform reported.

360 Youth Clubs in Bashkortostan
Kamilya Davletova, the head of the State Youth Policy Committee, told on 30 May that 360 youth centers and clubs serving 30,000 teenagers are now functioning in the republic.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Chuvashia�s Ex-Speaker Sues Legislature
Former republic speaker Nikolai Ivanov has filed a suit against the republic State Council accusing it of illegally dismissing him and seeking reinstatement, "Izvestiya" reported on 29 May. Ivanov said that President Nikolai Fedorov was behind his firing.

Fatherland in Mordovia Ready For Merger
Two hundred delegates of the Fatherland in Mordovia conference unanimously approved the merger with Unity and proposed the leader of the Fatherland local organization, republic head Nikolai Merkushkin, as the head of the new unity, reported on 25 May.

Chechen Children To Undergo Cure In Nizhny
A group of Chechen children suffering from tuberculosis arrived in Nizhny Novgorod for a month of treatment at the oblast clinic hospital, the Nizhny news service reported on 25 May.

Perm Authorities to Search for American Soldiers
Perm oblast Governor Yuri Trutnev on 25 May said he will support the project on search of American soldiers who might have been kept in 1950s in the GULAG camps on the Perm oblast territory, Region-Inform-Perm reported. His comments came at the meeting with members of the Russian-American commission looking into that possibility.

Samara Editors Appeal To Titov
The editors of the major publications of Samara published in "Izvestiya" on 25 May an open letter to Samara Governor Konstantin Titov and Duma deputies from that oblast pointing out that �the refusal of state support for media and books publishing will result in the heaviest blow at press, closing of many newspapers and magazines, bankruptcy of publishing houses, growth in press and books prices, and reduction of readers audience.�

Third Mayor Candidate Registered in Samara
The Samara urban electoral commission on 28 May registered the head of information-judicial agency Aleks Oleg Kitter as the third candidate for Samara Mayor, reported.

Chelyabinsk Radiation Victims Promised Subsidies
The Chelyabinsk administration has discussed providing subsidies when funds are found for those who suffered from radiation exposure following the 1957 explosion at the Mayak industrial association, the Urals Information Agency reported on 25 May.

Sklyarov Backed by Agrarians
Vyacheslav Galyanov, the leader of the Agrarian Party in Novogord, said his group will support incumbent Governor Ivan Sklyarov for reelection, reported on 29 May. Sklyarov for his part has departed for a pre-election vacation, the website reported.

AvtoVAZ Reports Losses
Despite dramatic increases in production and exports, AvtoVAZ lost four billion rubles ($138 million) in 2000, reported. No dividends will be paid this year.

Kurgan Teachers Strike for Back Pay
Teachers at two Kurgan schools staged a strike on 28 May to demand that the authorities pay them their back wages, reported. Local officials said that almost half of the 30 million ($1 million) owed to the teachers is the result of the failure of the federal government to pay the oblast.

Rossel Forms Special Group to Oversee Construction at Beloyarsk Nuclear Station
Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard Rossel has formed a special staff to oversee construction of the fourth bloc at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant, reported on 28 May.

Interior Employees Accused Of Beating Arrestees
Sverdlovsk prosecutors have charged and arrested two interior officers for beating people, reported on 28 May.

Berezovsky To Sponsor Perm Human Rights Organizations
Four human rights organizations from Perm oblast, among them the local chapter of Memorial and three departments of the Perm regional human rights center will be financed by the Berezovsky Fund, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 29 May. The Fund announced that it will allot $1 million for a new program on providing judicial service for detained teenagers.

Rossel Criticizes Kudrin for 'Immoral Attitude' Toward Federal Units
Sverdlovsk oblast Governor Eduard Rossel has appealed to Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to take note of what Rossel said was Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin's �immoral attitude toward a federation subject� as well as general inactivity, Region-Inform reported on 29 May.

Sibur-Neftekhim, Yokogawa Electric to Cooperation
The Nizhny Novgorod�s Sibur-Neftekhim and Japan�s Yokogawa Electric Ltd. signed an agreement on deliveries of equipment to the Kstovo and Dzerzhinsk plants and the establishment of a joint Sibur-Yokogawa Technical center in Nizhny Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod news service reported on 29 May.

Titov Says 100-Percent Payment for Housing and Services 'Utopian'
Samara Governor Konstantin Titov on 30 May said that requiring people to pay 100 percent for municipal services by 2003 is as "Utopian as communism" and that the government is not even legally ready to insist on this.

Nizhny Mayor to Appeal to Court
Nizhny Novgorod Mayor Yuri Lebedev on 31 May said that �people close to the president are trying to discredit the mayors of large cities and drive them from political life," Nizhny Novgorod news service reported. His comments came after the oblast CEC refused to register him as a candidate for governor. He said he will sue. Lebedev also accused presidential envoy to the Volga district Sergei Kirienko of plotting against Vladimir Putin because as Lebedev said, he Lebedev is �one of the Putin�s strongest supporters in the regions.�

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova