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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 22, 2001

22 June 2001
Tatarstan�s Ombudsman Presents Human Rights Report
Rashid Vagizov, the Tatarstan human rights commissioner, said on 16 June that legal conditions for Tatarstan residents cannot be said to be safe. �Respublika Tatarstan� published the first report of the republic ombudsman on human rights and freedoms in Tatarstan. Both officials and citizens lack confidence that laws will be enforced. In other comments, he said that that 35 Tatarstan residents died in Chechnya and Dagestan in 2000, 89 were injured there and two are missing. He noted that none of the 13 draftees from the republic who had sought alternative service had been granted their request. He said that the prisons are overcrowded with 22 percent more inmates than they are are built to accommodate. He noted that there are 2053 TB cases and 268 HIV infected people among the prisoners, figures 67 times higher than a year ago. In 2000, 199 prisoners died in Tatarstan.

Tatarstan Parliamentary Official Joins Eurasian Party
Deputy State Council chairman Robert Minnullin was elected a member of the political council presidium at a constituent congress of the Russian Eurasian Party, Tatar-inform reported on 20 June. The Refakh movement, Orthodox unity, Congress of peoples became co-founders of the new party. Delegates stressed that the party is formed �to support Eurasian initiatives and aims consolidation of the Russian society, international and inter-confessional concord.� They announced their support for reforms providing renewal of federalism and integration processes in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Chelyabinsk, Samara To Celebrate Sabantui, Ulyanovsk Already Did
Chelyabinsk oblast Governor Petr Sumin has ordered state financing for the Tatar holiday Sabantui being held in the oblast, Ural-Press reported on 21 June. The Tatar society Tugan tel on 23 June holds Sabantui in Samara, a celebration that was also subsidized by the oblast administration and sponsors, the Samara administration press service reported. Ulyanovsk oblast Governor Vladimir Shamanov took part in the Tatar national holiday Sabantui, VolgaInform reported.

Alcohol-Related Mortality Caused Jumps
�Vechernyaya Kazan� reported on 19 June that 60 percent of the alcohol checked in the republic do not meet requirements. Alcohol consuming in Tatarstan has tripled recently to 15 liters per capita a year, the daily wrote, against 8 liters reported by the Worldwide Health Organization to be a threat for country�s national security. And the number of lethal cases from alcohol poisoning current year has already exceeded the total 2000 statistics.

Will Kulikovo Battle Be Celebrated?
The Tula oblast administration has begun preparations for the celebration of the Kulikovo battle anniversary, �Trud� reported on 19 June. It held the first organizing meeting despite the fact that the Russian presidential administration is considering the appeal of Tatar generals and scholars calling to abolish the festivity. They argue that this celebration is insulting to Tatars and portrays them as �an internal enemy.�

Tatarstan Christians, Muslims Mutually Tolerant
Some 92 percent of republic Christians questioned by the Tatarstan Academy of Science History Institute said they view Islam positively, with 70 percent of Muslims having similar views about Christianity, reported on 22 June. That contrasts markedly with the situation in St. Petersburg where, according to "NG-Religii,� 70 percent of young people are hostile toward Islam.

Russian, Swiss Scholars Discuss Federalism
An international conference devoted to �Federalism: Russian and Swiss dimension� opened in Kazan on 22 June, reported. Switzerland�s Ambassador to Russia Walter Fetershin said that in Russia�s totalitarian past, the state that declared principles of federalism but paralyzed its autonomies. He said that principles of subsidiary structure and centrifugal trends will grow even in unitary states.

KamAZ to Sell Trucks to Argentina
KamAZ will sell 50 trucks to the Semaru company of Buenos Aires, KM-novosti reported on 22 June.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Putin Praises Bashkortostan's Land Reform
Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Bashkortostan's progress in land reform during his recent visit to Ufa, "Trud" reported on 20 June. Bashkortostan was among the first of the subjects of the federation to begin to register properties and has registered 43 percent of its territory so far.

Ufa to Promote Agidel Nuclear Power Plant
The republic authorities plan to work to convince opponents of the construction of a nuclear power plant in Agidel that such a facility would provide employment and power to local people, Bashkortostan State Radio reported on 18 June.

Magistrate Judges Unable to Begin Work
Bashkortostan�s chief prosecutor Yaudat Turumtayev told the governmental meeting on 18 June that a lack of office space is preventing 97 elected magistrate judges from beginning work. Only Ufa's Demsky district has managed to provide the judges with the necessary space.

Afghan War Veterans Seek Assistance
Bashkortostan�s Afghanistan war veterans organization chairman Anatoly Polintsev announced on 20 June that he would ask President Murtaza Rakhimov for additional social security payments to his members. In his words, �current pensions for those disabled during Soviet presence in Afghanistan were at 600-1000 rubles [$21-$34], sums which are hardly enough for surviving.� Palintsev added that very often, republican employment services didn�t take into consideration the psychological traumas of Afghan veterans when offering them jobs or training courses.

Czechs Interested in Bashkortostan Market
Representatives of Czech companies visited Ufa on 19 June to discuss the possible export opportunities, Bashinform reported.

Saxony Helps Bashkortostan Modernize Its Industries
Bashkortostan industries have obtained DM100 million in loans for upgrading their equipment from Saxony, "Respublika Bashkortostan" wrote on 20 June. According to the paper, Saxony agreed to prolong the term of loan repayment until 2004.

Deputy PM Urges Paying Off Back Wages
First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolay Sigakov on 19 June urged representatives of Employers Union to pay off their 945 million rubles debt [$32,59 million] in back wages to the employees represented by Trade Unions Federation, agencies reported.

HIV Infections Up Dramatically
Thirty new HIV cases are being identified each week in the republic this year compared to less than one per week in 2000, Bashinform reported on 18 June.

Doctors Remain Poorly Paid
Doctors working at the state-owned hospitals in the republic earn from 545 to 1715 rubles [$18.80-59,14] per month, "Respublika Bashkortostan" reported on 18 June.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Pentateuch Published in Chuvash
The Cheboksary-Chuvash archbishops board on 18 June officially presented the first translation of the Pentateuch into Chuvash, Volga-Inform reported.

Samara Prosecutors Investigate Threats Against Media
The Samara prosecutor�s office has filed a suit concerning threats received by editors of Samara papers �Reporter,� �Samarskie izvestiya,� �Samarskaya gazeta,� and �Sotsialnaya gazeta,� reported on 18 June. Journalists had been required to stop campaigning against Samara Mayor Georgii Limansky.

Latyshev Meets Russian Supreme Mufti
Deputy presidential envoy to the Ural district Petr Latyshev and Muslim Central Religious Board chairman Talgat Tadjutdin on 18 June discussed mutual cooperation, Ural-press-inform reported. Latyshev supported the Muslim call for the production of a special Muslim program on state television.

Rossel Backs Capital Punishment For Drug Trafficking
Sverdlovsk oblast Governor Eduard Rossel on 18 June called for the introduction of capital punishment against drug traffickers. He also called for increasing salaries of interior ministry officials to reduce corruption. Meanwhile, Latyshev on 18 June told UralBusinessConsulting that he does not support an initiative by Eduard Rossel on introduction of capital punishment for drug sale saying that �life imprisonment will be enough.�

Titov Proposes Tax Breaks for Media
Samara Governor Konstantin Titov on 20 June called on the oblast legislature to free all oblast mass media from taxes paid to the oblast budget, the Samara administration press service reported.

Saratov Air Traffic Control Officers Hold Hunger Strike
Saratov air traffic control officers on 19 June announced a hunger strike to press for increased salaries, reported.

Conference Discusses Threats from Sects
Aleksandr Dvorkin, an expert in religious sects, told an Ulyanovsk conference devoted to �Totalitarian sects as a threat of XXI century� that there are about 1,000 religious sects in Russia and that some 100 of them are large, Volga-Inform reported on 21 June.

Five Unpaid Firemen Die from Exhaustion
Five firemen owed more than 25,000 rubles in back wages have died from exhaustion, Region-Inform reproted on 20 June.

Paper to Pay Electoral Commission Head 180,000 Rubles
The Samara district court has satisfied a suit by Samara urban electoral commission head Sergei Nikologorsky against �Sotsialnaya gazeta� about defense of his honor, reported on 20 June. The paper had published an interview accusing Nikologorsky of setting up a criminal group that had beaten a person. The court ordered the paper, interviewer and respondent to pay Nikologorsky together 180,000 rubles ($623).

Second Trans-European Transport Corridor To Reach Yekaterinburg
The second trance-European transport corridor Berlin � Warsaw � Minsk � Moscow � Nizhny Novgorod will be extended to Yekaterinburg, reported on 21 June.

Prosecutors Concerned about Corruption in Interior Bodies
Deputy Prosecutor General Yuri Zolotov on 18 June sharply criticized the Ural district law enforcement bodies and said that monitoring had revealed more than 1,000 cases of concealment by militiamen of illegal drug sales with more than 50 percent of them in Chelyabinsk oblast alone, UralBusinessConsulting reported. �A Bacchanalia of lies flourishes in law enforcement bodies,� he said.

Justice Ministry Unhappy with Chuvash Sovereignty Declaration
Dina Sadikova, the head of the Justice Ministry's Territorial Board in Chuvashia, said that her body plans to initiate a suit to declare the republic's sovereignty declaration as null and void, VolgaInform reported on 15 June. She wondered how that declaration and a Russian presidential decree on celebration of 450th anniversary of Chuvashia�s joining Russia are able to co-exist.

Mordovia Official Unhappy with Accessibility of Internet
Tamara Lytkina, a Mordovian presidential administration official, told �Izvestia Mordovii� on 15 June that she regrets that connecting to Internet is now possible for each resident of Mordovia. She said that information about the republic published there is �biased.�

Nizhny Oblast Parliament Against Land Code
The Nizhny Novgorod legislature on 21 June has voted against the draft Land Code that was passed by Duma in the first reading, Nizhny Novgorod news service reported. Speaker Anatoly Kozeradsky said that �we have become the 25th region that opposes adoption of the Code.�

Market Traders Picket Marii El Government
Some 400 businesswomen on 19 June picketed the Marii El government residence to protest plans to increase taxes, reported. President Leonid Markelov met with protesters and agreed to postpone the measure.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova