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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 10, 2001

10 August 2001
Participants In Chechen Campaigns Say They Are Not Paid Money
Former participants in the Chechen military campaigns held their annual meeting in Kazan on 5 August, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 7 August. The daily cited ex-servicemen as saying that they have not receive money promised them. Marat Fazolzyanov, a participant in the first Chechen campaign, said that he appealed to a court in order to receive authorized payment. Contract soldiers who served in unit No. 5598 said that after they arrived in Chechnya, they were informed that they would be paid much less but would serve longer than had been promised when they were recruited. They said that, unlike the participants in the Afghan War, they are not subject to the law on veterans or the privileges it provides. However, they were provided with the free usage of urban transport in Tatarstan. As for the federal legislation, the only right it provides them is for entering higher educational institutions without competition, but they said that they are often deprived even of that.

Eurasians Reportedly View The West As Being Behind Republics' Move Toward Sovereignty
"Vremya i dengi" wrote on 8 August in an article entitled "The One Who Controls Eurasia Controls the Whole World" that Russian neo-Eurasians, who are represented by parties recently formed by Aleksandr Dugin and Abdul-Vakhed Niyazov, say that Ivan the Terrible was the first person who sat on the Russian throne to realize the importance of the Eurasian factor to the Russian state. Neo-Eurasians believe that post-communist Russia capitulated to the West regarding its political, economic, and cultural interests, which resulted in the weakening of vertical power relations, according to the paper. As a result of this, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Sakha, Ingushetia, and Chechnya temporarily gained the possibility to amend legal documentation leaving room for open separatism. The Neo-Eurasians are sure that this result was achieved not only through the national interests of the republics' citizens but also by pro-Western forces in the Kremlin that followed orders made by the geopolitical strategists of the United States.

Memorial Marks Historical Settlement
A memorial obelisk was inaugurated in the Saba district village of Izmya where archeologists recently discovered the remnants of a settlement dating from the 14th- to 16th-century that was destroyed during Ivan the Terrible's invasion, Tatarstan Radio reported on 3 August.

Chally Sanitary Engineers To Be Equipped With Pagers
The Chally authorities have ordered that sanitary engineers be provided with pagers in an effort to promote municipal reform, Efir-inform reported on 2 August.

Tax Police, Eparchy To Boost Cooperation
The Tax Police Board and the Kazan Eparchy on 3 August signed a cooperation agreement under which the eparchy will be provided with consultation, Tatarstan Television reported. Meanwhile, board head Sergei Mashin prsented an icon to archbishop Anastasii of Kazan and Tatarstan.

Oil Extraction Spurts Up
Oil extraction in Tatarstan increased by 3 percent to 16.3 million tons during the first six months of the year compared to the same period one year ago, as Tatneft increased its oil production by 5.2 percent during the same period to 14.2 million tons, Tatar-inform reported on 6 August.

Tatar Youth Forum To Be Held In Kazan
Milyausha Safiullina, an organizer of the Days of Tatar Youth to be held on 25-31 August, told Tatar-inform on 8 August that the forum aims for the cultural and national consolidation of Tatar youth from Russian regions and CIS countries, the development of business and cultural ties, and information exchange in the scientific, cultural, and educational spheres. Some 130 participants will attend programs on Tatar language, culture, history, and religion.

Entertainment Complex To Be Constructed In Kazan
Republican authorities on 8 August discussed a project for the construction of an open-air entertainment center at the site of the old airport in downtown Kazan, Tatar-inform reported. The complex, which would include a horse racing track, sport buildings, a trade gallery, and a hotel is intended to be one of the largest such facilities in Russia and would be used to host large-scale city holidays and other celebrations.

First Russian-Language Muslim Calendar Published
For the first time, a Muslim calendar has been printed in the Russian language in Kazan, Tatar-inform reported on 8 August. The edition provides prayers schedules for 11 Russian cities in different zones, including Moscow, Ufa, and Tyumen.

Ukrtatnafta Refuses To Let Slavneft Rent Its Plants
First Deputy Prime Minister Ravil Muratov said on 8 August that the Ukrtatnafta observers council has fired company board Chairman Vladimir Matytsin from his post for worsening the company's financial conditions and ignoring the council's decisions, Finmarket reported. Specifically, Matytsin was accused of authorizing Ukrtatnafta's oil-processing plants to be rented to Slavneft's Ukrainian branch Ukrslavneft despite the fact that the council forbade that move. Muratov said that Tatneft, which holds shares in Ukrtatnafta, will instead load the facility with oil and will deliver up to 5 million tons of oil annually. He said that Tatneft is interested in purchasing Ukrtatnafta's state-owned shares.

Minister Promotes Domestic Production Of Construction Materials
Construction and Municipal Services Minister Marat Khusnullin said on 9 August that the government will allot 1.5 billion rubles ($51.7 million) annually over the next five years for major construction projects, Tatar-inform reported. He told the ministry board that the republic currently imports two-thirds of the construction materials it uses, and called for the investment in new technologies for the production of such materials.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov Evaluates Power-Sharing Treaty
In his article published in "Izvestiya" on 3 August, President Murtaza Rakhimov wrote that power-sharing treaties are evidence of mutual trust between the federal authorities and regions, provide stability in the country, and reduce quarrels and facilitate cooperation between authority bodies. He said that the treaty has allowed Bashkortostan to settle interbudget issues with Moscow and optimize financial flows. This has enabled his republic to pay wages to budget employees in a timely fashion, to improve conditions and increase provisions to courts, prosecutors' offices, schools, and hospitals and to provide reforms without "shocking effects" for residents, he noted. In addition, he said, privatizations have been conducted without serious mistakes being made, and there are no lawsuits contesting privatization results. He also noted that there is no need today for shareholders to appeal to law-enforcement bodies in order to settle disputes among each other. Thanks to the treaty, Bashkortostan has managed to provide a higher level of social protection for its citizens and to avoid nationalism and extremism, he stressed. He agreed that the treaty is not immune to amendments, but added that "any attempts to cancel this efficiently working document would be a big political mistake."

Speaker Says Bilateral Treaties Have Proved Their Vitality
Bashkortostan State Assembly speaker Konstantin Tolkachev said on 1 August that treaty-based relations between the republic and Russia are ancient traditions and have already proved their vitality, the website reported. He noted that the two sides founded their relations on treaties in the 16th century as well as in 1917 and 1919, and concluded that there is no other way to develop relations. He said that the initiative of four federation subjects to annul their bilateral treaties is "their private opinion." As for Bashkortostan, he stressed, the republic long ago called for amending Article 72 of the Russian Constitution by eliminating joint powers and strictly separating the exclusive powers of Moscow and regions. He also added that "we will assert our rights" and try to keep the fifty-fifty proportion. Tolkachev told the website on 3 August that from the legal point of view, the treaty remains as uncontestable as it was when it was signed seven years ago, as it is based on the Russian Constitution, which still serves as the basic law.

Constitutional Court Chairman: Annulment Of Treaties Would Disturb Constitutional Order
The chairman of Bashkortostan's Constitutional Court, Ildus Adihamov, said on 1 August that he sees no reason to annul the power-sharing treaty between Ufa and Moscow, reported. He said that after it was signed, no one had any doubts that it conformed to the Russian Constitution. Leading Russian and local politicians and experts worked for over six months on the treaty in an effort to eliminate contradictions between the Russian and Bashkortostan constitutions and the treaty was a result of compromise, he noted. He said he believes the treaties have performed an important role in preserving stability in the regions, and that their annulment would call in question the constitutional order in Russia. He pointed out that such a treaty has still to be signed between Russian and Chechnya, but the sides have failed to do this for some reason, the consequences of which we can witness today. He also added that only newcomers to government discuss the annulment of the treaties.

Education Accounts for 30 Percent of Budget
President Rakhimov told "Trud" on 2 August that that Bashkortostan's investments in education increased this year by 4 percent to a total of 30 percent of the budget. "Investments in education are of strategic importance," he said, adding that the republic aims to make education -- including that in the native languages of the republic's citizens -- more accessible and to raise its quality. He said that the number of schools and secondary and higher professional educational institutions has sharply increased in the republic, even in the most remote rural areas. He called for a combination of the Western pragmatic approach to education with the Oriental traditions of vast general knowledge, intellect, and culture.

Farmers Reportedly Unable To Obtain Land
The president of the Peasants and Farmers Association, Shamil Sataev, has criticized authorities of several republic districts for their failure to provide favorable conditions for farmers, and has called for allotting them land as well as agricultural facilities that are currently idle, Bashinform reported on 3 August.

Bashkortostan Has Fourth Average Wage In Volga District
The average wage in Bashkortostan totaled 2,399 rubles ($82.7) in the first half of the year, good for 31st place in Russia and fourth in the Volga federal district, as compared to the Russian average of 2,781 rubles ($95.9), Bashinform reported on 3 August.

Soldier Returns From Chechen Slavery
An unnamed resident of Bashkortostan has returned home after several months of enslavement in Chechnya, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 6 August, citing an unofficial source. According to the source, Russian officers in Chechnya often sell their soldiers into slavery to Chechens for payments of 50-300 rubles per day. Commanders do not inform soldier's families of their disappearance and they are presumed to still be in service. According to the report, when the soldier's mother visited her son's unit, she had been told that he was busy performing duties around the camp. He was freed only with the help of the Committee for the Protection of Military Personnel and their Families. Some 1,500 soldiers from Bashkortostan are estimated to be serving in the North Caucasus.

Official Newspapers Lose Readers
The Information and Media Ministry said that circulation of periodicals grew by 6.1 percent in the first half of the year compared to the first, Bashinform reported on 9 August. However, all official republic newspapers, including "Bashkortostan", "Respublika Bashkortostan", and "Kyzyl Tang", saw subscriptions decline.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Federal Official Says Chuvashia's Electoral Law Must Be Changed
Chief federal inspector in Chuvashia Aleksandr Muratov said on 3 August that a "really democratic law on presidential elections" must be adopted so that free and democratic elections can be held in the republic. He said that Moscow considers that Chuvashia should follow the federal electoral norm, according to which elections are valid when at least 50 percent of voters take part. In other comments, he said that "one cannot say that everything is fine with the freedom of speech in Chuvashia." He said that there are cases when economic factors are used to exert pressure on the media, and called on the territorial antimonopoly body and prosecutors to take measures to prevent such pressure.

Minister Unhappy With Labor Code
Mordovia's Labor and Employment Minister Lyudmila Ivanova said that the new Labor Code in its current form could give rise to social problems, Rosbalt reported on 2 August. She said it looks as though the Code was designed for a very honest employer, a very decent trade union leader, and a very responsible employee, but unfortunately, in real life we face the opposite. She expressed the hope that the draft document will be amended.

Nizhnii Bank Obtains Foreign Credit Line
Nizhnii Novgorod's NBD-Bank and Germany's Commerzbank agreed to open a credit line providing joint guarantees for the export and import operations of NBD-Bank's foreign clients, the Nizhnii Novgorod telegraph agency reported on 9 August. The accord is the first of its kind to be signed since the 1998 Russian economic crisis.

2,400 Employees To Be Dismissed In Perm Oblast
The Perm Oblast employment department said on 7 August that some 2,400 employees will be dismissed over the next two months, more than half of them in machine-building companies, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 7 August. Some 7,800 persons have been made redundant in the oblast so far this year.

Chairwoman of Soviet Women's Congress In Samara Freed From Chechen Captivity
Svetlana Kuzmina, 54, the leader of the Soviet Women's Congress in Samara, returned on 8 August to Moscow after spending 780 days in captivity in Chechnya, ITAR-TASS reported. Kuzmina was freed as a result of a complex exchange negotiated by the wife of field commander Lechi Islamov, who is currently imprisoned in Moscow, fighters loyal to Ruslan Gelayev, and representatives of the Chechen administration.

Debtor Farms To Provide Prisons In Samara Oblast With Food
Samara Oblast Deputy Governor Viktor Kazakov on 1 August met with Viktor Sazonov, the head of the oblast Punishments Performance Board, to discuss the provision of penitentiary institutions with food, "Samara segodnya" reported. Kazakov ordered farms that are in debt to the oblast budget to repay their debts with deliveries of food to prisons.

Ural Interior Troops Financial Section Accused Of Embezzlement Of 1.5 Million Rubles
A criminal group of employees of the financial service of the Interior Ministry's Ural military district is accused of embezzling1.5 million rubles ($51,700) from the funds allocated for officers who participated in the Chechen campaign, UralBusinessConsulting reported on 3 August referring to "Vecherniye vedomosti iz Yekaterinburga".

Kirienko Says Federal Program To Destroy Chemical Weapons Must Be Prolonged
The federal program for the destruction of chemical weapons in Russia will not be finished by 2007, Presidential Envoy to the Volga District Sergei Kirienko told journalists in Samara on 9 August. He said that Moscow will present a revised version of the program in The Hague on 24 September. He said that the program needs to be amended to introduce sections on monitoring, safety, and the conversion of facilities used for the annihilation of chemical weapons. He added that extending the program until 2012 will make it possible to enhance the safety of the facilities under construction.

Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk Oblasts Authorities Will Not Annul Power-Sharing Treaties
The Chelyabinsk Oblast administration on 7 August refuted a report by the Ural District information center that Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor Petr Sumin has proposed annulling the power-sharing treaty between his region and Moscow, Region-Inform reported. According to the Chelyabinsk administration, Sumin sent a message to Presidential Envoy Petr Latyshev saying that the treaty-based practice is not being developed, and so these documents should not be prolonged. But he said nothing about annulment of the treaty, the body said. Moreover, Sumin called for harmonizing such treaties before a new federal law on power- sharing is developed. Region-Inform reported that the Sverdlovsk Oblast administration also expressed its bewilderment concerning the "free interpretation of facts" by the Urals Federal District and said that annulment of the treaty was not even mentioned and that the document has no time-limit. The oblast administration also refuted the federal district's claim that it has acknowledged that the oblast reaty "contradicts federal legislation".

Ural District Head Concerned About Disappearance Of Journalist
Presidential Envoy to the Urals District Petr Latyshev said that he is monitoring the investigation of the disappearance of "Kurganskiye vesti" chief editor Vladimir Kirsanov, reported on 8 August. He said that the disappearance has caused considerable concern among the population and called on law enforcement bodies to make serious efforts to clarify it. He said that "people will perceive this occurrence as political until we prove the contrary."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova