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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 23, 2005

23 February 2005
Kazan To Launch Production Of Tu-334 In 2006
The first Tu-334 jets will be produced in Kazan in 2006, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev told a Russian State Council Presidium session in Zhukovskii on 22 February, Prime-TASS reported the same day. Shaimiev said he hopes the Russian prime minister will sign a corresponding resolution within days.

"Beginning in 2007, we will be able to produce 20 aircraft a year," Shaimiev said.

At the meeting, it was decided to establish the United Aircraft Company. Shaimiev said that since the early 1990s, Tatarstan has allocated some $500 million from the republican budget into the construction of Mi-38 and Ansat helicopters and Tu-214 jets. Another $200 million was allocated toward the development of Tu-324 aircraft.

Wage Arrears Jump By 50 Percent
Back wages owed to workers in Tatarstan's large and medium-sized companies grew by 57 percent to 102 million rubles ($3.6 million) over the past month, Tatarstan's State Statistics Committee Chairman Vasilii Kandilov told a meeting of the republican interdepartmental commission on supervising wage payments on 22 February, reported the same day. Kandilov said 64 percent of employees' wages fall below the average, and the average pension in the republic increased in the past year by 16 percent, to 1,908 rubles on 1 January. The number of pensioners receiving pensions below the living wage fell by 5 percent in the past year to 29 percent.

Internet-For-Schools Program To Be Completed By August
Tatarstan's Communications Minister Rinat Jelelov said on 22 February that the gross income of the communications sector in the republic grew by 35 percent, to 9.2 billion rubles, in 2004, reported the same day. Speaking at a meeting of the ministerial board, Jelelov said a unique project in Russia to connect Tatarstan's 1,315 secondary schools to the Internet was implemented the previous year, adding that the remaining 250 schools should be connected to the Internet by Kazan's millennium celebration in August. The republican telephone network was increased by 1.1 million units, he said, including 204,000 fixed lines and 896,000 mobile-telephone customers.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Leader Discusses Blagoveschensk Incident With Russian Deputy Interior Minister
President Murtaza Rakhimov met with Russian Deputy Interior Minister Sergei Shadrin on 22 February in Ufa to discuss the appointment of a new Bashkir deputy interior minister in charge of public security and improving the work of policemen in cities and rural areas, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported the same day, citing the presidential press service. Referring to the December 2004 developments in Blagoveschensk, Shadrin told the Bashkir officials about his recent meetings with residents of that city. According to the guest, "We cannot allow some definite forces to present police actions aimed at preserving public order as illegal. In this situation a great role is played by the policemen themselves, because their work has to be active, confident and easy to notice and at the same time easy to comprehend for population."

...As Another Bashkir Policeman Added To Suspect List...
Bashkortostan's prosecutor's office brought charges against another officer from the Blagoveschensk police department, who is suspected of abuse of office and use of violence, Interfax-Povolzhye reported on 21 February. Meanwhile, according to the prosecutor's office investigators, cited by the agency, none of the six policemen charged with abuse of force has so far acknowledged his guilt.

...And Yavlinskii Says Raid Highlights Spread Of Russian Police Violence
Yabloko party leader Grigorii Yavlinskii issued a public statement on 22 February in the wake of the December 2004 incident in Blagoveschensk, Bashkortostan, saying that "currently Russia has an authoritarian regime that is characterized by an absence of control over law-enforcement bodies, which commit mass violations of constitutional rights and freedoms of the citizens," Rosbalt reported the same day. He said that the Blagoveschensk raid represented a "logical transition" of the practice of security sweeps beyond the borders of Chechnya and that they now threaten to spread across Russia.

Relatives Of Air-Collision Victims File New Lawsuit
Relatives of the victims of the mid-air collision over Germany filed a new lawsuit against the Swiss Skyguide air-traffic-control company, the Volga-Urals edition of "Kommersant " wrote on 22 February (see "RFE/RL's Tatar Bashkir Report," 2 July 2002). The suit reportedly represents the claims of relatives who hadn't previously appealed against Skyguide and who are also suing the producer of the anticollision computers used by both jets. The new suits refer to a May 2004 statement by the German agency that investigates air accidents, which cited a number of malfunctions permitted by Skyguide and the absence of a single international protocol in the use of air-navigation equipment.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi