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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 4, 2005

4 August 2005
Tatarstan President Opposes Federal Redistribution Effort
In an interview with Interfax on 3 August, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev criticized the policy of financially and economically equalizing the entities of the Russian Federation, which, he argued, results in stagnation particularly of the regions receiving subsidies. Shaimiev promoted basic parameters for the formation of regional budgets for extended periods, which he claimed would stimulate federation subjects into increasing their taxation bases. Such an approach, he continued, would prove beneficial for the federal bodies as it would allow for bigger transfers of tax revenues to the federal budget. Shaimiev claimed that a paradoxical situation has arisen whereby as soon as regions increase their collection of taxes, Moscow initiates legal amendments to the Tax Code obliging them to transfer those revenues to the federal center. Donor regions are currently in the most complicated situation, Shaimiev said.

Shaimiev added that Tatarstan has doubled its transfers of tax revenues to the federal budget under its program of socioeconomic development for 2001-06. He also called for the abolition of a number of federal bodies in regions that are currently either incapable of acting or are duplicating functions of regional bodies.

Downtown Kazan To Be Shut Down During Putin Visit
Tatar Deputy Prime Minister Zile Welieva told a news conference on 2 August that access to the Kazan millennial celebrations will be open to Kazan residents as "the holiday is organized for [them]" but general public access will be limited on 25-27 August, when Russian President Vladimir Putin and the heads of the CIS countries and of Russia's regions will be visiting the capital of Tatarstan, "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" reported on 3 August. The CIS summit, the opening of a new horseracing track, and horse races for the Russian President's Prize will be attended by the CIS leaders. Tatarstan's State Traffic Safety Inspection head Rifqet Minnekhanov told reporters on 2 August that "residents are advised not to drive their private cars to the city center" on 25-27 August, as traffic will be blocked. Minnekhanov denied rumors that travel to Kazan by car during the days of the Kazan millennial celebration will be prohibited, although he warned that security will be tightened. He said the number of interior employees in Kazan will be tripled, adding that an additional 700 employees from other regions came to the city in July.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Delegations Of Russian Diplomats Visits Bashkortostan
Russia's ambassadors to Malta, Croatia, Italy, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Iraq arrived in Bashkortostan on 3 August to meet President Murtaza Rakhimov and Foreign Economic Affairs Minister Boris Kolbin to discuss further cooperation between the republic and those countries, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day.

During their visit, the ambassadors were expected to inspect the Kumertau helicopter plant, the Salavatneftorgsintez refinery, agricultural enterprises, and natural resorts in Bashkortostan.

Police Raid Suspected DVD Pirates
An estimated $1.5 million worth of counterfeit DVDs were seized in Ufa during a special antipiracy police operation in late July, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 3 August. Police arrested a group of suspected DVD pirates that they believe earned some $30,000 a month during the raid.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi