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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 19, 2005

19 September 2005
Tatarstan's Ombudsman Law A Model For Russia
Tatarstan's law on human rights representatives is being used as a model for the draft federal law on the activities of ombudsmen Russia's federal entities, reported on 17 September. This was reported at a conference on the development of Russian entity's human rights representatives, or ombudsmen, that ended in Sochi on 16 September. A meeting of the Coordinating Council of the Russian ombudsman and human rights representatives was held within the framework of the conference to discuss the draft law. The draft will be given to Russian Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin and will then be introduced to the Russian State Duma.

Telephone Numbers Become Seven-Digits In Kazan
The Kazan City Telephone Station and other telephone operators in Tatarstan's capital on 17 September replaced all telephone numbers in Kazan with seven-digit ones, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day.

The Information and Communications Ministry commented that the measure that applied to over 600,000 subscribers was intended to increase the nearly depleted capacity of telephone networks in the city. The move cost 26 million rubles ($919,000). Thus Kazan becomes the fourth city in Russia with seven-digit telephone numbers following Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Samara. Kazan's long-distance calls code has also changed from 8432 into 843.

Organized Crime Group On Trial...
A preliminary hearing on a criminal case against a Tuben Kama organized crime group called "Tatars" has been held in Tatarstan's Supreme Court, Tatar-inform reported on 16 September. Twenty-nine group members accused of 13 murders, five attempted murders, racketeering, and other crimes are on trial. Several more people are on a wanted list. Roughly 400 people are attending the hearings.

...As Well As Contractor Of Krasnyi Vostok General Director
A criminal case against Kazan businessman Boris Bulatov, who is accused of contracting the murder of Krasnyi Vostok brewery General Director Eibet Eibetov in February 1996, has been passed to Tatarstan's Supreme Court, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 16 September. Bulatov was extradited to Russia from Spain on 16 June. In March, Sergei Pavlov, Bulatov's former bodyguard, was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment for killing Eibetov. According to investigators, Bulatov, who headed the Kazan Sandra company, contracted Eibetov's murder after a conflict arose between the two businessmen over distribution of profits from joint cola production at Krasnyi Vostok.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Health Minister Explains Moscow's Health-Care Policies
Russian Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov said at a meeting of Bashkortostan's Republican Council in the village of Iske Baltach on 15 September that his ministry would "carefully" and "gradually" introduce economic-based methods of managing health care, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. However, Zurabov also confirmed that he would undertake "urgent measures" to improve the efficiency of existing health-care institutions. Commenting on President Vladimir Putin's recent pledge of a pay rise for health-care workers, he said that that the current salaries would remain and only extra services will be covered by additional payments. Zurabov also noted that his ministry is concerned with the efficiency of state funding for medical-equipment-renovation projects, which reportedly fail to meet the government's expectations and improve the level of health care in Russia.

Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov suggested that wages for health-care workers could be increased with the help of major employers in the republic. The council later resolved that the republican government should consider concrete measures for repaying existing back wages to health-care workers and restructuring the debt of hospitals in Bashkortostan of some $1.7 million.

Ufa Motor Plant Sold Back To Plant Management
The Samara-based SOK group sold their 66.33 percent stake in the Ufa Automotive Motor Plant (UZAM) to the plant's management, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 16 September. The deal was reportedly made because SOK is no longer interested in Ufa-made automotive engines after its IzhAvto automotive plant stopped producing the Izh brand of cars.

After the purchase of the majority stake in UZAM in 2003, SOK failed to renovated the plant's production facilities. Meanwhile, demand for Ufa engines already in production fell. Bashkortostan's government reportedly welcomed the deal returning ownership to the republic. According to a government source interviewed by RFE/RL, UZAM is barely managing to cover its production costs, and for the last two years specialized only in spare parts.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi