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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 14, 2004

14 April 2004
Tatarstan, Sudan Talk Trade
Bilateral trade was on the agenda of a meeting between Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov and Sudanese Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Russia Chol Deng Alak on 13 April in Kazan,, Tatar-inform, and other news agencies reported. According to "Kommersant" on 14 April, participation of the Kazan Helicopter Plant in a tender to supply helicopters to Sudan's armed forces was also on the agenda. On the eve of the meeting, Alak visited KamAZ to study the prospects of cooperation with the automobile concern. "KamAZ produces a wide range of vehicles [that] Sudan could use for the reconstruction of its infrastructure," he said. Bilateral cooperation began three years ago, after a visit to Sudan by Prime Minister Minnikhanov, during which an agreement on Tatneft's participation in oil production in Sudan was signed.

Court Rejects Opposition Lawsuit Against Tatar Election Commission
Tatarstan's Supreme Court on 13 April rejected a lawsuit by activists from the Equality and Legality (RiZ) civic movement against the chairman of Tatarstan's central election commission (USK), Anatolii Fomin, "Kommersant" reported on 14 April. Plaintiffs alleged that the USK leadership violated the law by permitting 49 deputies from the Tatarstan State Council to remain in their positions as state officials. The RiZ activists first filed their lawsuit in January 2001 to annul the registration of those deputies. In July 2003, the Russian Supreme Court ordered that the USK annul its decisions on the registration of the 49 deputies and hold by-elections. In October, the USK appealed to the Russian Supreme Court, the Tatar Supreme Court, and a Kazan Wakhitov Raion court to postpone implementation of the Russian Supreme Court decision until 14 March. The Wakhitov court subsequently granted the USK appeal. On 14 March, parliamentary elections were held in Tatarstan. On 13 April, the Tatar Supreme Court refused to grant an appeal by RiZ members against allegedly illegal actions by the USK leadership. RiZ member and State Council Deputy Aleksandr Shtanin said he will appeal the verdict.

Tatneft To Increase Oil Flow Through Kaliningrad Oblast
Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khefiz Salikhov told a news conference on 13 April that Tatneft will increase the volume of oil it exports by 2 million tons, above the current limit of 10 million tons established by Transneft, following an agreement between Tatarstan and Kaliningrad Oblast. Under the terms of a document signed by Prime Minister Minnikhanov and Kaliningrad Oblast Governor Vladimir Yegorov in Kaliningrad on 8 April, Tatneft will construct an oil terminus in the oblast. Salikhov said Tatneft has already bought a plot of land for the project and will finish construction within a year. He declined to offer a cost estimate. Salikhov said the transport of oil through the offshore zone of Kaliningrad Oblast will be more profitable in comparison with other routes previously considered by Tatneft, including through the Black Sea and Arkhangelsk Oblast's Severodvinsk. For its part, Tatarstan will promote deliveries of fish products from Kaliningrad Oblast to the republic.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov To Deliver Annual Message To Parliament
The presidium of Bashkortostan's State Assembly decided on 13 April that the next session of the republic's parliament on 22 April will hear the annual message of President Murtaza Rakhimov, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the next day. According to the new Bashkir Constitution adopted in 2002, the president will address the State Assembly and the people of Bashkortostan, resuming the tradition first begun in 1995. The presidential messages usually address different topics of the agenda and have various main topics from year to year. For example in 2003 Rakhimov's annual message was entitled "A strong socially oriented state in the interests of man and society."

Postal Worker Killed For $350
Klara Lavrenteva, a cashier at Ufa's Kirov district Pension Fund branch, was shot dead on 12 April while distributing monthly pensions to the disabled and elderly who are unable to go to the bank themselves, RosBalt reported the next day. The 49-year-old woman was carrying some 80,000 rubles ($2,800) but the thieves managed to find only about 10,000 rubles ($350) in the cashier's bag. In early 2003 a similar assault on a mailman distributing pensions was reported, with some $3,500 worth stolen. Ufa police have made no arrests in either case.

All Ufa Libraries To Get Computers
According to Ufa's culture committee, the city will sponsor the purchase of desktop computers and auxiliary Internet connection equipment for all 56 municipal libraries in 2004-06, RosBalt reported on 13 April. The program will cost 4 million rubles ($140,000) giving each library an average of 2 computers connected to the Internet.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi