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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 31, 2004

31 August 2004
Shaimiev Meets With World Bank Official In Kazan...
Meeting with the World Bank's Russia Director Kristalina Georgieva in Kazan on 30 August, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev assured his guest that Tatarstan's parliament will consider a law on local self-government in its second reading on 9 September, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. Passing the law is necessary for meeting the World Bank's criteria in granting syndicated loans. According to Georgieva, Tatarstan will possibly receive a $125 million World Bank loan to be used for the social and economic development of Tatarstan's capital in advance of its 2005 millennium anniversary. She emphasized that the World Bank was "especially interested that the city [government] uses its own funds and those of the bank in the most effective way. We also hope that during the project's implementation, the city administration also becomes more effective." Georgieva told the reporters that "currently we are in the preparation stage and hopefully the assessment of the Kazan project will be completed in late September." The loan project will be considered by the bank's board of directors before the end of 2004. According to the bank's regulations, Kazan will have to repay the loan in 17 years, with a five-year delay after the credit is issued, with annual interest of 5-6 percent.

...And Congratulates New Chechen President
President Shaimiev on 30 August congratulated the Chechen President-elect Alu Alkhanov on his victory in the 29 August presidential election, the Tatar presidential press service reported the same day. In his message, Shaimiev said that Alkhanov's "resolute victory signifies the high trust of Chechnya's residents as well as the hopes of the Chechen people."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

BAL Pilots Strike Ruled Illegal
Bashkortostan's Supreme Court ruled on 30 August that the 6 July pilot strike at Bashkir Airlines (BAL) was illegal, Bashinform reported on 30 August. The strike resulted in the delay of four flights and damages to the airline estimated by the company's management at 1 million rubles ($34,360) (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 8, 9 July 2004).

Because of the court ruling, BAL's management is now eligible to seek a refund for the damages caused by the delayed flights, which include lost profits, the cost of passengers' hotel accomodations, and the parking of the jets at airports in Ufa, Norilsk, and Moscow.

A group of BAL pilots announced the strike following the airline administration's refusal to sign the collective agreement proposed by the pilots' trade union. Specifically, pilots are demanding, among other things, that wages be categorized according to an increase in the minimum wage; that pilots who retire receive one-year's salary; and that families of pilots who die while working receive a sum equal to 10-years of the worker's salary.

Later in July, the BAL workers' conference approved a management-sponsored draft agreement for 2004-2006.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi