9 November 2004
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
On Tatarstan's Constitution Day, President Comments On Proposed Federal Reforms
President Mintimer Shaimiev marked Tatarstan's Constitution Day on 6 November with an appeal to the public in which he noted that the republic adopted its constitution 12 years ago and the document "has been and still is a reliable guarantor of the rights and freedoms of our citizens, our statehood within the Russian Federation, social and political stability in our society, [and the] concerted and effective work of all branches of power."
Shaimiev took the occasion to remark on political reforms proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin that would include abolishing direct gubernatorial elections throughout the country, saying, "The fact that the new political program of federal authorities is surrounded by debate is the best proof that Russian democracy is mature enough, that its society is undergoing a major experience of political development."
According to Tatarstan's laws, 6 November is an official holiday, which due to its coincidence with the weekend was moved to 8 November, the day after Russia's national 7 November holiday expires.Republican Budget To Take On New Housing Subsidies
The current transition to a new system of payments for housing services means the amount of socially unprotected Tatarstan residents benefiting from state subsidies will increase by about tenfold, deputy minister of social security Gumar Garifov told a Tatar government session on 5 November, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 7 November (see "RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Report," 5 November 2004). Beginning in 2005, Tatarstan residents will officially start contributing 100 percent of housing-service costs and the republic will transfer financial compensation to those citizens poor enough to qualify.
A federal law on monetarizing the system of social benefits prescribes that the republican budget be responsible from 2005 for ensuring the payment of subsidies to more than 1.5 million veterans of war or forced labor, victims of political repression, pensioners, orphans, state employees, and other socially disadvantaged groups.Vietnamese Delegation Visits Tatarstan
Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Nguyen Van Ngan visited Tatarstan on 8-9 November to discuss the prospects for mutual economic cooperation and to meet with the local ethnic Vietnamese community, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 8 November. In the first half of 2004, Tatarstan and Vietnam boosted bilateral trade by some 23 percent to $8 million. The sale of Tatar-manufactured trucks, helicopters, and medical equipment have accounted for much of the improvement, while Vietnamese exports to Tatarstan remain dominated by consumer products.
The two sides reportedly have high expectations for projects such as oil prospecting in Vietnam with help from Tatneft oil company, Tatarstan's participation in the construction of petrochemical plants in Vietnam, the establishment of a KamAZ network of truck-servicing enterprises, and expanding Vietnam's sales of industrial goods.
Compiled by Iskender Nurmi
DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
The Old and The Young Remember October Revolution In Bashkortsotan�s Capital
Following the tradition inherited from the Soviet past, the Bashkortostan and Ufa branches of Russia�s Communist Party, the local branches of Labor People Union, �Russia�s Hope� Women�s Union and the Young Bashkiria movement held a holiday demonstration and a meeting devoted to the 87th anniversary of the October 1917 revolution on 7 November, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Leader of Bashkortostan�s communists Valentin Nikitin said at the meeting near the monument to Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin that the revolution �gave people new orientation towards patriotism, international fraternity and strong belief in future.�
Despite Moscow�s plans of abolishing the official holiday of 7th November starting from 2005, the meeting�s participants insisted on that the date will remain an important holiday for those who share the values of democracy and socialism, peace, brotherhood and happiness of all peoples. Some 500 people joining the event approved a resolution condemning the federal government�s plans of canceling the holiday.Medical Insurance System Eases Maintenance Of Medical Institutions
Bashkortostan�s budget will contribute only 38 percent of the republic�s total expenses on healthcare institutions in 2005, Bashinform reported on 8 November. Maintaining these institutions reportedly will cost 6.527 million rubles ($225 million), while the major 62 percent share of the cost will be contributed bty the funds of obligatory medical insurance.
Compiled by Iskender Nurmi