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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 22, 2004

22 November 2004
Tatarstan Seeks To Preserve Power-Sharing Treaty With Moscow
Tatarstan State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin told reporters on 20 November that a working group revising the power-sharing treaty between Moscow and Kazan met in Moscow the previous day. Mukhametshin, who heads the republic's representatives in the group, said that "we managed to convince the federal center of the necessity of preserving the treaty and making some amendments." He added that it is "unlikely we will manage to obtain any major financial advantages, but we will try to preserve some of the powers."

Tatarstan will reportedly seek to maintain the federal center's subsidies for solving the environmental problems in the oil-rich regions in the southeast of the republic. Extensive oil extraction over the past 50 years has led to serious health concerns for the local population. Mukhametshin said that after decades of oil production, Tatarstan has a right to support from the federal government. He emphasized that during the talks within the working group, the republic will seek to preserve the benefits of statehood stipulated in its constitution.

Parliamentary Commission Chairman Says Tatar-Script Case May Go To Strasbourg Court
Razil Weliev, chairman of Tatarstan's parliamentary committee on culture, science, education, and ethnic issues, told RFE/RL's Kazan bureau on 16 November that following the Russian Constitution Court's ruling against allowing the republic to implement the use of Latin script for the Tatar language, he does not exclude the possibility of disputing that ruling in the European Court of Human Rights (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 17 November 2004). He said a special appeal may be filed by an individual or a public group from Tatarstan, with the help of linguistic experts and lawyers. Also on 16 November, Tatarstan parliamentary speaker Farid Mukhametshin told reporters after the Constitution Court session that the republican government is not planning to appeal the ruling.

Research Unveils Corruption In Virtually All Segments Of Life In Tatarstan
According to research conducted by Tatarstan's commission tasked with drafting the republic's strategy on anticorruption policies, 48.2 percent of respondents said they consider bribes unacceptable and harmful both for the government and the public, while 13.5 percent said they consider bribes "an essential and inevitable element" of their lives, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 22 November. The same poll conducted among state officials revealed that 73.1 percent of bureaucrats said they were against bribes and only 4.7 percent said bribes were essential. Bribe taking and giving in relation to university entrance examinations were among the most-mentioned instances of corruption, following by mentions of bribery involving schools, kindergartens, police, and courts.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan's Ethnic Tatars To Gather In Moscow
An ethnic Tatar group says it will hold a meeting to boost the visibility of the Tatar National and Cultural Autonomy in the Republic of Bashkortostan in Moscow on 27 November rather than in that republic because it has not received permission for the event from Bashkir authorities, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Ufa on 19 November. The chairman of an umbrella organization for ethnic Tatar groups, Ramil Bignov, said republican authorities have ignored at least one request as well as a personal appeal to President Murtaza Rakhimov. Delegations to the congress will also hold meetings in Chally, Kazan, and Nizhnii Novgorod.

Bashkir President Upbeat About Putin's Plan To Let Governors Back To The Federation Council
President Rakhimov said he supports the idea of allowing the return of regional administration leaders, governors, and presidents, as well as chairmen of regional legislatures to the Russian Federation Council, Interfax reported on 19 November. Rakhimov reportedly said that Vladimir Putin's proposal for returning to the past method of forming the Federation Council is "absolutely logical" because the council would thus provide "real support for the president." Rakhimov also noted that as members of the Federation Council, the leaders of federative entities would "participate in passing the laws and ensure the implementation of these documents."

LUKoil Expresses Interest In Polief
President Rakhimov and LUKoil head Vagit Alekperov met on 18 November to discuss the possible sale of Polief chemical plant in Blagoveshensk, "Kommersant-Daily" wrote the next day. Alekperov pledged that the plant would be made profitable within 1 1/2-2 years. Russian monopoly Gazprom has reportedly already expressed interest in the plant, which was equipped with Japanese machinery in the late 1980s to produce a wide range of plastics.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi