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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 24, 2004

24 November 2004
Tatar Legislators Uphold The Move Of Their Colleagues In Astrakhan And Samara To Balance The Proposed Federal Reform
Tatarstan�s parliamentary committee on state-building and local self-governments on 23 November approved the package of amendments to the draft federal law on canceling the elections for governors, proposed by the Duma of Astrakhan oblast on 26 October, RFE/RL�s Kazan bureau reported the same day. The Astrakhan legislators reportedly expressed general agreement with the document, proposed by Vladimir Putin and suggested that when picking the candidate for governor, Russian president should prefer those who have lived or worked in the region for a significant period of time. The deputies also suggested the strict requirement of proposing alternative candidates and ban on proposing the same candidate more than once, as well as the possibility of dismissing the regional leader in case it is required by the legislative assembly.

Also on 23 November, the Tatar parliamentary committee supported the proposal of Samara oblast Duma, which suggested that in case the legislative or executive branches of power in more than one third of Russia�s regions bodies reject a federal draft, Russian Duma should have to convene a conciliatory commission involving regional representatives.

Census Unveils A Major Birth Rate Slump In Tatarstan
Valerii Kandilov, chairman of Tatarstan�s State Statistics Committee on 22 November announced the recently calculated results of Russia�s national census on 2002, RFE/RL�s Kazan bureau reported the same day. According to the census, 3.78 million people live in Tatarstan, making it the 8th most populated region in Russia and second major in Volga federal district. Comparing to the results of the previous census in 1989 the republic�s population increased only by 3.78 percent. The growth was not driven by positive dynamics of birth rates, but rather by the strong flow of migrants from CIS countries and Turkey.

Tatars represent the major 53 percent share of Tatarstan�s population, while Russians are reported to make up 39.5 percent.

Census unveiled the general trends toward ageing of population and growing gap between the numbers of male and female residents, as the average life expectancy among males in the republic is 61 year and female life expectancy - 75 years.

Finance Ministry Ordered To Consider The Compensation Claim Against Tatar Police
Privolzhskii district court of Kazan ruled on 23 November that Tatarstan�s Ministry of Finance face the charges demanding the payment of 200,000 rubles ($6,900) in compensations for health damage inflicted on Sergei Ionov � a local businessman by the sergeant of Tatarstan�s police Oleg Smetanin in November 2003, �Kommersant� daily reported the next day. According to the newspaper, the police officer has already been dismissed for his misconduct and received 3 years of suspended punishment, yet the victim seeks to compensate for his being unable to work for 6 months after the incident. Previously the claim was brought against the Privolzhskii district administration, but it stated that it bears no financial obligations concerning the district police.

Tatar Schools To Join The Unified School Examination System
In 2005 ethnic Tatar schools will be offered the unified high school graduation examinations along with the regular Russian-speaking institutions, while the republican education ministry is still undecided whether to allot the school students extra time for understanding the test material in Russian language or translating the tests into Tatar, Tatarstan� s deputy minister of education Lyudmila Nugumanova told the reporters on 23 November. Next year, 48,000 of Tatarstan�s school graduates will pass the examinations, which are to be universally acknowledged for school graduation and university entrance exams.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan Considers The Prospects Of Russia's Entry To WTO
Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov met with the official delegation of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), led by the head of UNIDO bureau in Easter Europe and CIS Dmitrii Piskunov to discuss the bilateral cooperation prospects within the terms of 1999 and 2003 agreements between Ufa and the international organization, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 24 November. Within the framework of these agreements, UNIDO already issued a special report analyzing the ability of Bashkortostan's industries to compete with the other regions of Russia, Russia on the whole and some of the foreign countries in the light of the country's possible entry to World Trade Organization.

Bashkir Customs Fail To Comply With The Conciliation Term Offered By European Court
The period allotted by European Court of human rights to Bashkortostan's government for solving the case of Bashkortostan's resident Mikhail Markin expired on 23 November, "Kommersant" wrote the next day. According to the Court's procedures, this fact means that the case will be considered in an open process.

In 1994 Markin reportedly bough a used imported car, obtaining the necessary registration documents from the local traffic police, but in 1997 the car was confiscated as police revealed that the vehicles customs papers were forged. In addition the car owner was fined half of its market cost for using the forged documents.

Although Markin managed to prove that he legally bought the car in the Sovetskii district court of Ufa, later the ruling was cancelled by the Supreme Court of Bashkortostan. In 2002 the European Court addressed Russia confirming that Markin's right for just trial and the right for private property were in fact violated during the process. As a result Russia's Supreme Court overrode the previous court rulings besides the one issued in Markin's favor. However, in 2 following years after 2002 neither the car nor the compensation were returned to the owner by the Bashkortostan's branch of Russia's Customs.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi