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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 6, 2004

6 December 2004
Trade Unions Urged To Focus On Improving Wages
State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin told a meeting of the republic's Trade Unions Federation, the government, and the presidium of the Tatar Parliament on 3 December that while planning to implement an agreement between the republic's major employers, trade unions, and the cabinet, the unions failed to secure better salaries for local workers, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 6 December.

In October, Tatar President Mintimer Shamiev recommended that trade unions use their powers to amend the existing trilateral agreement and raise the average salary in Tatarstan's industries. However, the chairwoman of the Trade Unions Federation, Tatyana Vodopyanova, explained that this idea would be difficult to implement because most of the private-owned companies in the republic are union-free. According to Mukahmetshin, this fact is "especially distressing" because he believes the upcoming monetarization of social benefits is unlikely to provide for people's social needs. He is now promoting the idea of lobbying parliamentary deputies to amend the agreement in order to fulfill the Shaimiev's recommendation and to secure higher salaries.

Supreme Court Orders German's Case Reviewed By Tuben Kama Court
Tatarstan's Supreme Court on 2 December rejected a ruling by the Tuben Kama city court prolonging the imprisonment of German citizen Uwe Krueger, who was detained last year while attempting to purchase 20 kilos of explosives allegedly to destroy his real estate in order to gain insurance money, "Kommersant-Daily" wrote the next day. The Tuben Kama court had dismissed a claim by Krueger's lawyer, who sought to have the charges dismissed and the case closed. The suspect was detained in May 2003 and has had numerous trials, interrupted by charges of illegal actions during the investigation. The daily added that although the case will be reviewed in Tuben Kama, this does not mean he will be released.

Shaimiev Visits Turkey With Russian Governmental Delegation
President Shaimiev arrived in Ankara on 5 December with a Russian-government delegation led by President Vladimir Putin, the Tatar presidential press service reported the same day. On 6 December, Putin met with Turkish President Akhmet Sezer to discuss bilateral trade, which in 2003 reached $6.8 billion or a 34 percent increase compared to the previous year. In the first half of 2004, trade reportedly gained 60 percent as compared to 2003, an increase dominated by Russia's fuel and energy exports.

Tatarstan in 2004 will supply more than 4 million tons of oil to Turkey, while bilateral trade turnover in 2003 exceeded $700 million.

Daily Accuses State-Owned Dairy Of Corrupt Business Actions
"Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 4 December that the head of the Tatarstan Sote (state dairy company), Vegiyz Mingazov, is using his connections to President Shaimiev to get local farms to sell milk for the lowest price on local markets, while private dairies are charging some 10 percent more and are forced to buy half of their processed milk from outside the republic. According to the daily, local farms are prohibited from selling milk to companies other than Tatarstan Sote, while the ban does not concern the sale of milk outside the republic. As a result, dairies in Bashkortostan and the Orenburg and Samara oblasts are exporting milk products made from Tatarstan's milk back to the republic.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir Government Promotes Active Role In Controlling Public Ethnic Affairs
Khalyaf Ishmoratov, a deputy premier in Bashkortostan and minister of culture and ethnic policy, discussed the problems of developing a multiethnic society in Russia at a scientific conference on 4 December, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the next day. Ishmoratov said that his republic proves that "only multiethnic policies are effective" in maintain harmony in multiethnic societies. Ishmoratov promotes the government's close involvement in ethnic organizations.

One day before the conference, Tatar ethnic affairs experts Fail Safin and Ildar Gebdrefiqov were denied passes to the event because they have written reports that have been rejected by Bashkir republican officials as "misrepresenting the interethnic situation" in Bashkortostan.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi