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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 31, 2003

31 January 2003
Speaker Discusses Legal Issues With Federal Officials...
Tatar State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin met on 29 January in Moscow with the deputy head of the Russian presidential administration, Dmitrii Kozak, to discuss issues concerning legal acts due to be considered by the State Duma, reported on 30 January. Specifically, the two officials discussed amendments to the federal laws on general principles on forming legislative and executive state bodies of the federation subjects and the draft law on general principles on forming local self-government in Russia. They also continued a dialogue on amendments to the power-sharing treaty between Russian and Tatarstan, the agency reported.

Meeting the same day with the head of the chief legal directorate under the Russian president, Larisa Brycheva, Mukhametshin discussed the issue of establishing a bicameral parliament in Tatarstan.

...And Delivers Report At Legislators Union Forum
On 30 January, Mukhametshin took part in a meeting of the Russian Legislators Union presidium devoted to legislation on relations between state authorities among federation subjects and local self-government, as well as delivering a report on the issue. Ideas promoted by Mukhametshin reportedly enjoyed support from presidium members, who charged him with presenting his proposals at the next meeting of the union on 18 February, due to be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Court Rejects Arguments Of Parliamentary Representative
The Tatar Supreme Court on 29 January rejected arguments from Midkhet Qormanov -- the chairman of the State Council Commission on Legislation, Legality, Regulations, and Deputies' Ethics, who represents the Tatar parliament -- at a hearing on a protest by Russian Deputy Prosecutor-General Aleksandr Zvyagintsev against the State Council that began the same day, reported on 29 January. Zvyagintsev wants the court to confirm that the Tatar legislature failed to observe court verdicts while it amended the republican constitution (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 27 January 2003). Qormanov appealed to the court to halt the trial, arguing that Russian legislation does not empower prosecutors to sue parliaments for failure to implement court verdicts. Qormanov also protested constitutional issues being considered by the Supreme Court, which he insists is a general, not a constitutional, court. Qormanov also demanded that representatives of the Tatar president and experts in constitutional law be invited to the trial.

Land Market Developing In Tatarstan
In an article published in "Vremya i dengi" on 30 January, Tatar Land and Property Relations Minister Valerii Vasilev said 7 percent of the land used for industrial purposes was privatized in 2002, a year that saw the launch of land privatization in the republic. The budget took in 1.5 billion rubles ($47 million) for that land. Vasilev said the demand for privatization of land sharply increased on the eve of 2003, as prices increased roughly fourfold on 1 January to an average of 200 rubles ($6.30) per square meter in Kazan, 100 rubles in Chally, and 80 rubles in Elmet, Tuben Kama, and other towns. He added that market prices are now sharply higher and reach 6,000 rubles ($189) per square meter in Kazan. Vasilev said standard prices will continue to exist until the next year, according to the Russian Land Code. Currently, the average market price of land in Russia is 450 rubles per square meter. The minister added that more than 1 million residents are landowners in Tatarstan.

Former KGB Colonel Joins World Tatar Congress Leadership
Rostem Gainetdinov, a colonel in the State Security Committee (KGB), was elected deputy chairman of the World Tatar Congress executive committee in charge of international relations for the congress, "Zvezda Povolzhya" reported on 30 January. Gainetdinov defended a thesis on Turkic-Tatar emigration, and his former work in the KGB was devoted to Tatar organizations abroad.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

President's Son To Run In Republican Parliamentary Elections
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov's son Ural Rakhimov will run for a seat in the upcoming republican State Assembly elections, RosBalt reported on 30 January. Ural Rakhimov was reportedly nominated by the Bashkir branch of the Unified Russia party to run in one of the republic's rural electoral districts. Ural Rakhimov, who is already the chairman of the board of several republican companies -- Bashneft, Bashneftekhim, and Bashkirenergo -- was recently nominated as chairman of the board of Salavatnefteorgsintez.

Republic To Increase Rates For Electricity, Heat
The Bashkir Cabinet of Ministers has authorized Bashkirenergo to increase its rates for supplying electricity and heat in proportion with the hike in the cost of supplying natural gas to the republic, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 30 January. Beginning on 1 February, rates will increase by 14 percent. The last rates hike for electricity and heat took place in March 2002.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi