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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 11, 2003

11 April 2003
Tatarstan Moves Proposals To Russian Nationalities-Policy Concept
In an interview with "Vremya i dengi" on 9 April, the chairman of the State Council Committee on Science, Education, Culture, and National Issues, Razil Weliev, spoke about Tatarstan's proposals to the Russian state-nationalities-policy concept. The proposals were developed by a commission comprising scholars, deputies, and representatives of the presidential administration in response to an appeal by Russian Minister without portfolio in charge of nationalities policy Vladimir Zorin, who six weeks ago asked Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev to provide such a document. The commission suggested that a chamber of nationalities be formed in the Russian Federal Assembly, in which all Russia's peoples or ethnic groups have one representative; a post of Russian vice president in charge of nationalities policy be established; a government commission responsible for the implementation of the concept be revived; and similar bodies be formed in federal ministries and federation subjects. The commission proposed setting up a House of Peoples of Russia in Moscow, to adopt federal laws on principles of state nationalities policy in Russia and on commissioner on peoples' rights, to develop federal and regional programs on preventing and development of traditional forms of management, national languages, and support of compatriots abroad.

Weliev added that no subsidies are provided in Russia for implementation of the law on national-cultural autonomies. In Tatarstan, however, 2 million rubles were allocated for the support of the Association of National Cultural Communities that unites some 30 of Tatarstan's national communities. In Kazan, 1 percent of the budget is spent on the implementation of the Tatar law on state languages.

Anti-Prostitution Body Set Up In Chally
A group to fight prostitution was formed in the Chally Interior Directorate, reported on 10 April. Thirty-six companies registered as tourism, nursemaid and sick-nurse firms currently provide sex services in the city, the news agency said. Meanwhile, Tatar Anti-AIDS Center official Larisa Bedrieva estimates that there are 5,000 prostitutes in Kazan, the "Vostochnyi ekspress" weekly reported on 4 April. The weekly also reported that an employee of the Anti-Drug Department of Kazan's Wakhitov Raion Interior Directorate, whose name was not reported in order to not to hinder an investigation, was arrested last month for providing protection for an illegal sex agency. The policeman was paid an average of 750 rubles ($24) a day, the outlet said. According to the weekly's anonymous survey, 24 percent of prostitutes questioned were subjected to sexual violence by the police.

Survey Says: Tatars Prefer Shaimiev, Communists
According to a March survey held by the State Council public-opinion service throughout Tatarstan, 76 percent of those questioned trust Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, 65 percent State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin, and 49 percent Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov. Some 65 percent believe the situation in Tatarstan is "good and calm," while 32 percent think the situation in Russia is the same. Some 37 percent of respondents said democratic, honest, and open elections in Russia are impossible. The Communist Party has the highest rating of 28 percent, followed by the Tatarstan-New Century movement with 26.1 percent, and Unified Russia with 25.9 percent, the "Zvezda ovolzhya" weekly reported on 10 April. Yabloko, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and the Party of Life are received support of 11, 7, and 2.6 percent, respectively.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Finance Ministry Pushes Revision Of Bashkortostan's Economic-Development Program
According to "Vremya novostei" on 10 April, the federal budget cuts proposed by Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin for 2003 include the revision if social and economic development programs of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. The programs, adopted in 2002, provide for direct federal subsidies to the republics for the next several years to boost their economic development and, as a result, increasing tax revenues.

Ufa City Administration Issues More Bonds For Renovating Housing Sector
The Ufa city administration will finish the allocation of its second bond issue on the Russian stock market on 17 April, RosBalt and AK&M reported yesterday. Three hundred million rubles ($9.5 million) in bonds will be offered for the term of 552 days at 3 percent interest. The funds will reportedly be used to renovate communal housing facilities.

Rakhimov Appoints Representative To Republican Parliament
President Murtaza Rakhimov appointed Albina Vorobyeva, head of the state legal department within the Bashkir presidential staff, as his official representative to the newly elected republican State Assembly on 10 April, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Vorobyeva has been working as a legal expert on the presidential staff since 1994.

Gas Pipeline Fire Injures Two
More than 3.5 million cubic meters of gas worth 2.6 million rubles ($82,000) were burned off on 9 April due to an explosion at the Urengoi-Petrovsk gas pipeline near Blagoveshensk, Bashkortostan, RosBalt reported on 10 April. The initial investigation revealed that the blast was caused by worn-out metal pipes, which presumably started leaking. Two locals were seriously injured by the burning gas.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi