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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 14, 2003

14 May 2003
Share Of Tatar Population Growing In Tatarstan...
The "Vechernyaya Kazan" daily wrote on 13 May that the preliminary results of the October 2002 national census cited by head of the republican State Statistics Committee Valerii Kandilov the previous day showed that ethnic Tatars constituted 51.3 percent of Tatarstan's population and ethnic Russians represented 41 percent. In the previous 1989 census, ethnic Tatars made up 48.5 percent and ethnic Russians 43.3 percent of the total population in the republic.

...While Birth Rates Reported To Have Declined By Some 40 Percent In Last 10 Years
Mansur Khesenov, president of the Tatar Academy of Sciences, told a conference on social security for Tatarstan's families in Kazan on 13 May that during the last decade the republic's birth rate has declined from 15.3 newborns per 1,000 people in 1990 to 9.4 in 2000. In 2000, the death rate was 11.9 per 1,000 people in urban areas and 16.9 in rural areas. According to the Tatar Ministry Of Youth Affairs and Sport, 32 percent of young families in the republic are strongly dependent on material aid from the state. In 2002, 15,000 families in the republic received 8 million rubles ($254,000) in social security contributions.

Tatarstan's FSB Prevents Attempt To Smuggle Explosives
Earlier this May the branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Tatarstan arrested a German citizen who was planning to smuggle explosives from Tuben Kama to Germany, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 13 May. According to FSB officials, the unnamed man from Berlin planned to sell the explosives to organized criminal groups, rather than terrorist organizations.

Tatar Universities Open Up For Distant Ethnic Communities
Under an agreement between Tatarstan's cabinet and the board of rectors of higher education institutions, local universities will introduce free entry quotas for Tatar-speaking students from Tatar communities outside the republic, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 13 May. Beginning this year, Tatar students from across Russia, 10 from each region, will be offered courses on Tatar language, literature, history, culture, and other subjects to enable them to teach after returning home.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

!empty!Bashkir President Sets Up Council Of Republic
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov has signed a decree establishing the Council of the Republic, Interfax reported on 13 May. The new council is a consultative body headed by the president. According to the decree, the main task of the body will be to promote and oversee the cooperation of the republic's state bodies and discuss implementation measures of executive bodies and Russian and Bashkir officials. The council is also intended to discuss socioeconomic development and personnel policy in executive bodies proposed by the president. It is also empowered to discuss draft republican laws proposed by the president.

The council comprises the Bashkir president, members of the Bashkir presidential administration, and the administrative heads of the republic's cities and raions. An executive committee will also be formed within the council and rotated every six months. The head of the presidential administration's information directorate, Marat Yamalov, said the council is similar to the Russian State Council, headed by the Russian president. Before the adoption of the new Bashkir Constitution, heads of the city and raion administrations were members of the upper chamber of the Bashkir State Assembly. The new council is intended to compensate their loss of power after the parliament became a unicameral body.

Ufa Says Agreement On Tuben Kama Reservoir Should Be Elaborated
The deputy head of the Russian Chief Directorate of Natural Resources in Bashkortostan Vladimir Goryachev told RosBalt on 13 May that the Bashkir government considers that the draft agreement on exploitation of the Tuben Kama reservoir proposed by Tatarstan can not be signed until it is elaborated. Bashkortostan has demanded that Tatarstan meet safety requirements, in particular in repairing the dam at the Tuben Kama hydroelectric power station, which allegedly causes a threat of flooding for eight villages in Bashkortostan's Krasnokama Raion, where some 10,000 people live. Goryachev said the dam repair issue will be on the agenda of a meeting of a working group of the Tatar and Bashkir governments scheduled for 15 May in Chally. The draft agreement on the Tuben Kama reservoir -- which spans the territory of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Udmurtia -- includes raising its level from 62.5 meters to 63.3 meters. Any damage the republics will face from the raised water level will be covered by profit from the production of electric energy, which is expected to total 70-80 million rubles ($2.3 million-$2.6 million) a year. According to the draft, each of the three republics will receive 20 percent of the sum, while the remaining 40 percent will be spent on finishing the construction of the Tuben Kama reservoir, repair works, and cleaning up any emergencies. The draft was adopted by the Tatar government and the presidium of the Udmurt government and is expected to be signed in the next few weeks.

Bashkortostan's Population Grows By Four Percent
According to the October 2000 census, Bashkortostan's population totaled 4.1 million -- a 4.1 percent growth from the 1989 rate, reported on 13 May. Of the republic's population, 46.9 percent are male. According to the preliminary census results, 25.4 percent of the republic's residents -- around 1 million -- live in Ufa. That is a 2.8 percent decrease from the 1989 rate.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova