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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 22, 2003

22 July 2003
Shaimiev Meets With Kuchma
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev met on 21 July in the Crimea with his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, reported the same day, citing the presidential press service. Among other things, the presidents discussed the privatization of the Kremenchug oil refinery. The two noted that since the previous meeting between them one year ago that was devoted to improving the efficiency of Ukrtatnafta, personnel changes have been made in the leadership of that joint Ukrainian-Tatar venture and at the Kremenchug plant, which have positively influenced the company's results in 2002 and in the first six months of the current year. Shaimiev said that "mutual understanding exists between the republics, and it is necessary to implement joint plans and resolve existing problems on these grounds." The presidents also considered bilateral cooperation in the assembly of KamAZ vehicles in Ukraine and the maintenance of the Black Sea Fleet.

Federal Official Supervises Rearrangement Of Fire-Prevention Service
The visiting Russian deputy emergency situations minister, General Colonel Gennadii Kirillov, met on 21 July with Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov and attended a meeting of the republican Emergency Situations Ministry discussing the results of activities during the first six months of the year, reported the same day. Kirillov said the aim of his visit is to inspect the transition of the fire-prevention service from the Interior Ministry to the Emergency Situations Ministry. He said the process revealed contradictions in laws regulating the activity of the service and the necessity to modernize equipment used by it. He also praised the Tatar government for its efforts to resolve these problems. It was reported at the ministry meeting that 133 people died and 129 were injured in more than 1,800 fires this year in Tatarstan. Some 55 percent of the victims were intoxicated. An inspection of fire security held by the ministry in the housing sector in February-March resulted in the reduction of the incidence of fires in that sector by 12 percent as compared to the same period in 2002.

KamAZ To Produce 100 NefAZ Buses For Voronezh Oblast
The KamAZ automobile concern has won a tender to deliver 100 NefAZ buses to Voronezh Oblast, and reported. NefAZ, a joint production of KamAZ and the Neftekamsk bus plant, was recognized as the best among domestically produced passenger vehicles in terms of the environment. Tender organizers were also attracted by leasing terms and the service provided by a network of certified service centers set up by NefAZ manufacturers. NefAZ has also recently won tenders in St. Petersburg and Samara. More than 400 buses were also ordered by towns in Moscow Oblast. The vehicle is also in use in Khabarovsk and Sakhalin.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Parliament Leader On Constitutional Court's Verdict
Commenting on a verdict by the Russian Constitutional Court prohibiting nonconstitutional courts from hearing lawsuits against regional constitutions and charters (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 21 July 2003), Bashkir State Assembly Chairman Konstantin Tolkachev told a briefing in Ufa on 21 July that the republican parliament will likely appeal some verdicts by similar courts issued against the Bashkir Constitution, Bashinform reported the same day. Tolkachev called the decision by the Russian Constitutional Court "revolutionary." While adopting a new version of the Bashkir Constitution, Bashkortostan took into account earlier verdicts of the Russian Supreme Court, according to which some provisions of the republic's basic law were viewed as contradicting the Russian Constitution and were either dropped or amended. The current ruling by the Russian Constitutional Court allows discussion on some concepts, in particular that of "sovereignty," Tolkachev said. He said the recently adopted Chechen Constitution includes concepts of sovereignty and citizenship.

Criminal Case Against Mezhprombank Halted
The Bashkir Interior Ministry's Chief Investigation Directorate has halted a criminal fraud case involving promissory notes from Mezhprombank's Ufa branch (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 12, 17, 18, and 19 June 2003), RosBalt reported on 21 July, citing the branch's legal department head, Aleksandr Panishev. Representatives of the ministry reported the end of the investigation at an Ufa court hearing on Mezhprombank's appeal against the ministry. Investigators said the decision was made by the Russian Interior Ministry's Investigation Committee, which twice requested materials for the lawsuit from the republican ministry and finally issued a resolution that there is no corpus delicti in the case. The head of the Bashkir Interior Ministry's press service, Ruslan Sherefetdinov, said materials related to the investigation are currently in Moscow and the local interior ministry does not possess the full text of the Investigation Committee's resolution. The Bashkir Interior Ministry was investigating the fraud case against the ChZK DMS company, which allegedly forced the state-run Bashkommundor company to receive, as payment, 2 million rubles ($65,800) worth of Mezhprombank promissory notes under conditions that were unprofitable for Bashkommundor. The Mezhprombank leadership claims that political reasons are behind the criminal case, which it says was initiated in response to former Mezhprombank head Sergei Veremeenko's intention to run for the Bashkir presidency. The bank's Ufa branch is suing the republican Interior Ministry, demanding that it pay 13 million rubles ($428,000) in compensation for damage caused during a search of the Mezhprombank Ufa office.

Bashkir Tatar Congress Forms Managing Bodies
The Bashkir Tatar Congress (BTC) Executive Committee elected Ramil Bignov, Tatarstan's trade representative to Bashkortostan and representative of the Bashkir Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade in Tatarstan, to be the BTC deputy chairman in charge of social economic issues and public relations. It also elected Radik Sibegetov, head of Bashkir State University's Tatar Philology Department, to be BTC's deputy chairman in charge of organizing issues and the development of the Tatar language, Bashinform reported on 21 July. The meeting also established commissions on history, political science, sociology (Bashkir University Professor Jewdet Gyilajetdinov is chairman), culture (Bashkir Pedagogical University professor Reif Emirov is chairman), art (Bashkir State University Assistant Professor Marat Sheripov is chairman), development of spirituality and the formation of a healthy lifestyle (Ufa Pedagogical College director Roza Deminova is chairman), youth/physical culture and sports (Tatar Youth Union Azatlyq head Rostem Tuliganov is chairman), women (Ufa Tatar Gymnasium No. 65 Director Reshide Kharitonova is chairman), and business development (Politron company head Eskhet Qormanaev is chairman).

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova