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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 7, 2003

7 October 2003
Government Concerned With Reducing Budget Expenditures...
Speaking at a cabinet meeting on 6 October, Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov reiterated the necessity of cuting 20 percent of the government's staff, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 6 October 2003). Some 450,000 people are currently employed by budget-financed institutions and although 147 of some 1,600 institutions have been abolished in the last three years, the number of those employed during that period has increased by 10 percent. Minnikhanov confirmed his intention to present his program for reducing the governmental work force to President Mintimer Shaimiev.

...And Fighting Drug Addiction
Deputy Prime Minister Zile Welieva told an interregional scientific conference on measures against drug addiction on 6 October that Tatarstan plans to spend 275 million rubles ($9 million) from 2002 to 2006 to fight the spread of drug addiction, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. The government's antidrug program involves treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, fighting drug trafficking, and public campaigns promoting a healthy lifestyle.

According to the head of the republic's antidrug center, Roza Sadykova, speaking at the same conference, the 7,000 drug addicts officially registered in Tatarstan lead experts to estimate the real number of addicts at 70,000. She also pointed out the slowing spread of addiction in Tatarstan, as 20 new drug addicts were registered per 100,000 people in 2002, while in 2000 the rate was 67.8 per 100,000.

Tatarstan To Finish Privatization Of State Industries In 2004
By mid-2004, Tatarstan's government intends to have privatized the majority of state-owned industries in the republic, Property Minister Valerii Vasiliev told Tatarinform on 6 October. About 120 of the most profitable companies -- such as YelAZ automotive works, the Teplokontrol heating-systems plant, and the Elektropribor plant -- formerly under the Soviet Defense Ministry, currently remain state-owned, while 220 other industrial firms in the republic are undergoing bankruptcy procedures. Vasiliev added that the future of some 400 state-owned companies operating in the housing-services sector is still uncertain, because their privatization will be possible only after the federal government comes up with a viable program for reforming this sector.

Kazan Police Get New Chief
Interior Minister Esget Seferov on 6 October named the former head of Kazan's Sovetskii District interior department, Fayaz Shabaev, as the new city police chief, replacing Yevgenii Davletshin, who was recently appointed a deputy interior minister, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 7 October. Prior to the appointment "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported that the post was planned for Davlteshin's deputy, anticrime department head Nikolai Nyrov, but he was not approved by Kazan's mayor.

At the same time, Tatarstan's Prosecutor's Office is investigating Shabaev in a felony case, in addition to his former subordinate, Soveskii District traffic police chief Sergei Lavrov. They were charged with abuse of power after a complaint by businessman Viktor Litvin saying that the two officials illegally seized the building he rented from the city administration (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 September 2003).

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Prime Minister Unhappy With Interior Ministry Inspections
Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov has expressed his concern about frequent inspections of the Bashkir Interior Ministry by the federal authorities, RosBalt reported on 6 October. Speaking at the ministry's board meeting the same day, Baidavletov said not all inspections were a "necessity." He added, "Nothing serious has been revealed, but under pressure, one after another commission has come." Baidavletov said that the republic's leadership had recently discussed the issue with Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov, adding that "the minister agrees, but new inspections have been initiated behind his back." In June, Gryzlov conducted an inspection of the Bashkir ministry's activities at the request of State Duma deputy Valentin Nikitin (Communist).

Court Says Does Not Have Jurisdiction To Judge On Postponement Of Elections...
The Ufa Kirov Raion court has rejected an appeal by Bashkir State Assembly deputy Gennadii Shabaev against the decision of the republic's parliament to postpone local elections from December 2003 until March 2004, RosBalt reported on 6 October. Shabaev told the news agency that the judge said a raion court does not have the power to consider the issue and recommended that the plaintiff appeal to the Bashkir Supreme Court. The Bashkir State Assembly has twice postponed the date of the city and raion council elections, once from March 2003 to December 2003 and then to March 2004. The latest postponement has been criticized by the opposition, including State Assembly deputies from Yabloko, the Communist Party, and leaders of the Rus movement, who have argued that it violates federal law. Rus has launched numerous appeals in Bashkortostan's city and raion courts against the parliament's decision.

...As Communists Hold Protest
Some 15 Communists picketed for two hours outside the Bashkir State Assembly building on 6 October to protest the postponement of local elections, RosBalt reported the same day. Valerii Shiryaev, the deputy head of the Communist Party's regional branch, told the news agency that police had not created problems for the picketers.

List Of Presidential Candidates Increases
Nine candidates, including one woman, have notified the Bashkir Central Election Commission of their intention to run for the Bashkir presidency, RosBalt reported on 6 October. The two newest candidates are Rimma Vodenko, a deputy head of the Tatar-Bashkir cultural and information center in the Khanty-Mansii Autonomous Okrug, and Mikhail Kodyakov, a security guard (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 3 October 2003).

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova