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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 17, 2003

17 October 2003
Republic's Law On Freedom Of Conscience Harmonized With Federal Law
The Tatar Supreme Court on 16 October ruled in favor of Tatarstan's acting Prosecutor Vladimir Metelin's complaint against some provisions of the republic's law on freedom of conscience and religious associations as contradicting federal legislation, reported the same day. Specifically, the complaint protests the use in the law of the phrase "citizens of Tatarstan," arguing that this restricts the rights of residents who are not citizens of Tatarstan. The republic's law also allowed the restriction of spreading new faiths and activities of religious groups new to Tatarstan in order to promote public consent and security. The federal law says activities of religious groups may be halted or banned only if they harshly violate constitutional norms. The requirement in the republic's law that data about the history of the appearance and spread of a faith and religious group in Tatarstan be provided was also declared illegal.

State-Run Airline To Lease Two Tu-214s
The Tatarstan Airline plans to lease two Tu-214 jets produced by the Kazan Gorbunov Aviation Plant from the Finance Leasing Company, RosBalt reported on 16 October, citing unidentified representatives of the airline. The new jets will likely be used on the Nizhnii Novgorod-Kazan-Krasnoyarsk-Chita-Beijing route, and the first one should be received in early November.

Interior Ministry Fights Illegal Migration...
Tatar Deputy Interior Minister on migration and passport-visa affairs Yevgenii Dewletshin told reporters on 16 October that 18 foreigners have been deported from Russia for violating registration rules during a 10-day campaign in the republic that began on 11 October. A total of 24 court rulings were issued on deportation of foreign citizens during that period. In addition, 65 foreigners and persons without citizenship were sent to reception centers for illegal migrants. Dewletshin said as an experiment the ministry set up an immigration department, which is intended to provide analysis of immigration situation and its influence on republic's socioeconomic state and prevention and fighting illegal migration.

...Displeased By Reform Plan For Technical Inspection Of Vehicles
The Tatar Interior Ministry's Traffic Security Inspectorate issued a statement on 16 October saying transferring technical inspection of automobiles to privately owned companies could result in the disruption of the existing system of technical supervision of automobiles, reported the same day. The statement came in response to a recent announcement by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov of a plan to reform the order of supervising vehicles' technical status. The statement expresses doubt that private companies will be able to secure proper quality of vehicle supervision and traffic security. They also predict that disruption of the existing system will put in question the possibility of Russia joining the international automobile community.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Unified Russia Supports Rakhimov's Reelection Bid
The General Council of the Unified Russia party on 15 October declared its support for the candidacy of incumbent President Murtaza Rakhimov in Bashkortostan's December presidential elections, the party's official website reported the next day. The council has ordered the party's branch in Bashkortostan to ensure "comprehensive support" for Rakhimov including "all the necessary organizational and political activities."

Safin Becomes First Registered Presidential Candidate
Relif Safin, a Russian Federation Council senator representing the Altay Republic, on 16 October became the first presidential candidate officially registered by Bashkortostan's Central Election Commission (CEC), an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Safin submitted a deposit of 9.8 million rubles ($328,000) to the CEC. Safin is a former vice president of LUKOil.

Veremeenko Establishes Fund For Regional Development
Another presidential candidate Sergei Veremeenko, a former executive at St. Petersburg-based Mezhprombank, on 16 October established a new assistance fund for regional development in Russia, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The fund will reportedly provide help to regions in attracting investments and will support a wide range of development programs. Sergei Mironov, chairman of the Russian Federation Council, praised the idea and pledged his support. The new fund has been co-founded by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Center for Strategic Research in the Volga Federal District, and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi