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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 27, 2003

27 October 2003
Duma Speaker Visits Kazan
State Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev visited Kazan on 24 October, Tatar agencies reported the same day. At his request, Seleznev had a meeting with President Mintimer Shaimiev, who is on vacation. Discussion about legislative work and the socioeconomic development of regions and the federation as a whole were on the agenda. Seleznev had a tour of the Kremlin and viewed the recently built entertainment center Pyramid and basketball arena. Seleznev also met with deputies of the State Council and the Kazan City Council, officials from the Tatar presidential administration, the Cabinet of Ministers, parliament, and reporters. Seleznev said the State Duma had long debates before it raised the electoral barrier for parties to be represented in the Duma from 5 percent in the December elections to 7 percent in the next Duma elections. He said it would be better to let the next State Duma to resolve the issue. Seleznev said the extreme left and the extreme right political forces are not likely to be represented in the new State Duma, and that the major struggle for seats will take place in the political center. He also called for the adoption of legislation regulating the recalling of deputies who move from one faction to another after they have been elected. Speaker Farid Mukhametshin praised Seleznev and the Duma for passing important legislation promoting tax, administrative, pension, and land reforms and for support of the federal program on Tatarstan's socioeconomic development.

Gazprom To Purchase KamAZ Trucks
A visiting Gazprom delegation headed by the gas company's transport department head, Suren Bagdasarov, signed an agreement in Chally on the purchase of 60 KamAZ dump trucks, reported on 24 October, citing the KamAZ press service. The sides also discussed cooperation in promoting natural gas engines. KamAZ Technical Director Ildar Gyilfanov said KamAZ will adjust its service centers to take part in Gazprom's projects on moving transport with natural-gas powered vehicles, a fuel which is said to be 30-40 percent cheaper than gasoline. Gazprom representatives, for their part, said the company will further develop its network of gas stations, of which there are currently 218.

Former Interior Officers Accused Of 'Roofing' Oil Thieves
A criminal case accusing the former head of the Moslim Raion's Interior Department, Colonel Vladislav Gyilmanov, and former department official Captain Ildar Gereev of "roofing" criminals (extorting money for protection) involved in the theft of oil from pipelines has been sent to the Tatar Supreme Court, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 27 October. Interior Ministry officers have been escorting vehicles carrying oil stolen from the Perm-Elmet pipeline to Chally. In April those two men, along with some thieves, were investigated. The two then resigned from their posts. They are accused of abuse of power, forgery, and bribetaking.

First Muslim Supermarket Opens In Tuben Kama
Russia's first Muslim supermarket opened in Tuben Kama, reported on 25 October. Foodstuffs meeting Islamic requirements as well as other goods for Muslims are on sale in the store located downtown on Baqyi Urmanche Street.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan To Benefit From EU Development Programs For Russia
Bashkir Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Sergei Yefremov and the deputy head of the European Commission's representation in Russia, Vincent Picket, at a meeting in Moscow on 24 October agreed that Bashkortostan will participate in a number of the European Union's development programs for Russia, RosBalt reported the same day. A group of European Commission experts is due to visit Bashkortostan this week to establish the details of the political and economic development projects to be implemented.

Bashkir Congress Expresses Pro-Government Stance Before Elections
Speaking at the 24 October expanded session of Interregional Bashkir Congress devoted to the upcoming State Duma and republican presidential elections, congress chief executive Ekhmet Soleimenov emphasized the role of the republican government in the "significant improvements of our population's welfare, intensive housing, construction of new schools," an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 26 October. He referred to Bashkortostan, as "an outstanding region," which in comparison with other Russian regions, is characterized by economic stability and interethnic and interconfessional tolerance. Other congress leaders, including deputy chief executive Marat Kolshripov, Bashkir poet Kadim Aralbaev, and Bashkir parliamentarian Guzel Sitdykova, also used their speeches to praise the government's policies in virtually all spheres of life of the republic.

Bread Prices Up In Bashkortostan
According to on 24 October, in the last week bread prices in Bashkortostan have risen by some 20 percent, something the website blamed on the grain deficit allegedly allowed by Bashkortostan's government, which "beefed up the grain collection figures." The website, which is backed by opposition presidential candidate Sergei Veremeenko, claimed that there are actually no storage facilities for keeping the 4 million tons of grain that, according to official reports, were gathered this year in Bashkortostan.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi