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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 8, 2002

8 May 2002
Official Reports Low Performance Of Tatarstan's Industries In 2002
Tatarstan's Deputy Minister of Economy and Industry Farid Tuktarov held a press conference on 7 May to comment on the republic's industrial production slump during the first quarter of 2002, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. Tatar companies managed to produce only 98.4 percent of their output during the first three months in 2001, while the neighboring Bashkortostan and Mari El republics and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast achieved 2, 4 and 6 percent growth in this area.

According to Tuktarov, the decrease of production affected virtually all of Tatarstan's major industries except oil extraction and at the same time the amount of unsold goods stockpiled in warehouses grew by some 20 percent. He added that the slump can be explained by "objective reasons, such as the general orientation of Tatarstan's industries towards exports and the worsening situation in foreign markets, accompanied by increasing activities of Russia's oil industry giants, Yukos and Sibal, which manage the entire process of oil processing beginning from extraction till the retail sale of gasoline." As a "subjective" reason Tuktarov noted the weak marketing policies of Tatarstan's producers, which are being outpaced by their rivals from other regions of the Russian Federation.

Radio Official Promotes Role Of Informational Broadcasting
The deputy chairwoman of the Tatarstan State TV-Radio Broadcasting Company in charge of radio, Mileushe Aituganova, told RFE/RL on 7 May, which is Radio Day, that "currently Tatarstan faces a lack of informational radio stations, stimulating thought among people, because the majority of modern radios are concentrating on music and news from the entertainment industry.... However, in my opinion, informational radios have a future, because people are becoming fed up with 'music only' stations."

Aituganova also spoke about the deteriorating state of wire radio in the republic, because local budgets in Tatarstan's districts do not provide any funding for repairing it and there are already some regions disconnected from the widely popular "kitchen radio." She added that, on the other hand, some residents refuse the wire radio services just for saving some 10 rubles ($0.32) each month for buying an extra loaf of bread or liter of milk.

RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service relies on state wire radio with long-wave re-broadcasts for reaching the vast audiences within Tatarstan.

Tatar Satellite TV To Launch Its Broadcasts In Orenburg
Tatarstan's New Century (TNV) satellite TV obtained a license for broadcasting its programs in Orenburg Oblast to obtain an extra 60,000 viewers there, while as much as 4 million people already can watch it in the republic, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 7 May. The channel is to be retransmitted via the local TV-Buguruslan in Orenburg, so that the region's residents will not need satellite dishes for receiving the signal.

Kazan Television Says Yashel Uzen Becoming 'New Chicago'
Efir TV company of Kazan on 7 May quoted unnamed Interior Ministry officials as saying that the small town of Yashel Uzen (Zelenodolsk in Russian) near Kazan is gaining the name of "Tatar Chicago" due to the growing number of allegedly gang-related murders there since the beginning of this year. Some 10 bodies of young men showing evidence of violence, sometimes burnt to conceal the victim's identity, have been found in or near Yashel Uzen so far in 2002. Efir also reported that street gangs organized by experienced criminals are attracting local youths and are boosting activity in the city.

New Barter Scheme To Prevent Telephone-Bill Debts Among Farmers In Alabuga
The state telephone company of Alabuga region is accepting manure from local farms as payment for telephone services, Tatnews agency reported citing the company's chief executive Radik Islamov on 7 May. Islamov said that such barter operations "give an opportunity to get the payments regularly, without growing arrears." The manure is said to be distributed among telephone company employees who have dachas.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov: Moscow Agreed To Preserve Power-Sharing Treaties
On 7 May RFE/RL quoted Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov as saying that during his 29 April meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin it was agreed on forming a consultative body for solving law-harmonization issues with the Bashkir Constitution and treaty-based relations with Moscow. He added that although "some media speculate that [Russia's] power-sharing treaties with Bashkortostan, Tatarstan will be abolished, it is impossible, because they already became our ideology, if its necessary, let's enter amendments to the treaty."

Bashkortostan Gets New Prosecutor
The Legislative Chamber of Bashkortostan's State Assembly on 7 May approved the candidacy of Florid Baykov for the post of the republic's chief prosecutor, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Surprisingly enough, there was not an official statement made before or after the vote to notify the public about the dismissal of former prosecutor Jeudet Turumtaev. In his recent interviews, President Rakhimov criticized the work of federal prosecutors, who, in his opinion, "have become superior to the [Russian] president," referring to the example of the several protests that have been filed against provisions of the Bashkir Constitution contradicting federal laws despite previous agreements on bilateral law harmonization with the federal government.

Bashkortostan Rated Best Russian Region In 2001 Recruitment Campaign
According to RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent on 7 May, Bashkortostan won first place in the nationwide competition for the best organization of the 2001 army recruitment campaign. The same day Bashkortostan's chief military commissioner, Timofey Azarov, told RFE/RL that "to confirm its title, the republic plans to hold a 16-day military training event for some 2,000 draftees in the near future." More than 130 high-ranking military officials, representing the military commissioners' boards from across Russia will observe the event, which is planned to feature the latest military equipment. The training is to cost the organizers 10 million rubles ($322,500), 8 million of which are to be covered by the Russian budget and 2 million by Bashkortostan.

Azarov also said that there are 127,000 draft-age men registered by his office, but only 6,000 of them are to join the army in autumn 2002, because the majority of potential recruits are freed from army service because of university study, poor health, or having to support their families.

Rakhimov Greets Veterans With Victory Day Anniversary
President Rakhimov greeted WWII veterans residing in his republic on the coming Victory Day, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 7 May. About 700,000 residents of Bashkortostan took part in the war and 320,000 of them were killed in combat. Bashkortostan's State Publishers are preparing a book called "They Brought The Victory Home" with names of all the soldiers from the republic who survived the war, while previously it already published the "Memory Book" with a full list of those who were lost in battle

Putin Expected To Visit Bashkortostan
RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent quoted Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov on 7 May as saying that President Putin is expected to visit Bashkortostan in late June 2002.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi