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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 28, 2002

28 June 2002
Paper Compares Constitution Controversy To NTV Closure
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 27 June that Russian Deputy Prosecutor-General Aleksandr Zvyagintsev has lodged protests against 22 provisions of the Tatar Constitution (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 17 June 2002). "Zvezda Povolzhya" wrote the same day that Zvyagintsev has demanded that the republican parliament consider his protests during its next session. This is why the next parliamentary session was postponed from June until 5 September, the weekly wrote.

"Zvezda Povolzhya" commented that the methods being used by the federal government in relation to Tatarstan are the same as were used in closing down NTV. "The Russian president has publicly thanked Tatarstan's leadership for harmonizing its 'constitutional space' with federal legislation, while Deputy Prosecutor-General [Zvyagintsev] has been making more and more threatening protests as if he hadn't noticed the 'thankful' position of the Russian president," the paper wrote.

The paper cited an unidentified source as reporting that prosecutors are ready to dissolve the Tatar State Council in October and that the legislature "is preparing for this, as though it were doomed."

State Airline To Receive Kazan-Produced Planes
During his visit to Tatarstan on 25-26 June, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Rossiya state airlines, the company that provides flights for senior Russian officials, will soon receive four Tu-214 aircraft produced by Kazanskoe Aviatsionnoe Proizvodstvennoe Obedinenie (Kazan Aviation Plant), reported on 26 June. The Tu-214 is one of Russia's most modern aircraft, meeting European Union requirements for noise emissions.

Tatar Congress Organizing Committee Meets
Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov recently chaired a meeting of the organizing committee of the third World Tatar Congress, reported on 27 June, citing the press service of the Tatar Cabinet of Ministers. The meeting set the dates for the event as 28-30 August. Minnikhanov said the congress's slogan, "We are a single indivisible nation," should help satisfy the spiritual and cultural needs of Tatars. He also said the congress is meant to be an event to unite the Tatars of the world. The forum is intended to consider issues of the development of national culture and language and helping Tatars outside Tatarstan maintain connections with their roots. There are now more than 130 active Tatar communities and groups in different countries and regions.

Editors Of Tatar Publications Discuss Ways To Unite Tatars
The chief editors of mass-media outlets that are published for Tatars living in various regions of Russia gathered on 27 June for a seminar in Kazan, Tatar-inform reported the same day. Twenty-three representatives from 15 regions took part in the event, which was organized by the Tatar Cabinet of Ministers. Cabinet official Ravil Khasanshin told the agency that the seminar was the first attempt to unite Tatars living outside Tatarstan by using the mass media. Tatar Deputy Prime Minister Zilya Valeeva, Deputy State Council Chairman Robert Minnullin, State Council commission head Razil Valeev, and World Tatar Congress Executive Committee Chairman Indus Tagirov were in attendance.

Christian Pilgrimage Center To Be Set Up In Kazan
An international Christian pilgrimage center is to be established in Kazan, "Vremya i dengi" daily reported on 26 June. The decision was approved at an international conference on Orthodox Christianity held in Kazan on 21-23 June. Scholars and clergy from Russia, the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Germany, Italy, the Vatican, Portugal, the United States, and France took part in the forum, which was blessed by Patriarch Aleksii II. The conference passed a resolution that Kazan, where the Kazan Mother of God icon was found in 1579, occupies a notable place in the history of Christianity.

Paper Reports Clash Between Government, City Administration
"Vechernyaya Kazan" daily quoted a letter from Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov to Prime Minister Minnikhanov on 27 June, in which Iskhakov "very brusquely explained to Prime Minister [Minnikhanov] where the powers of the [Tatar] president end." Iskhakov was reacting to Minnikhanov's appeal to Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev in which the premier informed Shaimiev about legal violations, including embezzlement, by Kazan administration officials while selling state property and land in the Tatar capital. In his response to Minnikhanov, Iskhakov said the prime minister ought not to overburden "our leader [Shaimiev] with minor problems," which, in addition, had not yet been fully investigated, he claimed, but that they should resolve such issues "jointly, the modern way, and to the advantage of all of Tatarstan's people." The paper commented that Iskhakov used "very clear language to formulate a set of requirements aimed at excluding the president from the group of people responsible for key issues in the city, while he suggested that the republican government not exceed its powers."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Kirienko Urges Tatarstan, Bashkortostan To Cooperate In Petrochemical Sector
Presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District Sergei Kirienko repeated on 26 June his support for a project on the integration of the petrochemical sectors of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, reported the next day. Kirienko said at a press conference in Nizhnii Novgorod that the issue is political rather than economic. Kirienko noted that Tatarstan's leadership has promoted such integration while Bashkortostan, though it agreed at one time, "recently began to avoid work on the agreement." Kirienko said he fully supports Tatarstan's position (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 24 June 2002).

Rakhimov Named 10th-Best Regional Lobbyist
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" daily published on 26 June a ranking of Russia's best lobbyists in which Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov was ranked 10th among 25 regional lobbyists. He was followed by Kemerovo Oblast Governor Aman Tuleev, Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel, and Saratov Oblast Governor Dmitrii Ayatskov. The list was compiled by a team of 65 experts, including chief editors and economic analysts from the mass media, as well as heads and representatives of state, scientific, and civic organizations. Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev was the second on the list, following Chukotka Autonomous Okrug Governor Roman Abramovich and ahead of Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov.

Survey Sheds Light On Attitudes Toward Census In Republic
A recent survey by Ufa's Ordzhonikidzevskii Raion administration revealed that 4.5 percent of the residents of Bashkortostan are not aware of the Russian national census to take place in October, Bashinform reported on 27 June, citing the raion administration. About 60 percent of respondents consider the census necessary, while 9 percent said it is a waste of money. Four percent of those asked said they are not going to complete census forms.

Bashkir Company Wins Internet Competition
Bashkortostan's Bashtekhinform, a company specializing in technology and information, won the recent Science and Innovations competition for Internet projects in the Volga Federal District, which was sponsored by the Russian presidential administration, Bashinform reported on 27 June. Bashtekhinform, in cooperation with the Bashkir Academy of Sciences, submitted a project that involved an Internet database with information about technology in the republic.

Government Grants Ufa Funds For 10 Ambulances
The Bashkir government has allocated 3.5 million rubles ($113,600) to the Ufa Health Department to purchase 10 ambulances, reported on 27 June.

Draftee Kills Himself To Avoid Military Service
An 18-year-old male resident of Orlovka in the Iglinskii Raion committed suicide in order to avoid military service, Bashinform reported on 27 June, citing the press service of Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova