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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 3, 2002

3 July 2002
Parliamentary Speaker Discusses Amendments To Power-Sharing Treaty
Chairman of the Tatarstan-New Century political movement Farit Mukhametshin, who is also chairman of the Tatar State Council, told a meeting of the group's presidium on 2 July about the ongoing revision of the 1994 power-sharing treaty between Kazan and Moscow, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. Mukhametshin heads a special republican committee that is currently negotiating with federal authorities on amendments to the treaty, which contradicts federal legislation and the Tatar Constitution. Meanwhile, the term of the treaty, which was extended for four years in 1998, is set to expire on 28 July.

Mukhametshin said his committee will present its proposed amendments to Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev today. He said that the committee will recommend that the new treaty list Tatarstan's powers in fields outside Moscow's jurisdiction, and also that it should include the requirement that republican presidential candidates speak both Russian and Tatar.

Agency Official Claims Administrative Barriers Slowing Development Of Small Business
Aleksandr Sergeev, general director of Tatarstan's Agency for the Development of Entrepreneurship and the owner of the Aleksandr household-appliances chain of stores, told a press conference on 2 July that difficulties in obtaining loans and real estate, as well as other "administrative barriers," were the major problems that small businesses faced in Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today.

During a recent visit by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to the republic, Sergeev's agency reportedly gave Kasyanov a number of proposals for possible measures to boost the development of private business in the republic, such as the creation of a single tender center to replace the 60 local tender centers across Tatarstan.

In order to protect small businesses in the republic, the agency also prepared a draft Tatar presidential decree saying that state monitoring bodies are to present a list of enterprises that are to be inspected to the organs of local self-government 10 days before the beginning of each quarter, informing local governments and enterprises of what business activities are to be inspected.

Sergeev said the biggest problem in obtaining commercial real estate in Kazan was "the Kazan city administration, because it is virtually impossible to buy real estate directly from the city and one has to deal with middlemen."

Duma Deputies Inspect Tatar Industries
Viktor Grishin, head of the Russian State Duma Committee on Federation Affairs and Regional Policy; Martin Shakkum, head of the Duma Committee on Industrial Policy; Oleg Kovalev, head of the Duma Committee on Regulations; and Vladimir Dubov, head of the Duma Subcommittee on Taxes and the Budget, arrived in Kazan on 2 July at the request of Oleg Morozov, leader of the Russian Regions faction of the State Duma, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today.

Morozov led his colleagues on an inspection tour of the production premises of the Kazanskoe Aviatsionnoe Proizvodstvennoe Obedinenie (Kazan Aviation Plant) and the Kazanskoe Motorostroitelnoe Proizvodstvennoe Obedinenie (Kazan Motor Plant). Morozov said that, "Although I'm quite a strong lobbyist [for Tatarstan-based businesses] myself, it's important to let the Duma's decision makers know what we have in Kazan in order to ensure [the Duma's] support of our industrial projects."

The State Duma deputies were accompanied by Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Industry Aleksei Pakhomov, and Finance Minister Radik Gizatullin.

Tatar President Sends Condolences To Bashkortostan
President Shaimiev sent a telegram expressing his condolences to Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov on 2 July, saying that citizens of Tatarstan shared in the grief being felt by the "brotherly people" of Bashkortostan as a result of the 1 July crash of a Bashkir Airlines plane in Germany that claimed the lives of 71 people (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July 2002).

KamAZ To Renew Production Of Modified Vehicles
The KamAZ automotive concern announced on 2 July that it is about to renew production of modified heavy trucks and Oka-model small vehicles for export to countries where driving is done on the left side of the road, reported the same day, citing the company's press service. The company had undertaken plans to produce such modified vehicles to Pakistan in 1999, but the project was halted because of the political situation in that country.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir Airlines Places Blame For Crash On Air-Traffic Controllers
Nikolai Odegov, general director of Bashkir Airlines, told a press conference at Moscow's Domodedovo airport on 2 July that the airline blames the Swiss air-traffic controllers for the midair collision between a Bashkir Airlines Tupolev 154 and a Boeing 757 operated by the package-delivery service DHL the previous day (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July 2002). He added that the airline planned to sue the air-traffic controllers, RIA-Novosti reported the same day.

Moscow, Ufa Prosecutors Begin Investigating Possible Criminal Charges In Relation To Crash
The Moscow Oblast Prosecutor's Office began investigating the possibility of filing criminal charges with respect to the 1 July air crash that led to the deaths of 71 people, reported on 2 July, citing Valerii Konin, the oblast's prosecutor in charge of cases related to transport. Investigators will determine whether there were any violations of the provisions of the Russian Criminal Code regarding air-traffic rules or negligence with respect to the state of repair of the Bashkir Airlines Tu-154. Konin added that such violations could result in prison sentences of up to four to 10 years.

Bashkortostan's chief prosecutor, Florid Baikov, told Interfax-Eurasia on 2 July that his office will cooperate with Moscow Oblast prosecutors by order of the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office.

Relatives Preparing For Trip To Germany
Bashkir Interior Minister Rafael Divaev said on 2 July that in accordance with a resolution of the Bashkir government, the relatives of the victims of the 1 July plane crash will not go to Germany until initial investigative work is completed at the crash site, Interfax-Eurasia reported the same day.

About 70 relatives of crash victims have already received foreign passports in order to be allowed to leave Russia, but they are still waiting for the German embassy in Moscow to issue them visas, ORT Russian state television reported today.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Yakovenko said on 2 July that the German embassy had agreed to waive the usual visa fee for relatives of crash victims who want to go to Germany, ITAR-TASS reported the same day.

Bashkortostan, Germany Declare Mourning Periods
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov declared 2-4 July an official period of mourning in Bashkortostan, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported yesterday. The government has also reportedly agreed to cover the expense of transporting the bodies of crash victims back to Bashkortostan, as well as funeral expenses.

ITAR-TASS reported on 2 July that the German region of Baden-Wuerttemberg has also declared an official mourning period until 4 July.

Kasyanov Pledges Assistance To Families Of Victims
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told a press conference in Paris on 2 July that his government is ready to undertake all necessary measures to lend assistance to the families of crash victims, ITAR-TASS reported the same day.

Putin, Schroeder Discuss Crash Investigation
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on 2 July, Prime-TASS reported the same day. The two leaders discussed the need for close cooperation between German and Russian officials investigating the crash.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi