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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 12, 2002

12 July 2002
Navy Chief Commander To Visit Kazan
Commander in chief of the Russian Navy Vladimir Kuroedov was due to arrive in Kazan on 11 July, reported the same day. Kuroedov is to inspect the Kazanskoe Aviatsionnoe Proizvodstvennoe Obedinenie KAPO (Kazan Aviation Plant) to review the modernization of Tupolev 160 heavy bombers and the construction of Tupolev 214 aircraft. Kuroedov is also scheduled to meet with President Mintimer Shaimiev to discuss the development of the defense industry and to take part in a ceremony to commission a Tatarstan-produced ship that was built at the Zelenodolskii Sudostroitelnyi Zavod (Zelenodolskii Shipyard) for the Russian Defense Ministry.

Shaimiev Promotes Participation Of Regional Leaders In Work On Power Sharing...
"The heads of [subjects of the Russian] Federation should be included [in the process of] resolving issues on power sharing and the adoption of necessary laws in this direction," President Shaimiev said at a 8 July meeting of the heads of the Volga Federal District that was held in Saransk and chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, reported on 11 July. Putin supported the viewpoint of the Tatar president and called on all regional leaders to take part in that process. Putin said that more than 100 federal laws are to be amended in the near future as a result of the work of the commission on power sharing.

Several regional heads criticized the activities of prosecutors that have forced federation subjects to harmonize their legislation with federal laws. Shaimiev said that work in this direction should be coordinated and aimed at defending the interests of the population in order to avoid putting too much power in the hands of the federal government.

...Comments On Small Businesses In Republic...
Small businesses produced 9 percent of all goods and services in Tatarstan in 2001, an increase from 2 percent just three years ago, while in Kazan small businesses are responsible for producing 18 percent of goods and services, President Shaimiev told a session of the Kazan City Council on 11 July. Thirty-eight percent of small businesses are involved in the trade and public-services sectors, 26 percent in construction, 15 percent in industry, and 3 percent in communications and transport. Shaimiev said there are opportunities for small businesses in housing, municipal services, and agriculture, but for the most part, these sectors have not yet attracted their attention. Shaimiev said he was confident that would change following the adoption of a federal law on the sale of agricultural land. "The purchase and sale of land gives this entire generation the opportunity to own land. We have not yet fully realized the importance of that law," Shaimiev said. The Tatar president also criticized the existing mechanism for distributing land to be used for the construction of buildings in Kazan, saying that plots of land are usually bought from the city administration and then resold at higher prices. As a result, only 35 of 2,570 plots of land, or 0.5 percent, were sold in 2000-2001 in auctions, Shaimiev said.

...And Promotes State Monopoly On Vodka Production
President Shaimiev told the 11 July session of the Kazan City Council that all liquor and vodka distilleries in Tatarstan will be affiliates of the state-run Tatspirtprom, and reported the same day. As a result, Tatspirtprom is expected to be able to consolidate its finances and to make a payment of 250 million rubles ($7.9 million) in back taxes. Shaimiev said state the state will continue to have a monopoly on the production alcoholic beverages in the republic. He said that state control makes it impossible to produce fake alcohol and, as a result, to poison people with it.

Republican media outlets have reported that the directors of two plants, Ivan Yegorov of the Usadskii Spirtzavod (Usadskii Distillery) and Alik Ziganshin of the Chistopolskii Likero-Vodochnyi Zavod (Chistopolskii Distillery). "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 10 July that the two dismissed directors were the only two among the 15 heads of republican distilleries who refused to sign a document on "joining Tatspirtprom freely." The Chistopolskii and Usadskii distilleries produce the most successful vodka brands and, unlike the majority of the republic's other distilleries, are profitable, the daily said.

Army Serviceman Buried In Chally
Serviceman Denis Filatov was buried on 10 July in his native town of Chally after he died in hospital on 2 July as a result of numerous injuries, reported on 11 July. Filatov was reportedly injured when he fell out of a third-floor window on 2 June. Filatov remained in a coma for a month before dying. His parents said they were refused access to information regarding the circumstances in which their son fell out of the window on the grounds that the investigation was secret. They said they were certain, however that their son was tortured and thrown out of the window, the agency reported. The agency also quoted a letter to his parents in which Filatov wrote that, "Four servicemen have already died in our unit."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Delegation To Visit Germany
A delegation of the Bashkir government headed by Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov is to leave for Germany today to meet with German authorities, Bashinform reported yesterday. Bashkir officials plan to thank local authorities for help in the search and identification of the bodies of victims of the 1 July midair plane crash in which 71 people died, 61 of whom were residents of Bashkortostan (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July 2002).

Swiss President Cancels Trip To Russia
Swiss President Kaspar Villiger has cancelled plans to attend a memorial service in Russia for the victims of a recent midair plane collision because of Russian warnings of possible risks to his security, AP reported today.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Yakovenko was quoted as saying the Swiss delegation could face a negative atmosphere because of high emotions in Bashkortostan, where the memorial service is due to be held tomorrow.

The 1 July collision of the Russian passenger airliner and a cargo jet near the Swiss-German border killed 71 people, most of them Russian children from Bashkortostan.

Swiss air-traffic controllers were overseeing the two planes at the time of the disaster. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The Swiss president said he regrets that he will not be able to express Switzerland's sympathy at the ceremony in Ufa.

Rakhimov, Putin Agree On Third Term In Office...
"Zvezda povolzhya" quoted Aleksandr Bespalov, chairman of the General Council of Unified Russia, today as saying at a 2 July press conference in Moscow that President Murtaza Rakhimov will run for a third term in office and that he has reached full agreement on the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bespalov was speaking at a press conference on 2 July in Moscow. Bespalov said Rakhimov was given two conditions for getting Putin's approval: First, he had to agree that he would resign upon Putin's request, and second, he would support a replacement proposed by Putin.

...As President Praises Constitutional Court Ruling
Commenting on the 9 July Russian Constitutional Court ruling that will allow regional heads to serve more than two terms in office, President Rakhimov told Interfax-Eurasia on 10 July that he "had no doubt that the Constitutional Court had enough political will to make a decision that will contribute to strengthening [the Russian] Federation as a whole" (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 10 July 2002). In accordance with the ruling, the number of terms a regional leader is in office is to be counted beginning in October 1999 when the federal law on general principles of the organization of legislative bodies of subjects of the Russian Federation -- the act that introduced the restriction of two terms for regional leaders -- was adopted.

Rakhimov said the decision shows that there truly is a common legal space in the country in which the law is the same for all people and does not depend on the current political situation.

Rakhimov added that the people are to be empowered, through their elected representatives, to decide similar issues on their own, saying that a large federative state like Russia can only exist if it takes into account the interests of all its peoples.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova