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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 5, 2002

5 November 2002
Tatar Cabinet Resolution Said To Be Illegal
The Russian Supreme Court has ruled that the Tatar State Council's resolution regulating the activity of the republic's Cabinet of Ministers contradicts federal legislation, reported on 4 November citing an unidentified source in the court (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly Review," 1 November 2002). The of the Tatar State Council Committee on the State System, Local Self-Government, and Foreign Relations Chairman Vasilii Loginov said Tatarstan's government cannot be declared illegal because of the court ruling. The cabinet's activity is regulated by the Tatar Constitution, so the government will act as usual until a corresponding law is developed, Loginov said.

Metro Cash And Carry To Open Store In Kazan
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev met on 4 November with general director of the German Metro Cash and Carry company, Herbert Zlabinger, to discuss the prospects of the company opening a shop in Kazan, reported the same day. Shaimiev said the Tatar side is interested in the German company's presence on the Tatar market.

Zlabinger said that Kazan is a very attractive place to develop a network of Metro Cash and Carry stores and that he was surprised by the large amount of construction in Kazan. He said his company will provide all necessary investments in the project. Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khafiz Salikhov said a shop of Metro Cash and Carry is to open in Kazan in 2004, adding that it will promote deliveries of local goods to the Russian market.

Metro Cash and Carry began working in Russia three years ago and now has three shops in Moscow.

Senator From Tatarstan Comments On Local Self-Government Law
Federation Council Senator from Tatarstan and head of its Committee on Issues of Local Self-Government Refqet Altynbaev told a press conference in Kazan on 2 November that he is "absolutely sure that the [draft] law on general principles of the formation of local self-government in the Russian Federation will be adopted," reported on 4 November. Altynbaev said the new draft provides for the formation of some 30,000 municipal entities in Russia, which is an optimum number, while under the existing legislation some 153,000 municipal entities would be established.

Altynbaev said it is not worth establishing municipal entities with less than 1,000 residents in order not to waste money, though the draft law does not prohibit this. He also said the draft includes a provision according to which external financial management can be introduced in a municipal entity in case its debt reaches 30 percent of its total budget.

Altynbaev also spoke in favor of allowing leaders of municipal entities to assume the duties of a chief executive, saying that restrictions to this should only be applied to cities and raions, not to villages and rural settlements.

Parties To Take Part In Electoral Commissions
Tatar Central Electoral Commission (TsIK) Chairman Anatolii Fomin met on 4 November with representatives of parties and public movements to discuss the order of the formation of regional election commissions, reported the same day. Members of Unified Russia, the Union of Rightist Forces, Yabloko, the Communist Party, Development of Entrepreneurship, Russian Party of Life, and others were in attendance.

Under the new edition of the law on guarantees of electoral rights and the right of participation in referenda, half of the members of regional election commissions are to be proposed by political parties represented in the Russian State Duma. On 25 October, the Tatar TsIK issued a resolution, according to which 63 regional election commissions will be formed in Tatarstan: seven in Kazan, 13 in other cities and towns, and 43 in the republic's raions. Commission chairs will be appointed by the Tatar TsIK. Regional election commissions will then form some 3,000 district election commissions throughout the republic. Fomin said at the meeting that each regional commission will include six or eight members. Meeting participants, noting that representatives of all six parties represented in the State Duma cannot be included in each commission, agreed to submit their proposals within a month.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim Denies Intention To Sell Shares
Nizhnekamskneftekhim is negotiating long-term oil deliveries with Yukos and several other Russian oil companies, but never held and is not holding any talks about selling shares in the company, Tatar-inform reported on 4 November citing a statement issued by the company's press service. The statement was in reaction to recent media reports about the company's plans to sell a large stake in exchange for deliveries of oil (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 1 November 2002). Such plans contradict the company's charter, as well as the structure of its capital, the statement said. Selling the 17.3 percent stake owned by Nizhnekamskneftekhim and Co. is inexpedient, while that of any other package is unrealistic, the press service said, adding that spreading untruthful information is profitable for the company's competitors in the petrochemical sector.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Minister Notes No Attacks On Chechen Community Following Moscow Hostage Crisis
Bashkir Interior Minister Rafail Divaev told Bashinform on 4 November that his ministry has not registered any protests by the more than 1,700 Chechens currently residing in the republic or any acts of violence against them in the wake of the 23-26 October hostage-taking incident in Moscow involving Chechen rebels (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24, 25, 26, 29, and 30 October 2002). Divaev also noted that there hadn't been any "negative actions against representatives of other southern nationalities, such as Azerbaijanis, Tajiks, and Uzbeks." The minister noted that law-enforcement agencies regularly carry out operations to track down former residents of the North Caucasus in order to seek out suspected militants.

Bashkir Muslims Denounce Terrorism
The 2 November Congress of Bashkortostan's Muslims (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 4 November 2002) adopted a resolution on terrorism, religious fanaticism, and their consequences, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 4 November. The resolution said that there was no excuse for the hostage-taking incident in Moscow, regardless of what the action's goals were, adding that "an attempt on an individual's freedom or life is the most serious sin before Allah...[which is in contradiction to] Muslim beliefs." The congress denounced violence as a means of obtaining independence or resolving other political disputes.

Airline Goes After U.S. Company
Bashkir Airlines has filed suit against the U.S. company Honeywell in connection with a 1 July air disaster in which 71 people -- most of them children -- were killed, reported on 5 November. Honeywell produces the automatic warning system that was aboard the Bashkir Airlines Tu-154 that collided in midair with a Boeing 757 cargo jet over southwest Germany (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July 2002). No details about the suit were released. On 3 November, the airline filed a $20 million suit against the Swiss government, which owns and operates the air-traffic-control system that was controlling the two planes at the time of the collision. According to, the airline has also said that it intends to file a $15 million suit against the manufacturer of the Skyguide air-traffic-control system. (Rob Coalson)

Unified Russia Leader Supports Reform Of State System
Mansur Ayupov, head of Unified Russia's branch in Bashkortostan, told Bashinform on 4 November that the republic's planned change to a parliamentary republic is, in his opinion, the result of a "reassessment of values" by the Bashkir and federal governments over the past decade (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 30 October 2002). Ayupov praised the planned change, saying the new system will fit better into the existing power vertical in the country. He said the reform would make Bashkortostan "truly a people's republic."

Health Ministry Releases HIV Statistics
The Bashkir Health Ministry announced on 4 November that there are 3,602 registered cases of HIV in the republic, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. About 72 percent of HIV-positive people reportedly contracted the virus through intravenous drug use. More than 77 percent of HIV cases have been reported in urban areas, 6.1 percent in rural areas, and 16 percent among prisoners.

Complied by Iskender Nurmi