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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 14, 2002

14 November 2002
Official Says Crime Groups Have No Influence In Republic
The head of the Department on Organized Crime of Tatarstan's Interior Ministry, Anatolii Ignatiev, told a press conference on 13 November that criminal groups in Tatarstan "had no influence on economic and political life in the republic," RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 14 November. Ignatiev admitted, however, that his department has only enough personnel to monitor the activities of what he called "the most insolent and brutal mob groups," such as Zhika, Pervaki, and Khadi Taqtash, in Kazan.

Oil Responsible For Bulk Of Republic's Exports
According to the Tatar branch of the federal Customs Service, unprocessed oil has accounted for 54 percent of the republic's exports so far this year, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 14 November. The Customs Service said that Tatarstan exported 13.7 million tons of oil in the first nine months of 2002 at a value of $962.8 million, compared with only 4 million tons at a value of $657.9 million during the same period last year. Overall foreign trade in the republic has increased by 27 percent in comparison with the same period in 2001, with a total value of $2.1 billion. Exports have reportedly accounted for 85 percent of this total. Machinery accounted for 16 percent of the republic's exports, while chemical products made up 12 percent of exports.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Experts Comment On Delay In Constitutional Reform
The head of the Merkator think tank, Dmitrii Oreshkiv, told "Vedomosti" on 14 November that the delay in considering the draft constitution was a result of a disagreement between the Bashkir leadership and federal authorities, as represented by the presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District, Sergei Kirienko (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 13 November 2002). The daily cited an unidentified source in the Volga Federal District administration as saying that the district office is currently conducting an expert study of the draft.

Aleksei Makarkin from Moscow's Center of Political Technologies said the fact that the republican parliament decided to delay constitutional reform -- there have been votes to give up plans for such reform altogether -- shows that President Murtaza Rakhimov still has not decided whether he wants to be president or prime minister. Makarkin added that it is unlikely that the Kremlin is fighting planned Bashkir reforms -- it has been reported that the planned changes were agreed upon with the Kremlin -- since the Kremlin hasn't made a single negative move with regard to the proposed reform. "Vedomosti" cited an unidentified source in the Russian presidential administration as saying, "This strange idea was born in the head of Murtaza Rakhimov and apparently died there." The paper also cited an unidentified source in the Bashkir leadership as saying that the Volga Federal District administration wasn't as happy with the planned changes as the Kremlin was.

Bashkir Delegation Takes Part In Memorial Service For Crash Victims
A Bashkir delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Ramil Mirseev laid wreaths at a memorial for the victims of the 1 July midair collision involving a Bashkir Airlines passenger jet (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July 2002) and also gave presents and letters of thanks to the firemen, policemen, and volunteers who took part in the cleanup operation following the accident.

Border-Guards Official Praises Work At Ufa Airport
President Rakhimov met on 13 November with the head of the Southeastern Regional Directorate of the Russian Federal Border Guard Service, Lieutenant General Mikael Oganesyan, to discuss the guarding of southern borders, illegal migration of people from Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and the fight against international terrorism. Oganesyan praised the republic�s leadership for its attitude toward guarding the border, saying that the level of organization and equipment used by the Border Supervision Department at Ufa's international airport should be used as a model for all departments involved in similar work.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova